Tuesday, 29 December 2009

What's Next?

So, another year draws to a close.

I'm determined to make 2010 my biggest year yet. Up until now I've either drifted through my years, from time to time getting caught on some reeds or the riverbank; college, uni, a job I need to pay the rent... but I don't know why I'm where I am, how I got here, or where I'll end up.

Well, from the beginning of 2010 onwards I am going to use my own goals as my compass, and decide for myself where it is I'm heading. No more doing things just because I don't want to disappoint the people around me, or because I don't have anything better to do than go along with what I'm told is best.

I'm prepared to make mistakes here and there, and have to adjust my course, and surprise a few people along the way. After all, I know that all the important people in my life will support me in whatever I decide I want to do.

Today I've been planning. I'm surrounded by hundreds of big and little ideas of what I want to do, and excited by the fact that so many of them seem achievable. I now need to prioritise them so that I can focus on one at a time and start ticking things off my list of accomplishments without becoming overwhelmed.

I'm looking forward to this next year.
How about you?

Friday, 25 December 2009

Merry Christmas Everyone!!!



I just wanted to wish everyone a very very happy Christmas, full of love and joy and wishes come true.

Christmas is usually just myself, my mum and my brother, but today all our friends in the area are merging our Christmas celebrations and gathering together as an extended family should.  I volunteered to make the brussel sprouts for the party, and spent yesterday making pies (Pumpkin and chocolate cream! Not together... that would be odd.). Now just to work out how to transport the pies and us without some terrible mishap. I'm thinking I might cycle and let the pies take over the back seat of the car.

There are splodges of snow still in the garden here, in my mind that counts as a White Christmas, and Classic FM on with the Christmas requests downstairs. All is well with the world... or at least this little corner of it.

I hope things are just as wonderful with you!

Much love to all! xxxxx

Monday, 21 December 2009

Bring It On

2010 is fast approaching. As is usual at the end of a year, I've been doing a lot of thinking about where I am in my life. But this year I'm realising how far I am from where I want to be, and worse, how unsure I am of where it is I do want to be.

The most important thing I do know now, is that there is no pay off for me playing it safe. I need to do something that is worthy of my time and effort. I want to make a difference with what I do, in some way, otherwise what am I working for? And without this challenge and integration of values, I just end up miserable, constantly trying to find time to jam everything important to me into my "spare time" instead of including it in my life.

It's so easy to get cozy somewhere, stuck in a safe little rut, doing the same things every day while thinking and talking big and saying what I'd like to do someday. It's time I stop living like this. I don't want to talk big, I want to live big.

As of today I'm no longer playing safe.

I don't know exactly what this means for me yet. At this moment it feels like I need a complete change of direction, and the courage and commitment to actually go through with it without going, "Oh, but.... it's so haaard......."

The whining, complaining part of me says, "But whyyyyy do I have to do this? I only just finished my degree! Let me rest! Let me sleepwalk through life a little first, it's less scary." But the rest of me is becoming stronger, and saying, "No no no no no. No more. No more wasting life on things that are pointless and life-leaching."

I have ideas about what I would like to do and I'm spending the next couple weeks fine-tuning and looking at options. After that..... I'm ready. Bring It On.

Friday, 18 December 2009

First Snow!

Snow snow snow!
In December!

This doesn't happen here... like.... ever.
So excited!







 

 

 

 

 




Tuesday, 15 December 2009

In the Land of the Northern Lights

I am very happy. I have finally tracked down an actual DVD that I can buy of Joanna Lumley's journey into the Arctic circle. I watched it a year ago and fell in love entirely. With Norway, the people there, the Northern Lights, and with her. When I was young I dreamed of being an explorer, I read the Swallows & Amazons books constantly and was transported into my own world of high adventure and new discoveries.

Watching this documentary, you're watching someone who is grown up and famous, reverting back to the childhood dream mode... and actually fulfilling these dreams. Never once saying, "Hmm, this must seem silly to you." Oh the goosebumps when she steps into the Arctic Circle for the first time, what to speak of seeing the Lights themselves.

I love watching this for the beauty of the film itself, and for Joanna Lumley, who is simply fantastic with her dignified childish wonder, and for the hope it gives me that there need never be a "use by" date on childhood dreams.

If you haven't seen it, you should. The DVD is available on Amazon at last. But the whole documentary is now on Youtube. First part here:

Monday, 14 December 2009

Home-Grown Silent Movies

I stumbled across these linked in an old email. These quick mini videos are  the result of an afternoon playing in the woods with a camera, back in the days of yore... before we were grown up with uni and jobs. (Although, since finding these I've been thinking about how to get everyone back together for more. I'm thinking spies... watch this space.)

All are taken with the silent movie function on my point-and-shoot camera.
Each clip is only a few seconds long, and quite absurd. Enjoy!




This whole filming thing started with the discovery of my brother's unexpected silent sneaking skill. I have no recollection of quite how we made this discovery...




Don't trust nonchalant people standing in the middle of the woods.




Watch out for strange hooks coming from behind trees.




Our interpretation of that famous scene in Indiana Jones




Some kind of chase.




When a tree stands on the boundaries between dimensions, odd things can happen.




Also, don't trust cute little girls standing on tree trunks.




And last but not least. Don't blink or you'll miss it!

FIN

A kick into action.. or inspiration in the form of "that should be me!"



While we were having breakfast this morning my mum put on some one-off documentary thing from Channel 4. I didn't feel like watching TV and was about to turn it off, but within seconds of it starting I was spell-bound. It was one of those things you watch and think, "oh my god, this is something I would have made given the chance" (well, as a not-quite-yet-filmmaker I watch and think that, maybe not you.)

It was just so.... me. It was called The Solitary Life of Cranes, and was about crane drivers, how no-one thinks about the fact there are people in tiny boxes at the top of the hundred or so metal structures towering above you wherever you go in London. It was all about the things they see that no-one else does, the patterns, the little things they notice, weather, sunrise seen from the sky, the quiet and solitude... and the whole documentary was shot in exactly the way I have written up treatments for my own films several times. It was like watching moving photography. Quiet, simple, no faces, no talking heads. Just a constant stream of amazing imagery, and the voices of the crane drivers talking about their experiences.

The whole time I was watching I was thinking, "I could have done this. I have to start making films. I could have made this!"

As it drew to a close I became determined to stop going, "Eh, but it's all so difficult and commercial..." and actually write something that is me, and then pitch it, instead of worrying about having to get an official media industry job and working on other peoples' projects for years before daring to think of my own. I can work on mine in my own time while I'm working in my normal job, or while I'm working on other writing.

Then the credits started rolling. First came all the special thanks.... then the director's name.
Not only has she made a film that is identical in every way to my style and attention to things no-one usually considers, she even has my name! (Properly, I'm Vrinda Eva Webb)

Seeing someone with my name making my films has given me a good kick to stop procrastinating. I've come up to my room now to start work on my own projects. I'm going to start working on either one of my storybooks (still running on the inspiration of meeting the illustrator the other week) or on the script I've put to the side since last year and would love to have completed.

So off I go to do that now.

The butter to my bread...




Out of Julie & Julia, I loved this quote most of all.

Thursday, 10 December 2009

VrindaWebb.com - my little web baby

Instead of waiting until everything's perfect (which will take a while, as I'm extremely new to this) I've decided it's time to show the beginning of my website. It still needs, among many many things, a homepage, and an About Me page without glitchy links that appear by themselves. And many more photos.

But it's still a baby, and it's mine.

So without further ado, I bring you.....

*drumroll*

www.vrindawebb.com

Wednesday, 9 December 2009

Christmas in Retail. (never again)

Only two weeks into working full-time in solid Christmas retail, and I've hit breaking point. I left work today promising myself that I'm going to never, ever have to slave away in retail for another Christmas. I know "everyone knows" already about the commercialism of this season, but today I suddenly saw it clearer than I ever have before.

Customers are stressed, rude and snappy... of course having a thousand and one things to deal with, how are they supposed to find the time to spend their hard earned cash on things that no one needs but they're told they need to buy? And as for everyone working in the store, tempers are fraying, disagreements become huge deals, people are getting under each others' skin and trying to make everyone around them as stressed and miserable as they are.

We're open for late shopping, no one wants to be there until 9:30 at night, not when they'll just be doing is stumbling home and collapsing into bed, only to get up and come back to work the next morning. Comments are made about the futility of going home at all, semi-humorous suggestions of bunks in the staffroom.

I feel spoilt and self-important complaining about an occupation that thousands and thousands of people do as their normal lives, especially when I've spent so little time doing it. But maybe the fact I have never had to subject myself to this is why I'm finding it so difficult now.

Looking around today I was hit hard by how depressed everyone was, shoppers and staff alike. It doesn't feel like a group of people anymore, it feels like we're part of some robotic vision of how life should be. Work, spend money, work, spend money, work, don't have enough money? Buy on credit! And in retail, we're the ones being paid to part the public from their money. The more money we take from them, the more we're rewarded.

I don't have to be part of this soulless factory mentality. If I can avoid it, I don't ever want to rely on wages like this again. I want to be self-employed, freelance, reliant on my own skills to make the bulk of my money, not just another faceless employee. I know that this will take some time to plan and build up, but one step at a time and I'll get there. Now that I've seen the alternative, I have serious incentive to becoming serious about finding my own direction.

I'm going to spend this next year focusing on all the things I can do instead of slaving in retail, or some other bread-line job. Every day I will take some step, large or small, towards my own goals and accomplishments. That's at least 365 steps. Enough to start me down my new path.

Sunday, 6 December 2009

Candyfloss of Dreams



While looking through my archive of photos I stumbled across this one and it made me smile, so I thought I'd share.

Last September I spent a week exploring Paris with Becky. On our second day I saw a child near the Eiffel Tower walking around with candyfloss and decided I wanted some very much, but then I couldn't find where they'd got it. I was most distraught of course, and every day from then on I scoured the tourist sites looking for where to find candyfloss.

Finally on our last day, sitting on a bench in Jardin de Luxembourg, a child walked past with candyfloss. I jumped up, euros in hand, and started walking the way the child had come. After a minute I passed a couple more kids with pink fluffy clouds of sugar and knew I was on the right path.

When I finally found the woman in her booth and pointed at the sign for candyfloss, she was so amused by me joining the queue of people half my height and a quarter of my age, that she kept spinning and spinning it until it turned into the most giant candyfloss mountain I've ever had, probably the size of some of my fellow sugar-cravers.

A most satisfactory conclusion to my candyfloss hunt, and farewell day in Paris.


Saturday, 5 December 2009

Chance Meetings

One thing I love about my job is the variety of people I meet. Yesterday I was scanning through  an assortment of different papers and asked the customer what she planned to do with them.

It turns out she's an illustrator of childrens' books, something I have been thinking about for a while. I mentioned that I was working on a couple little stories for childrens' books and she gave me her email address and website, telling me to send her what I have and saying that she has worked on books long enough to know when they're ready to be sent to an editor.

I'm not certain that my stories are what she usually deals with, but, she mentioned that she does illustration with collage. Something that would suit one of my stories perfectly, a story I've been trying to work out what style it needed. So even if I didn't send it to her, I have an idea for my own work. More than anything I would love to both write and illustrate my book.

She's got me thinking about it again. I think I'll start to work on it seriously now, instead of it being an idea for sometime in the future when I'm a Writer. And who knows, maybe when I start working on my stories again I'll find something to send her..

Website, coming soon. (no, really this time!)


I very, very much want a website with my photos, just collections and favorite images, somewhere I can show what I am proud of and use as a portfolio if (when!) I go more serious with my photography.

After months of coaxing, cajoling and bullying my brother into actually making me the website he promised to build me, I've gone back to the free software I started making my site with in the first place. He's still promising to finish building the one from scratch, but instead of waiting I'm doing my own thing and I'll replace it with his when it's done.

I now have the basic skeleton of my website in running order, it just needs a few cosmetic tweaks and a little more content, and it'll be ready to actually show people. I can't wait to have somewhere that's mine at last, rather than just a page in a giant website like Flickr (which I do love). I plan to have it viewable by next week.

Eee, excitment!

Thursday, 3 December 2009

Clean Slate - plus Bike, Work and Skating.

I miss writing here. It's been so long since I have written regularly that I feel like I should catch up on everything I've missed. I never know what to write when I do sit down to begin.

I think I need to start fresh instead of trying to catch up. Clean slate and all that.

So....
************ ( <<== this symbolises a slate being wiped clean.)



Hi!

Two weeks ago I finally bought a bike. It's a pretty pretty white Raleigh Caprice and I love it. It opens up a world of freedom I haven't had since leaving London. This is the wrong month to begin cycling I think, I had a week of lovely crisp weather before it turned rainy and cold. But I'm determined to cycle anyway, it's like flying, I get everywhere in a fraction of the time it would take to walk, and whoosh the whole way with the wind in my hair. Could there be a better way to travel?

And last week I went full time at work, at least until Christmas. This means more money, but far less free time, which is tricky when the holidays are drawing closer and you have no presents for family yet! Somehow I'll manage.

I went iceskating on Sunday with friends I haven't seen for a while, it was huge fun, I discovered that I can skate, I didn't know that you see, and now I want roller blades (or quads, either kind of skates would be amazing) so I can skate all year round.

And this is the end of my clean slate post.
I'll be back sooner next time.



(My bike by Battersea Bridge on a lovely all-day bike ride last week)

Sunday, 25 October 2009

Life

My poor blog, lying here neglected as life rushes past.

I'm still staying at home for the time being, two months on, something I didn't expect to happen. But thankfully it's working out a lot better than expected. House-hunting is on hold while I find my way in the world and get back out of my enticingly large student overdraft. Unfortunately this means as much overtime as I can get while I can get it. I've worked my usual weekend today and yesterday, I get tomorrow off, then I'm working all the way through until next Monday... six days in a row. *sighs*

But in the meantime I've finally begun my Writer's Bureau course, I've sent off and received back my first assignment and am working on what to write for my second. I'm determined to follow through with it consistently from now on. I want to write.

On the subject of writing, Nanowrimo is fast approaching and I'm facing my yearly "to do, or not to do" dilemma. I really want to, I miss it. I miss the ridiculous pressure of writing so many words despite whatever is going on around, but I'm worried about putting that pressure on myself (yes, a complete and utter turnaround from my last post, but that's me through and through right now) while I have so much else going on. I'll think hard on my day off tomorrow and make a decision one way or the other.

Friday, 25 September 2009

Moving, plans, and writing.

I can't believe it's been over three weeks since I left my room in London. It's gone so fast.

I'm still not sure where I will be living a month from now, or a few weeks, who knows. Back and forth, here and there. I'm still house hunting, but calmer and less frustrated than I was.  The perfect place is just around the corner I'm sure. In the meantime I get to spend some time with my family for once. I've been working some overtime and sorting out all the stuff in my room that I haven't touched in the three years I've been at uni, getting ready to make the next move easier.

I watched Julie & Julia with my mum on Wednesday. For once there's a film where the people involved don't succeed due to some big windfall or unlikely contacts, but through hard work and determination. I'm in a business where "It's not what you know, it's who you know," is like a mantra, repeated whenever anyone discusses their (or my) future in the industry. At times it begins to feel like if that's the case there's no point, I don't want to spend my life waiting for a lucky break.

I've decided that now is a good time to ignore every thought of lucky breaks and start working on my skills. I'm going to make it big in some way or other, and I'm going to do it under my own steam. If people decide to help me along the way, it'll simply increase my momentum.

Focus is something I need to work on. There is so much I want to do, and when I try to do it all I end up weak and diluted and doing nothing well. So I'm going to focus on one thing at a time. Firstly writing.

Yesterday I made a new plan. I want to push myself for once, instead of just talking about the wonderful things I could do if I tried. It's my plan, starting.. uumm. in the next few days, to write 1000 words a day for a year. I give myself permission to not expect it all to be amazing, instantly publishable work of genius, but 1000 words a day can't fail to stretch my writing and observational muscles whether or not all the writing is actually good. Oh, and I still want to do Nanowrimo as far as wordcount is concerned. I won't necessarily be writing a novel, but I'll write the 50,000 words in November.

I'm a little scared of posting this here, it means that if in a month or so it gets as hard to keep going as I suspect it might, I can't pretend I never started in the first place. Eep.

Friday, 18 September 2009

Sometimes...

…you reach that point when it’s simply impossible for things to get any worse.

Trudging, cold and drenched, to Euston station at night in monsoon-style rains with shoes so full of water that they both squelched and sloshed at the same time, after a slightly hysterical day at work while being lied to and avoided by estate agents, knowing that the car had broken down and we had no lift on the other end of the train journey and faced either a 40 minute walk in the rain, or an extortionately priced cab-ride home… we reached that point. Becky and I kept telling each other, each time our shoes scooped up even more water from the rivers running down the pavement, that was the low point and everything simply had to get better…

Happily we were right. Things are looking up.

Thursday, 20 August 2009

Moving, and NaNoWriMo.

Even more stuff is gone now.

It's a shock to have my surroundings suddenly so empty, although I'm actually liking this taste of simplicity. I hoard things usually. I can't bear to get rid of them, "just in case". My stuff is mostly in a storage locker now, and I'm tempted to keep the locker for a couple weeks after I move into my new place so that I can get used to living with less and can give away/sell as much as possible instead of taking it into the new flat with me. A really fresh start.

In other news, I'm planning to do NaNoWriMo again this year. I haven't managed to finish this challenge since starting uni, but now I've graduated and am trying to make writing part of my daily life, so I figure this is a good way to jumpstart a new writing routine. And I've missed being part of the craziness that is Nano.

The thing I'm concerned about is the fact I'll be working full-time this year, it's exhausting to work on a shop floor at Christmas, in the Christmas department no less. I'm hoping I'll have the energy to write while I'm not working. But I'm determined. I want to do it this year to prove to myself that I can. If I can write a novel in a month, while working full time, then afterwards I should have no problem with toning it down a little and merely writing a normal amount every day.

Monday, 17 August 2009

Phase One

The first load of stuff has left my room.

My room feels sad now. Most of the stuff that is me is out. All my books (except the 10 or 15 I refuse to be parted from), my DVDs, my clothes apart from a skeleton wardrobe, my knitting and yarn stash, spare bedding, art supplies, my ridiculously large collection of notebooks...

And my landlord seems to be dodging my notes and visits since I handed in notice about two weeks ago. He owes me money.

(I've just noticed that in this photo I have Bridget Jones, Jane Austen,
Anne of Green Gables, and a rag doll.... my stuff isn't all this girly and twee, honest!)

Tuesday, 11 August 2009

A fresh start...

(photo by Infinite Monkeys on Flickr)

Life is moving very, very quickly right now.

My sometime-in-the-future plan of moving out and finding a new place with Becky has suddenly run out of "in the future" time and become, like... now. I've handed in notice on my room and have to be out in just over two weeks.

The thing is, we still don't have a place to move into, most of my things are going into storage until we find somewhere. Becky's off in Nepal until the 29th of this month, and we can't move until she gets back. I've begun looking for a flat, but the quick searches I've done so far have just found lots of places that are out of our very limited price range. Hopefully something perfect will turn up soon. Very soon...

I'm excited. I can't wait to begin my new life, all fresh and full of possibilities. But this part of it is scary! The saying, "Leap and the net will appear," is more relevant than ever. Repeating it over and over is the only way I'm getting through packing up my home of three years with no idea of where I'm going to be this time next month.

The net will appear.... it will, it will...
Eep.

Wednesday, 29 July 2009

Graduation!

Yesterday was graduation day. I am officially a graduate, LSBU alumni. My student life is behind me, my future ahead.

My mum, my brother and Becky were there with me on my special day, my nearest and dearest. It was a fun day, albeit very.... I don't know.... fast. It all happened in a big swoosh of people and robes photos, announcements, more photos and then... it was over. It was held in St George's Cathedral, so gorgeous with its windows, pillars and stonework, an amazing setting for this day. Then we had a reception with a band and refreshments in the gardens of the Imperial War Museum. It was sunny and we took hundreds of photos, some of which I will post sometime this week when my internet is working well enough to upload them.

I thought that, after 2 months of being finished with uni, not seeing anyone, being in the buildings, this day wouldn't be that big a deal, but I came away a little shell-shocked by the finality of it all. Knowing that I would never see probably half of the people in my (quite large) class again is very weird. And then even with the friends that I will keep in touch with and see, it's different. There's no more casual, "See you in next week's class..". If we want to see each other we have to make an effort and arrange it, and all that. Which I think is a good thing and I'm looking forward to friendships growing past lazy communication, but it's still a bit of a shock to realise that everything has changed.

More than anything though, I'm proud of what I've accomplished in this time, the person I've become through my experiences, the precious friendships I've made, and what I've learned.. both professionally and personally.. And I'm excited about what's to come. I appear to have a semi-solid plan forming for what comes next, and I'm determined to make it work. Watch this space.

Wednesday, 22 July 2009

Titles get hard to think of after a while....

Today seems to be a day of unexplained grumpiness for me. Maybe it's not enough sleep (I fell asleep for an hour or so again this afternoon), or maybe it's not, I don't know. But I don't feel like writing, tidying, doing anything. Today is the first time while doing NaBloPoMo this month that I have to force myself to write. A little stroppy part of me, even as I type this is going, "You can't make me write! I won't do it!".

It's funny, coz I've been doing really well for this past few days. I'm trying to use the month between now, and me moving out and into a new place, to examine my life and fix what's not working. I want to start with a clean slate. This of course starts with my constantly mentioned tidying and sorting, but it's been other things as well. I'm beginning to be aware of blocks I have in my thinking, and the ways I interact with the people in my life. I'm trying to look at every situation from different angles and not do things, or act in certain ways just because it's what I've always done. This is new to me. I'm used to hanging onto ideas and fears and grudges for dear life. And it feels so, so good to let go.

Maybe that's why I'm grumpy today, too much of everything shifting around inside my head...

Tuesday, 21 July 2009

I hate shopping. Am I allowed to say that?

I'm having graduation panic. Not about the graduation itself, I'm quite looking forward to that, but I have nothing to wear! Today I'm planning to go to the still rather new, and ridiculously giant Westfield Shopping Center to find something nice. I've never been there before and I feel like going somewhere new. The problem is, and saying this may go against every rule of being a girl, that I hate shopping. New clothes, I love, new things of any kind, I love. The act of delving into the shops to find said new things? Ugh. Not so much.

Sales are worst of all. I refuse to shop in sales, even if there are (so I'm told) bargains to be had. I would prefer to go when it hasn't been hit by a hurricane of frantic shoppers, all rummaging through the same rail of crumpled clothes, even if it means paying full price for something.

London shops are huge, and stock everything, but are full to the brim with tourists and crazed teenage girls in 4 inch heels. Outside London, things are (generally) a little calmer but, having been to the London stores, I'm aware of how much is missing from these smaller stores and don't want to buy until I've seen everything. I can't win.

So after hours of frustrated high-street shopping, I usually find myself in some semi-designer place spending £40 on the cardigan instead of my budgeted £15, or £75 on a swimsuit that I've given up hope of ever finding anywhere else. I'm a student, that's a month's worth of food money!

And with that rant off my chest, I'm off to shop!
Wish me luck!

Monday, 20 July 2009

Another day.

Yesterday was another no-internet, and thus no-post, day.

After 35 hours spent in or around my bed, I wanted very very much to be out of the house so I did everything possible to get enough sleep and was feeling okay in the morning yesterday, so I made it into work. The thing is, when I'm not well I tend to become very, very spacey, and kept finding myself staring into the cabinets at work with no recollection of how I got there or what I was supposed to be doing. And walking into things. And dropping things. I tried to throw a piece of paper into a bin and missed..... from three inches away (I say three, it was probably closer..). But I survived, as did everyone around me, thankfully. I'm a fair bit better today, taking it easy. I just fell asleep in the middle of the afternoon, something I haven't done in a long time.

I think I'll spend the day tidying and starting to sort things out for moving next month. I have a system started, and for the first time in my life I'm actually being able to get rid of things. Instead of looking at something and thinking, "Aww, that's nice. I haven't used it in forever though.... but... I might someday! And if I ever do need it where would I be able to find another? No... I'd better keep it.... just in case.... it's only small anyway... it's not like it takes up space. I'll just add it to the boxes full of other 'maybe someday' things..." I can think, "Huh, cool. Oh well, out it goes." This, for me, is incredibly radical thinking.

Saturday, 18 July 2009

Taking a Sick Day

(Photo by Kati Brown on flickr)

I'm home sick from work today. It's the first time in my year and, um, nine months I believe, of working there that I've ever called in sick, and I keep getting the guilt coz I know that they'll be short-staffed on my floor today. But then I do something like call my mum, and realise that for some reason I'm incapable of even stringing together a simple sentence without slurring it and forgetting what the start of the sentence was. Or I'll try and open the curtains and lose my balance. No... I'm better off here, huddled in my room feeling sorry for myself. And better I rest today and am fine for work tomorrow, than go in today and be useless and then be useless again the next day.

In a twisty way it's kind of nice to have permission to just... be sick. I don't have to push myself to get to work, and then stay upright once I'm there, and I don't have uni work to do. I don't have anyone around me wanting me to do anything, or be anywhere. It's just me, my duvet, and a day of much needed rest.

I'm hoping that, with enough water, sleep, tea, and vitamin C, I'll be fine to go to work tomorrow. At least it's a later start than today so I don't have to get up too early..

Calling in sick raised an interesting dilemma I'd never had to think about before. As I dialled the number I was wondering how sick you're supposed to sound when you call in... Where's the balance between sounding sick enough to take a day off, and sounding so sick that you must be faking it?

Friday, 17 July 2009

Website, coming soon.

My brother has been promising me for ages to build me a website for my photos, but then not getting around to it. Today I sat down with him for a few hours and made sure he didn't leave his desk until it was built. I now have a basic skeleton that needs a few tweaks, and, well, some photos.... then it will be all up and ready to see! I can't wait.

I feel like drawing. I think I'll play with my tablet more today.
Eep, and I'm behind on my writing. I'd better go do that also!

Short post today. xx

P.S.
Because it's such a short post, I think I'll leave you with a picture. This is the pretty clock that I bought yesterday for mine and Becky's new flat (yes, the one we don't have yet), it was cheap, but I like it. And behind it is the mask I bought in Venice.

Thursday, 16 July 2009

Preposterously Positive.

"Say yes to positive, not no to negative
'Cos no to negative is not enough
Say yes to positive, not no to negative
Preposterously positive, that's the stuff."
(From Carrot, by the wonderfully funny Mal Webb)

I'm in a very good mood today. I saw some friends last night who I haven't seen for a while. And I made new friends. Both good things.

I've been thinking... not being sucked in by peer presure, being different from the "regular" crowd, being able to generally not take peoples' opinions to heart are all things I pride myself on. But I'm discovering that there's a big difference between not paying attention to negative input, and having positive input.

I can feel fine around people who may or may not truly "get" me... but "fine" is very different from the great that I feel when I'm around people who believe in me, and who see for themselves qualities in me that I'm used to having to work to get other people to notice, or even that I stop noticing myself. Being around people like this gives me a big injection of happy, and I come away feeling like I can do anything I put my mind to, every huge challenge I face melts into triviality.

I love feeling like that.
I'm so very grateful to have people like this in my life.

Tuesday, 14 July 2009

And now I can draw.

I got my tablet working properly in Photoshop last night. I can now draw and paint properly! I haven't drawn anything, by hand or otherwise, in a very very long time and drawing digitally seems to be the perfect way for me to start back up again. I love it. It's a no risk medium where, with all my layers, I can change my mind at any point and rearrange the whole picture if I like, or redo sections. So much fun.




Monday, 13 July 2009

Writing, writing.

After a week or so of doing nothing but binge-watching Buffy, I'm finally feeling more alive again. I think I needed to get a whole lot of doing nothing out of my system. And yesterday's return of my desire to write is getting stronger. Last night I was up till past 1am writing the first assignment for my Writer's Bureau course. Four years I've procrastinated on writing that... no... five.. and now I'm up all night coz I can't pull myself away before "just one more sentence... and one more...".

Also, Becky and I have a new pact to stretch our writing muscles with challenges. We have begun to set each other subjects or tasks to be written by a certain day. I'm currently writing about facebook, I haven't quite decided what aspect exactly.

Also also. I've been digging through my old scraps of writing and have found a couple things I haven't seen in a long time and am suddenly very excited about developing into something more than scraps. I found a story that I wrote in my morning pages on day a few years ago and want to try turning into a childrens book. I scribbled (keyword "scribbled") in word with my pretty new tablet (which I'm loving more by the day) for a few minutes and have a rough rough opening page, and a thirst to find my art supplies and try my hand at illustrating.

Sunday, 12 July 2009

Page after Page - a review/love letter

Last Thursday I spent an hour or so reading in my favourite Waterstones (the 5 floor store on Piccadilly, my own little heaven), a luxury I haven't indulged in for a very long time. I devoured photography books cover to cover, and then moved on to the writing books. The writing section is usually dangerous for me and my decreasing bank-balance, but I thought this time I'd be safe, seeing as I now have most of the exciting books in that section. I was wrong. I found one I'd never seen before, and fell in love at first sight. By the time I'd finished reading the table of contents I knew I needed it.

The book in question is Page after Page, by Heather Sellers. It's such a cute size, perfect to carry around and read anywhere. The cover is pretty, and there are soft designs around the edge of every page, a different design for each of the three sections. And the writing is friendly, encouraging and genuinely funny. As with every writing book out there, there are also writing exercises. I'm not usually particularly excited by writing exercises, but these I love. They're... different somehow. They range from the unforgivingly practical, to the sumptuously luxurious.

Like I said, I have every writing book there is to be had. Okay, so that's a rather large exaggeration. But I do have a lot, many that I love and that are full of inspiration. But more than any of them, even books like The Right to Write and Writing Down the Bones, this book makes me want to write. Those books make me want to have become a writer, this book makes me want to actually do the writing, right now. Instead of writing as a writer who has "made it" in the business and is informing us mortals how to do so too, Heather Sellers writes as a normal person continuing with the same challenges that we do every day, and showing how she gets past them. She makes it suddenly seem so real and doable.

And I love, love the way she uses words. The way she writes is like a cross between how I write, and how I want to write. It makes me think, "Hey, you know what? I can do that!". And not just think it. Start it. For the first time, I think ever, when I came home today from work... a heavy day of being short-staffed and moving furniture and fixtures around a store that is mostly a building site right now... I got home, changed out of my work clothes, and before anything else, I sat down and started writing. There was nothing else I wanted to do quite as much.

I'm hoping this is the start of new habits, I'm taking it a day at a time. Today I wrote, and I'm celebrating. Tomorrow, hopefully I'll write again, and I'll celebrate that also. And the next day, well, we'll see!

Buttons 2 - AKA The Button Torment

As I've mentioned before, I have a thing about buttons. And finding them. I found three today, and a zip (I branched out into occasional zips coz I kept finding them too). For some reason I see them everywhere. Oh wait, four buttons today. I forgot one. Aaanyway. There is one button that has been plaguing me since April.

I saw it on the the tracks at platform 5 of London Bridge and spent the rest of my wait for the train watching it intently, trying to think of some big and clever plan to get it off the tracks. Most of the plans involved distracting the guards while I lowered a giant super-power vacuum from the platform edge. I didn't have a giant vacuum, otherwise who knows, it could have worked.

It's still there. It won't go away! Three months it's been sitting on the tracks taunting me with its buttonness. If anyone has any schemes to rescue lost buttons from train tracks, preferably without loss of life or limb, I'd be thrilled to hear them.


Saturday, 11 July 2009

Old Friends and Soup Disasters

My Breakfast

I left for work an hour early today so I would have time to sit and write before work, which worked and was lovely. Starbucks failed on the drinks front though. I went in and ordered an iced decaf mocha frappachino (because I like to be difficult :op), and the barrista looked at me funny and said, "Um.. we can't do that." So I said that was fine and that I'd go to Caffe Nero instead. Which I did, and they didn't blink when I asked for the same thing, and it was goood. They win.

I met an old friend today, or to be more accurate, she met me. She came to the store for my lunch. I haven't seen her in about two years and it was it was really great catch up a bit and hear about her time at uni. It's so strange to think how much things have changed and we've grown up since we first met when we were young. I don't feel different, even from what I was like at 10. How does that work? How do we grow up and mature... and yet stay the same?

For lunch I had soup to eat in the park. Beautiful red pepper and goat's cheese soup. I then managed to drop said soup. It went everywhere, completely covering one leg from the foot to the knee. Somehow, thank goodness, I managed to clean it up enough that it wasn't noticable when I went back on the shop floor half an hour later. But now I'm hungry coz most of my soup ended up on my leg or the ground. So I'm off to eat shiny big cherries and then find something more substantial.

Friday, 10 July 2009

Home Sweet Home

(photo by kaysare on flickr)

So... I'm moving soon.

I've kind of known it for a while, but it seemed a million years away until last night. Suddenly it's all hitting home, so to speak.

The very lovely Becky is starting uni in London in October. I'm going to move out of my little room here and the two of us will find a flat in a better part of London than here, somewhere closer to work, my family and her uni. This place has been perfect student accommodation and I'm very grateful to have had it throughout my time at uni, but I'm living in a single room and storing half my clothes under the bed. I'm very excited at the idea of having somewhere that's truly a home. I'm looking forward to having a bedroom of my own, that doesn't double/triple up as office, storage, kitchen and living room. And I'm looking forward to being able to spend time with my bestest friend more than once every few months.

I'm not looking forward to paying rent and living expenses in London with no student loan to fall back on. Scary stuff.

Thursday, 9 July 2009

Doing things the hard way.

Another load/bucket of washing done. By hand.

I made up some whipped cream the other evening, easy enough.. but it's the first time I've done it without my electric whisk, which is in my mum's kitchen right now. It's rather more tiring manually. And then the water was cut off for all of yesterday and most of today. Turning the tap on and having no water come out is strangely disconcerting, there being no water in an entire house isn't something you really consider happening normally.

Add a non-working washing machine on top of that and it feels like I'm living in the stoneage! Or something. I feel spoiled by a way of life I don't even notice I have until I don't. How on earth did people survive without all the modern appliances that we take for granted now? Even thoroughly washing a pair of heavy jeans is a workout on its own. And never mind appliances, just having hot and cold running water is a big deal for me at the moment!

Anyway. Just musing aloud.

And now I'm off to check that nothing valuable is being saturated by the steady dripping of water from my jeans. I hope the weather wherever you are is less grey and drizzly than here!

People Watching

I find it amusing how marvellously Londoners manage to make appearing aloof into an art form. I came home during the rush hour yesterday. We were crammed into the train, about to leave London Bridge, when a rather large man jumped on saying, "Will everyone please move down." in a slightly irritated tone, as if it was our fault that the train was already full. Everyone crushed down a little more, and the doors closed. I then got to spend the journey watching the man trying to stay upright by holding onto the handle by the door, and pressing his other hand against the glass sheet between the standing area and the seats.... The thing is, there was another man trapped between him and the glass. It was a very funny uncomfortable scene.

The two men were inches away from each other, one's hands pressed either side of the other, and yet somehow, staring in an intently casual manner out of the window, eyebrows slightly raised in a "tralala, isn't this a boring day with no people in it, especially not ones almost pressed up against me?" kind of way, ipods plugged firmly into their ears, they each managed to keep up the impression that neither had any idea the other even existed.

People are ever so entertaining.

Wednesday, 8 July 2009

And then the police were summoned...

Well today was full of drama. We've been living in a building site for the past year and a half, thanks to a landlord full of evil. Today one of the guys who lives the house had a slight temper meltdown.

Now, it's quite hard for me to actively dislike someone. There are people I confess to not going out of my way to adore, but to actually truly dislike someone, that's rare for me. He's one of those rare people. To put it into perspective. I've lived in a house with him for three years. I haven't said more than three words to him for the last two years.

Anyway, the water was disconnected so that the builders could do their work, and he went ballistic at the plumber. But he's too weaselly to pick a proper fight. No. Instead he wound up the situation and wound it up, yelling and following them around, until the plumber's temper snapped, then called the police, telling them a fabricated tale about how he had, "merely asked them nicely about the situation, and the plumber became aggressive and knocked him to the floor." None of which had happened.

He called both the neighbourhood police, and 999, so a police van and a police car turned up (I have to say I'm quite impressed by their response time, it was less than 10 minutes later). I took one of the policemen aside as they came in and explained the situation as I'd seen and heard it so they knew not to go after the plumber as the aggressive one in the situation, and they were gone in about 10 minutes. They hadn't even got all the way down the garden path before he asked one of the builders to turn the water back on. He started another fight and called the police back. At which point I decided it was time for me to be somewhere else, so I threw some books and lenses in a bag and my camera around my neck and went for a lovely aimless stroll around London.

I enjoyed my little exploration, and am now inspired to go out on a proper photo seeking day soon, maybe tomorrow if the weather's nice.

And now I'm home with pizza and rasberries. Not together. And no police. Yay.

Tuesday, 7 July 2009

Results!

Well it's official.

A uni email was sent out yesterday afternoon announcing that our results were posted on the noticeboard in a corridor outside the faculty office. I grabbed my bag and jumped on a bus. I didn't think I was too bothered about my results, you know, "Well, I did my best and that's what counts...", but when I got the message yesterday I suddenly realised that I really, really did care after all.

I spent the whole journey there trying to pretend I wasn't thinking about it. The weather went from bright sunshine to heavy summer rain. I love a bit of drama, and sitting there on the bus driving to meet my fate with the rain rattling on the windows was rather satisfying.

But thankfully my fate turned out to be a good one. I have a 2:1, which is what I was hoping for. Such an incredible relief. So happy. It's over and done with, and with a happy ending.

I have a degree!

Now all there is left is my graduation on the 28th.

Monday, 6 July 2009

The joys of clean clothes.

Ah look, sunshine! Another beautiful day outside. And this time, I have the day off. The week off in fact. I've kept it purposely clear, refusing to let anyone talk me into doing anything or going anywhere. This week is mine to get my life, surroundings and routines back in order. Although I've been out of uni for a month now, this is the first time I've had a block of time this big just for myself. I can't begin to say how much I'm looking forward to it.

I began tidying my room over the weekend, and it's already feeling less like a landfill site. I bought myself a bamboo basket to keep all the scarves and cardigans that end up all over my floor. I figured that if I'm going to throw them around the room instead of having somewhere to hang them, I may as well throw them into something that looks nice and keeps them out of a heap on the floor. It's working wonders already. I don't know how I've collected so many scarves.

Today is laundry day. Thing is, I have no working washing machine. Today is the day my hands get very soapy and dry and I have water splashed all over the bathroom and clothes dripping dry from every pointy-out bit in my room that I can hang them off. So I guess today should be the day that I also find some lovely hand cream, sea salt scrub and other pampery things for my poor worked hands. Then tomorrow will be the first day in a while that instead of my morning routine being, "I'll wear....... oh... I can't. It's in the washing basket. Okay, then I'll wear.... oh. So's that." It'll be, "I'll wear.... that. Perfect." Done.

The little luxuries of life.

Saturday, 4 July 2009

Flickery internet...

Hmm, well I seem to have found a flaw in my daily posting plan. I'm back in London with no internet of my own, only that "borrowed" from an unsuspecting neighbour. An unsuspecting neighbour who only has internet at random points during the day and almost never during the night. That's on my to-sort-out list. But in the meantime It'll have to be post when I'm able rather than daily without fail.

I only have a flicker of internet right now and it's about to give out, so this can't be long. It's a post for the sake of it really. But hopefully I'll have something better tomorrow. If you're lucky it might even be worth reading!

*****

Aaand that was last night. The internet died before I clicked publish.

It's been a long weekend at work, kind of hectic but dead at the same time. Building work going on around the store which makes things confusing. But I actually really enjoyed myself at work for the first time in months. I wasn't watching the clock and waiting desperately until the time I could leave. I used to love my job so much, and I feel like now the rest of my stress is beginning to wear off, I'm getting that back. I can go back to being good at what I do, and loving it. Happy times.

Thursday, 2 July 2009

Techno Goodies

l have a shiny new toy!

I'm writing this blog post by hand. It's taking a little longer than usual... I'm still kind of mastering it and working out how to make it do what I want it to do, rather than what it wants to. Harder than expected at times.

So what is it? A Bamboo tablet is what it is.


My treat to myself as part of finishing uni and being out in the big world starting off on my own. I've decided a tablet would be great to use with my photo and film editing as well as the design work that seems determined to come my way.

It may be tricky to use right now, and some of software is being a little glitchy, but I love it already. I edited my first photo with it today, it's so much less fiddly than editing by finger and touchpad as I've been doing for the past year or so. I also love using it to browse through computer and online, and just in general. There's something so magic about writing with a piece of plastic and seeing it appear on-screen. Practice is still much needed though. What you're reading is edited. If I don't edit, it ends aup looking a litIle more like this. Oh, that wasn't so bad. See, I'm improving already!

Wednesday, 1 July 2009

Habits

I want to get back my good habits. After my 37 days challenge, I kept my no late-night internet rule firmly in place all the way until last week. I was going to bed early (well, before midnight) and for the first time that I can remember, 9am became sleeping in for me. I was being productive, even writing and drawing.

But now I've been at home with my family, and with a TV, and with working internet. Every time I come back here to a TV, I double and triple my determination not to have one in my own place. Ever. I hate it and I love it and I hate it. I could, and have, spent entire days watching endless reruns of Law & Order, Diagnosis Murder, Murder She Wrote... and other daytime TV. One hour goes past, and another, and another. I don't notice until I realise it's nearly bedtime. And then it's past bedtime. And then it's 2 or 3am. And then I sleep in the next day until 11, and the whole thing starts again.

The internet is also swallowing my time and energy again. I forgot why it was that I chose it as the thing to quit for my 37 days. As of tonight I'm back on my not past 10pm rule.

I want to write again. I've begun the first assignment for my Writer's Bureau course and can't wait to get started properly and really take my writing seriously. I want to be published, and make money from my writing. There's no reason why not.

I've also begun working on my own website for my photography, and for my videos when I have anything I actually want to show. When I say "I" have, I mean I've started bullying my brother into building it for me, which is only fair seeing as my very basic foundation of one was working until he started playing around with the database.. or whatever it was he messed with. Anyway. That should be up and running in a week or so, I can't wait!

I'm full of plans and ideas. Now I just have to pull myself away from the TV for long enough to carry them out.

Oh, and as part of my habit-forming effort I am going to attempt a post a day here. NaBloPoMo is the official hangout spot for bloggers trying to do this. I tried it last November, but what with deadlines and work I missed about a week's worth of posts. Lets see what I can do this time. Hopefully without sacrificing quality for quantity.

Monday, 15 June 2009

Venice - and lots of pictures

And I'm back.

Venice was loovely, so beautiful. I wasn't there for nearly long enough. I want to go back already. It was my first time travelling completely on my own. I met my mum and friends once I was there, but the flight and the first trip finding my way through Venice was entirely my own adventure.


We were staying just outside Venice itself, a bus and boat ride away from the centre, although in our case we had a surreal trip into Venice where we walked through endless fields and the same bus driver kept refusing to pick us up and driving off with with his doors open so we could see him laughing at us, so bizarre. I went into a supermarket and asked them to call us a taxi and we got there in the end. My friends were meant to be going into Venice on the same morning, they didn't get there that day because they ran into the same bus driver. I don't think he's a real driver, I think he's bored and drives around the same route again and again in a fake bus in order to confuse as many disoriented travellers as possible. Just my suspicion.


We were staying right on the sea, you could see it from our balcony. A beautiful sandy beach, private to the place we were staying, so completely uncrowded. The weather forecasts all said rain, rain, rain, thunder, so I had a huge amount of layers and warmish things. It ended up being incredibly gorgeous weather every day. Some mornings were a little hazy, but it would burn off by lunchtime.


And Venice itself! I have to admit I didn't actually expect it to look like Venice is supposed to. I expected it to have a canal through the middle and lots of modernness, through which you may be able to see some hints of the olden days. I was so wrong, it's a gorgeous twisting maze of alleys, canals and bridges and filled with boats and gondolas.


My mum and I wandered through the alleys, exploring all the little shops of the most incredible glasswork. I've never seen anything so intricate in my life. And the masks! I fell in love with the masks. I bought one, which I still have to take a photo of. A pretty half face pale blue and silver one with a huge blue feather and lots of glitter.


All in all, it was a lot of fun.

But amazing and gorgeous as it was, it was still pretty hectic, and when I got home I realised I hadn't quite recovered from the final pressures of uni and needed a complete escape for a while, so I begged the weekend off work and ran away to stay with Becky in Norfolk for a week. Which was a lot a lot of fun and did me the world of good... but with the amount of photos we took, that's another blog post.

Saturday, 6 June 2009

Venice!

I'm off tomorrow night/Monday morning (red-eye flight, overnight airport stay) to Venice! It's my first time travelling on my own properly. I've flown places, but been dropped off/met at airports. I have to find my own way to Stanstead and through Italy on the other side. I'm looking forward to it, and I'm nervous. Less than I probably should be considering I've done very little research and my travel plan is scribbled in felt tip on half a pocket moleskine page. Once I'm there I'll find my friends, who have mostly all left today, which will be great. But until I meet them I'm looking forward to travelling solo for once, it's an experience I've craved for a while.

I got a new lens today, a Canon 50mm 1.8 prime, and I'm very very much looking forward to breaking it in fully while there! Hundreds of pictures a day will be taken.

Gotta go pack! I neeever leave it this late! Eep!

Thursday, 21 May 2009

Uni.... Done? Huh, what?!


After my months and months of talking and worrying about it, the end of uni has finally arrived. Today I wrote and handed in my final assignment. My last ever hand in. I returned my pile of library books. Yesterday we had our final screening. It's all done.

But after all my worrying about this dramatic day, it hasn't actually sunk in. The adrenaline rush of having to write 2000 words before 4pm hasn't quite worn off yet. I managed it all calmly, at my own speed, without a hint of panic. I was very proud of myself. But I'm still breathing in my "stay calm, it's all fine..." way right now, still bracing myself for more work. But there is none!

As soon as I finish writing this, I'm going to go on a whirlwind clean up of my room. Any traces of uni are going to be put in a box under the bed, somewhere that I don't have to see them until I finally realise that it's all over. And all my work off my mac onto a backup harddrive.

Then I'm going to find something yummy to eat, and watch the episode of House that I've had sitting on my desktop begging to be watched for the whole of this week. And then... after that.... who knows? It doesn't matter! My time is mine again!!

Friday, 8 May 2009

Imperfection and Life

"I have not failed 10,000 times.
I have successfully found 10,000 ways that will not work."
- Thomas Edison

I’m a perfectionist.

“I have high ideals,” I tell the friends who ask about why I’m letting opportunities slip past. “When I do start, it will come naturally to me,” I try to convince my skeptical self as I spend day after day avoiding doing the things I dramatically plan to do. “There’s no point doing something if a million people can do it better than I can. Better try only when I know that it will go to plan, and that I’ll be better at it than everyone around me,” is what I tell myself as I look through Amazon at all the beautiful books about everything I yearn to do, and the even beautifuller books that I yearn to have written myself.

Now, though, I’m having radical thoughts. I’m considering the idea of allowing things into my life that I know won’t, and can't, be completely perfect. I've started doing little things (like sudoku) imperfectly, but as far as big things are concerned... well, such dangerous ideas have never been allowed to exist outside my head. Once the first steps down such a revolutionary path have been taken, there’s no telling where I’ll end up.

I can allow myself to try things. I can accept that I will fail a dozen times before I succeed, and realise that there is no shame in it. I can be open to the knowledge that my relationships will never be completely perfect, no matter how many self-help and chick-lit books I read, and allow them to blossom anyway to their fullest extent. I can accept my skills the way they are now, and accept the areas in which I fall down. I can stand up, brush myself off and continue on my way with the new lessons learned, and with compassion and love in place of judgment and embarrassment. I can learn to take baby steps towards my ambitions, instead of giant leaps that cause me to fall flat on my face and cower in fear of falling again. One baby step at a time. One page of writing, one friendship, one scale on the guitar, one small sketch at a time.

Friday, 1 May 2009

Dissertation - complete!

I finished and printed my dissertation yesterday evening. I can't believe it's over! I spent the night having nightmares of typos, and woke up this morning thinking that I'd forgotten to write a conclusion.


Of course I had to have a photo before handing it in.
The poloroid is by the very lovely Becky, photo of poloroid by me.

Now I'm on my way to hand it in. Then I'm coming home, cooking, and waiting for Becky to get back from a uni interview (with good news and an on-the-spot acceptance of course) and then it's out to the park for the afternoon.

Ah, freedom is so goood!

Monday, 27 April 2009

Focus.


A little reminder to myself as I was sitting here wanting to blog. I can't. I have to focus. Focus.

Friday, 24 April 2009

Tickets and tickets!


We booked tickets today (we being my mum, my brother and me) to see Paul Merton's Silent Clowns show in May. I'm very excited because the whole reason I'm doing the dissertation I am is because I watched his documentary on Hitchcock and was rather inspired. I've grown up loving Paul Merton in everything that I've ever seen him do. So him just happening to be in the next town over from us two weeks after I finish the dissertation he inspired me to write, well, it's rather perfect really!

We also booked Imax tickets to see the new Star Trek film, 'cause we're an undercover Trekky family and my brother's never been to an Imax cinema. I'm looking forward to seeing it. I haven't seen aaany reviews or trailers (apart from the teaser trailer a year ago), which is my favourite way to go see a film, without a clue what it's about. Yay.

And now back to writing so that my deadline can pass stress-free and I can enjoy all these lovely things properly!

Wednesday, 22 April 2009

"Dear Windows Live User"

"Dear Windows Live User,

We are contacting you regarding your communication preference settings for Windows Live and MSN.

Currently, your settings do not allow Microsoft to send you promotional information or survey invitations about Windows Live and MSN. We would like to communicate important product updates to you, so if you would like to change your settings, please visit your account profile here to change your preferences.

Sincerely,
The Windows Live Team"

Correct me if I'm wrong, but surely opting out of promotional information should include information promoting the promotional information you've said you don't want..... right?

Tuesday, 21 April 2009

Globe Dancing

I stumbled across this online today. I love and adore this video. It's four and a half minutes of distilled fun, spontaneity and complete lack of worries and cares across the world.




The story behind it is here: www.wherethehellismatt.com

Monday, 20 April 2009

It turns out there's such a thing as Too Sure.

At work we have a coffee shop on our floor, and we have customer toilets. These toilets are of the most bizarre design I have ever seen. Very space-age. Only UV lighting, no normal lights at all, black walls, black floor and black ceiling. The door is huge, unmarked and locked, and we have the most delightful job of spotting confused people wandering around the floor and buzzing them through the door using our magic button behind the till. Oh, and then rescuing them when they can't work out how to get out again.


Yesterday my floor manager and I were standing by the till when a man wandered over from the direction of the coffee shop. He was looking around as if searching for something. He wandered over to the toilet door and the Filofax stand, and then away again, still looking around with a puzzled expression. This is typical customer-looking-for-toilet behaviour that we've seen a thousand times and pride ourselves on being able to spot.

"Through the door over there," we say as they open the customer opens their mouth to ask directions. "But.. we're looking for the toilets." they say. "Yes, just through that door there," we say knowingly, pressing the buzzer to unlock it. They look at us in awe, often asking how we knew before they said anything. We smile mysteriously and let them wonder. (This is how it looks from inside my head. It's probably a lot creepier from their point of view.)

So, this man was wandering around by the door looking lost, and V. called over to him, "Through that door, I'll buzz you in." but the man didn't hear him. V. pushed the buzzer and the door beeped loudly, but the man was now walking away from it and didn't seem to hear that either. I pointed at the door and said, "It's just that door over there". Still no response. V. said, "Excuse me!" and finally the man looked over at us. I said, "Just through that door." He looked at me with an expression that held zero comprehension. V. said, "That door, over there." The man was looking more and more confused now, so V. said, "Over there... toilets?" and the man said, "No... I'm.... looking for wedding cards?"

There was a second's pause as the situation sank in. It was one of those "must not laugh and make things worse" moments. We both failed and burst into fits of laughter. V. immediately attempted to placate the confused customer and went with him downstairs to show him exactly where the wedding cards are kept, and left me in stitches.

I think next weekend I may be a little less mysterious and a little more sure before trying to force someone to go through the giant, unmarked door by the Filofaxes.

Wednesday, 8 April 2009

Writing and fluffy friends.

37 days:
Last night my disconnection time meant that I had the chance to actually work on my dissertation without distraction. I went to bed early again, kind of, about 11:30. But before that I managed to get an elusive 700 or so words written and plenty of notes made on what I have to do next. It gave me a good kick into working, and I'm not so stuck as to where to start next time I sit down and begin to write.

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Rest of Life:
Spring is really and truly here. I went for a walk with my camera and spent about 45 minutes at the park lying in the sun yesterday. It felt so good! I'm going to try and get outside for as many walks as possible now that the weather is so lovely, I always feel better when I walk.

I made a little friend while I was out. As I was dozing on the grass, I sensed a movement by me and opened my eyes. A gorgeous fluffy black dog had dropped its ball by my head and was waiting for me to throw it for him. I did this, and he went running after it, then brought it back for me to throw again, which I did. This went on for a long time as he completely ignored his owner calling to him. He was the friendliest, playfullest dog I've met in a long while. Thoroughly adorable.

Monday, 6 April 2009

Procrastination. Again.

So here I am today, working on my dissertation. Can you tell? I'm hard at work.

I'm finding it difficult to start today. I'm flicking through webpages (about to force myself to shut them down), buying some music that was recommended to me yesterday, then falling asleep listening to said music because it's very lovely but awfully drowse-enducing, thinking that maybe I should tidy my room before starting (you know, because I'll be so much more productive once I've spent several hours sorting out this mess...) and thinking that perhaps I should cook as well before starting so that I don't have to do that once I'm into the whole writing thing.

Then I thought, okay this is ridiculous, I've got to stop. Oh, I know, I have some interesting things in various books about procrastination and how to avoid it, maybe I should read some of those and get some ideas on how to deal with it. It was at that point that I realised just how bad it had got, about as bad as bad as it can get. Well, almost. As-bad-as-it-could-get actually hit the moment I loaded up my blog to write about my efforts to not procrastinate.

Right. Time to write. Yes. Write.