Cars, Kat Slater’s Cleaning & Pyjamas

Evening. I am sitting to write this at 9:11pm, in my pyjamas. I’ve been meaning to sit down to post for a couple of days, but I’ve accidentally had the most stressful week of 2018 so far and got sidetracked. The Mini went in for surgery yesterday for something called a faulty ABS pump, and I have been given a Ford Focus in the mean time. I have a feeling that Ford Focuses are my automotive equivalent of a beige sofa.

Because I had cars on my mind, after I took the Mini in I rang my insurance company to see if I could get a better price for my insurance (the ABS fix and accompanying minor fixes are going to eat all my savings, so every little helps and all that). They couldn’t do me a deal, but mid-conversation it transpired that there’s been a minor – okay, major – administrative error on my documents for months that might, technically, have invalidated the entire policy. Oops. When I asked about updating it, I got quoted an extra hundred quid a month on my bill and suffered a minor heart attack. Anyway, a friendzied half an hour on Go Compare later, I had a brand new policy with the correct details that was cheaper than the one I had to start with so I suppose that’s all right then, innit. The English bureaucrat in me spent all day tempted to write a letter to my old insurers about their shitty admin (I have been on the phone to them FOUR TIMES in the last year, and they’ve asked the same questions all four times). The shitty millennial in me wanted to transcribe the entire drama into a Facebook post and set up a GoFundMe to recover my savings.

In the end I ate ice cream and had a bath.

I’m not sure why I’m telling you all this, because car insurance is not a sexy subject and I’m mortified that I didn’t pick up on the admin fuck up myself. I was reading a friend from school’s blog post about self esteem in blogging recently (Eva is a fashion blogger. I went to school with a fashion blogger! We were in the same Religious Studies class, ha) and although I am clearly not in fashion, it got me thinking about the ‘type’ of blogger I am. I’ve spent the last four or five years trying to monetise this site, with rules about writing proper topics at my proper desk in my proper clothes, but here I am at 9:30pm in my pyjamas. I’m in front of the telly watching Kat Slater start a cleaning business. So I reckon that, despite all attempts to become an authority blogger or a hobby blogger or a purple hair-enthusiast blogger, Indifferent Ignorance has always been a journal. So here I am, telling all six of you about car insurance.

OH MY TWENTIES ARE EXCITING.

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Brownout 2.0: the To-Do List from Hell

Tom and Jerry goldfish bowl head

Morning! I don’t usually write blogs before lunchtime because mornings are for Serious Work but a) I have to leave the house soon and can’t get my teeth into anything in case I forget to leave and b) I’m feeling a bit pffft. I would like to blame the weather, but I think I’m getting a bit of brownout. Again. And this time it’s a peak first world problem, because I know exactly what’s causing it. I have so much to do that I don’t know where to start, and then I end up doing none of it! I probably should have learnt how to get over this during my GCSEs (how did I cope with TWELVE SUBJECTS?) but I didn’t, so this is what my internal monologue was like at 9am:

Do I start off today working on an Etsy plan for 2018/19? Do I do some ads for my freelancing services? Do I go back to my Giant Writing Project for a stage of edits and the next draft? I’m really excited to get back to that! Or do I rework my Patreon plans? Do I write another blog post? Is a blog post going to translate to cold hard cash? Probably not. Maybe that’s why I should focus on freelancing or Patreon. Except, I want to use Patreon to support my writing and blogging, and no one will support me if there are no new stories and blogs! Wait, what about Etsy. Oh and the printer needs rebooting and the car needs petrol. Go and buy petrol you idiot you literally can’t get to work otherwise. You have an appointment today. The end of the tax year is coming up. That feels momentous.  Hang on that means you were in Asia a year ago. A year?! God that went quickly. Have you finished that blog post about Laos yet? No, because blogging about Laos won’t make any money and you’re trying to focus on money stuff, remember? Go and work on your Patreon! By the way you’re behind on your uni course.

[continue for half an hour, break for coffee, start again]

Tom and Jerry goldfish bowl head
from Twiter

So I’m here. Definitely not making any money, but not tearing my hair out either. What do you guys do when you’re feeling overwhelmed? Usually I am a big fan of the list, because it helps me prioritise, but I don’t know what to prioritise! I want to work on my Giant Writing Project but if I’m going to spend time on that, I need to have more traction on my Patreon because otherwise I can’t really afford to write. I also need to keep up with my uni course because it’s good for my brain development and future prospects, but I have to finally work out what’s up with my printer because I can’t keep putting it off and I want to write that Laos blog but I can’t keep justifying all the time I spend on blogging when I have the Giant Writing Project to finish. Ughhhh.

Right, I have to get ready for my appointment, and I’ll get petrol on the way. I can tick writing this week’s blog off the list, ha, and Google the shit out of fixing my printer. I’m actually doing a bit of market research about Patreon and crowdfunding in general because there’s no point having a Patreon if I’m not using it properly, so if you have three minutes to spare I’d really appreciate if you’d let me know your thoughts. I’ll go from there. And Etsy… I’ll spend half an hour today on a plan for that. After I’ve done some course work.

Hang on. Did I just make a list? HAHAAAAA HELL YES. THANK YOU BLOG. Maybe I’ll keep you around after all. Spiritual nourishment and all that. That being said, I’d love to be able to work this blog into my Patreon plans as well (two or three or ten birds, one crowdfunding stone) so if you have any ideas about how to incorporate blog posts into reward tiers, leave a comment! And/or do that survey. Please and thank you.

Late Night Ramblings of Someone Who Just Edited About 100 Sentences and Ironically Can’t Work Out How to End This One dot dot dot

Sherlock proposing to Janine Series 3 GIF

So I’ve had a long day and I promised myself I was winding up the work, because the only thing more depressing than being at home on a Friday evening in your pyjamas is being at home on a Friday evening in your pyjamas, writing. But I actually have the Freedom app installed so my Internet cuts off at 11pm so I had a mooch around the stats pages of my websites and it turns out this post on marriage proposal ideas from 2011 is my most visited ever. It doesn’t even make sense. The post, I mean, not the fact a lot of clearly desperate people are continuing all the way to the third page of Google to get advice on how to propose. Ironically, my parents are now separated although I still do not know how they got engaged.

Sherlock proposing to Janine Series 3 GIF
from the BBC I think

Anyway. I’m writing this at 10:40pm because the stats page seems to think the better-performing blogs are the ones from 7 years ago that I put zero thought into and contain so many in-jokes I can’t actually remember what my original point was. Ugh, youth.

I lied about the writing. It’s not depressing, it’s really good. I’m tentatively hopeful I might finish it before I hit my mid-twenties. I kind of want to go back to writing it right now but my eyes are fuzzy. Ugh, human restrictions. Happy weekend!

Indifferent Ignorance Awards 2017

The Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera UK Edition

It’s the most wonderful time of the year…

Book of the Year: Backpack & They Both Die at the End

Two books have defined my year. The first is Backpack by Emily Barr, which was actually published about 15 years ago. It’s about a girl who goes backpacking in South East Asia, and I found a second hand copy in a shop in Hanoi. It’s also about a string of murders of backpackers in South East Asia, so I possibly made a mistake by staying up late to finish it in my bunk in Laos in almost the exact place where some of the action happens. It’s a brilliant take on the whole ‘British person goes travelling to find themselves’ narrative and has some good twists, so you should definitely read it from the comfort of your English armchair and then book yourself a flight to Asia.

The second book is They Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera. I started using GoodReads this year to keep track of all the books I see on Instagram and in those often questionable ‘recommended books for x’ lists, and I’m really glad I listened to the recommendations for this one. My review of it is here.

They Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera UK edition on a map background

Special commendation to: Angie Thomas‘ debut The Hate U Give. I want to do a proper review for it so I won’t say too much except pick it up right now and read until you reevaluate your world views.

Album of the Year: Melodrama

I know who my Lorde and saviour is, thanks.

 

Right, onto the news.

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

There are so many options, so I’m just going to list my favourites, aka the ones I’ll be complaining to my grandchildren about:

  • Trump’s inauguration
  • Another election how many fucking elections does one country need
  • When the DUP won the bloody election
  • Jacob Rees-Mogg’s opinions

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

Brexit. All the Brexit. Big Brexit news on the actual news and little Brexit conversations in my house. Blue passports. The Daily Mail. Random people on the news with opinions about Brexit. The fact that, despite the entire country’s obsession with Brexit, very little tangible Brexit has occurred. So Ireland won’t have a boarder? Was anyone ever really going to look the Irish people in the face and say ‘hey I know there was a decades-long violent war in this beautiful land about boarders and sovereignty that was concluded with great effort on both sides, but I really feel that we ought to put a giant bloody wall up and reopen wounds that are only just starting to heal because BREXIT MEANS BREXIT’?

Probably not.

Special commendation to: the American government. Obviously it was tough to choose between Trump and Brexit, but on reflection I have decided that Trump will eventually be impeached, die from all those Cokes he drinks or come to the end of his term and deny he was ever president in the first place. The clean up process won’t be pretty, but I have confidence in the better part of America. Or the part that doesn’t want to die from climate change and nuclear war, anyway. The process and effects of Brexit, on the other hand, are likely to chug on until I reach retirement age which I am assuming will be 95. But who cares as long as we have blue passports!

Outstanding Achievement for Distracting Me from the Horror of the Year for Five Minutes: Blue Planet II

Thank you, little puffin families, for restoring my faith in the husbands of this world. You guys saw what puffins go through to bring back food for their pufflings, right? And the parents split the childcare! I wish I understood science because studying puffin families sounds like a nice job to have. And did you see the sea lions hunting tuna? How do humans think we’re the smartest species I frequently can’t locate tea bags.

Special commendation to: the country of Australia for passing equal marriage (congratulations, you have one-upped the UK) and every Women’s March placard, poster and pussy hat for warming my feminist bones.

Outstanding Social Media Moment: the Big Green Bookshop vs Piers Morgan

The Internet has been a double edged sword this year; the news is so important that it’s hard to look away, but so awful and consuming that it’s equally as important to know when to look away. But sometimes humanity proves it’s all right, and my favourite example of that this year is when the a man named Simon, who co-owns the Big Green Bookshop in London, tweeted Piers Morgan the entirety of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. Until he got blocked, anyway. If there’s one thing the people of Britain can agree on, it’s that Piers Morgan should piss right off – and I feel the Big Green Bookshop gave us all a chance to rally together and express our collective love for Potter and our collective loathing for Piers. Please support your local independent bookshops.

Indifferent Ignorance Homophobic Dick Award: Everywhere?

I can’t remember their names and I won’t look for them because I don’t wish to give them further exposure, but some ‘gay cure therapy’ people were on morning TV this year. I think it was Good Morning Britain, but I won’t check and give the news articles any more views. I can’t dish out an award without knowing the names of the people I’m awarding, though, so this year’s winners are the member states of the United Nations. News broke some time in February about the detention and murder of perceived gay and bisexual men in Chechnya. The UN has confirmed and condemned it, but as far as I can tell the only country to have actually done anything to help is Canada. It’s also still illegal to be gay in 72 countries – countries whose human rights records are generally lacking. The Guardian did a handy map indicating levels of legal status of LGBT people globally, and it looks a lot like maps indicating press freedom and women’s rights. I feel like if one of those things can improve in a nation, the other two will follow, but I would also like to learn more about how that can be done in the next year. Primary education? Free access to the Internet? Democratic election processes? I will report back with my findings.

Indifferent Ignorance Ignorant Fuck Award: The Donald

Ugh. Ugh. It’s Trump. It was always going to be, really, but Jacki made a point in her comment on my nominations blog: Trump is a figurehead. If someone who had never heard of Trump were to take everything that is ignorant about Western culture in 2017 and mix it up and cook it and craft a little figurine, that figurine would be Trump. He represents the worst of us.


Look, a line representing the end of the year. A fresh start. I’ve been thinking about all the winners (and losers, ha) and next year I’d like to reboot The Six O’Clock News but with a twist. Every time I’ve turned on the news this year, either on an app or Twitter or the TV, the ratio of awful story:nice story has been about 9:1. So next year I want to find a story that has a happy ending or a fun twist. Like this 16 year old who got into Harvard (thanks Jacki!) or this dog whose bones were surgically regrown in a lab so she didn’t need her leg amputated. I like to think there will be enough material out there to fill a blog post or two… what do you reckon?

I won’t be back on here until some time next week and/or when the NYE fug has lifted, so happy new year! May your return to work on 2nd January be as painless as possible.

Introducing the Nominees for the Indifferent Ignorance Awards 2017! Your Input, If You Could

Indifferent Ignorance Awards 2017 Vote Now

I have my first ever work Christmas lunch this afternoon, which means 2017 is fast ending and I am gearing up for my annual hibernation. Before I do, though, I have to finish the Indifferent Ignorance Awards 2017. This year’s awards are trickier than I thought they would be, because there is almost too much material to choose from! I have my personal favourites when it comes to books, films and all that… but when it comes to the main awards: the Homophobic Dick Award, the Ignorant Fuck Award, Greatest Social Media Moment, etc., I am stuck. I blame the Trump administration and Brexit. And the Internet, because I would be way less informed about those things if I didn’t have broadband. I’d probably also be happier.

Anyway, I’m writing to you all today and asking for you to submit your suggestions for the following categories:

  • 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 I’m considering the Muslim ban, when Trump retweeted Britain First and the entire UK general election
  • The ‘I Witnessed this Shit Live and Wish It Had Killed Me’ News Story of the Year Trump’s inauguration, the general election and possibly Weinstein?
  • Outstanding Achievement for Distracting Me from the Horror of the Year for Five Minutes The Women’s March, my trip to Asia, Blue Planet II and books by Adam Silvera are all strong contenders here
  • Outstanding Social Media Moment Frank Iero posted some gems on the Internet this year, but so did everyone I follow. Twitter might be the world’s largest example of confirmation bias, but when it’s funny that’s a joy to behold
  • Indifferent Ignorance Homophobic Dick Award I’ve never given an award to an entire government before, what do you reckon?
  • Indifferent Ignorance Ignorant Fuck Award Contenders are Trump, Trump and… Trump. I feel like this award was created for people like him, but in the spirit of competition I feel like there should be more contenders. SUGGESTIONS PLEASE.

For inspiration, here are last year’s awards.

Indifferent Ignorance Awards 2017 Vote Now

I’m going to call it a vote, but in reality if you all could hit me up in a comment, I’ll make an Executive Decision about the ultimate winner some time between now and new year.

Changing Things Up?

The Sea Witch's Revenge Part I

Afternoon. If you came in via the front page, you will have noticed I’ve tidied up a bit. I’ve been feeling off colour and came home from work early yesterday to curl up and sleep for a few days, because I either have a bad cold that makes me tired or I’m badly tired and have caught a cold. I wasn’t reckoning on my inability to sit still for more than a couple of hours, though, so I thought I’d play about on here. Technically I’m less than a foot away from my bed, so I’m going to count it as convalescence.

I’ve fancied a change for a while, but I’ve been getting general change vibes, which is not that helpful. Do I want to cut my hair? Should I spray paint my car? Would I benefit from a different type of pillow? My subconscious isn’t telling me, so my conscious (hi) has decided to try changing a bit of everything to see what sticks. So far I’ve just done this site, but I’m thinking of revamping the Francesca’s Words branding – the world is so bleak that black and white seems less chic and more depressing these days – and committing to a regular Pilates class. Something to get my insides balancing with my outsides and all that… I’ve also, finally, published the first of a three part story on my story blog that is slightly different from anything else I’ve ever done, but also completely in line with everything I’ve ever tried to do. The next part will be online next week as I want them all to go online this side of Christmas, which is ridiculously soon.

The Sea Witch's Revenge Part I
Look I even did a little header pic GO READ IT’S A GOOD ONE

I’m not sure what else to change up without committing hugely to something I might regret – I like the idea of spray painting the Mini, but its current shade of red is actually very nice to look at, you know – so I’m taking ideas. Go and read my story (here is the link again cough cough) then tell me: what do you do when you need a change? Do you book a holiday and get a new hair colour or just ride it out? Have you ever done anything ridiculous just to make life a bit more interesting? You can guarantee I’ll read and reply to comments, because I’m not feeling up to much else.

Blog Like No One’s Reading… Wait

Did any of you read the post about book piracy I wrote last week? I’m proud of it, and not just because I worked hard to articulate what I was thinking. I wrote it on my 8th anniversary of joining WordPress, so it was a bit of a victory dance. I’ve been blogging longer than I was in secondary school you guys! I’d be lying if I sat back and basked in the glory of the milestone, though. Mostly I did what I’ve done every anniversary for the past four years or so: sucked in my breath, looked at my stats page and wondered how the hell my site was so much more popular when I wrote total bullshit. No, really. Look:

blog stats of the year

But then I looked properly at the visits vs views and noticed something I hadn’t paid attention to: in 2012 I had 16,000 views but it was the same people, coming back frequently. I’ve had more visitors since then and people seem to come and stay at a relatively steady rate. This was a huge revelation to me, because I’ve spent the last five years watching view rates go down and wondering why I even bother. There is nothing more depressing than shouting into a void, and it’s reflected in my writing: I was blogging about South East Asia pretty constantly until I got home and people (mostly offline, although there’s overlap) made disparaging remarks about my trip. If no one wants to hear me talk about the elephant sanctuary in Chiang Mai, I thought, I won’t bother. I don’t, as I mentioned in the piracy post, get paid for this. I have things in my life that bring me more satisfaction than typing an 800-word post, adding alt text to some carefully selected images then posting it just for none of my subscribers open their emails.

But apparently blog traffic isn’t looking as bad as I thought it was. Which has got me thinking about what constitutes a reader. How many readers do I have? I’ve always judged it roughly by comments: when I follow a blog or person, I probably don’t reply to their every post, but I drop in with a comment or a retweet or the like every five posts or so. If someone comments on here every five posts – which works out as roughly one a month or thereabouts – I’m pretty chuffed and think of them as a reader. Bonus points if they follow any social media accounts!

But then the picture gets weird again, because comments fluctuate year-on-year. I can’t see a trend and some of the things I’ve really thought will get people talking just haven’t.

comment stats

Possibly I should discount the stats page completely and focus on producing great writing that people will like, but that comes back to comments again because most posts get zero comments (ones that like what I’ve said or ones that disagree), then once every few months one will get half a dozen. It’s tempting to make up some wacky opinions to get a response, but I don’t want to say weird shit for the sake of it.

This isn’t a cry for help: if I continue blogging for another eight years, it’ll be because I’ve got something to say. If I stop, it won’t be because I’ve gone more than five posts without a comment.

I normally end posts with a question – because then people will answer in a comment, geddit – but clearly that has been doing jack shit so I am just going to put this out there and try to be content that I’ve written a decent post. Happy Bonfire Night!

You Have to Read This Because It’s My Birthday

No, really. I’m 22 today, which means I should probably stop telling myself that I’m in my late teens. I should probably accept that 2005 was more than three years ago as well, now I think about it, but let’s not go down that rabbit hole…

Last year I made a list of things I want to do before 2020, then promptly forgot about it. I just had a look and I’m quite smug, because I can tick off passing my driving test and visiting South East Asia. Publishing a book and finishing a screenplay are still works in progress – arguably they are not even ahem in progress – and I haven’t been to anywhere new in Europe or taken up a sport, but I am currently at two jobs, not five. I’m getting somewhere!

Possibly the thing to do with life lists is to hide them away and only refer to them occasionally so you don’t stress yourself out. Then again, it’s nice to have little reminders of where you want to go and how far you’ve come. A year ago I couldn’t picture what Laos looked like, I couldn’t parallel park and the idea of actually finishing short stories and posting them on the Internet hadn’t actually occurred to me. Possibly I should add ‘be less dense’ to the 2020 list…

Luang Prabang, Laos
For the record, this is what Laos looks like.

I haven’t got a list of things I want to do at 22, or at least I haven’t got anything concrete and quantifiable. By 23 I want to have written loads more, and kept up my Etsy, and stopped having heart palpitations when I drive, and I’d like to have as good a laugh as I’ve had this year. No one I know has been ill, there have been no accidents or massive dramas. All things considered, 21 was a year well lived. If 22 is as good, I think it will be a success.

I am going to see my family and overeat now, so I will leave this. I know a lot of people prefer to make goals and resolutions in September instead of January (and why not it’s the best month) so if you are one of those people, or even if you aren’t, let me know what you’ve aced in the last year and what you’d like to do in the next year. Maybe we could keep each other accountable?!