It’s always the way isn’t it? Recently I told an ill colleague that I hadn’t been ill since 2011, and now I’m sitting here feeling crappy and hoping the weird throat and ache-y joints that are plaguing me aren’t going to turn into anything worse. Setting aside the possibility that said ill colleague has grumbled a curse upon me, I’m forced to conclude that either my status of Coincidence Queen has once again been proven, or that my subconscious has decided to punish my hubris by lowering my immune system. My subconscious has always been a bit of a dick that way, especially if my dreams are anything to go by.

The Placebo Effect is well-known; this is the principle that a person, on being given something (usually an inert substance) which they’re told will help them, ends up feeling better regardless of the effectiveness of the medicine. The Care Effect too, which states that we recover more quickly if someone shows empathy towards our being ill, rather than pointing out the fact that they haven’t been ill for ages, in a regrettably ‘nee-ner-nee-ner’ fashion. But could this possibly work in reverse? If we feel bad about something we’ve done, could our minds fashion a little bit of a punishment which we unconsciously believe we should be due?

Star Trek’s Guinan may indeed have been right when she said “If a man believes he’s going to die tomorrow, he’ll usually find a way to make it happen.” Okay, so that’s a little dramatic, but it’s the same principle; the mind and its beliefs are powerful things, definitely strong enough to have an effect on our well-being and possibly potent enough to affect our physical being too.

And so, while my ropey symptoms seem to point to the fact that I really am coming down with a revenge cold, I’m going to convince myself that I’m not ill. I just have a funny throat, that’s all, it’s not going to turn into anything. Nope. But if there’s ever an argument for being compassionate towards our fellow lifeforms, this might be it – make others happy and you’ll be happy yourself, right?

Love and light.

Think Happy…

Am I Amy?

Working from home has its distinct advantages, but one of them isn’t companionship. There’s nobody to talk to or, more importantly, have a laugh with, so I’ve taken to sticking The Big Bang Theory on my TV while I work to make it seem like I’m not alone. Plus it stops me talking to myself like a fruitcake.

But here’s the thing; I’ve realised that I’m worryingly similar to Amy Farrah-Fowler, the female half of ‘Shamy’. Let me explain.

If you don’t watch The Big Bang Theory (and you should, because it’s very funny) I can tell you that Amy Farrah-Fowler is an intelligent science nerd, a neurobiologist with woeful people skills, terrible dress sense and a tendency to reveal far too much about herself while annoying the crap out of everyone. So I thought I’d do a little study to see how I match up and, at the risk of ruining what little street cred I have, here goes.

Looks – We’re quite similar in the long brown hair and glasses department, although thankfully I have yet to start wearing my ‘Mee-Maw’s’ hand-me-downs. Having said that I do own some very geeky t-shirts Sheldon-style.

Early Years – Amy spent her friendless school years being picked on, and used to eat her lunch with the janitor until his wife called her a ‘puta’ and made her stop. She was once locked in a sauna with a horny otter as a joke, and did the prom queen’s homework in the desperate hope of acceptance from her peers. While not quite this bad, I was painfully shy and quiet at school and did get picked on a lot. In primary school I was bullied by a girl with thick lenses who was half my height and kicked me in the shins a lot, and I was teased for being a nerd who was crap at sports. Which, technically, I was. I improved a little in grammar school but I was never one of the cool kids, even though I earned some kudos for being good at golf. And come to think of it, one of my teachers there used to tease me too. Is that allowed?

Interests – Amy is a science geek who plays the harp. I pretty much have this covered, as I’m studying Forensic Science and play the bass guitar and the musical saw. And neither of us can hold our alcohol.

Lovelife – That’s pretty non-existent for Amy. She had her first kiss at 22 from a guy who only did it to get his insulin back. I had my first kiss at 17 with a guy I liked at the time, but who then blatantly pretended I didn’t exist the next day. Hmm. Mine may actually be sadder than Amy’s here! However, we both enjoy a good spanking. Apparently.

Interactions – Amy finds it hard to make friends, but once she does she trusts them implicitly and craves being the centre of attention. We’re complete opposites here – I make friends easily and am too trusting so tend to get walked on, and I’m not keen on being the centre of attention at all, preferring to be the strange and mysterious one in the background. I like to think we both have kind hearts, though.

So in conclusion, I make it that I’m about 80% Amy? Although if you count the fact that we both have a thing for Sheldon, that may get up to 85%…

Peace out.

Crow’s Feet

A conversation yesterday evening reminded me of the time I went on a ghost walk in Edinburgh, and something a little strange happened to me. Thought I’d share it…

After a grand Tiger Lillies gig during the Edinburgh festival, a few friends and I booked a 10pm ghost walk through the South Bridge Vaults, underground caverns built in 1785 which were occupied in those days by Edinburgh’s poor and homeless population. There are three of these dank, dark rooms; one is currently used for Wiccan rituals, one is empty, and one contains a stone circle placed there by the Wiccans but no longer used because of the paranormal activity that occurs there. We were told by our guide that not long after the Wiccans commenced using this room, some very strange things started to happen. Objects within the room would move. The temperature would suddenly drop, then rise back up again. The water dripping from the ceiling would only drip within the circle itself, and never form puddles on the outside, and people started feeling strange sensations, as if they were being held back or choked. It was clear that the room possessed a highly negative energy.

Until we got to this cavern, I hadn’t felt anything other than the sadness and futility of the people who had been forced to live there. I’d also been left behind a bit due to the fact that I was in conversation with a little boy who wanted to know if I knew The Doctor, seeing as I was holding my sonic screwdriver torch at the time, and using its blue light to make sure I didn’t fall arse-over-tit on the uneven floor.

But when I caught up and we all entered the room, the guide told us to stand in the circle. Not wanting to tempt fate I stayed outside it, though as I did so I could feel a stinging sensation on my wrist. I rubbed it but didn’t think anything of it until we made our way back out of the caverns and into the brightly lit street. And there on my wrist were a series of scratches, in the rough shape of a crow’s foot. And it was pretty damned sore too.

After the conversation yesterday reminded me of this, I did some research. Apparently the leader of the Wiccans tried to spend a night in the cavern with the hope of calming the spirit and cleansing the room, but realised he was dealing with something much more powerful than he could handle and fled after being covered in scratches, vowing never to set foot in it again.

So…what does my crow’s foot scratch mean? In Celtic legend, crows symbolise death, conflict and ill-omens, something which was no doubt abundant during the time the caverns were built and occupied by Edinburgh’s poor and homeless. There were also superstitions  during the Middle Ages that linked the crow’s foot symbol with witchcraft and death-spells, thievery, trickery and shape-shifting. Equally, the crow is considered to be the bringer of knowledge, one who knows the deep mysteries of all creation, and in Native American legend it was a wise bird that could talk. It’s linked with learning from the past but not holding on to it.

With all these legends and magickal associations, it’s difficult to find a true meaning for my paranormal scratch. Was it just coincidental, or a sign from an energetic entity trapped in that space? Perhaps the latter is worth considering given that I was standing in a place of such suffering and misery. But then again, I am the Queen of Coincidence…

A Glimpse Of The ISS Zarya

800px-STS-134_International_Space_Station_after_undocking

For someone like me who’s fascinated by space and stars, there’s nothing quite like watching a pass of the International Space Station. It’s amazing to think there’s a crew of six circling the Earth every hour and a half, 250 miles up and travelling at a little over 19,000 miles per hour. Yes, that’s what I said… 19,000 miles per hour. Pretty zippy eh?

Visible passes come around every few months, and usually fall on five or six consecutive dates. You’ll find me outside on those nights, gazing up at the sky, waiting for it to appear. And if the sky is clear and the magnitude bright enough, you can’t miss it – it will look like a bright, white, moving star travelling across the sky from west to east. If it’s flickering, that’s not it, the ISS is a steady white light. If it’s not moving, you’re looking at a star. And if you can see flashing white, red or green lights on it, that’s a plane. Or possibly a UFO.

So, do you want to see it? You can click the link below, which will take you to an excellent ISS tracker website. Have a look on the right hand side for your location (which is automatically determined by your IP address). If it’s way off (mine always sticks me in Wales for some reason) you can click ‘Change My Location’ and enter your own details. Once that’s done, go to the Home page and click on ‘5 Day Predictions’ on the right, just below the box that tells you if the satellite is in daylight or not. This’ll give you a list of upcoming passes (orange-coloured ones are the best) and the start/end times of each pass.

The next one for me is on the 18th February at 18:07, so guess where I’ll be? Yep, out on the street, waving. Because you have to wave…

Track The International Space Station Zarya