I’m not sure if I’ve ever told you this Internet, but from the ages of 11 to 16, I went to a very strict, Christian school. As the title of this blog post may suggest to you, I did not enjoy the experience very much.

This blog was supposed to come to fruition a short while ago, when I asked a friend of mine if he would like to write a post, offering his opinion on religion. He is one of the most intelligent people I know, and he is well-versed in all things Biblical. He gratefully accepted, and it will be a detailed and cohesive explanation on the merits of evolution vs creationism. Until the time when he has the opportunity to sit down and craft the perfect argument, I would like to give you this. It will not be the science behind it, as I am far less qualified to talk about that than he, but rather, my experience with religion and the school that exposed us to it in such a vast quantity.

(The reason behind this blog appearing now is because I recently had the pleasure of meeting acclaimed professor and atheist Richard Dawkins. Total BAMF.)

My parents are non-believers, but I don’t remember ever discussing religion with them during primary school (ages 4-11 for you non-UK’ers). I remember having a Bible story book, that had lots of jazzy pictures of Noah and the ark, and I bloody loved it. I knew there wasn’t any truth to it though, but not because anybody had told me. Just because it wasn’t scientifically feasible. I mean, really. How big was that ark, anyway? Even if it was the size of a cruise ship, how long would it have taken Noah to build it himself? From what I remember, the townspeople thought he was a nutball, so he wasn’t getting any helping hands there.

(At the age of 11, I got into a local school that had an amazing reputation, and consistently highly ranked exam results. Kids had to have tests and an interview to get in, and I was bricking it when I went for mine. Some friends that had already been had said they’d been asked to explain how a kettle works. I don’t even drink tea (which is unheard of in a British person), so hadn’t had many prior dealings with ours. As it turns out, my parents’ efforts to explain what an element does were wasted (I still have no fecking idea). I was stoked to just be asked what nine multiplied by 7 was, and even more chuffed when the interviewer clocked me working it out on my hands, and smiled. It’s 63, by the way. Don’t say this blog isn’t educational.)

Before getting in, I hadn’t given the religious nature of the school a second thought. So concerned was I with passing all of the tests and the interview, that I didn’t really know what to expect come September. I’ll not bore you with a play by play of each RE lesson or school assembly (though they were many and often). It’s easier to give a brief overview, because the message was the same in each: Christianity explains it all. (A spin-off to Clarissa Explains It All, though with less climbing in windows, and more learning about Jesus.)

There was really no other option, but to embrace the idea of Christianity. During those first few years, every one of my friends was a Christian at one point or another, myself (sort of) included. Hearing about the concept of evolution, in one physics lesson when I was about thirteen, was incredible. Admittedly, the teacher himself was a Christian, so it was very much put forward as a theory, rather than a definitive explanation.

I’d never been entirely convinced about Christianity, but more went along with it for an easy life. It was far less hassle to just accept, with a pinch of salt, everything they were telling you than it was to question it. (One RE lesson, a boy asked our teacher where the dinosaurs featured in the Bible. He said we’d cover it in the next lesson. Ten years, I’m still waiting.) I went with my friends to a local Christian event a handful of times. It was a music concert mixed with a lecture, with guests coming in to preach. The last time I went, I was with a group of about seven other girls, and at the same moment, they all began to cry. Having felt God “speak” to them, they were so moved. That’s the point where I thought, ‘Right, this is all a bunch of bollocks,’ and I’ve never looked back.

I would just like to clarify, I don’t blame Christians for their beliefs, and I’m certainly not singling them out. I feel the same about all religions, just this is the one I’ve had the most experience with.

I am an Atheist because I place my belief in science. I am informed, know the arguments on both sides, and am well aware of why believers live their lives a certain way. More power to them, really. Whether it’s because of your upbringing or a religious conversion in later life, you’re free to have whatever opinion you want, which is glorious. Believing in a religious notion doesn’t then, though, furnish you with the right to thrust that opinion upon others, which is something I could have benefited from knowing when I was younger. I don’t blame the school for making me an Atheist, but I certainly credit them with it, for which I am eternally (Only until I die; after that, they’re getting nothing) thankful.


Up To Speed

September 15, 2011

June 29th is really the last time I blogged? Hmm, what major events have happened in my life since then? Probably not many. Oh,
I turned 21
I turned 21, whilst in America, legally being able to drink for one whole day. When I ordered my first ever cocktail though, I wasn’t even ID’d, something that ALWAYS happens to me back home, because I have the face of a 12 year old boy
I graduated, along with some lovely friends, with a BA (Um, also it’s an Honours degree, but that is literally the most pretentious thing I’ve ever said and I swear to never mention it again) in Criminology (I still don’t fucking know what it is either)
Went to Edinburgh, Scotland for my fifth Fringe Festival in a row. I’m thinking I might retire the tradition for a while, because currently I have no full-time job and thus, am poor as shite
Met David O’Doherty, my favourite comedian in life, and he WENT IN FOR THE HUG
Not so awesomely, Bearded Boyfriend and I got turned away from Barry and Stuart’s gig, despite having tickets. One thing: Fuck you, Barry and Stuart. Simultaneously.

I can’t really think of any other major life events that have happened that you’ve missed out on. Autumn has crept up on me pretty quickly. This summer I was going to get healthy, and start drawing and painting and writing again, but as you can see, it hasn’t panned out all that well.

Enough about my unexciting life (except for the DO’D hug thing- that’s pretty jokes). Tell me about yours!

I feel like we always go too long without speaking, Internet. Please don’t take this personally. You know I love you, especially when you offer me pictures of cakes or recipes for cakes or cake-based anecdotes. But lately, I’ve just been busy. I thought that after finishing uni, I’d have all the time in the world to speak to you, but it seems I’ve only gotten busier. But I don’t want you to feel too much like a jilted lover, so I thought I could update you on at least one thing that’s going on in my life.
Today I got a letter in the post, telling me that I have passed my degree course in BA (Hons) Criminology. The (Hons) sounds SO fucking pretentious, and I will likely never use it again. Also, people who change their name on Facebook to reflect their recent graduation? May you be smote. So, now I am allowed to fully enjoy the holiday that I’m going on in four days. We’re going to freaking Walt Disney World, a place I haven’t been to since I was 15. Yeah, that’s actually not that long ago. I am a woman-child. You can fully expect pictures upon my return, when I have to consider:
1 Learning to drive
2 Getting a proper full-time job
3 Becoming a real adult
4 Whether pulling a gurning face on my graduation photo will be worth the wrath of my mother, just for the lulz
Hope you’re well, Internet! I love you like a fat kid loves cake. Fuck yeah, cake.

Rage: A Question

May 18, 2011

I have a question for you, internet! Ok, a fairly extensive and tedious backstory, and then a question. I’ll crack on.

Long version:
My manager at work occasionally likes to give us all little product knowledge questionnaires, just to check that we still all know what the fuck we’re doing. Selling items to the general public requires a degree in Pretending to Laugh at Stupid Jokes, and Not Punching Awkward Customers in the Face, but also Knowing What the Fuck You’re Talking About.
She’ll type out the questions, and leave them in our individual folders on the laptop we have. We’ll then dick our way through them, and save them back into her folder. Simple.
I had been in work for a 9-7 shift, which is a long time when customers are making you regret signing the oath, swearing you wouldn’t Kick Them in the Nads, but it is ample time to fill in a product knowledge questionnaire. I took most of the day to do it, filling in a bit, then going away to shout at some children, then coming back to it. At the end of my shift, I was pretty happy with it. I’d put in a lot of work, and had only kicked one elderly vicar in the spleen.
Another girl at work had done the same quiz, but had saved it to the public area of the laptop. Being the nosy little bastard I am, I had a read. I wanted to see if she’d done better than me. Upon reaching the end, I saw a note from my manager, saying that her efforts weren’t good enough and that she should read my questionnaire as an example. Awkward.
I then sought out her second attempt, to see if she had taken any of my wisdom on board.
Turns out, she took quite a bit. As much as you can take with the COPY AND PASTE tool. I was reading her second set of answers when I shouldn’t’ve been. Internet, do I have a right to be annoyed?

Short version:
Girl stole my work! I be pissed?

My dissertation seems to be my only topic of conversation at the minute. I think probably because I think about it every waking moment, and I’d really rather not.
I would much rather be drinking, or knitting, or shoving a handful of bees into my mouth, or figuring out what is going to happen in this series of Doctor Who and why it will be so awesome, or learning how to poke a pen into my eye without going blind, or inhaling too many Creme Eggs, or drinking glitter until I explode into a firework, or setting fire to my own torso, or kicking a child in the shoes, or throwing a phone at a pensioner, or riding a pig off a cliff, or licking a cat even though I am allergic, or walking from London to Brazil, or shivving a criminal, or writing a blog post.
My point is, I’d rather be doing a lot of other things.

Food Porn

May 5, 2011

Hey guys, just thought I’d jump on here briefly and express my excitement.
This is the Channel 4 recipes page at the minute:

The first blog featured, Katiecakes, is a blog run by Bearded Boyfriend’s sister Katie. This is awesome for a number of reasons.

Katie’s cake skillz definitely deserve to be recognised by something as huge as Channel 4. As someone who sometimes gets to eat leftover cake, and has had a special birthday cake made for me for the past few years, I can attest to the fact that her cakes are awesome. It’s epic too that hers is actually the first one mentioned, at the very top of the page. Even for people as easily distracted as myself, you can’t fail to notice the delightful looking cupcakes she made a short while back.
Another reason that I’m so pleased about this is that they’ve specifically said, “This is one good looking blog.” Hey, Bearded Boyfriend designed that in his spare time. Also, the “stunning photography” is provided by Katie’s fiance, so it’s a real family effort.
I’m pretty proud of Bearded Boyfriend. The fact that Channel 4 have given him props on his design work is motivation enough that I hope he does more of this type of thing in the future. Win! Hope you’re all having an epic day. If it’s filled with cake, that’s even better.

Blog Pimpin’

April 24, 2011

While I’m here, I thought I’d drop you a couple of blogs I enjoy very much:
Jimmy Liar, a lovely little blog written by an actual online-turned-IRL friend of mine. That doesn’t mean I’m biased, not at all. He’s one of the wittiest and most intelligent people I know, and I’m so excited when I get an email telling me he’s written a new post. I don’t want you to get big-headed though, sir. Your blog’s ok. 9/10. Could do with more pictures of kittens.

Left Bank Manc, a girl who I actually know not at all in real life, so my love is purely objective. I think she’s a friend of a friend, but I don’t know if that counts. A very funny account of a young British girl living in Paris. You think this would be glamorous, but she struggles with Not Being Able to Speak French and Finding a Lego Man Attractive, which is all very much the opposite.

That’s it for now, Interneters. My online-turned-perhaps-IRL-if-this-summer-happens-according-to-plan friend Andrew also once had a blog, filled with excellent stories from his childhood, but that hasn’t been updated in quite a while. I am upset about this. Andrew, if you’ve started a new blog that I’m not aware of, please make me aware of it 🙂
Thank you sirs, I’m off to bed!

So Internet, it’s been a while.

I should start this blog out by saying that it’s 5am, so probably nothing of what I’m about to say will be coherent. I’m sort of sorry for that, but what I’m mostly sorry for is that it’s 5am and I’m not in bed yet. I am going to hate life when I have to get up. Apologies, Future Self.

One of my (many) New Year’s Resolutions was to blog more, at least once a month. I, clearly, have not done that. I don’t think that means I get to start the year over, but I should really take this opportunity to make amends. Should I do five one-word blogs? I think that might be cheating.

Really, this dissertation is taking more out of my than I thought it would. I am really laid back, to the point that I actually don’t care about a lot of things, so working this hard is really weird for me. Normally I knock out essays in one night, like any good uni student, but that’d be pretty impossible for my 8,500 word Everest. It has to be handed in in a couple of weeks time (God help me), so after that I’m pretty much home free, ready to graduate, become an adult and have an ACTUAL social life. Wow.

Because of my stupid workload, I’ve not really had a chance to go out a whole lot, but I have been to see the awesome film The Room twice in the past couple of months. If you haven’t seen it, I can’t recommend it highly enough. A word of advice though- see it in a packed cinema with a load of people who know what’s going on. Watching it at home will not be nearly as enjoyable an experience.

The first time we saw it, I was with Bearded Boyfriend and my Tallest Amigo, and we really didn’t know what to expect. We’d heard a lot about spoons and footballs, but had only really seen short clips on YouTube, so we went in fairly blind. Ah, I wish we were blind. That movie is atrocious, but only in the best possible way. We’ve seen it three times now, and each visit we’ve brought along another Room Virgin. I feel like we’re doing Tommy Wiseau a favour, and spreading his message of utter shite all across Newcastle. You’re welcome, Wiseau.

Check your local listings, religiously. If you see this movie is playing, go. Drag all the people you know that like mirth, and enjoy. Oh, and bring plenty of plastic spoons. Like, hundreds.

A New Blog!

March 23, 2011

As you may have discerned from the title of this post, I have set up a new blog.
I’m a little bit scared about it, as I’ve never done anything of the sort, but hopefully it’ll all pan out well and I’ll be able to look myself in the mirror.
It’s at LauraLiterature, because I’m ALL about the alliteration. I’m planning on reviewing some books, wherever possible. I’ve signed up to a site to get hold of any free books they’d like to throw at me, as well as maybe chucking some of my favourites in there. If anyone fancies letting me know about some awesome books I should read, they could email me, on this here interweb: lauraliterature@gmail.com.
I’m not intending on neglecting this blog, but I thought it might be nice to keep things apart, and somewhat professional. You know, just in case. I can live in hope! I’d be ever so grateful if people went and had a little look. It’s a little bare at the minute, but THIS is what I wanted to share with you:
My sole review on the site is for a delightful little book by Patrick Hruby, and it had me so enamoured that I emailed the man himself. Almost instantly, I got a response, wishing me luck with the blog and other such nice words. What a lovely man. This can only be a positive start.
I’m excited! Pooping my pants, but excitedly.

This blog post was prompted by my watching of the introduction videos to the latest incarnations of the Vloglovers channel on YouTube. It got me to thinking about long distance relationships, and relationships in general. Then it got me to thinking about how I have an exam in six hours, how little revision I’ve done, and how easy it is to forget about that whilst writing a blog post.
My boyfriend and I live about twenty minutes away from each other, by car. That’s three bus rides away, but still not too far, and doable in about an hour and a half. Still, I find it’s too far away. I read a quote recently that at some point during your approach to adulthood, the place that you’ve grown up in just stops becoming your home, and you feel the need to create one for yourself. I mean, I love living at home and my parents are awesome, but I am a proper adult now. I need to go out and explore. I can’t live in my childhood bedroom forever.
When I was about ten, I really liked this boy in my street. I got it into my head that he’d think it was cool if my room had a space theme. Yeah, ten year olds use logic and reason, then apply it to life. The long and short of it is, I still have glow in the dark stars on my ceiling. No lie, it’s pretty awesome, but you see my point. I should be living in a beige apartment somewhere, with wood floors and arty twigs covered in fairy lights adorning my mantlepiece (not a euphemism).
It’s not that I want to trap Bearded Boyfriend into living with me. I don’t want to suck him into my fairy-lit mortgage pit of despair (also, not a euphemism). It would just be nice to come home to a place that I’d worked hard to create. It’s difficult to feel that when you’ve got a part time job and are surrounded with posters of your favourite childhood toys. Sylvanian Families and Pokémon, I’m looking at you.
To bring this back to my original point, I can’t comprehend being in a long-distance relationship. I’ve never done it, and have no plans to. I’m a very touchy-feely (not gropey though, unless I know you well) person. I like to be able to hug people, or punch their teeth out by accident. (Bearded Boyfriend tickled me. I am not responsible for my flailing limbs.)
BB and I are swiftly approaching our three year anniversary. During the month of July, not only will I be turning 21, but it will also mark the time when BB becomes my longest relationship, which is a title I feel he deserves. Anyone who can put up with my irritating self for that long, needs some sort of recognition. And, I am not just saying this to be all ‘Nyerrm, compliment me please! I need validation!’ No, I am fucking annoying. I know this. I have made peace with this. So has he, evidently.
Thank you, if you read this stream of drivel. I’m now going to go back to revising, then will hopefully fit in a two hour nap. How I’m not getting better grades, I’ll never know.