January 11, 2006

Caffeine….....truly tis a delicate balance!

Caffeine is most definately a delicate balance. After roling out of bed in the morning the first order of business tends to be putting the kettle on to make a cup (or mug) or two of coffee. The key however, is in being able to feed just enough caffeine into the bloodstream, drop by drop, to ensure that you are constantly awake. Too much too fast, and I'll be bouncing of the walls and irritating anything with a pulse. Too little and….....well…......what's the point? The trick I find is to have the mug next to the computer while I frantically type to try and reach that elusive 5000 word limit and every now and then, have a couple of sips to keep boredom at bay and my mind awake. Unfortunately my plan backfired. I am now high as a kite on Whittard's Hazelnut flavour coffee and just finished bouncing up and down on my chair for no apparent reason whatsoever. Oh well!

January 08, 2006

Essays…....forsooth they are the bane of my existence…..but Sales? Sales will be my salvation.

It seems like I tend to make the most entries in my blog when i know i have an essay due….....as I do now. 5000 words of one in fact. Of which i have only completed a pitiful amount. Why did it take me so long to get cracking you ask?........well…......the answer is simple. Science fiction. Or more precisely, Babylon 5. I have become a complete and utter geek. Never thought I'd see the day when I am perching on the edge of my chair in heronbank, biting my nails in worry as to whether Commander Sinclair is going to be able to stop the Narns from attacking the Centauri…...yet again.

Further proof of my geekness?........I asked for a 300GB External Hard disk and an update for my RAM for my birthday. Oh well…........at least I know my way around computers more than I did!

The sales have started again….....Oh how I love the sales! I walk off the bus on the Leamington Spa Parade and it is as though the clouds have parted above and a heavenly light illuminates the shops to either side of me….....with the faint background beat of someone's iPod providing musical accompaniment to my journey to find the perfect kitten heel.

I then enter the Temple of Relief (a.k.a Royal Priors Shopping centre) and my feet begin to move of their own volition towards Faith….....my hands begin to scramble for my trusty Mastercard and student ID for that 10% student discount that can help justify the £39 I'm about to spend at TopShop….....I'm saving £3 after all…....AND it's on BOGOF. (for the non shopaholics among you…...Buy One Get One Free….....a sure way to make a woman buy four times as many things as she actually needs…...but so desperately craves!)

Something a friend said to me once so inconveniently pops into my head…....a man will go to a shop, buy one thing he needs and leave. A woman will enter the same shop and buy two things she doesn't need…...simply because they're half price. They might have had a point. I don't really need 5 new pairs of earrings, 7 new tops and a jacket do I? It's ok though…......I have 30 days to take them back! :) hmm…........me dreams of the bargains to be had at the Bull Ring. Do I have the self control to stay away?........My bank account surely hopes so!

December 26, 2005

Of Kings, Queens and Temples…...via Egypt

First….......the update! I'm now doing my masters…........it's the christmas holidays and i'm in Egypt! Woohoo!

It's my birthday tomorrow! (this is in no way a cheap attempt to solicit gifts….......a text would be MORE than enough…........I have 2 phone lines and only ever get texted/ called by people who either wanna ask me how much of my esay i havent written or a certain small group of….......hmm…........4…...who text/call cos they actually miss me.) Anyway….......back to the birthday bit…...... I ordered my cake from Le Carneval in Mouhandessen. Its this absolutely amazing pastry/cake shop near where we're staying. They have SUCH amazing sweet stuff! It's not really a cake….....a really rich creamy chocolate mousse with a crunchy base actually…........but hey…...........it's still going to be my yummiest birthday cake ever!

Im back in cairo. My cruise is over. It's so unfair! Oh well…........quoi faire eh? Worst still is dad has meetings this week that he cant reschedule so we're not even going to sharm el sheikh either….....bright side? ….......I won't come back there looking even more like a nubian than i already do! lol. I've tanned so much! People keep thinking we're all egyptian cos we look so egyptian and keeps talking to us in arabic. Dad is the only one who speaks it perfectly and mum and i can understand only bits. But i do know how to say bekam da? (how much is this) in a convincing enough accent that they give me local prices before they realise their mistake and that i have NO idea what they're saying half the time! lol! I can also say burtugan (orange) Thats my new word for today.hehe! I also know some colours, figured out that mush kuwais does NOT mean very good but quite the opposite ( made that mistake my first day here when hamdi our driver took us to Le Carneval, asked me what i thought of the place, and i said mush kuwais with a huge smile on my face! I can also say lalala…...ghali….....khamastaashar mush arbaeen…......translation…...............no no no!... expensive!.....15 not 40.

We went on a cruise down the Nile and it finished on Saturday. It was so much fun! We went to loads of temples between luxor and aswan and they were all so incredibly beautiful. I'll post the pics when i get back (after i pick out the best ones…......dont wanna bore you with my 700 odd pictures of pharaonic/roman/greco-roman/greek/ptolemaic columns). The most fun i had tho was when we were sailing to edfu and stopped at the locks so the boat could be raised. We were there for ages and then i started hearing all this shouting outside my window. I finally became curious, opened the door, went out onto the balcony, and something red was thrown at me, landing with a great thump on the glass behind me. I almost fell into the nile i was that shocked! lol! I picked up the bundle, unwrapped it, and it was a sparkly red dress with a highly sequined face on nefertiti or tutankhamun or someone on it. I look down, and there are about four row boats there. Each with two people, One rowing the boat trying to keep it level with the ship, the other throwing random clothes, scarves, and even towels at people! Then one of the standing up (yes….....standing up on a teeny boat) people goes…"how much lady how much?" "Very cheap beautiful lady!" I said 50 pounds (egyptian of course! ;) ) he shouts…...No! No! 400! (i found same sparkly red dress at bazaar later for 35). I said it was too expensive, chucked it back, they chucked me another, i said i wasnt interested, they chucked me another, i threw them both back….....so on and so forth till finally i'd had enough. I threw the last one at him with the intention of bolting back into room and shutting curtains when….....oops. I threw the dress and instead of landing in the boat….........it landed in the nile! Last i saw of him he was frantically rowing trying to catch up with the dress!hehe. It was funny! And talk about a good sales pitch! (du dum!)

Anyway, we got to aswan, on way there i got sick witha terrible yucky throat infection and could only have liquids…........yes….........i couldnt even have dessert…....as a result i managed to halt my steady decline into chubby happiness brought on by excessive amounts of chocolate mousse, pastries and eggs….........eggs make good breakfast…....... :) Got put on anti biotics that i got without prescription….....( I LOVE africa! )...........and now feel much better. I even managed to eat some yummy kebaby things yesterday and a slice of pizza for dinner. Halal Pizza hut….....a dream come true! We had three different kinds of beef alone on our pizza! Oh wait….......make that four…......sigh! Judi, Sarah Lisa…........you KNOW wat a momentous occasion this was for me! Non vegetarian Pizza Hut! MEAT that wasnt from bloody Caspian Pizza!

Back to cruise…........Aswan had the most amazing souk. We bought so many spices! Probably got a bit ripped off but hey….......its still cheaper than the UK! and so fresh! We've bought about 6KGs of karkade (hibiscus flowers for making a delicious tea) already between me, mum and sis!

We went to cairo museum today. Tried to sneak in as locals ( 2 Pounds each instead of 40), and almost made it…......till the guards started talking to me in arabic and i had NO idea what he'd asked! lol! He made us go back and get new tickets…........actually,,,,,,,,,he TOOK us to ticket office and got them for us himself! lol!

We then went to khan el khalili (for the third time) and bought more stuff. yay! I saw this lovely ring and this pendant that matched a bracelet dad got me, asked how much it was, and was told that together they'd cost 230. I ended up getting them both for 150. I miss bargaining! I also saw this crocodile skin bag that i absolutely fell in love with. Animal activists…........poor widdle crocs/rabbits/minks/dalmations feelings can go to hell. I will wear fur. hehe. well…....maybe not fur cos it would make me look really fat…......but crocodile/snake/ostrich/cow/goat is fine, as a bag or shoes. As long as the animals are farmed and not treated cruelly i have no problems with animal by-products. Anyway…....back to afforementioned handbag of glory…............it cost about 230 . Mum wouldnt let me get it….......(yes…....i KNOW i have no money…......but already i was balancing my budget in my head, deciding to live on nothing but tesco value baked beans for a month…........selling random junk on ebay…..........ANYTHING to make up the money i needed) . Then mum brought in the guilt by saying that if i had so much money to waste i should give it to my aunt for her school for orphans that shes financing all on her own and getting no money from anyone. Hmmm…..........educate destitute orphans in africa…......buy croc skin handbag….....orphans….......bag…......orphans…......you can guess where this is going cant you? I decided to walk away from the bag. And I swear the other ones smiled at me. ( by the other ones i mean the other bags….........some of them….....NOT the one i liked…........still had the heads attached to them and there were little stuffed crocs all over the place )

Speaking of crocs….........we went to the temple of sobek…......crocodile god…......at….....erm….......makombo…....no that means leftovers in swahili….........yes! Kom Ombo! Apparently they believed that the crocodile brought them the yearly nile flood so worshipped it…...... blah blah….......caught first one the saw coming up the nile each year cos it was supposed to be god himself….......they would then wait for it to die, mummify and display it before burying (after having received MANY offerings in the form of gold/silver/jewels/ivory/visa/AMEX…...........) . Only prob was…....it was their god so they obviously couldnt kill it…..........and crocs live about 80 years…........so what did they do? Starve it to deat instead. Thought process of head priest….............i need more offerings…........my temple's not as rich as Luxor….........what to do….........I know! Show people their god sobek….........mumble mumble…......crocodile=sobek, sobek=god, gods need offerings, therefore croc=money!...........hmm…........kill god?.......bah…......it'd piss of the lesser priests…........i know! we can STARVE it to death! ther's nothing wrong with that! lol! I loved that!

Or what about King Hatshepsut…......who was actually a woman pretending to be the son of god amon ra on earth so she could rule as a man and steal the throne from her step son who then killed her and defaced all her temples when he realised his king/god was actually his step mother/father? She even wore a false beard and everything! Typically…......being a woman,............she didnt engage in the usual pursuits of enlarging the lands of egypt, going to war etc. nope. She went shopping instead. To somali to buy gold and ivory and stuff. A woman after my own heart she was…............and to prove her manliness…..........erected some of the biggest obelisks in Egypt. hehe.

The resucitation of Mina's Blog (the Original)

Yipee! Mina's blog is finally working again! People of the world you may rejoice! hehe! Got ITS to give me control over my blog again and they came through. I have a couple of older entries on Mina's Blog 2 but from now on i'll be continuing on this one. Yay!

May 31, 2005

The trials and tribulations of mina….....

Where to begin….... Ever get that feeling during an exam when the invigilator says "you may begin." You turn over the paper, and all the self confidence that had kept you bouyed up during the pre-exam jitters sinks like a lead balloon and all you want to do is cry?......welcome to my world. That was development economics on Wednesday. the biggest bitch of an exam I have EVER had. Why why WHY do lecturers feel the need to punish their students? I think that lecturers are really masochists at heart. They stand there lecturing all year. And every time you miss a deadline, or scive a seminar, or do not know what the "Big Push" is, they nod, and they smile, but inside? ha. Inside they are rubbing their grubby little hands in glee, thinking about PAYBACK. What is payback you may ask? The finals. That three hour paper that is the culmination of a lifetime of scholastic torture. Call it Murphy's Law, cosmic karma, masochism, whatever. The bottom line is that there will always be that one lecturer who picks that one line in the piles of handouts to set 50% of the paper on. Grrrrrrrrrrrr!! What I want to do to that one lecturer who's name will not be mentioned is not the kind of conversation one conducts in civil company.

What does any student do when faced with a paper they have possibly failed? No, after they cry. Yes, they calculate what marks they will need to get in all their other papers to still graduate with a 2:1. It is meant to calm us down. It didn't. Unless I get at least one first in my other papers to even out this one dismal mark, I'm screwed. Woop de doo.

Ok, what do you do next? The usual student will go out and get completely and utterly trashed. That option was not available given that I had another exam at 9:30 the next morning. So what did i do? Went home and studied. gag gag puke.

May 18, 2005

Calling all procrastinators…...

It's official, I am the QUEEN of procrastination! Exams are swiftly looming on the no-longer-so-distant horizon and this is what I've done today;

7:34: crawled out of bed, had shower got dressed.
8:00: Made sandwiches for lunch
8:30: Arrived at dungeon of doom
8:31: Decided to go apply makeup
8:50: Finished applying makeup
9:00: Went to my spot to look for my notes. They'd gone. Moved by library security to lost and found after I left them all on the desk without leaving a note ( Normally leave my "I'm a lazy cow, please leave" note on top of my files)
9:10: Found my notes. Apparently I'd left two BOXES of them in the library.
9:15: Found a trolley to wheel all my stuff back to the fifth floor
9:20: Started revising
9:25: Ate a sandwich
9:35: Ate another sandwich
11:30: Went to check my email
11:40: Bought eyeshadow on eBay
12:34: Writing blog entry

As a result, this is what I'll be doing come Friday:

8:30: In Library
9:00: Have panic attack
9:30: Try to read one year's worth of notes in one day
24:00: Library closes, get kicked out
24:05: Find empty room to study in
02:00: Run out of Pro Plus. Run to ceffee machine to pay £2 for muddy water
03:00: Realise the coffee isn't helping, get chocolate instead
05:00: Run out of change
09:00: Listen to everybody talking about Schumpeterian Economies of scale before exam (Your guess is as good as mine)
09:15: Cry
09:30: Get exam paper…..cry again
10:00 Start eating chocolate after having written everything I know in 30 minutes.

14 July: Collect my robes for a graduation I won't be attending

Blast. I guess I better get back to revision huh?

May 11, 2005

Dear Arts Centre…You smell like fish.

Dear Arts Centre,

I am writing to inform you of something that has been bothering my fellow students and I for quite some time now, namely, the all-pervasive and incredibly powerful stench of fish that invariably pollutes the Arts Centre.

We have noticed that this smell, although present throughout the day, seems to build in intensity as the day progresses until, by the evenings, it is enough to render a small animal unconscious.

While we understand that yes, there is nothing wrong with the smell of fish per se and yes, you cannot smell it yourselves, we feel that it is our duty as conscientious and helpful students to let you know that we would rather not have to walk through a fish monger's every day and that the reason why you cannot seem to smell it yourselves is that, rather unfortunately, you have become oblivious to the stench due to prolonged exposure.

We would greatly appreciate it if you would look into installing a more effective ventilation system, cooking less fish or, failing those two, that you would consider distributing sachets filled with fragrant herbs (lavender or rosemary would suffice) to all those brave enough to venture through said enclosure.

We hope that you will take our views seriously and not dismiss them as a joke which we assure you, they are not.

Yours faithfully,

The Students.

Library 0, Judi 1

Woohoo! To all of you who actually visit the dungeon of doom that is the library, you would have noticed the whiteboard with the new "exam only" rules that we're allowed to consume fizzy drinks and juice provided it's not in a can and in a screw top bottle! God complaining is fun! It is a direct result of Judi and Sophie's complaints that…believe it or not….have gone up on the "You say We say" board despite the fact that Judi's comment is addressed to " the Library Nazis"!

That's the lovely thing about this country….freedom of speech! If I had done that at my school back home I probably would've been called into the headmaster's office and gotten a strict talking to!

I speak from experience…..We got this REALLY crap art teacher at school who was so bad that I ended up teching all his O and AS level students instead of him! I complained and ranted and raved about his utter incompetence to anybody who would listen. The result was that I got bannned from the Art room! lol! I miss school!

May 04, 2005

Return of the library nazis (aka library stewards)

Follow-up to Waste of time…..? from Mina's blog

Today we got handed a little leaflet entitled We know revision time can be stressful. No shit Sherlock! Does anyone know how many of those leaflets they actually have???? I saw him shuffling through a whole sheaf of them before he handed out that one!

Welcome to the Pro Plus generation!

Today I finally took that one tiny step on the precarious balancing act that is Pro Plus. I was determined not to go down that road after last year left me looking like an extra from Night of The Living Dead. Then….I went to stock up on chocolate at costcutters when I walked past the damned things and couldn't resist. Incidentally, they have stocked up on rows upon rows of the innocuous looking little white pills in anticipation of the desparate hordes of students who have their "light bulb moment" and realise they have only two weeks to study 4 modules.

Does anyone actually know what happens to you if you have more than 2 of them in an hour?

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