Choo choos making me blue.

Monday, 28 February 2011

I'm only on my second train of the day but already I've waited around the hellhole that is Birmingham New Street for nearly an hour, freezing my tits off and eating a twirl, been offended by the people (many people) who insist upon pushing onto the train before the previous passengers have gotten off and therefore pushing in front of myself whilst I politely wait and now Cross Country trains are hindering my ability of type due to the distinctly wobbly nature of this train. The only light at the end of the tunnel (other than on exiting the dark, dank underground of New Street) was the delightfully friendly ticket man and the fact that I rather like the colour of the seats.

The delightful Birmingham New Street, well overdue for a revamp.

This is all from a person who is very much in favour of public transport.

I don't take a lot of train journeys but once every 4 weeks or so I return to my family and friends back in Wombourne for a weekend of heavy drinking and heavier washing machine usage. I'm the same with buses... I only really used the bus to get to and from Wolverhampton train station. Basically, I'm not a commuter but nor do I shy away from the ticket office.

With all the furor over green technology and one's "carbon footprint" the last Labour government tried to push public transport (not that the current establishment is taking any notice) but it wasn't a success. As always what the buses, trains and metros need is funding and we're not exactly going to get that from the Tories. In January train tickets went up, mine regular one by a fiver but I have seen no improvement. Wolverhampton bus depot is being renovated, it's a beautiful modern building but with the single bus tickers going up it seems (if anything) the service has deteriorated. And the local buses are still as vile as ever.

It seems that in the current economic climate public transport is going to be shoved to the bottom of the pile. It's going to be ignored and stay the same until greater prosperity returns to Britain's economy. That is of course not including London which no doubt will be picture-perfect in time for the Olympics. I'm not against the Olympics it just feels as thought we're just fixing up what you can see at first glance as to impress the visitors. Just because it looks good doesn't mean it's working.

For now the trains and buses will sadly carry on with their work. I will continue to enjoy my journeys but push to the back of my mind the niggling feelings of disappointment.

Home comforts, cosiness and a not-quite-relevant video clip.

Friday, 25 February 2011

Sometimes I wonder how I would define "home comforts". Unlike most people I know in university I wholly consider Lincoln to be my home. Wombourne is just my other home. Is it possible to have two homes? It must be... Wombourne is my family home to Lincoln is my own city where I came to out of choice rather than the geographical location of my Mom.

I think there's two kinds of "home comfort". First there's the material type; a washing machine that I don't need to go to another building to use for a start. Then there's the distinct lack of loud students in Wombourne. If there's loud noise on my street in the wee hours then I'm usually the one making it. I also get woken up by laughing children outside my window rather than the strange squeal of something being done to a tyre at Tanvic (your No. 1 tyre centre) that seems to start at about 7am. Add to that the busy main road outside my window and I don't have the quietest accommodation.

Every time I think of washing machines...

Then there's the flat itself. By student accommodation standards I'm pretty lucky but due to the letting agent's incompetence with maintenance we have a rotting bathroom floor (ooh bouncy) and radiators that don't work properly (damn knobs). It's only now (after living here for 6 months) that we have extractor fans in the windowless/ventless bathrooms.

One thing (for once) I can't blame Lighthouse for is the lack of "cosiness". For a home to be "cosy" is a desired characteristic. Only the British could turn "small" into something so positive.

With all my photos and random objects and (cause I'm actually a small child) cuddly toys, my room does have a certain amount of cosiness but only so much clutter can try and cover up the bland furniture that's identical to every single room in the entire building. Then there's the kitchen, no matter how nice "open plan" seems, having a kitchen with a pile of washing up in your peripheral vision ruins any kind of pleasantness a cheap faux leather sofa, a tv and a pile of DVDs can achieve. It's not a living room, it's a kitchen with a sofa and a fridge that's far too close to the tv.

Our living room next year is big and square, it has an old, well-loved suite and carpet that isn't from the B & Q basics range. There's a chunky coffee table... (though I'm not sure it will ever earn the legendary status of my own coffee table that is current stored in my bedroom back in Wombourne.) We've got a hatstand people... a hat stand. Lighthouse would never provide a hatstand! If they did it'd probably be held together with tape and allergic to hats.

Next year I just have a feeling that I won't want for material home comforts. I'll have my washing machine, everything in the house will work, I won't need a code or a key fob to get home and i'll have somewhere to put my hats. When I travel back to Wombourne I'll be going to see everyone rather than to see everyone and also do as much washing as I can fit into my suitcase. I'll have the proper home comforts, a mom-made meal covered in cling film in the microwave, year old christmas chocolates in the fridge, and evening on the sofa with the mom discussing the latest drama at the Co-op, that long walk up Ounsdale road to see the group or go to my Aunt's. Damnit, I want to go home for family and friends not appliances, my mattress and a nicely decorated bathroom.

Gosh darn it studenthood, why aren't you cosy?

Happy Social Network comes out on DVD day.

Monday, 14 February 2011

I have a strange feeling of pride at the fact that, though now in a relationship, I am still opposed to Valentine's Day. Rather than not liking it for "OHNOESINEEDAMAN" reasons I genuinely feel all of this commercial propaganda is morally obtuse. Why should I dedicate a specific day to love when I live and love every day of the year? And why are cards and flowers and presents all so very necessary to put across this message?

I mean, I like the idea in principle. I didn't through Joe's card back in his face. But he didn't need chocolates, flowers and a cheesy typed message to tell me how he felt. Why do we only have to say these things on this day?

Sometimes I think single people don't like this day more than taken people actually do. Pah, silly commercialisation.


Thursday, 10 February 2011

I am enraged. There is a small group of websites that I visit every day: BBC News, Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Gizmodo and Lifehacker. Gizmodo... Lifehacker... you bastards. Gizmodo, a tech blog, used to look like this...

A nicely designed blog format... simple and accessible. Now however, it looks like this...

I have no problem with the design itself. It looks good. But no longer is it easy to browse the articles, see what's popular (the old style had bigger pictures for interesting articles) or do basically anything. You can't share it without just using the direct link, it's dreadful on slow connections and something weird is going on with the domains. Going to gets you the old format though clicking on links brings you to the new one, redirects to Just what?! Sort yourselves out. I love the Gawker network, stop fucking it up.

Awesome things that the interwebs can do....

Friday, 4 February 2011

The Daily What: This Is All Kinds Of Right of the Day

The anti-gay National Organization for Marriage posted a Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal comic on their homepage by way of a hotlink. So SMBC creator Zach Weiner asked his brother Marty to change the image.

On his blog, Zach adds:

There seems to be this idea out there that action through the Internet has no important effect. Even people I really respect, like Jon Stewart, promote this idea. Well, today, I probably got a message of equality to over 100,000 people, among them members of the other side. This generation fights in a new way, but we fight just as hard.

This is by far the best thing in a while.