Monday, August 26, 2013

Moving time

So, I've upped and moved my blog yet again. I can't even settle down in the virtual world. I know, madness. Anyway, I've mostly done this because my travel blog is on wordpress and I'm tired of swapping between platforms all the time. Also, Abbi insists this is easier to follow. So I'm giving it a go. Find it here. It's basically exactly the same cause I'm a creature of habit.

I'm not exporting my old content cause it looks like it's going to take an age and I have no patience. So it's a bit sad and desolate at the moment but hopefully my pointless ramblings will fill it up soon enough.

Music: Brennisteinn - Sigur Ros

We're a strange pair

I can't deal with this film. More people need to watch it so I can actually talk about it. Catinca Untaru is so wonderful, as is Lee Pace. I mean, I liked the guy before but this has changed everything. And the whole thing is just too damn pretty. Does not compute.

The sweetest of words have the bitterest taste

There is love in our bodies and it holds us together
But pulls us apart when we're holding each other
We all want something to hold in the night
We don't care if it hurts or we're holding too tight

There is love in your body but you can't get it out
It gets stuck in your head, won't come out of your mouth
Sticks to your tongue and it shows on your face
That the sweetest of words have the bitterest taste

Darling heart, I loved you from the start
But you'll never know what a fool I've been
Darling heart, I loved you from the start
But that's no excuse for the state I'm in

Hold on to your heart
Cause I'm coming to take it
Hold on to your heart
Cause I'm coming to break it

Music: Hardest of hearts - Florence + The Machine

Saturday, August 24, 2013

A Mum Appreciation™ Post

I've just finished a 3 hour, 45 minute and 89 second long Skype call with my mum - a new record, I think. It's just made me so happy. I love my mum. I love that her reaction to my question if it's stupid do another undergrad degree was to say "No of course not, you have to do what you feel you want to do." I love that her response to my worrying about shipping my possession back to Australia was to tell me to stop fixating on nonsense - "Just focus on enjoying your time there and making the most of it."

I love the relationship I have with my mum, how close we are. I feel like I can trust her with anything, even things she may not necessarily approve of, and I know that she'll always be on my side. Even if I did something horrible...which, you know, I'm not planning on doing, but it's nice to have backup! I love that we can disagree about things but respect each others opinions (even though I really think she needs to stop using Internet Explorer because, come on). And I love how utterly insanely silly we can be. It's being able to laugh with each other and have fun 99.9% of the time that makes all the difference, really.

(PS. I just called her back because I forgot to say something before - so that's another 13 minutes, 31 seconds to add to today's Skype effort.)

Music: Acetate - Volcano Choir

Take note, there's still a hole in your heart

When I was little – and I mean really little, round 5 – I was obsessed with space. It was basically my first fandom. I kept a scrapbook filled with articles and fact sheets about the moon landing and satellite launches, the planets and constellations. My parents took me to the planetarium, a lot, and it always thrilled me to bits.

I wanted to be an astronomer.

It’s an interest that stayed with me throughout the years. We have a variety of telescopes, and we use them fairly regularly. I’ve stayed up late and woken up early for eclipses, meteor showers, comets and planetary alignments in their various forms. I can tell direction based on the position of constellations (in the southern hemisphere at least) and I can always spot Orion or Scoprio with no difficulty (the latter mainly thanks to Antares.) Back in the days of Windows 95, I had a computer program that charted star positions based on the co-ordinates you gave it - it seemed pretty high tech back then. Ah, life before GPS.

It sounds faintly ridiculous, but I love the night sky. One of my favourite things used to be lying in our driveway, listening to my ipod and just staring at the stars…while my dog ran around the garden like a mad thing. I never see the stars where I live now – it’s my only complaint about my living situation. London is much too big and bright for any decent stargazing. It’s quite sad, really. Particularly because these are entirely foreign stars to me, I don’t know them at all.

Being an astronomer never really felt like a real job, somehow, so I toyed with the idea of being a marine biologist for a bit – like a lot of girls seem to do. But if I’m honest, I didn’t really have that much interest in marine life. I just liked the mammals and the beach. Anyway, I get so seasick, it would never have been a viable option.

Then, of course, I wanted to be a pilot. This was the only concrete “career” goal I ever had. It made sense because I’d spent so much time around planes and airports. I love everything about those things – not the commercial, passenger side of it, but the behind the scenes stuff that goes into making the propulsion of a huge, heavy object into the air a viable transport option. I think planes are beautiful things, the engineering that goes into it is magnificent. But actually flying a plane? Well, it didn’t really seem like something I’d enjoy. And besides, it’s stupidly expensive and requires a level of math skill that moving across continents had left me incapable of achieving.

I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately – having reached that part of the year where I have to evaluate all my life choices – and it’s interesting that I ended up studying what I did. All of these interests, they’re all scientific. And physics was one of the subjects I found most interesting in high school, though I couldn’t really grasp the math side of it that well.

I think people often neglect how closely tied science and philosophy actually is. Physics, in particular, is strewn throughout humanities theory and I found having an understanding of it to be more beneficial during my undergrad studies than anything else I did at school. Because of course I went on to do a humanities degree – what else? Flying was out of the question and the thing I was best at was writing. That was effortless and easy, it made sense to study that. Misguidedly dreaming of being a music journalist or a travel writer, always on the move and indulging in the things I love most.

Sometimes I can’t understand why I did it. Why not history, which I also loved and kicked ass at? Why not archaeology or something like that? Somehow writing seemed like the sensible choice back then, the failsafe option that would definitely have a job waiting at the other side of it. Which, granted, it did but…well, it’s not like I’m doing that now, is it? Don’t get me wrong, I don’t regret it. I often say how useless my degree is but I don’t think it was a waste of time. I’m one of those people who think learning is never a waste of time, even if it is very obscure things you’re learning (that said, some of my subjects were profoundly useless – the weird fashion one where we were applying cultural theory to clothes and shopping malls comes to mind.) But in terms of actually helping me find a job that I enjoy, the degree doesn’t do much. Publishing is really not for me, the idealistic journalism that I believed in before I started uni doesn’t exist. And it bores me to tears. That is the biggest problem. Writing for other people is a chore I do not enjoy and I am not particularly good at doing things I’m told to do. Yes, my degree is broader than straight journalism, but I’m so jaded when it comes to media, I can’t really face anything in that field and that's really what my degree is set up for.

So, then, here we are. Plotting the next step in my life. I actually enjoy my current job, surprisingly. It involves a lot more html code than I’d ever have thought I’d deal with on a daily basis. But it’s not a job that really exists back in Australia. I’m applying for a PhD because it’s something I’ve wanted since I was 6 and my mum first took me to her old university (I have always been a nerdy child, what can I say). Academia feels natural, easy, it’s something I can do pretty confidently. Whether I actually want to do it…I don’t know. Everything gets very tricky and bogged down in semantics if you think about it too long. Somewhere in the background processes of my mind, I’ve also idly thought about doing another bachelor’s degree. Something more like history or archaeology or linguistics. But do I really need another degree I’ll likely not use? Or more student debt? I think not.

It would be fun though.

Maybe I should do a science degree. One of my friends from undergrad has gone on to do biology after realising that marketing just wasn’t cutting it for her, so I know it’s not unusual. It’s the math element that worries me – it’s been 7 years since I studied math in any capacity and even back then I wasn’t great at it. I can’t imagine being any good at it now and I’ll probably have to pass some sort of entry exam to get into a degree like that. But then my perception of being good at something is completely effed up – I say I suck at math but my results were in the 70% range. I think I could probably do a physics degree, I’d have to put in a lot of work, a lot more than I’ve ever had to in my academic life, and then I think my results would probably come in around the credit region, 2:2, that kind of thing. I don’t know if I can face being that mediocre at something. It’s not in my nature to accept it.

See, this is when my perfectionism raises its ugly head. I’ve never persisted in anything I wasn’t immediately good at because I cannot bear the thought of failure. And nothing I do is ever really good enough on a personal level so when I’m actually not great at something, it’s like it physically hurts me. That’s why I never stuck with learning a musical instrument or drawing. And how’s this for warped, I don’t like taking lessons in something I’m not already fairly confident at doing because I don’t like people supervising me. So basically, I’ll try to teach myself but I’m not naturally inclined to the task at hand, so I struggle and then I give up. Because giving up is better than sucking, even if my idea of sucking is way different to a normal persons’ idea of sucking, right? Right. I can’t play Tchaikovsky's piano concerto no 1 the first time I sit down at a piano? This is an outrage! I’ll never be any good at this, why bother! *kicks over piano* I know it’s not healthy or useful, and I try really hard to not be like that. But it’s part of who I am, I can’t control it. I’m way better than I used to be, mind, waaaaay better, yet I can’t seem to get over it completely.

I just don’t see the point in doing something if you’re not going to excel at it – what are you trying to achieve? And I know if I worked hard, I could probably learn to be good at some things, but I’m lazy. Being clever makes you laaaaazy. I cruised through my academic career, like I said before I found it pretty easy. And I’d always feel guilty listening to other people talk about how much they’ve studied or worked throughout the year, and still not doing that well. If I do a science degree, I fear that will be me. I have very little faith in my ability to bear that.

This makes me sound horrible and vain and conceited – I don’t think I am. I hope I'm not. It's just that there are certain things I’m used to, around which my identity is constructed, and it gets problematic when that frame of reference is removed.

So, yeah. I don’t know. This ramble hasn’t really helped me clear anything up. But I don’t blog nearly as much as I used to so I guess I can allow myself the odd pointless, meandering, TL;DR outburst. Woo.

Music: Dancepack - Volcano Choir

Thursday, August 22, 2013

So much closer

It’s weird how it doesn’t hurt as much, anymore. Maybe I’ve just come to terms with the feeling and no longer acknowledge it. The slow burn of it.

It’s weird how when you want something you can’t have, you find joys in the little things. To make up for it. To fill the gap.

My self-control frays easily these days though, I live my life too much on a knife’s edge. I don’t have time, never enough time. And I don’t want any more regrets over things I haven’t done. Regrets over things I have done, those I’ll take. It means I’ve done something, at least. I took action. I made a decision and went after it. Whether for better or worse, I made a choice. And that kind of regret, that’s fleeting, that’s something you can manage.

And I do regret things. Not my actions themselves, though I probably should, but the consequences they may have. On other people. I don’t want to hurt others. I don’t want to waste anyone’s time. But if I’m selfishly following my whims, my emotions, going where the feelings take me, then invariably someone will get hurt. Me, of course, sure, but I know the risks. It’s the innocent bystanders I regret. That feeling of the bottom dropping out of my stomach at the mention of a name because I know that the damage inflicted upon them if I got what I wanted would be catastrophic.

But still, I want. I want. I can’t turn that off. Can’t change it. There are distractions, and I busy myself with other things, but I won’t deny it. I’m trying so hard to stop burying my emotions under the concern for others – it’s a personality flaw, it’s not healthy. Now I fear I’ve tipped too far the other way, putting myself first too much, too selfishly.

That’s over-thinking, though. Dramatic. My usual style. Always over-analysing, transferring, worrying. I think my life would be a thousand times simpler if I was less clever and less self-aware. But probably not as engaging.

I wonder sometimes over what kind of person I am nowadays. I do things that I would never have thought myself capable of, things I would have disapproved of. But that’s because back then I had no idea, not really, not a clue of what it was like, and what it could be. Life, I mean. I still have no idea but I’m not afraid of stumbling a little to find out. And now I know, or understand rather, that things are not black and white and neatly arranged. Things are never that simple. Things that I know I should think are a bad idea in the cold light of morning do not even give me reason to pause after a few bottles of wine in those last minutes before midnight. You can’t read people, or predict them. You can’t spend all your time planning for conversational eventualities, trying to think of every possible scenario in your head. It’s not a game of chess, no matter how much you want it to be. (That, at least, would make sense. That, I understand. That, would be easy.)

And I don’t really know anything. Except myself, as I am now, at this precise moment in time. I know what I’m feeling, right now. I know what I want, right now. The future is more uncertain for me than ever, but I know that I don’t want to dwell on it. I’m going for the things I want, right now. And they make me happy. Maybe that should be enough.

Music: Transatlanticism - Death Cab for Cutie

Saturday, August 3, 2013

I have measured out my life with coffee spoons

And would it have been worth it, after all,
After the cups, the marmalade, the tea,
Among the porcelain, among some talk of you and me,
Would it have been worth while,
To have bitten off the matter with a smile,
To have squeezed the universe into a ball
To roll it toward some overwhelming question,
To say: “I am Lazarus, come from the dead,
Come back to tell you all, I shall tell you all”—
If one, settling a pillow by her head,
  Should say: “That is not what I meant at all;
  That is not it, at all.”

- TS Eliot

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Do you know what epic means?

A couple of weeks ago, F showed me a film. One I'd never heard of. The Fall. How it escaped me, I don't know, but it has captured my heart completely.

I love this film. I love everything about it, from it's gorgeous opening scene through to the last heart-wrenching 20 minutes. I love the cinematography, specifically the use of colour. All the little scenes dotted throughout, the visual cues that repeat later and form this cohesive whole. The interweaving storytelling technique, playing on so many tropes while revitalising them in these little new, unique ways. I love how the story is, at it's crux, so simple, so innately human. And I love how it hurts, just right. How it made me tear up the first time, and still has me tearing up now, after repeated viewing. It's so clever, and innocent, and raw, and beautiful, and magnificent.

It's definitely a new favourite.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013


You know that scene in the first episode of Sherlock, where he's making a mental map to try and figure out how to cut the taxi off? That's basically the map I have in my head every time I'm heading home after a night out.

Cue drunken thought process: "Shall I go down Berwick street? Or that...way....or bus? No. Thingy. Thingy is good."  *walks down Wardour like I do every single day*

It's weird though, cause in the mornings I now walk up Dean Street cause there's less annoying construction work, but walking home I still always go for Wardour. But I've started cutting through a lot of back streets more lately, staying parallel to Shaftesbury, cause of the crowds. Summer tourist season, it ain't pretty. Especially on Wednesdays, when it's matinee day. Pro tip kids, stay off the sidewalk.

And so endeth my unsolicited rambling on walking habits.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Just keep moving on

So I have been hanging out down by the train's depot. No, I don't ride.
I just sit and watch the people there. And they remind me of wind up cars in motion.
The way they spin and turn and jockey for positions.
And I want to scream out that it all is nonsense.
All your lives one track, can't you see it's pointless?
But then, my knees give under me. My head feels weak and
suddenly it is clear to see that it is not them but me, who has lost my self-identity.
As I hide behind these books I read, while scribbling my poetry,
like art could save a wretch like me, with some ideal ideology that no one can hope to achieve.
And I am never real; it is just a sketch of me.

Music: Waste of paint - Bright Eyes