Thursday, 26 February 2009

Love Corner

In preparation for making our final project I've been looking at short films for inspiration. I love this one, so silly and simple.

Tuesday, 24 February 2009

The Procrastination Lists.

I've been constructively procrastinating for the past two days. Instead of doing my work I have managed to tidy my room, handwash several loads of clothes, scrub the floor, get all the recycling sorted and taken out, go grocery shopping, attempt to make pancakes... and so on.

I realised that my procrastination had hit rock-bottom when I found myself writing a list of all the ways I procrastinate. To balance it out I followed it up with a list of all the things I would be able to do if I stopped doing the things on the first list.

Ways I procrastinate:
  • Facebook.
  • Refreshing Facebook to see if anything has changed in the last 30 seconds.
  • Looking at Flickr stats.
  • Pointless conversations online with people I don't actually want to talk to. (Usually what happens when I forget to be invisible)
  • Audiobooks.
  • Podcasts.
  • Tidying my room. (Yes it always needs doing... but somehow always when I should be doing something else)
  • Lengthy unneeded photo editing on pictures I'm never going to use.
  • Lengthy unneeded photo re-editing.
  • Tidying my computer files. Picture and Music folders especially. And my internet favorites/bookmarks.
  • Reading about and talking about all the amazing and wonderful things I'm going to do. Instead of doing them.
  • Writing lists.
  • Writing long blog posts about how I procrastinate.

What I can look forward to if I stop procrastinating:
  • Going for walks again
  • Writing. Like. Actual stories and poems, like I did in the days of yore.
  • Drawing
  • Artist dates and general me-time
  • Good grades in uni work
  • Satisfaction at jobs well done instead of scraping by on the bare minimum.
  • All day photo-taking excursions.
  • Picking up my guitar again.
  • Listening to music - really listening.
  • Writing letters to people I do want to talk to and hear from.
  • Real-life cooking of actual non ready-meal meals.
  • Lying in the grass or on my bed, staring at the ceiling or the sky, letting my thoughts ramble and frolic aimlessly - guilt free.
  • Sticking, sewing and every other way of making things possible.
  • Doing the wonderful amazing things I want to do! Instead of talking about them.
  • Early mornings, full nights of sleep, and full waking days to enjoy life.
I'm going to write both lists up on big colourful paper and stick them on my wall in order to remind myself of what I'm avoiding, and what I'll be able to do if I stop wasting my time. Hopefully it will make a difference!

And on the more productive side of things, we had class today and a group meeting for the video and have compleetely changed our idea to something far smaller and more suited for the video length that we're aiming for. It has more possibilities to be made into a contained, polished looking final piece. It needs work, but I'm very much happier with it. Looking forward to starting on it soon.

Disney and pancakes.

It's a grey and gloomy day and I've been sitting inside feeling grey and bleh myself. I felt in desperate need of an artist date to brighten my spirits, but I have no time to go out, and no money to go out with (I lost my purse and all my cards on Saturday and only have the small amount of cash I had stashed in my room) and am supposed to be hard at work on my dissertation. Then I thought about how little I get chance to do actual cooking, and how rarely I find the time to listen to music as something other than a background to whatever else is going on.

Today being Pancake Day, I gathered together the ingredients for pancakes and flicked through my itunes library to see what I felt like listening to. For some reason it was my (awfully large) Disney collection that caught my attention. Usually this will be listened to one or two songs at a time in the middle of a big playlist of other stuff. I put it all on shuffle and spent a happy hour or so bouncing around my little kitchen singing along with Mary Poppins, Jungle Book, Lion King and whatever else came on.

I had a hard time making the pancakes come out right on the electric stove (I've lived here 2 and a half years and I'm still not used to it. I miss gas cooking so so much) but it didn't matter one little bit. I have all the ingredients and I'm going to try again soon and keep trying until I perfect the art, and I had very much fun. This whole non-perfectionist thing seems to be spreading from my photography to cooking to who knows where next! Yay!

Now I'm revitalised... time to get back to work.

P.S. I love this t-shirt! Or the idea of it. Best quote ever for a start. I might have to make my own cooler version on a less box-shaped shirt (because I am that vain). Yay, an excuse to buy fabric paint.

Thursday, 19 February 2009


I've been having lots of fun with my camera. For once I have been managing to ward off perfectionism, a big big step forward for me. I have been taking photos of anything and everything, and when a photo isn't perfect, well, that's fine. I look at it, make a mental note of what worked and what didn't, and what I'll need to make it even better next time I meet a similar subject.

I love wandering the city with the eye of a photographer, seeing the things that I would otherwise walk past without a second thought. It may be the texture of a wall, an interesting selection of lines and shapes, a face with character... Everything becomes more colourful and intriguing.

My Flickr account is coming to life also. I'm refusing to filter through and upload only the very best photos every month or so, as I did with my deviantART account for years. Instead I'm letting it show my natural photography style, uploading anything I like that I've taken during my days out, and have been finding an unexpected amount of photos that I love. I'm happy that I haven't once regretted the amount of money I spent on the camera. It's worth every penny, and my Christmas overtime went a long way to softening the blow on my bank account.

Saturday, 14 February 2009

Counting blessings

This Valentine's Day has been a weird one for me, it's not a day that has ever bothered me before, but it's hard for it not to when you're working in a store that has dedicated half of a floor to red-hearted sappy junk for loved up couples too caught up in the commercialism of the day to realise they're being swindled out of money that would be far better spent elsewhere, at the very least on something more romantic and worth it than a heart-shaped set of measuring cups. (I ask you, what difference is that going to make to any day!) I feel like a Valentine's Scrooge. It's probably sour grapes as I watch the massive queue of people inch their way forward, taking it in turns to buy cards and gifts declaring their adoration for their significant other.

So I've been standing around at work all week feeling rather sorry for myself having no one to buy anything for me. But this weekend I've had a series of encounters that has made me change my mind about my self-pitying. I've spent so long in these last couple days talking to people who have no one else to talk to.

One of London's dreadfully many homeless people came up to my floor yesterday and was looking at the £40+ pens that he obviously couldn't afford, but asking about details and prices, saying he would come back and buy them later on. I ignored two of my managers buzzing around the floor behind him, obviously wondering what he was doing there, and showed him anything he liked and discussed the pens with him, then solid gold pens from World War II that he used to have, which all led into unexpected topics such as comparative religion, karma and the idea of trusting the universe to do what's right rather than trying to revenge yourself against people, loving everyone - even those who have done you harm, infusing pens with power that would feed through into your writing. It was a fascinating and bizarrely intense conversation. Finally, after about 20 minutes of this he stepped away, said, "I salute you young lady," wished me peace, and was gone.

I must have looked dazed because one of the girls asked if I was okay, and asked a couple times what he'd been talking about (he'd lowered his voice anytime anyone else came nearby), I just laughed and said something about pens and the war.. I don't think she would have got it if I tried to explain.

Then today I had two different people stop to have conversations with me, both of whom were obviously talking just for the sake of having a conversation. One even said almost that. The first guy was browsing, and then started a conversation about a mirror, then about eye-tests, then Kennedy and Kennedy's grandfather, and the war... and so on and on. For ages. I went to serve another customer and when she left he started talking again exactly where he left off. According to one of the guys on my floor he's been in the store every day for the past two weeks just talking to people.

The second guy was in the park when I was having lunch with my mum, I was stressing over my dissertation and was a little.. distraught. He came over to check all was okay, then stayed around to talk about my uni, tutors, the homeless people in the area, and about "his" park and how it is going to be lovely when spring comes and the wisteria blooms, and about the war (a reoccurring theme it seems) and how they were evacuated from London as kids, and how many kids lost track of their parents. He told me to be glad I have someone like my mum around because he has no one.

I don't know what my point in writing all this has been. I guess I'm still processing, and words are my way of doing that. All of these encounters one after another, following on from my forced re-evaluating of my value system earlier this week, have left me a little... shaken I guess. I suppose, in a way, it's the logical continuation of the re-evaluation system. First my value of possessions is called into question, then the very big value of the people I love and who love me is brought into focus. Along with the importance of living your life in a way that you can be proud of, living for more than just yourself.

Anyway, like I began to say at the start of this ramble. Instead of feeling sorry for myself I began to see the things that I actually have in my life. I have so much to be grateful for and I need to learn to recognise that before getting all upset about the things I think I'm lacking. That's my lesson for this weekend.

Wednesday, 11 February 2009

Happy things.

I'm happy today.

My group and I had the most productive production meeting we've had yet, with everyone in sync and knowing what we want to do for our video project. We have production roles sorted, and a solid approach to making the film. We then had to present the idea to the class, which went a lot better than it could have. After our presentation a light-bulb went on in my head and I got lots of ideas scribbled out while other ideas were being pitched by the rest of the class. I'm supposed to be typing those ideas up now, preferably in script form, but I'm kind of procrastinating.

That brings me to my other happy thing. I'm in photography mode again for the first time in.... in.... forever! For ages I've wanted to take photos, but not really felt like a photographer, if that makes sense. I would get a photo here and there that I liked, but it felt like a fluke rather than skill. The other night I started a new Flickr account as a new me and have been completely hooked ever since. After a couple days of endless browsing, I'm energised and excited to go out and take more of my own photos again. And even better, for once I feel like a photographer as good as any on there. There are many who have more skill than me, but that's because they've been doing it longer. My photos are plenty good and will improve with practice. It's been a long time since I've believed that.

And lastly, a friend sent me this: Save The Words
Hours of fun and education.

Now I really must go and do some work!

Monday, 9 February 2009

Fire and life

I hate to admit it, but with the past years of war coverage I've become more than a little numbed to the news and the seemingly endless stories and pictures of death. I gulp and change channels to zone out with something more cheerful. Yet I found today's news unavoidable, and it's been a while since any news story struck me as hard as the fires sweeping Victoria right now. It's hard to fully comprehend such a thing being real and the impact it has, until you see the footage of the fires, the survivors, and the devastation that is left. I'm still finding it hard to grasp the idea of so much loss. Whole communities gone, people and all. So many of those that are left have endured untold horror.

The shock of seeing so much wiped out in the blink of an eye has made me question the value we place on things. I've been trying to clear out the junk in my life, and finding it hard to let go of most of it because it's all so "precious" and of course I never know what I'll miss when it's gone. Looking around my room now, it all pales into insignificance. We spend our lives surrounding ourselves with collections of treasured possessions... and yet they're so impermanent. You never know what lies around the next corner.

For me this is a time to regroup and reassess what I value in my life. What do I want to spend the coming years of my life pursuing? I don't want to define myself by what I own... something I have done quite literally in one of my video projects, without thinking about what that says about my attachment to my belongings. But what does that even mean? I don't know at this point, but I plan to work it out.

I feel helpless watching the nightmare on the other side of the globe from the comfort of my room. I've done what little I can and donated to the Red Cross Victorian Bushfire Appeal to help them do the work that I can't. Other than that, all I have to offer are my hopes and prayers for those affected.

Monday, 2 February 2009

Snow Day!

On my way home from work last night the snow began to fall. This in itself is a big event for Central London. I hoped it would settle at least a little and give me chance to grab a couple snaps before it melted away mid-morning. I got more than I bargained for! Within minutes it had stuck, mostly on me waiting at the bus stop. By the time I got home it was several inches deep (again, for England.... big deal! Last time I remember more than an inch of snow was 2 years ago) so I rushed inside, changed my sodden scarf, added a hat, grabbed my precious new Canon, and dashed out again into the white night.

This morning the scene had changed to the most heartwarming I have seen in a long long time. There is next to no public transport in London today due to the snow and most roads are impassable, so instead of being at work and school everyone had congregated in the park with a fantastically innovative selection of sleds and sled replacements. Two of my favorite being the ironing board and the wok, for pure entertainment value. There were tiny babies, kids, teens and very grownups all playing with equal gusto. Snowball fights, snowmen, and people throwing themselves down the hill on the most bizarre objects, rolling head over heels and climbing back up laughing to go again, all without a thought of whether they were too old or looked funny or... anything.

Here's what Telegraph Hill looked like last night and this morning:

I love snow days.
(And finally having a camera that lets me capture people sliding down hills at speed!)