What do you do when you're standing in the middle of a crowded room feeling completely invisible and ridiculously UNattractive?
Sunday, 1 November 2009
Never in a million years did I think I'd wind up with such amazing housemates. Granted, never in a million years did I think I'd wind up living in Luton. I know I've mentioned Luton and what a charming little place it is. I adore my friends here. 2 in particular...
After experiencing Filmstock last year I knew I wanted to be here for it this year. The problem was I finished school in Sept and Filmstock is in November. So what's a girl to do? As Lennon/McCartney wrote, "I get by with a little help from my friends".
Roma and Neil, two of the greatest people I've ever met, once again opened their home to me. As if that wasn't just an all around amazing gesture in itself...they're just good people. I remember at their wedding reception Neil made a speech and in it said something to the effect of, "if anyone likes me at all it's because of [my mom]". I've met his mom...she is amazing. Their parents are ALL amazing. Neil and Roma are a testament to that.
Aside from all the sentimental aspects of living here with them, I've never had quite so much fun with housemates. Whether it's listening to the Monkees while cleaning up, all watching Strictly Come Dancing together, meetings of the "Flack Fan Club", or teasing each other over the validity of vegetarian sausage...there's rarely a dull moment around here.
I wish I could articulate how grateful I am for everything they've done for me. My time as a Lutonian is dwindling. It's with a sad heart that I'll be saying goodbye...scratch that, I won't say 'goodbye'. I'll say 'See you later'...I like that better.
Monday, 16 March 2009
Over the weekend my friends Neil & Roma got married. I was afraid that I might not actually make it. I've had such a work load from school. But I spent a couple weeks REALLY working because I knew I would regret it if I didn't go. It was so amazing! The best wedding I've ever been to.
This is a video of the first dance. Not the greatest video but you CAN hear the song.
They got married on the street where they had their first kiss. Halfway between the houses where their parents live. Our friend Justin got permission to wear a Captain's uniform as he officiated over the ceremony. It was very relaxed and informal which suited the bride and groom; and I loved every minute of it.
After the ceremony the wedding party climbed into this 80's style black van and drove to the reception. The reception! It was like stepping into the Enchantment Under the Sea dance from Back to the Future. It was a prom theme...and just SO much fun. They served "American Diner" food (hotdogs, burgers, fries). This is the way weddings should be! Fun with friends & family.
The first dance was amazing! I can't even begin to describe it. The guy who sang had one of the most amazing voices I've ever heard. The speeches had me very close to tears. Roma's dad was so funny and sweet. Then the best men (Neil's brother Jordan & his best friend Craig) were also very funny and sweet. But Neil's speech. Oh my goodness I wanted to cry so many times. Especially when he said, "If anyone here likes me even a little it's because of this woman [his mother]". Something to that effect. And when he talked about Roma and how much he loves her. So beautiful.
I've said it before but I feel like I just can't say it enough. Going to Luton is like going home for me. I feel like I have family there. So many people there have welcomed us with open arms and really look out for us. I feel so blessed to have found that and I feel honored to have been able to share in such a special day for the new Mr & Mrs Fox.
This video...also not great. I somehow managed to forget that if I record video w/ my camera on its side I can't flip the video over. But you have to see a little bit of "Johnnie Chocolate & the Milkshake's"!
Friday, 13 March 2009
There's been a film crew on campus this week. BBC is doing this show about freshman and they're filming at Harrow. Under most circumstances I probably wouldn't mind all of this. Here is what really REALLY bugs me about though...they always seem to be filming either when I'm going to class or leaving class.
On Tuesday they were blocking the bank of elevators that I take to get to my class. Why didn't I take the stairs you ask? Because they were blocking THAT door too....And I really didn't feel like climbing 5 flights of stairs. So, in order for anyone to get on the elevator they had to pass through their shot (yes, I did stop and wait for them to finish the scene) and then step over equipment to get anywhere. Then the film crew all gives you the evil eye for getting in their way!! I'M JUST TRYING TO GET TO CLASS!!!
Maybe it's me, because you know it's been me lately but shouldn't there be some sort of proviso that they are not allowed to prevent students from getting to their classes?
Friday, 20 February 2009
For my birthday this year Mary Anne bought me a ticket to see Ray LaMontagne at the Barbican. I don't even know where to begin when describing Ray, his music, or my love for said music. I guess, like with most things, I should begin at the beginning. The first time I heard Ray was in 2006 when I was in London for the summer. I was at the studio (where I was doing my internship) and the radio was on. This song called "Trouble" began to permeate through the corridors. I think I nearly stopped in my tracks. His voice was so soulful. The music was just so straightforward. And then he sang that line, "I've been saved by a woman". Something about that line was so powerful. And I don't just mean in that superficial, romantic way of a man talking about being saved by a woman. I guess it was just the honesty in his voice. It got me. Seeing him live just sealed it for me. He sounds just as good if not better live than on the cd. He also doesn't do a lot of talking between songs. Hardly anything really. He just comes out and plays with his band and that's the it of it. He leaves it all up to the music and he absolutely CAN leave it at that. It says it all.
We couldn't take cameras in so I have no pics or footage of my own but I'm posting this youtube video incase you aren't familiar with him.
Wednesday, 28 January 2009
Saturday, 24 January 2009
So...what does a hardcore Obama fan-girl do when she's living in London on the day her new President takes office?
Well, for one she's goes to class. My semester started that day so it was off to "Media Audiences" for me. (Sidebar: for those of you who heard my complaints over Christmas that no one on the entire campus seemed to know what the heck media audiences was...it's a theory class about how audiences react to various types of media...go figure). After class two of my fellow Americans and I popped over to Madame Tussauds because they were letting Americans in for free! They were unveiling their new Obama figure. It was very cool. First, because I have always had this weird fascination with wax museums. Secondly, because of all the Americans that were there. Third, standing in the replica of the Oval Office next to "Mr. Obama" was very cool.
Then we headed over to the Hard Rock Cafe. I had heard they were having a big party and broadcasting the inauguration. So we went and had lunch...and found out they were not actually showing it in the dining area. They were showing it downstairs in a separate part of the restaurant which was all booked up. Our waitress was really sweet and kept updating us on what was going on. She told us they were going to do standing room downstairs and when we finished our lunch we could go line up at the side entrance to try and get it. I couldn't believe there was a line down the sidewalk. We were fairly close to the front of the line. Everyone was really nice. There was a couple in front of us from Arkanas. The woman was passing out Obama buttons and bumper stickers that she had brought with her. When we got to the front of the line a woman came out and told the doorman she had a table w/ 3 extra seats...perfect for Mary Anne, Julia, and myself.
So we ended up with seats a table right down in front.
The place was packed. There was an Obama look-alike taking pictures with everyone. There was tons of paparazzi. And they were showing the speech on a big screen. I know it's been said but can I just reiterate how amazing it was to watch (and experience) all of it. Seeing the millions of people in DC who were there to show support. Seeing Obama take the oath. Listening to his speech. I won't lie, I was in tears. Witnessing the culmination of years (decades!) of work. Knowing that a change IS being made.
Perhaps what made the moment 10x more amazing was believe it or not, being HERE. That restaurant was not just full of Americans. It was everyone! The support people from other countries now have for us is amazing. Knowing we are beginning to shake the stigma of being...America. I can only liken it to being a kidnapped child who finally escaped their captor. There's going to be a lot of readjusting (maybe even a little therapy) but ultimately, we have the support of a whole lot of people who, frankly, were showing very little sympathy because we had gotten ourselves kidnapped in the first place.
Sunday, 18 January 2009
I'm trying to be supportive. Really I am. I'm not one of those girls who walks away from someone during difficult times. Believe me. I've been a die-hard Houston Astros fan practically my entire life and lord knows they've broken my heart on numerous occasions. I still get a little misty thinking about 2005, but I digress.
Joaq, Joaq, Joaq...I don't know how much more I can give. You wanted to quit acting and I was okay with that, difficult as it might have been for me to accept. You have such an amazing presence on screen. I can understand you feeling slighted. Twice you've been nominated for an Oscar and twice you MORE than deserved it. But you were overlooked. Once because Benecio Del Toro was the "it" boy in Traffic and once because Philip Seymour Hoffman, who I will admit is usually good but in this film was horribly overrated, was getting irritating amounts of praise for portraying probably the easiest person (squirrelly little man that he was) in the world to imitate. No one will ever convince me that Hoffman deserved the Oscar more than you that year (just like no one will ever convince me that Tommy Lee Jones deserved the Oscar for playing practically the same character he plays in all his films more than Leonardo Di Caprio did for Gilbert Grape).
I also know that it's easy to get bored doing the same job for as many years as you have. And it could be just as easy to harbor negative feelings toward an industry that, in some part, took your brother from you. Fine. I get that. You wanted to take up music. I get that too. You can't have played Mr Cash as beautifully as you did and not have remnants of his character seeping through your veins.
But this is what it's come to, Joaquin? Rap? Seriously? Rap? It's gonna be like this, is it? I don't hate rap. I actually have some rap in my music collection. And not just old school Will Smith stuff either. I have some Nelly. Ok, he's not exactly hardcore either but the point is, I'm fine with rap. But what you're doing...Sweetie, that's not rap. You're up on stage looking like a homeless Mexican jumping bean. Your lyrics (rhymes?) are barely intelligible. And then you're falling off the stage too. They're calling you "Joke P" on the internet for goodness sake!!
I don't know what else I can do, Kitten. I'm truly at a loss. I am nothing if I'm not loyal. Suffice it to say this isn't your third strike or anything. It may only be your first...I'm still debating on whether or not to hold the "is there a frog on my head" conversation against you or not.
I'm still here for you, but keep in mind there is an Englishman with rock-n-roll genes who suits my nerdy fancy, a Scottish Doctor who has cool toys and likes to travel, and a Houston Astro all poised to receive a piece of my heart.
Wednesday, 14 January 2009
When I was a senior in high school I took creative writing one semester. This was a class tailor-made for me. I LOVE to write. It's one of the few things I think I can do fairly well. For our final we had to write a short story.
So I wrote this story about a high school girl who meets a teacher outside of the school environment and they begin dating. It was something I came up with because (I think) there were a couple of guys in my life at the time (that, yes I had crushes on) who were several years older than me and I started to spin that crush into a story.
The thing is, at the time I think I was too young to write it objectively. That and while my writing skills were decent I do think I've improved since then. Being the age that one of the two main characters was it always seemed to transfer to paper one-sided and I never wanted it to be completely one-sided.
I picked it up again a couple years ago and started writing on it. I finished last weekend. I think I've finally reached a point where I'm satisfied with it. That is to say it is now a complete story. More could be added to it certainly and like any artist I do think it could still be improved on, greatly, but as it is right now it goes from point A to point B in a manner that makes sense.
The short story I wrote in high school was called Crimson & Clover. This I know was for a specific reason. While the crushes on the older guys gave me the plot the genesis of the story was an image in my mind. The first time I heard the song I was sitting in my dad's truck. As soon as I heard the first line, "Oh, now I don't hardly know her" I was hooked. In my mind I heard the song and I saw a guy standing in the middle of this field. I saw him turning around and seeing this girl. That's where it started. From there I just fashioned the story around it.
"Oh, now I don't hardly know her, but I think I could love her. Crimson & Clover."
As it is now, it could still carry the title "Crimson & Clover". It does work. I put "working title" in quotes to show it doesn't necessarily have to have that.
At any rate, I finished. Enough that I can stand back from it for a while...maybe get some feedback from some people and go from there.
Friday, 2 January 2009
Thursday, 1 January 2009
I'm not usually one for going out on new years. It just never really appealed to me. But I figured this year, why not. Let's see how London does new years! Then Roma told us she and Neil were probably going to come to town for it because they'd never been. All the more reason for us to go. So. We went to the Southbank. They had closed Waterloo Bridge so people could just hang out and party and watch fireworks. We met up with Roma, Neil, Edel, and Andy. It was SO much freakin' fun! It was cold but there were so many people around and they were playing music so we were all dancing and jumping about. What a fantastic way to ring in the new year!
And what a Christmas it was.
I won't lie...I missed my family & friends back in Texas. I missed freezing my butt off one day and walking around in jeans & t shirt the next. I missed going to the galleria and seeing all the lights and the big tree in the middle of the skating rink. I missed eating tamales with my grandparents and dad, and aunts, and cousin on Christmas morning. I missed my mom making me bunuelos.
BUT. I'm really REALLY thankful that I got to be at my "home away from home". Luton. I know I don't have to remind you how awesome I think Luton is. I will however remind you how
amazing my friends (cousins!) there are.
Neil & Roma invited Mary Anne & I to spend the holidays with them. (London is great but I think I breath a sigh of relief whenever the train pulls into Luton.) It still amazes me that they constantly open their home to us as they have. It is something I would do if the situation were reversed but it's still a great thing to experience.
I feel almost like a child when I go there. Only because they taught me how to work the tv/dvd/stereo so all they have to do is sit me down in the living room and I'm good. They have
a massive dvd collection and I have a serious addiction to movies. The first night we watched It's a Wonderful Life which I've never seen before. (Yes, I know...SHAME, thy name is Amelia!) I loved it. Jimmy Stewart is a-mazing.
The next day we joined in on the Christmas Eve pub crawl that started w/ bacon sandwiches around 10 (or 11). By mid-afternoon people had quite a few drinks in them and most of us had Santa hats. By far my favourite event of the day was dodgems. (Bumper cars for those of you in the US). We all played a rousing game of Capture-the-Santa-hats. It was
so much fun. Between trying to drive, people standing up in their cars to pull your hat off your head and the guys running the place yelling at us to "Stay in your car" and "Keep your hands in the car" it was just crazy-fun. We all had dinner that night and some people kept going. We jumped off the party train.
Christmas Day Neil came and got us and we had Christmas dinner with Roma & her family. Her parents are so great. They even gave us these cute Tweety bird picture frames. That evening we went over to Neil's parents, hung out and played games. I love how into playing games everyone is. And Neil's mom is such a cool lady. The fact that she made an effort to include "the Americans" in the Pass the Parcel game meant so much to us. And we're still cracking up about Neil's dads driving stories!!
On Boxing Day our friend Willow came and got us and we had lunch with him and his family. They were also really cool. The food was really good and the Christmas pudding! Holy crap Christmas pudding is so good! Is that weird of me to say? Oh well...it's good stuff. That night we went to another friend's house and played games there too. Andy & Edel are really cool. BUZZ is so much fun I can't even begin to tell you.
Saturday, Roma & Neil took us shopping. That was actually a lot of fun too. I got these really fantastic slippers. We came back to the house and spent the rest of the evening watching movies. 30 Days of Night-really good! Hellboy 2-really good!
I would have liked to have stayed longer. I'd probably actually live there if I could work it out somehow. This holiday I was really thankful. Thankful that everyone back home is doing well and thankful that I have such an amazing family here too.