The Opposite of Popular

The online home of alleged author Victoria Leybourne

2016 Week Thirty-Three: QUESTIONS


The magnificent Bronwyn Green nominated me to take part in the Liebster Award, which is a kind of blogging meme to help new bloggers get noticed (and serves the useful extra purpose of giving people who have committed to blogging once a week something to write about). You’re supposed to nominate more bloggers who have fewer than 200 followers but I always feel really weird about stuff like this because I never feel like I have enough friends and I don’t want anyone to feel like they have to do anything and UGH socialising is hard. So I’m not going to do it, but if anyone wants to participate you can always head over to that link above and kind of self-nominate, or leave a comment and I’ll write some questions for you. (Warning: they will be weird.)

liebster award logo

So, without further ado, on to Bronwyn’s questions!

1) What do you feel is the most criminally underrated movie or TV show?

The Adjustment Bureau. I don’t know, maybe it’s just that nobody I know has seen it, or maybe it isn’t actually that good but just struck a chord with me. I saw it almost by accident, thinking it was going to be sort of an action thriller – I feel like this image makes it look like a Knight and Day, secret agent type thing:

poster for the adjustment bureau: matt damon and emily blunt run through new york in evening wear, holding hands

But it’s actually more of a love story than anything and it makes some points about life and love that really meant something to me.

2) How do you feel about clowns?

I’m clown ambivalent. I don’t think I’m actually scared of clowns qua clowns, and I don’t remember being scared of them as a kid, but I think the whole cultural “clowns are creepy” thing has seeped into my consciousness now. Like, I’ve been to a circus and enjoyed myself, and I respect anyone who can make a decent balloon animal, but when I think “clown” I guess it doesn’t take me long to come up with some nightmare fuel.

3) What’s your favourite book?

I’m sure my answer to this will change the next time someone asks me but today I’m going to say Artemis Fowl. It’s a kids’ book – the first in a series – about an 11-year-old criminal mastermind who sets out to steal from an underground race of fairies with technology way ahead of ours. I bought it when I was a kid purely because it had a sparkly cover and it ended up being my VERY FAVOURITE THING for many years.

the cover of artemis fowl - an older one, from when it first came out. It's stylised to look like a mysterious, magical old book with a lock.

I decline to acknowledge the existence of the new covers because I am MATURE

4) Where is your happy place?

Anywhere I can sit quietly by the sea for a while. If I was in the mood (it is too hot to brain today) I could write something really poetic about losing yourself in the endless waves but really I can’t explain the effect the sea has on me. Just looking at it makes me feel calmer and happier and sometimes when I’m having a lot of FEELINGS it’s the only place I can think to go. My vision of a blissful retirement is a little house by the beach. I mean, that’s my vision of a blissful mid-to-late twenties, too, but pitching it as a retirement dream means I don’t have to worry about how I’ll afford it yet.

5) Growing up, what was your favorite toy?

The one and only Bongo! I’ve written about his adventures before.

6) What was the worst job you ever had?

This is actually quite a tough one. I’ve had… *counts on fingers*…*counts on toes*… about… fifteen jobs? Maybe? In about six years. None of them have been really, notably horrible, and most of them are too recent for me to be comfortable sharing stories about any particular elements that were, erm, less than okay. (Hit me up in a decade or so for some doozies.)

The job that had the worst effect on me was probably a retail one where I quickly got promoted to supervisor. That was my first job out of university and… well, it’s actually quite hard to explain without a ton of backstory but I was really psyched to be out of academia and in the world of work and really really psyched to get a promotion. Essentially, I threw myself into it much too hard and made myself kind of ill in the process. I feel like pictures tell the story best…

Here I am right before the interview for that job:


And here I am about five months later with rampant facial eczema (0/10 do not recommend), a recurring eye infection and an expression that says “please, just kill me”:


The worst thing is that I wasn’t even good at it. I tried so hard that I was exhausted all the time and I pretty much did nothing but work, eat and sleep, and I sucked. People think “anyone can do that” about retail jobs (and most minimum-wage jobs) but actually they take a lot of skills and stamina that not everyone has. The problem is that those things aren’t valued by employers the way they should be.

I got a desk job afterwards – something I’d said up until then I would never do – and couldn’t believe how easy it was. You get to sit down! And eat and drink when you’re hungry and thirsty! And talk to your co-workers! And go to the toilet! And sit down!

7) What fact about you surprises people the most?

I really don’t know. I feel like people are often just surprised by me in general, to start with, and then they get used to me and nothing surprises them.

8) What’s the one thing you wish you’d known as a freshman in college?

Oh, man. I actually have a lot of things I’d like to tell the me of 2009, or anyone just heading off to university. I keep wanting to write a post about it but I can never figure out what tone to take. I had a pretty miserable time at university but most people seem to love it, so I don’t want to bum anyone out. But one concrete and not-too-depressing thing I wish I could tell myself is to join more clubs/activities. University offers a lot of opportunities to try new things, usually quite cheaply, with a group of people your own age, and that isn’t easily replicated after you leave.

9) What are two of your bucket list items?

I want to go on a TV quiz show (ideally with Carl, my boyfriend, because he is a quiz MACHINE), and go on a cruise (ideally a really luxurious one where people bring me drinks while I lie somewhere shaded and contemplate the sea). I like being in new and interesting places but I loathe travelling, so my hope is that a means of travelling that’s a holiday in itself might work for me.

10) Do you play any instruments? If so, which one(s)? If not, are there any you wish you could play? If so, which ones?

I had two or three years of keyboard and piano lessons when I was a kid but I never really managed to get the co-ordination together. I’m honestly not really sure how you’re supposed to be able to do a different thing with each hand while reading music? Is it magic? I’m pretty sure it’s magic.

Carl tried to teach me the guitar (the sexiest instrument) but that didn’t work out either. Are fingers really meant to bend like that? I think that involves magic too. I’ll settle for enjoying his playing instead.

11) What’s the most thoughtful gift you’ve ever been given?

Ahhhh, this is a great question and I’d love to see how other people answer it, but I don’t know if I can. A lot of people have shown me a lot of thoughtfulness at various times, sometimes in the form of obvious gifts and sometimes with things that might not have been presented that way but still came just when they were needed. I don’t think I can call any of them the “most” thoughtful.


Right. It’s very hot and I’m sleepy, so it’s time to go! See you next week!


6 thoughts on “2016 Week Thirty-Three: QUESTIONS

  1. I enjoyed reading your answers. I love being able to hear the sea from inside my own home, and understand what you mean about the way it can calm you… There’s just something so soothing about it, even when it’s not actually calm itself.

    You can ask me some questions if you like. I love doing these things (even though I generally do what you did and just leave an open invitation at the end of them for anyone who wants to play to do so). Plus, I’m curious as to the kinds of questions you’d ask.


  2. Thanks for playing along! 🙂 And also for calling me magnificent. That never happens. 😀 Also, and more importantly, Carl plays guitar?!?!?!?! That is brilliant. And a very important boyfriend trait. Well done, you. Also well done for getting out of that job. that “please, just kill me” expression breaks my heart.


    • Whaaaaaat? You’re totally magnificent.

      Carl does indeed play guitar. He wrote me a song and everything ❤ He is a quality boyfriend.

      And yeah… to be fair, "please, just kill me" is really the *only* expression you can do when you have an eye infection, but it was a rough time 😦

      Liked by 1 person

      • In deference to eye infections, I have the “please, just kill me” expression a lot. 😀

        Also… HE WROTE YOU A SONG!!! That’s like the most romantic thing EVER!!! *swoons*


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