Brownout & Beige Sofas (I’m taking a mini-break)

I’m thinking of taking a holiday. But you already had a giant holiday in Asia, you can’t just live on holiday! Not that sort of holiday (although Southend Airport has announced flights to Malta, so if you hear about me making any bad financial decisions, it will involve a payday loan and a budget flight to Valletta). Since I got home I’ve been on a job-searching-life-affirming-I-will-spend-my-days-doing-things-I-love-let’s-have-a-fresh-start mission, and so far it’s gone pretty well. I have two internships, new hair – well, new colour in my hair – fewer ugly clothes in my wardrobe and a new car. Taking a break from my Etsy really helped me get some perspective and it’s doing better than ever. There’s loads of freshness! New things! New me!

Except this afternoon I trudged back from town wearing a pair of tracksuit bottoms that really should not leave the house, and I felt exactly the same as I did when I was freelancing. I was still worrying about my bank balance, I was still working eleven hour days and sleeping through alarms. I had the precise feeling that made me go to Asia and look for a fresh start in the first place. The only way I can describe it is that it’s the emotional equivalent of a beige sofa. There is nothing wrong with a beige sofa. Plenty of people are very happy with beige sofas. I’m just never going to willingly own a beige sofa. It’s fucking beige.

Now my savings are gone and because I’m refusing to do anything that isn’t relevant to my career interests, the internships are all I’ve got for the moment; I’m earning a lot less than I was before I went travelling. I should mention that the eleven hour days are entirely my own fault – since I still have so much free time I’m putting together a business plan for my shop and swapping banks doing all the behind-the-scenes business shit that I might not have time for in a few months. So although everything is pointing in the right direction, I’m still pressed for cash and stressing out about it. I’ve even started stressing out about stressing out, which is a new low.

I read that there’s a thing people get called ‘brownout’. Unlike burnout, which is a recognised condition, brownout is what they’re calling it when you’re technically fine – you’re putting in the hours, you care, you’re miles away from a breakdown – but you’re overwhelmed and disengaged. Even though you’re checking your email 8000 times a day and #poweringon, you’re not actually getting that much done. Apparently technology and a change in work patterns since the recession is to blame. Wonderful.

I think I’ve got a touch of brownout. In retrospect think I might have had reoccurring bouts of it over the years, but you can’t really beg time off work because you’re feeling a little lethargic. Also, I love to work. I could spend all day working on my Etsy listings or drafting blog posts or whatever. I’ve got an empire to build and a new car to pay for and I will see you tomorrow at 8am!

Back to the holiday. Regardless of whether or not I’ve just diagnosed myself with a problem that may or may not actually exist, I think I need to rethink my working practises. The empire won’t get built if I’m too busy thinking about how I don’t want my life to be a beige sofa. Even with all the free time, I’m not writing that much more than I was before I went away. I’m still struggling for blog ideas and wearing ghastly tracksuit bottoms. This was not part of the plan. So this weekend and next week I’m going to take a mini-holiday. I’m going to turn off my pointless alarms, see my family at my cousin’s 21st and decide how I want to proceed with the empire building. I think I might start with an out-of-hours notice on my email accounts and an app that blocks Twitter after 9pm.

Has anyone else experienced this? Do you have any tips? I’ve never kept hours before. What are normal hours? HELP. I’ll get back to you, um, within two-to-three working days?!

I Learnt How Tennis Works and Now I’m an EXPERT. Also, here’s a drawing of a rodent.

I started a quick five minute sidebar update about… half an hour ago? More? I can’t even remember what the intended effect was but I know I don’t want to look at the sidebar for another half an hour. You look instead.

Possibly I chose the wrong time to poke about with delicate design work – I’ve not really woken up from Saturday’s heat/festival/but seriously the heat brain fog and I’ve got one of those to do lists that seems to be getting longer every time I tick something off it. I just tried to spell ‘to do’ as ‘two do’. Hmm. Possibly what I need to do is clock off early and watch Wimbledon. I recently learnt that ‘game, set, match’ isn’t just a turn of phrase. Whoever wins the most games wins the sets and whoever wins the most sets wins the match. How did my exemplary education miss out that nugget of info? Now I actually understand what the point of Wimbledon is!

It is of course possible that my exemplary education did mention that, and I was too busy rolling tennis balls across the court with the edge of a racquet to notice.

18th century drawing of a shrew from unseeliefaerie.tumblr.com
I was looking for a sporting gif and this 18th century illustration of a shrew perfectly sums up my attitude to physical education. Hahaaaaa. [from unseeliefaerie.tumblr.com]
Anyway. The festival. I wrote some actual thank yous over on my portfolio site but in case I haven’t been vocal enough: I loved meeting everyone at Village Green and I can’t wait to do another market or event and meet you all again… once I’ve had about 30 hours sleep and a sack of Colombian coffee. I’ve had about a thousand and one ideas for art and blogs and projects, so watch this space – well, I’m in a lot of spaces on the Internet, I think that’s what I was going for when I added 20 links to the sidebar – and in the mean time, I’m curious: is there anything you guys would like me to blog about? Indifferent Ignorance has been, amongst other things, a politics blog, a book blog, an MCR fan blog and a satire blog. Sometimes it’s been all of them at one time, sometimes it’s been none of them. I quite like that I chop and change according to the weather, but I’m aware that can make for uneven viewing. Since I’m feeling very enthused (honestly, I’m so delighted by the game, set, match thing) I thought I’d put it out there.

If you guys just want more shrew illustrations, I am totally down for that.

Once More Unto the Soft Furnishings Department

Afternoon. Apologies for being a bit quiet – I was sick last week (actually physically sick for the first time in years god I hate vomiting) and the house looks worse than it did when moved in. When we moved, we plonked stuff down with the understanding that we would decorate later. Now we are decorating, our stuff has to go into rooms that still contain their normal stuff and to cut a long story short I am sleeping on a mattress in the dining room next to two snoring dogs.

The end is nigh, though, and I am getting excited about the fun bit: moving in. My new room is painted plain white so I can hang up all my prints and pretend I live in an art gallery, and I’m getting my own office space. Technically it’s a space in a built-in wardrobe where the boiler used to be and it is barely five feet in width, but it’s a space. I am considering painting the walls, partly so when I move the new owners can marvel at how pedantic the previous occupier was, and I have been frequenting Pinterest for the best ways to fit a desk into a cupboard. Surprisingly, little offices aren’t just for those lacking in space – I’ve seen some beautiful, Instagram-pornography-esque offices clearly installed by someone who wanted a beautiful, Instagram-pornography-esque office.

I’m considering plagiarising those ideas and adding some floating shelves, getting a clip-on lamp and possibly braving a trip to IKEA to turn their kitchenware equipment into an elaborate pen pot stand. I haven’t decided on a colour scheme – you’d better believe there will be a colour scheme – but I am considering investing in a set of wireless speakers and enough paper trays for my entire Francesca’s Words envelope collection.

There’s a bit to do before I get to actually buying any of these things (apparently carpets and net curtains are basic requirements) so while I am still in Pinterest mode, let me know: what are your home decoration tips? Have you ever done up a space as small as an ex-boiler cupboard? What do you think of rose gold and pink as a theme? Help me out here, I can’t afford to buy a pen pot from IKEA only to find it messes with my Instagram ambitions.

Grasping at Straws (okay, leaflets)

Today I spent four hours in a virtual queue waiting for tickets for The Cursed Child, only to spend my allotted twenty minutes of browsing time searching fruitlessly for the right number of tickets on the right number of days in the correct type of seats.

So ‘miffed’ doesn’t really cover it.

Frank Iero gif
from Tumblr

Anyway, the good news: I made some things to help you survive – and, dare I say it, thrive – during the upcoming general election.

Here’s something to encourage the youth in your family to vote:

Students' Guide to Voting General Election 2017

Here’s something to help you all decide how to vote:

Ho Do I Hate Least Political Party Comparison

My constituency hasn’t announced its candidates yet (something tells me the Conservatives will win) but I’m considering the Women’s Independence Party. Or signing up for that Mars mission. You can buy and print those designs here if you want (actual prints are coming this week, hopefully) so you can spread the democracy and all that. I suppose if someone decides to vote after seeing them, or if the shop makes some money on them, the current state of British politics won’t be entirely a waste of human intelligence…

Reasons to Let Trump into the UK

This post isn’t about South East Asia! Anyway so in case you’ve been living under a rock (great idea, by the way), there’s a petition asking the government to downgrade President Dickhead’s state visit to a regular one. I haven’t signed it, because although a state visit for a US president during their first year in office is unprecedented, and despite the opportunities it gives Katie Hopkins and Nigel Farage to spout more self-aggrandising bile than we thought possible, I think a Trump administration state visit actually holds a wealth of opportunity for us all. No really bear with me:

The Queen will have to meet him

She might not be able to comment on politics, but she can publicly make subtly scathing conversation without raising an eyebrow. Various aides will have to murmur behind napkins ‘you certainly have done a lot’ does not mean she agrees with you on the Muslim ban, it means she can’t believe you haven’t been impeached yet. Yes, she really is offering you another biscuit.

Prince Phillip will have to meet him

Less subtle and witty. More like ‘the trifle is gorgeous today, isn’t it? So are you planning to start World War III with China or with  Iran?’

There will be loud, intrusive protests everywhere the delegation goes

The British tradition of just not mentioning unpleasant smells won’t be enough for officials to avoid bringing up how angry people are about the US administration’s desire to defecate over everything it sees, and the UK government’s desire to hold the toilet paper as long as it puts us in good stead come Brexit. Because how do you avoid bringing up signs like these?

Petition for Ian McKellen to get another knighthood.

Boris Johnson will almost definitely insult Trump to his face

Using words like ‘piffle’ and ‘codswallop’. For the first time in Boris’s political career everyone will be pleased about it. I guess this would also happen on a regular visit, but if it’s during a state visit he might be wearing a black tie and tails and the memes alone will be glorious.

Banning a man who’s spent his presidency banning things is too much like playing his game, and the British game is so much more fun

A lot of people just want him barred from entering UK airspace and although any type of Trump visit will be detrimental to our air pollution goals, I just don’t think a ban is particularly British. I think what is British is satire, sarcasm and a succinct declaration that we are quite cross.

Remember Je Suis Charlie? Now’s your chance to make good on the free speech and satire quotations you retweeted then. When Trump visits – and he will, at some point – every mildly eloquent, satirical or artistic person with access to the Internet gets to let loose. Whether it’s Have I Got News for You or The Last Leg or some bloke named Steve live Tweeting a press conference, the message will will be unambiguous: we will not hold the fucking toilet paper while you shit on our values. Columnists will crack their knuckles; cartoonists will sharpen their pencils; protesters will take their signs, chants and sit-ins to acidic new levels; Banksy will decorate a high rise. Small children will ask ‘why does my mum break china when he’s on TV?’ to the point where schools will hold assemblies explaining civil unrest. Alt-right neo Nazi scum will look at one another and gulp. Republican higher-ups will blink and realise that the special relationship isn’t about the Prime Minister’s Brexit negotiations. It’s about neighbours looking out for one another even after the odd failed invasion of the Middle East and dodgy extradition attempt. We will invite you in for a cup of tea, Mr Trump, but we reserve the right to spit in it.

I can’t believe I’m 21 and just made a toilet paper analogy. Yes, I can. Anyway what are your thoughts on the state visit? Do you have any ideas for protest signs? Tell me. (Next post we go back to regularly scheduled chat about Cambodian beaches.)

Indifferent Ignorance Awards 2016

I’ve been coming up with the annual Indifferent Ignorance awards for long enough that I know to keep ’em cute and to the point. But there’s something about 2016 that’s been so thoroughly appalling that I couldn’t just list a few bits and pieces. So here is the best and absolute worst of 2016.

Book of the Year

The Raven King, because of cars and kissing, or Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe, because of cars and kissing. Mostly. Just read them.

Album of the Year

Troye Sivan’s Blue Neighbourhood, or the Guardians of the Galaxy soundtrack. Neither of them were released this year that’s further proof of 2016’s shittiness. (Actually Frank Iero’s Parachutes came out this year and it’s a gem. Whatever.)

The ‘I Can’t Believe I’m Living Through This Shit, Although it Will Probably Kill Me So At Least There’s That’ Story of the Year

A parent had To Kill a Mockingbird banned from a high school in Virginia, US, for its racist language.

Please kill me soon.

The ‘I Witnessed this Shit Live and Wish It Had Killed Me’ News Story of the Year

Tough one. Brexit? US election? The return of Poldark to our screens? Nah man. The only moment my stomach really dropped at the news this year was at maybe 6:15 on a January morning when Nick Robinson interrupted my dozing to inform me, with audible shock, that David Bowie had died. I did not think anything could shock a Today programme presenter, let alone audibly. The return of Jesus couldn’t have redeemed 2016 from that moment on.

Outstanding Achievement for Distracting Me from the Horror of the Year for Five Minutes

Or an hour, depending on the broadcast.

Nominees:

  • Ed Balls’ Gagnam Style on Strictly Come Dancing It aired the week Trump was elected. Coincidence? Or does a benevolent god exist?
  • When Newsnight listened to their critics and played God Save the Queen Stand up, please.
  • The Twitter users who liveblogged the Rio Olympics and came up with 40 different jokes about green swimming pools
  • The Rio Olympics themselves
  • Whoever started those Joe Biden memes
  • American Idiot (the song, not the people)
  • Planet Earth II

Winner: this song, which someone shared the morning Trump was elected. I really, really felt better and so will you:

Outstanding Social Media Moment

This is another new prize, and the competition was tough.

We have Gary.

(In case you were wondering, Gary came back for more.)

We have when James Blunt dropped some news.

We have Joe Biden existing on camera. (I am genuinely not sure what he did in the Obama administration. I don’t care.)

We have when Sam Smith thought he was the first gay person to win an Oscar and, um, wasn’t.

Coincidentally this is the year I learnt what ‘throwing shade’ means. Oh, I didn’t pick a winner. You guys choose (I assume I can trust you with this more than I did Brexit).

Indifferent Ignorance Homophobic Dick Award

Donald Trump’s voters. All of them.

Indifferent Ignorance Ignorant Fuck Award

Donald Trump’s voters. All of them.


I thought I’d put a line there as a metaphor. Because a line is like a wall, right… seriously though I nearly wrote an essay about how the name I gave my blog aged 14 is coincidentally a term that sums up this year’s election results, but I held off because everyone else was writing the same essay and I am so tired of being tired of all the bullshit I’ve lived through recently. I think in 2017 I might use my outraged liberal millennial viewpoint to make art instead of complaining. And by art I mean small stories and postcards about people who are full of shit.

Anyway that is me done for the year. I wish you all health and happiness in 2017, although at this point it’s probably enough that I wish you make it there. Happy new year!

Introducing the Whitest White Girl Problem I’ve Ever Had, ft. Headspace

I was in a bad mood before breakfast this morning and that’s not really happened since I was 15, so I’m going to ask what you guys think about it. I’ve thought about it all day and I’m pretty sure my irritation was completely unfounded… but I couldn’t switch it off and in the interests of personal growth, here goes:

You guys know I use the Headspace app, right? Emma Watson recommended it on Twitter in 2013 and since 2013 was almost as bad as 2016, I gave it a go and have used it, on and off, ever since. Last November I hit a run streak, as they call it, and meditated every day for a week… a month… six months… A couple of weeks ago I hit a year. One entire year of making the effort to sit for 10 or 15 minutes a day and pay attention to my mental health. 365 full days! Okay so sometimes I snatched 3 minutes while I was getting ready to go out, or did the sleeping exercise when I was already 95% asleep, because I was at 232 days and dammit I wanted to hit the next milestone and get an email from Headspace congratulating me. But I did it. I CAN COMMIT.

I carried on after 365 days, partly because I could and partly because the app really works. I always feel better for having taken time out for myself, although it’s a really hard sensation to explain without sounding like a hippie (I literally feel like there is more space in my head. What a well-named product). Yesterday I fell asleep before I finished the session or I left the app open or something, and this morning the counter had zipped back to 1. I was unreasonably upset about it. I felt like the previous 380-something days had been for nothing. I was useless. I should have found time in the day to do it instead of falling asleep partway through. Why couldn’t I just have done better.

FIRST WORLD PROBLEMS feat. HEADSPACE

I already hit the highest milestone on there. I already exceeded my own expectations, both by meditating every day for a year and then by carrying on to meditate for a couple of weeks after. Headspace, and the thinking behind it, is firmly ingrained in my day-to-day life. I am way more chill than I was a year ago, and way better at dealing with horrible situations. So why did I feel like I had let myself down?

I’m over it now, I think… so far today I’ve scratched out two thirds of my to-do list, bought some Christmas presents and successfully avoided the temptation to stop at any of the chocolate stockists/coffee shops in Southend mid-shopping trip. And seriously there’s a coffee chain on every corner my bank account should be murmuring its thanks. So I’m having a Good Day. I’ve had a pretty good week, actually. I don’t currently want to hide from my life, which is always a pleasant sensation.

I just spent half an hour this morning wallowing in completely unfounded self loathing. Do you ever feel like that? Have you ever been unreasonably harsh on yourself? Do I have a complex? If I could afford a therapist I wouldn’t be using Headspace, so help me out.

So this could be my last blog ever before a lady president’s elected! Or it could be my last blog ever before my friends move continents.

I got the first round of at least three vaccinations on Friday and had to spend the afternoon napping. I’m not sure if the sudden intake of hep A/hep B/typhoid into my system knocked me out or if I’m just really fucking tired but I went for a run this morning and I swear the route round my block took about four times as long as normal. Maybe tomorrow I will imagine I’m running from a Trump presidency.

Maybe on Wednesday I will be running from a Trump presidency.

In case I haven’t been clear enough already – just for the record, I mean, for posterity – Donald Trump is a walking shitbag of phenomenal proportions and his presidency would encourage other walking shitbags to partake in shitbag activities, which worries me greatly. I’m aware that a lot of his supporters are not walking shitbags and are in fact regular people exhausted with the political system, and I feel you. My political system is also full of walking shitbags, but the last time a walking shitbag of phenomenal proportions came to power in Europe, we experienced something called the Holocaust. Please, America, vote for the lesser of the walking shitbags. She probably won’t cause a couple of wars, completely restrict your rights or insult everyone in your family who isn’t a straight white dude. And in a world run by shitbags, the ‘probably’ makes all the difference.

Much love.