Tuesday, 2 February 2016

Hourly comics day 2016!

Yay hourly comic day!

So I've done this for the last couple of years, but this was the first year I've done it on a work day! I managed to not fall too far behind throughout the day (catching up on my lunchbreak and straight after work) which was good.

I'm still not really happy with my style/narrative on these though. I find myself going into hyper observant mode and wanting to note down everything I do, when in actual fact, other, more sucessful hourly comicers do much shorter, much more directed hourlies.

Lesson learnt for next year. Visually I like these a lot more than previous efforts, so that's something!

Made the foolish hourly comic day (and life in general) mistake of staying up past midnight.

Mornings = snooze snooze snooze snooze snooze twitter AWAKE!

Morning routine after getting dressed = cereal, inane phone games, OH GOSH I’M RUNNING LATE leave the house.
Decided to leave my hair down because I thought it would be more fun to draw — maybe, but not more fun to actually live with.

Managed to spend most of the first hour of work being productive without actually doing any design. Got to go out to the co-op for coffee for colleagues and had to queue for ages while the cashier and a customer got really excited about contactless technology, ironically, wasting more time than it’s supposed to save.

You guys. I don’t think I mentioned this on here, but about a year ago a terrifying life-size metal squirrel nutcracker appeared in our house and we got incredibly freaked out because there was no explanation as to where it had come from. We made numerous wild accusations, including at each other, eventually settling on it being Nat, because she failed to deny it vigorously enough.
But clearly, we have Chris Parkinson: “famous poet. Professional troublemaker. Political obsessive. Compulsive liar” and hoax-meister extraordinaire in our lives. Why it didn’t occur to us to accuse him before now we have no idea, but with precise timing, he outed himself as the troll all along.

In other news, my boss is doing a ridiculous cycle through the jungle of Cambodia to raise money for the charity our company works with. I think he is beginning to regret his decision to get involved.

I quite like drawing floor plans as a designer. Brings out the wannabe architect in me, but without the requirement for perfection.

Our most bombastic (and I mean that as a compliment) American colleague, Eric, came to visit. Comedy accents, show tunes, and complete inability to focus on work always abounds when he is in the office.

A colleague bought us maple syrup infused tea bags. I don't normally like tea but these are weirdly good. Everyone else hates them though.

Made some tasty pasties. Of course one of the most important ingredients in any good meal is CLEAN THE KITCHEN AFTER YOU’RE DONE

My evenings are preeeeetty dull. Or at least this one was. Oh well!

Anyway, I enjoyed hourly comic day 2016... I hope to have improved more by 2017!

Monday, 1 February 2016

Hi 2016! January.

January feels like it's been looooonnnnnnng.

At the beginning of the month, in the wake of Christmas/Christmas II/New Year, I so thoroughly lost track of time that I messed up taking the pill worse than I ever have done before in my adult life, became briefly convinced (for like, half an hour) I was pregnant, and then just realised that, in fact, I am an idiot (who is definitely *not* responsible enough to be pregnant)

Was helped back into the world of responsible, functioning adulthood, by having a couple of wonderful house guests for 9 days, Willow (@willowbl00) and Mike (@mikeestee).

So I suppose it’s probably time to talk about how much I want a new job. The answer is ‘some’. I love my current job, but Brighton will, one day, break and bankrupt us, and me and Alex have plans to head up North at our earliest convenience. My fairly casual, leisurely search has been ramped up slightly by the new, looming fear that Alex may get made redundant in March. Nothing like a bit of financial precariousness to make you up your game! This was basically me procrasti-motivating myself (is that a thing?) to sort out my CV and portfolio and actually start applying for things. Via the medium of collage. I maybe *didn’t* do it this particular day, but I have now got round to applying for a whole load of exciting Manchester-based things, and am waiting with bated breath for inevitable rejection.

(Are you in Manchester? Or Leeds? Or Sheffield? Do you need a new mid-weight designer? We should talk.)

It’s nice to have a catch up.

As part of the mental process of thinking about leaving Brighton I have been shedding possessions and it feels GREAT. I’ve increasingly realised in recent years that I dislike having too much ‘stuff’ (I know you might not believe it from looking at our house, but remember I live with an Alex…)
Over the last few weeks I’ve been attempting to streamline every area of my possessions with plentiful freecycling and charity shop donations, and I feel so much lighter for it. Moving will be a lot easier and less stressful with less stuff!

I sometimes kid myself I’m getting better at dancing but the reality is, if I can’t see the teacher in the mirror I am LOST.

I could never do him justice.

So I did a tweet what went a bit viral. I’m not sure who set it off, but the whole thing was, frankly, tedious, after the initial enthusiasm... Being famous on Twitter must be so BORING. The inanity and repetitiveness of the comments I got in response to it was, frankly, astounding. I'd like to see some kind of diagram of its spread though.

Did you know Swedish Glace is made by Unilever? Unilever are evil, and I mostly don’t buy their things, but Swedish Glace is by far the best and most widely obtainable vegan ice cream and I’m sad to have to avoid it from here on out.
Fueled by ice-cream sadness, I performed my worst ever dance and felt even sadder.
Then we lost (i.e. failed to save the world) fairly dramatically at Pandemic.
On the bright side, as part of my anti-nest-building, I got rid of some furniture, reorganised my room, and now my bed is symmetrical. Aaaaaaah, restful!

We’ve had a less cold than usual winter, which, living in this house, is a merciful relief, even if I do worry about the wider global implications of it not getting cold enough… Reassuringly, but also depressingly, we did have a few really cold days back there in the end though.

Spent a few more hours with mum scanning in my childhood photos. Some delights.

Perhaps inevitably, got ill. Blegh. January.

Finally found some jeans that fit and look good. Self-esteem/narcissism level up!

Perhaps the first time I’ve ever won at Dead of Winter, and all thanks to absolute hero Kodiak Colby! *swoon*

Coming VERY SOON... February, specifically February 1st, which is hourly comic day 2016!

Thursday, 31 December 2015

December 2015

Well 2015 is rolling to a close, and to celebrate, I am having a fun evening sitting at home doing various bits of life admin. I might watch Jools Hootenanny later, but since someone told me the whole thing is a pre-record I get a lot less joy from it (sorry if this has also ruined it for you). I mean, do all those famous people really have better things to do for New Year's even than hang out with Jools and get smashed? Why can't they do it live?!

Anyway. I got a little distracted there. The beginning of December feels a bit like forever ago.

For the first few days of December we had NO INTERNET, which was disconcertingly upsetting. We've managed without it for periods of time in the past (when switching providers, etc), but the sudden unexpectedness of this outage, and the ridiculous hoops we had to leap through to get it fixed (there was a cherry picker involved!) meant that me and Alex got rather upset. In the end we mostly dealt with it by going to other people's houses and stealing their internet (Thanks George and Wes!), or distracting ourselves entirely with other IRL non-internet related activities...

On the 2nd, I went knocking on lots of neighbours doors to see if anyone had a landline phone we could borrow to test our phoneline. Lesson: not many people have landline phones any more. It was nice to say hello to a few new neighbours though, whose names I have now entirely forgotten because I am terrible with names.

Later that evening, I went to a charity raffle thing and won some beautiful children's building blocks, and after a brief jaunt to boardgame club with Alex, we came home and built the tallest towers we could.

On the 3rd, our makeshift post-storage solution collapsed, showering the living room in about 5 – 10 years of post for former tenants, Alex bank statements, old gas bills, electricity statements, various threatening late-payment letters and a vast amount of other paper based junk. I spent my third internet free evening having a thoroughly satisfying sort-out.

On the 4th, it was my work Christmas party. I wore a dress which made me feel happy and lots of people said nice things to me. I also ate far too many crepes.

On the 5th I generally continued desperately busying myself around the house to distract from the huge internet-shaped hole in my soul. (I did make some great muffins though)

On the 6th I went to two separate wonderful festive gatherings, and hit the limit on my entire month’s 4G allowance.

On the 7th, the internet was fixed, and all was well once more. (But continuing my unusually vigorous spree of socialising, I went over to Lou and Caroline's for a lovely dinner and catch-up)

New year’s resolution?

Have you been to Beelzebab at the Hope and Ruin yet? Beelzebab was a pop-up vegan kebab stand, but they’ve now taken up residence in the kitchen at the Hope and Ruin pub and expanded their menu to include a vast array of vegan delights, including hot dog topped doner meat, kebab topped with a hot dog, an amazing range of loaded fries, PICKLED GHERKINS DEEP FRIED IN BATTER (my personal favourite), and these incredible brownies, which, for no extra charge, they’ll also deep fry in batter. That was a step too far for me and George, who had our brownies ‘naked’, but Alex and Wes opted for the heart-attack including deep-fried option and spent the rest of the evening sitting very still with contented faces.

It’s really been such a lovely social month. January is inevitably going to be cold and bleak by comparison. This was a busy day: Nat was down visiting from Manchester, so we all went to Beelzebab for a thoroughly indulgent lunch… Then old uni friends Michael and Lyall came down from London for a meet up with us Brighton folk… and then in the evening, some other friends came over to me and Alex’s for boardgames. Wonderful people, all.

I’m still dancing, and sometimes I even manage to do kind of okay!

Here's another valuable lesson: don't eat three kinds of cabbage for every meal in one day, it won't end well.

Everyone at work was grumpy that our Christmas do was so early in the month, so we had a festive pub quiz a bit later on in the month. I was on the winning team, which was obviously great. Even greater: one round involved throwing a small toy monkey into a tiny bucket from about three metres away. For some ridiculous reason I was nominated to do this for our team, and even more ridiculously, I succeeded, and was the only person to succeed, causing jubilant scenes, in which ALL MY COLLEAGUES cheered and whooped and shouted my name and bought me savoury snacks in celebration, possibly the only time in my life I have ever been applauded for any sort of sport/coordination prowess.

To help us get into the festive spirit, we invited people over to make Christmas decorations with us. Elly, Finn, Kat, Stina and Orestes all obliged, and we ate lots of snacks and did some pretty intense crafting with old maps. Our halls were suitably decked.

I feel very lucky that I work in a job where I get to have a solid amount of time off over Christmas. So much love/respect/gratefulness to all people in jobs who keep going over the festive period.

Port and cheese party over at Chris and Anna’s… not ideal for a vegan tee-totaller, but I still managed to have a good time, especially once the papier mache animal heads came out.

Alex always does Christmas shopping super last minute. While I find this faintly ridiculous, it was this time four years ago when we started falling in love (Alex asked me to come along and maintain sanity/level-headedness/gift judgement), so I look very fondly on this mad dash around Brighton’s shops for family gifts.

Went to Alex’s parents in Torquay for Christmas. Mostly enjoyed walking miles and miles along windswept coastline with good music in my ears… I’m not actually very good at traditional Christmas activities of sitting indoors eating my body weight in fatty food and watching hundreds of films any more.

A highlight of this windswept walking was my boxing day stroll along the coast to Paignton, where I got to see hundreds of people fling themselves into the icy sea, for charity/tradition/larks or some other reason. Also loads and loads of great dogs on boxing day beach walks. Excellent.

As for the last few years, once we were back in Brighton, we invited maybe too many of our friends over a big shared vegan roast, which we like to refer to as ‘Christmas II’. This year, the guest list was 19/20 strong, which meant a LOT of vegetable prep the night before. Alex was adamant that we must have sufficient roasties, so I calculated 7 roasties per person and got peeling. That’s a LOT of potatoes you guys.

Remarkably, considering a) the size of our house, and b) the size of our cooker, we managed to pull it off, which we are still feeling pretty smug about. (Previous years have only been 14 – 16 people) We re-purposed India-absent Justin’s room as dining room, and with some cunning furniture rearranging, managed to fit everyone in. (Don't worry Justin, order is being restored!)

We also did some pretty nifty oven juggling, tin-foil wielding and microwaving to ensure we got 20 people’s worth of vegan roasties, broccoli, carrots, pigs in blankets, sweet potato/mushroom/sosmix wellington, gluten free nut roast, stuffing, haggis and two different kinds of gravy to the table — hot, and all at once. Phew!

We’re wasted in our day jobs, I tell you. Someone kickstart us to set up a vegan cafe/boardgame shop!

Now, onwards to 2016.
2015 has been pretty good, although perhaps with little major to differentiate it from 2014, or, indeed, 2013. Maybe 2016 will be time for change.

As most people who know me and Alex are probably already aware, we're looking to move up North at some point in the not too distant future. If anyone hears of any promising graphic design jobs in the Manchester/Leeds area, hit me up.

Alternatively, if you'd like to fund the vegan cafe/boardgame shop enterprise, we'd be open to that also :)