You’re standing in front of a cliff. You’re standing in front
of something steep and you have to climb it. The ultimate metaphor, the go-to
for pop songs and speeches alike. Your two thumbs go for it.
Can you imagine truly being outside, and having
to sink your nails into soil and the space between pebbles,
the dirty side of the great outdoors? Maybe in the right outfit, you say.
Outfit is the wrong word. It’s not. I’m not talking about equipment. We go
back to the stand-in issue, the simile and the allegory and the— Channeling,
you say. I call it channeling. For as long as the world’s gone round, there’ve been
heroes. Some lives are less stained than others. Some lives are larger. Some
people are eclipsed by their own talents. And would you like to know them?
Would you like the record to reflect the disparities between
man and feat? Human and feat. Either way. It’s a tricky subject. And
choosing yes won’t change a thing. Most likely not. What if they don’t exist? What if
they’re a creation? Aren’t they all? But we call some history, we call some real.
We put up a sign and it says, ‘here’s a true story.’ Precisely. We claw out their eyes.
Snow’s falling and we’ve clawed their eyes out. We’ve climbed their point of
view and stuck a flag at the top. And there’s snow on the flag. There’s snow on the top.
It melts by summer. The log is done for but the snow has gone. It won’t rain
for another eight months. You’ve come down and you’re standing
in front of something steep and it’s dressed so you can climb it. You’re dressed
so you can climb it. The ultimate metaphor. The go-to for everything.
Your two thumbs go for it.
A couple of weekends ago I finally made it to a bloggers event! Alert the authorities, I know. I usually say I’m going to go and I’m excited until about four days before the thing, when I realize I’m short on money and would rather stay home and save on transport. The weekend of #bloggersfestival, the northern line — the easiest, most straightforward way for me to get to the event — was closed between Golders Green and Camden Town for repairs in Hampstead, too, but I actually spent less on buses than I would have on the tube even though I had to take two separate 168 buses on the way back because the first one randomly cut short at Camden Town, only announcing its shortened route when it was already past King’s Cross. Can you get a refund if a bus does that? I chose to walk extra to avoid a second bus fare; it’s just unfair.
Anyway, I went despite this! And I’m really lazy about walking, so that means I was extra brave. Go me. I was really encouraged by the way Scarlett from Scarlett London organized everything and kept sending out reminders to guests, and the #bloggersfestival hashtag actually having people talking about it.
The walk didn’t feel nearly as long as I expected — I keep thinking “10 minutes” as per Google Maps will feel like a long walk, but it’s actually a breeze at this point. One day I’m going to check the time it takes me to get from my flat to the supermarket (either supermarket) and see if it’s actually ten minutes. It feels like five, tops. It feels nice. On the walk from the 168 bus stop near Southampton Row to Tottenham Court Rd, where the event was held, I actually came across a large party all dressed for what I assume was a wedding, judging by the women in matching golden dresses and also the fact that they were having their group picture taken on the steps of a church. I lingered for a couple of minutes to take pictures, naturally, though in retrospect I kind of wish I’d lingered longer and taken more.
I did take a ton at the event, though; it was a cool practice run for event photography, which is one of the reasons I wanted to be there. The goodie bag wasn’t awful, either, and the cupcakes were delicious. I clearly should have taken more. And more sugar cookies. I’m going to have to make the trek to Marks & Spencer or something at some point, because the two supermarkets within easy walking distance of my flat are totally failing me in the sweet pastry department. I want some damn cupcakes that have actual icing on them and don’t cost an eye; is that so much to ask?
This post began last Thursday, when I was fighting a website theme after an all-nighter (the key was in the documentation) and thinking about writing this post, only I was too busy so I jokingly asked my best friend if she was up for guest-posting on my blog about my sleep schedule issues, by which I meant write this post so I didn’t have to.
So in the immortal (because it’s in the chat log) words of Annemari,
“Sometimes I wake up and Lix will still be up. Sometimes I spend the whole day wondering where Lix is and then she comes online around 7 PM and says she just woke up. But she’s been a lot better at it lately! The end.”
I want to say ‘a lot better’ fell by the wayside this week, but I guess if you compare this week to last year, or the year before, it’s still a massive improvement. I’ve only got up after 6 PM about four times in the four months since I moved to London. But I’m still a lot more likely to get out of bed on the wrong side of noon than the right one, and I’m still here, writing this post at 4:30 AM and contemplating another all-nighter, because the last one reset my sleep schedule so nicely, if by ’nicely’ you mean ‘not at all.’
But I want to be tired again! I don’t want to toss and turn for three hours like last night, which would come down to the same thing as going to bed at 6 AM, which means I will wake up at 1 PM like this morning, and then I won’t be able to sleep tomorrow night, either.
So on that note, I am going to liveblog my reading of an ebook that Feather and Black, the bedroom retailer, put out about Britain’s sleeping habits. You can download the ebook for free here, and you can even opt out of signing up for their newsletter while you do it. Sweet. Good stuff.
Her name is Annemari, and she’s 23 today. (Side note: I feel really old right now. I’m turning 25 in less than two months. I know I made a whole list of things I want to accomplish before November 8, but it hadn’t dawned on me that I’m like, a proper freaking adult in her mid-twenties until now.)
We’ve known each other for almost nine years now. We met on LiveJournal, back when we both had friends-locked journals where we talked about our life and the TV we watched. (So, basically the same as now, only more consistently and less eloquently.) We liked to play around in Paint Shop Pro (I think I hadn’t switched to Photoshop yet at the time) and we did an art battle at a LiveJournal community titled, appropriately, art_battle — and which I think was run by someone I keep in touch with, too. Her name is Ari and she designs book covers. My friends are awesome.
Anyway. We met on LiveJournal, and we didn’t really get to know each other that much until a couple of years after. I’m not entirely sure how it happened, but I do know that the summer of 2008 I was already close friends with her, enough so that when we realized she’d be in London for one day in the middle of the three weeks I spent in Oxford that summer, we decided to meet in person.
She’s the first person I ever made sit on a bench and photographed. Isn’t that sweet? We met in Kensington Gardens, and we went to the Natural History Museum (more her speed than mine), and we took pictures around the Kensington area. We found a church that reminded me of Rapunzel, and then I walked her back to her hotel and set off on the Longest Walk Known To Man™. (Mild hyperbole. Mild.)
It was awesome. It was awkward, I didn’t know whether to hug her when we first met, we got a couple of selfies where, as usual, she looked about five years older than me even though she’s two years younger. I’m tiny and she’s a viking, whatever (she’s Estonian, close enough).
After that, we became like serious proper best friends. We did email for a while (long, long pretentious emails when I was 17/18 and discovered Virginia Woolf and I was so pretentious), and she was the first person I ever chatted regularly with in real time (thanks, gtalk!). In fact, she’s still the only person I regularly chat with in real time. I open Adium in the morning and I close it at night and we just throw random thoughts at each other over the course of the day and it’s comfortable when we have nothing to say and it’s comfortable when one of us does.
We met again this year. This April. Her friend Ashley (who has a blog!) was in London for a semester abroad, and Annemari wanted to meet her before she headed back to New York, which is a lot further out.
So they met! We shared a twin room in a hotel literally down the road from where I’ve ended up living (fell in love with the area, it’s all her fault), and she let me drag her to a few flat viewings and we walked around the city and we took a lot of pictures of it and of each other, and at the end of the day she’s pretty much to thank/blame for my taking the plunge to move to London. If it hadn’t been for her setting a date to meet Ashley, if I’d had to spend my first week in London on my own, I don’t know that I would have dared.
At one point she actually said I was clingy (not in a bad way), which is such a far cry from the first time we met in person that it’s hilarious. But I was! Meds and comfort, I guess?
She’s also singlehandedly responsible for two most tourist-y pictures of me that exist in the world, to wit:
Me and Peter Pan, 2008
Me and the London Eye, Ninth Doctor (in daylight) style, 2014
and another one
and another one.
Yeah, I mean, we took a lot of pictures. It’s fantastic to walk around with someone who’s just as likely to linger for ten minutes in front of a bridge as you are. Probably not as fun for the other person who’s walking with you (sorry, Ashy) but we did get a lot of pictures of her, so I think it works out.
I miss having someone to go on photo walks with.
And drag to museums.
And tackle in the middle of the night.
But she’s still there in the morning, and I’ll narrate my life at her and she’ll acknowledge me and push me in all the right places, and she’ll leave dead chipmunks on my doorstep (metaphorically), and she’s saved me from myself or helped me get over a breakdown on more than one occasion, both when I was in Spain (all those times I cried into chat about fights with my father, and fights my father picked with someone else, and money, and frustration) and after I moved here (flat viewings that fell through, the long road off meds).
She’s been with me through little bits of joy, too, and squealing over fandom, and I maintain that I’m responsible for her taking up fanfic writing and therefore everyone should thank me for the awesome work she puts out, ahem. We’ve grown into adult (ish) women together, and we’ve helped each other become better people, and that’s incredible.
She’s my best friend, and she’s been my best friend for years, and we’ve met 7 + 1 days in all of those years, and if a day goes by and I don’t talk to her, I feel a little adrift. She’s my constant. She’s my rock. And I can’t imagine my life without her.
Luckily, I don’t have to.
Happy birthday, Annemari. Sorry this is up after midnight your time. It’s still your birthday week, right? I’m so thankful for everything you’ve done for me, and also for the fact that you exist. I love you. Keep existing for me, will you?
This is a strange bucket list in that it looks in large part like a to-do list. I don’t have a lot of resources to do normal bucket list things like go places, and I’m working on changing that. It’s also very short-term, as I turn 25 on November 8, but I didn’t want to let these things sit any longer than that. I’ve got some ideas for my next one already, too! Write an ebook, sign up for a gymnastics (or ballet) class. But for the next two months (to the day!), this is what I’ve got:
25 Before 25
Deadline: November 8, 2014
1. Shoot a wedding
2. Launch my new website
3. Redesign and recategorize my blog
4. Figure out the premise, sort out a team and do the first shoot in my fairytale series
5. Figure out the basics of my Oxford Time Travel Universe shoot series
6. Get a year-long lease on a room in NW3 or central London Make it stick
7. Pick up a new-this-year TV show
8. Catch up on design work
9. Get through my entire backlog of photos
10. Get my inbox down to zero
11. Read a book
12. Read a novel
13. Write out a weekly schedule
14. Write out a weekly blog schedule
15. Plan every day
16. Start getting up before 8 AM every day
17. Finish my CV
18. Clear my “read later” bookmark folder
18. Add media kit and calendar templates to my design shop
19. Add product photography listings to my design shop
20. Get my photography shop on Etsy back up to 100 listings
21. Make it to 1,000 followers on all social media accounts I’ve got 500+ on
22. Go to a fucking museum
23. Meet a fandom friend in person
24. Write a bit of fanfic
25. Take Sundays off
When I say shoot a wedding, I mean it literally. I don’t have to be the main photographer at that wedding. Second (or third) shooting would be fine. I just want to shoot one. I’m very invested in getting into wedding photography professionally and I want to get the ball rolling as fast as I can.
I probably won’t be able to take all Sundays off, but I want to get to a point where I feel comfortable doing it, and not like I’m letting clients down. It ties in closely with #8. Setting Tuesdays aside for shooting is a big part of this and #13, too. I’m useless for laptop work on Tuesdays.
A new website (built by an e-commerce software company I won a giveaway from) means having a storefront other than Etsy, which is great because I’ll have control over it, won’t have to abide by guidelines set by people I don’t much like and I won’t get charged per listing, but a lot of clients find me through Etsy so I’m committed to making the most of that.
“Read a novel” is its own point separate from “read a book” because I’ve read bits of two books since I came to London, and there’s a good chance I’ll finish one of those first, and they’re both non-fiction. Which I like, and find easy to read, but I also really want to truly immerse myself in a story with joyful squealing and a happy ending, and that’s basically what YA (and some other stuff) does for me.
#4 and #5 are both editorial photographer goals, not modeling ones. I nearly added a couple of modeling things to this list (boudoir with a female photographer and cosplay) but one of the things I like about modeling is that I plan it, I do it, it’s done. I don’t want to burden myself with it.
#16 really needs to come with a “and go to sleep at a decent hour” addendum. I’m not sure what a decent hour is yet. Midnight?
I don’t have anyone in mind for the ‘meet a fandom friend’ bit. It may be someone I haven’t even met online yet. In my heart, a fandom friend includes my fandom friends’ fandom friends. These are people I chose and they are people whose judgment and priorities I trust. I don’t have any other circles, offline or on, quite like it.
This entire list is meant to kick my stress’s butt.
I haven’t suddenly become rich. But if I did get rich, or at least become financially stable, this is something I would really like to do: spend a weekend — in the fall or spring — in Paris. It’s not going to happen any time soon… but I can still dream about it. And wouldn’t it be amazing if I got to spend my birthday weekend in Paris?
So that’s the trip I decided to plan to try out Amadeus.net.
My search: London to Paris, November 7 to November 9. My initial results:
On Amadeus.net, you trip starts with a flight. You don’t have to buy it, and in fact it’s a non-transactional site — you just have to save it. You can save several options. You can look up flights for friends and save options for them, too. I was tempted to look up flights for my best friend from Estonia, but thought that might be taking it a little too far for a little bit of purely-fantasy-to-me travel planning.
Like many booking sites, Amadeus also lets you see the price defaults and minimums for the days around the ones you’ve picked. If you go back to October, there are several stretches of time where you can get a return flight for under £60. I had to remind myself that I wasn’t actually going and I could stick to my guns and have it be my birthday weekend. Old habits die hard, y’all.
I did, however, think about my flight requirements. If I wanted to get the most out of the weekend, I’d have to get a late flight on Sunday and an early flight on Saturday or Friday. The thought of spending my actual birthday on a plane and around airports — with luggage and by myself; it’s only having to carry my luggage that brings out my reluctance to fly — makes me a bit queasy, so Friday it is. There’s no way I’m getting anything done before my flight, but I do have to get to the airport, so an ideal outbound time for me is neither too early in the morning nor too late in the afternoon. You can set a window of time, among other things, so I selected 9 AM – 1 PM:
And got new search results:
The new options aren’t much more expensive than the ones before, and they have me flying from and into Heathrow, which I’ve only been to once and ended up going to Gatwick because I missed my flight so I never actually flew from Heathrow, I don’t think, unless I flew into Heathrow that one time? I can’t remember. I don’t think I did. It’s a bit fuzzy. The days I arrived and left the UK when I spent three weeks in Oxford back in 2008 were both absolutely awful.
Anyway, new search results, and I picked based on time. When you ‘select a flight,’ you get links to various booking sites along with a price list. I never sought out these tools until I moved to London, and found that there really is a significant difference between booking sites when you’re getting a flight, or a hotel.
I’m not ready to buy yet, though, so I just click “Add to my plan.” Since I haven’t created a plan yet, it asks for a name for the plan (“Paris Birthday Weekend,” duh) and sets it up with the default variables. This (minus the picture, I picked a different one before I screencapped it) is what comes up:
It’s basically a whole planning board for your trip. You can save your searches, flight options, add notes, and add links. Hotel ideas, and all those museums and restaurants you want to try — you can add them to your trip dashboard. You can share the trip publicly, or keep it private. You can invite friends to create accounts at Amadeus and add their own ideas to the same dashboard. It’s a really straightforward way of making sure all your information is in one place, especially when you’re not flying solo.
The site is still in an intermediate stage, so I can only imagine how it’ll look when it’s fully developed! A hotel search would be excellent. They already have some handy tools to help you plan your trip — did you notice the weather note in the flight search results page? I love that.
Ready to go — or think about going — somewhere? Start your own plan here! Feel free to pop me a link to your project if you do. :)
You may recognize this outfit and a couple of the shots from the sewing machine giveaway I ran back in early August. I said the outfit post would show up the week after — my bad. But it’s here now! This is the one-size (plus-size one-size? So says the listing, but I gave my size rather than purchasing it straight out, so I don’t think it was my fault!) tunic I held together with bobby pins. I really love how the skirt looks in particular — the white net detail isn’t super noticeable in the product photos, and bunching it together around my tiny hips makes it stand out. It’s a fun touch.
I shot these with Christine Cherry in the garden of Keats House. It was my first shoot there of a few that will show up on the blog over the course of the next month. I still haven’t gone inside the actual house, and now that it’s within walking distance but not basically on my doorstep anymore, I… am actually more interested in doing that. One day!
Right now I’ve got a lot of work to do and a new room to adapt to. I forgot it always takes me a good half week at minimum to get used to a new place. Today is my first day properly working at my desk, and I got my landlady to switch out the chair that was here for an office chair of her daughter’s, who just moved out, and I’m starting to feel truly, genuinely, the-kind-that-leads-to-productivity-and-reduced-stress comfortable. I’m a little overwhelmed by pending work, but every now and again a little ray of optimism peeks through. It’s lovely. You’re going to see a lot more of me and my work and my writing from now on. Hope you’re ready! ;)