arachne: picture of me at the Big Session, 2009 (Default)
2012-02-10 10:52 pm

In the words of the Squiddy one

This is Valentinr - it's meant to be a way of sending lovely love messages to people that you fancy. But I think that what we should all do instead is use the 'signed message' option to tell our friends why they are awesome. That way we all get to wake up on the 14th to lots of messages from amazing people reminding us that we are also amazing. Like they said in Bugsy Malone, "you give a little love and it all comes back to you (la la la lalalala)." Here's mine. Set you own up, copy this message (or a version of it onto a post to explain) and I'll send you a message too. :)

My Valentinr - arachne
Get your own valentinr
arachne: picture of me at the Big Session, 2009 (Default)
2012-02-07 05:33 pm

Where were we?

And so it came to pass that, in a shock to absolutely nobody, Ara was once again proven rubbish at updating LJ, even when she really meant to get back into the habit.

So, now I have an update box open, of course my brain has entirely emptied of pretty much everything - ably assisted by the girlcat snoring heavily at my ear.

General where-I-am is probably a good thing to do, since I haven't caught up with most of you in far too long.

I'm still in Manchester, and still absolutely loving it. Every now and again I see or do something that makes me love it that bit more - most recent example being visiting the John Rylands Library on Deansgate. Absolutely gorgeous building, which I, of course, photographed the shit out of.

I was there on a college trip, which leads me *seamlessly* (aren't you impressed?) to adventures in academia (although I'm not sure doing a BTEC at a local college counts as "academia" - if I didn't have ideas above my station, there'd be a vacuum there, and nothing sucks like a vacuum...). College is going well. I am making pretty shiny things, learning a lot, and having my tool-geekery fuelled on a regular basis. Latest covetable item is a fly-press, but that's going to have to wait until I have a workshop with a strong and secure enough bench to handle one. With the thoughts that I may well end up living in the West Midlands, and that I want to continue learning to make jewellery after this course, I've been looking at what's available down there. Because I'm a masochist, I've booked myself on the next open day at the School of Jewellery (part of Birmingham Institute of Art and Design and probably the best jewellery school in the country, according to my tutor.) No idea how I'd ever be able to afford to go, but I'm going to be in the area when it's happening so I might as well make myself sick with envy ;)
arachne: picture of me at the Big Session, 2009 (Default)
2011-09-01 12:24 am

I'm doing science and I'm still alive

(without the science, but y'know)

This is a placeholder post to let y'all know that I am still alive and generally having a fucking awesome time.

Also, I just haven't had much of a chance in far longer than I'd like to catch up with what's been going on in your lives, for the most-part. I am not a fan of this, and when Summer Of Madness comes to an end I'm really looking forward to catching up with you all :)

Stay awesome, all of you.

arachne: picture of me at the Big Session, 2009 (Default)
2010-12-29 05:44 pm

#reverb10 day 10 - wisdom

December 10 – Wisdom. What was the wisest decision you made this year, and how did it play out? (Author: Susannah Conway)

I'm not sure about using the word "wise" to describe any decisions I make. I'm far more a believer in doing what feels right and seeing how it plays out, winging it, playing life by ear and hoping for the best.

That said, there was one decision I made that has had a fairly massive impact on my life, and I've yet to regret it for a minute, 5 months after putting it in action. Y'all don't need me to elaborate, because I've been squeeing quite loudly about it (in #reverb10 day 1, among other places), but I'm going to anyway, because these are meant to be writing prompts and it'd be a bit rubbish to just say "see day 1" to every one that asks about the best day ever.

So, sometime in the first half of the year, I decided to move to Manchester, and it was, in fact, the best day ever. I also decided to live by myself, and to stay single for a while - I'm counting all of these things as one decision, because they're all interconnected. I've certainly had moments where I've felt very lonely, but they've been fleeting, and have fucked off pretty quickly with application of awesome friends, both online and off. I've still to actually regret any part of that decision in the slightest, and I don't see that moment coming any time soon.

The one thing that might screw things up is the package of cuts to Housing Benefit. The gov't have decided, in their wisdom, to stop paying anyone under 35 enough to live by themselves, and will only pay them the rate they'd pay if they had a single room in a shared house. This'll leave me approximately £45 per week short of my rent, which I can't afford to top up out of my other benefits. I'm going to fight tooth and nail to keep this place, because if nothing else living alone has been absolutely wonderful for my mental health, but... watch this space.
arachne: picture of me at the Big Session, 2009 (Default)
2010-12-29 05:35 pm

#reverb10 day 9 - party

December 9 – Party. What social gathering rocked your socks off in 2010? Describe the people, music, food, drink, clothes, shenanigans. (Author: Shauna Reid)

If my memory wasn't quite so shot-to-hell, I may answer this differently, but as it is, it doesn't go back all that far, so Sal's 30th is the party of choice. I know there've been many other social occasions that've rocked my socks off this year (I'm really not that attached to them), but Sal's party was, as these things go, bloody spectacular. There was silly dancing to utter cheese, finding out conclusively that jager just doesn't have much of an effect on me, shenanigans in docklands when most of London was asleep, snuggling of lovely people, setting of world to rights for many hours, watching of films good, bad and ugly, restoration of a friendship, and that feeling of being surrounded by a massive amount of lovely.
arachne: picture of me at the Big Session, 2009 (Default)
2010-12-29 05:29 pm

#reverb10 day 8 - beautifully different

December 8 – Beautifully Different. Think about what makes you different and what you do that lights people up. Reflect on all the things that make you different – you’ll find they’re what make you beautiful. (Author: Karen Walrond)

What a pile of wank.
Right - what makes me different: My DNA and my own, individual collection of experiences that's made up my life so far. The funny thing? That stuff's what makes me pretty much the same as well.
What I do that lights people up: Plug 'em into the mains.
arachne: (spix close-up)
2010-12-29 05:26 pm

#reverb10 day 7 - Community

Well, this fell by the wayside a little bit, didn't it? Back on the horse now, shall blitz through a few today, a few tomorrow, and keep going until I run out. So. Day 7.

December 7 – Community. Where have you discovered community, online or otherwise, in 2010? What community would you like to join, create or more deeply connect with in 2011? (Author: Cali Harris)

The PD Redcaps. These people are, to a person (that I've encountered) absolutely wonderful. There's a startlingly high level of competence - and an expectation of it. From my first hour working with them, I was being asked to do things and the expectation was that they'd get done. Give something to the redaps and it *will* be done, if it is at all possible (and often if it really doesn't appear to be). Everyone has "the dance". You know how it is when you're working in a small area with other people, and the work you're doing's active. Say, for example, you're cooking with other people in a small kitchen. There are people who you will be able to work fluidly, effortlessly with, and people who, no matter what any of you do, you will end up under the feet of, and vice versa. The former - that flow, that rhythm of working and not getting in anyone's way - that's the dance, and every radcap I've worked with has it.

Beyond all that - beyond the way they (we) work together as a cohesive unit and Get Things Done, the sense of family is overwhelming. I remember being overawed when I started LARPing, back in 2009, that I'd found such an awesome community of people, and feeling like I'd found a place where I actually belonged. That has strengthened this year, but with Team Redcap, I've not just found a community, a place I belong - I've found a whole other family (not that there's anything wrong with the existing one!) and a home.

That answers the first part of the prompt. For the second part, I am entirely incapable of taking "connect more deeply" as anything other than a euphemism, so the only possible answer is "your mum".
arachne: picture of me at the Big Session, 2009 (Default)
2010-12-07 11:29 pm

#reverb10 day 6 - make

December 6 – Make. What was the last thing you made? What materials did you use? Is there something you want to make, but you need to clear some time for it? (Author: Gretchen Rubin)

I'm not sure what the last thing I made to completion was, but I'm in the process of enamelling a few pieces, and they're all getting to the end stages of being made, so I figure they count.

Materials were: copper blanks, lead-free enamels (both opaque and transparent). I need to find out what company made the enamels I'm using (they came unmarked other than colour name as part of the kiln kit) for the sake of continuity. I also need to invest heavily in more colours - there are the most beautiful blues, greens, teals and turquoises out there, and I want them all. I need carborundum as well, before I can finish any of the started pieces.

Currently, I'm fortunate that I have the time to make things I want to - the money for materials is a different matter, which is why I'm so grateful to my parents for getting my the kiln and assorted kit for Christmas. Combine that with the silversmithing gear they got me for my birthday, and they are single (double? -handedly keeping me making stuff for a long time. I really do need to sort myself out with a table/bench for the silversmithing, and for my pendant polishy-thing - it and my benchpeg won't clamp to my computer desk.

This appears to have changed from "stuff I made" to "stuff I need". Oops. Ah well - I'm doing some rather cool stuff with what I have :)
arachne: picture of me at the Big Session, 2009 (Default)
2010-12-07 11:23 pm

#reverb10 day 5 - Let Go

December 5 – Let Go. What (or whom) did you let go of this year? Why? (Author: Alice Bradley)

There are two entries for this prompt. One is staying private. This is the other one.

I let go of quite a lot this year, but I feel I've pretty much covered that in my gushing positivity on the 1st.

To reiterate then (hooray! Another short one!) the most important letting go, I reckon, was of my co-dependency. When a relationship ended this year, I thought back and realised I'd only been single for about 6 months of my adult life, and that I'd changed a whole lot in that time. It was almost like I was scared of not being in a relationship, afraid that if I spent time on my own I'd get to know myself or something. So, I made a decision to be single for a year. I'm 4 months in now, and still not regretting that decision.

So of all the things I've let go of, my need to be with another person was definitely the most important, and I think it'll help me be a better partner if/when I do get into relationships in the future. It's a win-win.
arachne: picture of me at the Big Session, 2009 (Default)
2010-12-07 11:18 pm

#reverb day 4 - Wonder

December 4 – Wonder. How did you cultivate a sense of wonder in your life this year? (Author: Jeffrey Davis)

I'm not sure I did. I experienced a lot of wonder - general free-floating joy at how absolutely wonderful life can be. Wonder at this beautiful, vibrant city I'm in. Wonder at team Red Cap and how frankly awesome every single one of them is, and how much like being part of a very functional, close-knit family it feels working with them. Wonder at the amazing people I've met, and continue to meet.

Of course I've also felt plenty wonder at the levels of stupidity there are in the world, but I should be used to that by now ;)
arachne: picture of me at the Big Session, 2009 (Default)
2010-12-06 09:04 pm

#reverb Day 3 - Moment

December 3 – Moment. Pick one moment during which you felt most alive this year. Describe it in vivid detail (texture, smells, voices, noises, colors). (Author: Ali Edwards)

Ooooooh, there could be so many! This year I've fely a whole lot more alive on the whole than I remember ever feeling, and that's made up of a whole load of moments where I've realised that yup, this here life is pretty damn good. To pick just one though...

Preamble to the moment: I'm walking to the Landrover with SD. I mention that I love off-roading in Landies, and he holds out the keys. I clarify that I mean as a passenger - I don't drive. He's still holding out the keys. I continue, telling him I haven't driven for about 15 years and probably can't remember how. He assures me that it's an automatic, and it'll be fine. I've never driven an automatic before and have no idea how they work. He's still holding out the keys, and who am I to look a gift-sparky in the mouth? I start driving, and I'm in insta-grin territory. This beast is *lovely*.

Not long after this, I'm driving around the field, and we have a long, clear way to go before the next stop. SD says "floor it." I don't have to be told twice. My foot presses the accelerator to the floor, the V8 growls into life, and I bomb across the field, grinning wider than any loon. Bouncing across the (slightly squelchy) grass, with this beautiful vehicle at my command - there probably are words for how good that felt, but I don't know them.

I really need to get my driving license...
arachne: picture of me at the Big Session, 2009 (Default)
2010-12-06 08:58 pm

#reverb day 2 - Writing

December 2 – Writing. What do you do each day that doesn’t contribute to your writing — and can you eliminate it?

Amusingly, the thing that doesn't contribute to my writing kept me from writing this for a few days. Basically, since I've moved, I've been Doing Stuff. There are meets, I have friends visiting - my life is pretty full. Can I eliminate it? I probably *could*, but I sure as hell don't want to. I'm really enjoying life, and the doing things, and the seeing people, and being able to have friends to stay so no - I'm not going to eliminate that.

Also, I've found that while it doesn't contribute to my actually getting any writing done, it gives me a whole lot more to write about than if I just sat on my arse, pissing about on the internet. It all balances out, I figure.
arachne: picture of me at the Big Session, 2009 (Default)
2010-12-01 04:57 pm

#reverb10 Day 1

December 1 One Word.
Encapsulate the year 2010 in one word. Explain why you’re choosing that word. Now, imagine it’s one year from today, what would you like the word to be that captures 2011 for you?

One word. OK, starting off on an easy one, I see.
There are so many one words that I could choose, which is a good thing, and definitely a change from previous years, where I've been stuck in a miasma of misdiagnosed and mismedicated mental illness.
With that in mind, the word for this year has to be "change". What a change it's been from the start of the year, when I was headachy from incense, getting told I was a shit photographer by drunken idiots who wouldn't know the front of a camera from the back, and being rudely awoken by my housemate/ex loudly breaking a promise and letting me know that the place I considered a home really wasn't one any more, to now, when I've moved to my very own place, in a whole new city, all on my own. I've ditched the codependency that I realised I was clinging onto, got rid of one or two incredibly toxic people from my life, met some awesome ones to fill in the gaps, and am living a lifestyle I've always wanted to, but been too scared to.

Bit of a change there then.

Possibly the undernote to all this - I no longer balk at thinking of myself as an adult, or grown-up. There's a big difference between nodding and agreeing with this, and actually *feeling* it - and now I get the difference, and I feel it. It feels pretty damn awesome.

For next year... I wouldn't object to another year of change. I still have a long way to go, but I think the changes that are ahead of me are less big. I hopefully won't move city, or even flat. I hopefully won't leave any relationships, and I very much hope I won't have to cut away any dead, rotting wood. For next year then, I nominate - and will do everything in my power to creat - growth.

Goddamn, I'm such a hippy. I'm also leaving this public, because I have no reason to hide anymore. Booya.
arachne: picture of me at the Big Session, 2009 (Default)
2010-12-01 04:47 pm


I'm taking part in #reverb10 - a reflection on the year past, and looking towards the new year. I'm trying to get into the habit of writing again (which nano certainly helped with, even though I did most of it in the last 3 days), and I figure this should help. I also know I have a horrifically bad memory, so blogging about this year seems a good idea.

That said, on with the #reverb10!
arachne: picture of me at the Big Session, 2009 (Default)
2010-08-24 10:40 am

Room in Athens?

I know this is a very long-shot, I can't even remember if any of you are in Athens, but I figure it's worth a try.

A friend of mine, a lovely, talented, awesome woman, has fallen on some hard times (and been treated really badly by some people) and has become homeless. She's doing everything she can to pull herself up by the bootstraps, has found a lawyer, and is getting herself back on her feet.

As part of this, she's looking for a room in Athens (to be close to her daughter). Do any of you have anything, or know of anyone who might?

If you do (and I know it's a long-shot), could you get in touch with me in the first instance, and I'll put you in touch with her?

Thanks - any help is greatly appreciated.
arachne: picture of me at the Big Session, 2009 (Default)
2010-08-20 11:39 pm

Odyssey Photos

IMG_2989, originally uploaded by ara.

Are done, dusted and up here.


arachne: picture of me at the Big Session, 2009 (Default)
2010-06-16 10:13 pm


What are your top 5 must-see films?

I'm jonesing to watch some stuff, but despite knowing there are loads of absolute classics I haven't got 'round to yet, my mind is a blank.
arachne: picture of me at the Big Session, 2009 (Default)
2010-05-14 03:13 pm

Selling stuff

Books and DVDs for the buying, please take it all, I don't want to move it, and I need to raise money fast.
arachne: picture of me at the Big Session, 2009 (Default)
2010-04-30 11:30 pm

Let the clearout commence! Chapter 1 - Books

Anyone who knows me will know how difficult this is for me, but it's necessary in many ways. So, without further ado, I have the following books looking for new homes. They cost what it takes me to get to them, although donations to the moving/kiln fund* are always gratefully received.

*details soon, as soon as I figure out paypal "donate" buttons.

The Books!

Haunted - Chuck Palahniuk
Backwards - Rob Grant

Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister - Gregory Maguire
The Donnie Darko Book - Richard Kelley
The Smiling School for Calvinists - Bill Duncan
The End of the Affair - Graham Greene
Alias Grace - Margaret Atwood
The Blind Assassin - Margaret Atwood
The Edible Woman - Margaret Atwood

One for Sorrow Two for Joy - Clive Woodall
Nylon Angel - Marianne De Pierres
Kitchen Confidential - Anthony Bourdin
The Monk - Matthew lewis
The God Of Small Things - Arundhati Roy
The Book of Loss - Judith Jedamus
In The Company of the Courtesan - Sarah Dunant
Wormwood - G.P. Taylor
Lint - Steve Aylett
Snow Flower and the Secret Fan - Lisa See
The Wall Jumper - Peter Schneider
My Life As Emperor - Su Tong
The Turning - Paul J Newell
Slouching Towards bethlehem - joan Didion

Conditions vary, more details on request. All have been read, some come highly recommended, others not so much, but I figure take a chance on a name that catches your eye - it's not going to break the bank and you might discover a book you really like ;)
arachne: picture of me at the Big Session, 2009 (Default)
2010-02-11 04:46 pm


Rings!, originally uploaded by ara.

I made these! :D