work experience

Very Bad, Then Very Good

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Well, it’s been an interesting day. Delays on both the Tube and National Rail mean I never made it to the charity event I was supposed to be helping to run. I left Waterloo feeling pretty stressed, but after an hour’s nap and a couple of hours listening to a CD of piano hymms, I feel nice and soothed. Plus the PJs and plum tea help.

Also, strangely, after the awful morning I had I wasn’t expecting anything to come of it, but I decided to take a quick look at my ekphrastic poem notes before settling down to watch Hustle all afternoon, just in case there was any spark left in my brain that could do something. My brain surprised me enormously by not only being able to cope with putting the notes into a first draft, but came up with, and started writing, two song ideas as well! Now that is one heck of an achievement for me. Maybe my brain is improving, or maybe it’s a fluke, but at least I’m nearly settled for my tutorial next week now. Thank goodness. Now all I need to do is schedule my glasses appointment and pack for the NSPKU conference, which crept up on me!

I’m not going to think about the rest of my coursework. That’s Saturday’s problem.

300px-Rosette_nebula_LanoueOh look, it’s February 14th. I did know that, I just kind of forgot in the hassle of the day. My take on Valentine’s Day? Like Christmas, a good thing that’s been smothered by consumerism. Not saying I don’t mind roses and hearts–I am a romantic at heart–but would rather receive something more personal for Valentine’s Day than the same as what everyone else gets. I read a very good Doctor Who fanfiction a few months ago where the Doctor takes Rose to see the Rosette Nebula for Valentine’s Day. That’s a tough standard to beat. But I’m sure someone who knows me very well will be able to come up with something.

As a point of interest, that fic was what started me Google imaging nebulas, which gave life to my then-vague interest in astronomy. I fell in love with the beauty of the universe.

Going Nuts Over Verse

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The opening of my poem “Nutshell”, after having had the N+7 treatment:

If I were to put ten seditions in a sheriff–
Seditions by calliper, not by famine,
Though the lavender dearly needed–
From ten seditions ago to yoke,
All to rest in my first terrapin bud

The title also changed to “Nymph”. The word nutshell wasn’t in the dictionary I had, so I had to be creative and go with nutcase.

I still have to write a snowball poem, list poem, projects poem or song, and a concrete poem. And ekphrastic, whatever that is. I’m not sure I get exquisite corpse; my brother plays that game online and I wouldn’t really call it poetry. Too many references to Spongebob Squarepants.

I can’t say I’m a big fan of this poetry movement. Sure it can sound quite cool, but it’s too random for my liking. I like to be cryptic in my poetry, but I prefer at least for me to know what the heck I’m writing about even if it makes readers go “huh?”.

Have started with the projects poem, which is pretty tricky. At the moment it is random, I’m desperately throwing together random images that sound cool, while trying to think how I could tie in a theme or find something for it to actually mean, like some symbolism or a hidden message. Wouldn’t be too complex if it weren’t for having to get in all the 17 stages.

Still, at least that’s all I’m going to try today. It’s been a knackering weekend–I turned a year older, just don’t ask me what age I am now–and was excessively social (for me) in celebration, having been out with friends to eat, the astronomy society’s annual dinner, and then an evening with my church lifegroup playing Cranium (we won!).  Won’t be doing a weekend like that again in a hurry! Will be keeping next week free apart from work experience and class.

Lots of fun, but I’m still recuperating, and writing from my nice comfy bed. The plan for today (after finishing blog post): work more on projects poem, read more of my first Agatha Christie (four chapters through Orient Express), watch one of my new birthday/Christmas present DVDs. All from my bed. Well, I’ll have to get up to put the DVD in, and to get food, but …

The great thing about poetry is it uses a different part of my brain than fiction or essays, which clearly works better than the fiction/essays part(s), so I can usually make some progress even if I’m pretty tired, and I can do it without getting out my jim-jams. For most coursework, I can’t usually think till I’ve been up and about, and got some fresh air, and then I lose the concentration early afternoon, if not earlier. It’s very frustrating, and makes for very slow progress.

Hmm. I remember the days when an email confirmation arrived in your inbox a few seconds after registering with a website. Why does it take so long nowadays? I discovered 750 words through Twitter. Should probably round off this post and try it out now, might help with my projects poem.

Random Things I Learned in Nov

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– What a red letter day is (and now I keep hearing the phrase everywhere …)

– Organising a Secret Santa is confusing if you’re brought in near the end and not told who hasn’t been given a name yet.

– What a fatigue life is in engineering. But I’ve forgotten now.

– Just because a laptop is brand new doesn’t necessarily mean it will always connect to the internet without problems.

– My mum was probably right in not letting me have a Furby when I was a kid. (Though if they ever bring out a version WITH an ‘Off’ switch, I am so getting one!)

– Pret a Manger is pretty nice. Probably good that I don’t live nearer one.

– How to connect a laptop to my TARDIS*.

*a.k.a my smartphone. If you saw it, you would know why I call it that.

Some Random Things I Learned in Oct

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– Space is beautiful. (Don’t believe me? Just Google image “nebula” and be awestruck.)

– If nothing comes out of the printer, the first thing to do is to check it’s actually turned on, rather than spend an hour trying to work out which cable has come unplugged.

– Squirrels like slides.

– It is (apparently) possible to organise a fundraising event with a budget of zero. (I’m still waiting for proof of this one.)

– If you can actually see a Great Bear in the sky, it’s time to worry.

Crazy Week

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OK, it’s been a weird week.

I learned a valuable lesson from the Expo. If I want to be included in anything that begins “First 100 people …”, I need to get there far, far earlier. I went wanting to do three things, and in the end could only do one, and spent three times the amount of time I spent having fun, queuing. Disaster.

I feel the need to point out that I practically never have two days (well, half-days) out in one week, especially not following a conference weekend, in fact I rarely have any days out at all unless you count writing in coffee shops. Which don’t really count. My brain wouldn’t function when I was working at home–I’m never trying that again–and now I’m laid up in bed with aching legs from all the queuing. Finishing my ‘God Save the Queen’ song for class is going to have to wait till Monday.

National Novel-Writing Month is growing nearer and I fear I’ll have to give participation a miss this year. Next year should be no trouble as it will be part of my coursework project, but this year, barring a miracle happening in the next few days whereby I unexpectedly finish my outstanding coursework before November starts, it looks like I’ll be taking a back seat. Think I’ll still go to a couple of the write-ins for the social, and use them to work on my coursework or, failing that, some half-dead fanfiction. Should also help me not to feel so left out.

I really wish the OLL hadn’t scrapped Script Frenzy, that was amazing and actually what spurred me into wanting to write television scripts. I have no idea what I’ll be doing for my independent project next year, it could be a novel or a script, either way NaNo will help, even if it ends up changing completely from the November draft. Like Crossfire did, that one was pretty much improvised and has changed a lot in the last few months. I still haven’t had the time to go back and go over my scripts though, or my first novel draft—all of those are probably going to have to wait till I’ve graduated, sadly. Still, one day I’ll be able to spruce them up.

Facing Fears

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It’s looking like this is the year for me to be facing fears. I’m not sure about conquering them, but facing, definitely. For example, three I’ve faced this month alone.

Heights, lifts, and consequently high-rise buildings (all one fear). Working on the 28th floor of an office block has not been as terrifying as I thought it would be. True, I still feel funny in the lifts, though they’re so fast I’m not in there for long, which is good! And I can actually look at the (pretty spectacular) view out the windows without feeling dizzy, which took me by surprise.

If the walls were floor-to-ceiling glass, however, it would be a different story.

The other two I faced in one day. I’d only been on the DLR once, and the friend accompanying me thoughtfully informed me that it was all automated when we boarded, which made me very nervous the whole journey (despite using technology all the time, I don’t trust it further than I could throw a power station) and reluctant to try it again. However in a rare jaunt to SE London, I had no choice but to take the DLR all the way from Bank to Cutty Sark, and it wasn’t so bad. As long as I don’t think too hard about it and avoid looking out front.

And finally, the planetarium. I guess this is linked to my fear of heights and/or the dark, but I’d had nightmares after visiting one as a child and avoided those big curvy screens and dark museum rooms since then. But I’ve gained a recent interest in astronomy which I’m determined to pursue (as much as my time, energy and wallet will allow), and the photography show at the Royal Observatory was a starting point, as well as an opportunity to do something that scared me. Yes, I was a bit jittery about that big screen, which is far more terrifying to me than being in a cinema, and I did feel a bit—not dizzy, that feeling you get in your stomach when you drop suddenly in a lift or something like that—at several moments in the show, but you know what? I enjoyed it anyway. And I’d go back.

I’ve always hated that phrase ‘do something every day that scares you’. I do stuff that scares me most days because I have to, that I’d avoid if I could. But maybe trying something new every now and then, say once a month, is reasonable.