Celebrating Internaut Day With an Indifferent Ignorance Retrospective

Today is 25 years since the start of public access of the world wide web (thank you for my jobs, Tim Berners-Lee) and I wanted to find something to encapsulate why the Internet is so important, but to be honest I think this shit hole of a website does the trick. I can’t find evidence of what it looked like back in 2009 (shout out to anyone who put up with the luminous green type) but here are some other gems from the last six and a half years.

Indifferent Ignorance Internaut Day Retrospective 2011 1

I am still so proud of that tagline. I only got rid of it when I started The Webways and wanted to avoid brand confusion. (October 2011)

Indifferent Ignorance Internaut Day Retrospective 2011 1

Oh god that’s where my graphic designing started. Also, shout out to Sweet Pea! (October 2011)

Internaut Day 2016 Indifferent Ignorance Retrospective

I don’t know what went wrong here, but I do seem to remember archiving it on the Way Back Machine so I could remember it in years to come. High five, 17 year old me. (December 2013)

Internaut Day Indifferent Ignorance Retrospective

This was a total accident. I was playing about with new theme ideas, because the Bueno one (see above and every post for about five years) wasn’t supported by WP any more – I didn’t realise that I had activated a new one, not just previewed it, and couldn’t get the original back. This was as close as I could get to how it was, and I’m still not sure how I feel about those circles. (August 2015)

Internaut Day Indifferent Ignorance retrospective

My Goth phase. (October 2015)

And that concludes this post, because I have to go use the Internet to look at crap people have written on a micro blogging site.

My To-Do List for 2020

Last week I got philosophical/grumpy about what it’s like being mere mortal during the Olympics, and in the spirit of WINNING THAT GOLD MEDAL, here is a list of ambitions I would like to have fulfilled by the next summer Olympics. There are other, more personal, things as well – but these are the things I want to brag (and complain) about publicly between now and summer 2020.

Finish a screenplay

And then have it optioned in record time by the BBC and win five BAFTAs. Obviously.

It doesn’t have to get anywhere (statistically, it would not get anywhere). I just want to finish one before I qualify for OAP cinema tickets.

Publish a book

I’d love to know the odds of getting a book published next to the odds of having a screenplay made, but since I would be responsible for almost all the content of a book, as opposed to one of many, many people making a film, I prefer my chances of  actually holding a novel in my hand. Plus, I’ve had more practise. Still gotta double check how to spell practise, though.

Earn enough at 1-3 jobs that I don’t need 4-5 jobs

Half of all authors in the UK earn less than £10.5k a year, and although I will never be bothered about making a million pounds a week, I would like to have found something by 2020 that affords me the time and financial security to make things. In the mean time, my Patreon is here, hint hint.

Travel to every country in the EU before my lazy arse has to fill out paperwork to do so

Britain will have Brexited by Tokyo 2020, and there’s nothing like a deadline to spur one on to visit Slovakia while it takes minimum effort. Where is Slovakia.

Travel to basically everywhere

I could probably stand to miss Baghdad, Aleppo and the North and South Poles, but places I haven’t been to yet that I want to write postcards from include but are not limited to:

  • The Colosseum in Rome
  • South East Asia
  • The Giant’s Causeway in Northern Ireland
  • San Francisco
  • The Edinburgh Fringe Festival
  • South America
Travel GIF

I normally can’t stand these GIFs, but in the spirit of optimism… from Twitter.

Learn (or rediscover) a sport that doesn’t bring back horrible memories of PE

They never taught us aerial yoga, maybe I could try that… or trampolining. Ooh, or dog walking.

Pass my driving test

Possibly this is cheating because if I pass my theory test on Friday I will technically be half way there. Then again, I started learning in 2014, so let’s not get ahead of ourselves. I strive for Maggie Stiefvater-esque skill and style, but I think I’m going to be more like this:

I have some deadlines to attend to (and theory to study for) so I will leave this here and maybe revisit it on a periodic basis to brag/complain/mentally compare notes with the athletes aiming for Tokyo. Do you have any goals or four year plans? Let’s compare ourselves to Olympians together!

 

Is It Just Me or Do the Olympics Prompt a Breakdown

I’ve been having really odd reactions to the Olympics so please help me out and tell me if you’ve experienced anything similar (no, I’m not talking about checking out the Team GB diving team, although I do encourage you to do that). When I’m watching TV, usually with a plate of food or a cup of tea, I either think:

This is so incredibly inspiring. Look at that perfectly regular human being who has worked their bones into dust for four-plus years to become one of the best sportspeople in the world. They are so deserving of our attention even if they don’t win anything because they are a testament to the human spirit and work ethic. I think I will put down my food and do my physio and go for a run tomorrow.

Or:

That person is my age. That person is five years younger than me. What was I doing five years ago? I was blogging about MCR, which has clearly propelled me into a fascinating, rewarding and financially secure life. That person has more visible muscles on their stomach than I do in all my limbs. I’ve been curled on Instagram checking out Team GB’s diving team for approximately four hours and haven’t done physio for days. But I’m actually just going to eat some carbohydrates and compare myself to a world class gymnast, and feel bitter that my PE teachers were nearly all so shit that I’ll never know if I could have been able to do a somersault.

BELOW AVERAGE from The Perks of Being a Wallflower from taylorbtw.tumblr.com

from taylorbtw.tumblr.com

Sometimes I veer from one reaction to another in the time it takes an athlete to fall off a pommel horse. Sometimes I eat carbs then do physio then eat more carbs. Is anyone else experiencing this? Is there a cure?

One thing I do like about the Olympics is the idea of working in four year cycles towards a goal. Athletes aiming for the Olympics have a clear deadline and an ambition that will get them out of bed when they would rather be anywhere but where they are, and I could do with that – or anything that would help me focus on something that isn’t my growing resentment toward everything I’ve ever done to ensure I’m a money-strapped freelancer with a broken desk chair and a complicated CV.

This isn’t me drowning in self pity; four years ago I had just finished my GCSEs and was in the middle of learning that supermarket bread wanted to kill me, and now I’m a healthier-ish indie writer who was self employed at 18 with zero debts and a burgeoning business. Not many 20 year olds can say that they decided what they wanted to and immediately did it. My life is not terrible.

But I want it to be better.

I think I might work on those four year goals.

Things You Can Get Me for My Birthday

I’ll be 21 soon, which is basically the last giant birthday I’ll ever have where I can ask for things without being a dick. Also, I’ve been clearing out some cupboards recently and noticed that I own a lot of shit. I own too much shit. Emphasis on ‘shit’. So I thought I’d make a little list for my loved ones to refer to when scratching your heads in the Yankee Candle aisle. If you’re unsure as to whether a potential gift could also be shit, put it back and write a cheque for a leishmania charity. (Please do not ever buy me a Yankee Candle.)

My 21st Birthday Gift List

  • Car insurance. As in, mine.
  • Patreon support. If you were going to spend £5 on shit I don’t need, pledge that much over however many months you like. Then I get to upgrade my blog and you get art and no one has to clean their cupboards out
  • Etsy support. If you were going to spend £5 on shit I don’t need, spend that much in my shop then send your friends everything you bought (for the love of God please do not give it back to me)
  • A book shop gift card. Not Amazon. Not iBook. Something for a shop where I can smell the products before I buy. I fully intend on contributing books to said shops, and I won’t be able to do that if they’ve all been put out of business by tax-avoiding conglomerates amirite
  • Get me an Etsy gift card or a Society6 gift card so I can buy weird fan art and afford the shipping charges
  • Pretend you’re listening when I talk about my job(s). Just for five minutes, pretend you want to know about professional hashtagging
  • Okay you’re going to give me stuff, declare that £5 to be spent in the MCR store. I do in fact always need MCR shit and I don’t think Warner do gift cards.

Is it possible to do one of those wedding list things for birthdays? Because I might have lots of marriages, but 21 only comes around once.

Gerard Way from sunshinethekatt.tumblr.com

from sunshinethekatt.tumblr.com

The Lazy Person’s Guide to the Olympics

I have lived through several Olympic cycles, and I can actively remember the last three (Athens: I was in Greece at the time and the Greeks were so into it. I was eight and hated sport. Beijing: I was in Greece at the time and the Greeks were less into it. I was 12 and hated sport. London: I was in Greece when it started and couldn’t believe nothing broke at the Opening Ceremony. I was 16 and hated sport).

Now I am 20 and have gone for three runs in the last month. Three! I still hate sport, but have learnt that the Olympics are relevant to my other interests, so I thought I’d put together a little guide for everyone who has bad memories of PE but wants to get their money’s worth from the TV license.

Activity 1: Sit on the sofa, yelling at the TV

Usually I do this during the news. Now I can do it during the 500000m semi sprint or whatever it is Mo Farrah will win. Check out the schedule for a sport you think you can really get into while eating popcorn/shouting.

Homer Olympics from Twitter

from Twitter

Activity 2: Check out attractive people

I’ve done a quick recon (read: Googled volleyball) and here are just some of the sports with maximum exposure to god-like muscles. NB: some of the competitors are minors. Check who’s still in school before you do anything weird.

  1. Diving
  2. Volleyball
  3. Running
  4. Swimming
  5. That one with the people who run and swim simultaneously triathlon
  6. Gymnastics
  7. Boxing
  8. (Added after a couple of days of observation) Rowing
  9. (ditto) Rugby

The Olympics is basically a free way to explore your sexuality, yes?

Mr Bean from Twitter

from Twitter

Activity 3: Explore multiculturalism

Does anyone know exactly where Samoa is? Or St Kitt’s and Nevis? Or Kazakhstan? Me neither, but I’m going to find out – and I’m going to cheer on the refugee team and holler at random people I’ve never heard of from countries with zero funding when they come last, and curse at the Internet when Boris Johnson someone makes an inappropriate comment.

Activity 4: Pretend you know about sport

‘Yeah so the American women’s football team is really spectacular… did you know there’s a record number of out LGBT athletes competing at this Olympics? Hey, I read that one of the girls in the GB shooting team uses pink cartridges…’

I did zero research to write that. Unless you count scrolling through the news when I don’t want to work as research, anyway. I also did zero exercise.

Bring it, Rio.

Rio 216 from Twitter

Also from Twitter I JUST LEARNT THERE’S A WHOLE GIF BANK THERE

Queuing, Coffee and Stories of Ugly Babies: Seeing Maggie Steifvater at YALC 2016

So I might have mentioned I went to the Young Adult Literature Convention. Here is a brief summary of my day.

The Working Toilet Search

I came into town on the Liverpool Street line, which is a) shittier than the Fenchurch Street line and b) obliged on Sundays to stop at every station in east London between Shenfield and Stratford. I necked a coffee somewhere around Rayleigh and by Billericay was thinking ‘yeah this carriage could really use a toilet’. By Stratford I was actually going to die so I hopped off in search of one. The only facilities in the entirety of Stratford station, as far as I could see, were out of order – so I made a quick detour to Westfield. Pro tip: Westfield is a ghost mall at 8:30am on a Sunday. Go then.

Why is Everyone So Quiet?

I clocked in just after ten – too late to muscle in on the first event I’d bookmarked, too early to spend all my money – so I got another coffee and sussed out where the fire exits were.

Which was easy to do

Because it was almost deathly quiet

Because everyone who wasn’t a vendor and probably some of the vendors

Was reading The Cursed Child

Which I had forgotten about

Because I am broke and try not to dwell on the things I can’t buy yet. Spoiler: it turned out I wasn’t too broke to buy an illustrated Philosopher’s Stone that was on sale. So I don’t know what past me was thinking, but she was a plonker not to reserve a copy. Pro tip: make sure you have money for Potter-related purchases. Another pro tip: cons are supposed to be buzzing. People in a group reading is wonderfully quiet and stupefying. YALC might be the only con in the world where stupefying is better. Go to it.

Agent Arena Publishing 102: God Exists

There’s quite a large part of my soul that belongs to the book industry, and the Agent Arena talk on publishing filled that part of my soul with hope that I might be able to work in it one day. Could I work in publicity? Maybe. Could I work in editorial? Maybe. Could I work in foreign rights? Probably not, because my grasp of foreign languages is shite. Pro tip: sit up the front because whoever designed Kensington Olympia forgot that sometimes small groups convene and like to hear one another.

Why the Fuck is there No Food Here

See Stories from the Bathroom Floor for why a packet of crisps  and a pot of melon three hours apart does not constitute an acceptable meal. In the end I found the food court at the main London Film and Comic Con (which looks way more chill than MCM, for the record) and scarfed a baked potato. Pro tip: bring more snacks than you think you’ll ever need. Especially if there’s a chance you’ll join a queue.

London Film and Comic Con Kensington Olympia

There’s more light at LFCC than I remember MCM having.

The Queue for Maggie in Conversation

Around about the time I was exploring the fire exits, people turned up. I turned a corner and oh, shit, there’s a fucking large queue to see Maggie Stiefvater in conversation. I should mention at this point that I went to YALC by myself, not expecting to see anyone I knew. I met a lot of people at various points, from bloggers and readers to agents. I completely forgot to ask names and swap Instas. So if you met someone wearing Blue Sargent dungarees and hair that vaguely resembled the bisexual pride flag, leave a comment. Pro tip: if I looked like I wanted to kill someone, that’s my normal face.

Maggie in Conversation

Some of you may yet see Maggie on tour, so I’ll let her tell you the story of the broken sunglasses. And the story of setting John Green on fire. And the story of her child vomiting on a long haul flight. Pro tip: there are no Raven King spoilers.

The Queue for the Queue for Maggie’s Signing

Only in Britain would you be made to queue for tickets that determine your place in another queue. Pro tip: get in there before number 238 of 250 if you want more than one book signed.

Queuing is really just like waiting for a gate to open in an airport, ie after a while you forget why you’re there

‘Come back in an hour.’ I did another round of exploring. I sourced a pot of melon. Then I sourced a baked potato. Numbers zero to 20 had become numbers zero to 40. ‘Come back in another hour.’ I made two phone calls. I took a photograph.

queuing for Maggie Stiefvater at YALC 2016

 

I discovered that my bag made a great pillow. I wrote some notes. I reflected that the last time I queued sitting down was the last time I saw Mindless. I missed seeing Mindless. Pro tip: bring friends to talk to for this bit, or learn to chat. 

Actually Meeting Maggie

It was 5:55pm. The con was closing. The queue was urgently shuffled forward. My number was called. I met a girl named Lizzie who had brought a notebook for autographs. I gave a lady my phone to take photographs. I gave another lady my book with my name on a Post It. A girl in front said ‘please pronounce the name of the boys’ school.’

‘Aglionby,’ Maggie said. Pro tip: she pronounces the G. 

The other lady gave Maggie my book, plus Post It.

Once upon a time an interviewer asked Gerard Way what fans usually said when they met him. ‘They usually just say thank you,’ he said.

‘Thank you,’ I said.

Then I said, ‘my dad told me to offer you his car.’ Then I said, ‘it doesn’t have a clutch.’

IT’S AN AUTOMATIC. I MEANT THAT IT’S AN AUTOMATIC. Also it is a Mustang and was either born in Texas or assembled there.

‘What colour is it?’ she asked.

‘Red.’ Officially I think it’s called something like “Midlife Crisis Ruby Metallic”.

‘Tell him to paint it black, lower it an inch and a half, and then we’ll talk.’

Meeting Maggie Stiefvater at YALC 2016

I have told him, but it’s probably a good thing that she has a no-driving-readers’ cars policy. Southend Borough Council dislikes paying out for road maintenance when the cause is drag racing down the seafront. Pro tip: they usually catch you drag racing down the seafront and moan about you in the paper. (No, that’s not a confession. I don’t think my Micra could drag race. I will wait until the Mustang is unattended.)

Then I hobbled back to the Liverpool Street line (my blisters actually have blisters), did a lil bit of Instagram bragging and thought that I might, like, go to Venezuela.

YALC feat. my hair

Remind me to never ask you guys’ opinion ever again.

Moving swiftly on.

Question: who’s going to YALC this Sunday?

Answer: me.

I’ll be signing autographs at 2pm. Look for pink/blue/purple/still mostly brown hair if you want to say hi, because I’ll be the one wearing it. I’ll also be clutching my copy of The Raven King to present to Maggie Stiefvater. It’s dogeared already because I sometimes read it in the bath. If you say hi, do not mention the bath. Compliment my dungarees or whatever I’ll be wearing to deal with the weather (could be a ski jacket by this weekend, who knows).

I have to go back to my quarter-life crisis now, which today has been exacerbated by Horrific 2016-Worthy News StoriesTM and half an hour counting the float for my craft fair on Saturday which I didn’t even need to do because I did it after the last fair. I also booked my drivers’ theory test yesterday for very soon and I’m just starting to comprehend that a) it’s very soon and b) my knowledge of road signs and motorway etiquette is almost as bad as my knowledge of when it’s okay to go at a roundabout.

I suppose that when I pass both tests I’ll be able to drive away from the crises.

Crowdfunding Market Research (aka please have a read and answer)

I’ve been doing up my Patreon lately (still no video because every time I’ve got a minute to make one, I realise I don’t have a minute to make one) but I’ve tidied up my goals and rewards, and I was wondering if you guys could be a lil focus group?

Rewards

Let’s start with the fun bit. I’m offering things that you won’t just get from following me on Twitter – though you can hey hey – like actual handwritten letters and postcards and General Free Shit. You can see your name on the sidebar of this very website and in the thank you notes of every book I write (which will happen, I’m just too superstitious to say any more) too. But I’ve had my Patreon open with various rewards for over a year and have thus far attracted zero beans of investment. That could be because I don’t have a lot of work to show apart from here and a handful of publications – I told you, I’m working on it – or it could be because no one cares about receiving cute mail. So, were you to pledge me a dollar or five or ten a month, what would you want in return?

Goals

#1: Blog Upkeep

Francesca's Patreon Goal 1 THE BLOGS

Aside from domain expenses, I would love dearly to have the money to rid my sites of AdWords completely – but at the moment there’s a chance they could earn me $100 so I’m leaving them up and will use the earnings to pay to get rid of all ads for as long as I can afford. I’ve had AdWords on Indifferent Ignorance since 2012, mind you, and have so far clocked up the grand sum of $15. WordPress won’t pay out until it reaches $100, so unless people get clicking with enthusiasm, having a goal on Patreon is the smarter option. Or is it a bit of a naff goal?

#2 & #3: Health Upkeep 

My other two goals are set predominantly for my mental health. My biggest expenses over the year are train tickets, research costs like entrance fees into places I can’t talk about because I don’t want to give my projects away (patience darlings), accountancy fees and software updates. I also work from home and although it’s fun – dogs are on hand, coffee is there, I can blast CDs – it’s causing massive problems with my family. The way things stand, I have to either quit freelancing and get a ‘real’ job (not my word but don’t get me started) or ask you guys for help to research my work properly, rent office space and take some courses to ultimately progress onto what is deemed a real job.

Francesca's Patreon Goal 2

I have my eye on a really nice shared space in Southend, but the cheapest rent is £100 pre-VAT at three months’ minimum use. I could manage it by myself if I replaced all my business cards with handwritten slips, traded my computer for a typewriter and took a pay cut… Well I could manage it if I took a pay cut, but I’m so far under any type of average earnings threshold that I’m surprised inland revenue haven’t come knocking to check I don’t have a spare bank account in Panama.

Francesca's Patreon Goal 3 THE MOON

I don’t think the goals I’ve set are unreasonable – there are creators on the site looking for a thousand dollars plus towards recording equipment or studios – but they might not be all that interesting?

I’m not expecting to earn a grand a month from the general public, and every dollar I received would go toward work. You guys would be contributing to everything I make even more than you already do, with the added bonus that I could focus my actual wages toward moving out of my mum’s before our relationship deteriorates completely.

So what do you think? Do you see Patreon as an interactive tip jar, or would you consider pledging double figures to my work? Do you have an ideas for rewards? What would you like to see me make? Do you think I should just pack in everything for a real job?

Tell me all.