Completealy Pointless

It’s official: job offers are like buses. Nothing for months, and then two in one week. Will be starting new job on April 1st, providing paperwork etc. all go through. Very excited.

That was undoubtedly the best thing to happen this week (closely followed by some excessive Buffy binge-watching) until Monday’s episode of Pointless. It was the head-to-head round and the question was ‘Types of tea’. The following 5 teas went up on the board, with alternate letters removed, as such:

1. P_P_E_M_N_
2. E_G_I_H / _R_A_F_S_
3. N_L_I_I
4. R_S_I_N / _A_A_A_
5. J_S_I_E

* the /s separate two words. I couldn’t get the format to recognise additional spacing between separate words

Now, I need to give the answers to continue with my story, so if you don’t want the spoilers then I suggest you don’t scroll down further than this lovely photo of my awesome Christmas pressie owl tea-set.

My fantastic Christmas present 2013 courtesy of eldest brother-face.

My fantastic Christmas present 2013 courtesy of eldest brother-face.

So myself and boyfriendface worked out 4 of the 5 answers. Number 3 stumped us (it’s Nilgiri and was a 1 point answer), but in the following order we worked out 1. Peppermint 5. Jasmine 2. English Breakfast and 4. … drum roll … RUSSIAN CARAVAN TEA!!! I have this tea! It’s in my cupboard! It’s a full-bodied tea, tastes of freedom of adventure!!! Yes, that’s what it says on the box; yes, that’s how I excitedly described it to boyfriendface when I realised what the answer was; yes, boyfriendface sighed, rolled his eyes and pondered for the hundredth time this week how different are the worlds we inhabit. And….it was a pointless answer! I was so delighted. “Very well done if you said that,” said Richard. Well done me! I celebrated by drinking tea and watching Buffy, and subsequently failed to sleep in my excited and overly-caffeinated state. It was totally worth it.


20 Quotations from Writers about Happiness

Couldn’t not share this!

Interesting Literature

Today is International Day of Happiness, so we’ve compiled 20 of our favourite quotations from writers about happiness, joy, pleasure, and related emotions. We hope you enjoy them!

‘Happiness in the ordinary sense is not what one needs in life, though one is right to aim at it. The true satisfaction is to come through and see those whom one loves come through.’  – E. M. Forster

‘One half of the world cannot understand the pleasures of the other.’ – Jane Austen

‘What is there given by the gods more desirable than a happy hour?’ – Catullus

‘Happiness, to some elation; / Is to others, mere stagnation.’ – Amy Lowell

‘There may be Peace without Joy, and Joy without Peace, but the two combined make Happiness.’ – John Buchan

‘There is nothing which has yet been contrived by man, by which so much happiness is produced as by a good tavern or inn.’ – Samuel Johnson


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Minor highlights of the past few weeks

I haven’t updated in a while, as I’ve been otherwise engaged with getting my tonsils out and ignoring my laptop. This is just going to be a quick post of 10 things that have made me happy over the past few weeks:

1. The case of the missing teaspoons. All but one of our teaspoons have mysteriously disappeared from the flat. This in itself doesn’t make me happy, but the only possible logical explanation surrounding the strange disappearance does: as boyfriendface deduced, we clearly have Borrowers.

2. During the weeks BT (Before Tonsillectomy) I was getting pretty downhearted with being unemployed, constantly filling in applications, and doing a lot of exhausting travelling all over the country for interviews. On the morning I went in for my operation I was in my hospital gown, lying on the bed, waiting to be taken into surgery and experienced an overwhelming feeling of calm, knowing that for the next 2 weeks I would be ignoring everything to do with applications and interviews, and just concentrating on feeling better. It has to be said, that feeling of calm completely disappeared when I regained consciousness after my op, very much feeling like somebody had ripped my throat out with a very sharp implement (funny that); but then the nurses did a great job of replacing my zen with a pretty potent morphine cocktail.

3. Downton Abbey. Nothing like 4 series of a period drama to aid convalescence.

4. Finishing reading Les Misérables. I’ll just take this opportunity to point out that this wasn’t my first choice of rest and relaxation reading material, however I was kept in hospital for a couple of nights (not originally intended) and this was the only book available as dad happened to have it in the car. I didn’t massively enjoy the book (it’s a great story, but spoiled for me by extreme side-tracking; dubious and sweeping generalisations; and the shallow characterisation of female heroine in the simpering and downright irritating Cosette (I genuinely haven’t been so irritated by a character since I was forced to read Pamela at Uni)) but having read a certain amount I got a bit competitive and refused to be beaten by not finishing the book. I won. It felt great. Take that book.

5. Mum got me a book called The Perfect Hug. As this is just a quick post I won’t go into any further detail, except that it’s a kids book featuring a panda searching for the perfect hug – which says it all really.

6. The program about the baby panda on TV. Boyfriendface probably regretted coming round to visit on the same day as the baby panda program. Since I couldn’t really talk the only way I could alert him to moments of extreme cuteness (requiring appropriate levels of ‘aaaaaawing’ or excitement) was by repeatedly thumping him on the arm.

7. Jigsawing. My mum’s friend (at whose house I was convalescing) revealed on our final night that she had a Christmas jigsaw that she was still working on. Mum’s friend turned out to be a somewhat gung-ho jigsawist with a very liberal attitude towards how pieces fit together, which was pretty unexpected and very entertaining.

8. The Canadian 25 cent coin boyfriendface brought me, featuring an owl and bear. Canadian coins are so much better than British ones. If Scotland votes Yes for Independence and we need to adopt a new currency, I hope we fully embrace the opportunity to get some better pictures on our coins – highland cows, seals, eagles, shetland ponies, deer, puffins, squirrels…

9. My teddy seal. I don’t care if it’s ridiculous for a 26 year old to take a large stuffed animal to someone else’s house, having something soft and cuddly to hug made me feel a hell of a lot better when I was feeling pretty rubbishy.

10. I’ve just found out that the collective noun for ladybirds is ‘a loveliness of ladybirds’.

The Wisdom of Winnie the Pooh

I’m one of those people who doesn’t function very well when they’re tired. When I’m exhausted I get cold very easily, I’m very moody, and I’m very liable to cry. I’ve had a pretty wearing past few days. I’ve had interviews on consecutive days in different places, so it’s involved a lot of travelling, a lot of waiting around for train connections, and a lot of time spent traipsing around carrying my bag with nowhere really to go.

The bag is a good example to illustrate my point. My bag was a pretty small sports bag type holdall. To give an idea of size, the main compartment is only just big enough to fit a standard A4 size ring binder folder, and then there are compartments at each end. Fits into overhead baggage racks without any difficulty. The bag contained my suit and flat shoes, 1 change of clothes (skirt and t-shirt), underwear for 3 days, my washkit, a book, an A4 folder with interview prep and document photocopies, and my phone charger. So not a big amount of luggage, and not a heavy bag. For well-rested me, carrying that size of bag around is a minor nuisance. For exhausted me, it becomes nightmarish: suddenly people in crowds are incapable of avoiding you; gates, barriers and turnstiles are no longer wide enough to negotiate; finding somewhere to eat or have a cuppa becomes dependent on finding somewhere quiet and with enough space to sit your bag beside the table – ideally before you collect your food, because carrying trays or drinks with a bag on your shoulder is hard if your tired and clumsy; and even going to the toilet requires either finding someone happy to watch your bag, or executing some advanced yoga and contortion skills to fit yourself and said bag into small cubicle.

So, I’m very aware that I am not good when I’m tired; and in my state of tiredness I am conscious that life is only as bad as it seems because my perception is skewed and molehills appear as mountains. Knowing that doesn’t actually make me feel any better at the time, whereas once I’ve had a good sleep and chance to unwind I will feel a lot better. (Provided I don’t wake up to discover my washing machine has packed in, as was the case yesterday.) So, while for me it’s tiredness that has this effect, for others in my family hunger is their nemesis. I don’t particularly enjoy being hungry, but it does not have the same effect on me as exhaustion. That said, when I arrived home at 10pm on Friday night, tired, travel weary, wet (of course it was raining when I arrived back in Glasgow) and hungry (I hadn’t had dinner and of course they’d run out of sandwiches on the train) I put on my pyjamas and had a fancy M&S microwave dinner. And I instantly felt a lot better. And it reminded of the following quote from my ‘Winnie the Pooh’s Little Book of Wisdom’ book: “When you get a sinking feeling, don’t worry, it’s probably because you’re hungry.”

He is indeed most wisdomous, that Pooh bear.

Librarians are good people

Right then, ‘attempt to blog every week or two’ take two.

I was thinking today about ‘faith in humanity’ and such like. In libraries, and the ‘field of librarianship’ (which sounds a bit pretentious, but I’ve been busy editing articles and it would seem that I can’t think of an alternative and less academic-y sounding phrase) it’s not hard to find examples of people being nice. Yes, this is a massive stereotype, and yes you get people working in libraries who are in love with the books and couldn’t care less about the people, but very frequently people who go into librarianship and work in libraries are interested in things like encouraging learning, helping people, and social values.

I was talking yesterday to the Manager in the Library where I’m currently volunteering (who is an Archivist), about the applications I have submitted and an upcoming interview. She was very encouraging, and was also giving me the usual wise words about gaining experience from interviews, and learning from your mistakes, and regardless of if I get the job onwards and upwards etc. etc. She was telling me about different interviews she had experienced in the past – both as interviewer and interviewee; positive and negative – including the following anecdote:

Sometimes it just doesn’t work out. I had an interview where I was explaining how beneficial libraries and archives can be to older people, and how I’ve witnessed this first hand in various projects, and when I finished giving this example, the interviewer snarkily replied ‘we’re not the social work department’.

I was so shocked. That is just not an altruistic people-centred attitude. And how rude! Even if you have obvious differences about the role of your library, the direction it should be taking etc. surely you either question the interviewee further and bring up your concerns, or if it’s a write-off then you don’t hire the candidate. You don’t shoot them down mid-interview. How unprofessional! AND, even if the social or humanistic benefits aren’t your priority, if someone’s sitting there telling you how they’ve seen firsthand the potential value of archives for elderly people and success in using archives with this group, they’re also telling you ‘here is a particular stakeholder group to whom our materials can be delivered’, so to ignore that potential avenue is just blinkered.

Now, I don’t know what the job was she was interviewing for, and I understand that different libraries and archives have different roles and different priorities – for example that certain libraries will develop collections that are primarily important for historical or academic research, or the legal deposit role of a National Library has a duty of collecting and compiling that’s very different from the role of a public library – and that there’s a balance to be struck between allowing people access to use material, and the preservation of fragile and valuable items….but….if you’re not collecting and safeguarding and maintaining these books so that they can be preserved for people now and in the future to use or study or enjoy, then really what is the ultimate point?

So, as I said, I was shocked – ‘I was agog, I was aghast’ – and I think a lot of that was because I felt, ‘but…but…but…librarians and archivists are supposed to be nice people!!!!’

In the face of such minor tsunamis creating waves across my happy little world (and in addition to deciding that this interviewer obviously wasn’t a real librarian/archivist, and was most definitely an imposter) it’s nice to reflect on all the instances that have occurred this week confirming that librarians are nice people. From the staff at the library where I’m volunteering who have – unbegrudgingly and without hesitation – sacrificed their time to help me with applications and give me instruction on specific tasks; to the librarians I have contacted for feedback on unsuccessful applications, many of whom have happily talked me through my responses and their criteria and judging process, giving help and advice and encouragement about both applications and job-hunting in general; to the interviewer at my upcoming interview who seemingly wants to take me for lunch afterwards (although, I’m not entirely convinced that this isn’t a test to see if I can eat without skittering food all over myself, in which case I will most assuredly fail)…

I don’t care if it’s just a comfortable stereotype and rose-tinted spectacles. Until I have significant evidence to the contrary, I will continue to believe that librarians are good people.

Nobody ever matches the weather

My flatmate is quite the film buff. I’m not. Boyfriendface maintains I’ve seen about 12 films, tops. That’s not really true (in the slightest) and actually I’m happy to watch a far wider variety of styles and genres than he is; but it is fair to say that I haven’t seen many of ‘the Classics’. Realisation that I haven’t seen *insert film here* tends to prompt excessive GASPing from my flatmate (presumably followed by stress-induced amnesia, because I’ll get exactly the same reaction from her the next time *same film* comes up in conversation).

One of these films is It’s a Wonderful Life. After many instances of GASPing and insisting that I HAVE to see this film, flatmate’s tune evolved to I HAVE to see it in the GFT (they show it every Christmas), which then meant that I wasn’t allowed to watch it in any other capacity until I’d seen it in the GFT. Four Christmases of flatmatedom have come and gone without us actually doing this, but tonight is the night! (It had better be worth the hype.)

Following conversation upon boyfriendface leaving for work this afternoon:
him: “Don’t cry at the film.”
me: “Is it sad?”
him: “Em, yeah – but happy sad.”
me: “Happy sad. Had. Sappy!”
him: “Yeah, it’s definitely sappy.”
I now choose to believe that’s the actual derivation of sappy… a description of those who will be emotionally affected by sad/happy events…

Apparently one year flatmate and her boyfriend at the time saw It’s a Wonderful Life in the GFT and when they came out it was snowing. Based on my sources (i.e. looking out of the window) I suspect this is unlikely to be the case tonight. But it’s OK – I’ve had fun with the weather this past week – albeit without leaving the house. Those times I did leave the house involved traipsing about town in torrential rain, and playing rugby in gale force winds and driving sleet – neither of which were particularly pleasant. Anyway, what I’m getting at is that, provided I don’t actually need to do get anything done, I quite like excessive weather. I quite like marvelling at the power of driving wind and rain, and even like being outside and buffeted about in such conditions – providing I’m not trying to do things, and have a warm house, jammies, and a hot meal to come home to. (Just to clarify for those living elsewhere – we’ve had some pretty stormy days in Glasgow recently.)

I am reading several books at the moment, for several reasons. One is Game of Thrones (although, strictly speaking I’m between books because having finished one I don’t want to pick up the next until I’ve completed certain things on my to-do list); another is To the Lighthouse (which was the first thing I picked up in the library when I didn’t have a book on me because Game of Thrones was too big to fit in my bag); another is Jane Eyre (which is kind of on hold because it’s on my bedside table at Andy’s house and there isn’t a lamp in the bedroom since I moved that down to the living room); and the other is collected works by Poe. And I’ve been getting the most out of Poe this week, because I specifically save him for when it’s dark, and the wind howls, battering the rain against the window…and the world is just phantasmagorical.

Top-eleven job titles in the current market

Scrolling the internet looking for job vacancies isn’t much fun. Right? Wrong! Effectively and efficiently searching for available jobs isn’t much fun; but if you allow yourself be distracted by the wonderful world of bizarre and potentially misleading job-titles, it becomes a lot more entertaining. Here are my top-eleven favourites so far:

11. Volunteer Swan Management Project Assistant: This just sounds great fun – and very necessary. Swans are contrary creatures needing firm management.

10.Lean Master Black Belt: Because you don’t get overweight black belts – especially not if they’re master black belts. Google would have me believe that this job is nothing to do with karate, but is actually related to qualifications in a system for process improvement in business strategy. Pfft to that, I say.

9. Scrum Master: Similarly misleading, ‘Scrum Master’ is nothing to do with rugby, but something to do with software development. Obviously if you were a Scrum Master you wouldn’t tell people that.

8. Horticulture Tutor: Purely because horticulture is a fun word. Horticulture. 😀

7. Master Composter: Not to be confused with a Master Composer.

6. Web Wizard: Because you’d be a wizard! Contractually! Officially!

5. Stick Welder: This job involves welding (sounds dangerous, but fun) and sticks. Sticks! The child in me approves of this job. Especially if you allow yourself to believe that the ‘welder’ part is a typo, and the vacancy is actually for a Stick Wielder. Responsible to Stick Brandisher. What a promotion that would be.

4. Estimator: I like the idea of being an estimator – it seems like you could get away with being very vague, all the time.

3. Agile Project Manager: Until now I wasn’t aware that there was a market for project managers cum gymnasts…

2. Ocean Controller: You control the Ocean!!!!! It’s probably just as well I’m not qualified for that position – that kind of power would definitely go to my head.

1. Marketing Monster: RAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARGH! BUY STUFF! Presumably that’s the only sales pitch you’d need.