Tuesday, 31 March 2009

My time. And filming plans.

37 days:
Last night’s no-internet time was pretty much spent curled in an armchair with mug after mug of various teas (I drank almost 2 litres of tea yesterday.. usually I drink a cup every couple weeks! It's all I could even think of drinking/eating). It’s funny how sitting in one place can be so different with and without internet. If that makes sense.

I had my computer on the little table beside me, so sitting there, its not like I was doing anything more or less than I would have been had I been online. But being online creates a constant pull to be in a thousand places at once. I’m always alt-tabbing from page to page in an attempt to browse Flickr, catch up on my favourite blogs, write something in my own blog, avoid amazon or ebay so as not to be tempted by things I can’t afford (usually unsuccessfully), carry on proper conversations with whoever’s online... and a thousand other things.

So without internet I was instead.... just... sitting. And it was a very different experience. I like having that focus even on doing nothing. And even though I’ve only been doing this for a couple days, after 10pm has become “my time”. I’ve begun seeing things I need/want to do that I keep saying I’ll get to.. get to.. get to... sometime, and saying, “Oh, yea, I’ll do that after 10.” It’s already turning into a routine for me, and I love it.

As I was typing all this and trying to make it make sense, dharmamama left this link to another of Christine Kane's posts in a comment. Very very perfect for me right now. And then I clicked onto another post I hadn't read before, about attention splatter. This is exactly what I'm learning to avoid with my no-internet habits, and what I'm learning to avoid. It's so great to see it written down and know that it's far from being a problem that only I have. Maybe it will make it easier for me to spot it and steer clear...


Rest of Life:
We’re filming tomorrow! Finally! And everything has gone bizarrely, incredibly smoothly. We went through a bit of a panic this morning with a severe lack of equipment, and lack of solid permission to film in Greenwich Park. But somehow it all clicked into place like a dream. I'm pinching myself. And we're filming in the morning.

I'll write more about all of this tomorrow because I've just overrun my 10pm deadline by 5 minutes and my lovely friend is quite rightly pestering me with countdowns on msn to get me offline.

So off I go to finish storyboarding methinks.


Monday, 30 March 2009

Bring It On.

37 days:
My off-the-internet experience last night wasn't quite as productive as the previous night's, as I seem to be coming down with... something. Hopefully it's just the start of a cold. But it meant I was awake till the birds were singing, with a throat that felt like it was being sandpapered and alternating hot and cold spells that meant I was kicking the blankets off, then piling extra ones on, before kicking them off again. I think it's stress leaving my immune system vulnerable to anything that comes my way.

So my evening wasn't filled with hundreds of previously undone things this time, instead, turning off the internet gave me the opportunity to sit back and take it easy, while letting my body begin to recuperate. I like having this time to be able to focus on myself and where I'm at, I've been losing track of all that way too easily lately.


Last night I wrote that I want to live big, to experience life to the full without worrying about making the wrong choices and getting stuck in a rut. Today Christine Kane's Bring It On post flashed up in my google reader. It couldn't be more perfectly timed for me. It's exactly how I'm feeling right now. I just need to get through my final weeks at uni, and then I can let the universe know I'm ready... bring it on!

Sunday, 29 March 2009

37 Days, and the future.

37 days:
Last night was my first proper night of no internet (I decided too late to implement it on Friday). And it was great. Actually, I have to confess that it was a bit of a shock to the system at first. I turned off my laptop (I've been having to use the internet on my dinosaur lately), and instinctively reached for the power button on my mac to turn it on. I stopped myself in time, put on some music and sat back to listen to it until I had got over the trauma of having no screen in front of me.

Then I dug out my camera manual and learned how to control the flash on my 450d, and a couple other things that had been bugging me. At work earlier yesterday I bought a gorgeous new first aid tin, so I spent a while tracking down things scattered throughout my room to put inside it. I assembled them and used my new-found controllable flash to take a photo of it, just because I could. And after all this I still had time to find food, and take it easy listening to some old Scott Mills podcasts until bedtime.


Rest of life:
Work was very quiet today and most of my day was taken up reading through a monologue from A Midsummer Night's Dream in incredible detail to help Z. learn it for an audition tomorrow. Analysing where the emphasis needed to be in every line and word, how long and short pauses needed to be, and trying to decypher what certain rather confusing lines actually meant. It was fun to watch customers staring at her in confusion, wondering why she was reciting Shakespeare to the bags, the cabinets and anything else inanimate that would listen to her practicing.

Uni work is progressing slowly, but it is progressing. That's the thought I'm holding onto when stress and panic clutches at my head and stomach. Filming didn't happen on Thursday like it was supposed to, but everything looks good for this Wednesday instead. Touch wood, fingers crossed. All that.

As for dissertation, well, I had a meeting with my supervisor for the first time in way too many months, and he loves my idea and plan so far and was very positive about it, so that made me feel a lot better. I'm heading home (my other home that is) to see my mum tomorrow with all my books. She'll make me get my writing done, instead of sitting around staring out of the window. And I get fed there. Double bonus. My plan is to have something good on paper to show my supervisor by next week, eep, not next week anymore. Later this week.

I'm feeling less doomed by the fast approaching end of uni now. Instead of worrying about getting trapped and stuck in a rut, I've simply decided I won't. I want to make a difference and change the world, even if it's only my corner of it to begin with. I have ideas about where I would like to end up, and what I would like to be doing. I don't know how I'll get there, or whether these ideas will change as my horizons open, but every day I can take one step towards these goals, big or small and end up exactly where I am supposed to be.

Finishing uni is the end of an era, and the start of a whole life-time of possibilities.

Positive outlooks are a lot more fun to have than doom and gloom ones. I need to make sure I keep hold of this one as deadlines and endings come nearer.

Time to check my mail before my cut-off point!


P.S. Here's my slightly odd selection of first aid things, just coz I want to show off my pretty red tin. I don't think there's much in there that would do any good in an actual case of emergency. Unless it's chapped lips or a cold. Oh, or a headache. Ah well, it looks nice, I'm happy.

Saturday, 28 March 2009

37 Days

I've taken on the 37 days challenge.

37days challenge March 27 – May 3, 2009

"I, Vrinda, being of kinda sound mind and body, have willingly decided to do one thing consistently every single day for the next 37 days. C’mon, self, it’s just 37 days. The one thing I will do every day is this:
Disconnect from the internet at no later than 10pm every night.

I’m not going to pick two things or nine things because that will dilute my focus –- just one thing. One. One simple action. An action, not a goal. An action, not a value. An action, not a wish. Something I can DO.

I’m doing this challenge at this time because I waste hours and hours and hours of my life mindlessly clicking from page to page and want to make a conscious decision to change this pattern.

I’ve chosen this particular daily action because I believe if I do it consistently for 37 days with no (NONE, ZERO, ZIP) exceptions, I will:
Find the time to do all the small, and big, things that I long to have the chance to do. I will have time to read, draw, listen to music as more than background noise. Do my uni work with the appropriate level of focus. And I will be able to once more remember what my own thoughts sound like.

If I should fail, I won’t blame anyone but myself (not even my partner, that idiot with 29 items in the express lane at the Piggly Wiggly, the IRS (so needy!), the people who make frosted Pop Tarts and Lofthouse Cookies, or Fate).

I also realize that this contract is solely with myself and carries no rewards, penalties or punishments other than those associated with the reflection of the strength of my character.
New things will happen for me.

I’m ready."

When choosing my challenge there were so, so many things that I felt I "should" do, and things I do want to do, but how to prioritise? What I kept coming back to was the fact that I have no time during the day to do all these little things. So, after much deliberation, I settled on my one thing.

Every night I have to be off the internet, preferably off the computer also(but that's a little implausable with deadlines looming) by 10 o'clock each night. That gives me an hour to do whatever I like, and an hour to wind down and still do what I like before going to bed at a reasonable time.

I hate to say it, but this is actually a big challenge for me. I tend to think, ah, just one more link, just one more post, just one more comment... and then suddenly it's 2am. I lose most of the next morning because I can't get up as early as I'd like, and I lose the evening through more random browsing, then go to bed late, then I lose the next morning... I want to break the cycle.

At this moment 10 o'clock is 28 minutes away and I'm typing furiously to finish this and check my mail before I have to switch off. But I'm looking forward to it as well. I'm looking forward to having my own time that isn't leached away by colourful pixels on a screen... (To those people I would otherwise be talking to online, that doesn't mean I don't want to talk to you! You're not counted as leaching colourful pixels, promise!! xx)

Oops, running out of time. I'll write a proper post tomorrow with all the things non-challenge related things I wanted to say in this one.

But for now, goodnight!

Thursday, 26 March 2009

The End is Nigh.

Major deadlines are creeping ever closer. Our film has to be made, my dissertation has to be written. People keep telling me that it will be over in a few weeks. They're trying to reassure me, but it makes it all the worse! Once these few weeks are up... what happens?! I have no plans. The world that I've been living in for the past 3 years evaporates. I don't want to get stuck in a rut, working to pay for living somewhere I can't afford. I want to find a job that I love, but I don't even know what I want that to be.

I don't know how I got to where I am now, by hundreds of little nudges from everyone around me as I grew up and made "my" decisions I think... I'm not complaining exactly. At least I had that many people who cared about me enough to give me those nudges. I just want to be more sure about how I make my choices from now on. I want to be sure they're made for the right reasons. I'm not going to take advice on face-value. It has to be right for me.

But I can't worry about all that now. I have no time. I have no time to think, and the less time I have to do everything, the less time I spend actually doing it. I think I'm trying to believe that if I don't do the work the semester won't finish and I won't have to deal with what comes next. This, of course, is a highly flawed idea of how things work.

Time to get back on track.

Wednesday, 25 March 2009

What is Love?

I interrupt my procrastination to bring you this:

Too cute. I miss Sesame Street.
And now back to my procrastinating.

Tuesday, 24 March 2009

Maps and Spies.

The Google streetview feature has been the controversial topic of choice in all the London papers this week. Whatever people say about privacy invasion and security worries, it's the greatest invention ever for procrastinating students! Hours of fun.

Here's my house, and my room. My curtains and all. I wonder if I was in there when the photo was taken.

And welcome to Central London:

View Larger Map


I watched The 39 Steps this morning. I loved the simplicity of it, almost bordering on naivety in a way. It's a spy film without the explosions and complex plot lines, and most of the spying. It's a film that doesn't worry about anything other than the story it's intending to tell.

The first agent needs to show that she is telling the truth about being followed. How does she prove it? She tells the guy to look out of the window. He sees this:

How beautiful a sight is that? It's got to be my favorite shot from any film I've watched recently, or any film at all. Eeeven more so than my Grace Kelly shots (and I love those much). You just don't see proper spies like this these days. Gone are the days of spies in trenchcoats with turned up collars standing in pools of lamplight staring up at windows. A sad fact of life I think.

When I was rather younger than I am now, it was my ambition to be a spy of precisely this type. I don't think I ever grew out of it. Actually, now I think of it. *runs off and finds picture* *uploads picture* I definitely never grew out of it. This is me procrastinating on uni work last year sometime.

Oh. Speaking of procrastination. I have a thousand things I should be doing rather than writing this. I should probably go and do at least one or two of them... Or pretend to at the very least.

This is me going.


Thursday, 19 March 2009

"Trouble with Twitters"

This video made me giggle. So very accurate.
I couldn't embed it, so you'll have to click here to see it!

Friday, 13 March 2009

Rear Window, and actors.

Casting went well yesterday. We have actors! I'm happy. They're perfect. After a full day of auditions, we ended up with the right kind of difficulty.. having to choose between too many wonderful possibilities. We're still in need of a location, something we have to work on fast. Our original location fell through and we need to find a cafe to film in. But after yesterday I can't help but feel positive about it.

Today though, my focus is my dissertation. Time is running out on that one. I watched Rear Window last night for analysis purposes, my first time watching it all the way through. I like it very much.

My nerves did stand it okay, but I haven't watched Psycho in a while, so maybe that's why. I think that'll be tonight's film.

My favorite part of this film (apart from the story, suspense, characters and all that of course) is Grace Kelly's magic suitcase. It's like Mary Poppin's carpet bag, but with silk instead of pot-plants and mirrors. Oh how I wish I could pack this lightly when I go somewhere overnight. And look this glamorous in the process.

I need to watch a Hitchcock film without Grace Kelly and her beautiful wardrobe. I think it distracts me from the point of watching the films in the first place. That said, I loved almost everything about this film. It's refreshing to watch a film that takes its time to say what it wants, in the speed that it wants. So rare in these days of split-second editing.

I find it fascinating to see how Hitchcock dealt with the limitations of technology in his time. Doing effects is so relatively simple these days. In his time they had to put a lot more effort into making the film look the way that he wanted it to. When you have to build sets around unmovable cameras, set up complex rigs to allow you to pull the camera back and zoom out, or have giant wine glasses specially made to sit in the foreground of a shot to trick perspective, every shot becomes extremely purposeful. Such a contrast with the way that I've been taught in my "state-of-the-art" film production courses. We're being taught how to tweak things on screen. If you can't get it on the day, create it afterwards.

I want to learn to visualise a film the way that Hitchcock did, and to believe in my ideas so firmly that I'll happily go to the lengths that he did to recreate what he saw in his mind's eye. If he could accomplish what he did with the technology available to him at the time, just imagine what is possible now.

Wednesday, 11 March 2009

Twitter and celery. That's life.

I've been talked into joining Twitter.

What is it that makes us so willing to shout every detail of our existence to anyone who will listen? Blogging, Facebook, Twitter... all ways of telling lots and lots of people all about the miniscule aspects of our lives. What am I thinking right now? Or eating? Oh look, I forgot to tie my shoelaces. Oops.. better tell cyberspace.

The thing is, I like to tell people about the interesting character I met/pretty sunset I saw/strange new food I tried/my day in general. I may complain, butI don't actually want to stop. I enjoy being able to share my joy at seeing a blue sky first thing in the morning, or seeing several different people having strong opinions about my sudden craving for celery. And I like to know what's going on in other peoples' lives, decyphering their cryptic, or not so cryptic, facebook statuses and reading their blogs.

I wish I didn't. I wish I was a quiet, private person... but no. Here I am writing a long rant about people and blogs... in my blog. Don't worry, I'm fully aware of the hypocrisy of that fact. It kind of suits the twisted mind-changingness of this whole post I think.


So, my shared-with-the-world news for today: We have about 10 actors coming to audition for parts in our video tomorrow. I'm nervous and excited. We have some very experienced people with good CVs coming to audition to work for us for free. I'm looking forward to meeting them...

And in the spirit of spreading pointless details across cyberspace, I'll leave you with a picture of my celery. Crunchy goodness. With peanut butter. Perfection:

(P.S. I'm Evie_Eastman on Twitter if anyone's interested)

Tuesday, 10 March 2009

New uses for actions.

It's spring, and love is in the air. Even on photography blogs apparently, Pioneer Woman's in this instance. I think this is one of the cutest blog posts I've read in a while: About Actions

And the follow-up: What Just Happened?

They left me giggling and, if I care to admit it, a wee bit misty eyed... but the latter was probably just, um, dust in the air. Yes, that's what I'll blame. *sighs*

Monday, 9 March 2009

A Hitchcockian Dissertation

So.. my dissertation has suddenly decided to begin being written at long last... after it being on strike for the last.... um.... more months than I care to work out. (I prefer to blame the dissertation itself than my own procrastination you see, there's nothing I can do about it if the writing is on strike. Not my fault, see?) It turns out that it wanted to be written about Hitchcock, and the swarm of remakes of his films, something I hadn't even thought of considering before watching "Paul Merton looks at Alfred Hitchcock" last week.

I've grown up loving everything Paul Merton. It has usually been comedy, but more recently he's been doing documentaries, which I love just as much, if not more. His style of filmmaking is so entertaining that it tricks you into taking in all sorts of information without realising that you've learned things. He has the greatest respect for his subjects, and yet manages to keep his documentaries light and fun, with touches of his own brand of silliness thrown in.

Anyway, something about this new (for me) insight on Hitchcock and his work made me think about the films differently, and when I next sat down to stress about my lack of dissertation it's what appeared in my head. So here I am a week later, finally with 500 words written (out of 10,000... eep), and a properly formatted bibliography of as yet mostly unread books. And I'm a lot more positive about it all though. And happy about my subject. I'm looking forward to looking at these great films in more detail!

Oh, and after watching the first of my Hitchcock selection I've fallen a little bit in love with them. The very very Britishness of them especially. The accents, the properness of everyone (the murderer who, when he's cornered with no escape, good naturedly offers the police a drink). The perfect hair that shines, on both men and women. And the clothes! Grace Kelly's dress at the start of Dial M for Murder especially, I want it very very much!

I wish it was still normal to dress up like this these days, it seems a great pity that we don't have the excuse:

Friday, 6 March 2009

The joy of imperfection.

Wow, this whole non-perfectionist thing is a lot of fun!

I'm discovering little things I never did before. Today I was waiting for my train and, as usual, I skimmed past the sudoku in thelondonpaper. Then I flicked back and decided that for once I was going to give it a try. I never do because my brother is amazing at them and I'm not as good as him, so what's the point. Well. The point is that it's fun. So I tried, and I mastered it. Sure, so I did the easy one, and made mistakes on it in the process. But I mastered it nonetheless. And after a couple more easy ones I'll master the medium ones. And then up again. Then there'll be no stopping me. Or something.

What small thing shall I try next?