Saturday, August 25, 2012

London Geekery

I really should be working on the second draft of my novel (I feel like I've made no headway after weeks of working on it uuurgh),  but instead I'm gonna get this blog post out of my head to make room for more Duke/Cecily UST moments.

I already made a post about some of my favorite moments from living in London, but a lot of the best memories were left out because they've been waiting for this post -- my favorite geeky moments in the UK! Yeah okay most of my life is a series of geeky moments, but these are the super cool ones okay. As a fangirl, I have to say, moving to London was a really good idea in terms of meeting famous British hotties, seeing my favorite musicians live, and basically having an amazingly geeky time.

In no particular order:

The Olivier Awards. This was perhaps one of the coolest things Shaun and I did in London, partly because it was utterly unplanned. Shaun managed to win tickets to the awards show on twitter, about 2 days in advance. We were way up in the balcony about a thousands miles from the stage, but what an amazing experience! We got to walk the red carpet, drink free champagne at the interval, and I had an actual conversation with Harry Lloyd. Total highlight of my year! (You can read my lengthy post about the Olivier Awards here.)

The European premiere of Avengers Assemble! Shaun and I met up with a bunch of internet friends and wore matching Team Loki shirts. Basically the dorkiest, most fun film premiere ever. (You can see more pics from the premiere and read more about my fangirl obsession with Loki here!)

Meeting Gail Carriger at the Steampunk Soiree at Foyle's. I'd only read her book Soulless at this point, but I was already a huge fan. Gail Carriger is my literary hero, and the kind of author I strive to be. She's funny, she wears steampunk outfits to her signings, and there was tea and cake. Can you think of anything more awesome? (Full post about the Steampunk Soiree here.)


Possibly the BEST geeky/fandom moment in my life, EVER, was going to the Sherlock screening at the BFI, in advance of the series 2 release. We got to meet the cast and crew, not to mention see "A Scandal in Belgravia" weeks early, and seriously LOOK IT'S BENEDICT CUMBERBATCH IT DOESN'T GET MUCH BETTER THAN THIS GUYS. (Full post heeeere!)

Going to MCM Expo and meeting Gideon Emery and Adam Howden, the voices of two of my very favorite video game characters, Fenris and Anders from Dragon Age 2! It was so great, they signed photos of their characters. Fangirl squee! (Read my post about the MCM Expo here.)

Meeting David Tennant at the Entertainment Media Expo! This was such a crazy day; I woke up at noon, saw on facebook that David Tennant was doing a signing at a convention in London, and went to full-on crazed fangirl mode for the rest of the day. Spent way too much money on an autograph, but hey DAVID TENNANT LOOKED AT ME AND SAID "HERE YA GO" AND HANDED ME THE SIGNED PHOTO, I can basically die happy. (Lengthy and spazzy post about the whole day can be read here!)

Game of Thrones related fangirling at London Film and Comic Con! I did not make a full post about this, because I'm really goddamn lazy, but I mean look at these photos, this is all you need. Shaun and I had our pictures taken on the Iron Throne, and Shaun met Iain Glen (I was too cheap to pay for an autograph but I took many creepy photos from the sidelines). KHALEEESIIII! I also had my picture taken with a British Boba Fett, Chris Judge as Teal'c, and found some really cool Dragon Age cosplayers. It was a good day!

Okay this one doesn't have a pic to go with it, but it's arguably my very favorite geeky/fangirl moment in London. Shaun, Lucy, and I had just gotten out of a concert to see one of my fave artists, Lights, and were heading to the coat check when I thought I recognized Allen Leech, the chauffeur Branson from Downton Abbey standing with a group of guys in the bar. I kept being like, "No seriously Lucy I think that is the guy from Downton, does it look like him? Is it him?" and craning my neck like a creeper. At last I had to find out if it was him, and after a few minutes of standing in line for my coat staring at him, I was pretty convinced. So I went over and awkwardly said, "Hi, sorry, but do you just really look like, or are you..." and he goes, "Tom Branson? Yeah!" And thus we ended up standing around with Allen Leech and some of the dudes from the opening act and various Irish hotties, for a while. It was so much fun because it wasn't a fan event, it was just running into a minor celeb who happened to be super cute and fun to talk to! Also he was a bit drunk, so that helped. He let us touch his hair extensions, and he tweeted at Shaun because she followed him on twitter. It was basically really ridiculous and fun, and I'll probably never forget it! Those are my favorite celeb encounters, or really the sorts of ones I fantasize about, because they're not sitting at a table being paid to sign stuff for you; they're just doing their own thing and hanging out and willing to chat for a few minutes.

So there you have it, some (most) of my favorite geeky/fangirly/fandomy moments in London! I'm sorry this is such a long post. But it is mostly for me and Shaun to look back on for nostalgic purposes, and if you enjoy it, then awesome!

Wow I have done a lot of really cool stuff in England, haven't I? Life is really good. I am a really lucky person and I can't say enough how grateful I am for every single moment I've had here in the UK. Seriously I can't say it enough. I am so grateful.

Friday, August 24, 2012


All I can think about right now is Patrick Wolf. His new album, Sundark & Riverlight, comes out in October and I can't even tell you how excited I am. It's celebrating the 10-year anniversary of his music career, and is rearranging a bunch of his old songs for an all acoustic album. He's doing an acoustic world tour to coincide with it, so definitely check to see if he'll be in your area! He's so incredible live; you can see my post about his gig in London last November here.

Anyway, I am going to see Patrick again next week at the Old Vic with Shaun, so I will likely make a post about the show afterwards, but I can't in good conscience go about my day without first sharing this new video with you. Patrick just released it today. It's one of my favorite songs of his, rearranged and acoustic-ized for maximum prettiness! Seriously though, do yourself a favor and watch/listen. I wish I could try to explain Patrick's music, or express how much it means to me, but every time I try it doesn't come out right. So just press play or whatever.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Excerpts From a Year Abroad

I'm nearing the end of my stay here in London. It's only three weeks and a few days before I pack it all up and head back to the States. There are a lot of conflicting emotions happening in my head, the dominant of which is stress. I only have a little over three weeks to finish my dissertation, write a critical essay about how hard it was writing a stupid novel, and put together some sort of presentation about my time doing work experience at Little, Brown. I also have to pack up all my stuff, get rid of the things I don't want or can't take back with me (my pillows and duvet, sob), and do as many awesome things as I can in the UK before it's thousands of miles and an ocean away.

Wow, just typing that made me super emo. Never mind. Let's talk about nicer things! Namely my favorite memories over the 11-ish months that I've been here so far. I have so many awesome memories that it's actually kind of impossible to pick only a few, but these are some of the bigger events and the things that really stick out to me. I might do more of these later but who knows. The first, the photo above, is from a couple weeks ago when I visited my friends Richard and Emma in Stockport (just outside Manchester). Richard drove me and some of his grad students around in the countryside, and I got to see where the Bronte sisters lived in Yorkshire. A really amazing, and totally English, weekend. I could have stayed there forever. It was truly one of the most magical few days I've ever experienced.

A (very cold) November weekend in Vienna. It was so fun to meet up with Rachel, who I'd only known on the internet until then, and who turned out to be super awesome! This is Rachel, her flatmate Samantha, and me at Schonbrunn Palace in Vienna, freezing slowly to death. We visited Christmas markets and drank mulled wine and wandered the streets of Vienna. It was so magical (lots of things are magical it turns out).

The orangutan/camel/llama hybrid from Hampton Court Palace. We laughed at it for ages. Seriously the best moment ever.

MARK GATISS. Enough said.

Spending Christmas with my super good friend Lily and her partner Angus. We stayed in a flat right below the Edinburgh Castle, and wandered the streets of Old Town, ate stew, drank pints, and spent cozy nights indoors watching weird British television. I also slammed my finger in a door, which was exciting. Lily hugged me and made me drink mulled wine afterwards, which totally helped.

Shaun and Lucy! I know they're not a memory, but meeting Lucy and becoming such close friends with Shaun was one of the best things to come out of moving here, hands down, no contest! I absolutely love these girls, and they're now two of my best friends. Every second with them is always tons of fun!

When Greg came to visit! Wow, what a perfect week and a half. We hadn't seen each other for over 7 months, and by the end of his stay it was like I'd fallen in love with him all over again, even more than I thought possible. We had afternoon tea at Chatsworth House (where this picture was taken), watched The Apprentice while it hailed and rained incessantly outside, ordered pizza, wandered around Walthamstow, and generally had a very very good time.

The traumatizing day in Lewes! This creepy dalmatian life-size furry doll thing accurately sums up the bizarreness of that day. Antiques, bad taxidermy, over-priced burgers at the Real Eating Co. (bastards!), rain, 3+ hours in a pub with drunken creepers, and at the end of it all... hysteria in the train station. So good.

Brenn's visit! Shaun's and my mutual friend Brenn (the reason we met in the first place!) came to visit us for a week in July. It was so fun to see her and share London with such a good friend!

Visiting Emily in Bonn, Germany. I've known Emily since college, and I haven't seen her since college either -- silly girl went off and joined the Peace Corps, and then moved to Germany to be with her German lover. It was a spur-of-the-moment decision, but I flew to see her for a short weekend (only one night) in Bonn, but it was so much fun to catch up, buy tons of Haribo from the Haribo shop, and visit Beethoven's birth house! We also saw the corpse flower the day it was set to bloom, but were a few hours too early to see it in full bloom. Regrets!

Being in London during the Olympics. Wow, what a seriously awesome summer to be in London, you guys! First the Diamond Jubilee, now the Olympics. So much British patriotism! Sadly I haven't been to any Olympic events, but the atmosphere in London is amazing, and watching the Opening Ceremony live on the BBC was seriously incredible. We could hear the fireworks from Shaun's flat! So cool!

Shaun and I are leaving on Saturday morning for Northern Ireland, where we'll stay two nights in a B&B in County Antrim along the coast. We're gonna see the Giant's Causeway, Dunluce Castle, and hopefully lots of green hillsides, rain-lashed cliffs, and pints of Guinness! I'm beyond excited, and hopefully if I'm not a giant pile of lazy, I'll make a post about it when we get back. We also recently went to Bath for a day, and I mean to post about it, but who knows if/when that will happen.

Anyway... I think I'll leave the sadsack goodbye post until just before I leave. But I do want to say some of my life's best, most memorable, and incredible experiences have taken place in the last 11 months. I can't begin to describe how grateful I am for every moment I've had here!