I finished my draft!


That's right! I finished my draft! Draft darling! Finished! Draft! FINISHED DRAFT! Your boi has finished his draft! Say it again - draft! Something you still cannot do. Some of you can't even spell draft. That's right! It's finished! Work hard. Play hard. For free. FINI. Did I say I'd finished my draft, right now! i-am-so-thankful-for-my-life.

If you've watched this lifeofrickey video you might get the somewhat niche reference - if not, I hope that didn't seem too odd. But yes! I've finally finished the draft of my dissertation! I've made grammar fixes and moved things around, and now I just need to organise my bibliography (a mammoth task but more mundane than draining) & do another read-through to see what changes need to be made. I'm letting myself sleep on it for a few days so I can go over it with fresh eyes. But the draft is complete!! I'm so excited!

Quarantine life has been interesting. I started a food instagram! I think it's something I'll dip into every now and then, rather than trying to commit to posting all of the time (I'm hardly Gordon Ramsay). I follow a few students with food accounts and I really don't know how they have the time to get so many niche ingredients and cook so many complex recipes. Also, I often get the impression that some people use *a lot* of ingredients for just one solo meal. It baffles me a bit because, really, who needs three colours of bell pepper. (i joke of course, each pepper is its own kind of special and i applaud the balsyness of using 3 colours at once). I also do find myself asking how anyone has the time to get 10+ ingredients that aren't sold in regular supermarkets (I guess people are lucky to live near specialist food stores?) or how you can really justify calling something a 'quick easy meal' when it likely takes 2+ hours and requires night-before prep. I'm speaking as somebody who struggles with timekeeping, though, and I guess a lot of these students don't work (or at least not as much as others) so they may have more time to play with, especially during the lockdown.

It's really funny how social media can have you unhealthily comparing your *cookery* to other people's. Everything boils down to the eternal question, "how do they do it?", which often results a spiral of negative introspection. We end up punishing ourselves because we can't keep up with a perceived other. It's funny because if I think rationally about it, other people have most definitely asked the same question about me (which should theoretically make me feel like i'm equal to them), but there's always a voice in my head that tells me that it's a lie and that nobody would think I do anything other than the bare minimum. Something a therapist once said that stuck with me is "every internal voice was an external voice before" and I think that applies a lot here. I've often had people tell me I'm underperforming at things because I'm not putting in enough effort, when really I struggle with managing effort. Either I do something somewhat absentmindedly or I unhealthily obsess with a task - either way there's a negative outcome. It's comforting when I talk about these feelings with others because a lot of people seem to have felt similarly (at least to some extent) and it does feel like there's a lot to unlearn.

During my dissertation break I've been trying to work on my neocities page a bit more. I decided to make a shrine to the graphics/blog sites people used to make in the 2000s and early 2010s. I chose to style mine on the pages people used to make on piczo and freewebs. Freewebs was a bit like early web builders like angelfire and tripod, where you could use templates or switch to 'advanced' mode and code your own website with HTML. A lot of us had learnt HTML using Piczo (a social network for teens based around drag-and-drop site building with lots of brilliantly ugly glitter animations) and progressed to freewebs. We'd make web layouts using celebrity images that were heavily edited into collages using photoshop and add short blog posts. I used an internet archive to dig up some of my old blog posts (the earliest I could find were by me aged eleven - I really was a nerdy child lmao). As I've said before, before social media really took off, making sites was a really fun means of having an online profile and I do miss the creativity that twitter/facebook seem to really lack. I think tumblr captured a good in-between at one point, but I think a lot of people outgrew the kinds of content that was really popular on tumblr (or maybe they just got bored of re-posting the exact same pale photos, who knows). Feel free to check out the shrine if you fancy an awkward laugh at younger me's posts. I did definitely go through an 'edgy' phase where I swore a bit more (for no real reason other than Teen Angstâ„¢). You'll need to zoom in if you're using a smartphone - 2000s style coding was not advanced enough to render well on modern phones (given that we were all using slide out qwerty bangers). Honestly, what a time.

Going through those old posts made me vividly remember how depressed I was at around 16 (year 11). That was when I think I had my first really deep period of depression and (although it may not be so obvious to others) I can quite viscerally still feel what I was going through when I look at how my posts changed. It's not necessarily a bad thing, though, because it really makes me see how far I've come. I also realise now that I'm just a lot more comfortable in my adult self. I think I matured a lot quicker than some of the people my age and I always attribute me (mentally) becoming an adult shortly after then. I did often feel a bit trapped during my teen years and that I wasn't very 'good' at youth, but I think a lot of people had a similar experience. Such is teen angst! It really makes you understand why so the 90s was such a hotbed for music and film with related themes, even if they were super cheesy and/or low-budget. A tacky renaissance for the depressed teens of the world! I love it.

Work has been surprisingly chill this week. Boringly so, dare I say it. As much as it drains me, I do thrive on days where I'm constantly dragged from one end of the shop to the other. We've had a lot of new temp staff recently and it's been a useful (if tiring) exercise for me to help with training. It also means there are frequent problems with transactions that can be quite complex, and need a bit of quick thinking to be able to deal with in the moment. This is always good practice. It's also nice to see new people and hear about their lives. Sometimes I could honestly just sit and listen to other people talk about their lives and experiences for days on end. Not everybody is in a great position - one person is facing a lot of uncertainty re income if their hours suddenly stop (due to having only recently started their previous job - furlough rules have been really complex and a big failure on the government's part). I'm hopeful that they'll be able to secure a permanent position if one opens up, though - the same goes for a few people who seem to have really taken a shine to the role.

A couple of my friends and I have been competing in our own fantasy Drag Race league. It's been really fun so far (I'm in charge of the spreadsheet, which is great because I have a passion for anything adminny like that), although as it stands I'm coming second to last. I may have made some poor premature choices. Damn. Especially after the latest lip sync - my team is really in trouble.

As I've mentioned in earlier posts, my partner has delved into the world of fishkeeping. There are now 3 tanks in the house - one main, one smaller tank (home to a few rice fish and cherry shrimp) & a small hospital tank. There have been a few casualties recently (an outbreak of eerily-timed disease, no less), but everybody seems to be doing well. We're hoping the peppered corydoras will start to breed soon. They've already been caught doing the nasty and the female cory is looking very plump and hopefully ready to lay. The thought of more of them excites me - they're so funny and wiggly, and they have lots of character. They're a type of catfish and have funny little whiskers and mostly slink around the bottom of the tank, searching for food and digging into the sand. They're also somewhat bullish in their movements and often knock other fish/shrimp out of the way (even our friend the betta, who is technically a predator, knows to stay clear of their path). We jokingly refer to them as the Sugababes (for reasons I can't quite rememeber). Ah, the 2000s.

There's not much more to add right now. If you're bored, check out this youtube poop of The Weakest Link. (so what if i have the same sense of humour i had at seventeen?? eyes on the road sharon)

"I'll start with the person who's name is Barbara. That's you Barbara"