myz_lilith: (blurred)
Monday, December 17th, 2012 01:48 pm
So, last time I checked in with my doctor, I was supposed to stay on my anti-depressants for 6 months, then review coming off them.

Last Thursday I dropped a repeat prescription in at the surgery, and dropped by on the way into work to pick it up today. Instead of a prescription, I was handed my request note back with 'Needs review with doctor' scribbled across the top of it.

When I pointed out to the receptionist that these are important meds that I'm under strict instructions NOT to stop taking – and that I'd just about run out – she huffed and puffed a bit and finally went into get a doctor to prescribe them for me. Very reluctantly, as if she was doing me a huge favour. And then refused to hand the prescription over until I made a review appointment that according to my original doctor I'm not due for another two months.

It was just completely unbelievable. Mine are a common enough type of AD, and they're well known to have serious side effects if you suddenly stop taking them, even for a few days. So a GP/receptionist flat refusing a repeat prescription for them is mind-boggling. What's more, the surgery has full contact info for me, so somebody could have called me last week if there was any kind of problem with prescribing them.

Still absolutely furious. Now wondering whether to put in a formal complaint.

(This, ironically, came after pub discussions yesterday about while the NHS is a great institution and should be protected, that doesn't mean that there aren't some bits that are rubbish and in need of massive improvements. Jobsworth receptionists – as I'm pretty sure that's where the problem was – are probably pretty near the top of that list for me right now...)
myz_lilith: (Default)
Tuesday, September 25th, 2012 02:11 pm
Health Prozac seems to be doing its job combating the PMDD. On it for 6 months, at which point they'll wean me off and probably look at alternative contraception. (Any recommendations welcomed - needs to be something that controls naturally heavy bleeding and PMT.) Eczema is occasionally misbehaving, but partly because I still keep forgetting to look after it properly. Also, annual sexual health check-up all clear (and hopefully now with added Hep B immunity.) Slightly dodgy hip but have come to the conclusion that's a pulled muscle so shall RICE and ignore it until it goes away.

Work Ridiculously busy. Now have semi-permanent freelance minion a couple of days a week, and am pushing for getting in a permanent full-time designer. Any middleweight designers who may be interested, let me know. (Long term career plans being progressed slowly, and mostly involve doing lots of networking.)

Home Flat is still not exactly unpacked, and tenancy is up for renewal in two months. Whoops. Have asked landlord nicely about renewing for another year. If not the next month may bring some panicked househunting.

Life Awesome. Never enough time for all the things. Much less writing about them...

Writing See above. Although plan is to find a way to make sure I'm writing fiction regularly - need to get back in the habit. May start posting short stories on here again, or start a dedicated writing blog. Next target: get published.
myz_lilith: (Default)
Friday, August 10th, 2012 06:46 pm
So on Tuesday night, I went to an immersive theatre experience set in a near-future semi-totalitarian Britain that was in the process of eradicating all unnecessary emotional excesses from the population. The performance took place in an asylum of girls, each personifying an emotional extreme, running round shrieking, giggling, crying, screaming, shouting and generally being insane at us (and then dancing to Prince and falling down, only to start all over again.) It was actually very good... but definitely proof that the Universe has a fucked up sense of timing and an evil sense of humour...
myz_lilith: (Default)
Friday, August 10th, 2012 06:05 pm
So, after a major blow-up last week, I went to the doctors to discuss how my PMT was getting just a teeny little bit out of hand. I discovered three things:

1. I don't have PMT. What I have is severe enough to be classed as PMDD - aka industrial grade PMT that sends you genuinely clinically insane for a short time each month.

2. This has been getting steadily worse over the past year, and while I should have realised something was wrong far sooner, it's still lucky I caught it when I did.

3. It is treatable. They have a very good success rate treating PMDD with SSRI anti-depressants.

So I'm now on prozac... )
myz_lilith: (Default)
Thursday, May 31st, 2012 01:56 pm
Trying to differentiate between what you really want to do, and what you fee you ought to do is incredibly hard. (Especially since it often ends up expanding out into trying to figure out who you really want to be, as opposed to just who you feel you ought to be.)

Am feeling that empty itchy feeling like I need a Big Project that's Mine. Which isn't entirely surprising - I spend all of last year on Moving To London, and the first half of this year into settling in. And now? I don't know. There was a moment in a park, in the sun, last week (which I shall write up properly at some point, promise) which felt like a tipping point between London being new and shiny, and it being properly Mine... and now that it is, what shall I do with it?

And the trouble is, I don't know. More to the point, the problem with Big Projects is that the best of them begin in small, organic ways. Art begins as art begins as doodling in a margin. Epic schemes begin as offhand remarks. I am aware of this, and yet I am also aware of just how impatient I am. Life is brief. Sitting still feels wasteful.

On a more practical level, I keep vacillating over what form to aim for. Part of me thinks I'll never be happy unless I'm writing, part of me misses the artistry I had in drawing and painting and wants to recapture that, part of me misses photography and feels having a brand new city seen with fresh eyes is a fleeting chance that is already slipping away, and there's the millions of half started projects and ideas and the niggling feeling that maybe I ought to just do something completely NEW.

Silly really, but have this voice in the back of my head whispering "time is wasting, make a decision, make it NOW!" which is true in one way - but could be drowning out the very quiet little voice which probably knows what I REALLY want...

A couple of years ago, I ended up with an accidental break from work and decided I'd do absolutely nothing... at which point I immediately started writing, which was what I really wanted at the time. But right now I can't afford to take a serious block of time off, so I need to find some way to create that wide-open-to-anything zen-like state without it...
myz_lilith: (Default)
Monday, March 12th, 2012 01:43 pm
And another epic weekend full of adventures and amazing people, including:
  • Starting a day early with an Orange visitor on Thursday, and showing off my 'Look ma no GPS!' north London navigation skills

  • Absolutely incredible night at AntiChrist on Friday - definitely doing that again

  • Magical mystery tours when half of TfL was in meltdown

  • Milkshakes at the Science Museum (and causing flashing-bouncy-ball carnage in the shop)

  • "The guy sure looks like plant foot to me!" singalong at PCC

  • Following the north bank of the river from Westminster to Tower Bridge in the moonlight, meandering in and out of small knots of conversation trailed by other people's lives, and...

  • ...watching a brightly lit barge full of people dancing to silence (which turned out to be an as-yet-nameless Bollywood movie being filmed)

  • Reptile with several good DJs and one terrible one who seemed to think that if he played three songs at the same time and hit lots of buttons we wouldn't notice that they were all awful remixes of good songs (we did, as did most of the dancefloor)

  • Pancakes and smoothies in milk bottles with curly straws (the smoothies, not the pancakes)

  • Driving through London in the sun on empty streets because everyone else in the world was in the pub

  • Douglas Adams' virtual 60th birthday party, complete with towels, dancing rhinos, scientists, comedians, national treasures and a weird and wonderful mix of rock royalty. Warm, funny, celebratory, silly, educational, chaotic and very moving... especially Syd Barrett performing 'Wish you were here' (and it started late and overran, presumably to honour his very special relationship with deadlines!))

So what's next? :-)
myz_lilith: (wings)
Friday, March 2nd, 2012 01:41 pm
So, I got my phone snatched at a bus stop last night. (Apparently this is some kind of London initiation rite?) All fine, but this means I am without phone numbers. So if you think I should have yours, please leave any contact details in a screened comment. Should be getting a new sim this evening and borrowing temporary handset from work so will be rejoining the 21st century ASAP!

Also, huge thanks to [ profile] eline who is an absolute star, and wrangled police and provided sofa beds and wine and coffee and paper A-Z guides (as I am literally lost without GPS) and generally looked after me :-)
myz_lilith: (Default)
Tuesday, February 28th, 2012 06:49 pm
So, it's neatly two months since I finished moving to London, and since I last updated LJ. These two things may not be entirely unrelated.

Can suddenly understand WHY the region within the M25 is such a gravity well - it's not that there's nothing to do out there, it's just that there's SO MUCH to do in here.

Random snapshots of the past two months:
  • Walking through St James Park on a bright crisp New Year's Day towards the princess exhibition in Kensington Palace... then walking on without going in, because on days like that a museum in London is like a fishtank in an ocean

  • Riding buses, especially new buses, and wanting to jump off at every stop and rush into all the restaurants/bars/shops and eat/drink/get dry cleaning down in each and every one

  • Leonardo di Vinci exhibition at the National (after Ellie got us tickets by queuing for 6 hours on the coldest morning of the year) - fascinating seeing such familiar paintings not just as capital-A Art, but rediscovering them both as a product of a (rapidly changing) place and time, and as the nexus of a kalidescope of preparatory sketches and studies after that all blurred into one another - all wrapped up in the pursuit of very euclidean perfection

  • The Correspondents at Cafe de Paris and falling head over heels into Moon over Soho via early 20th century decadence and stilt-walking transvestites

  • Lectures at the Wellcome on the brain, and the nature of consciousness, and therefore humanness and reality, which of course struggled in places but were fascinating (often as much for the exposed ~whys~ of the panelists and the audience as for anything they actually said)

  • Double bill of Fargo and Red State, followed by two hours of non-stop, impassioned, self-interrupting talk about dick jokes, and protesting the Westboro Baptist Church, and what it means to create from Silent Bob himself... complete with comedy photo-ops (and impressed by Red State, which I've not seen before - the comedy and horror aspects were very jarring, but it worked all the better for that, and it was at once not at all a Kevin Smith movie and completely a Kevin Smith movie, which is quite an impressive feat!)

  • Taking a walking tour of the 'secret alleys and ginnels of London City' that turned out to be an exploration of one man's three-generation-deep obsession with Fleet Street and the history of newsprint in the capital, ending with Samuel Johnson's cat - not quite what it said on the tin, but still fascinating and evocative, especially the description of the presses making the ground tremble for miles around

  • Wandering around the Tate in the evening after work, just because it was there and I could (and now have +1 membership for the year if anybody wants to come see anything?)

  • Learning the routine of the commute, and exactly where to walk and stand and the sneaky short-cuts and the weaving dances and the other exits (and the impossibly cheerful platform announcer who ends every update with a beautiful laid-back Rastamouse-ish 'no problem')

  • Resisting the temptation to touch the tube trains as they rush by (also nothing is on fire)

  • Working too hard and staying too late but making stuff exist where it didn't that morning (and maybe saving lives, and winning clients, and making money, and proving worth, and building a career, and making things look beautiful, and suggesting and imagining and creating)

  • Managing to be late (but not in a towel) to my own birthday party, which accidentally started several hours early in a Mexican restaurant and descended into a chaos of coloured shots and corsets and wolfhoods and very messy madness (and may be the last time anyone ever lets me be Responsible Adult... until the next time)

  • Managing to end up on the pages of 'Goths up trees' in spite of not being up a tree at the time

  • Failing to make two parties and numerous club nights, after completely underestimating how much this city draws upon both your energy and your bank balance

  • Repeatedly failing at housework due to being nowhere near the house at the time (can suddenly see why so many people here have cleaners)

  • Watching London turn white, and then a million shades of grey again

  • Walking home in the dark past workmen cutting down sections of railings, sending a fountain of sparks leaping higher than a bus

  • Ancient clock towers just sitting there minding their own business, and gorgeous old tombs and gravestones that are simply part of the scenery

  • Meeting lots of new London folk, and finally putting faces to names I've seen online for years, and catching up with people I've not seen in too long

  • Delightful visitors who arrived bearing just the right amount of chaos

  • All kinds of planned and impromptu evenings in and out, and spending quality time with quality people

  • Madness and beauty and adventures and games

  • Cupcakes and beer and we're going to have a DJ in the basement just as soon as we can find some turntables

  • Discovering all kinds of convincing arguments about why my bit of London is the only REAL bit of London (although it's all mine, really)

  • The river at night... always

  • Counting a 30 minute walk as standard transportation, instead of automatically jumping in the car

  • Exploring new pubs and restaurants, and introducing people who have lived here for years to some of them

  • Shopping in little local bowls-of-vegetables-outside-on-the pavement shops (and finally cooking from scratch in new flat)

  • Surviving first flat inspection in spite of turning the bathroom pink (and, on a related note, going sort-of-um-ginger instead)

  • Walking and walking and walking and slowly piecing together the map in my head (while still leaving plenty of room for dragons, and secret kingdoms, and cheese, and things not to be where you left them because it all switches round while your back is turned)

  • Going back to Leeds for Wendyhouse, which was a very strange experience, because it felt like stepping backwards (not that Leeds is somehow backwards from London, just that it was too soon after I'd left and so felt... odd - hopefully next time I visit it will all feel like part of the onwards and upwards)

  • Introducing Kris to London, and being surprised (and impressed) by how well he handled it

  • Looking forward to more people visiting from Leeds and elsewhere (and some long-distance Skype-based girlie nights too)

  • Making all the exciting plans in the world for the coming days, weeks and months (and knowing half of them will fall apart, but that even more interesting things will pop up to take their place)

  • Being wide open to everything the world has to offer right here and right now

  • This feels like spring.
myz_lilith: (feathers)
Sunday, January 1st, 2012 12:19 pm
...which is a shame, as 2011 has been a year of all kinds of adventures, which deserve to be documented properly. But I'm currently at the wrong end of the A1, and I need to get home. To London. Which kind of says it all.

At the start of 2011, I had one major goal, which was to move from Leeds to London (which first of all meant finding a new job there.) So on the 1st January 2011 I finally stopped just talking about it, and started putting my portfolio together properly. And yesterday, on 31st December 2011 Kris and I finished scrubbing the Leeds house clean of 9 years of memories, and locked up and left for the final time. It was a bittersweet moment, but also a triumph. It took a whole year, end-to-end... but I did it :-)

And it's meant that 2011 has been a complete rollercoaster of highs and lows, and raw nerves and optimism, and scheming and planning, and leaps forward and setbacks, and adrenaline and despair, and feelings of being stuck in limbo and not knowing who I was or where I was or what was happening, and staying sane thanks to long alcohol-fuelled midnight talks with amazing friends, and wondering if things were ever going to work out, and holding on to the belief that they would and that it would all be worth it. And in the end, it really, really was. I am incredibly, unbelievably happy right now. Because you know what? The only thing better than getting everything you want, is realising that that's only the beginning...

"Of course there were a lot of questions, but right now the answers didn't matter; it was enough just to enjoy the questions, and know that the world was full of astonishing things, and that he wasn't a frog. Or at least he was the kind of frog who was interested in how flowers grew and whether you could get to other flowers if you jumped hard enough.

And just when you'd got out of the flower, and were feeling really proud of yourself, you'd look at the new, big, wide endless world around you.

And eventually you'd notice that it had petals around the horizon.
myz_lilith: (blurred)
Wednesday, December 21st, 2011 02:46 pm
Will post a proper update when I have internet at home, and more time. (And A rather depends upon B in that equation.) Am now mostly moved, but still with a ridiculous amount of Stuff to sort in Leeds house. (Will be in Leeds between Christmas and New Year if anyone wants to catch up?) London is treating me well, and feeling like home (especially now I have MY furniture here) and already stacking up all kinds of exciting plans and visitors and adventures. Work started off slightly insane as they hadn't had a designer for the three weeks before I started, but is now settling down nicely, and is All Good So Far (including a very boozy four-hour Christmas lunch). Life is manic, and wonderful. Happy being busy, and busy being happy.
myz_lilith: (Default)
Sunday, November 20th, 2011 09:51 pm
Busy busy busy beyond belief... but this evening I have a brief moment to rest and reflect, so it's quick LJ catch-up time. In the past few weeks, I have:
  • Found a nice flat in Hackney (Hackney feels very ~me~) with decent sized bedroom, lounge, kitchen and bathroom... and, as an added bonus, a 'cupboard' that pretty much qualifies as a boxroom, and a private parking space. Opposite a pub. All (somewhat ironically, for various reasons) a few streets away from the Olympic Park. Should hopefully get keys this Friday/Saturday.

  • Left my old job (and burst into tears after I read the leaving card even though I swore I wouldn't, and ended up working all weekend ~after~ I'd officially left, because why break the habit of a lifetime?)

  • Survived a leaving do that brought all my work friends and non-work friends all together in the same place without any fire or bloodshed or fire.

  • Been signed off UV treatment - didn't quite get to the end of it this time round, and still have a couple of patches of eczema left on my wrists, but considering the stresses of the past month that's almost miraculous, so hopefully it's bought me a few more years of controlled skin.

  • Been signed off by my therapist - am officially not crazy :-) (Admittedly, she was happy to declare me officially sane and depression-free some time back, but I was still keeping up the occasional session to make sure I stayed on an even keel through the jobhunting circus.)

  • Started new job (a day later than expected, as nobody was in the office on my intended first day, but will get paid for that anyway - always good!) and so far so good. It's slightly weird going from being the one who knows everything that's going on in the studio and can solve any problem to being the new girl who doesn't know where anything is, but I feel quite at home apart from that, and I've already been able to make a few useful and warmly-welcomed suggestions, so a positive start.

  • Also discovered that some of my graphics had been seen - and praised - by audiences at a big international conference, which was a lovely boost.

  • Started to get used to earlier starts than I needed in Leeds (although not quite as early as I'll need once I've moved properly... that will definitely hurt for a while.)

  • Enjoyed the delightful hospitality of my dear wife Ellie and her wonderful housemates. (Partly because I've spent so much time recently sleeping in endlessly-patient Patrick's lounge that I think he's getting worried I may claim squatter's rights... although he is putting me up for my final stint of sofa surfing later this week - staying with relatives tonight and tomorrow.)

  • Spent quality time with Monkey Boy, provided timely much-needed hugs, and hopefully convinced him I'm not going to abandon him completely when I move.

  • Totally failed to do any more packing, or throwing stuff out, before leaving Leeds in spite of the best efforts of my parents to help me... got stuck in an aaaargh-panic loop at the thought of how much I still had to do so ended up doing nothing.

  • Done Whitby, which was good fun but not a classic - don't know if that's a one off, and down to the divided weekend syndrome, or just that Things There Have Changed And Shall Never Be The Same (aka we're not 21 anymore.) But zero ankle trauma, and I did finally get to be Little Red Riding Hood With a Vengeance :-)

  • Saw Tori Amos at the Royal Albert Hall (first time I've ever been there) which was utterly breathtaking. The new stuff was amazing live, and she played almost all my favourite older songs (including a lot from Little Earthquakes) and was delightfully barmy in person. Winter made me cry.

  • Failed to see Carter USM last night due to East Coast conspiring with TfL and allegedly 'planned' engineering works that were apparently on a top secret need-to-know basis, meaning I spent half of yesterday evening sitting in a train in a field somewhere near Newark, being entertained by a random ukulele player. (Been doing so much criss-crossing the country recently that something like that was bound to happen sooner or later, and at least I'd already got to see Carter at Beautiful Days earlier in the year, where they were outstanding.)

  • Failed to visit the Erotica exhibition in Kensington after discovering it would cost £25 to get in. (Seriously??? Whatever happened to free pron? Or at least free shopping? I might well have been quite happy to buy all sorts of pretty things in there, but wasn't about to pay ridiculous sums to find out...)

  • Met up with some of the people I should have seen at Carter for mulled wine and euphemisms (apparently Waiting For Anna have released another album and formed a few spin-off acts.)

  • Ate a duck egg for the first time ever (I'm not sure why this is significant, but feel compelled to include it.) Eggs are neither meat nor non-meat, so must be boats.
And am now looking forward to things to come in the next few weeks, including finally getting the keys to new flat, the big move (hopefully in several smaller chunks), welcoming my first batch of visitors, Labyrinth Masquerades and Secret Cinemas, Christmas and Birthday parties, Steak and Stars, and finally shaking off the living-in-limbo feeling of the past year and being able to say I Live Here Now...
myz_lilith: (wings)
Monday, November 7th, 2011 11:03 pm
Back from Whitby. Lots of fun, as always, but have come home feeling rather off-kilter, for various reasons. Some of which is probably nerves - new job starts a week on Wednesday in London, and have a ridiculous amount of things I have to sort out in Leeds first. And even then, I won't actually get to draw breath as I don't move into my new place straight away, so that's a couple of weeks of sofa surfing, followed by a bunch of weekends criss-crossing the country with vanloads of stuff. Not entirely sure how I'm going to hold onto my sanity during that time. It's brilliant, it's what I've been wanting all year... but right now, tonight, it all feels too much.
myz_lilith: (Default)
Monday, October 24th, 2011 11:51 pm
So, in three weeks time I shall be living in London. The only thing currently missing from this picture is somewhere to actually, you know, live. I have started to panic slightly about this, and to panic rather more substantially about the fact that I am probably not panicking enough, and so probably haven't properly grasped quite how urgent the situation is yet.

This weekend was supposed to be spent walking the streets of all and any bits of London I might want to live in, so I'd know exactly what I was talking about when speaking to estate agents. Given the vast area this covers, that was always going to end in fail. Although the addition of pub and shopping to the plan probably didn't help matters.

However I did spend a lovely weekend wandering round and exploring brand new bits of London (Hackney and Brick Lane, both of which I like very much indeed), and coveting top hats, and catching up with people, and simply ~being~ in the city... all of which was a very welcome reminder of why I've spent the past year trying to make this move. Given that the next few weeks are likely to get ridiculously stressful, that's a good thing to have to hold onto.

On the plus(?) side, stressful or not, it's all likely to go by very very quickly. With time booked off for househunting/Tori Amos/Whitby, I've only got 10 working days left. My leaving do is two weeks on Thursday. And I haven't started to pack anything yet. (I really should be panicking, shouldn't I? I obviously read way too much Hitchhiker at an impressionable age.)

Still, positive thinking: more househunting this weekend, and during the week next week, and actually involving viewing things this time round. Plus I do now have a fairly good idea of what I'm looking for which is hopefully realistic, specific, but not too specific... because at some point Patrick needs his living room floor back.
myz_lilith: (wings)
Sunday, September 18th, 2011 07:53 pm
Have spent this weekend failing to do all the useful things I planned, mostly because I spent too much time failing to clear out my wardrobe. (Fail squared?) I did manage to part with a grand total of four socks (all so full of large holes they're probably more deserving of the name tubes). Which felt disturbingly like sock-eugenics - 'these socks are of a sufficient socky standard to be paired off neatly together, whereas these are unworthy and must be culled from the herd...' But everything else ended up in the 'might be useful' or 'but I could wear it if...' or 'fashions ~do~ come around again eventually, you know' piles. (It doesn't help that having lost weight I now fit various stored away clothes again, making me all the more reluctant to let go of ~anything~, just in case.) I don't know why I get so attached to inanimate objects - I never have this much trouble parting with useless people.

Will have to go through and try again, as the 'I have far too many clothes' issue is just a single subset of the 'I have far too much STUFF' problem. This isn't just in relation to potentially needing to squeeze the contents of a three-bedroom semi-detached house into a small one-bed London flat. This is the fact that right now I have far too much stuff ~for~ a three-bedroom semi-detached house and keep falling over things and not being able to find keys and trousers and boilers. (Also evidenced by the difficulty I had trying to find a place to spread out the tent to dry - I may end up having to resort to a hairdryer.) So logically, I really do need a drastic, immediate declutter. But the superstitious part of me worries that if I do get organised and ready to move, I'll jinx myself and ~never~ get a job.

Also keep feeling like I am surrounded by people who are way more sorted than I am, and have their lives all worked out. (Which is almost certainly an illusion, but still.) And have just found out that my brother is now engaged, which is wonderful (and all very sweet... despite denying being a geek, he proposed to his girlfriend in the SF Science Museum - where they had their first date - on one knee, with a Lego ring) but also slightly disconcerting. I've always said that I was relieved when my brother met Alice, as it meant he could settle down and marry and have babies and whatever so that I didn't have to. But, same as when my cousin got married, I've ended up with this vague sense of nagging guilt that I'm letting someone down - maybe myself - by not wanting the whole married-with-children bit. Faint melancholy of roads not taken, maybe (which is always worse at this time of year - September always feels like a time for change and new beginnings and running away to sea...)

Mind you, I'm not sure that particular road was ever that appealing. Amongst the many things I keep failing to throw out are the 'secret diaries' I kept at that age when little girls are supposed to dream about their future weddings in pink-and-sparkly princess-bride detail. Apparently nobody told me that. These are full of ambitious architectural drawings of the world's largest treehouse (along with full interior design notes and swatches), maps of imaginary places (that were supposed to be the basis for stories or games that never got invented because the maps were so much more enthralling), plans for the car-that-would-transform-into-a-boat that I'd travel the world in, costume designs for when I grew up to be a superhero (along with obligatory laser gun, lightsaber and rocket ship schematics because, you know, Star Wars) and occasional references to a puppy. But not a single bride in sight. So I'm not entirely sure what that wistful whatever-it-is feeling thinks it's doing hanging around here. Maybe it just got the wrong address? (Or maybe Kris has an old secret diary full of bridesmaid dresses and cake designs stashed away somewhere...)

Of course, it could all just be this week's bout of PMT. Am on double girl duties: a full-on twice-a-month Carrie-strength cycle and, now that I have no festival-shaped distractions, am back to wanting to rip out my insides and burn them. Spoke to the doctor on Tuesday and they ~still~ haven't had the ultrasound results through from the hospital - well over a month now and counting. Have given up on my 'don't just treat the symptoms' stance and am shovelling B-vitamins and iron tablets down my throat like there's no tomorrow. But I could still do with getting some kind of definitive medical advice soon... please?

(Also, it's cold. Fucking freezing, in fact. When did that happen?)
myz_lilith: (feathers)
Saturday, September 3rd, 2011 05:39 pm
Brief summary of the past 24 hours:
  • A steam train set the East Coast mainline on fire, making us late into London.

  • Amanda Fucking Palmer fucking rocked. As did her many many friends. (Unless Patrick is reading this, in which case it was rubbish and Monday will be far better.)

  • We nearly got gassed to death by toxic carpet fumes in a hotel room. (Which also lead to Club AC fail - will make it next time, honest...)

  • Kraken with a bananananana in it. (Possibly served to us by Maisey.)

  • Kez talked us onto an earlier train (and then into first class) which meant we narrowly avoided EDL madness at Kings Cross, and trains getting turned back at Peterborough.

  • The lovely East Coast staff who took pity on us declared me to be a jinx, and are now booking their days off around the times I'm next travelling by train.

Now about to head to Hull. What could possibly go wrong?
(No, seriously, I could do with some forewarning here...)
myz_lilith: (feathers)
Wednesday, August 31st, 2011 12:26 am
Infest? Excellent. A wonderfully silly weekend. Apparently there were some bands playing, but I managed to avoid all of them. (I did actually listen to the first few minutes of Mind in a box, but they sounded like slightly dodgy goth karaoke, so went off to find properly dodgy goth karaoke instead. Which is a bit of a shame, as by all accounts it developed into an amazing set.) Oh well, at least I managed to keep an unblemished record this year, after falling at the final hurdle last time.

What else? We accidentally became a party flat (including the obligatory random strangers that had to eventually be evicted partway through the following evening), started a small, well-contained but highly intensive Nerf war, witnessed the best-worst-best version of Bohemian Rhapsody ever (and all scarred our throats screaming along), advised a future Eurovision winner, launched more pool balls across the room than any other table, and drank all the gin (but not, for once, all the tonic - they've obviously learned one lesson) and were amazed to discover that after all that, the barstaff were still prepared to arm us with sharp pointy missiles. (Of course, they may just have been taking bets.)

In the name of science, it should be recorded that (a) it is disturbingly possible to play pool with erect glowsticks attached to the cue tips as targeting aims (b) it is ~nearly~ possible to play darts with glowsticks attached to the flights - they do kind of somersault in the air but if you're prepared to throw enough of them, and are quick enough to dodge the random rebounds, then you can eventually get them to stick in the board and (c) for some reason the bouncers only actually freak out when you start scattering coins all over the pool table to create interesting interference points, and using three white balls - a relatively harmless variation, all things considered. The only disappointment is that we never got round to experimenting with Nerfpool (NOT Nerfporn!) but that can wait until another time...

Quotes from the weekend (or at least the ones I can remember right now)

Needs more Nerf.

I've only been sat here for two minutes and I look like I've been fisting Tinkerbell.

She hasn't got a badger to stand on.


(Tiddly pom)

Let's Do Science!

Excuse me? Did you seriously just threaten to spunk on my face?

Pink? Pink.

Hey. Hey. Hey? Hey. Hey. Hey? (Hey.) Hey! HEY!!!


All we need to do is find small goth girls with big boobs and encourage them to breed...

Grab your hat!

Black sambuca hotpants.

Imagine a crayfish. No? Then imagine a tiny lobster.

Why does everything at Infest always come back to Nazis?

We can't leave yet, Micky Mouse is about to bitchslap Bugs Bunny.

It has finally happened. You have become... DRUNK POOL!!!

I hope she never smokes a cigarette while inserting a tampon...


-That's always the problem when you share a flat with new people, you don't know all their long-running in-jokes.
-Long-running in-jokes? These are all from the last half hour...


Also, next years bands may include Waiting for Anna (line-up may vary), Zoning Kittens, and Banana Division.
myz_lilith: (Default)
Thursday, August 11th, 2011 12:13 am
I got a new tattoo recently.

I've been seeing some ridiculously privileged thinking recently.

There is a connection. In my mind, at least. And since, for once, there are less things on fire there than there are in the real world, let's linger there for a while.

I got a copyright symbol for my first tattoo. Partly because, unlike a dragon, I couldn't mess around endlessly with it and redesign it forever - there's only so much you can do with a C in a circle. But also it has personal relevance, because of my career - as a creative, it's copyright that supports me getting paid for what I do. And I like the idea that I am my own fictitious creation.

But, of course, I'm not. I ripped this DNA off directly from my parents. I copied the red hair from a russian ice skater and Tori Amos. And I picked up my views, my opinions, my outlook, my biases, my values, my proudly proclaimed beliefs and my deep-seated prejudices from every book, TV show, teacher, friend, enemy, newspaper, relative, film, documentary, lecture, rumour and fairytale I've ever been exposed to in my life. Some more so than others, and I feel that I always had some choice of what to absorb and what to ignore. But the forces that shaped me were external, borrowed, copycatted, beyond my immediate control. The best I could ever hope for is to recombine them in a way that's uniquely mine, or at least aspires to be.

And of course, that's pretty close to describing any copyrighted material ever. Nothing is created in a vacuum. From the humblest artist to the most powerful media conglomerate, everything created is influenced, inspired - and in many cases directly ripped off - from what has come before. And yet that little copyright symbol allows (and in fact, in western copyright law, forces) creators to claim 100% ownership of something that is very much the sum of its (borrowed) parts. (If tattoos are going to be permanent, they can at least carry ambiguous, contradictory meaning.)

And that is also a pretty good description of the privilege delusion.

I remember a few years back seeing a right wing US politician explaining to the camera that there should be no social security, no free education, no nationalised health in the USA because 'there's no hereditary aristocracy in the US, so anything anybody has, they earned themselves, and if they haven't got the money to pay, it's because they didn't work hard enough.' No mention of there being those that arrived first class, those that arrived in steerage, and those that arrived in chains. No mention that some are born into college funds, and some into pre-natal crack dependency.

And now, in the heat of the riots, I'm hearing things like 'I was born poor, but I never smashed in shop windows and robbed stuff because I knew the difference between right and wrong.' And implicit in that statement is the same kind of tabula rasa presumption: I am my own unique creation. I alone am responsible for the person I am now. I am (by my own reckoning) a good person and that is entirely down to me, and the choices I made and nothing to do with any external influence. And anybody involved in the rioting is (by my own reckoning) a bad person and that is entirely down to them, and the choices they made and nothing to do with any external influence. AND THAT MAKES ME BETTER THAN THEM.

And that tail end bit is often unspoken, even in people's heads. But it's still a driving force. If it turns out that the only difference between me and that guy lobbing rocks is that I was more fortunate in my early-years connections than him, then where does that leave the Me I think of as self-created? How can I be Good if I didn't make Me Good?

Newsflash: You are just as privileged if you had good people in your life at significant moments as you are if you were born into money. Differently privileged, yes, and having both is still a massive advantage over having one or the other, but you're still miles ahead of someone that had neither.

Don't get me wrong, I completely believe in the power of any individual to improve their lot in life, and themselves, though hard work. If not, I wouldn't work stupid hours driving myself insane trying to be bigger/better/MORE than I am right now. (Although to be fair that is kind of secondary. Why would you ever want to sit still where you can claw every second of every minute of every lifetime that's available to you, and curse that there aren't more?) But I also wouldn't deny the part my parents - and various other people/books/stuff in my life - had on shaping that work-hard ethic within me. Not to mention anything else on a moral plane. It'd be nice to believe that even stranded on a desert island from birth, I'd be exactly the same Me, with exactly the same values, as I am now. But honestly? That's a bit like Disney claiming they never heard of Hans Christian Anderson. Or Shakespeare. (Or Shakespeare denying he ever heard of pretty much anyone else who had a story to tell. No copyright back then.)

Brief I-shouldn't-have-to-say-this-but-I-obviously-do caveat: that's not to deny that within the entity that is the mob, there's plenty of amply-privileged fuckwits who do know better and want to play a little smash and grab. And it's not to say there aren't general all-purpose fuckwits being completely antisocial and doing nasty, terrifying things to their fellow human beings. But there always are. Old ladies do get mugged, young lads on their own do get beat up, windows do get smashed, buildings do get burned, people do get shot, or run over, or fatally battered. And there are laws against all of these things, and the police can and do and will deal with them on that existing level. No hysterics required. And yet people only seem to want to get excited and angst-filled and vengeful about all of this when it's on the news and On Fire.

And they only want to focus on the highest level, most life-threatening criminal acts. Maybe because, well, drama! Maybe because of the Sky News type fallacy of whoever has the biggest bodycount to back their argument wins. Or maybe to prove the point that this can't possibly be a legitimate protest because 'protesters don't do X'. (Because everybody knows that proper protesters only ever write sternly worded comments on the Online Guardian and wave beautifully lettered signs on carefully pre-planned protest marches - anything else would be unthinkable, and certainly not a legitimate expression of outrage!)

(Although I have to say, I'm hugely impressed by how many people seem to know exactly what's going on in a rioter's head, making them able to pinpoint exactly what their one, simple, singular motivation is. Which, it turns out, is one, simple, singular motivation for all of them, because a mob is a single organism with a few thousand identical copycat parts, all driven by exactly the same simple, singular bad-person desires. I never knew I was living among such talented telepathic psychics! Someone should call James Randi...)

Because the point is, you can't just apply your own personal life experience to someone else (in this case someone involved in the riots, but in general to ~anyone~) and expect to understand exactly what they're thinking. And you really can't judge them as if they've been through exactly your own life experiences and just deliberately chosen a different path. And it scares me that there are some people that are so lacking in empathy that they assume that not only is the mob a set of carbon copy individuals, but that every single one of those is a carbon copy of them themselves, in terms of the forces that made them and shaped them. So external factors become null and void: if another person is doing something bad, it must be because they chose to, not because they know no better, or they're caught up in some kind of addiction (I'm thinking raw violence here rather than drugs) or have a genuinely differing set of morals in which they see themselves as the tragic hero.

And yet, these non-empaths are the same people who ought to feel most empathy (and I'm also getting tired of explaining the difference between 'empathy' and 'sympathy' to people - for reference a good hunter has empathy with their prey right before they kill it... no cheap sentimentalism involved) with the rioters. Get a few people who are of the 'line the looters up and shoot them' opinion together online, watch them hype each other up with suggestions of shipping rioters off to warzones, or bringing back the death penalty... and then switch out that 'line the looters up and shoot them' with 'all pigs are bastards and have it coming' and you're right-bang in the head of that guy lobbing a flaming missile at whatever uniform is closest to hand...

And empathy ~is~ important. My reaction to the riots is pretty much the same as my reaction to terrorist attacks has been since I was first aware of the IRA as a kid. The first and immediate act should be to take the proper (ie reasonable, efficient, well-thought out and organised) action to stop any immediate threat and any immediate risk to (1) life and (2) property. The second is to try to understand why this happened in the first place, so as to prevent it happening again. Which often involves trying to get into whatever is genuinely in the heads of the perpetrators (which will be their own mishmash of fantasy, prejudice, bias and fear - they're human after all) and therefore often involves acknowledging the areas in which they have been unjustly treated, and do in fact have a point. (Again, in more 'stuff that I really shouldn't have to point out' time, acknowledging that they may have a point is a completely different thing to condoning their actions. You can completely condemn the action someone has taken, while still acknowledging that that action stems from legitimate concerns, and so working to address those.)

Because take away the original peaceful protest that started this, take away the always-there in-it-for-kicks and opportunistic looting gangs that joined in later, and you still have a massive undercurrent of anger and alienation. Nothing explodes the way this country has the past few days unless it's already a powderkeg waiting to ignite. If someone smashes up their own living room, they probably need medical help. When people smash and burn their own neighbourhoods, there's something seriously amiss on a far wider level. (I would say broken, but the fuckwit Cameron has stolen that so I refuse to use that word in this context: his picture of a broken society and mine are diametrically opposite.) And that's purely looking at those that were angrey enough to be there to smash first and grab second, and not even looking at how badly screwed up things are if we have half a generation who really were there just to grab what they could and see that as their right... because that comes from somewhere, not out of thin air. We're none of us our own unique creations, or our own unique fault.

But you know what's really the saddest thing? Ultimately, none of this is going to change anything. Already (already? more like from about 30 seconds after the news hit) people are taking the riots as a whole, and whatever snippets of information fit their own viewpoint, and weaving them into their own personal narrative of What Should Be Done With This Country. You can probably predict exactly what your friends' stance will be on the riots from their (small 'p') political views, and vice versa. (And I know I'm not immune to this - my first reaction was very much 'this is what happens when you cut to the bone all those invisible supports - community liaison officers, youth clubs, outreach programmes, coupled with the less tangible effects of leaving a rising generation feeling like they have no future, no matter what they do.' I mean, obviously I'm ~right~, whereas anyone else is simply delusional, but that's besides the point.) With every new influx of information, with every online debate, with every retelling, people are ossifying their opinions, backing into corners, simplifying the story into simple black and white. We're burying any chance we might have had to understand, to mend, and to prevent the cycle repeating.

Which, you know, really is nothing new.

I ought to copyright it.

(Final not-to-tempt-fate caveat: I'm under no illusions - if anything bad happened to anyone I care about during these riots, I'd be the first to be screaming for blood. But that's because I'm human, and that's a very human reaction. Long-term, it still doesn't make it a particularly right or helpful one.)
myz_lilith: (Default)
Monday, August 1st, 2011 10:37 pm
Finally got first ever tattoo, having only been talking about it for 15 years. Still getting my head around the idea that it's there ~forever~ (I don't ~do~ forever) and slightly worried it may be brighter than intended (still, I'd rather that than too pale) but I do love it all the same :-) Also, failed to be disowned by parents, which is nice. Already planning the next one (will probably involve magpies....)

That's also the first thing done off my 12-things-that-are-actually-14-things list for the year. Equally chuffed to have done one, and disappointed that by halfway through the year that's all I've achieved. (Some are taking longer than hoped - specifically the move-to-London ones, and some were slightly scuppered when I took up staircase diving as a hobby at Whitby, but still...) May have to investigate another charity firewalk, if I can find one within reach for a charity I support. As well as being another thing the list, and for a good cause, it would also be useful brain-therapy. Have realised I still don't fully trust my ankle, and keep putting off other things like running and snowboarding because of that. So a firewalk might prove to stupid-brain that ankle won't snap in two if I try to do anything more than walk briskly on it.

Stupid brain appears to be on the ascendancy right now. Body is in full scale meltdown with near constant bleeding, along with a nice side helping of continual tiredness, feeling cold and shivery even in a heatwave, alternating between being continually starving (and craving blood) and having zero appetite, and horrendous PMT that is only aptly named if the P stands for 'perpetual'. Brain is close to mush half the time, feeling both utterly broken and wanting to break everything and everyone (and not in a fun way). Keep having to resist turning round round and screaming abuse at people who bump past me in the street, or bursting into tears if they fail to hold a door open, and woe betide anyone I care about if they say something stupid like 'Hello' or 'How's it going?' Am now in the ridiculous position of both not wanting there to be anything wrong with me, and secretly hoping that there is just so they can Make It Stop. Ultrasound is 10 days away, then comes the wait for results...

Jobhunt has been impeded some what over the past week by both brain-melt-curl-up-in-a-corner-and-cry syndrome, and - ironically - lack of stress issues. Evil boss is on holiday right now,and just like Bagpuss, when he goes on holiday, we ~all get a holiday from him. Does take away some of the anger motivation though, which it turns out is quite important in getting through a full evening's jobhunting after a full day at work. (Although the lack of the usual cost of living wage rise this year is helping to balance that out tonight.)

Accidentally ended up sat in the middle of an acoustic guitar circle after book club last week. After an initial reaction of 'Aaaargh, they're going to do folk music at us - run away!' we stayed on due to Jacqui's determination to see the washboard being played. So glad we did - it was a most excellent evening. There was a guy with a case full of harmonicas and what appeared to be a metal acoustic guitar who played amazing blues stuff, and a guy who managed to get everyone in the pub singing, and a guy who swaggered in late with a 12-string on his back and started playing ACDC, and a woman with an amazing voice who sang a Dido cover that I actually liked... but the main thing was that everyone there seemed to be genuinely enjoying themselves. There was even cake! I love randomness, and while the unexpected is usually easier to trip over in London, it's nice to be reminded that it exists in Leeds too. Am now tempted to wander back this week and see them again, but I can't help feel that would spoil it somehow - it was the random that made it special. So am also tempted to go sit somewhere else entirely, and see what happens. (Also, I want to play the acoustic guitar again. Of course. )

IRL interview questions:
What is your greatest strength?
The ability to wrap ideas in words and pin them to the page.
What is your greatest weakness?
The need to wrap everything in words and pin it down.

Writing notes to yourself on tiny pieces of paper is a great way to (a) make new and random friends in a pub and (b) get a seat all to yourself on a train.

Given recent LJ fail, I've been trying to back up my livejournal entries to Dreamwidth. (I've had a DW account for years and never actually touched it, so I ought to try and get some use out of it.) However the import keeps failing midway through. Don't know if this is DW fail, LJ fail, or sheer number of people trying to make back-ups given recent LJ fail. Either way, make have to seek other alternative.

Have a ridiculously busy couple of months coming up, for which I need to start organising things. However currently seem to be finding ways to make them even more insane...

myz_lilith: (wings)
Monday, July 11th, 2011 11:39 pm
Meh. Seem to be stuck in a pit of undoubtedly hormonal melancholy this evening, which is making everything feel like woe and fail, and is hampering my ability to do useful and productive things. Such as packing, more job applications, and chasing up potential meetings with agencies for the next few days.

Unfortunately the window of opportunity for useful and productive things is between now and when I get on a train at 10.30 tomorrow morning, and I can't even do my usual trick of 'oh well, who needs sleep anyway?' if I am to sound like a coherent and employable human being. (Or at least a coherent and employable designer, which is a close approximation.)

At least I now have a proper A3 portfolio sorted. One which won't entirely shatter my shoulder on the way down. (Paper is heavy. This counts as a win.) (And possibly another reason to switch to digital design in the near future.)

'Useful and productive things' may also need to include buying new smart clothes, and finding somewhere that will cut my hair at ten minutes notice, as I now appear to have meetings and interviews three days in a row.

Not convinced that any of them will lead to anything both suitable and immediate. However that may be a good thing, as I gave in and saw my dermatologist and he's now recommending me for another course of UV treatment. Could probably get that in London, but it would certainly be a lot easier to delay moving a couple of months and get the full course out of the way up here. Tempting, especially considering the huge difference it made to my eczema last time.

Would also be nice to try to meet up with some more people while in town, but as I'm still waiting to hear back from a few agencies making proper plans is proving impossible. Meh. And possibly gah.
myz_lilith: (Default)
Monday, July 11th, 2011 10:54 pm
Of course, it would be ironic if Google+ is the thing that finally kills off Livejournal, while Facebook plods ever onwards...