Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Day off tomorrow!

What shall I do with it? I just got rent money from Victoria, so I'm all cashed up... So much freedom!

I think today may have been Ross' last day renovating for a while, too, so maybe we'll both hang out and watch movies... We still have lots of microwave popcorn left from when Anna was here, so we'll have to put it to good use - John Hughes-a-thon! Or maybe Disney-a-thon? Or I could finally make Ross watch Star Wars, but I think it might be too late for him to appreciate it...

Work has been okay, tomorrow looks mega-busy, but luckily I won't have to deal with it! We've got the big bosses of Marks and Spencer in this week, so we're supposed to be going over the top to make all their food amazing...
We do an afternoon tea for special clients, with lots of beautiful cakes and tea, all served on mismatched antique china. Unfortunately it keeps getting broken, so we're really short on everything - it's hard to make high tea look over-the-top amazing on a bunch of chipped saucers...
I'm half tempted to spend tomorrow op-shopping for cups and things, but I don't think I can be bothered. Maybe I'll do it and see if Tamas wants to pay me for my time!

Apart from that? We've got a show this weekend, at a pretty cool pub in Shoreditch. I've invited lots of people from work, but we'll see how many of them make it... I almost don't want them to come, it's always a bit weird to see people trying to reconcile my work personality with a Snowman show. Oh well, it'll be fun anyway!

Couldn't find any relevant photos to go with the post, so here's some really really old ones. If you flick through them really fast it's like they're animated.

Oooh look it's all sunny and warm and bright. I miss you Perth... London weather getting cooler and greyer by the day, but on the bright side - at least it's not snowing!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

A lion saved is a lion earned...

Titles aren't supposed to mean anything, are they?
So anyway, what with all the birthdays I have been missing out on telling you about other stuff...

Um, so what other stuff has been going on? We went to France again last weekend, and apart from some minor hiccups (traffic, missing a ferry - AGAIN) it was pretty awesome. We played a pretty good show, ate some amazing cheese, met a nice London band who liked us and want to help us out a bit.
We were really early for the ferry on Sunday morning, so of course we got stopped at border control because of all our wildly different passports - one each of Icelandic, Indonesian, Italian, British and Slovakian (our manager-type-guy-who-isn't-actually-our-manager, Peter). The guy asked if we all knew each other, which was a bit weird... No, I'm just in a car with a bunch of strangers... Hmm, on second thoughts, maybe that happens all the time?

Anyway, we had to wait in line for a while, then they glanced at our EU passports while Andy showed off his UK work visa. Fun times.

Work is okay, we're pretty busy, but every once in a while there are nice quiet days. I'm working tonight, which will probably be dead. Occasionally people stay late at the bar on a Friday night, but Thursdays are almost pointless shifts. Oh well, I'll go in for five hours, drink some free coffee and get paid for it. Should be nice.
Tamas the bar manager has started giving us one weekday off a week, so that if we work weekends, we don't end up doing six shifts and going crazy as a result. Anyway, last Thursday I had an awesome day off - got to sleep in, then went shopping and bought clothes and a bag and some Lush bath stuff (I love that shop. Love it!). Then I came home and put on a face mask and had a bubble bath. Such a lovely day.

Ross is working for Dmitri again, doing the home renovation thing. He's used his mad new skills at home too - he recently fixed Daisy's squeaky bed and our new housemate Victoria's chest of drawers. They were both very pleased and impressed!

I can't wait til Christmas, it looks like it's shaping up to be a big family affair - mum, Vicki, Sigga, Amma, me, Ross. Hmm, Ross will be quite out numbered by ladies. Sounds cool.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

September babies, you're killing me!

Not really, but gosh there are lots of people with their birthdays coming up...

Anyway, this is turning into a who's who of important ladies in my life. Today is Maja's birthday, but I have no photos of her! Can you believe it? None! I failed at taking photos in Australia, I'll try to be better when I get back...

Is it poor form to post a photo of someone that you just STOLE from their own Flickr? I'm going to go with no for now... Or maybe yes. Sorry.
You must admit, it's for the right reasons though: I need a photo so I can start saying nice things about my cousin Maja!

Maja is the big sister I never had. We weren't really that close until we both found ourselves living at Amma's house in Sauðárkrokur. There wasn't too much going on, so we had heaps of time to get to know each other properly, and I discovered that my cousin was an awesome and fun-loving lady.

We talked about everything; our friends, our families, boys, makeup and geology. She told me stories of her travels across Europe. We worked at the slaughterhouse together, went to the (one and only) local pub together and knitted giant scarves with Amma in the lounge room. (Maja's was absolutely enormous, it was a crazy mix of stripes of different colours and sizes... Do you still have it?)

I'm pretty bad at staying in touch, and because of Maja's work, it's sometimes ages between catch-ups, but I guess that's the benefit of family. You always get to catch up eventually, no matter how long it's been.

Over the years, Maja has also become one of my best friends - always supportive of whatever I'm doing, always full of good advice and always great fun to hang out with.
Now she's engaged to Jason, who I also love dearly, and together they make an awesome team of awesome-tastic radness. That's the way life should be.

Friday, September 18, 2009

And now it's Mum's turn!

Today/tomorrow is my mum's birthday, depending on where you are in the world. I believe she's staying in a hotel for the weekend, so she probably won't see it til later, but I'll post it now anyway! Yay!

My mum is a pretty awesome lady. As mentioned in my grandma's post, she came to Australia from Sauðárkrókur when she was only fourteen or fifteen. She also had to leave behind everything and everyone she knew, which would have been really really hard when you're in those difficult teen years.

She told me that she was confirmed in the little church just before they came out - it was supposed to be a celebratory kind of thing, but it felt a little bit more like a funeral for their old life...

But if she hadn't come to Australia, she wouldn't have met the other Icelandic family living in Perth, and she wouldn't have met their eldest son, Thor. The story I heard was that as soon as she saw my dad, Mum thought "Yep, that's the guy I'm going to marry."
So I think the move worked out best in the long run - especially for me!

My mum has been through a lot of pretty hard stuff in her life. Some of the time I was too young to notice, and some of the time I was a little bit too self-centred. Every once in a while, though, I realised that my mum is deceptively strong.

She may seem softly spoken, and sometimes people try to take advantage of that, but when it counts my mum can stand up for herself and me and anyone else who needs help. She's generous and good hearted, and she wants the best for everyone.

Thing is, sometimes Mum worries too much about other people and forgets to look after herself. Now that all three of us kids are finally adults (in theory, anyway), it should be time for her to take some time to find out what would make her happy. I hope she can learn to nurture herself as much as she's nurtured me over the years.

Happy birthday mum!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Wedding times! Of the epic kind!

So on the weekend Ross and I went to my boss' wedding in Devon. It was pretty lovely good time was had by all. I took a few photos, but half the people there were photographers so I felt a bit weird busting out my camera. The few I took were pretty awesome, though!

The invite said 'woodland ceremony' so I was a bit worried it would just be under some trees in the mud, but Adam (the groom and my boss) went all out to make it awesome. Apparently he and his best man and some other guys from Spring have been out at this farm every weekend for months - cutting down trees, levelling the ground, making a dancefloor and putting up fairy lights.

This photo doesn't really do it justice, but trust me, everything looked amazing.

We carpooled with the chef, and were running really late on the way there, having run into a traffic jam on the M5 AND getting lost in the village nearby, so we ended up having to change into our fancy clothes in the field where we parked the car. Slightly awkward - it was also the camping area - luckily everyone else was already in the marquee...

The wedding itself was quite beautiful. They wrote their own vows, and both cried a little bit during the ceremony, and their best friends played some music for them. Then there were lots of photos, followed by copious amounts of champagne and other booze - all ordered wholesale through Spring by our friendly barman Tamas - and a lovely dinner and dessert.

So Ross and I didn't get a chance to set up the tent til after dinner, which made it slightly more difficult. The packaging said pitching time was 10 minutes, but after a few glasses of champagne and in dusky light, we were pretty proud of ourselves when we finished in about half an hour. Camping was a really nice idea, it meant we could just hang out and dance for as long as we wanted, then when we got tired, bed was not too far away.

We did end up going to sleep pretty early, but not before some other really beautiful touches. They had all these Chinese lanterns which you had to light up and let go, and then they drifted off into the night. It was really gorgeous to look at, if a little bit dangerous...

Then there was a band, then some fireworks, followed by a whole pig on a spit! These lighting dudes know how to have a party...

We went to bed soon after, and slept pretty well considering the discomfort of camping - a carafe of wine sure makes things easier...
Got woken up at 8am (the aforementioned carafe of wine did not help this situation) by the chef; he and his wife and kid were ready to go home.
It was good in a way, because we got back to London in the afternoon and could have an early night. Unfortunately it meant that we missed out on the Sunday activities: brunch, a softball game and clay pigeon shooting. See what I mean? Epic.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

You know what?

I am a bit sick and tired of not being allowed to express any sort of frustration at work. All the patronizing rude jerks spend their days being patronizing and rude to me, and I have to smile sweetly and refrain from pointing out that I'm not an idiot (and that even if I were an idiot, it is completely unnecessary to talk to people like that).

I'm pretty sure I still look like a human person with feelings while I'm at work... Maybe my work uniform makes me look like a robot who doesn't deserve compassion? That could be it. I should buy some new pants.

I'm sure if people were aware that they were being such assholes, they would probably stop - no one WANTS to be a jerk, right? I'm not allowed to point it out to them though. Bummer.

It makes me terribly angry.

Enough of that. Here's a picture of a kitten and a monkey.


Tuesday, September 8, 2009

In spite of the high cost of living, it's still popular.

I saw that quote in a shop window today and I kinda liked it.

Had an extra day off today, it was pretty good. I did some awesome fun shopping in Islington, although I failed to find a new outfit for my boss' wedding next weekend - what does one even wear to a woodland ceremony? I'm thinking boots will be necessary. It was nice to get out of the house and not go to work, anyway. Also, we had a family dinner for Cameron last night which went pretty late, so it was lovely to sleep in.
He's flying out tomorrow, so I think he's feeling a bit stressed out. He's been packing all night and has sorted out his boxes of stuff to be shipped back to Australia. He's also got a pile of stuff that's being left behind - Olga the hobo wins again!

Hey, did I tell you about Bobby, the dwarf hamster who might soon live at our house? Not permanently, it'll be more of a holiday while our friends Lindall and Danny are back in Australia... Still, DWARF HAMSTER. I've heard he's pretty unsociable, but I think he'll make up for it in smallness and cuteness. Maybe I'll start a business, like a cattery, but a Hamstery... I'll call it Hamsterdam*.

This week is going to be pretty crazy busy at work - there are lots of studios booked AND there's a gallery opening on Thursday night. I think there'll be about three hundred guests, two bars set up and the restaurant will be open. As usual for Spring, though, there has been little to no organisation / communication, so we're not really sure what the rules will be.
Example? Andree, the lady who runs the gallery, has been talking to Vee, who runs events in the bar, about how late the restaurant and bar are going to be open. The latest email exchange went:

Andree to Vee: The kitchen needs to be open til 11pm.
Vee to Andree: The kitchen will be open til 10pm.
Andree to Vee: As per our last conversation, can I confirm the kitchen will be serving food/taking orders until 10.30pm?
Vee to Andree: Absolutely.

Okay, so for now we'll leave out the part where we lose half an hour. The thing is, serving food and taking orders are completely different things. If we stop serving food at 10.30, we'll stop taking orders at 10. If we stop taking orders at 10.30, we won't close til at least 11 or maybe later.
Ambiguous stuff like this is a) way too common and b) going to cause problems which will probably lead to customers being unhappy and shouty, and the chef being unhappy and shouty. Seriously, sometimes this place makes no sense at all.

Anyway, enough of that. If it gets terrible, I'll quit and cause a big scene on my way out. I've always wanted to do that.

There are some movies coming out soon that I'm really excited about. I cried during the last trailer for Where the Wild Things Are, and Away We Go also looks awesome. It was directed by Sam Mendes, who did American Beauty, and was written by Dave Eggers and his wife Vendela Vida.

Wow, my search for links just informed me that the screenplay for Where the Wild Things Are was also written by Dave Eggers! Man, I love that guy. His books are pretty amazing, there is one particular book of short stories that I adore - I think it's called How We Are Hungry. I had a copy once, but I lent it to someone and it was lost forever... And I can't even remember who I lent it to...
I think the key is to resign yourself to buying multiple copies of books that you love. That way you can give them away - when I have loved a story that much, I sometimes just NEED other people to experience it.

At the moment I'm reading The Selected Works of T.S Spivet, which Ross' mum left behind for us (I'm pretty sure she's a believer in giving things away, too). It is great, it's about a kid who is really into documenting his life in sketchbooks, and there are all these diagrams and maps and explanations in the margins of the book. It feels like really good value (which sounds like a terrible recommendation, but I mean it in an awesome way); you get the touching main story and also all these extra mini stories on the side.

Hey, do you want to hear something funny? When I was little, I used to feel that brackets would distract me from the main point of the story, so I used to skip them. I didn't read the insides of brackets til I was at least twelve. Thirteen, maybe, that seems like a good age for brackets.

*As an aside, if you haven't already watched The Wire, you should. Really.**
**Although my Hamsterdam won't be like theirs, I promise. No junkie hamsters for me.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Timely post fail!

I meant to write and post this last week, but it's okay, posts don't have expiry dates... Unless they do and I don't know about it. Ignorance is bliss!

We went to the Notting Hill Carnival on Monday, it's a three day celebration of Afro Caribbean culture! It was pretty spectacular, but almost too big for my liking... Not really into crowds, but it was worth it.

There's a big parade that runs around the whole area for what seems like hours - loads of steel drum bands and wildly gyrating people. Also this kid, who didn't look like he wanted to be the peacock.

We ate great food - jerk chicken is my new favourite thing, and I must learn how to make it. I guess it's more about a different set of spices rather than any particular recipe. (Incidentally, I had a conversation with Oz about food and how I'm suddenly more interested in it, and he puts it down to getting old. I am officially a grown up.)
Anyway, I'll let you know how my chicken jerking experiment goes.

There were tonnes of police there all day, which seemed a little weird in the morning when we were walking in, but made perfect sense as we spent an hour struggling through drunken crowds on the way out. Apparently there was a riot last year when it ended, so we left early to avoid the rush.

So that was what I wrote earlier, here's what's been going on since!

I worked the rest of the week - we turned out to be stupidly busy due to some high-profile (and therefore heavily populated) studios. For example, one studio had 30 people present for a full three days. I understand there's usually a stylist, producer, photographer, someone doing hair, someone doing makeup, someone pandering to the talent... Then I guess each of those people probably have an assistant or two. (one photographer recently had three - how much assistance does one guy need?)
Still, that's about ten to fifteen people who have a reason to be there, what the heck does everyone else DO all day? I'm assuming not much. My conclusion: I need to get into the world of high fashion.

Anyway, on Friday we had a big celebrity who was so famous that she didn't even have to sit for the test shots. They paid an extra model to sit in her chair while they set up the shot, then she came out for a whole 15 minutes and posed for the actual photo. Imagine that.

What else? Last night our housemate Cameron had some leaving drinks in Shoreditch, he's moving back to Perth on Wednesday. I worked all day yesterday, so I was a bit knackered, but it was still a really nice night. Cameron is lovely but seems a bit weird sometimes, and he doesn't spend much time at home, so it was kinda cool to see him with all his other friends. I think he had a pretty good night, too.

Um, I think that's it. We had rehearsal today, made some good progress on a couple of songs. I'm really enjoying the songwriting at the moment, we're making music that I really really like playing and listening to. Exciting times!