Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Ever since I got here, I've been reasonably dedicated to cooking rather than eating out. One peek at my pretty strict budget suggests that I don't leave a lot of leeway for expensive meals. Now, of course, that doesn't stop me from buying fun food while in London, mainly because the grocery stores have some amazing ready-to-eat food that is reasonably cheap, and the people who own Southfields Food & Wine down by the tube station make the most amazing samosas. Seriously. Go get one. Now.

However, only recently have I decided to try cooking new and exciting things. I had a pretty basic array of skills when it came to cooking - stirfrys, mashed potatoes and steak were among the things I ate most of the time. Recently, though, I've become awful bored with the food I can cook and bored with the instand things I can buy. My mother sent me a bunch of recipes just after I arrived here when I was feeling optimistic about cooking - and I never used them, until know. The past week and a half have been full of trying new and fun things, and I've had a lot of sucess! Things taste the way they are supposed too, which is always good.

I've even decided to tackle baking things, which I have never done before. One undercooked banana bread and a nauseous evening was my only downfall, the brownies and subsequent thumbprint jam cookies have been lovely. I'm looking forward to scouring the internet for some more amazing recipes to try! Once you get used to cooking, it's actually relaxing. It used to stress the crap out of me.

Tomorrow, I'm going to try and make a pork tortilerre (bad french for pie), and it's usually good. I'll post pictures if I have any success!

It's not 2 a.m. yet, but it's close

Monday, September 14, 2009

I've decided against another 2a.m. ramble, but, I will provide you with a short 1:40 a.m. ramble. I spent the evening standing against a concrete wall that smelt like pee, with the cold wind of the Thames whipping my face, in order to take photos of the fireworks for the 2009 Thames Festival. And now I'm home. I'm cold, tired, and have a pink face from wind burn, but I am happy.

I really am happiest when I have a camera in my hands. I could be walking down the street naked, but if I had a camera, I'd be okay with it. Well, maybe not. But it's be pretty damn close.

For those of you who live in London, I hope you went down to the festival, it was well worth. For those of you in other parts of the world, if you'd like to know more, you can see my photos on flickr.

Last night's ramble, if you read/skimmed over it, really helped me clear my head. I tend to be introverted in the sense that I don't always talk through my thoughts and problems, I internalize them and think about them for days and days. Sometimes though, I need to get them out. And since I don't have a lot of people here that I chat too in a deep sense, nor do I want to bother them with random shit that I don't feel is very important, I turn to blogging. I would write in a journal, and I do occasionaly, but ever since I left college I haven't written much, and I find that my hand cramps up bad if I try to write a lot, especially when I want to write and my thoughts are pouring out faster than I can read (or type!) them.

I forget how much writing helps clear my head, and I must remember to do it more often.

For now, it's closer to 3:15 a.m. (I took a break from blogging to chat with an old friend and then my mother on MSN), and my eyes are starting to fade yet again. Hopefully I can sleep in longer tomorrow morning than I got the chance to today.

Either way, thanks for sticking around, or reading this post, or reading yesterday's post... or just glancing at this page after a misguided click on Google landed you here. I appreciate it.

2 a.m. musings

Sunday, September 13, 2009

I can't sleep. And I'm going to blog. Mainly because, since tomorrow is Sunday, I have the liberty of sleeping and can't be bothered to try and sleep now. As well, people across the alley are talking out loud (as people do...), and there are things rattling around in my head.

So here goes. No guarantees that this will be coherent or logical or even factual. I'll try to keep it sound, though.

I went to see Alan Davies talk last night in Battersea as part of the SW11 Literary Festival (Google it if you're interested, I can't be bothered to hotlink it in my state). It was a lovely talk. He's become one of my favorite people since arriving in London, mainly because of his constant presence on a BBC show called QI, which is awesome. I got to the theatre quite early (I like to be early), and was there in the lobby when him and (I am presuming) his wife walked in. I have to admit I did stare for a bit, mouth half open, just because I am not used to seeing, well, famous people. I tried not to be too obvious about said staring, but alas, I was obviously there to see him talk, so I knew who he was. I'm sure I turned all shades of pink and then promptly looked away.

Since I was there early I squeezed myself a front row seat, which is nice, because I like being up close when I go see these smaller type talks. His interview/performance was really a pleasure to watch - it felt like we were all sitting in a rather large living room having a chat. He seems like a really genuinely nice guy. Very funny, too, which helps. He was promoting a new book that he's written, which I haven't read.

Here's the thing - afterwards he was doing a book signing. Now, I didn't read the book. I hate to say it, but I'm not sure I will ever purchase the book. If I find it on sale somewhere or see it at the library I might pick it up, but I just don't buy books that often. So I snapped a quick picture then walked out of the auditorium. (Felt like a total goon snapping a picture, too... it always feels so awkward and a total invasion of their privacy, even though they are there, doing their job as it were. It's not like I snuck into someone's bathroom...). I got about halfway out and I thought to myself "C'mon, this guy is one of your favorite people, you really should meet him"... then the other (more logical) side of my brain responded "No, you always embarass yourself meeting celebrities, don't do it." I should've listened to that side of my brain, but I didn't, so I scrambled for something to get him to sign and a lame esxcuse why I couldn't buy his book and waited in line, heart pounding.

Now, any type of confrontation makes me horribly uneasy. It's something I really have to work on. Now, I also know what you're thinking - this isn't confrontation, it's just a meeting. I know, but the anticipation of saying something to someone who is famous, was pretty overwhelming. At the end of it, I managed to find the only thing worth writing on - my Oyster Card (travelcard for those of you who don't live here) holder (made of plastic - says IKEA on it), and said something about not being able to buy his book now. Really, he was a sweet guy, the moment I said something about not being able to buy the book he responded with "What can I write on then?". He asked how I spelt my name and I said something about using the wallet as a bookmark when I buy the book. And that was it. Doesn't sound too impressive, yet not embarassing right? Wrong.

I'm pretty sure I left with my cheeks all shades of red. I don't even know why. He couldn't have been sweeter. And I didn't even say anything like "I love your work", or "Great lecture". Which I should have. I just feel like such a loser queueing up to see famous people, getting them to sign something like I'm going to parade it around, somehow thinking that it will make me more important amongst my friends if I have had so and so sign something.

So why bother to get anything signed then, you wonder? I wonder the same thing. I guess deep down I feel like I will regret not having the chance to have any kind of face to face contact with these people that I admire when I had the opportunity. Because face it, once I return to Calgary I doubt I'll ever meet these people again. I don't think Alan Davies or Micheal Palin (who I'm going to see at the National Theatre next month) or Stephen Fry (same - at the National Georgraphic Society - and OMG I'm so excited!) are ever going to come to Calgary. Living here in London is an amazing opportunity to see these amazing people, and yet I'm so traumatized from the anticipation that I'll make a fool of myself in front of them that it's too scary.

And at the same time, I need to remember that in their lives, I'm rather insignificant. It sounds sad, but face it, it's true. I'm just one of the hundred people that stood in line in the Battersea Arts Centre to have a book signed by a man who then went on to the Jonathon Ross show and probably did the same thing for another hundred people. I doubt that he even remembers me, and all the better, since I feel like I was a dork. I'm so well spoken and put together in front of regular people, but I get all clammy and embarassed in front of people I admire.

As a side, I once contemplated standing in line when I saw that the Pussycat Dolls (that's right, you heard me) were doing a signing at the La Senza store on Oxford Street, because I have a friend back home who is a HUGE fan. And I think I would've managed just fine in front of any of them, mainly because I just don't care about them. But anyone I admire I just lose it. It's so bad.

So now I have a dilemna. I've booked a lot of places to hear and see a lot of people I admire do talks and stuff over the next month or two (gotta take advantage while I can), and if they present the opportunity to do another signing - what do I do? Do I leave, passing up the opportunity to meet someone I absolutely adore? Or do I wait in line, feeling like a total loser, stammering something out and feeling embarassed for the next week? Who knows.

I wish I was one of those people who could stroll up to anyone and just start a conversation or just start asking questions without feeling embarassed or nervous - just act as if everyone is my best friend... I just can't bring myself to do it.

I guess it's a new feeling for me... this desire for other people and their friendship/approval. It sounds really self-centered of me, but back home, I was usually the one who was desired. And not in a boy-girl kind of way, since I've never had a significant boy-girl relationship to speak of, but in terms of friends, work, etc. I never had to invite people out, since they always called me first. I was always the worker that everone else pointed to and said either "Suckup!" or "That's how you all should behave." (Not always liked by coworkers, I fear...). Of course you dreamed about meeting celebrities when you went to the movies and what not, but they so rarely invaded my little city of Calgary that I never had to worry about actually meeting them! In my head I can be swave and literate and entertaining and it didn't matter! Everyone loves me in my head!

But here, in London... there's a real chance of just running into these famous people. Or seeing them in a more intimate setting that the theatre. And that opportunity never presented itself before back home. Sure, there was a time when I would run into the Cheif of Police in the elevator at work and turn all shades of pink, but it was always a very short ride. And there were usually more people in the elevator! Some of these book signing-autograph moments it's one-on-one. The thought of it is actually terrifying. And somehow, that makes me feel a bit pathetic. Because really... they are just people. And some of them are probably not as exciting as I imagine them to be.

It's that feeling... that feeling of being the smaller, less important, less good-at-things person that I don't like. Even though I wasn't the best at everything back home, I was good enough at enough things to make me feel important amongst my peers. I had things and traits that other people desired or wanted... and it felt nice. This sounds quite snobbish, and I assure you I'm not a brat. Being pulled away from your friends and family and everything and thrown into quite a big city seems to have had an effect on me, albeit not the one I was expecting. I'm starting to think that I much prefer being a big fish in the small lake that the other way around. I feel so inadequate to everyone else in this city. Well, not everyone... but still. I walk down the street and someone's got a better camera than me. Someone's got a better job than me. Someone's got a better flat for less money than me. Someone is more famous than me (... everyone is more famous that me.. I'm not famous).

It was much easier being on par with people. Here, well, I am, admitedly the youngest person in my flat, but everyone else seems to just have more. Have a life plan. Have a significant other, have a steady job with a large amount of income. Back home I was even, even slightly ahead. I like being ahead. I don't like feeling like everyone else.

I don't even know if any of this is going to make sense. In fact, I doubt anyone will read it all the way through. If you did, I'll send you a peice of the lovely brownies that I made a couple days ago. They are still good, trust me. I'm not even sure I'll post this. Oh what the hell. Maybe if Alan Davies decides to google himself he'll understand more about the goofy 24 year old who got him to sign her Oyster Card enveloppe. She appologizes for acting like a fool.

It's now quarter to three and I think the hooligans in my neighborhood have calmed down a bit. My eyes are starting to hurt and I fear that they will look like I've been up late doing cocaine. At least this is what I imagine your eyes look like on cocaine.

Maybe I should stick to financial related matters and start a new blog with all my random rants on the world? Maybe not... otherwise I'm not sure this blog would have any content anymore.