Monthly Archives: September 2016

In which I go to probably unjustifiable lengths for my anime fix

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All this grumbling I’ve been doing about the new house? Lay to rest with a touching eulogy folks for we have found the true evil! My new internet provider and its terrible habit to block websites -in the distance sirens and screams-. All those lovingly bookmarked streaming websites that I can no longer use! Mind you, I’m all for buying the product and supporting the franchise and/or artist in question, but when the product happens to be an anime from the early ’90s… Well, good luck finding a decent sub that’s not gonna cost an arm, a leg, and possibly your liver to buy.

usagi-crying

And no, the gif was not chosen arbitrarily. I haven’t watched Sailor Moon since I was seven and got my first taste of anime through a godawful Greek dub of the godawful American dub. (And I swear, I tried so, so hard to like it but some of the voices were just…wrong!) Anyway, I only watched for that one summer and even then only if I happened to turn on the TV when it was on. By now any recollection of it has been covered in the golden mists of nostalgia (and the fact that I remember how cringe-worthy some of the voices were despite that goes to show). Yet recently, for no apparent reason, I was suddenly in the mood to see what was it about that show that made it so good at the time. It may have had to do with the fact that Sailor Moon Crystal started showing up randomly on my YouTube recommendations and, vague memories or not, stylised drawing or not, I just KNEW that the girls were not supposed to look this thin. I mean look at them!

These are the original designs. Thin, yes, but not frighteningly so.

These are the original designs. Thin, yes, but not frighteningly so.

And here's the new version....

And here’s the new version….

Considering one of the running jokes of the show is how much Usagi (that’s the blonde in the middle for the uninitiated) is capable of eating, why the heck does she look like her arms and legs are made out of spaghetti in Crystal. (That being said, I WILL watch Crystal once I’m done with the original show… If only because I hear it’s closer to the manga and I’m curious to see the differences…)

But I digress. It took some digging until I manage to find a streaming site that a. was not blocked, b.had the original show, c. had it subbed. Unfortunately it did not include the movies and while technically they are filler-stuff and not 100% canon, I’d like to watch them only for the extra interactions. That I can’t get enough of the opening sequence song. Unfortunately for me the only site that was not blocked and had the movies was YouTube, and unfortunately they were the dubbed versions.

not-impressed

My solution? Find a different network to stream the movie of course! And since I don’t have Charlie Bradbury’s epic computer skills (kudos to those who get the reference! 😉 ) I decided to relocate at Starbucks. I study better when I’m surrounded by white noise anyway, so while I have the movie loading (in an agonisingly slow pace at that) in one tab, I’ve been working on my TEFL coursework on another (yeah, I’m doing the TEFL course too on top of everything else. Have I mentioned this here before? Can’t remember.) Of course all this will have been for naught if I go home, wake up the laptop from its hibernation (gods I love that they actually call it that on the menu!) and get instantly blocked, BUT! No jinxing it! As far as I can understand the webpage gets blocked as it tries to load. But if it’s already loaded then there shouldn’t be a problem, right? Right?

I’ll see if I remember to add a note here to let you folks know the result of my herculean labour to load a 1993 Japanese cartoon…

 

P.S. Lucifer season 2 is starting next week. I. AM. SO. EXCITED!!!!!!

In which the old adage about glittering stuff and gold is back in fashion

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So I moved to Hounslow. Which of itself was an adventure that I would much rather not repeat. I’d talk about it here but the last few days have been really trying for the concave that is my head. I don’t think repeating everything that happened here will help much. Let’s talk about my new house instead (I don’t see myself giving it “home” status. It’s more of a somewhere-to-stay-until-I-start-being-paid-decently case.) The building itself is lovely and my new room spacious and with big windows (always a good thing). Unfortunately it came with some MAJOR turn-offs that I’ll have to grin and bear for a year. What are these griefs I face you ask? Well, for one the walls are pretty thin, which I’ve noticed seems to be the norm in England. Personally I detest them. They do next to nothing to keep the sound from other rooms out which means that working without headphones will be impossible, unless, by some happy coincidence, I’m home alone. Also, for the record, dear whoever is playing music in the living room right now, if you need to raise your voice to be heard over the song, then perhaps you should turn the volume down. Since we’re practically at Heathrow’s doorstep, you’d think soundproofing would be the first thing on the list…

The next thing is more of a personal preference thing. One of the first things you notice when entering my room is this lovely, inviting, double bed. If you are anything like me, your first instinct would be to throw yourself on the mattress and enjoy an impromptu cat nap. If you did this in this bed you’d end up with bruises. I’m not kidding! Let me make an honest-to-Chuck comparison: on one particular family holiday we ended up having more people than beds in the house, so us kids ended up in the living room with a carpet and a couple of folded blankets between us and the floor. That was more comfortable than what I currently have to sleep in. I’m not exaggerating at all. The mattress feels like lying on the floor. I know some people prefer to sleep on a firm surface (apparently it’s good for your back?) but there is a difference, I think, between firm and unyielding. And this bed is categorically on the latter part of the spectrum.

The kitchen! Oh how do I weep for that kitchen! I cook when I’m happy. I cook when I’m stressed. I cook when I’m angry. Basically, cooking is one of my coping mechanisms. One of the things I was most looking forward to while moving out of student accommodation was a functional kitchen. This is not the case. Partially that is because I haven’t had time to get used to it. But a very, very large part is due to the lack of space. Not only are the counters covered in stuff (that needs washing or -I suspect- has nowhere else to be) from what I understand each tenant is assigned one cupboard. To put this in perspective, I came here with two boxes worth of kitchen stuff, from crockery, to cutlery, to spices or foodstuff that was still good and I didn’t want to throw out. I’m used to limited storage space but this is ridiculous! Half my stuff is still in the cardboard boxes and it will need to remain there because I’ve filled the cupboard as much as I safely can. You want a constant source of stress? Try having to work from storage boxes. It will drive you crazy, I promise.

But by far the biggest problem in this scenario (and the one from which quite a few others will stem, I just know) is that my landlord (live-in at that) speaks really bad English and on top of that he talks really fast. That means that out of every ten words that come out of his mouth  I’m lucky if I can make sense of four. Mercifully one of the other tenants can act as a translator (and I’m kinda hoping she comes home soon today because there’s some financial matters I need to discuss with him and that is not a subject I’m willing to talk about in a pray-we-understand-each-other level). I was hoping I’d have a chance to allow my anxiety to recede a bit now that I’m out of uni. Doesn’t look like it, judging by the knot that my stomach has turned to…

You’re probably wondering why I chose to move in in a house that is clearly problematic. The answer is simple: I was in a time-crunch and with an incredibly limited budget. I hoped I was making the best out of a bad situation. Maybe that will be the case in a few weeks. Then again, I can’t even ask that guy whether the post has come yet so I’m not holding out. Heh! Remember when we were kids and thought that having our own house would be as easy as acing a spelling test? And for the record, the next person above the age of 30 that tells me starting out in life is easy and I panic over nothing will be treated to the kind of tongue-lashing I’d give someone my age. Colourful language included. Telling me to keep calm with do nothing for my anxiety-induced headaches, the insomnia, the lack of appetite or the fact that I am officially at the stage where a ten minute discussion is enough to reduce me to the kind of exhaustion not even allnighters can achieve, And I would know…

In which I’ve had a weird day

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How weird? Well, it was a perfect balance between good and bad…and it’s still not over so who knows what the final verdict will be. I mean, I slept really bad. Like really bad; nightmares, jumping awake for no reason, trouble falling back to sleep, the whole nine yards. Which is nothing new for me. Whenever I’m out of a particularly stressful situation it takes my mind a week or three to re-adjust. It’s not helped by the fact that I’m now moving on from the stress that is the dissertation to the stress that is putting a roof over my head for the next year. House hunting itself, I do not mind so much. The phone calls that come with it though? Helloooooo mild anxiety attack! I’m not joking. Three months’ worth of intensive research and writing did not leave as mentally exhausted as an afternoon of phone calls. It could be that I rely on body language to quite a large extent in conversations with strangers, it could be the whole not-my-mother-tongue deal, could be that I always end up somehow having to deal with people with heavy accents (and the phone reception in my building leaves much to be desired). Let’s just say I did four phone calls yesterday, one after the other, and then spent a couple of hours trying to convince myself that gorging in chocolate would only change my dress size and not much else.

On the other hand, the weather today was lovely for the most part, which meant I could go for a long walk and actually enjoy it. There was a big sale in one of the stores and I got me a pair of shoes for 10 quid. Pumpkin Spice Latte is back! (Yes, that deserves a separate mention, this drink is freaking awesome!) And…. huh! I just realised I didn’t do as much today as I thought! Or perhaps it’s harder to talk about stuff you enjoy -or at least it is for me-. Ok, something else… Hm…I’ve only had to swallow down my anxiety twice today and was mostly successful? I don’t know, I still have a phone call to make so we’ll see about that. Oh! And I  need to prep my bag and outfit for the house viewings tomorrow! It might sound like I’m going on a field trip, but honestly, I  kind of am. It’s a nearly five hour coach ride (which will hopefully be shorter since we leave at what-the-hell o’clock in the morning so there shouldn’t be any traffic) and then a shorter train ride to the actual town. No, I won’t give specifics until I have concrete results. Call me superstitious but I fear I’d jinx it if I did.

Alright! Let’s try that call now. Hopefully they’ll pick up this time… 😛

“I’ll call you later.”

Sure man, whatever! I mean, I only offered to rent from you. Ya know? Offered to provide you with a bit more income?

I’m being mean. For all I know the  guy was in the middle of something serious. It’s just, ugh! I just want this to be over! Never mind historically weird ceremonies! The rites of passage to adulthood that late 20th century-early 21st century youngster have to go through are pretty much the reason we’ll all be suffering from an early onset of heart diseases in a couple of  decades. It won’t be pollution, bad eating habits or aliens. It’ll be too much stress early on.

This is the future folks! Gaze at it and invest in  a good frying pan to knock yourself out with when the time comes.

 

 

 

P.S. Halleluja! They called me back! Three house viewings confirmed tomorrow and I’ll still have some time to explore the town! What do yo think internet? Should I make a travel post about it?