Saturday, 30 January 2010

A quickie: "What song would you be?"

Sorry for the delay in posting folks, busy busy busy!  I had my birthday last week amongst other things and I spent it in the best way - with my son.

SO back to the title of , and the reason for this post: A friend asked me this recently - if you could be any song what song would you be? After much consideration we decided that we pobably couldnt narrow it down to just one song, after all there is too much to a person and their life to do that, So we both came up with a list of songs that would more accurately describe us individually that most others would be able to. Here are a few of the ones on my list:

1.) "Wild Horses" by The Rolling Stones (although given that it is a man singing about a woman I might change a couple of the words, for instance "Graceless Lady" would become Graceless Baby, "I bought them for you" would become "I brought them to you", that sort of thing. Beautiful song that could be interpreted so many different ways, but for me it is a love song between a man and a woman.

2.) "I Feel You" by Depeche Mode,  one of the sexiest songs ever, so sensual.

3.) "One Room, One Axe, One Outcome" by Orange Goblin - just the demented and twisted side of my nature coming out, I guess! I dont drink anymore obviously so the "drinking whiskey all night long" would become instead a reference to me working, writing, painting, designing all night long.

4.) "The Flame Still Burns" (on the Soundtrack for the British movie "Still Crazy") - I will let some of the lyrics speak for themselves: "I live a life thats surreal, where all that I feel I am learning, for life has been turned on the lathe, reshaped with a flame thats still burning.  And in time its all a sweet mystery when you shake the tree of temptation, and I know the fear and the cost of a paradise lost in frustration. And the flame still burns, it's there in my soul for that unfinished goal, and the flame still burns, from a glimmer of then it lights up again in my life, in my life....." Beautiful song - perfect for people who have lived a surreal life to the max, also I have another reason for liking it, but for the same reason as with song number 7 I cant print it here. Please listen to it if you can.

5.) "Orange Goblin"  again by Orange Goblin - for me I guess this would be two people travelling through life together maybe?

6.) "My Way" - but the Sid Vicious version, NOT "Ole Blue Eyes", bless him lol. - One of the best sonic two fingered salutes to the crap (and crappy people) in life. I Love it!

7) "Dreaming" Yngwie Malmsteen and Joe Lynn Turner - I cant tell you the reason for this one - whoever it is that I am looking for will already know it.

8.) "A Kind of Magic" by Queen, and for the same reason as number 7 above.

There are so many more of course, (The 69 Eyes, Type O Negative, Sisters of Mercy) but some might require in depth explanation and I dont have the time today, maybe another day though.

I suppose that some might be surprised that I havent listed here any of the songs by HIM, given that I am such a big fan of their lyrics and music. The thing is, what their songs do for me is so personal that I dont know if I would want to share. I know that must sound really weird, and sorry, but still I think I am going to keep it both for and to myself at least for a little while longer.

So there it is - my list. What songs would be on yours?

Thursday, 14 January 2010

Poem: " George The Bull"

Today I go a walking strolling,
The cars and trees pass me rolling
My face is caressed by the breeze
My heart it leaps toward the trees.

I bridge the gap between night and day,
The morning fog swirls and sways
I think I know where I'm going
Past the cowfield, bovines lowing.

Traversing the stile I stop and wait,
To spy George the bull beyond the gate
But he is no longer there
Replaced instead by the mare.

And so I step up to the latch,
And gently ease bolt from catch
When suddenly a monstrous call....
It is George, that bloody sneaky bull!!

Behind the hedgerow he did wait,
For me to open that heavy gate
He snorts white smoke and stomps his feet
And in my mind, one word - RETREAT!

I slam the gate, do up the latch,
As for this bull I am no match
And so as not to lose face, but with expletive tone
I speedwalk all the way back home!

Copyright by Sami-Jane Harris. 2010. All rights reserved

Wednesday, 13 January 2010

Graveyards and Hope

I know that most people are going to disagree with this, but I dont care - this is what I think lol.

I think for most people when they visit a graveyard or cemetary, it is usually only because they feel they have to. Mostly what they see in there is death and decay, so they do what they have to do and get out as soon as they can. There are very few people who find being in a graveyard a comfortable, or dare I say it, pleasant experience.

It is different for me. I find them peaceful and not at all uncomfortable. When I am on my own I sometimes like to find a shaded corner of our local cemetary and write or read. Rarely in London especially will you find anywhere else out in the open that is as quiet as a graveyard is. I can think with a clear head there, and I have had some of my best ideas there.  When I am in a graveyard looking out over row upon row of stones, what I see is Hope. Row upon row, acre upon acre of  hope.  All of those people buried in there have died with hope in their hearts; Hope for a better life "beyond the veil", Hope for a rest, Hope for a chance to do it all again; to be a better person this time, to treat others a little better (a noble hope I think).

I think it is too easy to see what is obvious.  Certainly there is death - one would at least *ahem*- 'hope' that the people buried there actually died before they were buried after all, and there is decay - unless they have been molested 'post- mortem' by time travelling ancient egyptian priests, but that is not all there is. For me at least, graveyards are often the most peaceful, still, and hopeful places.

Sunday, 10 January 2010

Just the funniest Panda piccies in the world - Ever!!

I just had to share this with you all: My lovely M'Ina (my mum) sent these to me in an Email earlier, there are quite a few of them but please try to look at them all as they are brilliantly funny, and hopefully they will brighten your day as they did mine. When you are looking at these, you should "bear" (sorry) in mind that none of these pictures have been "doctored" in anyway. I will try to remember the captions that came with them all if I can.

After you have finished looking at the the pictures, head on over to YouTube and type in "Sneezing Baby Panda for Charity!" for another laugh.


"Forgive me Father, for I have sinned"


"Dear Martha Stewart, I have a brown stain on my lovely, fluffy, white butt...."

"You go - I'll just rest my head a little bit"

"Mmmuummm......err....I think I'm stuck!"

"I'll give you two seconds to get off me before I call Mum!"

"I'm not coming out - you'll have to come in and get me"

"I cannot believe I am stuck in this tree again! What is wrong with me?"

"I know there is a way out somewhere...I saw an ant go this way yesterday"

"It wasn't me. I didn't steal it. The bamboo shoot was already there when I got here - honestly!"

"Kung Fu Panda - Bring it on!"

"On the count of three....Lift!"

"Paparazzi! - Could we have some privacy - PLEASE!!"

"Pardon me, but do you have a napkin?"

"Absolutely nothing accomplished - the perfect Panda day!"

And lastly - my favourite:


"Ooops......errr..ok - BIG fail.......Mmmuuuuummm - HELP!!"

Hope you all enjoyed them as much as I did.xxxx

Saturday, 9 January 2010

What Life on Earth is, what it really really is.

Ok, like the rest of the human race I've been giving this a lot of thought over the years: What is life here on Earth about? When you remove all the pomp and circumstance and frills - when it boils down to it, what is it really? I have come to this conclusion:

Life here on Earth is the Psychiatric Ward of Creation.

We might all be in here for different reasons, different 'complaints', different things wrong with us that need 'fixing', but we are all in here together none the less. And we can make all the excuses to ourselves and each other for our crappy behaviour to one another that patients in an insane asylum normally make for thier behaviours, but at the end of the day that doesnt stop us from being what we really are: Just as "Bat-Shit Crazy" as each other, and every one us trying to get out of here with something worthwhile to show for all the hard work and pain.

As for the Nurses, Doctors and the Head Doctor Guy (whatever he is called); the "upper echelons" of the asylum 'society'?  Well, the thing is, I dont believe in coincidences, I mean at all, and I dont believe in God in the same way as most Christians, I prefer to follow my own route to wisdom on that one, but I think it is interesting at least that Nurses, the world over, are coloquially known as "Angels", and if that is true, then perhaps that makes the Doctors "Archangels" and in turn the Head Doctor Guy "God", or "Buddha", or "Yada Yahweh", or "The Source", whatever you choose to call the creator of our existence.

So welcome to the "Fraggle Wing" guys. For what it is worth, whatever religion, or race, or creed we consider ourselves to be, I think maybe it is a good idea for us all to line up and take our places alongside other, with as much humanity towards one another as we possibly can, because it seems to me that if we dont do that then some days, usually when we least expect it, one of those nice "Nurses" or "Doctors" comes along and sticks us with something bloody painful, just to remind us that we are all still in here, all with things left to learn, and also of what humanities place in the pecking order of the Universe really is.

Friday, 8 January 2010

PolyMorphic Light Eruption (PLE).

Ok, so what is PolyMorphic Light Eruption (PLE)? PLE is a defect of the Immune System, and it is probably where at least part of the Vampire legend sprang from.  I have PLE so I can speak from personal experience. Really all PLE is, is a posh way of saying that I am allergic to sunlight (UVA and UVB light, otherwise known as UV Radiation, or UVR for short). If  I go out in sunlight for too long I break out in a rash, and although it is only a rash it none the less looks and feels like a burn. It is important to note here that the rash produced by sunlight allergies is not the same as sunburn. In someone with PLE, the immune system malfunctions whenever the skin is exposed to sunlight, causing the body to see the exposed skin as a foreign tissue which the immune system then reacts against, thus producing the allergic reaction. Sunburn however is obviously a burn resulting from the skin being exposed to sunlight for too long with little or no protection in the form of sunblock.The PLE rash ranges in severity from this:

To this:  (These are NOT my legs by the way!)

And sometimes it can even blister:

I have to say that I have been so lucky in that my rash has never got to the stage of blistering like this, but none the less it is still very sore and uncomfortable for a few days after being exposed to strong sunlight. There are of course precautions that I can take, which mean that I am able to go outside for periods of time, even in the summer, these are the following:

  • Cover up, Cover up, Cover up!!! PLE sufferers are advised to wear "dense weave" fabrics. Although they dont completely stop the UV radiation from getting through to the skin, they can never the less help.  We are also advised to wear a colour which doesn't "attract" sunlight, i.e: black! This can sometimes be a bit of an issue for me as I have somewhat "gothic" sensibilities (have a look at my poetry and you will see what I mean) so I love to wear black most of the time (when I am not wearing red and purple, lol). Unfortunately if I am outside, and especially in high summer, black isnt the most advisable colour to wear, so I tend to go for gothic inspired white dresses instead which can look just as "gothicky" and as nice as their black counterparts. I also have to wear a sun hat at all times AND use a parasol, whether that be a handheld one for trips outside of the garden, or a garden parasol. I have found that it has been a good idea to tell as many friends as possible about my PLE, that way when I am invited to BBQ's or parties they are kind enough to put out parasols or a garden gazebo for me to sit or stand under.

  • Sunblock: - As far as I am concerned there is only one sunblock that actually helps with this condition: - Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry Touch SPF 100+ (NO - I am NOT kidding about the strength of the SPF lol). This range also comes in lower SPF's but the 100+ is the best for people with PLE. This is a BROAD SPECTRUM COMPLETE SUNBLOCK meaning it protects against UVA & UVB, and unlike a suntan lotion it works hard to completely block the sun from reaching the skin. It is Non - Comodegenic, meaning it doesn't clog the pores and is, I believe, the only sunblock on the market that is completely sweatproof. One other major plus is that, like its name suggests, it is COMPLETELY DRY to the touch a couple of seconds after application, so you dont get the dreaded "doughnut effect" when you are on the beach and the wind blows! No stickyness when you have to wear this product the whole year round is definitely a plus in my book. Unfortunately it can only currently be ordered direct from Neutrogena in America, who tell me they have no current plans to distribute it "over the counter" in Europe as "there isnt enough interest in the product in European countries". Order from An 88ml tube is usually in the region of £12.00 - £15.00 plus a small amount for P&P. Amazon ( sometimes (but RARELY) stocks the 100+ SPF, usually they tend to stop at 75 SPF & when able to order from Amazon the same 88ml tube costs in the region of around £9.00 - £10.00 plus P&P.  PLE sufferers are also advised to use a sunblock that has been especially designed for the lips, with an SPF of 20 or more, Boots the Chemist (UK) is a good place to look for lipsalves that usually have an SPF of 25 or more. Failing that Superdrug (UK) also sometimes stock them.
  • Antihistamines: My G.P. gives me an antihistamine called Fexofenadine (180mg), which I have to take once a day, all year round, whether I am going to leave the house or not. Unfortunately, by necessity it is very strong, so it can make me feel very nauseous, therefore if you are being prescribed this medication for the first time - be warned! (And possibly take a sick bag with you, lol) It works in the same way as "over the counter" antihistamines, by blocking histamine H1 receptors, but it is a lot stronger. It does not prevent the actual release of histamine, but prevents it binding to its receptors. This in turn prevents the release of other allergy chemicals and increased blood supply to the area, and provides relief from the typical symptoms of sunlight allergies. If you are prescribed Fexofenadine and suffer with nausea because of it, ask your GP about Domperidone 10mg which is a pretty effective anti-nausea medication. NOTE: You MUST consult your GP BEFORE taking any medications.

  • Hospital Therapy: At the beginning of the Spring I have to go to St Thomas's Hospital in London for PhotoTherapy/PUVA Therapy, which is basically where my skin is gradually exposed to increasing doses of UV light for 5 days a week over a 3 week period, producing a limited "hardening" of the skin to the effects of UV Radiation (sunlight). Fun Times!!!

  • Head for the shade as often as possible. Yes - honestly. Although I can go out during the day even when the sun is bright, and providing I have taken all the precautions I need to take before leaving the house, I still can't stay out in the sun for hours at a time. Every couple of hours I have to head inside for a break from the UV radiation outside, sometimes sooner when the sun is very hot. When taking refuge inside, PLE sufferers are advised to sit somewhere that is fairly dark and is definitely away from the windows or any source of natural light, as UV can penetrate, and be be amplified by, window glass. It is worth noting here I think, that this also includes the window glass in cars. It isn't always possible for a PLE sufferer to sit in the middle of the back seat, so it is adviseable to buy window shades for both the side windows and the rear window, and to sit in the back seat (unless you are driving of course.) If you are the driver then the best way to combat the problem of exposure to UV radiation through the wind shield of your car, is to break your journey up into manageable (and skin healthy) portions of time, especially on longer journeys. Whether you are the driver or not, it is absolutely essential that you wear your sunblock and cover up your skin for the entire duration of the journey.

  • Miscellaneous Travel Precautions: I have found in the past that it is a really good idea to inform your travel company of your PLE in advance. This way they will be able to tell you if their coaches/buses/trains, planes and automobiles are suitable for you to travel in.  Most travel/tour companies are actually well equipt to accommodate travellers with PLE as most methods of travel are now kitted out with things like window curtains etc, or they can sometimes provide sun shades for the windows. However it is still adviseable to tell your travel operator in advance. I have found in the past that when my son and I have used a couple of coach companies, although they clearly stated that they had window curtains unfortunately when we got to the pick up point it transpired that the curtains had been removed for cleaning purposes and had not been replaced in time for our journey.  Informing the companies in advance means that you can claim a full refund for the loss of the journey if you decide to not take the chance of travelling without the protection of window curtains etc. Oh and make sure that they dont sit near the "quarterlight" in the roof if you are travelling by coach. I fell foul of a coach quarterlight once, and I wont use the words here that I would normally use to describe the resulting rash and headache!

Please dont think that I spend my days sitting at home, writing my melancholic poetry and terrified to leave the house as this is not the case at all. I did that when I was officially diagnosed with having PLE and it got very old, very quickly! Now I leave the house as much as I possibly can and try to absorb as much natural light as I can, obviously in a way that is safe for me to do so. The fact is that depression runs in our family, and as a result of not being able to tolerate sunlight as much as others can, I now suffer with SAD as well (Seasonal Affective Disorder). For those of you who dont know, SAD is a form of depression that normally occurs during the winter months when natural light is at its minimum. It has been proved that a lack of natural light can worsen the symptoms of depression, or even promote them in someone who has not ever suffered from it before, unfortunately this means that people who have sunlight allergies, if they also have SAD, can sometimes suffer with SAD all year round instead of just in the winter months, so I feel it is very important for me to be exposed to natural light as often as I am able to, without leaving myself open to the resulting rash/symptoms of my allergy.

Here are some Websites that offer good help, advice and support for those of us with PLE or any other sunlight allergy:

Wednesday, 6 January 2010

Excited!! HIM are touring here!! Even More Excited - I have a ticket!!

Ok, I  know that I am not a teenager anymore (ahem) and although I am not that old, never the less a woman of my age probably should know better than to get this excited about going to a gig, but I really cant help myself this time. Just so that you can see what I mean - this is how excited I am:

(lol - I LOVE this pic)

Anyway, a little while before Christmas, I found out that my favourite group, HIM, were touring the UK with their new album, "ScreamWorks - Love in Theory and Practice", so the first thing I did was scare my son by doing a pretty good Meg Ryan/Tom Cruise impression (screaming Yes! Yes!!....YES!!!!! and jumping up and down on the sofa, the second thing I did was have an asthma attack, (have I already mentioned that I have asthma?) and the third thing I did (once I had retrieved and used my inhalers) was to immediately buy a ticket. I am excited for two reasons: Firstly hearing the new album live, and secondly because it will be the first time that I will have actually seen what the guys look like. Yes I know that sounds really strange, actually it probably is really strange, but those of you who have read my previous blogs regarding HIM will know why I have not even looked for photos of them before - it is all part of that "background noise" I mentioned in my earlier blogs. I have resisted finding out any "personal" information about the band (i.e. anything on the internet, true or otherwise) for the better part of a year now, and I have to say that given how much I absolutely adore their music I am really quite proud of myself for that. But now I will actually get to see what they look like and the suspense is killing me!
Perhaps you are wondering why I don't now just google them seeing that I will be going to the concert in March anyway.  The truth is I am a little bit scared. I love their music and lyrics so much that I really don't care what they look like, as that is not what is important to me - Yes - REALLY! But what if they look like Slipknot, or Lordi?! Given that I think the lyrics that Ville Valo writes are some of the most beautiful poetry I have ever read, I don't think I would cope with them being a "gimmick" group very well lol. How would I be able to take their music and lyrics seriously after that? I suppose that would be the true test of how good their songs are. If they came out on stage looking like some weird post apocalyptic demon spawn and their fans were still able to take their songs seriously, then that would be a pretty good indication of how much the songs actually mean to the fans, and in its own way would then be pretty cool. But still I hope that they are at least fairly regular looking guys!

After buying the ticket reality set in: The concert is in Bournemouth, and I don't drive so a) how was I going to get there? b) It is (obviously) an evening gig, so either i) how was I going to get back to London at midnight on the train, ii) should I try to get back to London after midnight on the train, or iii) would it be better to find a hotel in the area? I briefly considered going down to Bournemouth on the night, but then I rapidly came to my senses. Not only is there the safety issue - travelling on the train is not always the safest option during the day, much less after midnight, but also there are 'other' considerations, and I decided that it is best left to the army of 18 year olds that will be descending on Bournemouth for the gig to arrive on the night, all stressed, sweaty and disgusting looking, and then after the gig to sleep on the beach trying to get a shag on the sand (in the middle of March) before hitchhiking back to London. very hungover, the following morning. Don't get me wrong - I used to go to festivals and gigs exactly the same way, but the point is I have done my stint sleeping in bin bags in the middle of wet, windy British fields and catching Pneumonia into the bargain, I did it for a very long time and I had an absolute blast (well, from the little that I can actually remember of that time anyway lol,) but I don't have to do that any more. Now I have a shed-load more money than I used to have, and much less inclination to sleep in anything other than a bed, so I decided to find a hotel to stay in for the night before, and the night of the gig. I guess that younger people will think that I am an old woman now for doing that, but the truth is that whilst that lot are travelling down to Bournemouth courtesy of the *cough* "wonderful" British Rail (or whoever operates the train to Bournemouth these days,) and killing each other for a dried up corned beef sandwich, I will be laying in the bath and ordering the Veggie Platter on room service. A friend of mine said to me "but its not as exciting, its not the same experience is it?" and I have this to say on the subject: Given how much the hotel has cost me, how much the train fare, and the cab from the station to the hotel and back again at the end of my stay is going to cost me,  how much I know even a small amount of room service is going to cost me and how much planning this has all taken; it had bloody well better not be the same experience!!!!

Some friends think I am mad for doing this. Firstly there is the cost: I am shelling out a reasonable amount of money to see HIM live: The cost of the ticket, the return train fare to Bournemouth, the return cab fare from my house to Waterloo and back again in London and the return cab fare from and back to the station in Bournemouth, the cost of the hotel room, which had to be double occupancy in a single room, not to mention the cost of food and any 'extras' (merchandising, drinks etc) at the gig.
Then there is the organisation and planning of it all: Getting the ticket to start, finding and booking the hotel which wasn't at all easy; First of all I needed to find out where the Bournemouth O2 Academy actually is so that I could get a hotel that is fairly near to it, I tried all of the Directory  Enquiry numbers, the yellow pages, even the Internet and I couldn't get a telephone number listing for the place at all. Then someone on the internet told me that the 02 Academy used to be the Bournemouth Opera House, so again I tried several different directory enquiry numbers before finally being given the right telephone number. However when I finally got through and managed to speak to an actual person as opposed to their infernal automated service, the person that I spoke to wasn't a local and couldn't tell me the names of any hotels nearby, much less decent ones, so then it was a phone call to the Bournemouth Tourist Information Office (really should have called them to begin with) who were kind enough to not only recommend a hotel, but also book me into it for a small booking fee. Then I had to find out where in London to get the train to Bournemouth and if there are any stops along the way (not a good thing at all when you are a physically challenged person with a suitcase and no one with you to help you.) Luckily the woman at the Bournemouth Tourist Information Office had already kindly furnished me with a local cab company number as the 02 Academy is actually in Boscombe rather than Bournemouth itself and it is too far to walk from the train station to the hotel.  Then after I had sorted out all of this, I had the most awful thought;  It occurred to me that the only ticket I had been able to buy was a standing ticket, but the thing is, as most of you will already be aware of, nearly 11 years ago I broke my back and whilst I am determined that my injury will not totally stop me from doing anything, and indeed I can still do all the things that I used to do, still, now I sometimes have to be a little more 'creative' in order to be able to do those things, and standing still for a couple of hours isn't really possible for me. At least not without causing me huge amounts of pain. So it was back to the kind people at the 02 Academy, explaining to them about my injury and how I cant stand still in one place for hours at a time, also that I will have my walking sticks with me, which I don't always have to use now but it is best to take them to help deal with any resulting pain, and that as my right leg is slightly withered now it can occasionally be a little easier for me to be knocked over than someone else might be.  The staff at the Academy have very kindly said that I wont have to stand in the queue outside and that they will provide me with a seat at the front near the stage, so that at least is that little problem sorted - Now all I have to do is wait for my ticket and then get there lol.

You see, this is the reason that I am hoping that HIM are not a gimmicky band - imagine how I am going to feel, after going through all of this just to see them live, if they were to walk out on stage looking like a cross between Mr Lordi (who I actually love by the way) and Michael Myers! and I think it is also worth mentioning that this is how much I love HIM's music and Ville Valo's lyrics - I don't think I would be able to do all this for any other group - and I don't even know what they look like lol!

As a little side note - and just to demonstrate how dedicated I have been to not finding out any info about the band at all, when I have bought the HIM back catalogue this year I have even got my son to order the CD's on the internet for me and we have had them sent to my friend Sarahs house so that she can copy the CD's and give me back the copies only in clear plastic sleeves, keeping the original CD's for herself. I have even decided not to buy a copy of the "Live at the Orpheum Theatre" version of Venus Doom as I know there is a second disc that has a copy of the entire concert and an interview with Ville Valo as well as something else that shows the other band members, and I know myself too well - I know that I will be tempted to watch them. So instead I have decided to buy the "Live at the Orpheum Theatre" CD/DVD after I have been to the gig in March. I have made one concession this year though - I have pre ordered thier new album, as my son tells me it comes with an original silk screen print, but this time I am having it sent to my house instead of Sarah's. However my son is going to open the parcel for me when it arrives and have a look at the CD to make sure there are no photos of the band. I know that this all sounds a bit obsessive, and it probably is as I have always had a little bit of an obsessive personality, but the truth is that it all started as a way to help with the pain I am in a lot of the time, although now I think that it may have become a little bit of an obsession as well- oh well!

Monday, 4 January 2010

Some New Photos

My lovely son took some new photos of me earlier, I dont usually like photos of myself as I never think I look any good in them, but he didnt do a bad job and I am so proud of him for trying so hard that I promised him I would post them. A friend has seen them and told me that I look drunk in them lol! Everyone knows that I dont drink so I should explain that when these photos were taken I hadn't actually slept in over 24 hours, (please see last year's blog re my son's sleep condition for an explanation!) Brace yourselves - you have been warned!

This is the first one:

The Second:

The Third:

And lastly the one I have used as my profile pic:

In case you are wondering why I was looking down in the first two, I was in the spare room playing with our Jack Russell Buddy:

Copyright by Sami-Jane Harris. 2010. All rights reserved