RIP 2018 Etc

So. Farewell, then, 2018. I’m on the sofa rewatching Luther before my friend’s New Year’s Eve party. I never know if I can be bothered with anything later than 7pm these days, but my friend’s NYE parties are always excellent, as most events are once I’m there, which is what I’m hoping will be the case with 2019.

I didn’t do the Indifferent Ignorance Awards this year, because I’ve had more pressing things to do, but I think we can sum this year up as not as bad as 2016 but 2007 was probably less stressful? I finished dragonnovel, got a bit of sun, played with my dogs (one is leaning on me right this very moment and I clearly can’t get up until he does so bye party I’ve been blessed). No one in my immediate family or friendship group has died, been critically ill or pledged allegiance to the Republican Party, so let’s count 2018 as one of the good ones.

Last year I wrote ‘new year’s intentions’ which are supposedly more realistic and better for your mental health than new year’s resolutions. Goal 1 was to learn to do my hair. I mean, I’ve grown my hair. I brush and wash it occasionally. It’s difficult to plait, okay, there are a lot of layers. I consistently forgot to take good pictures, but it’s looked ace this year regardless. Lots of purple. I’ll change it up soon because you can’t bleach the same bit of hair too much but possibly in 2019 I should take more pictures for proof of Cool Dyed Hair? Unlikely, I bloody hate taking my picture.

Goal 2 was to look after myself a bit more. I did not bother with a running club, but the blue light blocker is on and I miss my Pilates class when I don’t do it, which must mean it’s good for my brain so CHECK CHECK.

The third goal, basically, was Get Money. And, check again. I got a weekend job, found another client, smashed my stationery business goals over Christmas and learnt that geeky mythological pencils are really, really popular. Onwards.

blue pencils reading STUDY LIKE ATHENA, purple pencils reading ARTEMIS WAS RIGHT

Luther’s getting tense so I will leave this here. Also, Donnie’s ear is on my keyboard. Hit me up with the fun things you did this year, or want to do next year, or heard of someone else doing something nice. Happy new year!

Christmas is Calling, Help

I had a quick glance at my calendar and it’s been nearly three whole weeks since I sat down to write here so I made myself a beverage, cracked my neck and sat down to tell you all… um. It’s been a busy three weeks? But everything in it was too nondescript to blog about? I mean, I read about four books. (I’m on GoodReads, by the way. I never read other people’s reviews but I enjoy writing my own, like blogging.) I had a cold – one of those snotty, coughing, can-feel-your-eyeballs-rattle-in-your-skull colds and swallowed my pride to buy medicine over the counter. My newest job is going well, and I am getting better at parking on the first attempt. I scratched the Mini’s front bumper on someone else’s front bumper. The other person’s bumper was so scratched already that I didn’t feel bad, because they clearly made a habit of parking far too close to other vehicles. I bought my first Christmas present.

I’m not proud of that, but you gotta do what you gotta do to avoid payday loaning your way through January. Since I’ve also been preparing for Christmas on Etsy – do not get me started on the finer details of Secret Santa tags – I’m curious to know: when do you guys start buying presents? Do you set a strict budget? I’m being extra careful this year because last year I got overexcited and bought things for people who didn’t seem bothered that I’d got them anything, so this Christmas is close family-only plus a couple of Secret Santas and realistically something ridiculous for the dogs. Like this:

Look at that balcony.

So yeah, let me know your thoughts on Christmas. Is it too much hassle? Are you a wee Scrooge? Do you buy your cousin’s dog’s groomer a bottle of malbec and some shortbread? I need to know so I can strike an acceptable balance between Scrooginess and extravagance.

Here’s a Cat Reclining Next to a Desk Fan. You’re Welcome. (Happy Summer!)

Today is the longest day of the year, and goddamn, England, you’re doing a good job. My glasses are sliding down my face and both dogs have been hairy, panting puddles of exhaustion for days but SUMMER IS HEERRRRREEEE! A bunch of my friends are back from uni – they’re even graduating and getting firsts and things, it’s very grown up – I am naturally awake before eight am, which never happens in winter, and I’m ready for my summer holiday.

Britain in Summer cat fan gif
Actual visual representation of the British public. From giphy.com

Wait, not that last bit. I had my summer holiday in January. According to my mental maths, I will have the money for my next holiday in several summers’ time. But with the weather this glorious, who even needs other cultures. I mean, I can’t afford to explore England either, but let’s overlook that in the spirit of summer.

Operation Instagrammable Bedroom is creeping along; I have some art on the walls, which are painted brilliant white specifically so I can display as much art as will fit, and I’ve wired up my stereo. I can’t find the radio aerial, so I am Today Programme-less for a while, but my neighbours are having their roof done so I can listen to that instead. I’ve colour-coordinated my wardrobe and banished my blankets and winter PJs to a box under the bed, so I am feeling incredibly smug organised. My order for 100 tote bags arrived this morning, and they are also going to live under the bed – I was slightly nonplussed when I realised that unlike notebooks and postcards, bags take up space – so it’s possible the blankets will have to find somewhere else to live. Still, as long as they’re somewhere other than my bed, and as long as I don’t need winceyette jammies until September, WHO CARES.

I suppose I’d be doing myself a disservice if I didn’t link you the tote bags in question (free UK postage until the end of the month and a free print with the next 10 orders, UK and international, you’re welcome) and show you all what they look like so tah dahhhh:

I can’t even remember when I first had the idea for them, and I’m very pleased with the design and the quality (I mean, you can really carry a lot of textbooks). So storage aside, I’m quite proud and I hope you guys like them! (All profits will go into my holiday fund, HINT HINT.)

I have to go and reapply my deodorant – maybe I should just have another shower – so I will see you on Saturday for another Read, If You Like… in the mean time, if anyone has any tips for locating aerials, let me know.

The Sneezing Hour

Normally I would not consider turning my phone on when I’ve been in bed three hours, especially since I already have a very questionable relationship with it, but I have a cold. I think it’s been a while since I waxed lyrical about the imperfections of my immune system and it’s too late to start, but can I just say that I hope whoever gave me this cold ends up in hell. 

I’m snotty enough to not be sleeping and the one tablet I took has given me a stomachache, but the book I’m reading is mediocre and one of the dogs has been woofing at nothing (I checked and we weren’t being burgled) so I thought I’d come and say hello. Make something useful at 1am instead of pretending to count backwards from 1000. I’m not sure if this qualifies as useful but it has distracted me from the stomachache, so that’s one-nil in Francesca vs Phone Addiction. Phone Wastage. 

At least I’m not scrolling through the popular page on Instagram, basically.

I might put the world service on the radio. I might reattempt the book. I might even get to sleep before sunrise, which would be nice because my shifts in the shop are getting longer in the run up to Sunday, I have vaccinations tomorrow and I have to go out to dinner sometime. Friday? God, Friday’s tomorrow.

I think foxes are waking the dogs up. I can hear both Donnie and foxes yapping. Unless one of the neighbours’ dogs escaped. Weirder shit has happened on my street. I almost wish my ears were even more bunged up because if they keep it up (Don or the foxes) I will have to get up to observe (foxes) and subdue (Donnie). And I have gotten comfortable in the space of this paragraph. Haven’t even sneezed for five minutes.

I think I will chance the book again. I really do need to get some sleep at some point. As I am on my phone I do not have a fun gif to share to emphasise that, but I guess retro/vintage is in fashion. And I have missed popping in to chat whenever I fancy it, not that anything’s really been stopping me lately. Too bad ‘whenever’ has become ‘the witching hour when I’m sharing a bed with a dozen snot-soaked tissues’. Whatever.

See you when it’s light out.

Moving Image Appreciation Post #10

I hate the name of this series but I can’t think what to rename it, so here we go. (Yes I am on holiday right now. I did some magic. I am on a beach and probably asleep.)

Why isn’t my youth like that. Where are the denim jackets? The masses of people? The bowling alley that isn’t scummy? My local bowling alley is a shithole with way less gays – or it was in 2009, which was the last time I bothered going. I don’t much like denim jackets. Also, is it just me or are half the people in that video too young for tape recorders.

This video summed up my psyche before my psyche was my psyche. I love the word psyche.

I remembered this when I was doing the Indifferent Ignorance Retrospective and I think I should watch it more often. It should be required viewing.

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.

Friday Musings with Sweet Pea the Dog

I hadn’t realised it’s been over a week since I published; I’ve been working on a long-ish post but I’ve been trying to take my time over anything longer than a couple of paragraphs so you can expect it around the same time as the Chilcot report. In the mean time, I think it’s very important that we take a moment to appreciate the t-shirt Frank Iero designed recently.

I cannot really afford to buy more t-shirts, partly because I have both an MOT  and a bill for new glasses approaching, and partly because I own 34564 t-shirts and wear about three of them on a regular basis. But.

But.

Maybe I wouldn’t have to wear it. Maybe I could just hang it up above my bedroom door so it’s the first thing I see every day. A benevolent Sweet Pea dream catcher. When I get my own place I could hang it in the entrance hall as a warning to all who enter.

The real question isn’t ‘should I get a Sweet Pea t-shirt’. It’s ‘where can I make one with my own dogs’ faces’.

This is going to keep me up all weekend.

In Which I Learn to Spell Chrysanthemum

It’s tipping it down, the lamps are on, Donnie was recently rescued, drenched, from the patio and if life were perfect, I would be settling into a morning of writing prose, possibly about a haunted house or murder mystery. There’s that sort of light in the house, you know.

Instead I am thinking of settling into half an hour of writing then getting a snack and settling into a few hours of Instagram scheduling, blog drafting (the client kind, not the yelling about Donald Trump kind) and wishing I had a different desk chair. Still, if life were perfect then I would have nothing to talk about here and then where would you all be? Miserably clicking through my smug updates about meeting publishers to arrange a release date for my haunted house murder mystery. Boring.

I loathe grey weather, unless I’m snug inside writing or in a field and can pretend I’m in an action thriller with rolling clouds and dramatic music, so I thought I would share some spring photos. I got these flowers in Aldi at Easter and they aren’t dead yet – which feels like an accomplishment even though all I’ve done is add water to the vase occasionally, and I’m not even the only one in the house doing it – and they’re bright enough to cheer up even a grotty Friday in Southend, so thank you budget supermarket. As I finished this paragraph the rain stopped and the sun peaked through the clouds, so the garden actually looks quite bright and pleasant. It won’t last.

In the time it’s taken to upload these photos, the rain’s started again. I can hear thunder. Right, what should I call my murder mystery?