Post yrself clean

Spotify artists page

          My Spotify artists page at the moment.

By now this blog has lost a lot of its readers and I’ve lost a lot of my enthusiasm for blogging. It’s been a little under nine months since my last post, which detailed my (what I then thought was huge but now I think is ridiculously tiny) Spotify music… collection? Is that the word?

I haven’t been completely inactive on WordPress since, but that was my last proper post anyway. Quite a bit has changed since then. The school year ended, I had a birthday (yay!), my laptop crashed (along with all my files as I hadn’t made a back up), my older sister went to uni, and somewhere along the line I became even more obsessed with music, to the point where I almost considered taking it as a GCSE.

I didn’t in the end, but I’m still listening to at least an album a day, so that doesn’t reflect my views on music – in fact, I decided five, six or seven months ago that I might become a music journalist, even if the pay is reportedly abysmal. My music taste has expanded a lot from primarily indie rock to everything but metal, and I don’t like all the same bands as I used to. A lot of the music I listen to now is derived from various music sites and lists (as opposed to my friends and siblings) which I’ve become unhealthily obsessed with reading. Not that that’s a bad thing per se – it all adds up to my musical knowledge. :P

I doubt I’ll do a follow up to my previous post with an updated list of my music because it would take way too long… but I would like to make this blog music-oriented. I would like to have a general update post every now and then, but I would mainly be reviewing music – mainly older albums I like, because those will be more enjoyable to review, but also new albums every now and then. I might even draw as I’m listening and upload the drawings too?

Obviously this is quite a change, and I don’t know if any of my old followers will enjoy my music posts, so maybe I’ll mix in some general posts. It’ll be good having something concrete to write about and keep me writing on schedule – I’ll try and write at least one post a week.

I don’t know if this will last, but it would probably be a good idea to try actually *reviewing* music rather than just listening to it before I decide to be a music journalist. Hopefully reviewing music will help me listen to it more deeply, develop my own opinions about music rather, and rejuvenate my writing and maybe my drawing as well. Anyhow, this should be a steep learning curve. The first few reviews will undoubtedly be meh, but have faith, I should improve… No promises though. :P

See you soon (hopefully),

Joe :)

P.S. I’m not gonna

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Brace yourself…

That’s right. I’m getting braces. D:

I had a scheduled orthodontist appointment last May, where a dentist looked around my teeth with a hand-held mirror and seemingly shouted out whatever came to mind: “A1, B2, C1 dinosaur, C12 antidisestablishmentarianism, D2, X23 coma…” and I sat in the dentist chair wondering what all this means and whether or not I should be terrified.

Lots of people are scared of dentists, but I never have been, perhaps because one of my aunts is a dentist. However the chill that ran down my spine when he said, “… J42 impacted…” after minutes of “G39, H40, I41…” didn’t bode well.

After commending me on my cleaning skills to soften the news, the dentist said my teeth were all fine and dandy apart from one that was ‘impacted’ and had only partially erupted when it should have been fully grown. If it’s left alone, it’ll make it really hard to clean that area when I grow up, so they strongly recommended I get braces. Meh.

I used to be concerned that braces would be the subject of mockery if I got any, but it’s not the case, at least not at my school. I can’t imagine myself with braces, but I imagine that once I get them, I won’t be able to imagine myself without them, so that’s not an issue either.

My main worry is the hassle it will cause. Luckily it won’t have much of an impact for me diet-wise (because of my allergies, I’m already restricted from chocolate, toffee etc.) but if I have to clean my teeth everyday after lunch, that will be an annoyance.

Still, I hear that it’s really worth it for the nice smile you get afterwards, so because of the ‘recommendation’ (it was more like an order) me and my parents decided to go with it.

Anyhow, I went for another appointment today to get my X-rays and other measurements taken, so they can make sure my braces will fit my mouth snugly. A few minutes after I’d sat down with my mum, a dentist came in and said that I was to be led to another building where my measurements would be taken… without my mum. I wasn’t sure why this was necessary, but I went along with it anyway.

So we walked around the corner to another building, into a room with lots of machinery. First the dentist took X-rays of my teeth. I had to put my chin on a piece of plastic  and bite into a groove in a piece of plastic; both of these pieces of plastic (I don’t know their names!) protruded at right angles from another piece of plastic. Tl;dr: lots of plastic. Then the dentist brought even more plastic apparatus to keep my head in place, and left the room, after telling me cheerily to keep my head still.

When I went to India two years ago and got a haircut (this is relevant, I promise) my dad did all the talking and left me with the hairdresser, who kept muttering at me in Malayalam and then, when I did nothing, forcibly keeping my head still or moving it. He had to mutter a lot, increasingly irritably as time went on.

I think the point I’m trying to make after that very long and convoluted anecdote is that I don’t like keeping my head still and that I’m not very good at it – even hairdressers get annoyed at me for my incompetence . But somehow I managed it – the X-ray machine hung from the ceiling and spun around my head and I stayed still. although there’s no saying the x-rays won’t show some very shaky teeth when they’re printed.

Then I had to go to another X-ray machine, but this time they put things in my ears. I looked like I was wearing  very heavy earphones that were attached to the ceiling. The dentist brought down a latch to put on my nose (to keep me in place again), took the X-ray, and then it was over.

After that the dentist took a number of pictures of my face with a very fancy camera. I felt more like a model in those annoying back to school ads that are starting to pop up than a person at the orthodontist’s.

She then proceeded to take pictures of my teeth while her assistant used stretchers to keep my lips out of the way (not as bad as it sounds, but still very strange). Perhaps understandably, this was much less glamorous. At one point, the dentist put a mirror in between my top and bottom rows of teeth so they could look at the inside of my mouth; they then told me I should only breathe through my nose to prevent the mirror steaming up. I had a mild panic wondering whether or not my nose-breathing was sufficient for me to survive for a few minutes. In hindsight, what if the mirror had gotten stuck? Would I have lived the rest of my life a nose-breather, trying not to steam up the mirror? With my perpetual state of blocked nose, I doubt I would last long. But I digress.

The appointment was perfectly normal apart from one unusual moment. Throughout, the dentist was very friendly and cheerful, trying to make some small talk. At one point, after I said that some of the procedures seemed a bit weird, she said something along the lines of, “Oh yes, we do weird here. We do a lot of weird. Never painful though.” Undoubtedly it was meant to be genial chitchat, but it came across a bit outlandish. XD After that, things continued as usual.

I had to bite into a sheet of wax so they could record my bite. I also had what felt like plasticine shoved onto my bottom and upper teeth, so they could make casts of them. It was bearable, although the container used to hold the plasticine were uncomfortable against my cheeks.

That was the end of it. I rinsed my mouth with some mouthwash and was led back to my mum.

Congratulations, you have just read a word-by-word account of an orthodontist trip! This was probably really mundane, but I’m sure you enjoyed it anyway. :P Sorry, that was a bit presumptuous.

What are your experiences with braces, orthodontists and dentists?

Joe. :3

If life gives you cake…

It’s my birthday today! :D

 

I will deign to tell you my age (because based on the terrifying Internet safety shorts my teachers have shown me, there are an awful lot of creepy people on the Internet) but yeah, it’s my birthday! :D

What, you forgot?! D: It’s OK, I won’t judge you. *cracks knuckles menacingly and then grins sheepishly*.

I didn’t really understand the gravity of the situation either when I woke up at 7:00 this morning. I thought, “Oh, it’s my birthday.” Then I went back to sleep and woke up again two hours later. Even still, I felt pretty happy, although not bouncing up and down excited.

I should probably tell you that I am currently not living in my home – long story short, I, my sisters and my parents are with some extended family because of a tennis tournament my sister is in; it’s been lots of fun over the last few days.

Anyway, I went downstairs, got hugged by my mum and aunt and had my ‘Birthday Breakfast’ (i.e. normal breakfast with a hint of antidisestablishmentarianism). I also texted everyone I know, “It’s my birthday!” Then I went to a tennis court to hit with my cousin, sister and dad. I was really really bad. As in, terrible. But I got better I think, and by the end I was only really bad. :P

The cake currently lies waiting to be eaten, chocolate with buttercream icing. Because of my extensive allergies (eggs, milk and nuts) I don’t normally have cake – when it comes to other people’s birthdays, I often have one or two Jammie Dodgers.

It would be a lot of hassle to bake a separate cake (mainly for myself as few others will eat it) every time someone has a birthday. That would be far too much cake for far too short a person to consume. But when it comes to my own birthday, my mum makes a dairy/nut/egg free chocolate cake, which is nom nom nom without making me have a rash.

Allergic reactions are not exactly desirable.

*Cue musical interlude*

I’m breaking out in rashes everywhere,
I’m in a state of disrepair.
My skin’s turning quite sage, turning quite sage,
My skin’s turning quite sage, turning quite sage,
Whoa, oh, oh, oh, oh, whoa, oh, oh, oh, I’m dermatologically reactive, dermatologically reactive!
Oh, no, no, no, no, oh, no, no, no, I’m dermatologically reactive, dermatologically reactive!

But I’m getting off topic. Birthdays.

Oh, forgot to mention presents. I had a much easier time than last year but I was still incredibly indecisive, so I only decided my birthday presents a few days before my actual birthday… when I was in someone else’s house (*facepalm*) so they haven’t arrived yet. I know what they are anyway though. :P

Turns out the book I got as a prize for Speech Day (another thing I need to write about) was really good, so I’m buying the other two books in the series; the book was ‘The Knife of Never Letting Go’ by Patrick Ness, part of a series called ‘Chaos Walking’ – I highly recommend it. I also asked for the Lego Movie, because why not? :P No, my friends all said it was really good, so I thought I would see what all the fuss is about. In my mind, 2:1 is the perfect balance of books to DVDs, but that might just be me.

At the same time, I can be kind of frustrated with my age. Because I was born in August, everyone in my year has their birthday before me. In Britain the cutoff is August 31, so as my birthday is perilously close to it very few people in my year are born after me! -_- As a result, I feel kind of older than I am, if that makes any sense. Whenever people ask me how old I am near the summer holidays, I normally say “I’m in Year X.” rather than, “I am X years old.” because when I say the latter, people often underestimate me and it’s starting to get on my nerves. :\

Another thing that annoys me is when people say, “Before you were born.” It’s hard to say exactly why that is, but it’s as if they’re trying to surprise you by saying this. Guys, I already know that stuff happened before I was born – that is not a mystery to me. Plus it gives no sense of time whatsoever. A year before I was born? A hundred years before I was born? Gahhhh! I would rather you just gave a date, no matter how vague.

No if anything, it freaks me out when I find out things have happened during my lifetime which I had no idea about. The idea that someone found out they had cancer or started a now famous YouTube channel while I was alive makes me kind of uneasy, but I’m not entirely sure why. Meh. Those are my thoughts.

I don’t really know what else to write about. Perhaps I should’ve posted this near the end of the day just in case something surprising happens in the rest of the day, but unless my laptop dies in a tragic car accident in Blackpool, I don’t think much will happen that will be worth saying (besides, my laptop will be destroyed with only the Blackpool Illuminations for company, so I won’t be able to post anyway).

What do you think of birthdays? Are they a happy harbinger of progress into your life, guiding you into another happy year filled with happy unicorns and happy rainbows? Or a drab and dreary reminder of mundane everyday life, only reminding you how old you are and how little you have accomplished?

Sorry that got dark quickly.

Anyway, happy birthday to me. :3

Joe.

P.S. 101 posts! :D

Sports Day!

EDIT: Shortly after 100 followers, I have now written 100 posts! :D I was hoping for the two achievements to happen at the same time (so my 100th post would have concerned having 100 followers), but I’ll settle for this. :P

Firstly, I have to say that I am disappointed none of you looked up the word ”syzygy”, or at least showed a mild interest. :P From wiktionary:

  1. (astronomy, astrology) A kind of unity, namely an alignment of three celestial bodies (for example, the Sun, Earth, and Moon) such that one body is directly between the other two, such as occurs at an eclipse.

I think the only reason I picked it was that I saw it on dictionary.com as a ‘cool word’ and I’m kind of running out of ideas. ;) If you want, recommend a word! :D This week’s word is tittle.

***

When events come around, they happens in quick fire succession, like bullets from a machine gun. The first three major(ish) occasions of the Summer happened within a week of each other: Sports Day; my first karate competition; and a concert I was playing the piano in. This is the order in which they happened; however, funnily enough, the list also starts with the event I was most worried about and ends with the event I was least worried about.

This post was originally called ‘A Series of Troublesome Events’ and was about all three of these happenings (I’m trying not to use the word ‘event’). Unfortunately, I didn’t have enough time, so the karate competition and the piano concert will have to wait.

You may need some background. I’ll basically plagiarise last year’s post on Sports Day and go with a ‘Harry Potter’ theme. So in my school, there are four houses, which will be called (as in last year’s post) Potter, Draco, Harry and Snape. I am in Potter.

However, my experience of Sports Day was very different from last year – as in extremely different. Last year I was in the BBC Junior Reporters’ Club, interviewing athletes after they had finished their events, lazing around, and occasionally cheering on my house.

This year I quit Junior Reporter’s Club. I was also one of the runners in the 1500m.

Yes I know – I have often harped on about how terrible I am at sports and my horrific hand-eye co-ordination. At times, I have prided myself on my unsportiness. I even helped set up FAFA, the Forever Anti-Football Association (or soccer to y’all Americans). If anything, I merely have a slight dislike of sport, but I think I blow it a bit out of proportion. I don’t really know why, but perhaps it’s to have a conversation starter. But I digress.

One of the few exceptions to this is running. I like it, as it requires very little hand-eye (and foot-eye) co-ordination, but only after the actual run has occurred. Whenever I run a fairly long distance, I am uncomfortable throughout, but afterwards I say something crazy like, “That wasn’t so bad.” Such is the madness. D:

My lungs much prefer short distance running to long distance running, but I am comparatively *better* at long distance. That isn’t really saying much. If you could measure running ability on a scale of “You are an Object at Absolute Zero” to “Fast as Light”, I would flounder somewhere between “good” and “good“, if that makes any sense at all. Besides, I would never directly volunteer to compete in Sports Day, being me, but it never works out that way, does it?

The selection process  is very laid back. Basically if you ask to compete and you have a reputation of being fairly good at your chosen sport, you’re in. Occasionally, informal competitions are held to find the best people for the event, but only when there are more applicants for a race than places (normally two places per house).

Here’s how it happened.

I was walking along a corridor with a friend when I walked by the notice board in my school. My head of house and a fellow Potter were standing by it, discussing something. The boy was talking about how there were “hardly any good runners in Potter…”

I may avoid social occasions at all cost, but I can also be very big-headed (+1 for an AMAZING PERSONALITY COMBO) so I muttered under my breath, “I can be a good runner.” or something along those lines.

Silly Joe. Silly silly Joe.

If there is one thing you should know about me, it is that I am unable to speak quietly – I am unable to mutter or whisper without every person in the neighbourhood hearing – never mind every single animal in 64 Zoo Lane.

So when I muttered, my fellow Potter heard me. Next thing you know, I’m suggesting more people, the guy is ecstatic that he’s found some runners and it’s hinted that I will somehow be involved in Sports Day. I’m left with my friend, who is laughing at my predicament.

Sports. I have become implicated with sports. D:

It happened so quickly that at first I thought I was a reserve. Later I found that I had been put down to run for 1500m, and after some checking, I found that to be true.

What? What! WHAT?!

I was so apprehensive that I would come last, or near last. I have a bit of a reputation as the class boffin – not necessarily a bad reputation but a reputation nonetheless – and I didn’t want to reinforce the connotations that come with that. Even still, I didn’t practise that much, although I went out with my dad and sister a few times for a mile run.

There was also a house Sports Day rehearsal a few days before the actual event, but I was only told about it while it was happening, and since I hadn’t eaten lunch yet, I decided to skip it since loads of people weren’t going. Obviously there was some mental anguish, but my stomach prevailed.

It turns out that three people (including myself) had applied for two places in the 1500m,  so they staged a mini-competition during the rehearsal which I missed. Since I conveniently didn’t turn up, I was automatically shoehorned into the race with the winner of the competition. If I’m honest, I probably would have lost the mini-competition anyway, so I guess it’s a good thing I decided not to go to the rehearsal.

Anyhow, when it came to the day of the competition, I was freaking out. I’ve never actually competed against anyone before, and didn’t really have any idea how fast I was at running a mile. What if I thought I was fast but really I was a snail? Of course, the opposite was also possible, but I was much more inclined to the first idea. Track events were only in the afternoon, with field events in the morning, so the first half of the day were spent as usual.

Then I got changed at lunch, and walked to the fields after registration, sitting with my fellow Potters in a temporary pen constructed with posts and rope. 1500m was one of the last events, so I sat on the grass for an hour, sipping some water and not paying any attention to the races, while the people beside me listened to music and discussed whether or not Goku was better that Superman. Occasionally I ran to the toilet which was about 100m away and came back exhausted. Needless to say this made me severely doubt my stamina and didn’t do much for my confidence.

You know I said earlier that there was a mini-competition to find who would join me in the 1500m? The loser kept asking me whether I would drop out so he could run instead. Politely, but all the same. Strangely enough, I refused every time. I guess he would have been faster, but in a strange way, I kind of wanted to compete in Sports Day, despite the risk of losing. Meh.

Eventually a voice rang out: “Could all the 1500m competitors see Mr. M at the starting line?” Shaking, I went with some others to the start of the track. I brought my water bottle with me and then left it near the start of the race. There were 8 people competing in each year, but I was running with people in the year below me as well to save time, so there were 16 in total. They positioned us at the start. Some people crouched down but I just stood up, terrified of how badly I could perform. It was 2 and 3/4 laps (or maybe three and 3/4) and it looked like a long distance from where I was. I made a silent prayer.

“And… go!”

I tried to run quickly but also pace myself. The first thing I heard was, “No! Why are you… Nooooo!” and a runner was left behind. Left and right, runners were collapsing into heaps on the ground, leaving carnage in their wake. I didn’t actually see this, but I heard heavy thuds behind me, although those noises may have been feet.

I quickly fell behind three or four people. I was panting heavily, trying to make my strides long and quick, but my lungs weren’t having it. I fluctuated around that position for a while, occasionally seeing someone slide past me. About halfway through the race, I saw a clump of people ahead of me and, lengthening my stride, found the willpower to run in front of them.

“And Joe runs into 3rd place!” the commentator said. I was ecstatic, but my lungs were already near breaking point. I passed the crowds and tried to pick out my name, but it was a maelstrom of meaningless noise. My breaths were heavy and getting longer and slower. As I ran round the curve, people overtook me one by one, most of them in my year but a few younger than me. By the final lap, I was in fifth position in my year, but I was beyond all caring as to positions now – I wasn’t last and I wasn’t second last either, so as long as I kept my place without having an asthma attack, I would be happy.

I heard a battle cry behind me, so I edged up my pace. Sports Day really is the Hunger Games, but you know, toned down for the adolescents. When I saw the finish line, I sprinted. My head of house was cheering me on and the commentator may have encouraged me (he’s one of my friends), but again, I could tell nothing from the crowds. Behind me, another competitor was also sprinting, trying to beat me at the last second, but I managed to outpace him and pipped him to fifth place.

I crumpled onto the grass, breathing heavily. The commentator mentioned something about the 1500m being gruelling. Too right.

Eventually I returned back to the pen (not as bad as it sounds by the way). I was exhausted and wishing for a hero’s welcome or at least a drink of water. But nothing really happened. Happy music was not played while hands did not reach out to pat me on the back and crowds did not part to allow me passage. That’s life I guess.

Of course there was a bit of drama as I realised I had left my water bottle at the start. The inner conflict between not wanting to stand out and wanting to drink some water was strong. I decided to scrounge until I mustered the courage to go and collect it. My life is filled with danger and intrigue.

However Sports Day was kind of boring for me. By the end of the day, the only race I had really been interested in (apart from my own) was the final 4x100m relay, where some of the teachers competed. In case you’re wondering (which I doubt you are), Potter came third, with Harry coming last, Draco coming second and Snape coming first (again). Though we were abysmal at the track events, we managed to scrape third due to a good performance in the field events (unwatched  by an audience). Since last year we came fourth, I think that we’re slowly climbing up the leaderboard. If that’s the case, the next time we’ll win Sports Day is 2016. Brilliant.

Note: Most of the dialogue here was heavily paraphrased or changed because a) I can’t remember what was actually said and b) I didn’t want to name people. Just saying. :3

Joe

P.S. My next post will be about my birthday. :3 I may not post on the day (I will be at the house of some extended family members), but I’ll try as soon as I can. :P

A quick update!

The last you heard of me, I left a cryptic post that said ‘something is happening’. This doesn’t really mean much. For all you knew, I was posting from the middle of the Atlantic Ocean after being kidnapped by teddy bear pirates wearing eye patches. Alas, this was not the case. I also left you with the word ‘abyssopelagic’, but this has nothing to do with anything – I just thought it was a cool word and wanted to share it. :P Incidentally, according to Wiktionary it means:

  1. Of or pertaining to the depths of the ocean; of the open waters of the abyssal zone.

You may have noticed it’s the summer. Or the winter if you’re in the Southern Hemisphere. Or maybe you don’t have four seasons where you live. Maybe you don’t have any seasons…

Ok, so it’s the summer in the UK. As usual, we complain how hot it is constantly and wish it could be Winter. When we actually do have Winter, we wish for Summer. We may not be the only country to complain about the weather, but it comes up an awful lot in conversation. Weather and tea are the things that binds all British people together in a mess of pessimism and patriotism.

For some reason, summer is the national season of getting stuff done that could have been spread across the year. People always leave the big events for summer and it causes a lot of stress. You go through the whole year and nothing happens and suddenly Wimbledon, the Commonwealth Games, the World Cup, your piano concert, my sister’s birthday, a trip to the Proms, Sports Day (I was actually in it this time!), a karate competition, Open Evening, a trip to France and the start of the Summer holidays are all within a season. I should probably make some sort of reference to buses here, but I shall decline.

I’m sure half of these things did not have to happen in Summer. In fact, the only thing that really needed to happen in Summer was the start of the Summer holidays. (The World Cup could have gone on perfectly well in Spring).

I wanted to write about these events, but there wasn’t enough time. The events piled up and I felt I couldn’t write about the new events without writing about the old events first, so the potential essay post got bigger and bigger in my mind. Eventually I realised it would swamp me so I’ve shelved it for now.

I hope I can write about these events in the future (probably in chunks), but if I do, they will likely be out of order and make zero sense. But hey, the important thing is to start writing again. :)

These events are actually pretty momentous though in terms of my bucket list. Now I have gone to an official karate competition and gone abroad for more two days without my family, two items on the list. As I said, I won’t write about these things yet, but I hope to soon. However I’m thinking of changing the list slightly. So far, it’s more geared to doing stuff than achieving stuff. For instance, going to an official karate competition didn’t feel that inspiring in itself – it was mainly a lot of waiting around, and very little karate. What the achievement should have been was ‘win a match at a karate competition’, or even more challenging, ‘win a medal at a karate competition’. Hence why the list no longer includes ‘join a social network’. I think I am at risk of putting reputation above actual achievement, which I can be very guilty of as I am a massive praise hog. I guess what I’m trying to say is that it’s a lot more meaningful to cross off one difficult item on my bucket list than five easy ones.

That being said, I have also completed a third item on my bucket list: gain 100 followers. :D

Now this is all kinds of awesome. Compared to other blogs around my *age* I have quite a pitiful amount of followers, but I guess I’m kind of to blame for that. Still, 100 is a lot! I mean, considering I’m almost as unsociable on the net as I am off it, I think it’s kind of weird I even have 100 followers.** :P!

Thank you. Thank you so much for putting up with my harebrained schemes and my tediousness and my erratic posts and my ramblings etc. Thanks for making the time to read (or not as the case may be, but to all the spammers and non-active followers, I like you nevertheless :P). Thanks for making the time to be sociable so I don’t have to. Just… thanks.

Talking of harebrained schemes, remember that plan I thought up to celebrate my blogversary? It detailed me changing one thing in my life every week so that I would be a new person in a year and it was kind of ambitious. It’s kind of worked, but kind of not – mainly because I am unwilling to give myself punishments and am finding it difficult to think of things to change. :P Again, another thing for another post, sorry about that.

I am now slightly under a week into the summer holidays. It’s flying by far too quickly and soon I’ll be back to my daily dreariness. My birthday will be very soon (yippee!) so prepare your presents.

Excitingly, I have also started editing my novel again after a year where I didn’t do much creative writing. Of course, I did stuff relating to writing in that break, like reading about writing and making some character biographies, but no actual editing of my first draft (which was by the way very very rambly). I was hoping to get it done by the Summer holidays, but I’m not sure this will be the case anymore. Even still, it’s brilliant I’ve started again, and hopefully I’ll be able to get some momentum running. :)

I’m not entirely sure how to end this, but I like the idea of ‘here’s a cool word’ becoming a feature. So:

*NB: these things did not happen in the order listed.

**To elaborate on this, I’ve kind of settled with my own small group of bloggin’ friends (most of whom have blogs a year or less old), and I’m always reluctant to make new ones. My blogging schedule has also been kind of erratic, which can’t have helped my rise to fame.

P.S. My room is also a mess. So much of a mess that I feel it would be irresponsible not to tell you. Basically lots of paper accumulated, was released in an attempt to organise it, and ended up just being left around. Maybe I’ll clean it up. Maybe. :P

P.P.S. My end of year exam results came back and it all turned out well. :3

Where do I start? Part 2

See I don’t think this is a very good title. I experienced horror, the cruelty of child labour and endless monotony… The title conveys none of that. But I have given it the same name as last year’s ‘exam post’, because I think it might be cool if this becomes an annual feature. That is until I have no more exams. Which could be never.

Yes gentleladies and gentlemen. I have come out alive from that Hunger Games of secondary education, that dreaded semaine de territoire.

EXAM WEEK

I suppose I am being a touch melodramatic. This year’s exams actually went pretty well. But they were still terrible. Honest. So terrible I haven’t posted all of June. But this is my way to make up for it. This will be another essay post which most of you will skim and a dedicated few will actually read the whole way through. However, if you don’t skim, there will be a special bonus! Totally worth it for 3000 words.

How to Do Your Exams – Part 2

Maths

Maths is probably my favourite subject , so it was a good opener to exam week. I thought (a bit arrogantly) that I would breeze the papers, but especially in the second paper, I had a few ‘What?!’ moments. My compass also failed me as it couldn’t stay still. Why compass why?

Luckily I managed to go back after I’d finished the paper and tidy up my answers. I also got a compass from my friend sitting next to me, so it all worked out in the end. :)

English (writing)

As with last year this was split into a long writing task and a short writing task. And, as usual, I lavished most of my attention on the short writing task i.e. creative writing. In the end they were both basically the same length, despite one being called short and one being called long. Huh.

The long writing task was a *neutral* piece that gave the pros and cons of installing surveillance. In the end I sort of ruined my completely-objective-third-party-outsider-with-absolutely-no-personal-interest-in-the-matter viewpoint by saying that most surveillance fears were rubbish and Britain isn’t going to turn into Airstrip One anytime soon. I tried to be topical so I mentioned Snowden and the NSA scandal but it probably came off a lot less witty than I thought it did.

The short writing task was more in my comfort zone. They gave us a description of a bleak landscape (presumably the dark woods where most of the Twilight scenes took place in*) and we had to continue it.

By Venomxbaby Deviant Art

Mine was much less bleak and more sad. Nothing much happened but it ended up somewhat… Melodramatic. In essence, this is my story.

I was reminded of campfires and eating hazelnuts. I saw a badger in the distance. He ran away and I was sad.

The end.

Some of it was waffle of course. But the badger bit was true. *sniffles*

History

History was one of my most dreaded exams. Last year, the teacher set out precisely what the exam would cover and we could choose what topics we got. However, this year, the teacher was intentionally vague setting out what he wanted, so that we wouldn’t just choose what to learn. It was still set out fairly well, but just sort of… confusing.

Timing was a bit tight, but I finished all the questions. I spent a bit too long on the first question, so I left it and filled in all the one mark questions.

Then I came to the source question. I knew in advance what source was going to be used, because our teacher said it would relate to the turmoil in the Civil War. I don’t know why he put it in the exam even though we’ve already studied this in class. :P But I suppose it went well.

The final question was worth loads of marks, and before I was really confused about what it would entail. Turns out we got a choice of three. I chose “Why do Different Interpretations Come About?” I was silently fist pumping because this was the question I had really wanted to do so it all turned out well in the end.

Technology

Some things never change. As with last year, this was one of my worst exams.

I don’t actually mind Technology. It’s terrifying to think about, but in practice it’s not that bad. Most of the time.

The problem was that the questions in the Technology exam was sort of… precise. In most subjects you have to remember quite detailed facts and figures, but I didn’t really expect that from Tech. The notes I did didn’t take up much space, and most people didn’t make notes at all. Little details came up that I guess we were told – but I didn’t think we would be tested on them.

Woe is me for not revising as I could have. Woe is me.

We also had to design some Wallace and Gromit toys for kids. Given that our Tech teachers are slightly obsessed with Wallace and Gromit, this was no surprise. I’m sure children will love my Wallace and Gromit utility band when it finally makes it to market.

I did finish the test, but some of the answers were complete guesses. I think I’ll get a good mark, but it went nowhere near as well as my other exams. :/

RSS

Last year my RSS exam was a teensy tiny disaster. Considering I spent half the test on a single question and almost no time on a lot of the others, I was pretty happy to get an average mark, but my teacher put in my report that he was disappointed with my results.

In this year’s parents evening, I was also told that if I didn’t get in the 90s, it would be bad, so I was doubly pressurised.

Luckily this was probably the best structured test we had. It was split into four sections (each section had two questions we could choose from) and I stuck to the time constraints recommended for each one, so I finished with a few minutes to spare. It was less fact learning and more essay style questions, but I found it way more interesting that most of my other exams.

Latin

Each test was supervised by a teacher. Most of the them were pretty nice, but the one who supervised Latin was quite cold, like Severus Snape in a suit.

Before the exam had started, I touched the paper to bring it towards me. Which was a mistake. As soon as my finger made contact with the sheet, he hissed “Don’t touch that!”

That should have been the end of it.

The test for Latin is split into translation and grammar. For the grammar, I wrote out all the endings tables I needed to know on a scrap piece of paper. The verb tables were completely useless and I never went back to them, but the noun table came in handy.

Then I went onto the translation. Whenever we translate a passage in a Latin test, we have to do it on alternate lines so the marker has space to annotate. Being the forgetful person I am, I translated an entire paragraph on consecutive lines.

No biggie, I thought. I’ll just continue as usual on alternate lines. Thinking I had better confirm my plan of action with the teacher first, I said something along the lines of, “Oops, forgotten to write on alternate lines. Should I just continue on from now?”

“Write it out again.” he said coolly. There was a collective “ooh” from the class.

The story itself was really easy to translate, as I already knew the story (i.e. Trojan Horse). I’m trying to make some sort of witty Trojan Horse joke, but I just can’t.

ICT

ICT was pretty easy. We had to format some graphs, put them into Word, and print out various stages of our work. Being the perfectionist I am, I didn’t want to print out anything until the end in order to perfect it. This was actually something I stressed over.

Sometimes I wanted to add formatting, but it didn’t say to do so on the sheet and I worried that adding more would somehow make my mark lower. This really annoyed me on so many levels. Half the time I had to restrain myself from going all out and making my tables colour coded.

Music

OK, so this went pretty well. I played “Comptine D’un Autre Été” on the piano, which sounds a lot more pretentious and complicated than it actually is. I was really nervous in the run up, but I pulled myself together and started to play.

First off, the song uses the pedal of the piano heavily to achieve a slightly reverberant effect, thoughtful almost. But the pedal was so squeaky it kind of ruined the mood, bearing in mind I lift it every few seconds. My leg was also shaking uncontrollably throughout the piece and I made a few mistakes. Even still, when I sat back down in my seat, I found people did like it. They also thought I was slightly insane.

Let me explain.

When I play the piano, I am not very composed or solemn. I move around… a lot. Generally when I play quietly I end up hunched and when I play loudly I do the opposite.

With this song, I ended up rocking back and forth and back and forth throughout the piece… Supposedly I looked ‘slightly possessed’ and ‘in a trance’. But I can live with that. It probably made the performance much more interesting to watch.

French

We had already done the speaking and listening outside of Exam Week (in case you’re interested, which I doubt you are, I got 19/20 on my speaking), so in the French Exam we did writing and reading. Writing was pretty easy as we got given the questions beforehand to prepare – although for the last question, I panicked, thinking I only had a few minutes left, only to go back and add asterisks and extra sentences. Reading is a bit of a haze to me, but it also went pretty well. One of the questions was about some robbery, but apart from that, it wasn’t exactly riveting material.

Biology

Out of the three sciences, biology is my least favourite, which is strange considering I have two doctors for parents. It just annoys me. I don’t mind it, but I don’t particularly like it either. The test was pretty hard for everyone. Some of the topics we just hadn’t covered in class. Why is yeast respiration useful in bread dough production? Wasn’t this in our Food Tech booklet and not our Biology textbook?!

I guess I shouldn’t really moan, but I’m British. I’ll probably get a good result. Biology and Tech broke the pattern of fairly easy exams, but on their own, they weren’t diabolically hard (although Tech did come pretty close).

We also had Mr. Shouty for the exam – the one who supervised our Geography test last year and gave us all heart attacks by screaming out times. Since now we’ve known him for a year, I was hoping he would have mellowed to us. It looked as though there would be no heart attacks until right near the end of the exam, at which point he shouted, “Two more minutes!” A few people shuddered, but there weren’t any mini-earthquakes like last year. Thinking this was the end of it, I looked through my test.

But at the very end of the exam, the teacher bellowed the great grandparent of all shouts. It was beyond loud. “STOP WRITING! (x ∞)” he screamed. I apologise for my use of multiple exclamation marks and excessive formatting. I know it makes me look uneducated and slightly tacky, but sometimes the rules have to be broken.

The next thing I know, I’m sitting in a hospital bed with cotton in my ears being told through the medium of dance that I was subjected to sounds above 150 dB and subsequently became deaf.*

Physics

After Biology, Physics was suspiciously easy. True there were some iffy questions, but there always are, right? There were a few long answers, but no big explanations. Why couldn’t the Biology test have been like that? Although at the very end, I was still writing because in the last minute I had noticed a major mistake.

My only worry about this test is that recently another form got their results and stuff went down. I.e. even though the test seemed to be easy, the marking scheme is supposed to be incredibly strict. I still have no idea what I got yet, but I’m not as hopeful as I was before. D:

Chemistry

Strangely enough Chemistry was even easier than Physics. The first eleven questions were all multiple choice and the rest were all short and snappy answers. Before the test, we had been told we would need a calculator, so I went through the whole test expecting a wild equation to appear, subscripts and all, which I would have to balance using my amazing Chemistry skills. Nothing happened. If you’re not skimming, use the word ‘horrible’ in a comment below. I finished the test before the halfway bell, as did many. Looking around, I saw half the people in the room on their calculators. Curious, I looked through the test to see if any questions needed a calculator, but I found nothing. They were probably typing swear words into their calculators to pass the time. Boys will be boys.

Art

Last year, I didn’t have a proper art exam. Everyone drew some boxes for an hour (and a half) and it was all fine and dandy. No individuality, not much creativity, just drawing some boxes.

Of course, this year the Art Department totally upped their game. No, we didn’t get to plan our own drawings. No, we couldn’t use paints or other media. No, the exam wasn’t longer than an hour and a half.

This year… we drew reflective surfaces.

Not that I’m complaining.  Even with this I struggled with the timing. Sometimes I can get a bit perfectionist, and art is no exception, so I wasn’t really sure I’d finish on time.

There were loads of shiny things on the table I was sitting at, and people were seated all around it. In the beginning, we got given ‘viewfinders’ to help us get the right amount on the page. After a bit of fiddling around with the viewfinder, I found (lucky me) that in order to fill my page, I had to draw pretty much everything on the table.

I spent the first half of the exam drawing a vague outline and the rest shading it. In the last five minutes, I decided to draw an entirely new item to fill in the gaps on my sheet (we get marks for composition). At the end of the exam, the teacher said that we could leave, but she also gave us five extra minutes if we wanted to tidy our drawings up. Despite being finished, I took the extra five minutes, thinking I could refine it further… but I was one of the only ones to stay behind. In the end there were three or four people still in the room, and two of them were just slow at packing up their stuff. Embarrassed, I wrote my name in the bottom right corner and sprinted away as fast as I could.

Greek

As with Latin, the exam was split into grammar and translation. I started the grammar, but I felt a bit slow and sleepy, so I skipped onto the translation. It was some  fable about a wolf and a stork, but on searching it up on the Internet, I found the test COMPLETELY MESSED UP THE STORY. In the actual story, the wolf was the bad guy who needed to be taught some morals, but in the Greek translation, it was the stork. Either that or I completely failed my translation.

Let’s hope not.

Anyhow, I flipped over to find the grammar section, forgetting it was on the same page as the translation. And guess what I found? A whole other page! I was kind of shocked. Imagine if I hadn’t done both sides?

After I had done the comprehension questions on the other side, I was about to go onto the grammar, but I felt a sudden heroic urge. What if some other poor kid hadn’t realised there were two sides? After deciding to get the word out about this slightly alarming discovery, I found to my dismay that I was in an exam and couldn’t talk.

I flipped around my exam paper a few times, but there were no gasps of realisation from the surrounding tables. So I timidly put my hand up and asked the teacher, “Is the test double-sided?”

No reaction. I looked around, expecting someone to have benefited from my bravado. Alas, no one. I told the teacher, “Never mind.” and did the grammar section slightly down. But not for long…

Geography

Geography was the final exam! Yay! Our teacher kind of intimidated me though – he wasn’t scary as such, but I put off going to the toilet until after the exam. The actual exam was filled with essay type questions, but I knew how to answer most of them, so hopefully I got good marks. I finished in good time and then it was over! *yippee*

After school I texted all of my friends that I felt ‘light and fluffy’. I guess I was kind of hyper. Not high though – I promise.

Now all that’s left is to get the results… I doubt I’ll do another follow up post for them, but I’ll let you know if anything interesting happens. :)

Joe.

P.S. I’ve never actually watched or read the Twilight series, but as far as I can tell, lots of scenes take place in a deserted, dark forest. Probably not an accurate picture of the series, but that’s life. :P

P.P.S. Happy Fathers’ Day! In England it was on Sunday, but in America I think it was a few days earlier. In case you’re wondering, I gave my dad a handmade card.

Also, is anyone watching the World Cup? I suppose I’m meant to be, but I’m not really that interested. :P

And apologies if there are any typos, it’s late and I’m sleepy. :)

EDIT: WordPress has been glitching and this didn’t show up in anyone’s reader, so I’ve republished it with an edited time stamp. Hopefully it’ll work better. :)

*This may have been partially embellished, but how much, I will not say.

What’s in a name?

LOTS OF THINGS.

You might not think I come into trouble with a name like Joseph. In fact, as an Indian, people only get surprised because they expect me to have a more complicated name. Once I was in quiz match, and the quizmaster asked for my name. When I told him, he looked a little bemused, and then told everyone a funny story about how some other kid a while back had replied, “Call me Abs.”

Most of my moans come from whether or not to use Joe or Joseph. It’s not really a matter of which I prefer – I don’t even realise the difference when people talk to me and I only realised my sisters called me Joe after a decade or so. :P It’s more the first impression it gives.

Each name has its setbacks and advantages. Joe is more casual, easier to pronounce and less conspicuous, but I’ve always thought Joseph sounds classier. Besides, Joe (believe it or not) is more confusing to spell. In Yr 1, I made the mistake of asking my teacher to call me Joe. Every single time she was marking my work, it was written Jo, a girl’s name. This annoyed me greatly and I tried not to make the same mistake again.

In Yr 3, there was already someone called Joseph – so rather than mess about with initials, I was called Joseph and he was called Joe. I preferred it at the time, but in hindsight “Joe” got the better deal.

Then it came to secondary school. I thought I could reinvent myself, so I became Joe. I think it’s worked pretty well, but now after I’ve gotten to know everyone it doesn’t really make much difference. Joe, Joseph… it’s all the same to me really.

My main annoyance is when people don’t use Joe or Joseph but something entirely novel that I have not authorised. This one time I was at karate and a girl kept calling me Josh and then everyone starting calling me Josh. Luckily I protested and people have started calling me Joe or Joseph again.

I have had various other nicknames, but these have never been as wide spread. In school one of my friends used to call me Ioseph and Jsph (these are actually some real nicknames). Another calls me average Joe (or when I do something good, above-average Joe). Once a teacher (yes the same one from Year 1) called me ‘the baby of the class’ due to my summer holiday birthday.

On the internet I haven’t had many names, but I suppose technophile9 and techno-Joe count.

However most of my nicknames come from my family. Jojo, Mojo Jojo, Bro, Mini-Boy-[sister’s name] and Josephine are all the handiwork of my sisters. My parents used to call me a monkey, but not as much nowadays.

However most of these are ‘extinct’ nicknames, save Joe, technophile9 and more recently bro. I guess I’ve never been much of a nickname person.

What about you? Do you like nicknames? Undoubtedly I have missed some, but I think I’ve listed most of them.

Joe.

Note: Joseph means ‘God will increase’, which I like. :)