Category: Life

The Sunday Currently Vol. 6

Feel a bit gross today – could be a cold catching up or the leftover effects of Friday night (more on that later), so will save my usual rambling for the currentlies themselves!

Reading

Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall, the first in a series of historical fiction about Thomas Cromwell/the Tudor court in the times of Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn. It feels like a long time since I’ve sunk my teeth into some good complicated fiction, the last one being Haruki Murakami’s Wind-Up Bird Chronicle. Is this a good time to confess that I’m not the most avid reader of literary fiction? Actually, my fiction reading overall is significantly lower than what it ought to be — something I hope to fix this year.

Anyway, Wolf Hall is engrossing, the sort of book I look forward to savoring in snatches of the day. It’s not the kind of book I could power through in a couple days, though I’m a fast reader. Mantel’s writing is beautiful and fluid, and takes you through dimensions of time and space and dreams in a few short sentences. One second you’ll be caught deep in a haughty cardinal’s confidences, and the next you’re drifting through the mythological origins of Britain where shapeshifters and kings of prophecy reigned. That’s probably why I can’t read it quickly; it takes awhile to ground myself again and remind myself of the complicated cast of characters, as well as what is actually happening.

I highly recommend it, and am looking forward to going straight into the next book, Bring Up the Bodies.

Writing

This is kind of cheating, but last week I started a short story set in the South Pole. It took a lot longer than I expected to finish (and was rightfully chastised for not hitting the deadline, huhu) due to getting caught up in researching Antarctica and the specific project my character was to be involved in. The project itself is called the IceCube Neutrino, designed to track the faint traces of the Big Bang as they crash into pure, unsullied Antarctic ice deep underground. The story is going to be a lot longer than expected (I’m thinking 6 or 8 thousand words, rather than the original 2) but we’ll see.

Cooking

The kitchen is more or less in order! I have my cast iron casserole (not Le Creuset, but one from Sainsburys which people on the internet claim is just as good), an awesome chef knife, and mixing bowls. Last weekend I cooked a risotto-paella hybrid, which is something my ex boyfriend’s mother made once and I have never forgotten (though hers tasted infinitely better). It’s basically risotto parmesan with paella toppings. I also made a beef minestrone soup (so good on cold days) and chocolate chip banana bread, which when eaten with clotted cream ice cream feels like winning X Factor.

Today I cooked a chicken roast dinner, but because I feel ill I didn’t enjoy it as much as I wanted.

Feeling

Very under the weather. Not sure if it’s because I’ve finally caught the cold that’s been sweeping through my classmates, taking them down one by one, or because of Friday night which, to summarize a thousand words, went like this:

I’m too old to be partying like it’s 1999. But it was a 90s theme party (note the wall decorations) in what looked like someone’s basement (but wasn’t), and they filled the wine glasses up to the brim, so of course horrible and amazing things were going to happen. The days of bouncing back from a hangover in time for drunk brunch are long gone.

Needing

To sit down and really sort through my goals for 2015. Because there’s only 11/12ths of it left. Lolcry.

Clicking

This article about a woman whose writing career is sponsored by her husband is a must-read. I commend her for her honesty – it’s far easier to pretend that successful people get by on their own merits. In no way does this discredit writers who have to juggle family life and jobs with writing, and in no way does this say that you have to be supported to be a writer. I think it’s saying that if you have privilege, acknowledge it. It’s no crime to be lucky, but dangerous if you pretend your success is independent of the fortunate circumstances of your life.

My truth is, at the moment, similar to hers. I am where I am not because I’m a good writer, but because I’ve had the incredible good fortune to have parents who subsidize my dreams. It’s super annoying when others with even more opportunities whine about how they got to where they are solely because of hard work. Oh, so it had nothing to do with your connections or surname or family money?

sure-jan

It seems like a slap in the face to people who actually did get to where they are without any of those.

That said, some people get their foot in the door faster than others, or can choose from more doors, but at the end of the day everyone has to work hard to get to where they want. There’s no one path to success, so why pretend yours is something it’s not?

Perhaps I’ll leave things on that rant…might try to get more tea in me before calling it a night!

[EDIT]

I didn’t really want to leave things on that rant…so here are Henry Miller’s 11 Commandments for Work. We are kindred spirits, and for anyone who knows the feeling, this is for you!

Henry Miller’s 11 Commandments. #writers #amwriting

A photo posted by Bea Pantoja (@dalagaproject) on

On Uniforms and Unnecessary Choices

I stumbled upon an article about why Mark Zuckerberg wears the same shirt every day. I didn’t expect the article to be very memorable, but his reasoning stood out:

I really want to clear my life to make it so that I have to make as few decisions as possible about anything except how to best serve this community,” Zuckerberg said, after clarifying that he had “multiple same shirts.”

 He said even small decisions like choosing what to wear or what to eat for breakfast could be tiring and consume energy, and he didn’t want to waste any time on that….

“I feel like I’m not doing my job if I spend any of my energy on things that are silly or frivolous about my life.”

As an unabashed lover of all things silly and frivolous, I should be opposed to this kind of thinking. But I’m not. I agree now more than ever. Because I’m more than familiar with the sensation of wasting time due to “unnecessary” choices.

The choice paradox

The “choice paradox” has been extensively covered in pop psychology books. The name comes from Barry Schwartz’s Paradox of Choice but the phenomenon is also covered in Malcolm Gladwell’s Blink. Basically, choice — that magical, wonderful force that gives us the power to control our actions, assert our independence, and define ourselves — can have the opposite effect in excess. The more choices you have, the less likely you are to actually make a decision. Some of the studies in this interesting read even suggest that certain choices can even make us less happy. Less productive. Less focused.

As mentioned in the last Sunday Currently, I spent longer than I should have studying electric kettles online. Electric kettles all fulfill the same function — they boil water. But on Amazon, where you factor in price and customer reviews and material and performance, they might as well be different species entirely. If I’d just gone to the grocery shop down the road I probably would have been happy with whatever kettle they had in stock. Now I was rejecting kettles because they “boiled too loudly.”

This issue about unnecessary choice is separate but totally related to my relationship with Stuff: capital S, to represent all the clothing, makeup books, trinkets, and knickknacks I’ve acquired over the years and keep longer than I should. The article made me think about the unnecessary choices I make each day; if not unnecessary, then time consuming. And usually, the unnecessary choices directly correlate to the amount of Stuff involved.

It will take more than Facebook’s overlord to convince me that “what to eat for breakfast” is a frivolous choice…but for makeup and clothing? I could definitely reduce the amount of time I spend each morning indulging my vanity.

Same old, same old

Don’t get me wrong; there’s nothing wrong with vanity. But it requires a patience with oneself that in me is depleting. I usually love getting ready slowly and leisurely, if time permits. Putting on a full face of makeup and deciding what to wear can be meditative — it’s one of my favorite times to daydream about stories and plots and whatever else. But nowadays I just reach for the same products over and over again.

A year ago I might have written about this as though it were a rut: “my makeup routine is uninspiring! I need a change!” But in fact, I’m kind of loving doing the same face every day — winged liner, NARS blush, whatever pinkish lipstick is close at hand — with the occasional bold lip for some *~adventure*~.

But that’s not enough: I want to Zuckerberg my wardrobe too! At least during the winter, when it’s too cold to care about what I’m wearing. I used to declutter my closet by eliminating similar pieces: “this black sweater looks a lot like this black sweater, so I’ll only keep one.” If only I’d known that duplicates indicate the formation of a personal style. Now I want a closet full of duplicates. Ideally all in black and white with the occasional print, but I live in the real world, not the pages of Kinfolk magazine, so it will never be so.

I used to care so much about what I wore every day. If you stopped by our Beauty Blog Sale back in December, you would have seen the ephemera of a past life filled with all manners of clothes – tight Alexander Wang dresses I wore twice, DVF shifts I wore never.

But that’s a topic for another post. I still care about clothes. I just don’t want to think about them as much.

The uniform

on-the-uniform

Adhering to a somewhat regular makeup and fashion “uniform” is one way I hope to reduce unnecessary choices in my life. Who knows if it will work — I’m trying to do this slowly, because I know that if I plunge into it balls to the wall, it will be harder to maintain over time (for example, Project Life was my 24/7 obsession for a week, and now it’s like…a lightly simmering interest).

Rather than be extreme and say, “I must burn everything in my closet and restock it with COS!” I will try to be even more prudent and exacting about clothing purchases. I’ll practice wearing a uniform with the existing items in my closet. At least for a season. Who knows how I’ll feel once it’s warm again and my desire to dress up outweighs my desire to comfortable.

Anyway, I sporadically update a Pinterest board called Everyday Minimalist Fashion with inspirational but easy-to-wear basics. (Distinguished from Minimalist Fashion because some minimalist outfits can be quite…avant garde), so if you like the style, feel free to check in! Or if you already have a similar board do send a link!

I don’t think I’m ready to adhere to a Capsule Wardrobe or something like Project 333 (where you can only wear 33 items with some exceptions), but for an example of someone who does it really well (and with a similarly streamlined style), do check out the Light by Coco Youtube channel. The link should take you to her “Capsule Wardrobe” playlist.

What do you think about the idea of eliminating unnecessary choices? Is spending too much time on makeup and clothes unnecessary? What is/would be your style uniform?

The Sunday Currently Vol. 5

I took a break for the holidays that ended up being longer than I thought. The break, not the holidays. I meant to start blogging again in early January, but after drafting an unnecessarily morose 2014 reflection post I thought it best to focus on the ‘real world’ for a few weeks until I’d rediscovered my sense of humor.

December and January have been busy. Right after our final presentations and the last holiday parties Matt and I spent a brief but wonderful week-and-some-days with my family in Manila (where I got to see some of my nearest and dearest, but not enough!). We flew back on December 31st and promptly passed out, waking up to soft pops of fireworks and clinking beers on the roof just long enough to mumble Happy New Year to each other before passing out again.

On the heels of that, I had to finish the last of the term’s schoolwork before we packed up and moved to our new flat in North London. The past week has been spent cleaning top to bottom, unpacking, and arguing about furniture placement. The flat is tiny but cozy; at the moment sparsely decorated, but tidy. I want to make the space feel comfortable and beautiful, but am hesitant about cluttering the apartment more than it already is.

Also, I find it hard to justify buying items whose primary purpose is to simply add beauty to a space, even if I know it will make a world of difference. When you move every year and a half, getting nice furniture and household items seems a waste–you just have to find a way to get rid of it later.

Also I have the design sensibilities of a wild donkey so what is decorating even.

I started an internship at a publishing company last week. It’s pretty good. I enjoy it. I apologize for that super eloquent summary of my experience thus far. I only mention it because lots of new things happening at once tend to throw me for a loop, and if I don’t force myself to focus solely on managing those things then untold disasters will happen. Tomorrow is the first day of the new term and I’m hoping a return to routine will set everything on its normal course again.

Wish I could say the move was stress-free but sometimes we just need to crawl into a box and have alone time.

Wish I could say the move was stress-free but sometimes we just needed to crawl into a box and have alone time.

Onto the Currentlies:

Reading

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying by Marie Kondo. I’ve had this on my shelf awhile but have been too guilt-ridden with my slobbery, clutter-y habits to read it without the accompanying waves of self-loathing. So far it’s wonderful. It’s the first book so far that I feel has a convincing philosophy about how to tidy and get rid of what you don’t need. Have I put any of it into practice? Not yet.

I especially like Kondo’s advice to keep things that only spark joy in your life, and to reconsider how an item’s purpose has been “fulfilled.” You don’t have to keep things till they’re unusable — even a regrettable clothing purchase or wrong shade of makeup fulfills the purpose of teaching you something about yourself and your tastes, and so can be thrown away without guilt.

It’s a very radical approach, especially for Filipinos who adhere to the “new shirt>little brother’s shirt>pambahay>rag” philosophy or the “I’ll save this on the 1/30000th chance that I’ll need it again” philosophy. Kondo’s approach also involves a lot of thanking of inanimate objects for a purpose fulfilled (how Japanese). But for a hoarder-on-the-verge like myself, perhaps there is some value in personifying objects — before you usher them gently out of your home and life.

Writing

A lot of lists. An IKEA shopping list. A cookware dream list, in which a Le Creuset 5.5 qt dutch oven takes the lead. A monthly budget of rent and bills (horrifying). A blogging schedule that I immediately ignored. A weekly grocery list. I’m domestic as fuck now and loving it. I think

Listening

Childish Gambino’s “Retro [Rough]” not of my free will. It was nice the first couple of times, but for some reason it now slips under my skin like barbed wire. It’s not even a terrible song, it just makes me…react. The song is making me regress back to high school emo poetry days. The barbed wire cuts deep, the piercings in my skin matching those in my heart. I long for light. I see only darkness. I call for my raven. But the raven was me all along. 

Thinking

Waaaaaaay too much about cookware. I’ve become a bit possessive of the kitchen. Maybe obsessive is a better term. I just want to cook all the things. Maybe I should save this answer for “Wanting.” But seriously, I spent an hour comparing electric kettles. I spent a good half a day educating myself on enameled cast iron vs stainless steel vs copper vs hard anodized cookware. I’ve evaluated the need for stock pots, steamers, casserole dishes, food processors, and essential kitchen knives (for the record: chef and paring). But since I have the budget for none of these magical things, I will probably just get a boxed set from IKEA.

Smelling

Bleach. We did a serious cleaning this morning because Matt’s parents were coming over. But for a sexier answer, I also have beside me an open bottle of Satinka Naturals’ Fleur a Gruem reed diffuser. Rich and floral (o rili?) without too much sweetness. You can find them in Legaspi Market every Sunday.

Wishing

For structure again! I feel like I ask for this every week.

Wearing

A white Uniqlo dress shirt under a loose black Zara blouse, Uniqlo jeans that have so much excess space in the butt area that they go flap-flap-flap when I walk, and the ugliest hot pink socks in the world.

There is a lot of text in this post, so here is some ulam to go with it.

There is a lot of text in this post, so here is some ulam to go with it.

Loving

The new apartment. I’m trying not to be impatient and to take it one step at a time, but after a few months of crashing (with some very gracious, generous people) it’s so nice to have a room of one’s own. That I share with my boyfriend, but still. I love not being cold all the time. I love that I have a separate room to work even when Matt goes to bed. I love that the toilet is actually in the bathroom. I love that the shower feels like a thousand angels leaving hickeys on my skin. I love wrapping myself in a freshly heated towel, AKA the physical manifestation of Alan Rickman and Tom Hiddleston reciting Shakespeare at each other.

I love that my domain is the kitchen, and Matt’s is anything to do with electronics. I love our sexy wooden chopping board (also bought at Legaspi Market). I love that our tea bags and sugar are in freaking mason jars. I almost grabbed a shipping pallet off the street to go full Pinterest until Matt warned me that those particular pallets were rentals and I would actually be stealing, not salvaging, to fulfill my shabby chic dream.

But seriously. Shipping pallet herb garden. It’s happening.

I also love Come Dine With Me, a British TV show where 5 strangers take turns hosting dinner for each other for a week for the chance to win £1000.

Wanting

A Le Creuset 5.5 qt dutch oven (though I might not actually be physically strong enough to carry one, so I am eyeing the far more affordable Sainsbury’s version so I’ll still have money for medical bills). A big, sturdy stainless steel pot. A masticating juicer (the one with the dildo-like accessory that crushes all the veggies). Chinese steamed fish. Vietnamese spring rolls.

Feeling

Excited about the new term. Apprehensive about 2015.

Clicking

I haven’t been very active online, and that includes reading. However I did read through Ira Sukrungruang’s account of living with cluster headaches. I cannot even imagine that kind of pain, but he does more than enough to describe it for you. The fact that he suffered from cluster headaches for many years and still produced an extensive body of work is admirable. And sobering.

Also, a lot of people are starting up Tiny Letters, something I am considering doing as well. It might be a better outlet for more personal *~musings~*. Yikes, I can’t say musings with a straight face. I can’t even type it with a straight face. But anyway, if you write Tiny Letters or have favorite Tiny Letters do share the link with me so I can subscribe k thanks.

Ugh, that’s enough Currently for now. At 22 minutes past midnight it’s technically Monday Currently but who cares! Hope everyone has a wonderful week!

The Sunday Currently Vol. 4

This feels like the first Sunday in awhile that I’ve not had the pressure of a major assignment (though the feeling is an illusion, as I have a big paper due on Friday). It was also the first day that I’d experienced a Christmas dinner in London, and the two combined made for a very enjoyable day.

There were Christmas crackers waiting at every seat when we got to the pub. I’ve never had a Christmas cracker before. You cross arms with the people next to you so you’re each holding onto the ends of a cracker and give it a tug. With a great pop, the cracker splits and out tumbles a variety of things you’ll use once and never again: a crown made of colored tissue paper, a little toy (mine was a plastic hairclip; Matt got a paperclip, and others got eyepatches and star cookie cutters), and jokes and riddles. Everyone puts on their crowns and tests their friends on their riddle lore, and when it’s combined with enough booze it can be great fun.

On a side note I seem to have drunk more in the past few weeks than I have all year. That fact combined with the swiftly chilling weather has led to a less than desirable amount of sniffles, zits, and general deadness behind the eyes.

Our dinner was in a pub tucked into an alleyway that led straight to St. Paul’s Cathedral, which has not stopped being beautiful no matter how many times I’ve seen it. After dinner we circled around and saw a portion of the dome illuminated through tree leaves like black lacework. Our last view of St. Paul’s for the night came from the other side of the Thames, in front of Tate Modern, where the cathedral unobstructed and bright as the moon..

In three days I head back to Manila (!!) and I’m so excited to see my family again. I’m going to do my best to see as many friends as possible but I’m only there for two weeks. If it’s difficult to coordinate a get together normally, imagine the task at Christmas when everyone is dealing with their fair share of family, extended family, balikbayan family, and all else. Never mind budgeting 3 hours just to get anywhere! (I’ve been sympathizing with people who have shared their travel and commuting woes this season).

Anyway, on to the Currentlies:

Reading

Daily Rituals: How Artists Work by Mason Curry. I’m slowly making my way through this book but every time I read a few pages I always feel guilty about the lack of structure in my life and poor self-discipline. While not every artist followed a stringent ritual, many of the most prolific ones adhered to a schedule that would make Phineas Fogg feel ashamed.

For example, did you know that Gertrude Stein could only write half an hour an day? But much of the day was devoted to thinking of what to write for that half hour (often by driving around fields staring at cows — and it had to be the right cow. I’m not joking! Then again I never did care for Stein’s work). Also, Stein relied heavily upon her partner, Alice B. Toklas, to do the household and admin work, a trend that runs commonly throughout the book.

Aside from a fastidious routine, I’m learning that to be a productive artist I must also: pretend the real world does not exist and hope someone is willing to go through hell and high water to give me my “creative space”; rely heavily on some substance, whether it be cigarettes or alcohol or worse; eat simple breakfasts (HAH NO THANKS); be in possession of a spacious country retreat; commit to working every day, even if nothing gets produced.

I’d love an updated version of this book with more true-to-life and diverse examples (aka, not dead and white).

Writing

Christmas shopping lists, mostly, though I have a big paper due on Friday. I don’t know how I’m going to get that done.

Listening

This afternoon, I listened to a semi-complete orchestra of senior citizens perform a string of Irish ballads and Christmas carols in the bar. Currently I’m listening to some vintage Maaya Sakamoto: she was a Japanese voice actress-turned-singer (aren’t they all?). I’ve learned that my music tastes haven’t evolved much beyond high school, so I listen to the same songs for years and years. Like this one, from 2001:

Cooking

Not much these days — I haven’t had much time to cook! Whenever I’m mildly hungover though I’ll cook a huge breakfast — scrambled eggs and shredded fried potatoes. It’s all just a grand excuse to shovel as much cheese as I can into my system, even though cheese is terrible for me.

Thinking

A lot lately about the role of social media and how much we should let it control our lives. Not too heavily — perhaps I’m just annoyed by the sudden influx of people on my feeds complaining about how people judge them for their social media activity and how what they post doesn’t say everything about them.

To some extend I agree: as a person who loves Instagram but also loves privacy, it would be hypocritical of me not to agree that social media doesn’t say everything about a person. At the same time…the loudest critics I’ve heard tend to be highly active on social media and are smart about leveraging it and their personal assets when it suits them, but the moment they’re criticized for it it’s all, “OMG you don’t know my whole life story okay?”

I don’t know! Basically, I believe it’s a safe assumption and common knowledge that people have more varied interests than what they choose to make public, but if you’re so worried about what people think about you based on social media, maybe you should revisit how much you rely on other people’s opinions of you — or what you post on social media.

Smelling

Fresh laundry.  We’re doing as much as we can before heading to Manila. This has resulted in accidentally doing wools on the Sports Intense setting and dyeing all of Matt’s white shirts blue (damn you cheap Adventure Time T-shirt!).

Hoping/Needing

To get everything I need done by Wednesday.

Wearing

Guerlain Rouge G L’Extrait Orgueil after a long period of neglect. It does transfer a bit and needs some touching up, but it’s such a gorgeous color especially for Christmas dinners!

the-sunday-currently-03

Wanting

To find nice but affordable decoration and furniture for our new flat, which we’re moving into the first week of January! I won’t be able to do much to it until I’ve seen the place again and once we have our stuff in, but I’ve started Pinning ideas.

Loving

Miso soup. Just the thing for icky sicky feelings. I saw a suggestion online to add a poached egg and noodles to miso soup, and thought this was a brilliant solution — until I realized that that dish exists, and it’s called miso ramen.

Feeling

Reflective. This weekend we went to Matt’s house to meet the family before Christmas, especially his new baby nephew. The baby was only 2 days old when we went, and I got to hold him for a little. I was terrified — that my arm wouldn’t support his neck, that I was dirty and grotty from the train, that he’d be uncomfortable and upset, that I would drop him — but it was a wonderful experience. I wouldn’t say that it switched my maternal instincts from 0 to 60, but perhaps I have a better understanding now of the “magical moment” that mothers describe. At least until the babies learn to cry and say no and run around, haha.

I wish my siblings would have kids that I could be a cool Auntie for – so I can hand them back when they need changing!

Eating

For today’s Christmas dinner, we had a 3 course meal at the pub: chicken liver pate with chutney and greens, lamb with lentils and roasted potatoes with vegetable sides like cabbage and brussel sprouts, shredded red cabbage, and carrots and parsnips, then profiteroles filled with Bailey’s cream. Aside from a few glasses of prosecco I had a chenin blanc then a pinot grigio. All delicious.

 

Original Sunday Currently

The Sunday Currently Vol.3

Regent Street Christmas Lights

This week and weekend were particularly busy – a sharp contrast from the week prior. Classes resumed again but this time with a sense of urgency – we realized there were only 3 weeks until our first major presentation. The deadlines loomed, the reading piled up, and on top of all that, our murmurs of dissent about certain things started to swell and tumble over themselves, rolling faster  and gathering momentum until they became more shouts than murmurs. But all of that feedback was gathered up by our class representatives (who must be commended for extracting and translating diplomatic versions from what must have resembled a textual bloodbath). We’ll find out what happens next.

On Wednesday my creative writing piece was workshopped, and I was terrified about how my story, which was a bit experimental, would go down. It actually went pretty well, and I’m thankful that they gave me insight into the reading experience – what was acceptably confusing, what was not, what needed improvement. I’m slowly discovering that realistic fiction is not my forte: I need to at least dip my toes in the mythical and fantastical world for it to be decent in any way. Perhaps to strengthen this skill I need to be more observant of the world around me, and track the little details that make a scene fit into place.

Later in the week a childhood friend came to visit from Singapore. I couldn’t remember the last time I saw her, except for a chance encounter at a birthday party in New York three years ago which barely counted…so besides that, maybe eight years? We tried a restaurant in Hoxton called Beagle, and the next morning she took us on a tour of the Google UK office.

It’s easy to see why, once you’ve seen their offices, people would deem you crazy for leaving Google. Their building is in Holborn, and the offices have fantastic views of South Bank and most of central London. More cafeterias than I have fingers, each table bearing a mixed fruit bowl and pitcher of cucumber-mint-strawberry water, fully stocked with every snack you can imagine and an extensive menu of global cuisine — all free, obviously. There’s a machine just for squeezing fresh orange juice, or a juice bar if you need something more elaborate. Then: a library done up in soft mushroom shades, wallpapered with tiny reading nooks. The library also hosts the UK office’s nap pod, a machine that slowly encloses half your reclining body in soundproof slumber, eliminating all distractions from your 30-minute power nap. They also have a full gym (with a view, of course). The perks are unfathomable, but at the end of the day what matters is that you are content with where you are and what you have.

Though I wouldn’t mind more of those falafel snacks.

On Saturday, Matt and I went to the Hyper Japan Christmas Market. I recapped this extensively so I will spare you any repetition. But I didn’t get to take a picture of my “haul” yesterday, so here it is:

Hyper Japan Christmas Fair 2014 Haul

Today I met up with classmates in Chinatown for dimsum and sightseeing. We wandered around Soho and dropped into Muriel’s Kitchen for afternoon tea and pastries, then followed the crowds to Regent Street to watch the Christmas lights that were strung across the buildings flicker to life for the first time (this year, at least). The event was co-hosted by Emma Bunton (Baby Spice of the Spice Girls for you younguns!) who is now a DJ at a radio station, and though we were too far from the stage to see her, I realized this was the closest I had ever been to a Spice Girl and enjoyed a few feels.

The lighting itself was a bit anticlimactic: I expected the Christmas lights to come on piece by piece, like a wave of magic sweeping over the entire Regent Street, and then a gentle layer of fake snow to fall gently from the sky. Instead they all lit up from a single switch, and we didn’t get snow but there was a fireworks display. British people love fireworks and use any excuse to light them (but I have still never seen a spectacle that rivals the Manila sky on New Year’s Eve). After the event it started to drizzle, and by the time I got home an hour later it had grown into soft, steady rain.

I know this is basically a journal entry and not at all in line with The Sunday Currently format, but I had other things on my mind I suppose. To keep true to the series, here are some select currentlies:

Reading

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald. I never realized that I had this free on my epub reader, and it’s a book I’ve been meaning to read. It’s one of the most masterful uses of language I’ve read in recent memory. The ending truly deserves its title as one of the best endings in literature.

Cooking

This week: cheese-stuffed meatballs; a baked egg with mushrooms, pepper, and onions; creamy tomato pasta bake with chicken (okay, I used a mix for the sauce.

Needing

To stop being so negative and focus on being more positive. Honest to god, I was a much more positive person a couple of years ago and a bit more laissez-faire about life. Now I fear that I’ve become a bit more…hateful. It’s not at all who I want to be. And I think a big part of being more positive isn’t to just imagine positive things, but to practice a more accepting and kind attitude towards others.

Wanting/Wishing

For my brain to be calm and centered and focused and not want to write 100 different things. I made a list of all the things I had more than a marginal interest of writing (aka things that represented works in progress): YA fantasy, experimental fiction, creative nonfiction, and narrative nonfiction. What the hell?! I yearn to be one of those people who knows what they want to write, and aren’t distracted by other forms. Those tend to be the kind of people that get shit done.

 

11/30 NaBloPoMo