Wednesday, November 30, 2011


So... sorry I've been such a lame-o blogger lately. Have this photo of an unrelated Christmas tree in Covent Garden as atonement! My excuse is that I've been distracted and stressed out about school, travel, moving, money, and everything else since I just love to be the mayor of Stress City. I went to Vienna over the weekend, which is beautiful, and I'll be uploading photos of that very shortly but not until after Saturday when my life will have calmed down a bit (hopefully). I'm moving from on-campus housing in Uxbridge to Walthamstow in Northeast London, where I'll be renting a room in a house with a few other girls. I say "house" but it's more like a townhouse/apartment with a bunch of bedrooms and a kitchen. I'm super excited though, because I'll be in Zone 3 instead of Zone 6, and therefore only 20 minutes away from central London instead of an hour. Uxbridge is lovely, but it's miles away from everything.

Since this post is pretty useless overall, I'll spice it up by sending you to my friend and classmate Lucy's new blog: You Should Have Seen Me Reading Marx (Pop Culture for the Unpopular). She's in my novel writing program so obviously she's a genius, and I'm endlessly jealous of her hilarious prose. Read her blog, I compel you!

Right. That's it, then. Oh, and this (which, if you haven't seen it, well you probs should):

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Night Fog

Are you tired of Big Ben photos yet? Better not be, 'cause have I got news for you! There are a few of them in this post.

A couple weekends ago Shaun and I went to the Lord Mayor's Show, which was basically a really long and excitingly British parade followed by fireworks over the Thames. It was super fun and dorky, and I took about a billion photos of the parade, some of which I will post here when I feel like sifting through all of them and picking out the good ones. After the fireworks we went to a pub Shaun had been to before and had many ciders and delicious veggie soup with bread and butter. Can I just say, the English have got the food thing down! You hear so many things in the States about how English food sucks, but they are wrong! English food rules. So there.

Anyway, on the way to the pub I took a few night shots, and then a couple hours later a nice heavy fog had settled over London. It was so beautiful, so I took a billion more photos. The Eye was particularly striking. I'll let the photos do the talking, though.

Thursday, November 17, 2011


This past Sunday I went to Stonehenge with Shaun. She'd been there before but I hadn't, so I found a bus tour that only cost about £30, including admission to Stonehenge. I hate trying to sort out public transportation. Finding the quickest route plus cheapest fares is a pile of annoying in my opinion, so this worked out perfectly! We only had an hour to walk around the stones and take photos, as well as buy food (which I needed desperately), which we complained about for a while, but it turned out to be a pretty reasonable amount of time to wander slowly in a circle out in the cold.

I've always wanted to go to Stonehenge. I think it's one of the top 10 places I'd love to visit before I die (not sure; I never made an actual list), but now I can cross it off! It was a bit different than expected, just because it is literally right off the road, so you look a bit past the grazing sheep and there's the motorway. I didn't find this to be much of a mood killer, though. Stonehenge is so beautiful that you could stand it in the middle of London and it would still be this glorious, mysterious thing.

I was disappointed that it wasn't dreary and grey when we went (like every other day in England ever, except the one day I go to Stonehenge), but it was oddly sunny. I had this vision in my head of Stonehenge emerging out of a druidic fog, but it turned out to be so gorgeous anyway. The shadows on the stones, and cast across the unearthly green grass made the whole experience just as magical as if it'd been foggy and misted with rain. As we made our way around the stones the sun started to set, and I got a few great shots of Stonehenge with the beginnings of a sunset behind it.

Getting out of the city for even a short while was just what I needed. We got to shiver and breathe the cold English air for an hour, which was perfect! I can't wait to do more things outside of London. I need to make a list of all the castles and villages I'd like to visit, because clearly, you can't explore England unless you're pretending it's still Medieval Britain.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Pies and Pints

Clearly, after a harrowing one-on-one tutorial on how one's writing is broken and needs fixing, the best remedy is pie and a pint. Clearly! Lucy and I thought so, anyway. Did you know I've never had a pie before? I mean a proper British one, with like... meat inside. We have pot pies in the States, but how often do you guys eat pot pies? Like never? And now my most recent memory of pot pies is the pilot of Grimm, where the wolf-man/kidnapper/pedophile(?) asks his most recent kidnappee if she would like a pot pie and she replies, "I want to go home!" So thanks a lot Grimm, I now associate pot pies with abduction and pedophilia. (Not even sure if the wolf guy was a pedophile, but he did seem the type.)

British pies aren't pot pies, though (I tell myself in a consoling whisper), so we went and got some pies. Lucy brought us to this pub, Chef & Brewer, which was in an awesome old building. Since every single old building is amazing to me, I had to take photos, but as I was doing so this guy drove up and started questioning me about why I was taking photos and whether I was with the press. Turns out he was the owner of the pub. "Uhhh," I said, articulately, "I just think the building is cool?" He seemed satisfied, but I was so freaked out because I thought he was going to say photos weren't allowed or something and then I would have cried a thousand tears. I blame my honking DSLR; the thing makes me look like I'm on an artistic mission every time I take a picture of something stupid like the sign for Dead Man's Hole. Which, admittedly, can be a good thing: I look like a photography student instead of a tourist. But still. Embarrassing.

Apparently they have the option of flat beer in England, you guys. I know. Flat beer. I asked the guy at the bar what was a good light beer (they don't have any beers I'm familiar with, since I'm a hipster who's used to Oregon microbrews), and he asked if I wanted a flat beer or a "lively" one. I went with a lively lager, because who doesn't want their beer to be lively, which turned out to be Foster's. It was pretty good! I guess it's Australian? Good job, Australia. I guess. Lucy got a Crabbie's, which is alcoholic ginger beer, you guys. (What the hell is ginger beer, you ask. I know, I didn't know either until I had to buy some for Shaun when she got all nauseous on Oxford Street, but it's basically ginger ale, as far as I can tell.) I think next time I'm gonna be drinkin' the Crabbie's. They also make a mulled ginger wine, which I need.

You guys should be jealous of our pie and pint experience, which definitely made up for the fact that I received a B on my writing submission instead of an A, and that I have no idea how to write in the way that I want to write. At least I've had a venison and merlot pie. Yeah, venison and merlot! There was also steak and ale, or some other one that I didn't read properly, but the venison and merlot turned out delicious, and the mashed potatoes and veggies were good too. Or "mash" and "veg" as they would say here. Ha, words.

Behold the glory of the venison and merlot pie. Look how bland it all is!

No clue what that awful face I'm making is all about.

So that's pretty much all I did today, aside from getting Starbucks, buying tampons, and making myself ill after eating a ton of my mom's chocolate chip cookies.

Before I go, though, check out these boats we saw! England has such cool things!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Mobile Uploads

I've been amassing a mediocre collection of photography on my (awful Samsung) phone, taken when I didn't have a proper camera with me, so here are some of those photos. The one above is a poster for Noel Fielding's signing at the Oxford Street HMV, which Shaun and I were lucky enough to get wristbands to! We both now have signed copies of Noel's book Scribblings of a Madcap Shambleton, which is amazing. Dave Brown was there as well, and he drew a ghost with a bowler hat in mine. So awesome!

Sunset in Hyde Park.

Full English breakfast, complete with "bacon" and gross shriveled tomato thing. Seriously though, England, your bacon is not bacon. It is strips of ham. Just clearing that up. Also that bag in the right photo was carried around so much that one of the straps broke. Sadface! Must get a new mid-size bag.

From Saturday in Covent Garden. London is ready for Christmas! (As am I.)

This morning I got a bit lost while attempting a shortcut around campus, and found an amazing little church and cemetery. Think I might explore Uxbridge a bit more now that I know things like this exist.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Patrick Wolf

I remember exactly where I was and what I was doing the first time I listened to Patrick Wolf. It was late at night upstairs in my room at my parents' house, the summer of 2005, after my first year of college. Somebody on livejournal had recommended his album Wind in the Wires and uploaded it for me. The first song I listened to was "The Libertine", and immediately I loved it. Often my favorite artists or bands are acquired tastes, but with Patrick it was immediate. I listened to the entire album in one sitting, and I remember the next day raving about it to my friend Bethany. We went on a drive into the mountains, for whatever reason (we were 19 and emo?), and listened to Cantiga and Patrick Wolf. It was one of the best moments of my life, because our only purpose was to be in a beautiful world listening to beautiful music.

Now, six years later, I still get that feeling when I listen to Patrick Wolf. It's hard for me to put into words the love I have for him and his music, because I'm afraid whatever I say will cheapen it. I know it sounds cheesy, but it's true! I've spent so many nights lying awake, depressed, listening to his music. I've spent so many days full of complete and utter joy, listening to his music. I've written stories while listening to it, I've fallen asleep to it. You know what I'm talking about if you have a favorite singer or musician or band. It's the music that speaks to your soul. I can't put it into words beyond that or this will just become a strange introspective piece on the inner workings of my psyche and spirituality or some crap, but you understand what I mean.

So on Friday I finally got to see Patrick live. It was at the Roundhouse in London, the last show on his Lupercalia tour. It was incredible. I'm still on a bit of a high from it, and I've been listening to nothing but Patrick Wolf on iTunes since then. He is an amazing performer. He connects with the crowd, he plays different instruments, dances, twirls, writhes and struts; he's like a creature from another world. He came out in a red jacket over a sparkly shirt and black ribbon bow tie, his hair all disheveled. For the encore he had a fake hawk on his shoulder. I can't handle how fabulous he is. He's this amazing, perfect balance of adorable and sexy, humble and confident; his music is at once joyous and sad. It was so overwhelming. I had a huge grin on my face the entire time.

Sadly I didn't bring my camera for the concert, because I was worried fiddling with it would distract me from the raw emotion of seeing Patrick live (I'm such a weirdo), but Shaun got some shots from the encore, which she was sweet enough to let me use in my blog post! Thank you Shaun. ♥

If you want to see some really amazing photos from the show, I highly suggest you check out this photoset on flickr. You can see Patrick in all of his red jacket fabulousness.

Also, I'm now convinced that my next tattoo will be of Patrick Wolf lyrics. I'd already thought about it for a while, but I'm decided. I think it'll be from his song "Paris" but I won't say which lyrics exactly. Not 'til they're branded on me forever!

Here's the first song I ever heard by Patrick Wolf, which remains one of my favorites to date: "The Libertine".

And here is one of my favorites from his latest album, Lupercalia, "Together".

You guys, if you're not listening to Patrick Wolf right now, fix that. He is seriously one of the most talented, beautiful, amazing people in the world. He's touched me more deeply than most things in my life have or ever will. I will always be in awe of him.