Alphathon: Van Bond

Well, maybe not.

The choices for today’s blog weren’t really inspiring me enough, sorry Katy and Katy but star signs are something I no longer care much for and I hardly ever win anything. So I’m going with my own theme Van Gogh – your artistic ability.

I saw a Van Gogh at the National Gallery in London, it was the most amazing thing ever. I’ve checked it off my list of things to do before I die.

I’m not quite in the same leagues as the famous painters or artists, but I have done a few things I’m proud of over the years.

Here are a couple of pictures I drew in the last few weeks.

 

 

My original intention for today’s blog was to draw Katy and Katy…but for some reason the picture of Katy P I chose wouldn’t play ball and she ended up looking alien shaped so I didn’t finish or even really started that one. As for Katy S, well, she SMILES TOO MUCH. That’s right, smiles too much. I struggle to draw teeth without them looking wrong and yet I only found one picture of Katy where she wasn’t smiling. It wasn’t an easy one to attempt to draw either. It really isn’t very good and looks odd as the image was close up so there’s no hair, or chin, so apologies…

The final picture I will share is one that I am utterly proud of and it’s lived on my bedroom wall. I drew it for GCSE art (which was the only GCSE I got an A for), it is of Paul from S Club 7 – note that he has neither teeth nor eyes in this. 😀 Wooo. Seriously, those seem to be the things I struggle with the most.

Check out the other girls’ blogs, I bet they’re as awesome as usual. Links on the right.

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Alphathon: Usually/Unusually

Katy asked us to complete the sentence ‘Unusually, I don’t…’ so here it is…with a slight twist.

 

Usually/Unusually

Usually I don’t sing in public,

Or dance among my peers.

Usually I don’t tell people,

How it is I feel.

 

Usually I don’t take big risks,

Like approaching those I don’t know.

Usually I don’t want to go outside,

Especially if I’m feeling low.

 

Usually I don’t make snap decisions,

I analyse my world a great deal.

Usually I like to press bruises,

Before they’ve even healed.

 

Usually I wish I could do more,

But never find the time.

Usually I hope more than doing,

Look up instead of climb.

 

Unusually I don’t do the things,

That others usually do.

I have a little question,

Do you usually do them too?

 

 

So world, you know what to do, links on the right…

Alphathon: Teleport me…please?

If I could fly away to some other world, be teleported in a spaceship or transported via TARDIS, I’m not even sure where I would want to go. There’s lots of places I would love to visit – Australia, all of the states of the USA (bar the ones I’ve been to, except I need to revisit California and also visit the other Ivy League schools so I’d have to go back to New York at least too), Italy maybe, Greece, I’d quite like to visit the Greek island that was used as the inspiration and in the film of Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants. It’s beautiful.

Right now though, part of me just wants to go back to Bristol. I want to go and not have to worry about money or where I’m staying or anything. I just want to be there, to see what it’s like living in that beautiful city for at least a short period of time. If I could be teleported there right now, I totally would do it. Forget Beavers, forget everything. It would be wonderful.

I don’t really have much to say on this subject…I just wish I could find a job and/or some money so that I could go back there soon.

I will now catch up with reading the other girls’ work because I’m totally behind and it’s not very fair.

Alphathon: As told by Kenan, Tia, Tommy and Arthur.

There are soo many television programmes that I adored as a pre-teen and even as a teenager. I’ve always been a huge fan of children’s television, long before it all became a little bit less good. It makes me sad because before they stopped showing children’s television on CBBC and CITV I thought it was great. Perhaps part of realising it’s not so great is me growing up, but part of me honestly believes that children’s television just isn’t the same anymore.

Exhibit A: Kenan and Kell – who loves orange soda? K, k, k, kelllll loves orange soda. Is it true? Mm-hmm, I do, I do, I doo-oooo. What’s not to like? Actually, looking back, it drove me crazy. I hated the episode where they won the lottery and lost the ticket. But back then it was everything it needed to be. It was fun, it was funny and it was so wonderful. I even had my own orange soda thing. Who love ice pops? F, f, f, Fiona love ice pops. Is it true? Mm-hmm, I do, I do, I doo-ooo.

Exhibit B: Sister Sister – Tia and Tamara were perhaps two of the greatest sisters that ever lived. What genius that programme was. And you know what, it was a programme where race didn’t matter. Kenan and Kell and Sister Sister both had African-Americans are the helm and there wasn’t any issue what so ever. It seems there’s less programmes like that these days. It’s all about inclusion and multiculturalism and not so much about telling honest stories. And being able to see Tia and Tamara on Twitter now, talking about their current lives, such a great end to a fantastic time of my life.

Exhibit C: The Rugrats – if you were a pre-teen or a child or even a teenager during the Rugrats era, you will understand. I don’t know what the appeal was of talking cartoon babies but appeal it had. It makes me sad that a lot of children’s television is computer generated and full of CGIs because Rugrats, proper cartoons, that’s where it’s always been at for me.

Exhibit D: Arthur – speaking of cartoons, as a teenager I used to watch Arthur, even into adulthood. I loved Arthur, I loved that they never got older (a bit like the Simpsons). The only thing I hate is that they made a computer generated film…and it just wasn’t the same.

Exhibit E: As Told By Ginger – you may not have any idea what this programme was, but it was another cartoon. Only it wasn’t your average cartoon. It was a cartoon aimed at pre-teens. It told the story of Ginger Foutley and she wasn’t your average pre-teen either. Not the standard American pre-teens that were and still are spread across the television. She was smart and she was unpopular and she was really, really, quite like me. I’ll always remember the episode where they talked about the comfort zone (something which I’ve had a lot of love and admiration for) and in the theme tune it goes “someone once told me the grass was much greener on the other side, and I paid a visit, well it’s possible I missed it. It seemed different yet exactly the same. Til further notice, I’m in between. From where I’m standing, my grass is green.” I just found it such an inspiring cartoon, full of hope and maturity that wasn’t in a lot of other television. Sure it had comedy – Ginger’s friend singing “I’m a little seal girl living in the real world and it’s so hard to get by, cause seals can’t even cry” was terribly endearing (so says the popular girl during that episode) and was rather humorous but also extremely sad. I’ll always remember As Told By Ginger as the one programme from my childhood that changed me, that spoke to me, that made me want to be the person I was becoming. It wasn’t a bit of silly fun like Kenan and Kell, it wasn’t talking babies, it wasn’t talking aardvarks. It was real life, my version of life, captured in pictures.

If you want to even understand a glimpse of what As Told By Ginger was about, watch this clip, of a poem that Ginger wrote.

I wonder if I’ll be taking a trip down memory lane with the other girls’ blogs, or whether they’ll be sharing their favourite sing-a-longs, or perhaps something that someone has to say. Check them out, links on the right.

Alphathon: Rapid, rambling radishes…not really, CHOCOLATE CAKE.

FOOOOD! As you may have all gathered by now, food is something I love dearly. If there’s anything I love more than eating food, it’s making it. My favourite thing to bake is most definitely cake.

For Christmas I got a book which had hundreds of different cake recipes in it and at New Year I made, what I consider to be, the best chocolate cake ever. I hardly ever experiment with different kinds of cakes but I’ve really enjoyed doing so in recent months. I actually told Katy S that if the cake worked out I would give her the recipe but never did.

So today, as part of the theme I brought to the Alphathon – recipes – I’m going to share it with you all.

If you like to bake and you like to eat chocolate cake, this is definitely worth trying.

The recipe is actually for mocha chocolate cake, though I don’t like coffee so I substitute the coffee for vanilla essence/extract.

Ingredients:

260g (9oz) chocolate – it suggests dark but I tend to use 1 and a half bars of milk and half a bar of dark, then use the excess to melt and cover the cake. 3 standard large sized bars of chocolate works, I buy ASDAs own.

170g (6oz) butter

200g (7oz) caster sugar

3 eggs

70g (2.5oz) flour – it suggests plain flour but I always use self raising, I actually used sponge self raising flour, extra fine

2tbsp instant coffee dissolved in 2tbsp boiling water – or a capful or more of vanilla essence/extract

What to do?

Melt the chocolate and butter together – it suggests putting it in a heatproof bowl over a pan, or you can do it in the microwave. If you use the microwave then melt the chocolate halfway before adding the butter as that melts a lot faster.

Leave to cool for 5 minutes.

Stir in the sugar, beat in the eggs (a bit at a time) then sift the flour into the mixture and fold it in.

It suggests adding the coffee then, if you use vanilla you can either add the vanilla then or you can add it earlier when you add the eggs.

Bake the cake in a greased tin for 55 minutes on Gas Mark 3/160 degrees centigrade, until it’s firm on top with a slight wobble in the centre. I tend to check on it after 45 minutes. It’s worth putting on a reasonably low shelf – so about halfway in the oven – so that the top doesn’t burn. It might need a little longer than 55 minutes, simply keep an eye on it after 45 minutes.

As I said earlier I use the excess chocolate to melt and spread over the top of the cake.

Be warned that the cake is very sickly so you don’t want to top it with too much. The recipe suggests serving it with cream which might be a good idea. You don’t want a huge piece though, seriously, you’ll regret it later.

I wonder what the other ladies have come up with…don’t forget to have a look at their blogs, links on the right.

Alphathon: Quick Quack Dinorawrs

You want a quick, five minute story about Dinorawrs? Well, here it is, it’s random, it’s weird and quite frankly, it kind of sucks. But ah well…GO DINORAWRS.

“Dinorawrs, Dinorawrs hear us sing, Dinorawrs, Dinorawrs you’re the kings.”

Fillula the diplodocus danced across the side of the school football field with her pom poms high and her smile never fading. When they finished the cheer she ordered the other girls on the squad to sit down and watch the game. It was the most important night of the Dinorawrs season and she was so excited to watch her boyfriend Tee the T-rex defeat their opponents.

‘Babe,’ he shouted, running towards her and wrapping his arms around her. She squealed and relaxed in his embrace, kissing him briefly on the lips before sending him back out to do his job.

‘Good luck Tee, you can win this for us.’

‘For you babe, for you,’ he grinned, running off to join his teammates on the field.

By the end of the game the Dinorawrs had thrashed their opponents, hardly surprising as they’d won every game of the season and the Stegorawrs were pretty tame in comparison. Tee came off the field with a grin on his face and sweat pouring down his scales, he lifted Fillula into his arms and span her around.

‘I’m so proud of you Tee.’

‘So you should be babe, we’re the Dinorawrs and we will win every single time.’

‘You’re going to win tonight in the bedroom too,’ she giggled, kissing him again.

 

I wonder what my fellow Bloggers have written about today… or on Friday, since I’m behind

Alphathon: Pegs

If anyone else wrote Pegs as the title of their blog people would probably assume that they’re talking about the things you hang clothes on a washing line with. Not me, however, as you are sure to already know – my name is Miss Peg.

However, I’m not called Peg or Peggy and my name isn’t Fiona Peg.

It is a nickname.

It’s a nickname that not many people know exactly where it came from. To be honest, the story isn’t that spectacular. I didn’t win some fancy game involving pegs, my name doesn’t make up the word PEG, really, it seems quite nonsensical.

Especially when I tell you that the name Miss Peg comes from my days of writing fanfiction.

Yes, really.

No, I didn’t write about a character called Peg, I have never written a story about Peggy from Eastenders.

In fact, it was way back in 2003 when I became a fan of Delta Goodrem. She used to have this awesome forum which was fully of thousands of fans. It was such a lovely place to be back then and there was a real sense of community. It was an international forum for people from all over the world.

A girl, who became known by the name Bicky (ever noticed that when you’re trying to type V sometimes you press the B instead? That’s where her nickname came from) started up a topic known as The Fantasy Script (FS). No, we didn’t write erotica. It was basically fanfiction. It was our opportunity to write about Delta Goodrem’s character Nina Tucker, in Neighbours. And of course her love interest Jack Scully.

To cut a long and boring (and somewhat over exaggerated) story short…seven children, five grandchildren and several deaths later (and Nina and Jack have only just turned 40 – I KNOW!) we reached a difficult stage in the FS world. In actual fact, it all happened in the space of about four months.

People made mistakes, friendships were broken and it became impossible to continue writing the story on that forum.

I was the only person really writing by then. The odd person still joined in from time to time but it had mostly become my baby.

So I set up a new forum, a forum especially for the FS…called…that’s right, The Fantasy Script. It still exists today. Unfortunately the Delta Goodrem forum was closed down last year without notice, thanks to Sony deciding that all of their musicians could no longer have Sony run forums.

Anyway, that doesn’t entirely explain where the peg comes from.

Going back to those four months on Delta’s forum we went back and forth between about ten or so fans writing various different storylines. We’d write our post and at the bottom of us would always write ‘continue’ to say that it’s okay for the next person to carry on writing from there.

I don’t know if you’ve ever tried writing continue really fast when you’re relatively new at using computers (I was only sixteen and it was our first computer that we’d only had for a year or so) but it was actually rather annoying. Every time I tried to write it, it would always come out jumbled up. Of course, nine years later I can write it flawlessly without a problem, but back then I had trouble and so did everyone else.

So what do you do when you hate writing a word?

You come up with a new one.

I dug out our thesaurus (I didn’t realise back then that there was a dictionary/thesaurus website, or maybe it hadn’t been invented yet) and had a look at alternative words for continue.

I didn’t really understand the words that I was looking at, I wasn’t as much of a writer as I am now so I didn’t care as much to learn new words.

However, there it was in the middle of the list:

Peg Away. (http://www.thefreedictionary.com/peg+away)

Now peg away doesn’t exactly mean continue (though back then I believed it meant it enough) but we decided as a collective to use it anyway.

From then on instead of writing continue at the bottom of our posts, we’d write ‘peg away’ instead.

You may wonder how peg away became Miss Peg?

Well, as if we weren’t already dissatisfied enough with continue…we decided to drop the away and it simply became a whole new word.

In our little bubble ‘to peg’ meant ‘to continue’ and so ‘pegged’ meant ‘continued’.

When I finished my writing and I was talking to my FS friends on MSN, I would simply say ‘pegged’ and they understood exactly what I meant.

When we had to move to the new website I had the tough decision of coming up with a new username. I wasn’t all that fond of the username I had on Delta’s forum and so I decided to begin anew, with Miss Peg. I’m not even sure what made me decide to use that exact wording, but it made sense. I was the only person writing, it was my forum and as far as I was concerned, I was the only person that ‘pegged’ so I deserved to have the name Miss Peg.

Several years later and it’s become a proper nickname, to the point where Katy (stares at the other Miss P) called me it when I saw her in January and I had no idea what was going on…simply because in ‘real life’ I’ve never had anyone call me Pegs to my face before.

But I do love it, really. It makes me smile.