Monday, 28 February 2011

A Day in the Life

This week we are doing photo-centric posts - little photo essays. I decided to take my camera to work with me so I could chronicle my early morning shift for you guys. If any of you read my main blog, My Quarter-life Crisis, you'd know that last week I slept in and was late. Not this week! Yay!

I got up earlier than this actually - I just wanted you to see how insanely early it was.
Walking to work. It was raining and smelled like skunk. Spring is coming.
Huge puddles in the sidewalk reflecting street lights. Good thing I wore my rain boots.
Light in a puddle.
At work. Someone I work with must have drawn this on one of the chalk mugs.
Cinnamon topping!
I thought the cherry danishes looked particularly delicious today.
Espresso portafilters.
Sadly this was my own money. Trying to encourage generosity. 
Rain stopped, but snow continued to melt into huge puddles.
Dirty slush.
I found my bowler hat. But the photo is so dark you can't tell.
 I was trying some sort of 80s Molly Ringwald look here.
So there ya have it - my morning in photos. Now I'm going to nap because it's Monday and that means I have Quiz Night at the pub tonight. I have a bit of a sore throat too, so I want to rest up.

Also, we lost the 20-Something Blogger's Bootleg award for Best Group Blog. Guess not that many people know about us.

I just had to laugh, Tom, I saw the photograph...

See ya Wednesday.

Happy Monday!

Friday, 25 February 2011

I Wish I Was Special, You're So VERY Special

It's going to be hard to compete with Tom and Allison's posts this week (especially since Tom already wrote about the best Radiohead song, "Karma Police"). But at least my post is on time this week! Ack. Soon I'm going to be The Flake instead of The Yank.

Anyway...without further ado, I give you *drumroll* my favorite Radiohead song.

Rocking a mullet in my college dorm room
I discovered Radiohead during my first year of college. In high school, I had been able to survive my teenage "angst" by listening to R.E.M.'s Automatic For The People on repeat. But when I was a college freshman, my "angst" became something that Michael Stipe couldn't cure. I got into the band Muse because of their unique sound and cosmic, incomprehensible lyrics. On one fateful day in philosophy class, I was discussing music with the girl next to me. She was outraged that I loved Muse but had never listened to Radiohead. So she invited me over to her dorm for a listening party and burned OK Computer. Little did I know that this disc would not leave my CD player for weeks (those were the days when I still actively used a CD player).

Yes, I know, I was a bit late to the party on that. Eventually I caught up with the rest of the universe and listened to the rest of their stuff. It's all quite fabulous (in it's own melancholy sort of way, of course) but OK Computer will always be my favorite Radiohead album.

Shortly after I discovered Radiohead, I became a DJ on college radio. I actually had a show on Monday nights that ran for the duration of my college career and it gained quite the cult following. But in the days when nobody tuned in and I didn't know what I was doing, the show was everything you would expect from an amateur college DJ...

(A Radiohead song stops playing)
(A brief moment of dead air)
DJ Lauren: Um, yeah...that was Radiohead. Next is a song by...Radiohead.
(Another brief moment of dead air)
(Another Radiohead song plays)

I'm exaggerating a little bit, but probably not much.

But enough history lessons! Time for me to pick a song already.

Truth is, I'm a little bit torn on which song to pick. I'm so fascinated with OK Computer as a complete entity that I don't know which song to extract from it and call my favorite.

For inspiration, I did a little Wikipedia-based research and came up with this pretty great quote from Thom Yorke in regards to this particular album:

"The big thing for me is that we could really fall back on just doing another miserable, morbid and negative record lyrically, but I don't really want to, at all."

They say it's not a concept album, but it feels like one. There are a few tracks that seem to bleed into each other and complement each other. I think that's why I'm having a hard time picking a favorite.

I should probably just get off my OK Computer soapbox and talk about how "Creep" has been my theme song at various points in my life.

Cliche? Yes. But I've already told you all about loving Radiohead in college and overplaying them on my college radio show and being unable to pick a favorite track on OK Computer because I love them all so very much. I guess you can't really get much more cliche than all of that.

And I think everybody has felt like this at some point in time:

But I'm a creep
I'm a weirdo
What the hell am I doing here?
I don't belong here

At least, I know Tom and Allison have felt like that at some point in time. After all, I think that was the song that started this whole blog collaboration.

I don't currently resonate with the lyrics as much as I have in various moments of the past, but it's still a great song. It's got all the right elements - Thom Yorke's haunting vocals, elegantly placed profanity, the way it plods along and builds into a driving anthem for angst-ridden youth everywhere.

Yeah, "Creep" gets an A+. Just keep all razor blades out of reach when you listen to it.

Ah, I'm beginning to get tasteless. I think that's a sign that I should wrap this up. So (if you've made it this far through my ridiculous rambling), I wish you all a happy Friday and hope everybody has a fantastic weekend! Peace.

- The Yank

Embarrassing propaganda I made for my radio show in college...I think I was over my Radiohead phase and in the middle of my eurodance phase...Also, I look 12.

Wednesday, 23 February 2011

This is what you get when you mess with us

I think Allison did a fine job of explaining exactly why Radiohead strikes such a chord. For me in particular, equipped as I am with a temperament that leans naturally toward melancholy, there are times when no other sound will do. Unlike Allison, I have no musical or historical knowledge. My brain is awash with things that happened today. Tomorrow, it will be empty, filling up rapidly with things that are happening around me. My ability to recall information is almost non-existent, which makes discussion of albums or even band members difficult.

My chosen song, however, was easy: Karma Police is never skipped when my iPod is on shuffle.

Why is it my favourite? Well...erm...I don't know. OK, I'll be honest. I WANT TO BE A KARMA POLICEMAN. Imagine that! I can picture the scene now:

A Karma Criminal is playing crap music out loud on a quiet train carriage, making other travellers uncomfortable and irritable. I notice this, and walk up to him in a cool, calm and collected manner.

"Turn that music off - think of your fellow travellers," I say.

"Or what? Who are you and what are you going to do about it?"

"I'm a Karma Policeman sunshine, and you're nicked. As to your punishment, you will spend a week in solitary confinement, with the sound of a hundred different songs playing all at once when all you want is quiet."

OK, I'm making myself seem a bit insane now, but do you understand my point? Imagine having the power to right the wrongs you see happening around you, to sample the sweet (yet cold) dish that is revenge by making wrongdoers appreciate the consequences their actions have on others. I think I've found my calling.

Realising that a brief, and disturbing, insight into the inner workings of my evidently troubled mind, would not make much of a post, I did take the time to look up the real meaning of the song. And what do you know; it was written for me. I shamelessly lift the following from Wikipedia to illustrate my point:

"It's for someone who has to work for a large company. This is a song against bosses. Fuck the middle management!" Yorke and Jonny Greenwood emphasised in interviews that the song had a humorous bent; Yorke said, "[It's] not entirely serious, I hope people will realize that." Seriously, that's me. I work for a large company and frequently find myself wanting to shout rude words at middle management. I experience rage almost daily, a rage that risks boiling over if, for a minute, I lose myself. I feel, always, that I've given all I can and that it's not enough. My God, this song is ME. The 'not entirely serious part' of Yorke's explanation I'm not so sure about. Rest assured that I've taken this song entirely seriously and, as mentioned, shall devote the rest of my days to becoming a Karma Policeman.

Who you gonna call?
The Karma Police! That's who! And yes, that gesture is supposed to indicate a phone, however it would seem that there's an extra finger raised. At least it's not the middle one!

Monday, 21 February 2011

Ice Age Coming! Ice Age Coming!

Early on, when this blog was merely a fetus, the concept of The Transatlantic Support Group was a joke. Something Lauren said to Tom, or Tom said to of those. Anyways, part of the joke was that “Creep” by Radiohead would be blasted so loud that it could be heard across the pond.

Radiohead shocked the music world by announcing, less than a week prior, that they would digitally release their new album, The King of Limbs, this past Saturday. In honour of that release we agreed to each pick a Radiohead song and talk about it in our individual posts.

I’m not sure how I’ll pick a favourite - that might be hard. It’s kind of like deciding of all the funerals you’ve attended in your life, which was the least depressing. I kid (A) - I like Radiohead, I’m just not always in the mood for them.

They got a lot of flack for their more recent albums, with many stating that Radiohead stopped playing real instruments and just became an electronic band. I actually enjoy the later albums - they’re eclectic. I went through a phase where I was listening to Kid A and Amnesiac on repeat for months in high school. It’s for this reason that I’m selecting a song off of Kid A.


The lyrics to this song seem simplistic, but we all know that no Radiohead song is without some sort of convoluted message. The music definitely represents that electronic sound that some people do not enjoy (I am not one of those people). While this isn’t my absolute favourite by the band, it is one of their more upbeat, techno-type songs. And somedays I'm just not in the mood for their more depressing stuff.

When it comes to British music, Radiohead has always been able to dodge the popular genres. While Pablo Honey and The Bends almost had them slotted in the Brit Pop catagory, Radiohead said ‘No Thanks’ and wrote OK Computer. And we all know the rest (if you don’t, well I don’t have time to explain there transformation).

The only way that “Idioteque” is noticeably a Radiohead song is the distinct vocals of Thom Yorke. It’s Thom’s voice that allows the band to experiment and still be recognizable. He makes the song a Radiohead song. So, while it represents the band’s furthest departure from Rock and Roll, it still seems to fit in with the rest of the catalogue.

I can listen to “Fake Plastic Trees” and “Idioteque” back to back and not feel betrayed by the band. I saw the move towards electronic fusions as innovative - something that a lot of bands and musicians are doing now.

I would love to tell you that I’m listening to the new one as I type this, but I can’t get it to play in iTunes (yet). But I will hear it! It will happen!

Happy listening Tom!

Tired from the weekend. 

I have a bowler hat somewhere...I wish I knew where so I could have taken my embarrassing photo in the style of this video. I kinda love Thom Yorke a bit more because of this.

Sunday, 20 February 2011

Coffee Is My Lover

Ack.  So this is late.  Again.  And I am exhausted, so it will probably be short and not very sweet.  But here it is - the letter to the love of my life:

Dear Coffee,

You're the first thing I want to see in the morning.  I just can't get enough of you.  You are my inspiration, my elixir of life, my love.  You energize me.  You comfort me.  You're black and strong and @#$%ing fantastic.

I just want to pour you in a cup and take you everywhere.  I want you.  All the time.  Yes.

Longer letter later, my love.  I need to go track you down if I want to continue to be awake.

The Yank

(Embarrassing photo to come)

Wednesday, 16 February 2011

Here Comes The Rain Again

"What's that?" I hear you say, "This is supposed to be an open letter to something you love!" That's correct, and rain is indeed something I love. Which is fortunate, being British and all.

Dearest Rain,

I fear language will fail me. How can words describe the depth of my feeling for you? How can I properly express my extreme fondness for you?

We've been lucky enough to share so many good times together. Do you remember how I missed you when I lived in Italy? How my heart yearned to see you again? And, when you eventually arrived, with a gloriously heavy downpour and deafening rumbles of thunder, how I frolicked happily, giggling like a schoolgirl, through the gridlocked traffic in Piazza Repubblica?

Now I'm back in the UK, we see each other far more often than we once did. I feel I've grown close to you again, regardless of that year we spent apart. Even now, as temperatures begin to rise and that pesky Sun begins to peek through the clouds, I know in my heart that the Great British Summer will not tear us apart. Au contraire, you'll make a number of unexpected, out of the blue appearances that will fill me with joy and keep me happy until winter rolls around and we can get better acquainted again.

You understand me, you do. How could you not, after such a long friendship? I'm amazed that whenever I feel down, your grey, threatening clouds reflect my mood and - on the rare occasion that happiness seizes me - how your playful little raindrops bounce merrily off the pavement, sparkling and glittering in reflected light. I know you're not at the top of everybody's guest list, but I don't care about that. You're at the top of mine. I've never been one to worship the popular kid - everybody raves about how great the Sun is, and I don't get it. I'll always root for you - the underdog, the unappreciated.

And that just about sums you up doesn't it, Rain? You're unappreciated. All the good that you do - you make plants grow, rivers flow, my hair look cool. Sure, you've ruined the odd pair of jeans - and there was that time I wore converses with holes in and had to dry out my socks on the hand drier at work. But what's one small blip, one tiny, insignificant misunderstanding in a lifetime of happiness?

It's nothing, that's what it is. While you, my friend, are everything.

As always, I wish you the best and wait with anticipation for our next meeting.

Yours truly,


Monday, 14 February 2011

An Open Letter to Chocolate

"It's Not You, It's Me"
We’re doing Open Letters again! Last time we all wrote letters to things we were pissed off at, this time we've decided to write letters to things we love. But before I post my letter I just want to say to Tom and Lauren that I’m sorry for taking the most obvious letter topic. If you were already planning to write about chocolate, don't let this deter you.

Here we go!

Dear Chocolate,

I’ve never been one for drugs, I can live without coffee, and I’m not much of a gambler, but I do know that out of all of the possible addictions in the world, you are the one I could never give up.

You and I have been together a long time. Many Easter Sundays where I lovingly chomped off the ears of a smiling bunny. Christmases with hot chocolate and mint meltaways shaped like bells. Halloweens where I devoured the tiny fun sized chocolate bars before I would even touch the suckers and hard candies.

But Valentine’s Day - Valentine’s Day is the day I need you the most. Today is the day I am reminded that only my mom buys you for me. While I can laugh at all these couples in “love” eating overpriced food in crowded restaurants, giving and receiving half-dead roses and carnations, I still feel the urge to drink a bottle of pinot gris and wallow in self-pity. But this year I’m prepared. This year I was fortunate enough to have entered your shrine:

The Hersey’s Store.

Yep, I bought myself a chocolate bar the size of my face and I intend to eat the whole damn thing today. So after serving heart-shaped cookies to obnoxious customers, I plan to have a hearty meal of Hersey’s milk chocolate. Mmm. So creamy and delicious.

So thank you Chocolate! You are my Valentine, forever and always. You’ve been a faithful and trusting companion and friend. I’ll never stop loving you.


Your Not-So-Secret Admirer,

Allison “The Chocoholic”

P.S. I may cheat on you later with Cinnamon Hearts.

Eating chocolate isn't pretty, but delicious.

Tom - all you need is love. See you Wednesday!

Happy VDay to all! (Or happy chocolate eating!)

Cinnamon heart.

Sunday, 13 February 2011

Ridiculous Dinner Party!

Ack.  I'm late.  Again.

I will spare you the excuses and just launch right into this...

Here's the mystery topic I got from Tom this week:

Lauren: your mission, if you choose to accept it, is to arrange a
dinner party. This party will be attended by one character from a
film, one from a book and one from a song/musical, and one real live
human.  Who would you invite?

Myself and Allison are already coming, obvs. And Old Hippy Poet.

Brilliant topic, Tom!

Here's what my dinner party would look like:

One character from a film:
Johnny Depp's character from "Benny and Joon."  Maybe we could make grilled cheese sandwiches on an ironing board and I could die happy.

One character from a book:
Dumbledore.  Don't judge.  My dinner party needs some wizard action.

One character from a song/musical:
Roger from "RENT."  He's pretty and he plays the guitar.  The end.

One real live human:
Amanda Palmer.  She's one of my main musical idols these days, so she should totally come to my dinner party. 

Okay, I think I just created the best dinner party of all time.

I think we're going to eat Chinese food.  With ironed grilled cheese sandwiches as an appetizer, naturally.  Amanda and Roger will provide the after-dinner music and Dumbledore will cast a magic spell on the noodles and egg rolls so they are neverending.

And then Old Hippy Poet would bring out a pie and forks for everyone and we would all eat pie.  Allison would make a playlist for the whole evening and Tom would be wearing a special scarf for the occasion. 

That is all.

Wednesday, 9 February 2011

My name's Tom, and I'm a scarf addict.

Last week, I innocently mentioned that I enjoy buying scarves. I thought that would be all there was to it. But no - my mystery topic, courtesy of Allison, arrived in my inbox at the weekend: "MY AMAZING SCARF COLLECTION."

I wasn't sure how to begin, so I released them from my wardrobe for a while. In doing so, I realised that at least three are missing, which is upsetting. But I'll save my tears for later, in the meantime - without further ado - please let me introduce you scarves. I hope you understand the importance of this situation; it's like meeting the parents, only a much, much bigger deal. So here's the gang:

1 - THE STRAY. I'll be honest, I have no idea where this one came from. I don't remember buying it and I suspect it's not actually mine. However, I obviously liked it enough to either steal it, or adopt it and give it a loving home when it had been left out in the cold by its first owner. I'm selfless like that.

2 - THE IT-SCARF. This scarf sits comfortably at the top of the scarf social hierarchy. It's easily the most popular, the one most often found around my neck. One of the reasons for this is that on the reverse it's grey, black and red, which goes very well with my black coat that's red under the collar. All hail the King of Scarves.

3 - THE CHAV. Bought in a market for a fiver, this fake Burberry scarf was one of my less-informed purchases. However, on the odd occasion I do feel brave enough to venture out wearing it, if I ignore the judgemental glances of my fellow commuters. You see, in the UK, the Burberry brand was hijacked by chavs. The wearing of such a cheap imitation Burberry scarf may convince other people, in more expensive and respectable scarves, that I'm going to steal their wallet and spend their hard-earned cash on cheap cider and cigarettes.

4 - THE ELDER SCARF. This is the oldest scarf in my collection. I've had it for about 10 years now. Every now and then I think of an item of clothing, pair it with a colour or pattern, then yearn for it obsessively until I find one exactly like what I'm imagining in a shop. I think it's magical, honestly. I have a gift. The green hoodie in the frog photo was one of these. Other instances of this include red converses and a blue and black horizontal striped jumper. This wonderful black and white scarf was another, and my desire was not misplaced. It has served me well through many a harsh winter, and will continue to do so.

5 - LA SCIARPA ITALIANA. No, it's not an expensive Italian silk scarf. It's a football scarf, which I purchased when I went to see Cagliari (the city I lived in) play Treviso. I bought the scarf before realising it was actually really short and wouldn't fit around my neck without serious risk of strangulation, so I ended up wearing it like this instead:

6 - THE MIGHTY FULHAM SCARF. On the subject of football scarves, here we have my new Fulham FC scarf, which was a Christmas present. I'm hoping that it's cold enough for me to warrant me wearing it on Monday night, when FFC meet Chelsea at Craven Cottage. We'll need all the help we can get. Come on you Whites!

7 - THE SURPRISE ENTRY. This was also a Christmas present. Apparently I asked for it, but I have no recollection of doing so, whatsoever. Not that I'm ungrateful, it's very nice and I shall wear it, I'm just worried that my addiction has started to take over my soul. Perhaps it's slowly eating away my free will, making me ask for scarves (or worse, steal them) and then making me forget all about having done so. Sly. This could get me in trouble...

Well, I hope you enjoyed this root around my wardrobe, and that it didn't bore you too much. If you ever get a cold neck, you know who to come to. HOWEVER, if you think my scarf collection is a bit over the top, take a look at my ties (and I don't even need to wear one to work):

There are over 20 here. And, again, there are some missing.

Monday, 7 February 2011

When My Ears are Ringing I Know It's Been a Good Night

This week we're trying something a bit different - it's Mystery Week. We've each given each other topics. So I gave Tom a topic, Tom gave Lauren one, and she gave me this topic. So this mystery is about to be revealed, but who knows what Wednesday's post will be (actually, I know - since I gave him the topic).

What does the famous lalalalauren want me to write about? It's actually a pretty awesome topic:

Allison's mystery post will be about concerts! It will answer the following questions:

What is the best concert you've ever been to? Explain.
What is the worst concert you've ever been to? Explain.

Good questions...and I may have ties for each question - for different reasons.

The Best

a) R.E.M. @ The Molson Amphitheatre in Toronro, Ontario, on August 24, 1999.

This was my first concert. I must have heard about the tickets on the radio and begged my mom to buy them. She bought tickets for me, her and my dad and one for my friend Jacqueline. We had lawn seats, which aren't really seats at all, but a grassy area at the very back. While it would have been amazing to have been closer, I didn't care. The music, the lights, the atmosphere - it was amazing. I knew I'd witnessed something great. For years all the concerts I attended were compared to this one. I don't think anything beats a first concert experience.

b) Red Hot Chili Peppers @ The Air Canada Centre in Toronto, Ontario, on September 25, 2006.

This was my second RHCP live experience - only this time I had a pre-sale code and that bad boy landed me front row seats. Not floors, but seats - close to the side (not way at the back). We had an amazing view of the stage, unobstructed. This seating arrangement made the whole experience that much better! No stress - just fun! The band sounded awesome - which was a plus.

The Worst

a) U2 @ The Air Canada Centre in Toronto, Ontario, on September 12, 2005.

It wasn't a bad show, it was more of a seating arrangement vs. the cost issue. You see our seats were labelled "rear view" - 'cause you know U2 loves to do that full stadium experience. That's all well and good, but I think bands are just conditioned to face one way. And drummers can't really move at all. The light show was an issue sometimes too, as lights would be lowered and block our view. We paid well over $100 for this. It was fun, 'cause I was with friends - but it wasn't my favourite experience.

b) Sam Roberts @ The Mississauaga Waterfront Festival in Mississauga, Ontario, on June 19, 2009.

Sam Roberts put on a great show and that was awesome, but I get pissed off in crowd situations because tall guys always stand in front of me. I also hate being shoved around as people are moving from spot to spot and don't give a shit if they ruin your view. We all paid the same - can't we all just get along? I felt edgy for a lot of the show because of this. The music did make up for it, but this stupid group of guys in front of us were all really tall and they mashed their bodies so close together that they formed a wall that I couldn't see over unless I jumped. So fuck you tall boys. Thanks a lot.

I've seen more good shows than bad - as I'm pretty selective about who I see live. I'm actually going to see the band Guster in March with my friend Amanda. We saw them before, back in April 2004. They don't come to Canada much, so I'm looking forward to a good show!

I hope you've all had amazing concert experiences as well. Any really bad ones?

The magical mystery tour is waiting to take you away Tom! Waiting to take you away! See you's a secret until then.

T-shirt from the Broken Social Scene show I saw in December 2010.
I'd say it's high on my list of amazing shows for sure!

Friday, 4 February 2011

I Can't Live Without Coffee And Dancing! (Or Can I???)

Isn't funny how no matter how broke you are, there are always a few, "non-essential" things you are willing to spend money on? I put "non-essential" in quotes because these are usually things that you could live without but wouldn't want to.

These things are different for everyone, of course. I was talking to my neighbors about this one night and everyone had something different that they considered "essential." One man confessed that if he felt he needed to get another tattoo, he would make it a priority and give up eating for a little bit if he had to. One girl told a funny yet slightly unnerving story about the time she spent the last of her money on a six pack of PBR instead of a sandwich.

The conversation got me thinking about what those things are for me. I realized that I can usually always afford the following things when necessary:

- Overpriced coffee drinks. I don't buy these as often as I used to, but sometimes the only thing that can properly improve my day is a double shot vanilla latte from The Bipartisan Cafe down the street. Also in this category: overpriced chai lattes from my favorite tea shop over in North Portland. These are extra special because it's in a different neighborhood and there is a little bit of driving involved in getting there. When I'm having a bad day, am in need of inspiration, or just need a change of scenery, I'll drive over there (while listening to my favorite songs, of course) and camp out for a couple of hours. It's a good place to write, the tea is fantastic, and there are usually cute hippy boys working there.

- Dancing. Even if I don't drink when I get inside a club, I can always come up with enough money to pay the cover charge and make it past the bouncer. I totally am that stereotypical white hipster who can name where all of the good 80's nights in town are. I have a few friends that always invite me along whenever they go out and as I result I go to the occasional dub step show or Bollywood themed dance night.

Really bad hair day
- Getting my hair done. I learned my lesson the hard way right after high school: Great Clips coupons will lead to a mullet, which will lead to bleaching it in someone elses' sink, which will lead to homemade hair cuts, which will lead to trying to dye it blue in the dorm bathroom, which will lead to green/gray hair, which will lead to going to an cheap Asian hair salon and hacking it all off, which will lead to something I lovingly refer to as "the dyke haircut." To avoid these bad hair days/months/years, I have gotten into the habit of going to nice salons and paying a lot for stylish hair. I justify this by only going once or twice a year. It's so much better than risking another Great Clips catastrophe.

- Shoes. This one is self-explanatory.

Those shoes are mine, betch!

Anyway, this list could probably go on to include even more frivolous things, but those are some of my favorite ways to spoil myself.

And now I'm all in the mood to go drink chai tea and go shoe-shopping. Maybe get my hair done and go dancing afterward. Hi, I'm slightly ridiculous.

That's all I've got for today. Happy Friday! This is The Spoiled Yank, signing out!

Thursday, 3 February 2011

Sorry! I was busy spoiling myself!

***The Brit would like to apologise for the delay to the service. This was due to a technical error that has now been rectified.***

I shouldn't lie; there was no technical error. In fact, the only reason this post is late is because I've been enjoying myself a little bit too much since the end of January. I suppose that makes the theme of this post even more apt, as for the first time in six weeks (but seven, yes seven, weekends) I have a small amount of money with which to spoil myself rotten.

Like Allison, I include drinking and eating out in the list of activities that make me happy. Unlike Allison, I probably do them too much. It sounds terribly stereotypical, but a nice, cold pint in a nice, warm pub makes me happier than most other things. I'm not sure if it's a sign that I'm growing old that I look forward to pub nights more than clubbing. I find clubs increasingly frustrating, and yearn for a comfy chair in a corner of an old-fashioned boozer instead.

Eating out turned into an addiction for a while; I've since toned it down so that I only do it when I really have something to celebrate, or if I really need cheering up. There's something wonderful about sitting in a restaurant chatting over a drink while your food magically prepares itself in another room without you having to lift a finger. That sounded offensive to the people that cook the food, didn't it? I didn't mean that - I envy the culinary skills of professional chefs. It's just that eating out is even more fun if you imagine the kitchen to be like that scene in Beauty and the Beast when all the cutlery starts singing in a French accent. You definitely don't get that when you cook for yourself.

I am also guilty of spending a large amount of money on a season ticket for the football team I support. While sitting for an hour and a half in the cold watching a ball kicked around a pitch may not be everybody's idea of fun, for me it's a treat. I especially like mid-week evening games; the walk from the tube station to the stadium takes you through a beautiful park right on the banks of the Thames. The walk is probably about a mile long, and the anticipation and suspense build with each step. Admittedly, we don't always win and on these occasions following Fulham feels like less of a treat. But when we win (as we did yesterday, by the way) it leaves me feeling ever so satisfied.

Other than that, my other vices include buying shoes (as admitted in the comments on Allison's post), books (because I refuse to move with the times and invest in an e-reader) and scarves, of which I have several.

You know what? It's been nice writing about the things I like. While they may not be absolutely necessary, I'm not sure I'd want to live without them. It would feel like January every month if I did that. *shudders at the thought*

Over to you, Lauren!