Sick bed reflections

Today marked a turning point. For the first time in three weeks I woke up to an alarm, got out of bed (on three occasions in the last week there have been alarms, but simply to make multiple calls in an attempt to get a Doctor’s appointment) and went to work. Shock to the system to say the very least. I think this is the longest I’ve worn actual clothing (as opposed to PJs) since the day I travelled back from Belfast.

Over the last few weeks I’ve learned a lot. I’ve discovered that you are never too old for daily motherly calls to check on your health and that it is always reassuring to have their back-up that you shouldn’t be at work. (In our home, sick days were so rare that parental approval to stay off school really meant something.) I’ve realised that one needs a lot of patience to get anywhere with the NHS – especially during holidays – and that it’s kind of fun being the person in the Doctor’s waiting room with the awful cough that everyone wants to avoid. Most of all, I’ve come to the opinion that while a couple of sick days can be something of a novelty, several weeks of feeling extraordinarily rubbish truly suck – especially when they coincide with Christmas, New Year and the only time in the year when you get quality time with your whole family.

But enough whimpering and moping. I’m on the road to recovery and 2011 will get better, soon. In the mean time, I have a few sick day tips for you…

1. Do not underestimate the power of multiple pairs of PJs. By this I mean that it’s great to have more than one pair to wear during a day – one to sleep in and then a clean pair to change into after a shower to wear during the day (with underwear) and then change out of at bedtime. This means that you have the illusion of getting dressed and an idea of wearing actual clothes, but are still comfy enough to just crash out on the sofa or in bed. Plus, you don’t spend the day dwelling in sweaty night-time PJs – gross. It’s even better when your ‘daytime’ PJs are brand new Christmas PJs from Fat Face. Of course, this only works if you’re not in a fit state to leave the house as one doesn’t pop to the shops in one’s PJs…

2. However desperate you get, do not fall into the trap of watching Wedding House. I love a good bit of daytime TV, preferably of a house buying/DIY variety, but this show truly takes the biscuit. It’s basically a company that will arrange your entire wedding for you, down to the last detail and each show features three or four couples getting hitched. The fact that all the planning is taken out of your hands severely disturbed me, and some of the company’s idea were quite frankly bizarre. Channel 4 has been forgiven for this piece of scheduling though, being as it followed a daily dose of Glee – meaning that on Friday I saw the last episode of season 1 prior to season 2 starting tonight.

3. Delve into nostalgic DVDs. Last time I had a sick day back in the summer, I ended up ordering Party of Five (and buying Ally McBeal a couple of days later). This time, I was lucky enough to have been given hours of classic entertainment at Christmas, so was able to spend an afternoon in front of The Worst Witch (the 1980’s original film, not the TV series) and an entire day absorbed in the BBC’s Chronicles of Narnia (currently halfway through The Voyage of the Dawn Treader and loving it in all its retro glory). What you need while languishing is comfort food and comfort viewing, thus old favourites are the best.

4. Make good use of the internet. When you have a nocturnal flatmate, daytime human company can be difficult to come by, it’s therefore something of a sanity saver to be able to chat with humans across the country/world via online means. Thank goodness for Facebook, Gmail, Twitter and sympathetic friends. (The not so sympathetic friends can occasionally be amusing too.)

My final tip for you? Take your vitamins and don’t get your feet wet – getting sick really isn’t worth it.

The things Facebook tries to get you to do…

Sporadically, things crop up on Facebook that are attempts to get people to do random things. Sometimes it’s to highlight a good cause (in a rather random way) – like the recent campaign for women to change their status to the colour of the bra they were wearing (much to the confusion of menfolk) to highlight breast cancer awareness.

I’m not a lemming, so I generally won’t do them. (That, and I like to think that I have enough creativity not to subscribe to mass status updates.) However, some are rather intriguing and others downright hilarious.

Currently there are two doing the rounds. The first is the doppelgänger thing. Apparently, this week is ‘doppelgänger week’ and everyone should change their profile photo to ‘someone famous (actor, musician, athlete) you have been told you look like’. Some of my friend’s photos have been hilariously accurate, like one who bears an uncanny resemblance to Alicia Silverstone or another who (worryingly) looks a lot like Phil from Location, Location, Location. I’ve recently been told (twice) that I look like Kate Winslet (and I renewed love for both those people) but I’m not sure she’s my doppelgänger. Besides, what’s the point of having a photo that’s not actually of you? Hmmm, perhaps I’m just a bit bitter that I don’t have a good lookalike. 

The second is simply to go to the urban dictionary, type your first name in and see what the first three entries are. I wasn’t quite sure what the point of this was, but in a time wasting moment this evening I thought I’d give it a try. The results made me actually laugh out loud, so I thought I’d share. (Though as some of it’s a bit risqué, I won’t reproduce it in full.) 

Liz -Basically the definition of being amazingly cool and fun. Can dance black as hell, whether they’re black or not. Athletic, fun and wild. Gets into trouble a lot. Says stupid things, but people like Liz’s.

[I’d say the first part’s true, the middle part not so much and the last part’s spot on!]

Liz -1. (Verb) The act of being incredibly cool. Commonly misunderstood to mean “one who is attracted to homosexual men.” 2. (Adjective) A positive attribute that one possesses, or can be gained by physical and mental labor, similar to coolness and beauty.

[I like this one a lot, especially since #1 is essentially exactly right…]

Liz – The most beautiful woman in the world. Despite what she may think of herself, she’s very smart, and very, very sexy. She’s also the sweetest person in the world.

[What can I say??]

Ok, essentially very stupid, but isn’t that always the case for the best 5 minute online distractions? 

A baptism of skype (Updated)

The world seems to complain long and hard about the way in which the internet drains life (or at least time) from all of us.

People leave facebook in order to maintain ‘better’ relationships.
We fret over e-mails sent in the heat of the moment or late at night after a couple of drinks.
Communication seems to have become almost too easy, trivialised, taken for granted.
But is it? Personally, I don’t think so and I’ve just watched something that I think has proven this to me. Some friends of mine had their youngest daughter baptised over the weekend, complete with guests from all over the country, plus a couple of Godparents who live in America.
Thing is, the American Godparents weren’t physically there. Their faces instead appeared on the screen of a laptop (carried up to the front and placed next to the font by the mother), courtesy of Skype. They could see the action, commit to their vows and generally get the idea of what was going on. Very clever. I think it might rank as the most creative use of IT I’ve seen in worship for a long time!
Not only that, but the ceremony is now online thanks to YouTube & facebook, so even those who couldn’t make it (even virtually) can now get a taste of the action. Genius.
It did make me wonder whether it’s time for me to get back into Skype. I’ve got an account but very rarely use it. I’ve got a bit of a thing about video-chats (it’s to do with what I get up to at the same time as chatting online…gosh that sounds dodgy!), though I know others swear by them. But, it’s a very good way to stay in touch with friends overseas (and my Dad when he swans off places), and a little more grown up than msn or facebook chat. Something to ponder perhaps?
Update: I feel I should also share another genius use of creative IT by these friends. Three years ago they attempted a Christmas Letter via YouTube. They weren’t terribly successful at it, so edited all their efforts together into a work of comic genius. I don’t think you need to know them to appreciate it!

A web site story

I’m breaking my usual ‘one post per day’ rule because this is too good. It would be perfect for Friday, but I want to share it now.

The clip below merges two of my passions – musical theatre and web 2.0 – creating ‘Web Site Story’, a hilarious parody of West Side Story.
Honestly, you’ve got to love something that turns ‘I feel pretty’ into ‘I use Twitter’ and uses the line “I can’t wait to read about me later on your blog”.
Id embed it, but the code’s too wide for this column so doesn’t meet my high presentation standards. It’s well worth the click-through though. Whose day wouldn’t be improved by 4mins of smile inducement?


Never did I think I’d see the day that this blog would start commenting on something as techno geeky as alternative browsers. (Alternatives to the ubiquitous Internet Explorer, obviously.)

Here are the top 5 things I’m loving & why I might be about to make it my default browser:

1. It spellchecks. Fantastic for ensuring there are no embarassing spelling errors in facebook updates, although slightly annoying in facebook chat because I care less if things are correct there.
2. On opening, it shows you (in nice boxes) your most used sites, so less faffing around with the bookmark tab.
3. It allows me to use facebook, gmail & the guardian website simultaneously on my work laptop – a combination that always had a tendancy to freak out and crash IE.
4. It’s smooth and doesn’t make that annoying clicking sound IE makes. (As a downside, it doesn’t always make the noise for facebook chat, which can mean I miss messages, but that’s minor.)
5. You can type you search request directly into the address bar.

On hearing that I was experimenting with Chrome, my brother-in-law commented on facebook:
Google Chrome? It’s one step away from buying a Mac, reading the Guardian and having dinner parties with people called Jasmine and Jeremy. Stick with IE – it’s fine and it annoys smug Mac gits who don’t actually know any better.

I was particularly amused that his comment had been posted from an iphone. The irony.
The truth is that I’d rather like a Mac, but I’m not brave enough to get one – so this way I can pretend. (Plus, I love reading the Guardian and Jasmine & Jeremy throw terrific dinner parties!)
* Thanks to those who spotted my clearly deliberate spelling mistake in the title of the original post. Clearly writing past 11pm is a very bad idea.