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.
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 poemto clean my roomto have a bath. Sod it I might go back to Lydia’s elopement with Wickham.
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.
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:
Take my iPad and beforehand find an app or piece of tech that allows me to plug in the keyboard, mouse and hard drive
Get a cheap-as netbook and plug in the keyboard, mouse and hard drive
Just get a netbook and take the risk that by using a normal keyboard I won’t take ten steps back physio-wise
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.
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.
Let’s address the obvious first and foremost and take a moment to appreciate what journalists are doing in certain parts of the world at the moment. While the tabloids are going crazy over Cara Delevigne’s holiday with Selena Gomez, there are people from across the globe who are quite literally the front line of communications in areas where for various reasons events can’t be broadcast to the world as easily as the weather bulletin. Not that the world seems to be listening most days anyway – James Foley is the tenth journalist to be killed in Syria so far this year and the 44th to be killed worldwide, yet the Syrian civil war isn’t even on the main news most days.
So since it’s taken the brutal beheading of a journalist to draw the West’s attention to the shithole that is current middle eastern politics, let’s have a look at how the West’s covered it so far.
Not long after the news of James Foley’s death broke, James Kirkup over at The Telegraphpointed out that people calling the murder an “execution” are linguistically wrong; execution occurs as a punishment and the only crime that’s been committed has been the murder of a journalist by a group of people who call themselves a state but actually have zero legitimacy. IS isn’t a geographical piece of land with boarders and a government. It does not have the consent of its citizens. It doesn’t actually have any citizens (has anyone actually come across somebody endorsing the things they do? So far every piece of commentary I’ve seen, from all areas of the political and religious spectrum, has condemned IS as a total piece of shit).
The Mail did actually run a story in which there may be some actual reporting, but I couldn’t finish it because I got distracted by the sheer number of scantily dressed women in the sidebar. Well, I know what I’ll add to this site if I ever want to put you off a post…
Yep, some people genuinely think the video was faked. The commentators on this mildly depressing Reddit thread cite “zero emotion”, “no blood” and the video’s “fade to black” as reasons why the CIA/IS/US government faked the entire thing. None of those things can have anything to do with the fact that Foley was an experienced journalist who knew he was going to die and had worked in enough war zones to accept the risks… or the probability that the IS guys know their way around iMovie, especially since many of them are from the West.
I was quite surprised, both when his name was a trending topic and on a general search just now, that most Twitter commentary has been pretty decent; most people have expressed their disgust at the whole situation. That said, Twitter’s been getting better at preventing total pillocks from airing their ignorance, so maybe we just can’t see the bullshit.
All right, I’ve depressed myself enough for one day. I almost titled this What It Takes for the Media to Give a Shit About Syria but I thought it was a bit too Vice. Any thoughts on the whole rigmarole?
Don’t worry if you don’t much understand the whole Roman Empire/Republic of Rome shebang – just watch the entire Star Wars series in story order (not order in which they were made. I know that means starting off with Jar Jar Binks but that’s the price of education I’m afraid). Alternatively you could read the Heroes of Olympus series, which explains things pretty well (again, I recommend starting with Percy Jackson and the Olympians so you have a clue who all the characters are. They’re short, it’ll take a weekend tops).
Speaking of old Seaweed Brain – why Francesca, how did you make that connection? – Uncle Rick’s newest piece, Percy Jackson’s Greek Gods, is out in the US today. The English one is out already but has been ignored by me in the shops because the US is the only version with John Rocco’s art and I’d rather save for the extortionate shipping and get a cute cover plus illustrations than blow the last of my Waterstones cards on the ugly one.
Don’t judge a book by its cover, psh.
Speaking of significant dates.
31st October is kind of a big deal this year, because – as well as being Frank Iero’s 33rd birthday – it marks five years of this place being open for business.
You know a lot of marriages don’t last that long? I’m going to be cracking out the decent booze to celebrate. Only joking, I’ll probably reminisce about luminous green font and wonder where the hell my life went.
But seriously, I do kind of want to celebrate. The average life expectancy for a blog is three-to-six months, so these bigger landmarks should probably be shouted from the rooftops.
I’m just not sure how. I mean, in an ideal world I would have an Indifferent Ignorance t-shirt (or more specifically, many t-shirts which you guys would also have) or cute yet punk rock badges. But the world ain’t ideal so until 500 people comment every week I’m going to presume I’ve not got an audience big enough to viably produce ‘stuff’.
But I really do want to do something.
Maybe a zine of my blogging pearls of wisdom? A video blog (seems redundant)? A giveaway of… short stories?
Maybe just a collection of my five favourite GIFs.
No one ever did confess to being under the age of 11 so I’m going to assume you guys are in the same-ish age bracket as me and are school-age. By ‘school age’ I mean ‘in compulsory education’. I’m technically university age but am also technically on a gap year and I don’t have a clue how you degree-types work so I’m going to assume you guys have your shit together because this post is a guide to…
Going Back to Hell*
*In this instance “hell” can be taken to mean “school”.
Let’s level with each other first of all. I kind of hated school. I liked to learn – mostly – but I loathed deadlines and homework and pressure (seven years in a grammar school and a talent for being too conscientious made for one mini heart palpitation per day and cold sweats every fortnight. Oh, I’m kind of tense? Really? Ihadn’tnoticedI’monadeadlinefuckoffI’mfine). My favourite parts of lessons were when you could have conversations with friends and the teacher and learn without realising you were learning. Too bad it took until year 13 for that teaching method to really be okay with senior management…
So I was always reluctant to go back to school after the holidays. Every holiday, up to and including Easter 2014, I dreaded not just the first day back but all the days until my next piece of freedom. Once I was there I was fine. But I always resented my school for not being more like Hogwarts or Camp Half-Blood. (Why can’t we have 12 Christmas trees and a lava wall? What is wrong with singing furniture and classes lead by students with the best monster-killing record?)
In retrospect, not fully embracing my fate as a pupil at an all-girls English grammar school probably set me back. No lesbian jokes please.
Because when I think about it, if I had fully considered the workload, if I had understood that sometimes you have to play the game in order to finish it – woa I’ve been watching too much sport – I would have made the correct preparations. In, say, August.
Since I care very much that you all don’t spend nine months of your life wanting to stab your eyes out with you HB pencil, I have put together a short list about how anyone – yep, even you with your weird as shit academic situation – can make school slightly less shit. You’re welcome.
Step 1: Prepare
Did Mo Farrah just turn up to the Olympic Stadium and go for a jog to win those medals in 2012? No. I presume he planned that gig, preparing himself for the utter tedium of a 5 billion lap run. He was not taken by surprise by the circus he was in.
So let’s confront the facts: you have to go to school. No matter how late you stay up playing Sims pretending tomorrow is Saturday, you’re going to have to get yourself out of bed and learn some information at an absurdly early hour. Take a moment to fully appreciate this, since acceptance that you have a problem is the first step to solving it. (I hear the same concept applies to quitting drugs.)
Now you’ve faced the butt-ugly truth, it’s time to review your physical belongings. Your uniform if you have one. Your bag. Your pencil case. It has been pointed out to me that I buy more time buying stationery than I do clothes, which is totally justifiable because you can’t see every piece of clothing you wear but you do have to get your pencil case out five times a day, five days a week. So it’s got to look damn cute and actually hold pencils for more than a term. Now get yourself down to Staples and if your parents don’t want to pay for functional equipment, point out that if fineliners are the tools of Oscar winners, you need them to not fail A Levels.
Step 2: Organise
… and stay organised for as long as possible. That goes for setting deadlines, completing projects, revising for exams, planning your actual life around school, etc. You will definitely fuck up somewhere along the line – I once forgot to go on a school trip; Ellen forgot to go to an AS module. But you can keep your shit together for more than the first week of September by doing one teeny tiny thing: using the brain cells you just exercised in class to remember all the stuff you have to get done. Or if that’s not your gig, then by utilising your school planner and covering your calendar in so many notes it looks like a courtroom puked. Use colour coding if it helps/you want your calendar to look like pride week puked. Keep your timetable safe. Keep your passwords noted. If you’re planning to skip school to see your favourite band play in Camden, do that day’s work in advance. That way you’ll get to see JBiebs or Green Day or whoever floats your boat and your teachers won’t think you’re a delinquent arsehole for missing a topic for the immortal sight of Jimmy Urine sticking a phone down his pants.
For the record I never skipped class for a band. MSI was playing Camden on a godly scheduled teacher training day. No one had to negotiate homework to see Jimmy do something freaky.**
Step 3: Retain Your Sense of Humour
Sometimes your attitude toward the dickheads with whom you spend 35 hours a week is this:
Sometimes you and your non-dickhead friends will experience this attitude:
But mostly you’ll be like this:
The Perks of Being a Wallflower is compulsory reading for anyone who’s school age, by the way. But seriously, the ability to laugh will get you through those lessons where the clock has definitely slowed down or the lunchtimes when your friends are gloating that they got higher marks in some test no one will remember in two years’ time. You might be laughing at yourself or the situation you’re in or maybe at somebody else (don’t be a dickhead to others to make yourself feel better though, it’s very year six).
Sometimes things will be very grey and if you’re having more than just a few low days, do everyone a favour and talk to someone – turns out teachers are people too, how about that – because if you’re going to get through school it should be in one relatively happy piece.
So there we have it.
Three golden nuggets of advice to make your life superduperperfect less shit. Hopefully.
**For the record, I can’t remember if Jimmy did actually put a phone in his pants. I do know, however, that he fake-called the Queen.
How many of you guys are from Missouri, USA? Me neither man, I’m not totally sure where Missouri is. But I do know that a load of shit is going on there at the moment, in the town of Ferguson. This BBC article has a good (detailed) explanation about what’s gone on – I think that essentially a black kid got shot by almost-definitely racist police and when locals protested they were deemed a riot, so now there kind of is a riot.
It’s brought up another debate about racism in the US – it exists, yuck – and has had relatively little UK media coverage, probably because the whole of the middle east is currently trying to kill everyone else in the middle east. But if Americans were worrying that only their country is home to a less-than-stellar police service, it’s okay! Look what this fortnight’s Private Eye has reported!
But do yourselves a favour and don’t actually have a riot, because they are messy. Maybe stick to vigils and legislature change? I’ve been learning a bit about the US court system lately and you guys seem to be into suing each other – can you take the police to court for dickheadedness misconduct of duty?
If anyone has any suggestions to combat police dickheadedness and/or racist dickheadedness, please share. I’m kind of stuck for intelligent suggestions that don’t involve painting swearwords on people’s houses…
I’ve rigged my phone up to this so I can ‘blog on the go’ but I’m actually sitting in my lounge, which feels like a metaphor for 21st century life. On the plus side, I have emojis! Let’s see if they show up here (if they don’t I may press publish anyway):
Okay guess the phrase:
That was way more trouble than it’s worth… If you can distinguish them leave a comment and I’ll post the answers next post.
Update 13th August 2014
Having viewed the blog on Google Chrome on my PC it’s apparent that the emojis are little squares, which are fun in themselves but not conducive to games. Here is a screenshot of the app version: