Sometimes, I listen to Yann Tiersen accordion music on my headphones, and if I stare at my feet for long enough while I’m walking, I can pretend I’m in Paris. Then I wonder what I’d get up to in Paris.
I think I’d start by riding a bicycle, although I wouldn’t do it for long because that involves being on roads and as we ALL know, I’m not good at crossing roads as I’m nearly always hit by a vehicle. So I’d get off the bike, and that’s when I’d bump into Audrey Tautou. And I’ll be all “OMG HI!!” and she’d be like “OMD SALUT!” (that’s ‘oh mon Dieu’, b-t-dubs). Then she’d be all “Hey Ben, want to be my best friend?” and I’d be like “Soz Audrey, my best friend is Bex, but you can be next ifyouwant?” and she’d be initially disappointed, but then get over it and take me shopping (she’s such a generous friend). We’d buy nice suits and have pastries in a café. Later on, after she’s called her agent and booked me in for the next big (but small) and popular (but unheard of) French flick, we’d part ways and promise to text each other - which we will, because Audrey and I are nice, loyal people who keep promises. Then I’ll get back on the bike and get promptly hit by a car.
But it’s ok - this is Dream Paris, so I just black out for a little bit and then come to, with crowds of beautiful French people swarming to see if I’m ok. I am, and frantically grab my bags-of-Parisian-fashion, then dust myself down.
I walk to the Seine and admire the typical French view. There are baguettes strolling along the river bank, arm in arm. Onions and snails on bicycles have learnt how to avoid the garish traffic of the city, and, unlike me, manage not to cause any major road accidents. Marie-Antoinette walks by and compliments me on my purchases. “Thanks babes,” I say sweetly, “want to go and get some bread or summink?” And she’ll be like, “Don’t think I’ve got any bread.” And I’ll cheerfully say “WELL THEN LET US EAT CAKE.” And we’ll laugh together. Long and hard. But I won’t go and get any cake in the end because apparently she didn’t actually say that. We’ll just move on with our lives.
Then I’d go to New York, sit in a bar, and then THIS WOULD HAPPEN:
[From the British Psychological Society Research Digest (it arrives in my inbox every now and then and makes me feel clever and reminds me of the old psychology days. sigh. My entire undergraduate dissertation was on the effects of caffeine on the consolidation of memory.)]
Coffee helps women cope with stressful meetings but has the opposite effect on men
If a meeting becomes stressful, does it help, or make things worse, if team members drink lots of coffee? A study by Lindsay St. Claire and colleagues that set out to answer this question has uncovered an unexpected sex difference. For two men collaborating or negotiating under stressful circumstances, caffeine consumption was bad news, undermining their performance and confidence. By contrast, for pairs of women, drinking caffeine often had a beneficial effect on these same factors. The researchers can’t be sure, but they think the differential effect of caffeine on men and women may have to do with the fact that women tend to respond to stress in a collaborative, mutually protective style (known as ‘tend and befriend’) whereas men usually exhibit a fight or flight response.
The study involved 64 male and female participants (coffee drinkers at the University of Bristol with an average age of 22) completing various construction puzzles, negotiation and collaborative memory tasks in same-sex pairs. They did this after drinking decaffeinated coffee, which either had or hadn’t been spiked covertly with caffeine (the equivalent of about three cups’ worth of coffee). Stress was elevated for some of the pairs by telling them they would shortly have to give a public presentation, and by warning them that their participation fee would be performance dependent.
How large were the caffeine effects? The men’s memory performance under stressful conditions with caffeine was described by the researchers as ‘greatly impaired’ whereas caffeine didn’t affect women in the same situation. For the construction puzzles, caffeine under high stress conditions led men to take an average of twenty seconds longer (compared with no caffeine) whereas it led women to solve the puzzles 100 seconds faster.
A short-coming, acknowledged by the researchers, was that there were overall few effects of stress on the participants’ performance, no doubt in part because they’d been told they could bail out any time they liked (although none of them did). Further research is clearly need to replicate the findings and explore the possible underlying mechanisms. Such work is urgent, the researchers concluded, ‘because many … meetings, including those at which military and other decisions of great import are made, are likely to be male-dominated. Our research suggests that men’s effectiveness is particularly likely to be compromised. Because caffeine is the most widely consumed drug in the world, it follows that the global implications are potentially staggering.’
St. Claire, L., Hayward, R., and Rogers, P. (2010). Interactive Effects of Caffeine Consumption and Stressful Circumstances on Components of Stress: Caffeine Makes Men Less, But Women More Effective as Partners Under Stress. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 40 (12), 3106-3129 http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1559-1816.2010.00693.x
“So avoid using the word ‘very’ because it’s lazy. A man is not very tired, he is exhausted. Don’t use very sad, use morose. Language was invented for one reason, boys - to woo women - and, in that endeavor, laziness will not do. It also won’t do in your essays.”— John Keating, Dead Poet’s Society (via paulavaleria)
Hope you are well. Just thought I’d write you a quick message to let you know that I’m getting paid tomorrow. This means that I will be buying you. I hope you don’t mind my contacting you in this way, but I felt it was necessary.
Thanks for all your help and support over the years. Hope to see you soon.
One thing that my job is definitely helping with is my geographical knowledge of the USA.
Seriously - I can now (according to Sporcle; that prestigious self-examination tool) name nearly all of the states AND label them on a map. I keep forgetting Wyoming and Kentucky. Not that it’s a massive problem. And I also actually don’t need to know all this information but my constant trawling of American thespian websites has brought me this knowledge, whether I wanted it or not.
I don’t think this is enough of a personal achievement to keep me employed here.
1) I seem to be just re-posting hilarious pictures from other people’s blogs and then writing inane comments below them. This is not exactly stellar blogging.
2) Aesthetically, I prefer to look at my blog when it has sections of text interspersed with pictures, rather than just PICTURE PICTURE PICTURE funny comment PICTURE. It makes me feel more at one with the blog when I reflect my own aesthetic needs within its structure.
1) Cease the use of the word ‘like’ in the middle of sentences when it is completely unnecessary. You know what I mean - when you say, like, stuff like this. (This can also be expanded to include the use of the word ‘random’ when I actually mean ‘unexpected’ or ‘somewhat of a surprise’.)
2) Expand music collection to include the music I’ve been meaning to listen to for AGES (i.e. the entire back catalogue of The Smiths and Joni Mitchell, plus others).
3) SAVE money. (Not SPEND it.)
4) Go to the theatre once a week. (And yes, I realise the ironic juxtaposition of resolutions 3 and 4. And 2, come to mention it.)
5) Stop ending every sentence with further parenthetical comments. (Oops.)
I love how my resolutions involve buying things and grammar. Oh lol.
““The problem with sexist, racist, homophobic, transphobic, classist, ableist, etc., remarks and “jokes” is not that they’re offensive, but that by relying for their meaning on harmful cultural narratives about privileged and marginalized groups they reinforce those narratives, and the stronger those narratives are, the stronger the implicit biases with which people are indoctrinated are. That’s real harm, not just “offense.”””—I Don’t Care If You’re Offended by Scott Madin (via inherhipstheresrevolutions)