Attention span? What attention span

It turns out, unsurprisingly, that if you accidentally lock yourself out of your room and have to wait half an hour for the security guy to come and let you in, you won’t get to bed as early as if you hadn’t done that. (No way, I hear you cry. Yes way) And this has unfortunate implications for getting up the next day.

Especially if it’s a) obligatory and b) going to happen at 7:30. I know, I know, I used to get up at 6:30 every day for school, although it damn near killed me. Twice a week at 7:40 should be fine, right? (it tends to creep towards 8:00. Try as I might, I can’t not use the snooze function on my phone. Even though my alarm does freak me out whenever I hear it)

So, contemporary debates in music at 9am is going to be JUST FINE.

Actually, it started well. Ish. I was making notes like a pro. A PRO I tell you. Even if sometimes the tails on my ‘y’s began to encroach on the whole rest of the page.

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And then came the pointless highlighting.

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And then the putting things in boxes and highlighting the box.

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And then… I just got kind of grumpy. I’m so hipster.

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And I can’t really explain these last two. Someone said ‘social beans’ instead of social beings, so I … penalised them. I didn’t say I’d done it though. That would just be rude. And the music spaceship thing? The seminar-person-lady-tutor apparently said something that inspired a composers in space drawing, but I can’t for the life of me remember what it was.

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Getting really stressed for no reason

Before Christmas we had to hand in our formative essays. (‘Formative essays’ means that even if you do well it’s not going to count because a) it doesn’t count and b) it’s first year and first year doesn’t count) I managed to put it completely out of my mind until the other day when I got an email telling me to go and pick up my essays from the common room.

I didn’t panic. Or so I thought.

That night, I had a really odd dream. I dreamt that I got 0/100 on my essay, and the instructor emailed me the next day to say I failed the whole thing because of my AS. In the dream, I didn’t actually care that much about the essay. Actually, I think I was more focused on watching Star Trek or something, because I just completely ignored the email.

Needless to say, I didn’t get 0/100. (Actually, I got a first in that essay. So I definitely didn’t fail) But it got me thinking. First, I wasn’t consciously thinking about my essay results, but obviously I had remembered it on some level otherwise I wouldn’t have had the dream. Secondly, I have absolutely no concrete idea about how well I’m doing/how they mark essays at uni.

I’d say that next time I’ll be more calm because I know I probably won’t fail, but why change a winning formula?

On the subject of soup

Is it just me who hates vegetables? I can eat raw carrots like a champion, and green beans hold no fear for me. But broccoli is just a bit watery and leek is better avoided like the plague. Not to worry though, I won’t be getting scurvy any time soon! (I drink too many smoothies for that.. sshhh)

Here is my super-duper recipe for a soup that will sort out all of your vegetables for the day, leaving you free to enjoy a vegetable-free dinner. Or not, as the case may be.

You will require:

Carrots
Parsnips
Sweet Potatoes
Potatoes
Onion (ONE. NO MORE. IS OK WE BLEND NASTY ONION)
1 Vegetable Stock Cube
Some water

Now, the precise ratio is less important than this: you need probably a 1:1 ratio of parsnips to sweet potatoes, a 2:1 ratio of parsnips to potatoes, and a 2:1 ratio of carrot to parsnip. This ratio is useful because it helps maintain that perfect orange colour which we all know and love. Carrots and sweet potatoes are orange, so it’s fine.

Then, once you’ve peeled/diced your veggie-tables, place in a pot with the stock cube and enough water to cover it. Boil for approximately 45 minutes/however long you can be bothered.

Blend.

Serve with crusty bread and a massive cup of tea.

 

This soup will fill you with so many vitamins you won’t be able to see straight. And it’s got … er, fibre. And… minerals? Carbohydrates from the bread…? er… yeah… something… it’s good for you… maybe

To be too clever?

It’s getting pretty exciting over here; 3 posts in as many days! Scandal! I may actually have to keep this streak up. Let’s see how long it lasts… without further ado, on to the post!

A thing I’ve been thinking about recently is the idea that you can be somehow ‘too clever’. ‘Too clever by half’ certainly isn’t a compliment. Why is that the case though? Surely a society that values intelligence wouldn’t set limits on the level of cleverness you can reach? Unless there’s something more to it than just pure cleverness; it might have something more to do with ‘tall poppy syndrome’ than anything else.

I only really had to think about it when I started wondering exactly why it annoyed me so much when certain members of my seminar groups had lots to say. Really, I should be glad that they’re contributing things when I’m not really in the mood to say anything. And sometimes it inspires me to say something. We start a dialogue and I have ideas I wouldn’t have had otherwise. But why does it irritate me? And it does irritate me. Very much so, actually.

Part of it, I suspect, is that I’m jealous of their ability to talk in the seminar like that. Another part of it might be that I wish I’d had the idea rather than them. Another part of it (sometimes) is that they’re saying stupid things. I mean, come on guys. Just admit you’re a One Directioner. It’s not going to hurt anyone.

Don’t be embarrassed to have an opinion

Today was my first Contemporary Debates in Music lecture. Apart from the pure 100% unadulterated joy I felt in finally getting a tutor with the same sense of humour as me, I also took some time to perfectly solemnly reflect on the different cultural expectations placed on different types of music. Fortunately, this was the topic we were discussing in the lecture.

The interactive task the lecturer set for us was as follows:

  1. Zie would play for us a sample of music
  2. We rated the music on a scale of 1 to 5 where 1 is ‘meh’ and 5 is ‘great’
  3. We also wrote down a few reasons or explanations for our rating

Some of the samples were less obvious than others, but the first one we heard was pretty obvious to everyone in the room. (Not just because it was on youtube and had the name on the screen right in front of us) One Direction’s ‘The Best Song Ever’. Ok, it’s not the greatest song in the world, but it’s not a pile of shite either, right? I gave it a fairly sturdy 3. 3 for average, good to listen to but not amazing. 

(1: meh. 2: fairly shabby. 3: averagely good. 4: not bad. 5: great. You might notice that I tend to be fairly unenthusiastic about my ratings.)

The funniest part of the tutorial/seminar aspect was this: we had to discuss why we gave the music the rating we did. Most people gave ‘Best Song Ever’ a 1 or a 2, with the reasoning that it was bland, average, very generic. However, some other people also gave it a 3, and the best part of it was them trying to justify it. a) you don’t have to justify your taste in music, idiots. b) “I like it, but I mean, I know it’s not good music, but it’s catchy and fun to dance to, I mean, the lyrics are rubbish, but I enjoyed it” (It’s weird how the phrase ‘I mean’ sprang up so often, but hey, I’m no expert on linguistics) I don’t know why they were so angsty about admitting they liked it. It’s not like it says anything about them as a person. Ok, so you like fairly generic average pop music? Ok, me too! I’m pretty sure everyone in the room secretly liked it and just didn’t want to admit it.

The trouble with trying to compare ‘Best Song Ever’ with the 1812 Overture, for example, is that they’re not doing the same job. The function of those two songs is completely different. I mean, when was the last time you were dancing around the kitchen and put on Handel’s Water Music? Or Les Mis? And you don’t go to concert halls to listen to Bastille perform with the intention of sitting in rapt silence as they play. They’re just not really comparable in that sense.

My favourite metaphor that I made up was a clothes metaphor. Think of pop music as being hats and classical music as coats. You might walk home with a brand new hat and be all “guys, check out this cool hat!”, only to have them respond “yeah, but it’s never going to keep you warm. Not like this coat.” “Well, of course not, it’s a hat.

Hats and coats, people. It’s the next thing in the musical community.

Back again

I’m back at uni now (and have been for a few days), and I was surprised by how great it felt to be back. Not in the sense that I thought I hated it here, but in the sense that I assumed I preferred to be at ‘home’ rather than ‘away from home’. Interestingly, I’m not really sure which is ‘home’ now, a topic made all the more complex by the fact that I sort of live in three places. It confuses me too.

It’s been brilliant seeing everyone again, especially seeing as people I didn’t think liked me last term struck up unsought conversation with me. I was both pleased and proud that I managed to reply in comprehensible ways, for the most part.

Of course, because Music at RHUL is weird, all my lecturers are different this term. And my modules are all different, so that’ll be interesting. Today I had my first Theory and Analysis lecture (the excitement!). It was interesting enough, but I’m not really a morning person. I forgot how much I’m not a morning person when I went home/away/whatever, because I just slept in til late and went to bed late. The 9am start killed me. I’m still tired, and I had a nap earlier. A nap. What am I, middle aged?!

Things I like about Theory and Analysis

  1. the lecturer’s Irish accent.
  2. the use of triangles to demonstrate the difference between specific and general

Things I don’t like about Theory and Analysis

  1. 9am
  2. it’s boring

So far things are looking pretty equal on those two fronts. Which will win?!

I’m actually going to do tasks the day they’re set this term, which will be exciting for all of us, and hopefully they’ll be good. oh god I’m getting my essays back soon I may actually scream (but not really my flatmates wouldn’t like that)

As this post is being posted, I will be attempting to force a bowl of porridge down my throat and sprint to my lecture. I really hate mornings.

Isn’t it ironic

Sometimes I can’t get over the irony of me having a blog. “What’s so strange about that?” you might say. Hopefully you did say that, otherwise this is just going to be me saying things you already knew. The strange part about that is the part where a person with a communication disorder (if you didn’t already know that, now you do! Yay! Why not celebrate with brownies?) has a communication blog. maybe that’s why it’s not doing so well

Sometimes when the verbal words aren’t coming out it’s nice to be able to just type things and reassure myself that I can still say things if I want to, just not out loud. 

Even if no-one’s listening.

Actually, to be honest, it’s almost easier if no-one’s listening. That way, when I say things, it’s like talking to myself but on the internet.