Wednesday, March 30, 2011

my favorite person in London

I first met Sara in New York in November, 2008.  She was packing around a sweet potato pie and we saw Daniel Radcliffe naked.  Fast forward to June, 2010.  Again, in New York, but this time randomly on the subway, I found out she was moving to London in the fall and we talked about her research interests.  I envied her, because I had applied to a program in London in April and hadn't heard from them yet. I didn't have hopes of going.  Fast forward to July, 2010: I'm moving to London.

So before coming out here I only met this girl twice, but I liked her.  Not only was she carrying around a sweet potato pie the first time we met, she also climbed onto someone's shoulders for a better view of DR coming out of the stage door after the play, while I held her pie. I don't think we saw him, but the girl made me laugh really hard.  When I came out here I knew no one but Sara, and we had been corresponding a little over our blogs and email, but I didn't expect her to become such an important friend in my life. 

I love Sara.  I really do.  She is an angel.  I mean, come on, look at this face!

She really is an angel though, and I think I opened up to her and told her my whole life story the first time we ever hung out.  She's hilarious, but serious. Silly, but thoughtful.  I've learned that it's ok to argue with her, and she'll still like me even if she yells at me.  When I hang out with her I turn into one of those loud Americans that everyone hates, but I can't help it because she's so funny.  And she's been the best London friend I could have hoped for.  I came here knowing no one and Sara was there the whole time.  I'm leaving tomorrow for a few weeks and while I don't think I'll miss London too much while I'm gone, I already miss Sara. We've had some pretty great adventures, including dancing like mad women at an LCD Soundsystem show, and then there was that whole Brighton/Bath fiasco that ended up still being fun. We've walked all over the place, and last week we met at Primrose Hill and realized that London is really ugly. 
Ugly London, Lovely Sara
She also loves Jaffa Cakes.  In fact, we just finished off a box of Jaffa Cakes right before I took that picture of her on Primrose Hill.  And for that, she has my heart forever. 

Love you Sara! Happy Birthday!! 

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

maybe my life is a movie: Will Sheff's soloish show at Old St. Pancras Church, London

I've been trying to think all day long about how I can blog about last night.  When I got home and skyped with my sisters I utilized squeals, clapping hands and other visual aids to convey my excitement and joy.  It's hard to clap my hands and squeal in a blog post.  

I've loved Okkervil River for a lot of years now, and this was the 4th time I've seen them in some form or another.  It's too bad that the whole band wasn't there, but the intimacy of the venue and all of the things that happened because of that marks this show as one of my favorites of all time.  It was at Old St. Pancras Church, a tiny church that has been there since the 4th century and which if you recall I recently blogged about, and I got there pretty early, as I do, and got a seat right at the front.  

The show itself was nice and quiet. Everyone stayed seated for most of it, which was great because I've not been feeling well lately and i didn't have to stand up that whole time. I sat next to a girl from Italy with a really lovely thick British accent (who I will refer to as L.), who happens to be friends with Patrick, Okkervil River's bassist, who was also there with Will. She and I struck up a friendly conversation that made the hour or so wait fly by, and Patrick kept coming over to talk to her, which was exciting for me.  

The performance was fantastic.  The lighting and sound were crap but it didn't matter because we were all so close anyway.  It was very intimate, and at one point, for "A Stone", one of my favorite songs, he started wandering into the audience and was standing directly in front of me. Like 2 feet away. And the song was beautiful.  He sang it slowly and sumptuously and even added an extra verse. Everyone was enthralled.  I couldn't help but me tremendously moved, and after the song everyone exploded in applause that lasted forever. It was such a perfect moment.

For the encore Will came out and played "For Real" on a little old piano at the back of the church.  Everyone got up and gathered around the piano and L. and I were standing on some chairs. I had left my coat and scarf on my chair, and when i came back, underneath scarf was the SET LIST. Someone put it there!  You can imagine my delighted surprise.  Who put it there? and why? I thought maybe L. did but she was with me the whole time. So i folded it and put it in my pocket, with a stupid grin plastered to my face.  

After the show Patrick and Will were out talking to people, including L. so I kind of pushed my way into the circle and L. introduced me to both of them. (I didn't tell Will that we had met before in Salt Lake when I chased him into a bathroom). But it gets better. After I met Will, Patrick asked me if I liked the little gift he hid for me. After a second, it clicked.  The set list! he put it there!!  Happy birthday me!!! I stuck around with L and some american dudes and after Patrick had helped pack up the gear he came out and talked to us for a little while.  As he was saying goodbye to us and he gave me a hug and said "I'm happy I got to be your little elf." I think I died right there.
Best. Gift. Ever. 

It was a lovely night, a lovely show with fantastic people.  I was smiling the whole time and couldn't help but think how awesome my life is right now.  I did record some video, but it didn't turn out so well so I'm not going to post it.  I wish the lighting had been a bit better, and I also realized this morning that I should have got a picture with Will, and it never crossed my mind.  Oh well. Next time.  And there will be a next time because they're going to be here in May! And hopefully I'll get to go with L.  Can't wait. 

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

I'm stupidly happy, like the words to that song

I'm kind of in love with my life right now, and it seems to just keep getting better.  And even though there are parts that don't seem to be getting any better, I feel like I am getting better.  I feel like making a list of all the great things that are happening.

First, church.  I love church.  I love it.  For the last couple of months I've felt like the only thing going well in my life was church, which has never happened before, and which made all the other crappy things that were happening feel less crappy.  I have two callings, Sunday School Teacher and Volunteer Temple Worker, and they have kind of changed my life. We're studying the New Testament this year, which is my favorite book of scripture, and I love being able to study it closely and teach about it.  I love reading about the life of Christ, the things he taught and did, and I am

Thursday, March 10, 2011

how many holes does it take to fill up Albert Hall?

For most of my life I've been trying to convince people how important art is.  I've been preaching that art is good for the soul, that it will bring you to a heightened sense of self awareness, world awareness, people awareness. Art can make you a better person.  I believed my professors when they told me this, and I hoped my students believed it when I taught them this. But honestly? I don't know if I ever really felt it, and sometimes I wondered if I was straight up lying to them.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

what a way to make a living...

Oh dear, what have I got myself into?

Something you need to know about be is that I can be incredibly lazy.  I know a lot of people say that about themselves when it's not true, but I seriously think I'm allergic to work, like normal people 9 to 5 kind of work.  You know that song by Dolly Parton? Yeah, that scares the hell out of me.  I'm idealistic and lazy, and that kind of work is just not for me.  This is why I want to be an academic.  My idea of "work" is when I spend three or four 12 hour research/writing days in a row, followed by a couple of weeks of "thinking time".  I do consider thinking time to be working time, coming up with ideas, mulling them over, going to class and museums and movies and reading novels and watching BBC documentaries.  All of these things are important to me when it comes to those intense days of work, but to most people it's nothing more than decadent leisure time, the kind of time people have to carefully plan for in the busy working lives.

Don't worry, I feel guilty about it.  I know I'm living the life, and essentially avoiding "real" work.  I really don't expect anyone to pay for me to live this lifestyle, and as much as I hope to someday be a famous scholar and professor at prestigious university, I really kinda don't want to work for anyone, especially a university.  Most of my like-minded friends decided to become school teachers, which I would have done if I didn't have such a problem with authority and administration.  I saw academic life as a life of freedom, but I'm not so naive these days; I know I won't be able to get through my entire life without it being taken over by work.

I really just don't like people telling me what to do.  I know what I need to do and I just need space and time to do it.  I'm a huge brat that way.

Bearing all of this in mind and adding the fact that I come from a long line of entrepreneurs (my great uncle invented the franchise system when he joined up with Colonel Sanders to start KFC, my great grandma owned a beauty salon, my grandparents owned a business building horse trailers, my mom started several business when I was growing up), plus the fact that I have a very like-minded sister with the same aversion to authority, and it almost seems inevitable that we'd try to start our own business.

And so now I'm in it, and it's just like a real job except that I'm not getting any pay (as of now).  We've built a website, written a book, and work several hours a day trying to build an online presence, and now I must write content for a blog to post every single day.  (It takes me hours just to prepare a post for this blog, and I only post about once a week.) Plus, you know, it is an editing business and we're hoping to get some clients so that I can do more work editing manuscripts.

Holy crap! What is going to happen to my museum days and matinĂ©e films and long leisurely walks through the city?  On top of school, no less.  And you know what's just around the corner?  Spring, that's what. Spring and picnics and long leisurely walks through the park, and concerts and then summer is going to be here and how can I possibly work 8 hours a day in summer??

Oh goodness, it really is time for me to grow up and join reality, isn't it?  Really though, I love Arch Editing, and I'm confident that it will work out.  I love the website and the blog and the book and I love editing, and even if I do have to work 8 hours a day, I can start those 8 hours after I go to a museum, or I can take a 2 hour lunch to walk through the park.  There is freedom in that.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

flapjacks, research, libraries, blogs, loos, anti-fashion, and horror (or, just a normal wednesday)

Did you know the British Library has the tastiest apple crisp bars in the entire world?  They're inexplicably called "apple blackberry flapjacks." There aren't any blackberries in them, and they definitely aren't flapjacks. I don't know if the British know what a flapjack is. 

Yes, I am in the British Library.  Again.  I live here, I can't escape it, even when I try it lures me back with its delicious apple crisp bars (and its books).  

I bought a really expensive notebook today and decided that I would do some research in the BL the old fashioned way, just me and a book and an expensive notebook, oh and a pencil.  I read the book and took notes without the use of my computer.  It was tricky at first.  My hand was definitely unsure of itself as it tried to write words, constantly skipping letters and forgetting how to form certain shapes.  It's true, I don't do much handwriting these days, and it took a while to get back into it.  

Before coming to the library I worked all morning. Like, proper work.  If you know me, you know I have an aversion to work.  But, as much as I hate working, my aversion to authority is even greater, and if I don't work hard on the business my sister and I are starting, then I'll have to work for someone else some day, which sounds like the worst thing imaginable.  So I started a new blog for We want it to be a writing resource, covering everything from proper grammar to getting published.  We'll review books and blogs and write our own handy little articles.  I am excited for it, but I know it's going to be SO much work.  

Also, this is brilliant.  This guy has mapped out all of the public toilets in London!  Apparently there's more than 800 here, which is awesome considering there's 3 in Rome.  It's handy to know where to find them. What a clever idea.   

Oh, and I did this to my hair the other day.  

I felt the need to dye it, and I initially wanted to do bright pink streaks, but I decided to be a little more conservative and go for the red.  But there is an old lady who I see at the BL and she has the exact same hair as me, so I'm thinking I will do the pink as soon as I find some good hair dye.  I didn't do it try to be cool or fact I feel like it's probably really uncool for a 27 year old to dye her hair pink.  I did it because I don't really care.  My hair doesn't need to be perfect, and I don't need to try to preserve its pristine state and color.  It can look like crap, which it definitely does today.  I've probably been reading too much about punk anti-fashion.  Or maybe it's because I've realized none of it really matters: clothes, hair, make up. It doesn't matter and I don't care.  There, you can believe that or not.  I'm not sure if I do completely, I just know that the easiest thing for me to do is dye my hair, wear lots of black eye shadow and start making my own clothes because I can't buy the things I like anyway because i'm broke and nothing I like fits.  When I go home in April I'm going to go through all my old clothes, or go to the charity shops, and make skirts out of anything I think will work.  I'm excited about this.  I also have some sweaters I've worn all winter that could very easily be turned into summer skirts.  

Finally, I'm going to admit this, I started reading Crash by J.G. Ballard.  Woah. I don't know if I can make it through the whole book...I'm surprised I got through the first chapter.  It is definitely disturbing and painful to look at, on so so many levels, but there's something intensely compelling about how it's written that makes me want to finish it.  It reminds me of watching a really awful horror movie where you can't get into the horror, you just float above it, paying more attention to how it is all crafted than to the actual terrible things that are happening.  That's how I watch horror movies anyway, and probably why I love them so much.  I haven't seen a good horror movie in months, and I really need to sit down and watch something soon. I miss Susperia and The Shining and The Omen and all of those wonderful movies I used to watch all of the time.  It's time to get back into that.  Remember how I wrote my Masters thesis on zombies?  yeah, those were good times.  

And there you have it.  That's my random blog for the day.  thanks for enduring, if you did.