Five-ish Ways to Celebrate Five Years of Blogging: MCR Poster & Magazine Giveaway

12 Sep

Despite the plethora of wonderful ideas you all had for how I could celebrate Indifferent Ignorance turning five, I have come up with my own celebration. It’s called Five-ish Ways to Celebrate Five Years of Blogging and is coming to an Internet-connected device near you between now and November!

I say five-ish things because I’m not completely sure if a couple of them will come to fruition or when, so check back regularly to see which number we’re on.

The first thing is on Tumblr now, because I thought it would be funny if my first blog celebration was held on my scrubbly little non-blog (I don’t get out much). Plus I need to post it before I go to Greece. It hurts my heart to part with MCR possessions, but it turns out that a couple of the magazines were spares anyway, and those posters deserve to be put up somewhere, hence the giveaway.

The next four or so things will be revealed in good time, ie when I’ve put them together. Right, I’m off to drink some coffee and celebrate entering my last year of teenage-dom. I’m kind of bummed that I’ve only got a year to change the lyrics of Teenagers to “we” instead of “they”, and only a year to use “I’m a teenager” as an excuse for being rude to people, but so far 19 is looking peaceful and productive.

Probably because I’ve done little but write copy for zoos and look at MCR merch.

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Explaining the Internet Slowdown (and protesting so you might not be able to read it)

10 Sep

It’s not that often that a lot of the people who use the Internet agree on something, but it looks like the US government has given us all a common enemy (again. Didn’t this happen with SOPA and Prop 8?!). I don’t have a huge understanding of the technical aspects of it, but essentially the US Federal Communications Commission has proposed laws that mean Internet providers can charge money for websites to access their subscribers. Those who couldn’t or wouldn’t pay would get slower Internet connections than those who could. It’s kind of like private healthcare versus the NHS; companies who can afford to pay for top healthcare plans (or Internet) would get seen to quickly and in top-notch conditions (quick page loading), and the rest of us would be put into an 18-month waiting list and spend a week in A&E (the buffer symbol for minutes or hours at a time).

A&E is slow at the moment, but imagine if NHS hospitals were purposely given rubbish equipment compared to private ones? People on the NHS would stay ill or get worse while private patients would be sorted in a jiffy. Now I think about it, that analogy is quite similar to the debacle of non-free-at-point-of-use-healthcare countries… like America. Now’s not the time.

To show what these new conditions would be like, lots of sites – including Tumblr, Etsy, Twitter and Automattic, which powers WP and therefore here – have enforced a slow Internet day, today. Pages, videos and music streams are loading at the speed at which they would load everyday if telecoms companies started charging for access. Many sites affected probably could pay for the quick connection, especially if they increased adverts – but users are likely to be put off by the ads and anyway, what about little online businesses who pay for their own connection? What about people who want to stream videos from sites who haven’t paid for quick access?

The buffer symbol. All the goddamn time.

What can we do to prevent this shit happening at all: head to this website, which is petitioning Congress to stop the proposal from becoming law. If you’re using a site that’s campaigning for ‘net neutrality’, as they call it, you can have a look to see that they’re doing in protest.

Most big Internet companies are a bit corrupt. Most people on the Internet are tossers. But none of us wants to put up with slow service, regardless of the sites we use or the people we abuse while on them.

PS (sort of) Since Etsy is protesting too, I’ve put a discount on my Etsy shop. I was going to anyway to celebrate Blood of Olympus coming out in October, and today seemed a good time to start it. Enter UNCLERICK2014 at the checkout for 30% off, although maybe wait until the protest’s over for a good long browse.

A Tourist’s Guide to Being a Tourist: Warner Bros. Studio Tour, Watford

8 Sep

I feel like I should blog because it’s Literacy Day or something and I’ve got some time to kill before a webinar later. I was going to have a shower so I could be all snuggly with my headphones on, but then I realised that snuggly usually equals sleepy and I’m supposed to be a professional.

Plus I really need to get some proper work points because I spent at least forty minutes today playing around with the customise options on WP and seriously considered making all the links here bright pink. Anyway, Literacy Day!

What’re you all reading at the moment?

I’m reading this:

HPATPS

Why, Francesca?

Well, I went somewhere rather special yesterday, and by rather special I mean a warehouse in Watford…

Privet Drive

Cool huh. I have about a billion photos, mostly of Hagrid animatronics and concept art and Diagon Alley. I was never that into the films because the screenwriting sort of ruined Hermione. It’s a good thing Emma Watson is a total sweetheart.

Yule Ball Set

She’s clearly also teeny tiny.

Since I’ve been to London a few times recently and am on a ‘gap year’ so am supposed to be getting life experience or whatever, I’ve decided to do a little review of my excursions so I can add reviews to my online copywriting profile.

Event and Place Warner Bros. Studio Tour, Watford.

Cost Insane. Tickets plus food plus batshit crazy priced merchandise. They had integrated Starbucks shops and really decent catering but a lot of people had taken picnics. Do that and spend a fiver on Butterbeer, which is foul.

Food See above. Plus nothing I ate made me puke, which was good.

Other people Go early to avoid the crowds. It’s such a popular place that it’s probably packed all the time, which was good in a way because it showed just how many demographics Harry Potter appeals to. There were people from all over the country, people from other countries, old people, families, couples, people with illnesses, deaf people (with sign language guides). 10/10 for people watching, 2/10 for geeking out in peace. It took about halfway round for me to fully process how much stuff I was seeing, and you can only go in one direction. I missed out on the details of loads of little artefacts and information because I’d think “I’ll just go and see X while the crowds are at Y” then I’d get distracted by Z. Take your time. Appreciate how flipping cool the art department was.

What else did I learn?

Well, the Dursleys’ hall carpet is the same as the one my grandparents used to have.

Harry's Cupboard

I might post more photos as and when, just to spring them on everyone in the hope that people dash onto the M25 and have a look for themselves. You don’t have to be a fan, but if you have any interest at all in any aspect of filmmaking, save your pennies and get on it!

Next up: either the Tower of London’s poppy art, a gallery in Fitzrovia or a James Bond exhibition. Wait. The webinar.

The Six O’Clock News: News About the Six O’Clock News

5 Sep

I’ve been thinking about tweaking the way I do this section of the blog – should I call it a feature? An aspect? – and the section itself is probably the best place to do it!

I started the News because I wanted to incorporate school work with home stuff, and discussing aspects of my Government and Politics course was ideal. Since I’ve finished school, though, I’ve wanted to branch out a bit. Analysing a news piece every single week can sometimes be quite hurried, especially if the story hasn’t reached its ‘finale’. Sometimes I feel like a columnist, bashing out a half-formed opinion to meet a deadline. 

From sunshinethekatt.tumblr.com

From sunshinethekatt.tumblr.com

So I’ve been thinking that it might be more fun to do something once a month or once a fortnight which is a bit more thought out and makes me feel less like I work for a paper. It might also be fun to do more audioblogs or maybe videos so there’s more variety to the whole process… what do you think? I mean, I’ll probably let whatever I do just evolve but you guys have to look at it, haha.

Slight Smugness and a Poster About Slugs and Snails

3 Sep

Today is the day I would have gone back to school were I still a student, and it felt really, really strange going about town seeing people in my old uniform trotting to and from that wonderful institution/seventh layer of hell. My feelings are kind of mixed about the whole thing; on the one hand, I’M FREEEEEEEEEEEE. On the other, I’m broke and spent a large portion of today ironing.

Still, in the spirit of change, I decided to try out WP’s new post editor. It’s clean and simple, which I like, but I also miss the insane intricacy of the old editor, which has about a billion links to click if you’re bored. Now I have to go on YouTube more than normal.

Okay let’s get down to business and learn how to upload images here:

SugarAndSpiceByFrancescaBurke SlugsAndSnailsByFrancescaBurkeWhat do you reckon? I had a bit of a moment when I was browsing Etsy and everything I saw seemed to be focussed around gender, especially gifts for babies – who, let’s face it, are not aware of their gender. So I came up with a couple of alternatives to those cutesy little nursery rhymes people like to sing!

They are available here as prints and here as downloads.

Excellent, the link button is the same. Hmm. Maybe I’ll flit between the two editors depending on my mood, like those rich ladies who go from a cafe to bar on a whim.

Bugger, I can’t find spellcheck.

In Which I Cannot Articulate So Overcompensate With Pink Font

31 Aug

Given that since I’m self-employed, weekends can technically happen whenever I like; there’s nothing to stop me from taking Wednesday and Thursday off, for example, then working the actual weekend. But I still quite enjoy the quietness of Sundays.

Oh wait there is a thing to stop me and it’s called money. I work during the weekend too!

Anyway, today I was feeling that feeling that’s really hard to describe except by writing ‘eugh’ or ‘bleh’, but whatever it is I was experiencing it this evening so I buried myself in Pride and Prejudice with a mug of hot chocolate and briefly pretended I was the main character in a bad romantic comedy. To be totally honest part of me is still pretending a little bit… Reading a really compelling book always makes me feel a million times better, like a really good sleep.

Found on Tumblr, origin unknown

Found on Tumblr, origin unknown

I was about to say that reading decent work also makes my writing better but I just read all that back and I think it might take a couple more literary masterpieces to improve my conviction that I should type using as few commas as possible. See.

But I have remembered that if I want to write well then I need to read well and have resolved to get down to my library and possibly actually read The Fault in Our Stars. Or Hitchhiker’s Guide. Or The Fellowship of the Ring. Or something that isn’t my Tumblr dashboard.

Maybe I just really need to spend less time on the same five websites, most of which are full of the same type of ‘WE WILL TALK AND YOU WILL LISTEN BECAUSE WE ARE THE ONES TALKING’ people. You know the type; they think that because they’ve carved out a cute little corner of the Internet, they deserve to be listened to and respected in every other corner of the Internet.

Or maybe I ought to just work out a better work/play routine than the one I currently have. Due to its inherent lack of structure and reliance on social media it often sees me in ‘work mode’ in inappropriate places, like during films or on trips to London, but then during the day (after a night of dodgy sleep because have I got that copywriting email begrudging me £2.50 yet?) I’m exhausted and slump on the sofa watching awful adverts with some TV sandwiched between.

Right, I’m off to work on Jacki’s MCR poem to clean my room to have a bath. Sod it I might go back to Lydia’s elopement with Wickham.

The Six O’Clock News: Quickfire Commentary

29 Aug

Audioblog time! I decided to commentate on each of these stories (don’t worry there are things to look at while you listen):

Taken 29th August 2014 at 4:45pm-ish

Taken 29th August 2014 at 4:45pm-ish

Too bad I talked about things in the wrong order and forgot how to talk and read simultaneously.

Story One, in which we should perhaps panic.

Story Two, in which I haven’t heard of an actor

Story Three, in which a judge tells a lawyer that he looks like something out of Harry Potter

Story Four, where an MP got egged by passionate (or stupid) pro-independence campaigners

Story Five (which I actually thought was six) about rich philanthropists who are going all vigilante since someone has to

From stunningpicture.tumblr

From stunningpicture.tumblr

Story Six (which I thought was five), in which people crash cars

Story Seven (totally lost now) when some people set the precedent for the London riots

Story Eight in which parents are well-meaning but misguided

Story Nine, where cats are even more popular when they’re dead

Story Ten, in which I am bitter about the Bake Off, although so are several other people

This may have taken longer than in-depth analysis.

Packing – Or Not – Some Bags

27 Aug

I always get a bit confused after a bank holiday – the joy of long weekend is kind of negated by not knowing what day it is for the rest of the week. So to make myself feel efficient in the face of uncertanity I’ve been adapting my Society6 and Etsy shops a little bit. Etsy will be completely digital after 30th September because I’m out of the UK for a month and posting physical items will be a bit tricky. Have a look at both sites to see if anything tickles your fancy.

Oh, Francesca, where are you going?

Eh nowhere special. Just Greece.

Just kidding.

From lisce.tumblr.com

From lisce.tumblr.com

I’m excited as my friends are to be going to university, which is to say slightly nervous but ready to make an important change to long term living arrangements.

There’s so much to do. Normally I pack two days before a trip maximum, but this time I have to think about the things I don’t want to be without for a month. Apart from the dogs (apparently they have to stay home, pfft), that’s mostly work stuff.

You know, my computer.

Which is a mishmash of ergonomic writing gear, a TV screen, an external hard drive and a small-but-still-sizeable PC tower. Apart from the keyboard and mouse none of that will fit in a suitcase or be physically transportable, which leaves me with a few options:

  1. Take my iPad and beforehand find an app or piece of tech that allows me to plug in the keyboard, mouse and hard drive
  2. Get a cheap-as netbook and plug in the keyboard, mouse and hard drive
  3. Just get a netbook and take the risk that by using a normal keyboard I won’t take ten steps back physio-wise
  4. Attempt all business from my phone.

Personally I favour option one because it doesn’t involve taking out a loan or wrecking my muscles. I suppose I could lug everything I normally use a thousand miles in a lot of bubble wrap, but that would involve paying EasyJet a billion quid for extra weight allowance and that’s not including clothes and stuff.

Hmmm.

Okay I’m off to move cardboard boxes out of my bedroom and maybe have a shower (I thought at 10:30am “I’ll do some work then have a shower.” It’s now 5:40pm). If anyone knows where I can get hold of Hermione’s beaded bag, let me know.

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