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.

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5 Things You Didn’t Know the British Museum Would Make a Video About

Sometimes – often – my day job isn’t the most mentally stimulating or lighthearted. It frequently involves spreadsheets, social media scheduling apps and twelve tabs, one of which is my bank account. On these occasions I find my own entertainment in the form of podcasts, YouTube playlists and throwing pencils.

Sometimes the entertainment finds me.

I came across this while researching the British Museum for a blog.

And now we’ve all learnt something. You’re welcome.

Well, It’s a Good Thing We Weren’t Planning on Winning Eurovision Again

I thought I’d let the dust settle on last Thursday before attempting to write a coherent sentence about it, but at this rate that won’t happen until 2025, so I thought I might as well write anyway.

I’ve not had a hugely pleasant week, to be honest. It’s hard to run marketing campaigns when no one’s reading anything but the news, and it’s hard to have conversations with your family when they all think you’re stupid and wrong (and patronising when you try to explain why you’re not). The fact Nigel Farage now has more political klout than the leader of the opposition is just a mild irritant at this point, although I am genuinely angry that a small portion of racists now think half the population agrees with them – and that half the population now think the other half think they’re all racists… and that I recently renewed my EHIC and might not get my money’s worth.

Gerard Way gun GIF MTV Live
This one never, ever runs out of uses. from sunshinethekatt.tumblr.com

I’ve been tempted a lot over the past few years to pack up and try being a digital nomad (digital nomading?!), and this week I actually found myself doing the maths. To cut a long story short, I won’t be nomading anywhere for a while, at least not until I pass my driving test and learn how to Skype on the move, but I could feasibly visit every country in the EU for a long weekend (a long weekend per country, not a long weekend for all 27 countries) assuming I checked my emails while I was there. I don’t generally like to plan my life in advance, but assuming we’ll be out of Europe by the end of 2018, I could visit everywhere including Lichtenstein (assuming I learn where it is) for a few days without bankrupting myself. If I didn’t eat much on the road and did all of Eastern Europe in one go.

I will continue working on this plan in the coming months. I will also continue walking the other way in certain social situations. If I post on Twitter that I’ve upped sticks to Bruges or Krakow or Helsinki, assume I kept walking.

Also, tell me your own awkward family dinner table conversations. Let’s make a scale from ‘slightly condescending’ to ‘I nearly threw gravy’ and compare notes on staying friends with people you used to be friends with. I think a guide could be useful.

The Six O’Clock News: Smart Videos #2

Doing this on a superduper tight time limit so let’s just watch and enjoy – or not – these gems.

Thank you to Jacki for showing me this – it’s definitely made me think about public perception and domestic violence. I think it’s called the Kitty Genovese effect when nobody in a group helps an individual because they think someone else in the group should? I’m half-remembering Watchmen and last year’s psychology lessons, seriously, let me know if I’ve butchered science!

I haven’t heard the next one properly yet so if it’s bullshit and not just because of UKIP I do apologise, please let me know.

 

This isn’t news but I just saw it so let’s pretend it’s still Oscar season! Lupita for president of the world!

It’s kind of funny/depressing that white people in the UK are giving themselves cancer on sunbeds for a tan while tanned people are actually bleaching their skin. Citizens of the universe: the media is full of crap so ignore it and please wear sunscreen. Love, Francesca xxx

Spoon Keyboards and Snakes Being Freaky

I am typing this on my new computer and using an ergonomic keyboard which is curved like an upside-down spoon. It has lots of short cut buttons that I’m eagerly anticipating using in my quest to become a Serious Writer Person… new computer, new start and all of that. Except I don’t have Microsoft Office or Photoshop and I spent about 75% of today asleep… also the spoon-keyboard is a little bit daunting. But I have a cup of tea, which is a necessity if one is to become a well-respected artiste, so all I need now is something to talk about…

Okay so first of all, my friend Hollie who hangs out here sometimes has started a blog of her very own. She only has one post so far but it shows promise of greatness. If you could all leave a comment and say hi it would be great, not only for her as a person but also because, as I understand it, female gamers are seriously under-represented and Pixel Scum is evening the playing field!

Right now down to business. Did you guys see this news story? Holy bats. I mean, the snake basically looks like the average human just after New Year…

Found BBC.co.uk
Found BBC.co.uk

… but snakes get to unlock their jaws.

Found BBC.co.uk
Found BBC.co.uk

Argh it’s been a week since I saw that and I’m still freaking out that Nagini will slither round the corner and eat my face.

In the interest of grossing you out further, a few years ago a Python tried to eat an alligator and exploded.

(I solemnly swear to never complain again when Fred or Donnie yawn in my face. Dog breath is bad but snake breath sounds like it should be toxic.)

The Eleven O’Clock News: Mixed Messages

Instead of spending an evening threading a post together I went out for dinner, so I had to spend some time making myself look less like a homeless student and more like someone who can use a menu, then actually spend time in public, so this is a total cop-out. I’m also using an iPad, laptop and mobile simultaneously which is actually quite appropriate.

Man travels 1,000 miles to claim bogus prize

Okay so we’ve all had PPI-claim texts and Optical Express and SP Energy and talkmobile and Ladbrokes and Barclays and pension freezes and debt payment ads and yes I went through the phone I’ve had for eighteen months to find all the types of bullshit. But this takes the cake, ice cream, cheese board and coffee and little mints.

In Politics we’ve looked at poverty recently and if I remember correctly, more people have access to a mobile phone than they do a toilet. This is crap (pun fully intended) in itself and is being exacerbated by scammers taking advantage of people who literally don’t know any better.  Mr Malbisoi probably isn’t the only non-Western person who’s been a victim of phishing but how is the west going to educate the rest of the world about the dangers of scams when there are entire TV shows dedicated to getting British scam victims their money back?

I dunno, man, and I need an early night. What’s the stupidest/funniest mobile scam you’ve come across? Have you experienced scams yourself? Yep, there is actually an element of Q&A to all of this!

That includes you, Jay.

Indifferent Ignorance Awards 2013

They aren’t in June 2014!

Book of the Year

This one was tough… A Thousand Splendid Suns, We Need to Talk About Kevin, my John’s Gospel commentary by AM Hunter…

No really, you should compare Hunter to some of the others. Little tip, scholars: when it comes to sentences, less is almost always more. That aside, I think Uncle Rick gets the prize. House of Hades is brilliant and perfect and yes aimed at twelve-year-olds but let’s face it, people, children’s books are usually better than adult ones. Harry Potter, Mog the Forgetful Cat, etc. Oh Uncle Rick, teach me your secrets.

Album of the Year

How I Learned to Stop Giving a Shit and Love Mindless Self Indulgence, by Mindless Self Indulgence. I paid for the album, I listen to the album. It is a piece of genius. That is all.

New Favourite Website of the Year

Hmm. I’ve discovered Vice, a news magazine (although someone online pointed out that its narrative voice is disturbingly similar to that of the Daily Mail, which I must say has put me off a bit), Effing Dykes, a queer blog (and so genuinely not safe for work that I’ve not quite had the courage to devote an entire post to it yet) and Tumblr. Okay so I already knew Tumblr, but I joined because it made it easy to follow nice art. That and a deep desire to infiltrate the world’s bitchiest blogging network from within.

New Favourite Artist of the Year

Viria. Her art is beautiful. Ahhh. Her work is set as my phone and iPad background. The whole Tumblr thing was also induced by Burdge, Andy and Minuiko.

Old Favourite Artist of the Year

Ruby. She made this into an illustrated story for my birthday. The individual pictures are amongst others here (I’m hoarding the finished product but don’t worry we’ve decided if all else fails we’ll write children’s books so you’ll be able to get both our work in one book. Cool, huh?).

Most Family Member-Like Famous Person on Twitter

I actually can’t decide between Uncle Rick the Troll Queen or Uncle Gerard the MCRmy’s Therapist. Genuinely, the jury’s out. Let me know your thoughts (the best Twitter moment was when someone Tweeted Gerard the Russian Mark of Athena cover, on which Percy bears a striking resemblance to G. Aha).

Most Depressing Internet-Based Phenomena

The title’s probably a misnomer because it doesn’t involve idiots talking shit behind the safety of a computer screen (that comes later!). Anyway: those of you into the whole Percy Jackson thing might remember this:

'Putting the Fun Back In Funeral'

I know, it’s incredibly clever. I do others like it. It was inspired by one of Viria’s pieces – the one set as my phone background; I had the idea going up the stairs which was interesting. I originally put text on her drawing. Quite a while after I published the poster, I posted the bootlegged one on Tumblr:

Bootlegging Viria
Drawing by Viria

I wonder which has had the better reception.

Hm.

Indeed.

It’s a good thing I chose an artist I really love or I might have become bitter.

Live Show of the Year

I saw Jesus Christ Superstar, MSI, a ‘revue’ at school in which my friend Sarah was splendid as a 1920s hockey player, my year’s pantomime-which-I-sort-of-helped-write, an actual pantomime, an interview between two of the best children’s authors around today and a poetry reading by the bloke off Homeland and Narcissa Malfoy.. But I think my favourite live band (discounting MCR because it’s MCR) is an ever-changing group of part-time musicians who play in a restaurant I like in Greece. I understand 10% of the lyrics, make eye contact 0.001% of the times I walk past and have been known to sing along to songs that are the Mediterranean’s version of Mindless. But it’s nice, and even if I found a YouTube clip (creepy as I’m there a lot) it wouldn’t quite convey the atmosphere, if you know what I mean.

Insult of the Year

“You’re a doody head.” Enough said.

Happy Moment of the Year

When I remember it’s not June and Donnie’s still here. I like Don and Fred better than I like most things, no offense, and they are my friends. It’s like having human friends but the dynamics are different – humans tend to be more forward about nicking your food. Get a pet, seriously. Unless you are incapable of looking after one due to a) lack of money, space or permission (volunteer somewhere instead), b) lack of time or motivation or c) aversion to pets. You know who you are. Yes, I’m including those of you who get pets because you think it’ll be fun or make you look good. At times, e.g. in a field in December, it will do neither. But then they look up at you, covered in slime, and you think “I love you little dog. Now let’s go home and hope we never have to leave the house again.”

Indifferent Ignorance Commenter of the Year

Jacki, whose wise words you will find if you scroll down a few posts. Getting people to comment on work is like pulling teeth (remind me that I have a piece of work about that to show you), yet is the best way of differentiating readers from spam-bots and ‘glancers’ – people who have a click and a scroll then go somewhere else. But it’s like being the first person to take food from a buffet: no one wants to be that person, though once someone has taken the leap they’re comfortable joining the queue. Weird. Anyway, Jacki comments a lot and for that I am grateful. Please accept this garbled post as a token of my appreciation. Ta.

Indifferent Ignorance Homophobic Dick Award

Maria suggested this category and I love it. Who to choose? Tony Abbot the Australian Prime Minister, who revoked equal marriage rights after people had got married? The guy whose work I heartily abused when Tom Daley came out? The parents of a child I saw a few years ago who had dressed their eight-year-old in a t-shirt with an arrow saying “I think he’s gay!”? People who stopped reading – or stopped their children reading – Heroes of Olympus when they found out about Nico?

Can’t choose, man.

Indifferent Ignorance Ignorant Fuck Award

Matt Forney of I-only-screw-insecure-women-wait-that’s-all-of-them fame infamy arseholery.

Arseholery. Is that a thing? It should be.

His site used to have a thing where sites that had discussed the post were lined underneath and the one I did was there. I guess too many people were discussing the arseholery though because the layout’s changed…

Okay I think that’s everything I said I’d put in. If I’ve forgotten something or someone please let me know.

That’s called asking for a comment, ladies and gents.

I hope 2013 was as happy and safe as everyone wished it to be; if it wasn’t then I wish you happiness and safety for 2014. Even you with the pet you shouldn’t have bought, reading Forney and nodding in agreement.

Maybe not but I’ve been on a lot of cold medicine and perhaps the Christmas spirit of forgiveness is shining through.

Ha ha.

Happy 2014 snowflakes!

The Six O’Clock News: Some Men Still Live in 1800-and-Something. Happily, Some Don’t

The Case Against Female Self-Esteem

So there’s a man named Matt who has a blog and on it he likes to be rude to people. In this particular post was recommended to me by Chloe (who did some guest blogging a few weeks ago). It’s hard to see through the bullshit and work out what he’s actually saying, but I think essentially he wants all women to a) pander to his every need, including matters of “banging” and b) pander to all men. Apparently there is not a single woman on the entire planet who secretly wants to be told what to do by men, because secretly all women know that men are superior in every way to women.

This dude is a serious contender for the Ignorant Fuck Award this year.

I think if I met him I’d be all “sorry, can’t talk to you because I’m not insecure enough to sleep with you or pretend that you’re not a fucking tosser.” Or I’d make him say to my face the things he’s written, and then I’d let all the ladies within a two-mile radius do their thing. He also censors the comments on his site. I feel really quite sorry for the women in his life.

Ah, the crosses we must bear to uphold freedom of speech.

Anyway, the day I read it I went on the BBC site and saw this:

100 Women: What chance does a young girl have?

Ah, the irony.

I’m a male feminist. No, seriously

There’s hope though. Yay!

Please