Saturday, October 29, 2011

MCM Expo

Today was quite long, and I grew some new blisters (as well as making a few old ones even bigger), but it was completely awesome, and worth it! This morning Shaun and I met up with my friend Hellen and her boyfriend Tim, and ventured into the jaws of the London MCM Expo. I didn't quite know what to expect (other than a ton of cosplay nerds, my fave), and it turned out to be tons of fun. I wish I'd taken more photos of cosplayers, but I was feeling shy and didn't want to stop every single dude dressed as the Eleventh Doctor for a photo. There were so many amazing costumes though, it was kind of overwhelming! I absolutely love that sort of thing; there was endless people-watching to be had.

I did get a picture of the Companion Cube for Greg (it was just sitting there, alone by the stairs), and various other randomness that will shortly follow. The highlight for me, though, was meeting Gideon Emery and Adam Howden, the voice actors of Fenris and Anders from Dragon Age 2. They totally signed photos of the characters, and I had to resist the urge to be like "CAN YOU SAY SOMETHING IN FENRIS'S VOICE BLAH OMG FANGIRL EXPLOSION." That would've been embarrassing. Instead I said to Gideon, "I ROMANCE FENRIS EVERY TIME I PLAY THROUGH," which is just as embarrassing, and on so many more levels. Sigh. At least I got a sweet caption out of it (lmao):

Adam, on the other hand, was totally mature in his.

(Look at lurking Edgeworth in the background!)

More weird fangirl goals: ACHIEVED! I need to make a check-list or something, because I'm racking up the nerdy celeb meetings. Here, have some more photos with captions written by me, right now.

First thing we found was "Cyber Candy" which is apparently street speak for "American junk food". There were so many people buying it! (We later found another table selling American food and bought a bunch of Twizzlers for £1.60 per tiny packet.)

Love this one of Shaun! She is surrounded by a milieu of geekdom. (Can you spot the half-assed Doctor cosplay in the background?)

So excited for the Avengers movie.

There was this steampunk area. Shaun was all "what's steampunk" so I explained it, and at first she was dubious, but after seeing a few men in steampunk cosplay now she won't shut up about it! Shaun: Officially Into Steampunk Now.

Awkwardly racist toy.

Companion Cube! I have not played Portal, but one day... I will.

These dudes were just hanging out in a cluster, having their pictures taken endlessly. I wonder what they look like in there. Are any of them women? Questions.

Creepy glowy-eyed Jawas.

Well guys, that's about it for photos of the Expo! I know, I totally dropped the ball on that one. Oh well, I won't mess it up next time. Next time I'll take a photo of every single Doctor cosplayer I see. Every single one.

In ~normal real life news~, after the Expo I went to look at a flat in Walthamstow, which I have high hopes for, but we'll leave it at that until I hear back from the landlord! Hope you're all having a fantastic weekend. ♥

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Faraway Friends

Feeling sentimental again. Or did I ever stop? I suppose my life is an unending cycle of sentimentality and melancholy, interspersed with moments of sleeping. I'm usually relatively happy, but lately I'm feeling like such a useless lump that it's hard. I am a useless lump; Greg confirmed it. I won't deny it. It's true.

I miss my friends. I mean, I always did, but tonight it actually hurts. Greg's absence has been hurting me every day since I flew out of Portland, I cry almost every night (I feel so pathetic typing that), but the absence of my friends has been a dull ache. Of course I miss them, but then I'm used to friends moving, going to college, leaving Montana, joining the Peace Corps, going to grad school. I was even the one leaving, once, but nobody really missed me except my mom, and I went to Portland where my best friends were. Now I've left them, not even a full two years later, and I'm alone again. Tonight the dull ache is a sharper pang.

I'm being a sadsack but if I can't be a sadsack in my own blog where the hell can I be one? I guess I'm writing this for my friends back in Portland, mostly. I miss you guys. I miss you guys so much. At the end of this stint in England, what I want most is to go back to Portland and see you all again, drink Oregon beer with you again, eat a shit-ton of Thai food because there's so much of it in Portland (and so little by comparison in London), and watch Trek in the Park or have coffee on Hawthorne. I think of home, and it's Portland. It's all of you there.

I don't know if I'll make it back. There are so many things that could happen in a year. I could be taken on by a British publishing house, doomed to spend years in London working with my agent and editing and promoting my novel (ha!). I could decide to fly back to Utah to meet Greg, and stay there for years. I might decide I need to cut all earthly bonds and ascend, like Daniel Jackson in SG-1. I could even fall so deeply in love with England that I could never imagine leaving. You never know. I accept that. I do. I think I do, a little. Maybe? ...I accept, anyway, that I don't know what's ahead.

I do know that if I had my way, "home" would always be in Portland. I'd have a city to go back to. Because ever since Missoula grew too small for me, I've only felt at home in one place, and it was my one-bedroom apartment in Southeast Portland. I fucking loved that place. It was the best place. Greg and I made it ours. It was our cozy Portland place. I miss it.

I don't regret a thing, though. London? I love it here! It's London! But it's huge, chaotic, and grasping. I imagine when it's done with me it'll spit me out, like an owl pellet, whereas Portland would always hold me close to its beating heart. I don't mind. London might be too much for me in the long-term, but there's always the rest of England. And the world.

You never know.

I do know that I miss you all. My friends. You mean more to me than anything else in the world. So come visit me, you giant lazy butts. ♥

Finally, though, I'm more than a pile of fucking grateful for Shaun, my fellow ex-patriot trapped in London's wonderful claws. We love it here. It's absolutely amazing. We're like adventurers, explorers, spelunking in the great foreign recesses of the city. Sometimes we get lost, feel lonely or homesick, have weird emotional outbursts for no reason, but at least we have each other. And we make this city pretty damn fun when we have a mind to.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

This is the Business

Promise I'll get back to your comments shortly! Meaning, right after I post this. (I do try to go back and reply to most comments if I have anything useful to say, and I know it's impossible to remember and nobody goes back to read replies, except maybe me, but I do reply to most comments if you are bored and want to see what I've said to you.)

ANYWAY, wanted to do a now rare outfit post. Didn't put much (if any?) effort into this. I did at first but somehow my camera ate the photos after I'd taken them and they disappeared from the memory card. Typical. Anyway I was like "UGH I guess I'll redo this then," and angrily drank my chai tea latte while doing so.

I'm wearing: H&M shorts and sweater, blouse from my dad (he got it in Kuwait so who the hell knows where), We Love Colors tights (the only tights I'll wear now), Blowfish shoes that you can't see.

In these photos I'm rocking out to "The Bike Song" by Mark Ronson & the Business Intl. Featuring some other vocal artists since Mark Ronson just produces, plays instruments, and stands around looking hot apparently.

Where did this blog post go? Not sure. I like how one day I'm super articulate and other days I'm like "I'M BORED WHY DON'T I RAMBLE ON THE BLOG FOR A WHILE." I really appreciate everybody who reads and comments, though. I truly do. The fact that people actually read my blog makes me want to cry happy tears for the rest of my life. Seriously.

In parting, have this embarrassing photo of me "dancing":

Tuesday, October 18, 2011


Oh hi, many moons since I was last here. Not. HAHAHAHA is the "not joke" still hilarious? I still use it, regardless of its comedic value, because I find it hilarious!


So I'm having this issue of, "Where do I shop for super cheap and/or used clothing in London?" I've been to Primark, which is awesome, but I guess I'm curious about even cheaper options like charity shops. Is Oxfam pretty good? There's also this Heart Foundation shop on the Uxbridge high street that's really small but seems cool. Any other suggestions? I'm curious because 1) I need more sweaters for damn cheap, and 2) I need an Eleventh Doctor costume by Saturday the 29th so I can cosplay at the London MCM Expo. YES I'M JUST THAT COOL. So, suggestions? I'm so useless at London, you guys.

ALSOOO if anyone wants to be my friend and hang out in London or outside London at any point, unless you're a creeper/murderer, let me know! I've got like 2 friends here so I will cling to you like a crazy person! I mean friend. I'll cling to you like a friend. Just email me or comment or tweet me, and we can go take dumb photos of things! (I'm so pathetic I'm asking for friends on my blog.)

Okay well this post has been pointless. I love you all! ♥

Monday, October 17, 2011

Thoughts on England

When I first got here, I had no idea what to expect. I'd never been to the UK before. I mean, let's be honest, I probably had more of an idea than most Americans upon disembarking at Heathrow Airport. I was, and am, a self-professed Anglophile so I wasn't coming here expecting to be catered to as a special snowflake American by a bunch of men in bowler hats saying "pip pip, cheerio," or something. In fact I've often wished it would be better if I'd just been born in the England so I wouldn't have to deal with all of this "moving overseas" business. However now that I'm here, I've been feeling homesick and missing all things American, instead of immersing myself in the English culture. Which is frustrating, but I feel a bit differently after today.

Today I had a moment of complete and utter love for England. I was walking from the bus stop to the Uxbridge tube station, and passed a pair of well-dressed middle-aged businessmen, probably on their lunch break, and I felt this surge of affection for them. Not them as individuals, but as English men doing their English thing. And I thought, here I am, in England, the place I've dreamed for years of one day visiting, and here are two ordinary, unassuming businessmen wearing shiny black shoes and speaking to one another in their fantastic accents, just living. I went all the way to the tube station feeling like I'd been plucked out of the sky and placed exactly where I was meant to be at that moment. It wasn't anything outwardly special; it was people at the outdoor Starbucks kiosk, paying in pound coins instead of dollars. It was the cold blustery outdoor seating at Costa's, an old man with a cream-filled donut, the melodic intonation of British accents all around me, and this overwhelming contentedness that made me smile like an idiot.

The bus ride from Uxbridge station to West Ruislip was eye-opening for me as well. I looked out the left side of the bus windows, which for some reason I never look out of when I'm taking that bus, but I did today. I saw these amazing houses. Seriously amazing. If you're from England you'll be rolling your eyes, but coming from America where our oldest buildings are from like 1970 (I exaggerate... barely), just the architecture here is the most incredible thing. And these houses, they were so gorgeous: slightly dilapidated in a loving, mossy sort of way, and they seemed to edge the countryside as though they were about to lose themselves in it, yet remained clinging to the outskirts of London despite themselves. They were beautiful.

There's also this pub, The Old Fox, and today I noticed as we drove past that there's an old red phone booth next to the car park, behind some overgrown shrubbery, just before a little pond that looks half-choked with grass and undergrowth. The phone booth leans precariously toward the pond, and it's clear that nobody uses it anymore. But it struck me as absolutely the most lovely thing I'd ever seen. A lonely, leaning phone booth. It almost set me off crying, but maps of Scotland did that for me already this week. Gotta keep it in check, Meg.

London is a vast, overwhelming, sensuous, heady, loud, fast, indescribable city. It truly is. If you've been to New York, that is nothing. It's really nothing compared to London, at least for me. London is so old, and so full of history and life and color and culture and sound and taste, that I can hardly breathe thinking about it. It's more than a human should be able to take, and yet we do, every day, and we don't appreciate it for what it is: it's poetry. It's music, history, and every story in the world, happening right now. That's what cities are, they're a trillion stories and feelings and thoughts happening all at once, taking shape in their buildings and streets and the rivers that cut through them. London is as loud as a scream and as subtle as a sigh. I can't fit it all inside, and sometimes I don't want to. It's too much for me, and in the midst of all that noise, I need something to hold me steady. Like the old phone booth by the green-choked pond.

London, with its unending need to consume, made me forget where I am. I forgot that I hadn't been deposited alone in a roiling mass of voices and faces and stone and sounds. I forgot that American pancakes weren't the most important thing in the world, and that I couldn't get them in London which made me want them all the more. I forgot that I wasn't trapped in what seemed like a beautiful foreign prison. So many people, so many places, and not one basket of bottomless fries and free refills on my large diet Coke? Not one Big Gulp? Not a single Olive Garden bread stick? That's all I could think, and it was frustrating, because all I had was this great baffling city and nothing that I wanted. Nothing felt familiar to me and I needed something I could latch onto and call mine.

So I latched onto this phone booth, and those businessmen. They weren't just another tile in the London mosaic for me. They were individual, they were England, and I feel so relieved.

Lately I've been thinking about what originally drew me to England, before all of the fangirl nonsense and dreams of bumping into Benedict Cumberbatch on the street. Why do I feel such an affinity for a place I've never been to? Why here? I looked into day trips out of London, into the countryside, and that's what reminded me. It's the English countryside. The British countryside, really; I'll take it all: Scotland, England, Wales, all of it. I'll even take Ireland, thanks very much. It's these isles, the ridiculously green dampness of them, the rain, the sea, the crumbling castles and Stonehenge and Yorkshire and the Cotswolds and the Scottish Highlands. I've not been to any of these places yet, but I look at pictures of them, I look at maps of Scotland for godsake, and I cry. I wish I could explain why this place effects me the way it does, but perhaps you don't need me to. Maybe some of you understand, and maybe some of you have your own places that make you cry just thinking of them. But when I look at photos of old stone houses covered in moss and ivy, it's like the part of my brain that processes photos of Britain is mainlined to my heart, and it aches for these places. It aches for wet green hills, dark seas, crumbling houses and sheep grazing within rock walls. That's why I came here.

London is all-consuming, just like any great city should be, and I love it for this. But I need to get out; I need to see the country, the soil, the trees and the sky. I need to stand under the clouds and get soaked in English rain. (Amongst other cheesy things.) Really, though, that's all I want. I just want to get out of the city and see England.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Doctor Who Experience

Hey what's up? Oh, I'm good. Just chilling in the Tenth Doctor's TARDIS. As you do. No big deal.

Many things in my life are no big deal (such as running into Mark Gatiss; not even mentioning, that), but some things actually are, and the Doctor Who Experience is definitely a big deal, you guys! Not only do you get to take part in an adventure with the Doctor, you get to drive the TARDIS, get freaked out by various monsters (OMG Weeping Angels), and then look at cool props, costumes, and sets from the show. I may be a huge nerd, but I think it was totally worth the £17.50 admission! You'll have to ask Shaun if she agrees, haha.

Gonna do something a bit different and put captions under each photo, since I feel it is the most efficient way in which to relate the cool stuff we saw. Yeah.

First thing we saw after the "experience" was this hideous thing, i.e. a wax figure of Matt Smith. The guide told us it's an actual mold of his head, which I find terrifying.

This is an actual TARDIS they used in filming, so we are told! The guide said he took a picture of it and then watched an episode and actually matched up the wood grain on them so clearly he has put in the research.

DAVID TENNANT WAS IN THIS. Apparently the jacket is actually made from a pair of trousers! Which worked better in the end, because they would've had to alter a jacket for the skinny boy anyway.

For those of you who are Fourth Doctor fans. That scarf is amazing.

The Ponds! I love Amy's wardrobe from series 5. Not so much from series 6, but what can you do.

I need these signs in my room.

I miss Ten's TARDIS a little bit! To make matters worse they had a screen in the background showing Ten's regeneration into Eleven, so it was like, thanks for making me cry in the TARDIS, guys.

Shaun in the TARDIS! She's the perfect fandom buddy, let me tell you.

Creepy as fuck. There were also a few of these bastards hanging from the ceiling in a corner somewhere but I couldn't get a proper photo of them.

Are you my mummy?

Dalek line-up! They had all the Daleks since the beginning of the show but I was only bothered with the last two. Lazy.

Last but not least, the Face of Boe. He's my favorite alien in the show, bar none! Well, not including the Doctor of course.

So there you have it, the Doctor Who Experience! If you're in London and a fan of Doctor Who and you can spare the monies, it's really worth it. So much fun to see all the costumes and everything, I really love that kind of thing! Especially since they're the ones that were actually worn by the actors. I failed to take photos of them but they also had Donna, Martha, and Rose's costumes as well as Jack Harkness and one of River Song's dresses, plus a bunch of other minor characters. Loved it!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

This Weather

So I'd written a bunch of stuff to post here, but then it all reminded me of this quote from American Beauty, so I may as well just leave that with you. (As well as a bunch of grey, sad photos I took while walking from St Paul's Cathedral to the Tower of London.)

"It was one of those days when it's a minute away from snowing and there's this electricity in the air, you can almost hear it. And this bag was, like, dancing with me. Like a little kid begging me to play with it. For fifteen minutes. And that's the day I realized there was this entire life behind things, and... this incredibly benevolent force, that wanted me to know there was no reason to be afraid, ever. Video's a poor excuse, I know. But it helps me remember... and I need to remember... Sometimes there's so much beauty in the world I feel like I can't take it, like my heart's going to cave in."
- American Beauty