Wednesday, 31 December 2008

Happy 2009!

Firstly I wish you all a very very happy New Year, full of fun and happiness and lovely things!

I've actually started to be excited about 2009, instead of merely terrified. It's the start of the rest of my life. That can be a good thing, not a dreadful occurance. I have the chance to start it consciously and right, and continue like that. So my new plan is to use this year to make the most of, well, everything. I can build my creative confidence in making videos, films, writing stories and scripts, all of which will help me get wherever it is I end up wanting to get. So that's my plan.

Love and joy and adventures to all for 2009 and beyond! xXx

Saturday, 20 December 2008

Wherefore art thou brain?

Why, oh why, is it always the case that the powers of normal conversation (not even smart, witty conversation... normal would do fine!) fail when you need them most? And, of course, they only return once the situation is well past and you've been left opening and closing your mouth like a goldfish. Then you're flooded with hundreds of the clever things you could and should have said.

*sighs*

Typical.

Thursday, 18 December 2008

Another year...

"Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass
it's about learning to dance in the rain."
Author Unknown


As 2007 rolled into 2008, I was too ridiculously busy to be able to pause and contemplate the change and what it meant to me. By the time I had the chance to look around me, the year was already several weeks old, reasonably well-established, and had lost its new-born vitality. I sense the same thing beginning to happen this year so I'm doing my "end of the old/start of the new" thinking now, while I have a moment or two to breathe.

During this past 12 months I have been through big, big ups and big downs at uni. Fun and stress, often at the same time. I started my first real job as a temp, made sure I was kept on permanently after Christmas, then moved on to become senior sales 10 months later. I went to Paris, my first self-planned trip in several years. I survived the production workload of at least 4 people during the summer semester, and came out stronger and wiser instead of a broken wreck. And plenty more. It's been a busy year.

To tell the truth though, when I let myself think about it, next year scares the hell out of me. This last year was nothing in hecticness compared to what is coming. I will be graduating in the summer with no idea yet of what to do next. My calender can only help me up until June, then it is merely a stack of blank pages stretching on into eternity. I want big and wonderful things in my future, I want more than a daily 9-5 job that just about makes ends meet. Most of the people I tell that to act as if it's a nice, albeit slightly naive, view of the world and I'll soon learn that that's not how things work in real-life. I refuse to give up the idea that it can, and will, work for me... but a big part of me is terrified that they're right.

I don't seem to have worked out what I want from 2009. I think I'm going to go off and think about that awhile, maybe it'll make me panic less. Actually, scary as it may be, it is kind of exhilarating to know it's about to be time to do something with my life at last. If I shoot for the moon, at the very least I should land somewhere in the proper general direction, then I can continue from there... right?

Wednesday, 17 December 2008

A friend in need.

Firstly, an advance apology for the following cascade of sentimentality!

I know I only recently wrote a post about the importance and joy of friends, but I have an addition to make to it. In this past couple weeks, during my ups and downs of work and deadlines, I have been overwhelmed by the amazing loveliness of the people around me.

Since moving to the complete opposite side of London from everyone I know in order to be closer to uni, I sometimes complain that I'm isolated and am living all on my lonesome.. but during this time I haven't felt like that once. Every single time I had a problem, when I was stressed, when I wasn't sleeping, when I desperately needed to get some footage for my video, when I lost something I needed, and generally whenever things weren't going my way... someone stepped in to help me in big or little ways, and at the very least provide me with moral support and encouragement. I am indescribably touched and grateful to discover how many people, both friends and family, were willing to go out of their way to make life easier for me without me even having to ask.

Through all this I also learned something about myself. Not a good thing, but a good thing to learn so I can begin to erase it. Despite how much I pride myself on my understanding of people, I have a habit of judging unfairly. Some of the people who helped me over the past couple weeks, one in particuar without whom I would have had no work to hand in, are people I have not always been particularly fair to in the past.

Having so many people readily jump to my aid has made me feel very small. Grateful and loved and touched and many other wonderful things. But a lot more humble. It's been a pin in my over-inflated pride. However much I like to think so, I'm not actually better than everyone around me (but shush, that bit's a secret). And for every thing I am better at, someone else will have a handful of their own personal areas in which they exceed. This is fine and this is how the world works.

I want to thank, from the bottom of my heart, everyone who has helped me through this past month or so. I cannot begin to say how grateful I am, not only for the help that I was given but for discovering that I am blessed with so many wonderful friends. From now on I'm going to work on being as good a friend to my friends as my friends are to me.

Much love to all, xXx

Friday, 12 December 2008

All the little fishies...

It's amazing how you don't always fully realise how something has affected you until it's past. I woke up today feeling entirely lost. It's like I'd forgotten that life exists outside of work and uni and couldn't remember what I used to do in all that unscheduled time... All I could think of was that I needed to tidy my room and go food shopping, which I refused to let myself spend the day doing. Then for some reason I thought of the London Aquarium. I've walked past it plenty over the past two years and promised myself that one day I'll go inside, a promise I'd never actually fulfilled. Twenty minutes and a bowl of porridge later and I was out the door.

As I walked into the aquarium I realised again just how shell-shocked I've been left from the past couple months of hecticness. The instant I walked into the first tunnel my phone signal cut out and my first thought was panic. Focusing on the tanks around me was impossible because all I could think of was that I was cut off from the world, I should be doing something else, I shouldn't be there wasting time, what was I thinking being there on my own instead of being of some use somewhere.

I took some deep breaths, told myself to cut it out and relax dammit. I found some lovely watery classical music on my ipod and sat against the glass of the shark tank for ages, watching them swim serenely to and fro, and I felt myself calming down at last. After that I had a lovely visit and enjoyed myself greatly. Two and a half hours of strange and wonderful creatures and complete peace, knowing that no one could reach me or knew where I was, and that it didn't matter. It was truly my own time.

I picked my camera up this morning but forgot to put it in my bag, so I had to make pictures the old fashioned way instead. My pencil can't capture the velvet of the sharks' skin, but it was beautiful, so smooth and perfect. As of today I have a new found appreciation of these creatures.


Thursday, 11 December 2008

Me-time! (and a video camera)

I'm on strike! So so happy.

My deadlines were all today and I handed everything in this evening. The thud as my work hits the bottom of the box is the most wonderful sound in the universe (unlike the loud, slightly drunk singing and cackling coming from the downstairs neighbours as I type...) and the instant I hear it, a load lifts from my shoulders.

My time is mine again! Well, for tomorrow it is. I'm working on Saturday and Sunday of course. But tonight I get to kick back and watch some cheesy movie, and tomorrow I am not going into work, even if they call, and intend instead to spoil myself and make the most of my first precious day off. Ah joy!

Oh, and in other news! My dad dropped back into the country again the other day. This evening I saw him very briefly and he gave me his old video camera. He's upgraded to a harddrive video camera to avoid having to carry so many tapes round the world with him, and so he's given me his MiniDV cam. I'm finally a filmmaker with an actual camera! Next step is to get a computer that can actually edit... but for the time being I can use the uni computers to play with my own projects. I'm all excited. I can make videos that aren't assignments! Eee, the possibilities...

Wednesday, 10 December 2008

The Last Knit


I've been exploring my old favorites on youtube, and here's another little treasure for you. A beautifully made video that shows how knitting gets to you and never lets go! Very funny and, as both a knitter and a crocheter, scarily easy to relate to....

Monday, 8 December 2008

My pen.

I got me a new pen! It's a Lamy Linea fountain pen and I love it. I haven't had a nice fountain pen since I was about 14 so I decided it was about time I treat myself. I am very fussy about my pens, they have to be just so and this is the first one I've found since my last poor pen broke that feels like a real replacement.

I am going to get the nib changed to be a fine nib instead of the medium one that comes as standard. It also comes with a converter to allow me to use any bottle of ink I choose, so I'm going to go ink shopping and find some lovely colours to play with. Fun fun.

Sunday, 7 December 2008

A little touch of clothing magic



I've just rediscovered this video. The first time I found it and mastered the technique, it had me emptying my tshirt drawer just to be able to refold it all "properly". There are step-by-step tutorials peppered across youtube now if you want to learn the easy way, rather than by watching this one over and over again, but this is the original and still my favorite.

Also, folding tshirts in 2 seconds flat makes for some lovely stunned expressions, if you ever have reason to casually fold tshirts in front of people :op

Saturday, 6 December 2008

Dreamworlds

Do you ever feel like there's huge world laid out and running itself inside your dreams? I sometimes wonder about the depth of detail and the seemingly random jumble of things assembling into something that makes perfect sense, until you wake up.

While most people seem to have reoccurring dreams, what I get are reoccurring locations. The same places pop up over and over again in completely unconnected dreams. Sometimes the people in the places remember me, even if I don't remember them, and sometimes even if I haven't been there before.

There's the most incredible shopping mall I've been in a couple times. It defies the laws of physics and has a glass-walled bookstore that goes on forever and has giant slides to get around... And there's the supermarket with the Star Trek style holodeck that had a wedding held in its big staff lift one night a few weeks ago. Or the old dusty bookshop I don't remember visiting. Despite the staff's insistence I wouldn't believe I had been there before, until they showed me my name signed on the cover of a magazine.

Last night I was in a park that I just knew. I knew that there were fountains just round the corner, I knew where the deepest parts of the stream were, the layout of the trees, the way the daisies were sprinkled across the grass, and where not to go because the kids are usually too rowdy. This time though, there was a palace there. An actual royal palace, but with sunbathers on the lawn. A fleet of helicopters flew down and the Queen arrived. I went inside and met her, she was most gracious, then Stephen Fry carried my suitcase in for me, it was huge and heavy and I felt guilty for packing so much to go to the park. Then my alarm went off and woke me up.

I like dreams.

Friday, 5 December 2008

Diluted, dispersed, run dry.

I feel spread as thin as Marmite scraped across toast.

I have deadlines coming out of my ears, work is calling me every day to ask me to do yet more overtime I can't handle but can't afford to turn down, and the mess in my room is piling up to the ceiling because I can't find any free moments to spend tidying rather than extravagent things like, I don't know, getting a night's sleep.

I blink and another day is gone. I can't remember the last time I was home with my family for more than a night, and friends are texting to check I'm still alive. I'd swear it's only been a day or so since all this started, but news is starting to filter back to me about things I should not only have realised were happening, but should have been there for.

I feel like I've ceased to exist, like I'm so diluted by everything going on that I end up being useless in any situation I'm in. Running on automatic, barely conscious. I'm stressed at uni, tired at work, snappy and spacey with my friends - if I manage to make contact at all...

Another week until deadlines are over. After that I can breathe. I'll make sure of it... I can refuse extra overtime until I have caught up with myself, and with the precious people I've pushed away. Whatever it takes.

Monday, 1 December 2008

Buttons

A year and a halfish ago I began noticing buttons on the pavement as I walked through London. At first I just glanced at them as I bustled past, then for some reason I began picking them up...

Cut to the present, and my collection is over 150 buttons big (I lose count fast), spans five countries and has outgrown several storage containers. I'm teased about my collection by my friends, who have had to get used to the fact that I'll suddenly vanish from sight while we're walking and pop back into vision seconds later holding a button, but some of them are starting to spot them as well and I have 5 donated found buttons which take pride of placement in my jar.

I like my buttons because they're an example of the little things that no one usually notices or, I guess, would normally care about.. I love the fact I have a collection that has naturally and effortlessly found me, but gives me the self-satisfaction that comes with knowing that, even when you're not actually looking for them (which I'm usually not), I'm able to spot a transparent plastic button on a white marble floor, or a tiny black button between two pavement slabs, or a metal button embedded in the soil by the side of a road.

This weekend I found 8 buttons, and another today, so I'm happy. I'll leave you with this weekend's finds:

Alive.

I slept last night, at last, and I've woken up feeling less murderous... always a good thing.

Now I have to rescue the video I was supposed to film today, but which fell apart along with me last night. If all goes according to the new plan, I'll be able to film tomorrow instead and begin editing.... *crosses fingers and touches wood*

Sunday, 30 November 2008

Still sleepless...

One sleepless night is bad. Two is horrible. I don't know how people survive more sleepless nights than that! I have newly discovered awe and sympathy for insomniacs.

My message to the world is: No matter what... sleep!

If that means disposing of loud and annoying neighbours who decide to start their loud chatting sessions, complete with cheers and squeals and yells, right under your bed at 3am, thus waking you up and effectively preventing any chance of getting back to sleep again, well, so be it! No one will notice the freshly dug soil in the garden... it's all fiiine.

I'm off to attempt to find some desperately needed sleep.
Wish me luck! For the sake of my sanity, and for the sake of my neighbours' safety.

Saturday, 29 November 2008

Need sleep!

So... tired!

Looong day at work, I did 10 and a half hours total, and after a mostly sleepless night. I'm going to do a little uni work now, just to avoid losing what little momentum I have, and then I'm going to sleep. Early. Very much early. Yes.

*yawns*

Friday, 28 November 2008

Groups.

Last winter term our main project was to make a documentary. Our production group, making a documentary on video-game addiction, came together quite spontaneously and ended up being the most group-like group I've had since college. Our meetings were the envy of all the other groups once the photos started hitting facebook. We managed to have 5 hour meetings that included light-sabre duels, salsa lessons and general larking about... as well as actually getting work done.

So, I was very happy when the suggestion came that we get together again for our final video project next semester. Ideas are bouncing around already, and everyone is very into it. Also, we have the advantage of already knowing everyones strong and weak points beforehand, instead of having to get used to each other as with a new group. This video will be far better than last year's. A final project to be proud of for sure. I've decided.

But I guess in order to get to that project all the faster... I must now stop procrastinating and work on my current assignments... *sighs* Okay, off I go.

But first:
This is our video from last year. It has a few massive flaws that still make me cringe (the sooound! *shudders*), and plenty that could have been better, but overall I'm proud of it.


(Game Overdose)

Tuesday, 25 November 2008

The joys of a de-junkified room and brain.

Ah well, so much for blogging every day this month. I did so well, then it all went a little downhill. I've had a very "what's the point of all this anyway?!" week where pretty much everything is concerned, and it spread to my blog.

Today is a better day.

My mum came by with the car yesterday and spent the day with me, taking everything old or extra out of my room and back to the house. I'm left with space I haven't had in ages, only books I want to read, only clothes I want to wear, only art materials I want to use. It makes such a huge difference! And the welcome side-effect of a clearer environment is a clearer mind. After a long sleep in a cozy, peaceful room, I seem to have woken up with my mental block in pieces. I am back to taking my uni/work crises as challenges, steps along my path, whatever path that ends up being, rather than just a lot of confusing and stressful things around me.

Thursday, 20 November 2008

A day of Bleh.

Today is one of those days where it seems impossible to do anything. Every moment I've been awake today I've felt like I shouldn't be. Not only tiredness as such, I just feel.. I don't know, drained I guess.

I was woken up this morning by my home phone ringing, tried to get up to answer it, failed from sheer exhaustion and went back to sleep, only to be woken again 20 minutes later by someone else calling my other phone. I have a headache that only appears when I think of the work I have to do for uni, and I'm lacking enthusiasm for any of that because of the complete and utter lack of support we're getting for teachers. The opposite in fact, they actually seem to be going out of their way to discourage me. It's so frustrating!

I went out for a walk this afternoon in an attempt to shake this mood off, and it worked wonderfully while I was out. It was a lovely, cold autumn day. I walked most of the way to Greenwich Park and got the bus the last bit of the way. The park is all green and brown and full of whistling, bustling wind.

I was feeling wonderful, until I walked back through my door. My headache came back with a vengence and I just can't bring myself to fight through it and do anything useful. It's half past 6 in the evening and I'm seriously considering just going to bed and making a fresh start of things tomorrow...

Tuesday, 18 November 2008

To you.

Today is the birthday of an amazing friend, in fact, the bestest friend a girl could ever wish for. I've only known her five years, but I can't imagine how I made it through the previous eighteen years without her.

Today I've been thinking about how important friends are... A true friend is someone with whom you can share anything. Someone to enjoy good times and joyful news, or someone with a shoulder to cry on when things are tough and to help you straighten your head out when it's tangled up like spaghetti. Someone who believes in you when you forget to believe yourself. Someone you can rely on no matter what, and who knows that they can always rely on you. And especially, someone who knows and loves you for who you are, and would never want you to be anything else.

I am fortunate enough to have a small selection of friends like this. To each of you, I just want to say how happy and proud I am to be able to call you a friend. Thank you for being you, and being so amazing.

And to you my sweet, a great big, giant Happy Birthday!! Welcome to the time-beyond-the-teens! I hope you've had a wonderful day. Oh, and a phone call is needed very, very soon so I can hear all your new job gossip!

Much love! xXx

Sunday, 16 November 2008

What-ifs

Watching my brother graduate yesterday reminded me of how fast my own graduation is approaching, and left me questioning how I've ended up where I have. I'm second-guessing choices I made years ago, it's not a good plan. I'm so scared that I should have done things differently. I thought I knew that what I'm doing is what I want to do, and where I am is where I'm meant to be... but is it?

I know this is probably just into-the-real-world jitters. At least I'm hoping that's what it is. I don't know what to do if it's not. I need to sit down and assess my situation. I need to work out what I'm happy with, and in which areas I'm not satisfied. Then I need to work out what to do about it. I still have time to adjust things if I need to take a different route in life, right? Right.

No need to panic *breathes deep*
(Hindsight - my little gallery)

Saturday, 15 November 2008

Class of '08

Heehee, so proud! My little brother graduated today with a Higher National Diploma. He still has another year of studying to make it up to a full BSc degree but he had his first graduation ceremony today, and he got there before me. I graduate in June next year (eep, soon!).
He looked every bit the graduate in his gown and mortarboard. We had a family photo taken, then spent the morning mingling and taking photos then went to the ceremony. The official photos will be uploaded by the college soon, can't wait to see them.
As they were called up on stage, my brother and his classmates got a special mention for their "juggling skills and entertaining the college as they learn". 7 out of the 10 of them have learned to juggle while there and spend their time juggling in corridors and classrooms.

Twas a good day.

In other news, the woman at the supermarket checked my age when I bought Hocus Pocus. It's a Disney film! I may not always look my age, but not that much younger!

Friday, 14 November 2008

Porridge

I have here in front of me a bowl of steaming porridge swimming in milk, with a light sprinkling of demerara sugar to finish it off with a sweet crunch.

"What's so amazing about porridge?!" I hear you ask.

I haven't eaten porridge in about four years, simply because I've refused. No particular reason, I think it was just me being stubborn. But during the past week or so I've been craving it (At least half my cravings tend to be strangely healthy things, like broccoli. Probably a good thing) so out I went to re-stock my oat supply. Since then I have had porridge every day for breakfast, a light midday meal, or when I get home and can't be bothered to make anything else.

To me it feels like the ultimate luxury food. It's as easy to make as a bowl of cereal.. a blessing for hectic a student lifestyle. And you can be as creative with it as you like, or just use milk, oats and a pinch of salt, depending on your mood. Just a small amount keeps you full all the way till lunch, without a single thought of needing anything else in between. And it feels healthy. Not the "five a day" kind of healthy, which you know is good because it's logical and everyone tells you so. But the kind of healthy where you can feel the nutrition running into every part of your body from the very first spoon.

My current favorite indulgence is to sit and watch the people walking quickly past my window, bundled up to the noses in winter clothes, hurrying to their destination in the brisk winter sun or in the pouring rain, while I eat hot porridge, feeling the warmth and goodness spreading through me all the way to my toes. Anything I do in my day from then on is just icing on the cake, so to speak.

Go forth and eat porridge!
Or find your own personal luxury food and eat that. Whatever works for you!

Wednesday, 12 November 2008

The Norman Conquests

I've just come back from the second of the The Norman Conquests plays at the Old Vic theatre, starring Stephen Mangan (as in Green Wing) and Jessica Hynes (as in Spaced). The first play was hilarious (I watched it with a friend about two weeks ago, it was so great that we went straight to the box-office the next day to get the next tickets) so this had lots to live up to, and it didn't disappoint. Very very funny. Amazing cast and script.

And I *heart* the Old Vic theatre! It's so cute and cozy, with a lovely elegance about it. And most of all I love their "under 25s" offer. I have a ticket to the final play booked for the 19th of December (can't wait!), and for all three plays we have front row seats. In the current setting front row really is front. We were literally about 2 feet from the actors, a foot from the stage, which is only a little above floor level. It's a round stage at the moment, with the audience sitting in a circle around it, so depending where you are you get a completely different view of what's going on. And. The greatness is that these front-row seats of perfection are only £12 each for us youngsters. I love it.

Okay, I'm being a bad hostess. Must be off! Otherwise I could rave about it for ages more.

Sunday, 9 November 2008

Mission: not-entirely-impossible

I heard my first Christmas music of the year today. In Starbucks. It's still only the start of November! Give us another couple weeks at least, please?!

My top-secret mission was a whole lot bigger than I expected. The "something" that needed moving was the whole Paperchase department in the House of Fraser on Oxford Street. The day started out as mysteriously as it sounded yesterday.

Me and one of the ground floor boys from our store arrived at 10 o'clock sharp, but there was no one to be seen. We waited for a while, then at quarter past we took the advice of a builder who was putting up and went to ask security to let us in. Thing was, we couldn't actually find security. We walked slowly around the building once, then had to go back to the builder to ask for more specific directions. All he said was, "It's a door... look for buttons." So around we went again, checking every door we came to. Finally we found a little nondescript grey door hiding in a little alcove, with some small buttons nearby. We pushed one, and the door was unlocked for us.

We were met by a very stressed and frazzled manager. He reminded me of how I must look lately when irate customers are claiming my time and managers are breathing down my neck to get a mile long list of tasks done in an hour.

I'm used to working in the flagship store, one of the two largest in the country. I never realised how spoiled we are! We have three huge floors of space to play with. The section that we were moving from today was about quarter of the size of the ground floor in our store, if that. And the section we were moving to was even smaller.

When we first started I wondered what on earth I'd got myself into. I was being given several huge crates of things at a time, things that in our store each have massive amounts of display space, and then was shown to a single table or shelf unit and told to make it all fit on there. It honestly looked to me like an impossible task. I just stood there and stared at the stock, and then at the shelves, then at the stock... then I took a little walk, and came back, and stared some more.

After a couple hours of cramming things into spaces they just didn't fit, I just wanted to run away, home, back to my usual store, anywhere! I was tired and fed up. Then I went for lunch, and when I got back I had more energy. Instead of looking at it as a chore, I took it as a challenge. I began to get into it, determined to prove to myself that I could do this impossible task. To my astonishment, and with a hell of a lot of rearranging, re-rearranging and creative condensing, it actually began to fit. And then it began to look presentable. And theen it began to look actually good!

I'm glad I went today. I’ve always had a block with arranging displays, but now I know I can not only get the job done, if today is anything to go by, I can summon miracles! Well, that’s what it felt like.. At the start of the day I couldn’t wait to leave, but by the end I was actually enjoying myself. I've got a much greater appreciation for the things I take for granted at our store, like space to walk five steps in a row. It was also nice to be somewhere new for a while.

Now I’m home with a bowl of porridge, a few feet from my very inviting bed. I think I’ve earned an early night. And a hot water bottle for my cold, cold toes.

Saturday, 8 November 2008

Customers.

You know what I love about working in a shop? I love the customers. Working in such a large and popular store in central London, you meet fascinating people. Lots are lovely and occasionally inspirational, some are incredibly rude and snobbish, while others are just plain bizarre.

We get celebrities too on occasion, usually very minor ones who only one or two of us actually recognise, while the others (usually me) do "discrete" walk-bys to see if we can work out where they're from.

Okay, this seems to want to be turning into a rant. However much I truly adore my customers, today we had a couple of the worst kind. The type who look at you and see a faceless person who is hired to serve them, and who is there to pander to their every demand. Okay, yes, so that's our job, I know that and I take pride in my customer service, but some people have this talent for making you feel like you should be paying them to allow you the privilege of assisting them. When you come into our store we're not trying to make things difficult for you, we have everyone available working to find all the things you want (after you've already paid for one lot and mixed everything up several times might I add), and we're really not going to break your stuff or short-change you... so why the suspicious looks?

But I had one of the sweet kind also, so she made it all okay. She was funny, contradicting my reactions to what she told me. She was stocking up on our 70% off Halloween goodies for her niece next year, and was telling me how "unfortunately" she buys everything in sale a year early. And I said, "Oh, that's the best way! Buy it cheap, and no rushing about next year." But she said, "No, no, its unfortunate." and I just said, "Oh, okay." Then she was telling me how she's making advent calenders for her grand-kids and grand nieces and nephews, and I said what a lovely idea that was, and she said, "No it's not." and once again I said, "Oh...". She was very nice though, buying lots of tiny toys for the advent calenders, and the strangest little things she could find. She also told me that my service was excellent (sadly she waited till about a minute after my manager walked out of earshot... why are managers never around when you're complimented, but aalways when you make a mistake?) and was very gracious throughout.

I'm being sent off on some mystery quest tomorrow. I have to go to the mini Paperchase inside House of Fraser to help out. All I've been told is that they're moving something and need someone "with a head firmly on their shoulders" from our store to help... or something. All I know is that I have to be standing at the escalators at 10am and they'll come and meet me. It feels like a spy mission. Yay, I like adventures.

Friday, 7 November 2008

And all's well.


There was an eerie orange sky this evening, not the usual flaming sunset orange, a dull orangey orange. Of course my camera was charging today, so all I had with me to capture the moment was my horribly inadequate cameraphone. This photo really doesn't do it justice.

My proposal is handed in and I have no more deadlines until mid-December. I have a little time tonight that's mine mine mine, where I'm not ignoring a thousand other things I should be doing. And I have bread baking in the oven. I'm feeling rather contented.

My internet is playing up though. Not ideal for only the first week of NaBloPoMo. Hopefully it'll last. Maybe I'll think about actually upgrading to an internet service worthy of this centuary, like, more than a 1mb dial-up connection..... my only excuse is that it's cheap.

Thursday, 6 November 2008

So sleepy...

For some reason I can't pull all-nighters. The closer I get to deadlines, the tireder (word?) I get earlier in the day. Seriously, at the end of last semester, when I had deadlines coming out of my ears, I was barely able to keep my eyes open past 8pm. If I try to fight it, it does me no good at all. I can't keep focussed on the screen, and sentences jumble and the meanings dance away in front of my eyes. I end up having to give in and go to bed ridiculously early, while all my classmates are typing away madly, then get up early and begin working just as they're all collapsing into their beds.

And that's what I'm going to do now. Sleep now, then up early for polishing, bibliographising and printing. And handing in. Then no more dissertation deadlines till it's due on the 1st of May. Joy.

G'night!

Wednesday, 5 November 2008

For not a moment must be wasted.

My second post tonight. I'm not procrastinating. Sure, I have my dissertation proposal due in two days... and sure it's going on 10 o'clock at night, with my cursor flashing at me from an empty Word document (To be fair, it's not completely empty... it says, "This is my proposal." A strong start if ever I saw one) and I have one full day without lectures to get it all completed. But. Procrastination? Naaah.

And now that we've established my complete innocence on that count, I believe it's crucial that I immediately make a prioritised shopping list. Three in fact. Can't live withouts, can live withouts but would really rather not, and things I want but am not allowed. Vitally important to do tonight in case.... I..... need it... Yes.

Walking and bangy, lighty-up things.

Walking is a wonderful invention. It gets you from place to place, and it lets you think while you're getting there. Or to listen to music, or a story, or the latest gossip. It lets you mull over ideas, or, as in tonight's case, it lets you wear off a bad mood.

There are times when I need to walk. I feel it bubbling deep down in the bones of my arms and legs and I have to drop everything, put on my comfiest shoes, and head into the great outdoors. I just wish I had nicer places to walk. There are some lovely places around London I guess, but I miss greenness! And a horizon further away from me than across the road.

It's bonfire night. I can hear the bangs and crackles starting in earnest. I think I'll go out and take a look after writing this. I like fireworks... all bright lights and colours, and noise of course. I like the big ones that sparkle and the little ones that make fountains of light. I want to actually buy some sometime. So far I don't seem to have grown out of being little and told not to play with fireworks or they'll blow me up. I just watch from a distance. I haven't quite realised that I am actually old enough to buy them now. Maybe I'll get some, just to show myself that I can...

Tuesday, 4 November 2008

The Halloween aftermath.

I've just discovered a side-effect of living on your own at Halloween...

Being the lovely person that I am, I bought chocolate and goodies for the neighbourhood trick-or-treaters. Thing is, not too many stopped by this year, leaving me with an awful lot of leftover junk food, and only me to finish it off. It seems that when chocolate is minified (hehe, just looked that up and discovered it is a word!) I don't notice that I'm eating it. So here I am a few days later, so sick of chocolate I can hardly look at it. And yet I still have maltesers, toffees and Terry's chocolate oranges surrounding me, and a giant bar of turkish delight chocolate, among other things. Methinks it's time to go back to my old habits of stashing it in boxes under the bed until I feel ready to eat it again.... say, in a year's time?

Monday, 3 November 2008

A smile at a time

A friend told me yesterday that you can never over-estimate your power to change the world, but you can nullify it by choosing to ignore it. Everyone has the ability, if only they use it. And you know what? I think believe him. So, I want to change the world, even if it's only the world around me at first.

If you meet a stranger and smile, make their day that little bit brighter, it might spread. Ripple effect. If you can climb above the bare minimum requirements when talking to whoever you come into contact with throughout your day, and see real people instead of faceless figures milling about around you. If you can over-ride your bad mood and not take it out on those you talk to. If you can notice a person who feels invisible, look at them and see good things that others might not bother to see, and reflect these things back to them. If you can show them that you believe in them, or, even more importantly, show them that they can believe in themselves, that they're capable of more than they might realise. If you can do any of these simple little things you will have done something great, and just maybe the person you touched will pass it on to the next person they meet.

To change the world, you have to begin with the people living in it. Without happy people even the most beautiful surroundings and greatest wealth are useless, but with people who are satisfied in themselves and in each other there can be happiness in the most difficult of situations.

I have hopes and dreams of things to do in the future, but for now I'm starting small. I'll change the world just a little at a time. Care to join me?

Friday, 31 October 2008

Halloween, Sun and Writer's Block.

Happy Halloween!
And a perfect Halloween it is too. The weather is lovely. All cold, brisk and autumny, but with sunshine streaming through the windows. I took a break from my dissertation planning (which, yes, I'm taking another break from to write this...) and took myself out for a walk in the park to soak up as much as possible this glorious autumn sun, before it starts rising at 11, setting at 3, and spending the hours between shrouded in clouds.

I have writer's block, which is affecting me everywhere. In fact, it feels more like life block. I'm not writing, not keeping up-to-date with uni work, not following up opportunities that come my way, not doing the things I love to do. Not because I don't want to, but because I seem to have become stuck in the belief that if I do something I'll suck at it. Or that, even if it's not bad, it still won't measure up to other people's standards or abilities.

I wonder why anyone would want to read something I've written. Why should I bother taking photos when so many people can do it better. Why draw, when my pens only occasionally make the shapes and lines they're supposed to? Why am I making films, when every recent project I've been a part of has fallen apart?

The answer to all of the above, is because I love to do it. I love to draw, to take photos, and to see my ideas come alive on screen and on paper. And I know that I'm good at it when I give myself the chance. But the chance is what I'm not allowing myself to have. I refuse to be second-best at something, refuse to fail, which means that if there's the slightest chance of this happening I turn tail and run.

Okay, 'tis time for these musings to come to an end for now. Back to writing my dissertation proposal. This time trying to write about what I want to, instead of worrying about whether my (so far beyond useless) dissertation tutor will see it in the same way as me.

(Picture by Madydiu on deviantART)

Wednesday, 15 October 2008

Catching up with myself

I like this picture:

(picture by Utopic-man on deviantART)

It looks a bit like I feel right now. Not sad, or scary. Just shrouded in my own little world. Once I'm done here all the clouds will blow away, revealing a blue, blue sky and fields of glowing daisies, and I'll invite everyone to come and join me. Soon... when I'm ready.

It's been an odd few weeks for me. My dad stopped in London for a couple days on his way between Ukraine and India. We spent an extremely rare afternoon together, musical instrument (I got me a harmonica! I haven't had one since I was about 11. Now to find somewhere faar from any poor listeners to learn to play) and microphone shopping, and then on to St James's Park to sit by the lake and talk. It was nice, very nice actually, but managed to leave me a little shaken in a way that only he manages. It's something about having an outsider's view of your life being given by someone close to you, someone who's in a position to let you know what they see. I kind of.. well. Since our conversation I've been in a bit of an identity crisis, trying to work out how I ended up where I am at this point in time, and not always liking what I determine.

My final year at uni is off to a good start. We have dissertations to plan, video projects to make, work placements to find, lectures and seminars to attend and readings to read. I'm excited about this year, and nervous about what will follow. It's out into the big scary world after graduation. I'm not certain I'm ready to be all grown-up! But I'm determined to be ready when the time comes.

Not too grown-up though. Only as much as necessary.

Saturday, 27 September 2008

Fog and Baubles

London was under a blanket of fog this morning. I like fog. I like hearing things before you can see them. I like trying to work out who's coming towards you through the white, and I like seeing the headlights of vehicles shining through the fog like glowing eyes.

In other news, Christmas starts tomorrow! Or that's what I'm being told. I seem to recall Christmas being sometime in December, but perhaps that's all wrong. Tomorrow's the day my floor at work changes from a furniture floor into the Christmas department. All glitter and baubles and reindeer. I plan to buy everything for Christmas this year ridiculously early, before I'm sick of the whole thing, which I'm sure I will be before the real Christmas comes around. As long as the music doesn't start yet, I may survive it...

Oh, and kohl update... I've been wearing the almond smoke eyeliner for the last two days and am thoroughly impressed by its staying power! I think it's because it's not oil-based, and so doesn't melt off. I put this on before work this morning, and it's still strong now, 14 hours later.
Merry Christmas to one and all! xXx

Friday, 26 September 2008

Smokey Eyes

My newest cosmetic discovery:

To make eyeliner (kohl style, not pencil) take an almond, hold it over a flame till it catches light. Hold a teaspoon close over the almond's fire to catch the smoke. When there's a good black coating on the spoon, extinguish the almond. Leave the spoon to cool for a minute or two, then apply smoke with a finger. Magic.

I usually don't wear much black eyeliner as I'm quite fair and it's very strong on me, but I've been having so much fun with my excuse to burn things, and of course wearing my own homemade kohl, that I have a feeling I'll be wearing it a *lot* in the forseeable future.

Try it!


Saturday, 9 August 2008

Let's put the "support" back in "tech-support"!

Maybe it's just my old-fashioned view on the world, but when I dial a telephone I would quite like there to be a human at the other end, especially when I'm in need of help. I had no internet, so I called the helpline...

"We have a new number for you to call and be charged at cheaper local rates," said the recording, "Please hang up and call: 0-8-4-5-4-5-4-double 2-double 2. That's: 0-8-4-5-4-5-4-double 2-double 2."

I re-dialled and went through the, "If you..... press 2", "If you..... press 4", "If you..... press 593478..." system, slowly funneling me in the direction of the appropriate advisor.

"Lets get you some help quickly," said the friendly recording, "If you use the 24/7 package please hang up and dial 0-9-0-7-5-9-7-triple 0-2. That's: 0-9-0-7-5-9-7-triple 0-2. If you use the pre-pay package please hang up and dial 0-9-0-7-5-9-7-triple 0-3. That's: 0-9-0-7-5-9-7-triple 0-3. Thank you."

"Beeeeeeeeeeep," went the disconnected line.

I called back again, assuming I had messed up a step and was sent to the wrong area. Wishful thinking apparently, the same thing happened again... "Beeeeeeeeeeeep."

In the end I just unplugged all my computer attachments, plugged the modem back in and restarted my computer a few times until the internet spluttered back into life. Hopefully it'll last...

Friday, 8 August 2008

What's in a name?

I found myself on a babynames site earlier (not at all broody... honest!) and have found lots of lovely names. I want to change my last name. If I didn't think it would alienate my dad's side of the family I would change it tomorrow. I want Eastman, which is my mother's maiden name, and so much prettier than "Webb".

I think I like the name Mercedes, but I almost feel like I shouldn't. It's nice name, it's not its fault it's now associated with cars.

Also, I appear to have listened to the entire Pride and Prejudice soundtrack over 4 times today. I don't even like the film all that much. (That's the film as opposed to the series with Colin Firth, which is perfection.)