The Scamp in Belgium Day 2

I’m not going to lie….I decided on day 2 that the conference was a waste of my time. I’m officially too old for an early researcher designation, and I struggled to find presentations that I wanted to listen to. I met a fantastic woman from Melbourne who actually grew up in California. She had developed an Aussie accent to help her students! It gives me hope for developing an accent living here (I mean, that probably won’t happen, but a girl can dream). She is similar to me in snark and research beliefs, so it was nice to have a friend among the aliens.

I ditched the conference at lunch though to enjoy the sunshine and get a little culture. My first stop was the main square to see the Brabo fountain. Unfortunately, most of the buildings are under construction so I could not see much.

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The statue gets its name from the legend of the city. According to Wikipedia:

The reason is the legend of the name of the city, in which it is said that the giant Druon Antigoon cut off a hand to all the ship captains who moored in the area and refused to pay toll, then throwing it to the Scheldt. The captain of the Roman army Brabo cut off the giant’s hand imitating what he had done. The fountain reflects the moment when the Brabo throws the giant’s hand into the river. According to this legend, the etymology of the name of the city Antwerp is a composition of the Dutch words “(h)ant” (hand) and “werpen” (launch).

However, John Lothrop Motley argues, and so do a lot of Dutch etymologists and historians, that Antwerp’s name derives from “anda” (at) and “werpum”(wharf)to give an ‘t werf (on the wharf, in the same meaning as the current English wharf). Aan ‘t werp (at the warp) is also possible. This “warp” (thrown ground) is a man-made hill or a river deposit, high enough to remain dry at high tide, whereupon a construction could be built that would remain dry. Another word for werp is pol (dyke) hence polders (the dry land behind a dyke, that was no longer flooded by the tide).

Brabo’s hand will become important for me later in the day.

I decided to keep walking to the MAS. It is on the port and used to be a storage depot in the 16th century.

Each floor of the building held a different exhibit. My favourite was the one dedicated to celebrations. It was bright, it was weird, it was cheerful. The last room had an amazing electric band. It was colourful, the music was a cheery circus/jazz music. There weren’t a lot of people in the museum, so I had the chance to wander at my leisure, which I love.

I’d walked myself to blisters along the harbour, and on the way back to the hotel, I decided to stop by Brabo’s Hand Tattoo (https://www.facebook.com/braboshandtattooshop/) to see if they could help me out with a souvenir to mark my time in Belguim. When I first walked into the shop, I was less than impressed. No one acknowledged me and give that it was 30 degrees outside, and about 40 degrees in the shop, I did not see myself lasting long. When the shop assistant finally did acknowledge me and I asked about walk-ins, he mentioned that he had an artist with an opening. The guy was fantastic. I told him I wanted a brightly coloured cactus and within 15 min he had something simple drawn up for me. He also worked really quickly, which I appreciate.

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The cactus sums up my personality. Prickly, but still pretty, and if you can get past the needles, there is a soft nice heart….not to mention I thrive in warm weather and I’m fairly low maintenance.

The music in the studio was amazing, but there was one song that my artist played a few times while I was there that really got stuck in my head. It is hauntingly beautiful, and unfortunately shortly after the video was made the rapper was shot and killed.

I walked home humming this song and thinking about travelling, my struggle with mental health and my horrible sense of direction. I got myself turned around on the walk back and Google maps failed me to the point where I was texting the wombmate practically in tears about being lost. I was so happy to find the hotel by accident.

The work and the motivation to work was still almost nonexistent. Every time I sit down with my laptop and the chapter, I hear my supervisor in my head telling me I am doing it wrong and that I am just going to have to redo what I am writing. It is hard.

I quickly made up my mind that I was going to ditch the third day of the conference to try and get some writing done because none of the papers seemed interesting or worthwhile. There was only one thing that was going to save day three: WAFFLES.

 

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The Scamp and the Writing Challenge: Week 3

I love music related posts. I am about to get fired from a job that could keep in Scotland because my visa got messed up (Apparently it was incorrect from the start, but no one noticed for almost 3 years) and the other 4 jobs I have are keeping me so busy that I have yet to even touch my PhD in awhile.

I’m stressed. Beyond stressed. Every day that I don’t get my results down on paper is another day I am convinced that I am not going to finish my PhD on time.

It is not a good time to be me.

So, having just completed a really relaxing yoga class and cheating on my diet with chocolate, I am more than happy to take on the challenge this week. My task, and I have chosen to accept it, is to put my Ipod on shuffle and write about how the first ten songs make me feel. Now, if my results chapter was as easy to get down on paper as this, I would be done in no time.

First up…

Sheppard: Geronimo

I like this song. I use it as an alarm occasionally so that I can start my day with a little pep in my step.

Second Choice

Matt and Kim: Wires

I could listen to Matt and Kim on repeat. I think they have a funky sound and I got to see them live many many many years ago when they opened for Blink 182. I wished I was that good on the drums.

Coming in third

Sean Hayes: Powerful Stuff

This song actually makes me sad. I think Sean Hayes has a great voice, but I used to dance in my kitchen with David to a Sean Hayes song. It’s been five years since he ripped my heart out and these songs still make me a little sad when I think about the kitchens and Bar exam prep and a future that is now just one of those things that you grow out of.

Four on the door

Kaiser Chiefs: I Predict a Riot

When this started it made me laugh because I saw them play live with David. We hadn’t really been dating that long, and not many people knew, but he invited me to go when a friend of his couldn’t go, and most of his law school friends were there. They called me library girl, tried to get me drunk, and made me dance around like an idiot with them because they said I was far too serious to be at a concert. It was a fantastic show.

Alive with five

Lake Street Drive cover of: Rich Girl

I first heard this song in a Starbucks in Scotland when the lifemate and I were doing uni work together. Now I listen to it on repeat. Constantly. I love this cover. For me, it is better than the original version.

Six in the mix

Miranda Lambert and Carrie Underwood: Something Bad About to Happen

My life motto.

Seven is heaven

B.B. King: The Thrill is Gone

Soul. Every playlist needs some good soul.

Eight is great

House of Pain: Jump Around

I have a huge love for 90s rap. I know all the words to this song and sing it as loud as I can in my car, in the shower, and in pubs.

Devine Nine

George Baker: Little Green Bag

I only know this song from one of my favourite movies. I think it also happens to have one of the best soundtracks of all time. I like to listen to the soundtrack when I am on my way to the airport for an adventure.

and finally TEN

Rachel Platten: Fight Song

Fitting. When I was really at a low point last year, I downloaded this song after seeing a video of Rachel Platten singing it with a pint sized cancer warrior. I figured if that little girl could be strong then I could try and be strong as well.

Bonus songs:

The Scamp’s Autobiographical MixTape

Yesterday I ranted. Today I make a mix-tape….or a playlist for all you young people. This is one of the writing challenges that I did not do when I was saving all my brain and finger power for my thesis (or for writer’s block). The challenge is to make a playlist that would tell a stranger exactly who I am. Should be easy enough. It should also be fun, and I could really use some fun. I’m still not getting much writing done, and really do not want to think about Critical Theory, Social Constructivism, and Pragmatism and how they are used to create a coding system when reading interview transcripts.

If someone would like to write that up for me, I would be really grateful. Just leave a note in the comments section of how I can get in contact with you and just know that you will have my enteral loyalty.

So, in no particular order, here is the Scamp’s Autobiographical Mix-Tape

 

 

 

 

The Scamp and the Writing Challenge: Week 9

Greeting from California!

The writing challenge for this week is to make a playlist of five songs to describe my week. I like this. I like music, and I often create a soundtrack for my life. I’m just warning you now that there is going to be more than five songs because I’m just having way too much fun with this. I’m going to start with Tuesday. Up first, a little 2pac

Every time I come to visit my heart space I hear this song in my head. I know that my travel day is going to be busy, but I usually get excited and can’t sleep the night before, and I never sleep on the plane, but by the time I land I have my third wind and swear I can smell real Mexican food, which makes it all worth it. I was very very very lucky and had two really easy flights with no one sitting in the seat next to me.

Song two: Estelle: American Boy

I sing this song when I land in London. It’s catchy and it makes me laugh.

Song three, Wednesday: The 1975: Chocolate

Hi my name is Kim and I am addicted to chocolate. I wasn’t as tired as I thought I would be and there was sunshine, so I was able to sit in the backyard and enjoy some vitamin D. I also went shopping with my mom and resisted the urge to buy all things chocolate. It worked…until I walked outside the store and the Girl Scouts got me with the cookies (and I already ate them while I checked my mail and had a Skype session).

Song four, Thursday: Best Friend

I spent Thursday hanging out with the little muffin and had some adventures in the neighborhood. He chats a lot more than the last time I was here, and we had a great day in the sunshine.

Song five, Friday: The Working Song

Friday was another day with the Muffin running errands and getting ready for a mega birthday bash. I picked up one of the best from the airport, another drove 5 hours to be here and I had myself a nice little reunion with the boys from Merced. I was surprised that they would come down for the party. I had a lot of fun with the Muffin going shopping for food, drinks, and party decorations. He is a good partner in crime.

Song six, Saturday:  LMFAO: Party Rock Anthem

40 people later. We partied. I got overwhelmed, got to see a lot of people that I have not seen in years, and missed out on having some tasty cake.

If I had a song for today it would be one of those sound machine recording of soothing sleep sounds. This week has worn me out. I’m almost out of the waiting room of my 20s. Who knows what will happen? I’m sad to say that I am not going to complete my list of 30 things to do before I am 30. I’m not sure how I feel about it. I really wanted to complete that list. It looks like it is now going to be 30 things to do before I’m 30 and a half.

 

 

The Scamp Crosses One Off the List

Technically I get to cross two things off the list. The first is number 17: Create something original. I have been working on a draft of a paper on programme focused approaches to feedback, and it is finally approaching that point where it is ready to be sent out for publication. I guess I can’t really cross it off the list yet since it hasn’t been published, but it makes me feel good that it is almost there. I’ve been working on the paper for almost a year. I’m ready for it to be done.

The other activity that I can cross off the list is seeing one of my favourite bands in concert. While I am still holding out hope to see the Mighty Mighty BossTones or the Fratellis, I was able to go to Glasgow this week and see Less Than Jake! I haven’t seen them live since I was 17 years old. I remember that I was with two of my friends, Lori and Mallory, and we drove to the House of Blues at Downtown Disney. I don’t remember any of the opening bands, but I remember it was raining really hard and after the show we drove through Del Taco and got snacks. This time around I took the train and some buses to get a little ska nostalgia in my life. We had tickets to be on the balcony so that I would not get overwhelmed by all the people, and from 6pm to 11pm Errol and I enjoyed the strange tendency of Scottish people to stand still at concerts, and three interesting bands before being rewarded with Less Than Jake.

The first band was awful. They didn’t know if they wanted to be a metal band or a pop punk band. I have no idea what they are called. The assault on my ears was bad enough.

The second band is called The Bennies. They describe themselves as ‘Australia’s #1 party band playing Psychedelic Reggae Ska Doom Metal Punk Rock from hell!’ Errol described them as:

Ok. So, The Bennies – Australian herb loving hair band that’s basically Andrew WK meets Saves the Day. I’m pretty in.

I’m not really into smoking weed, but they sure are, and they were the happiest band I’ve seen live that wasn’t geared for kids. They completely love what they are doing, and they are having a really good time doing it. It doesn’t hurt that they are from Melbourne. The lead singer was wearing these really crazy red yoga pants and a hat covered in pot leaves.
The next band hails from my original neck of the woods. They are called Marachi El Bronx. I really enjoyed them. They are a hardcore punk band from LA, that has a side project where they do their hits set to marachi music. I felt like I was a Sonora High School dance while they played. I wasn’t mad about it.
The last band that played before LTJ was the worst. They are a London based reggae band. They are all fake instruments and show. The lead singer is white and from London. He speaks like he was born in Jamaica, and wants to be black. He rubbed me the wrong way.
When Less Than Jake finally came on, Errol and I were ready to party. I really haven’t listened to them past their album Hello Rockview, but that did not stop my enjoyment of the show at all. Errol went down to the pit, while I enjoyed the show from the balcony. I sang along, danced like an idiot (afterall, I have two left feet and vertigo) and remembered my days as a ska kid. I miss those days. I didn’t get home until 1:30, and I was a mess of a human on Monday, but it was worth it.
Now to work on having a solid draft of my thesis chapter completed, and creating a sleep schedule that doesn’t involve me not falling asleep until 3am and not waking up until 1 pm. I am also now just two posts away from 400! I have to really start thinking about what 400 will look like.
  1. Learn how to drive in the UK.
  2. Present at an academic conference
  3. Start a new tradition
  4. Go back to therapy
  5. Visit three new countries (1/3 done with my trip to Malta, next up, France in November and Hungary in December)
  6. Ride in a hot air balloon
  7. Quit the tutoring centre
  8. Volunteer for a literacy programme
  9. Read a book that has more than 500 pages
  10. Make my bed everyday for at least three months
  11. Have a solid draft of my thesis completed
  12. Master scorpion pose
  13. Attend the symphony
  14. Learn a rap song from start to finish
  15. Host a dinner party
  16. Create a  budget so I can pay down my student loans
  17. Create something original
  18. Create a solid workout regime
  19.  Go on a long hike (6 miles or more)
  20. Learn to dance
  21. Eat an exotic meal
  22. Learn to cook a fancy meal
  23. Yell at a football match
  24. Go horseback riding
  25. Master British spelling and punctuation
  26. Create a good sleep schedule
  27. See my favorite group in concert
  28. Fall in love
  29. Stop holding grudges
  30. Let go of my expectations

The Scamp Crosses One Off the List

It is the first day of May. I’m not sure where the last few months have gone, but my calendar tells me that it is already May.

On the upside, I have been collecting interviews all week and I was able to knock two more things off my list of 30 things to do before I am 30.  After a few tears and a wait list, and some phone calls, I have finally found a therapist. That was some much needed good news, and while the financial investment is stressing me out a little, I am so relived that I can finally get the much needed help that I needed.

The second activity I got to cross off the list was going to the symphony. The Royal Scottish National Orchestra presented Stravinsky’s Symphony in C. Led by guest conductor Thomas Søndergård, the orchestra delighted my ears for almost three hours. Thanks to my status as a student, I was able to get really great seats for a super discounted price.

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(Don’t worry, this was before the show started)

I learned a few things at the symphony.

  1. People do not know how to dress for a night out. Errol and I got dressed up real fancy, and most people in the concert hall were in jeans.

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2. I have no idea when you are supposed to clap. The orchestra was amazing. I wanted to clap after each movement, but no one clapped until the end of the entire piece. Then, each time the conductor left the stage and came back, people behind the scenes clapped to make sure that the audience did.

3. Conductors, good ones, get really into their craft. Thomas Sondergard is a really good          conductor. He was super entertaining to watch.

4. Your mind wanders when listening to music. I found myself daydreaming a lot. I loved the music, but it lulled me into a sleepy state and I started to think about all kinds of random things.

5. I would go to the symphony again. It was a great way to spend a few hours listening to music and not thinking about work, people, stress, anything. It was fun to get dressed up and be an adult, and it was really fun to watch people who clearly love music.

Here was the running order for the evening:

Schubert Symphony No3
Stravinsky Symphony in C
Schubert Symphony No4 Tragic
Stravinsky Symphony in Three Movements

 

Igor Fyodorovich Stravinsky was truly a gifted composer. According to his Wikipedia page:

Stravinsky’s compositional career was notable for its stylistic diversity. He first achieved international fame with three ballets commissioned by theimpresario Sergei Diaghilev and first performed in Paris by Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes: The Firebird (1910), Petrushka (1911) and The Rite of Spring (1913). The last of these transformed the way in which subsequent composers thought about rhythmic structure and was largely responsible for Stravinsky’s enduring reputation as a musical revolutionary who pushed the boundaries of musical design. His “Russian phase” which continued with works such asRenard, The Soldier’s Tale and Les Noces, was followed in the 1920s by a period in which he turned to neoclassical music. The works from this period tended to make use of traditional musical forms (concerto grosso, fugue and symphony), drawing on earlier styles, especially from the 18th century. In the 1950s, Stravinsky adopted serial procedures. His compositions of this period shared traits with examples of his earlier output: rhythmic energy, the construction of extended melodic ideas out of a few two- or three-note cells and clarity of form, and of instrumentation.

The symphony was definitely one of the more fun activities to cross off the list. I am 20 days away from completing number 10, and I am thinking to combine part of 5 with 6 and go to Turkey to ride in a hot air balloon. I’ve also been fantasy planning a million different trips, but hope to get at least one in the books for June or July….even if it just a quick weekend away.

  1. Learn how to drive in the UK.
  2. Present at an academic conference
  3. Start a new tradition
  4. Go back to therapy
  5. Visit three new countries
  6. Ride in a hot air balloon
  7. Quit the tutoring centre
  8. Volunteer for a literacy programme
  9. Read a book that has more than 500 pages
  10. Make my bed everyday for at least three months
  11. Have a solid draft of my thesis completed
  12. Master scorpion pose
  13. Attend the symphony
  14. Learn a rap song from start to finish
  15. Host a dinner party
  16. Create a  budget so I can pay down my student loans
  17. Create something original
  18. Create a solid workout regime
  19.  Go on a long hike (6 miles or more)
  20. Learn to dance
  21. Eat an exotic meal
  22. Learn to cook a fancy meal
  23. Yell at a football match
  24. Go horseback riding
  25. Master British spelling and punctuation
  26. Create a good sleep schedule
  27. See my favorite group in concert
  28. Fall in love
  29. Stop holding grudges
  30. Let go of my expectations

The Scamp Expierences Beatlemania

I love musicals.

I’ve been lucky enough to see quite a few, and even got to be an extra in Priscilla, Queen of the Desert a couple of years ago when I saw it with my mom and sister in Hollywood. Last night I was lucky enough to be invited to the Edinburgh Playhouse to see Let It Be, an amazing tribute to the Fab Four.

The show encourages singing along, standing up to dance, and lots of audience participation. I am a fan of the Beatles, a fan of the my friend who invited me to be her plus one, and a fan of musicals. We were lucky enough to have some great seats, and thanks to an atmosphere of Fab Four fans, I got to enjoy my Monday night letting it be.

It was very fun to watch people that have been fans since the very first performance, and fans that came way later to the game and the culture that the music represents. The women sitting next to me knew all the words, screamed very loud, and probably would have slept with the impersonators given the chance. All in all, it was a great evening. The Edinburgh Playhouse was built in 1929 and holds over 3,000 people. It is the UK’s largest non sporting event theater.

This is the second musical that I have had the pleasure of seeing this month. At the start of April I had saw I am Thomas

It was a very strange show, but strange in a good way. Dec and I were definitely among the youngest in the audience, and he was probably the only person who understood not only the history, but all of the football references that were used to tell the story of the last man publicly executed in Scotland for blasphemous speech. It was a good birthday present, and another chance to see a beautiful theater in the city.

The Royal Lyceum Theater was opened in 1883 and holds almost 700 people. I wouldn’t mind seeing another show there soon.

Next week I will be off to the symphony at the great Usher Hall. It gives me a chance to cross another activity off my list of things to do before I am 30, and spend an evening pretending that I am cultured.