Wednesday, 22 December 2010

Have a Merry Christmas: Watch Some Comedy

Term has ended; the big coursework rush is over now it’s onto finishing off the shopping and wrapping lots of presents. In the midst of all this I went up to Derbyshire over the weekend, it was a bit of a weekend for comedy DVDs as I managed to fit in Tim Minchin - Ready For This?, Ricky Gervais - Science and Mock the Week - Too Hot for TV. This was not all I did over the weekend I went to Long Eaton for the first time and had a lovely Indian in Castle Donington. Nevertheless here goes with the comedy DVD reviews.

I liked the Tim Minchin DVD, but if you don’t like musical comedy you may find it annoying. And if you have any Christian or ‘hippy’ beliefs you may feel picked on. I particularly enjoyed songs like ‘If I didn’t have you’ and ‘bears don’t dance’. So this is worth a watch, and if you’re a funny song loving atheist you’ll love it.

Ricky Gervais Science is another one that picks on Christianity, so avoid if easily offended. However having not thought a great deal of Ricky Gervais apart from quite liking a couple of episodes of ‘Extras’ I was pleasantly surprised that I did find it quite amusing. The third mock the week DVD is great if you like Mock the Week, it’s basically just the bits they couldn’t broadcast. It’s good to watch because it’s more natural banter than it is on television.

I went to lunch with a friend today who I haven’t seen for a while and that is what I love about Christmas Holidays. I look forward to seeing more friends and family in the coming days. I would be looking even more forward to it if I had bought and wrapped them all gifts however the Christmas shopping continues. I particularly hope my aunty and uncle make it down from Scotland through the snow!

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

Review the Week

Well it seems like life is back to normal after everywhere being a winter wonderland. Luckily (some may not have felt so lucky) none of my classes were cancelled due to the bad weather. I am looking forward to the end of term now; there are so many things to do by that time. I have three major coursework deadlines and of course the general myriad of Christmas related events. Considering this the organisation of my Christmas shopping has deteriorated, not that it was that great to start with.

I had an impromptu outing to the O2 last week to see 30 Seconds to Mars; I had to fill in for someone else on the day. The support act was called Enter Shikari, I will honestly say I had never heard of them, and I don’t think that was a bad thing. Listening to them was positively painful, sorry if you are a fan. I liked 30 Seconds to Mars, who I only really knew for hits like “The Kill” and “Kings and Queens”. However my boyfriend, far more accustomed to live gigs and knowing all the songs said that the show did not live up to expectations with too much letting the audience sing (what did we pay you for?), to many long gaps between songs and rather a lot of swearing.

A more planned outing was going to see Frankie Boyle on Saturday. Why I ended up going, I’m not sure because when I was asked it started off with ‘Do you like Frankie Boyle?’ and my response was ‘No’. I can’t say the show changed my mind. In an hour and a quarter I probably laughed about three times (and I was not proud of it). The support act I enjoyed far more, his name was Craig Cambell. He is a hairy Canadian who has been in residence in the UK for twelve years. I had seen him before on one of the Stand Up shows, I think it was the Edinburgh Comedy Festival coverage, but I can’t be sure.

Good luck with keeping up with Christmas, I know I need it!

Tuesday, 30 November 2010

SNOW!!!

Snow! I have made it into work today and am hoping to make it back too! At least I can watch the fluffy white snow from a lovely warm office. It is coming up to the end of term and I am hoping none of my classes are cancelled as I have coursework deadlines and lots of work to do.


Last week I worked at the Design Your Future event, it was great to see all these creative people deciding what to do with themselves. It was interesting for me to see other examples of Animation undergraduates on the university stands also. I am jealous of the students at Lincoln who get to visit Pixar during their degree – how cool is that! Obviously my degree is good too but I would like a field trip.

I saw two films over the weekend; I went to a preview of Megamind on Saturday and to see Due Date on Sunday. Megamind is funny and comfortable to watch with good jokes expected of the genre. According to my more knowledgeable friend there are some amusing comic book references the most obvious being when Megamind pretends to be Titan’s “Space Dad” – you’ll have to see the movie to understand that sentence.

If you liked The Hangover, you’ll like Due Date. There may be a small dog rather than a baby, but there is still Zach Galifianakis (yes I went on Google to find out how spell that) and Robert Downey Junior is very funny. So if you like this kind of movie do see it, it’s a little bit surprising with moments where you cringe just knowing something of going to go wrong but it has heart warming moments too.

The countdown to Christmas continues as it is now less than a month, so start ordering the presents it is December in a couple of days! The downside to Christmas is the pure expense, buying presents and going out with friends. On a student budget you have to try and think smart (which I am still attempting to do). So watch your bank balances but also try and have fun!

Wednesday, 17 November 2010

Oh Well, Keep Going...

38 days until Christmas as I am writing this! I started buying my Christmas Presents this week; I can’t believe December is almost upon us. I know I always proclaim about how time flies but it really is going too fast for me at the moment. I am even sitting at work thinking I would like the day to slow down as I have things to do!

I am going to be in a film. No, it’s not that exciting; it is just a piece of coursework for some cinematography colleagues and not my first time in front of the camera for the same reason. I don’t mind it but it is a bit embarrassing knowing that my lecturers will be watching me in a video to mark it. Hopefully it won’t get outside the university, although of course despite my acting the cinematography will be very apt. I am actually quite excited about my own shoot on Monday as I really like the script we are working with.

As the hype about how terrible the economy has seemed to be dying down, I wondered if maybe young people could start being optimistic about the future again. But sadly my hopes have been crushed as I have had people close to me start taking pay cuts and losing positions. It makes me worry about what my opportunities will be when I leave university. It is all very well to be optimistic in the middle of my degree still seeing that I have more to learn and time to plan what to do, but one wonders if all the planning and effort in the world will come off. However, I feel I have no option but to just try and wish everyone the best!

Tuesday, 9 November 2010

Babies are Weird

I said that time was flying last week and I still feel the same, it’s week eight of a thirteen week term! I am knuckling down to more coursework December and January are the big deadline times. I remember last year having three pieces of coursework all due in same week ending in my twenty first birthday. That was a hectic one with only two in four nights sleep if I remember rightly. You of course should not leave it that late to be rushing things off, and I have learnt now that I never want to go through that again!

This weekend I went to two fireworks parties, I do like fireworks. A lot of the conversation though was all about babies, there was one in the room as well. I felt a little out place as I have to say I think new babies are a bit strange, and there is always that nightmare of alien with it bursting out of the woman’s stomach. Perhaps I am just not yet maternally in tune being twenty one but some of these women were only five years older than me. Will I one day be cooing over a wrinkly pink really tiny person? Knowing how these things come back to get you later – probably.

How soon should Christmas come? It’s November now but there are a few places that have had their decorations up for a while now. When I grew up my mum forbid me from talking about Christmas until December, probably because she did not want to think about how many presents she still had to buy. I am one of the awful unorganised who quickly try and get something before I see each person; it always seems to be a last minute rush! All the same I love the shiny decorations and a reason to catch up with everybody even if the presents are a pain. But my favourite thing has to be the lights and windows in central London.

Tuesday, 2 November 2010

Time Flies

Things have been so busy lately, very good but very busy. Since I last blogged I have been to Colchester Zoo, seen Train (“Hey, Soul Sister”, “Drops of Jupiter”) in concert at the Shepherd’s Bush Empire and taken my first trip on the London Eye.

I have been to Colchester zoo a few times before; I prefer it to London Zoo because it has Elephants which are one of my favourite animals. Although I did not realise that there was a train that goes past the wolves that I had never been on, so I rectified that.

Train were brilliant in concert even though I only knew two songs of theirs. It was raining when I went on the London Eye so it was not the best trip ever (and a little extortionate!) it also involved an embarrassing incident of ending up in a family’s souvenir photo.

Fitting things in, when you are having a busy work or social life can be a challenge. You have to make sure that you are not only playing hard but working hard on your uni work as well. Recently I have been very busy at weekends and some evening so I have had to ramp up the time I give over to uni work as well to make sure I stay on top of things. The work load is a little ramped up in the second year as well, as may be expected of course. The important thing is that the work is enjoyable because I like my subject as well as there being more work it gets more interesting and involved as well.

I am looking forward to fireworks night; I love bright lights and colours. I also love fluffy animals, I have never had a pet of my own so I adore other people’s pets (unless it’s a tarantula!) and I believe there are due to be at least three dogs happy for attention at the party I will be attending on Saturday!

Monday, 18 October 2010

Eventful Me

Everything has been go go go recently, since the last time I blogged I have been to the Victoria and Albert Museum, seen Avenue Q, attended Canterbury Anifest, visited Tate Modern, taken a class of sixth formers, had my first experience of TGI Friday’s, seen Despicable Me, Done an Open Day, gone out dressed as a pirate, bowled very poorly and then done kareoke very poorly as well. After all that, whilst also attending university, it is time to start another week.

Canterbury Animation Festival was a good experience. There was a fun behind the scenes look at Wallace and Gromit: Curse of the Were-Rabbit, a screening of The Gruffalo, a session with the children of Oliver Postage and Peter Firmin (the people behind The Clangers and Bagpuss among other things...) and of course the competition screening. There were some really good films from aspiring animators in both 2D and 3D. I have to say however, that amusement won out for me and my favourite was called Polished Off.

On Tuesday I overcame a couple of nerves, I was a little bit worried about doing a personal statement workshop with some sixth formers. On the day one of the ambassadors from another university didnt turn up so I had to take their talk also before mine. However, I’m not complaining, the sessions went really well and I think its an example of how working whilst studying can be beneficial for your skills and confidence.

I have been waiting for a long time, as I know a few others have been for the release of Despicable Me. It can be worrying when you have high expectations for a film, it’s dissapointing if they dont meet them. However, that was not a problem in this case as this film absolutely met them. I thought it was fantastic, beautifully done and really funny.

Friday, 8 October 2010

Work Begins

This week has been a busy one but it feels like the exciting stuff is still to come so I won’t be able to tell you about it until next week. Friday evening I am going to see Avenue Q with friends, to catch it before it ends. This Saturday I am going to Canterbury for the Canterbury Anifest (short for Animation Festival).

I am looking forward to the festival very much; there are three sessions before the showing of the submitted films and awards ceremony. There is a behind the scenes look at Wallace and Gromit, a showing of the Gruffalo and also a session called Children of Small Films. This is where Oliver Postgate (Clangers, if you didn’t know) and Peter Firmin’s children come and talk about their work.

However as I have been pretty much at university, then work all week, apart from Thursday when classes were cancelled because of a power outage in the building, Sunday will be a day of homework and catch up. I don’t want to get behind in this second year; we already have a lot to get a grip of. Once I get into the work I will enjoy it, but there’s always that problem of getting started!

I had a nice déjà vu moment this week when I realised I was doing a repeat event as a student ambassador. My first event last year was a HE fair at Lambeth College and I found myself back there again this year. I look forward to many more.

On a last happy note, I finally received my student finance for this term! Drinks will be on me tonight.

Friday, 1 October 2010

Invaded by Pirates

This week I sat in class as several soldiers from the East India Trading company of Pirates of the Caribbean marched past the window. Captain Jack has also been surfing a car past a blue screen in the middle of the campus. So life has certainly not been dull, although walking the whole way around the outside of the campus to get to classes is not such a ball.

It is incredibly interesting for film and multimedia students to see the production going on. They have a couple blue screens for special effects and a huge piece of scaffolding covered in blue which I suspect will be an entire 3D building. I can’t wait to see the film and see how they have made the site into a set, it will be brilliant.

It is going to be the weekend again, last weekend I went on a puppet making course at the Film and Video Workshop in Islington. It was a lot of fun, and I came out the end of it with a fully animatable puppet who due to his black outfit and woollen hat we have decided to name Bertie the Burglar. Our tutor had worked on several things for the BBC and it was interesting to see a puppet from House of Mouse and that the puppet actually just had marbles for eyes.

It was the first proper week back this week. I like this time of year because it is full of inspiration and hope about all the potentially great things that you will have learnt or made by the end of the year. At least it is for me, others I know it fills them with dread at the amount of work they are going to do and whether they will be able to pass the courses.

Friday, 17 September 2010

Pay Phones, Old Friends and Food

I have spent all of this week at work but I have also found time to get out and about. We have moved offices back from the Greenwich campus to Avery Hill. It means getting up earlier but it also means that we have windows and a change of scenery and that is not to be looked down upon.

On Monday night Bryony and I went to meet our friend and his new girlfriend at London Bridge Station. Unfortunately the Northern Line was delayed so we spent the best part of an hour standing in London Bridge Mainline Station. We stood by the pay phones to keep out of the way of the commuters that were rushing past.

For some reason I had never thought that people would ring payphones, but I suppose it has a number just like any other phone, so as we stood there the phone next to me started to ring. Immediately you think of spy movies or more recently Sherlock Holmes on the BBC. So for the hell of it I picked it up, and bizarrely enough spent a good five minutes talking to someone who knew nothing about me apart from that I was the kind of person who would answer a public. I am not necessarily promoting this practise, and certainly don’t disclose personal details to strangers. However, it brightened up a dull hour waiting for some friends.

Last night I went out to bar Fifty Five in Camden, whose two for one cocktail happy hour is quite deadly. It was very good to see two old friends that I had not caught up with in a few months. I also had my first experience of Wagamamas that night. But I have to admit it was not necessarily a good one, but this is in consideration of the fact that I don’t like Chinese or Japanese food at all. I am on the side of Indian when it comes to takeaway through and through.

Wednesday, 8 September 2010

Aberdeen

I had a lovely time in Scotland, I really like Aberdeen. It’s probably because I think it's matching grey granite facade is aesthetically pleasing rather than grey and dull. They also have some lovely new shops opened including the shopping centre Union Square, with stores to rival Oxford Street. More importantly than nice shopping it was lovely to see my Aunt and Uncle, and it was just nice to have a break from the stresses of everyday life.

I had a dose of the countryside also on my mini-break. I took a nice walk with my Aunty to the nearest village and we enjoyed the nicest pasta dish I have ever had. I tried to recreate it last night but I think it still needs work. We also enjoyed a meal at an Indian restaurant in Aberdeen which is very nice and at John Lewis, potato wedges and tomato soup:).

I also had a weekend filled with good movies as we watched my DVD of The tale of Desperaux which I hadn’t yet watched (I saw it in the cinema when it originally came out). We also went to see Shrek Forever After in 3D at the Cineworld in Union Square. We were the only people in the cinema but we still sat in our assigned seats, so well behaved. The film was very enjoyable if you like Shrek and you aren’t bored of it yet, although it was good I don’t think it lived up to the first or second ones, but I did prefer it to the third.

On the downside some teenagers on the bus from inverurie off to start college ruined the final of Young Dumb and living off Mum for me. Well, perhaps they saved me an hour of my life.

Friday, 27 August 2010

Off to Scotland

I have been thinking a lot about graduate jobs and possibilities for the future this week. It can be a bit scary when you hear all the stories about graduates working in MacDonald’s or just not at all. As I vegetarian I don’t think I would be very good at that. I do realise that sometimes people have to take up jobs they don’t really want to do whilst building on things for their future career, however.
All this thinking has been brought on by having to choose an option this year. I had to choose between cinematography, web technologies or computers and music. I chose cinematography on the basis that it would help me with another module I was doing and in the case that I want to focus more on the production side of my degree in the future. Because who knows what the future will hold, eh? I’m still not completely sure what I want to do as my degree can branch off into a few different types of things. Oh well.

So I have been looking up the sort of jobs I could apply for when I graduate which may seem a little pre-emptive to you, but I see it as there is only a year and a half before I would have to apply to satisfy their requirements!

Enough with all the panicking, its bank holiday weekend soon! I’m going to Aberdeen tomorrow; think it may have been crazy to book a 6AM train! I will have to be up at about four, in fact I wonder if there is any point in sleeping at all when I could watch movies I can always nap on the train. I have to change at Edinburgh Waverley, I have been to Aberdeen a few times now but I would love to do more than pass through Edinburgh one day.

Tuesday, 24 August 2010

Crazy Busy Time

This is the time of year when working for clearing is high pressure. All the scary news in the press doesn’t help prospective students who are already upset about their grades and worried already. All we can do is try our best to help them out whether they were just over optimistic and need somewhere that does the same thing at lower entry requirements or whether they need to do an extra year with us to get where they want to go. How amusing ‘us’, sometimes I think I spend too much time at Greenwich university, but I am looking forward to classes starting again.

Most of life this week has been eat, sleep, work this week but I am looking forward to this weekend when I am spending the bank holiday in Aberdeen. I usually visit Aberdeen now and again to see my aunt and uncle who moved up there several years ago. It was however a good lesson in forward planning to try and sort out the travel, as in, I should have done it earlier. I could not get a sleeper train for less than £157 even with a 16-25 railcard because all the seats were sold out and a coach return got me back too late for work. Finally Virgin trains saved me with a return that cost me half the sleepers. So book transport early, it’s not too late for you.

One of the good parts of clearing is that we get a new intake of people working in the office. I am lucky to have a work place where people are generally really nice and the new lot are no exception. Am very pleased to have been able to get to know the rest of my team, it is great to have some more people to say hello to on campus!

Tuesday, 17 August 2010

The Habit of Art

This blog is later than planned because I was poorly at the end of last week. But all the boohooing over it’s the start of a busy week this week. This week we hit the peak of clearing; Thursday will be A-level results day. I am looking forward to a new bunch of students joining us this week so that we can keep on top of clearing demands. If you are hoping to confirm or get a place at uni this week, my sincerest good luck.
I took my mum to see the Habit of Art this weekend; it’s on at the National Theatre. I had no idea what it was about but by the title, the fact that it was by Alan Bennett and that it was showing at the National Theatre reassured me that my money was probably being well spent. The result of my gamble was in fact a play within a play about a group of actors rehearsing a production about W H Auden and Benjamin Britten.
I enjoyed the play for its humour and the brilliant acting, the kind of acting that means you don’t even notice that they are acting. It felt like a two and half hour of Alan Bennett’s exhibition of his own intelligence and those of great geniuses, but also showing that he didn’t expect you to be on his level. The ‘the-audience-wont-know-that’ jokes appealed to those who did because they could feel superior and those who didn’t because they could laugh at the truth of it. Although I can’t help but think: I didn’t know at a young age that the voice of Winnie the Pooh had so much more behind it.

As someone on a degree with a base in creativity as well as skill, the message of the play was interesting too. That being creative or ‘art’ was in fact a habit, it’s not a job as such, it is just something you will do and keep doing. There was also the point made that this habit means it has relatively little to do with talent and a lot to do with perseverance. It is nice to think that if we work hard we will succeed, but it is a better alternative than the relative definite that if we do not work hard we most certainly won’t. I think I will remember that.

Monday, 9 August 2010

Please do not close Greenwich Food Market!

I can hardly believe it is my third blog already, I guess time flies when you’re having fun!

Having said that, I am having fun! I am also feeling quite sorry for myself. I have an awful cold and right in the middle of summer. I just hope nobody around me catches it or I will feel terribly guilty. I am looking forward to a weekend of catching up with old friends along with a good dose of rest and relaxation likely to involve watching The Vicar of Dibley and Gilmore Girls with a hot toddy or two.

I’ve already had a pensive moment about accommodation and one about employment; this week I am in the mood to moan about money. Money is something you have to be very careful with while you’re at uni but you also have to want to be young and carefree. It really is important to know what goes in and what comes out. I hate that time just before you get paid or just before the next loan payment when you have to worry because you haven’t been careful enough and it stops you doing things you want to do.

As Bryony omitted her restaurant review from her blog this week, i will endeavour to make up for it with one of my own. I am a big fan of the Greenwich food market. My favourite stall of all is the vegetarian Ethiopian food stall. Their African curries are nutritious and delicious; if you are a veggie, you can’t fail to adore this box of joy for just £4. There are many other types of food available too, today I tucked into a Thai Yellow curry, which had very succulent sweet potato, which was brilliant because I can’t stand anything undercooked. Bryony, I know, is particularly fond of the Japanese food. All this food is delicious, freshly prepared, reasonably priced, quick and easy.

Now for the downside: the Greenwich Hospital Trust plan to close the food section of the market! You can fight against the closure by signing the online petition, joining the facebook group or signing one of the petitions held by the stall holders.

Friday, 30 July 2010

Dublin, Genius, Jobs, Diets...

Toy Story 1 & 3: Both with a cranky Woody
Top of the mornin’ to ya!

This weekend I spent in Dublin, and if any of my Irish friends had actually heard me utter the above phrase they would not have been at all impressed. The city of Dublin was lovely, especially the arty Temple Bar area. Saturday was particularly fun with a tour bus guide with comedic ambition and a guided tour of the Jameson distillery. The only guided tour I have ever left slightly giggly with a certificate saying I was certified as a whiskey taster.

As an animation student you would not be surprised that also this week I very much enjoyed Toy Story 3. It exceeded any expectations I may have had, it was absolutely brilliant and just shows you how far 3D animation has come since the nineties when Toy Story 1 was pioneering. It’s great to see that people have such passion to make such progress but the most important thing is that the heart of any movie is the story and this one was great.

I feel very lucky at the moment that I still have two years left at university as a lot of people I work with are graduating and looking for graduate jobs. With the job market at the moment this is not the easiest task. My sister graduated from her MSc Computer Science in March and has just got her first “real” job and started this week. I worry that some of these intelligent and effective graduates will be sitting around desperately job seeking for several months. I wish them all the best of luck; I would hire any of them!

I’ll admit though, although it is a tad embarrassing, one focal point of my week is what I jokingly call “fat club”. I have been a member of slimming world for two months now and am ten pounds the lighter for it. So I may give you Bridget-Jones-esque updates now and again, yes I did just resort to making up a word to try and make it sound interesting.

Have a happy week.

Friday, 23 July 2010

Working for Uni

This week I have hit the ground running back from a holiday in Spain. I love work so much I was there just ten hours after landing. Check out Bryony’s blog for some pictures of some very cute monkeys! I’m not very much of a sun seeker though, so I was quite relieved at the cooler weather when I got back to Blighty. A bit of rain is also good for my vegetable box on my balcony; I am growing Spinach, Basil and Sweet peppers. I can’t wait to put an ingredient in a dinner I grew myself, I think I won’t expand past my balcony though, I hate spiders!

I had an “I love my job” moment before I went on holiday. I worked at the Hop Farm Festival, it is a good day when you get paid to represent the university during the day and we got to roam the festival at night. I saw Blondie, Van Morrison, Ray Davies and Bob Dylan all live on stage. I also enjoyed the comedy tent where I saw some very funny (and some less funny) comedy acts, the only one you might have heard of is Lee Nelson of BBC3’s “Lee Nelson’s Well Good Show”.

At the moment I am facing the eternal student question of accommodation. Should I stay or should I go? I’ve been living in a lovely flat for a year with my flatmate but it does have shower issues despite its other good features. Now we want to cheapen up our bills and expand our brood, but will where we go be better or worse? Or maybe we should apply to go back into halls, or just revert back home and face the horror of public transport to reach our lectures. It is something most people have to worry about when they are at uni and it is never perfect. My best advice would to try to be chilled and easy going but on top of the paperwork (now I just have to remember that).

My little achievement of this week has been dipping my toes in a little dressmaking. It’s something I don’t do too often in case of stress overload. But this weekend I sporadically purchased some material from Chelmsford Market and made myself a skirt. I do like it when you can actually see what you did with your time as it so often seems to disappear. Whilst I stitched I watched my Adventureland DVD for about the third time, I do like that movie. Overall a relaxing weekend.