NUPSA President, Ash McIntyre, brings you up to date with everything we’ve been doing this past month. Also spider-eating. Gross.


 

Hello, my friends!

Closer and closer, we creep towards the end of the year (every time I look at a calendar I panic a tiny bit). NUPSA has many things coming up to finish off your year with social finesse, including our end-of-year party at the Clarendon, and of course our Annual Dinner looms ever closer. Shut Up and Write, Me in a Minute, philosophy, another beach safety bus trip… I could keep going, but I know Hugh will have this all covered. I encourage all of you to get involved and come along to an event or two, and make some new friends before the holidays!

Hopefully, all of you have been keeping your eye on Graduate Research’s newsletter, HDR Matters, as well. There have been a number of changes to thesis submission and feedback guidelines to make your life easier, and the process much smoother. I’ll also add here that the ‘MyUON’ app has been updated specifically for HDR students. There is now a tile for ‘HDR Support’, and for ‘My HDR Details’, which contains all your candidature information in one easy-to-use location.

The app also has tiles for ‘Shuttlebus’, ‘Security’, ‘MyHub’, and a number of other services, and is customisable. So have a look, see what you think, and if there is something you’d like to see on the app, we can happily pass on your feedback to the development team.

I’d also like to flag a very exciting event coming up early December, a public lecture entitled ‘Love Your Body But Hate it Too: Postfeminism and Selling Confidence to Women’ by Professor Rosalind Gill from City University London. Professor Gill has spoken at UON in the past, and is an exquisite speaker. The event feels particularly relevant to us at NUPSA at the moment, as we are planning some events and workshops for next year’s International Women’s Day.

The event is on Thursday, December 6 at NeW Space; you can book your seat here. Hurry though – there are only 100 places! Oh, and it’s free!

The event was organised by the Gender Research Network, who operate out of the school of Humanities and Social Sciences but are always looking for students interested in gender research. If you’d like to know more, keep an eye out for our upcoming interview with Dr Trish Pender, who will be telling us more about the wonderful work they are doing!

 

To finish on a lighter note, I thought I’d share with you a story that speaks to the newsletter theme this week: food! This one (I say ‘this one’ because food is one of my favourite things, and thus I have many food-related stories) happened in Cambodia a few years ago. Wherever I travel, I try to eat as much local cuisine as possible, and I’d heard before leaving that deep- fried tarantulas are rather popular. Obviously, I had to try one.

We ended up finding this insect café that specialised in insects, bugs and the like, and claimed that “insects are the food of the future”. To top it off, it was owned and run by a French chef, so if anyone was going to make insects taste good, then he was! I ordered a tasting plate that consisted of a grub salad, and a skewer with a tarantula, a scorpion, and a water crustacean that I had never seen (and hopefully will never see again) in my life.

I had expected when it all came out that the bugs would be relatively unrecognisable; if the spider was deep-fried, for example, that its legs would be all safely tucked inside a non-descript parcel of batter. But oh no. There on the skewer was the water bug, the spider and the scorpion looking as if they were just sleeping in a row. But with a stick through them. After some consideration, I started with the grub salad, which was surprisingly good. Grubs are roughly salad-shaped, and so were rather inconspicuous compared to the skewer of creatures-of-the-night beside them.

As I thought about chickening out, another tourist came upstairs onto the balcony where we were sitting and literally screamed, “Look! She’s going to eat it!” Bloody hell. Now I had to eat it. I closed my eyes and started with the scorpion.

Now, I don’t know if you have ever eaten a scorpion, or imagined what it would taste like. Remember, the outer shell was still there, and its little claws, and its tail… it was all there. I won’t go for the big suspense thing: it tasted like charcoal. Not pleasant. But not bad. Nailed it. The water bug was pretty much the same, but with less substance again.

But the tarantula. The tarantula was practically sitting on my face as I ate the others, as they were all on a skewer together. I looked at the tourist. She was still watching me, with a huge clan of other tourists. I looked at the spider. I like to think it looked back at the tourists. While they looked at me… Okay. I was procrastinating. I ate the spider.

It tasted like an extremely compressed lump of powder. Weird, right? Not at all what I expected! Who would want this in a doughnut? Deep-fried?

So, the moral of the story is: even a French chef can’t make spiders taste good. Remember that. I hope it helps you in the month to come.

 

Editor’s Note: Ordinarily, I’d add a witty caption here, but… gross.

 

 

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