I have high writing standards. So does my lecturer for my practical statistics course, which is fine – we are, after all, being judged on our writing.

So when I take the time to carefully compose an email to said lecturer to explain that my group has somehow managed to submit the same file twice online, rather than two different files once each, and her response in its entirity is:


It is somewhat infuriating.

Apart from anything else, it takes, what, twenty seconds to write:

“Dear Rachel, thank you for letting me know. This should be fine. Dr. XYZ.”

It seems students aren’t the only people who could benefit from reading this unprofessional emails post.

This Morning I…

Wake up at 7am. Get up at 7:30 ish, once radio 4 has finished telling me what’s going on in the world. Drink a cup of tea and be ready to go supermarket shopping by 8, because J hired a car this weekend and I’m damned if I’ll let him take it back before we’ve used it for something helpful. And on the short drive to the shop I feel:

overheated; nauseous; faint; angry; tired; shaky; tearful.

Why? Because I’ve been awake for over an hour and haven’t eaten.*

This happens every time I don’t eat within half an hour of waking, and I’ve got so used to it that I forget this isn’t what most people experience. I’ve been avoiding going to see a doctor about my eating habits, because a now not-so-secret fear of mine is that I’ll end up with an eating disorder and not be able to enjoy food ever again. But I think I might have reached a point where seeing a doctor might be helpful.

*Dear anybody who ever stays in my house,

If I’m surprised that you don’t immediately raid my fridge, freezer and cupboards in search of breakfast foods when you wake up, this is why. Oh – and this is why I give guests the living room (also the kitchen) to sleep in. Just in case they get peckish.

xxx r.

Things I Don’t Expect To Hear On The BBC: Rape Jokes

Well, the title says it all, really. Last week’s episode of Have I Got News For You featured a hilarious deeply inappropriate “joke” on the subject of Roman Polanski’s new film. Aparently, “it comes out with a 15 rating but Polanski swears it was an 18”.

Yeah. Rape culture. Rampant sexism. Hell, let’s go all-out humourless-feminist: the patriarchy. Just what I want to be reminded of when I’m winding down of an evening. Except for how it isn’t. If it was, I’d watch Mock The Week. Or anything with Russell Brand in it. It’s difficult enough as it is to take off my feminism-glasses – HIGNFY seem to have some weird unofficial policy of having either a woman (white) or a black person (male) on the show, if they have to, but not both at the same time. It doesn’t help that Ian Hislop and Paul Merton are always there, which is already middle-aged white men filling two of the five slots. (Wikipedia tells me, of course, that my impression of the show isn’t completely accurate – they did once have Shappi Khorsandi on as a panelist. I went to see her perform live once; she described herself as “the box-ticker”, since she’s a female Iranian comedian.)

So, because as a woman I have no sense of humour, I wrote to the BBC to complain. I’ll post their reply when I have it. And I’ll award myself 10 points for every bingo card box I can fill. Filling in the “it was a joke!” square is pretty inevitable, I reckon, but I might also get “why are you so aaangry?!”, “I’m sorry that YOU were offended”, “it got lots of laughs”, “there were women in the audience who didn’t complain”, “yes, it was awful, BUT…”, “he didn’t mean it to minimize the severity of rape, so clearly it didn’t”…… and so on.

I’ll take bets in comments as to how many bingo cards I can fill.

Dear Maintainance Men

When there are at least 5 of you in a flat, and a lone woman is the only occupant present, telling her that “you have ways of getting in” to rooms is not appropriate.

Lucky for you that I knew you were joking, and even luckier that you weren’t giving off active creepy guy vibes.

I keep knives in my room.

And I spent a year dismembering pigs’ legs. Believe me, their skin was tougher than yours.

To The Incurable Hippy: An Acknowledgement And An Apology

This is an open letter, and if I thought that it would be welcome, I’d have started it with the words “Dear Incurable Hippy”. But if I’m angry with people, the last thing I want is for them to be civil without saying anything helpful. So I’m not going to do it here.

What I would like to say is that the Sheffield Fems as a group have been wrong, and have done wrong, and that I, personally, have done wrong. And for all of that, I am sorry.

I don’t want to try to offer any glib explanations.

I have been wrong. I haven’t done enough. I saw your post last time you publicly showed how angry you were. I saw it and brought it up at a meeting and asked that something be done about it. I didn’t follow up on it. I should have done. I should have kept asking, and kept looking for different venues, and kept insisting that we did something about the pub, and I didn’t do any of those things. I don’t hold the Sheffield Fems email account, and I used that as an excuse to distance myself from it, and from you.

I am very, very sorry.

As of yet, we haven’t had to pay for the use of the room in the University Arms. But that doesn’t make it right. I can’t – and wouldn’t – argue with any other point you make. You’re right. And it’s my fault as much as – if not more so – than anybody else. Because I was the one who first saw the post you wrote last time, and I didn’t do enough for you.

Although I can see that by now, it’s unlikely you’d ever want to associate with me (or with the fems in general), I would like to promise you that this time, I won’t let it rest. As I should have done the first time, I consider myself warned. I am ashamed of myself.

I have been ablist. You’d think I’d know better. I will try my hardest to make up for that, and make sure that I don’t do it again.

I hope you can accept this as a sincere apology, but I understand if you can’t. Either way, and regardless of whether we ever meet (although I hope that we do, one day), I wish you well.

This is a response to this post.

I Write Letters

After Peter commented on yesterday’s irate post about the TV licensing people, I ambled over to his blog to check it out. And then had a bit of a think, and I got a bit more angry. If they were only trying to intimidate me, that wouldn’t be so bad. But they’re not. It’s a form letter they’ve set me – it doesn’t even have my name on, for goodness’ sake – and I discovered this morning that one of my flatmates had thrown an identical letter straight into the bin. So they’ve sent this abusive pile of crap to every student they can get hold of, is my guess. So I’m writing a letter. And it looks a litte bit like this:

“To whom it may concern,

Today I recieved my third unsolicited letter from your company. I would like to register my anger at being contacted in this way from a company with whom I have no intention of doing business, and my displeasure at feeling pressured into contacting you.
Allow me to state clearly here: I do not own any form of “television receiving equipment”.

I have found all correspondence from you to be unnecessarily intimidating in both language and format, and also misleading. I refer primarily to the top page of my most recent letter, which prominently displays figures in such a manner as to suggest that I owe the sum of £139.50 in unpaid fees. Clearly, this is not true, and I resent the implication.

On recipt of this letter, I called the telephone number provided in the hopes of ceasing all further correspondence. However, I was informed that I may receive not only another unsolicited letter, but also a visit from your employees. I was also addressed in that conversation as “Miss”, despite requesting otherwise. While I have no complaint to make against the woman who handled my call, who was courteous and helpful, I would like to recommend that your database be updated to provide at least the option of using the title “Ms”. I can understand a need to have a title to address me by, but feel that there can be no reason for my marital status to be any concern of yours.

Your letter informs me that I can stop the investigation into my address by letting you know that I do not need a television license. This being the case, I do not expect to be disturbed by any visits from your staff, and, other than a confirmation of recipt of this letter, I do not wish to receive any further mail.”

I was very angry last night.

In other, slightly more pleasant news, I will also be writing a thank-you letter to the bus company. Earlier this week, my bus was delayed to the extent that despite leaving plenty of time, I was 10 minutes late to my exam. I asked the bus driver if I could take his name, in case the university asked me to prove why I was late, and he gave me not only his full name, but the number of the bus, the timetable it was meant to run to, and a statement to the effect that the bus was 20 minutes late and there was no way that I could have done anything about it.

So I’m going to write a nice letter to his company, and hope he gets a bonus for being lovely!