London Snapshot

“If you’re going to be crazy, you have to get paid for it or else you’re going to be locked up.”
― Hunter S. Thompson

The dearth of posts is unfortunate but necessary, minions. I’m up to my neck in one of the heaviest work load weeks in recent memory. Things are good but busy and I’m quite looking forward to the weekend, since I’m pretty sure I have not left the flat in any substantial way since the last one. A writer’s life for me!

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Today’s snapshot is more of a PSA or plea than anything. Stop the tyranny of lovelocks! They’re collapsing bridges in Paris, it’s only a short time before their dastardly weight crosses the channel. Plus this is a construction site, probably not the best place to document your undying devotion. Just saying.

Friday Links

“Cheers to the freaking weekend…”
- Rhianna

Busy Friday prepping for a busy weekend. Here are your links, kittens, and tell me what you’re getting up to in the comments!

Fascinating story on the tale of a viral tweet.

Interesting and important piece from the NYT about the financial realities of freelancing and how writers are opening up about it. Finances are a constant presence for me since going freelance full time and in my first year, there have been plenty of months where I didn’t make what I wanted or needed to and our savings has had to come into play. Luckily I’m finally in a place where starvation isn’t a glaring possibility, but it still feels like a constant threat. In spite of recent successes and steady work!

The history of a severely undervalued garment.

For those interested on a longer view of Mormon Feminism (a history that dates back to the suffragettes) plus some perspective of it in the digital age, Nancy Ross, an acquaintance of mine does an admirable job of laying it out.

A video game idea generator, shared on Seth Godin’s blog and emailed to me from friend and Friend of the Blog Caitlin.

Your tumblr find of the week. (h/t Jeff)

H/t to my sister-in-law Camille for this series on wardrobe building. I edited down everything I owned to two suitcases when we moved to London and it was a great experience that’s really made me rethink clothes and possessions, so the idea of capsule wardrobes really interests me.

Existential Comics. Does what it says on the tin.

Rejoice, for Kate Beaton has posted new comics at Hark, a Vagrant and teased a new book. I particularly enjoy the Greek mythology one.

I can never resist a good batch of art remakes.

Or infographics of classical literature!

Daughter Concert

“For those of you in the cheap seats I’d like ya to clap your hands to this one; the rest of you can just rattle your jewelry!”
― John Lennon

Confession time, we have not been taking appropriate advantage of London in the summer and we need to rectify this immediately. Working from home obviously contributes to the problem, as does the fact that my clients are several timezones behind me and I often have to be at least partially available during hours that most people spend frolicking. Jeff also has a lot of studying to do for the ever present reality of tests, and weekends are largely devoted to the necessary errand running that we haven’t been able to do during the week.

But it’s summer. In London. We need to be outside absorbing as much Vitamin D as humanely and safely possible because the cold, dark days will arrive much sooner than we all probably realize. To that end, we’ve started making an effort to track down as many outdoor adventures as possible, while varying up the routine a bit.

If I’m a theatre girl, Jeff is the resident music guy. When we were deciding what to do for our anniversary this year (travel being out of the budget for a while to go, alas), I picked the midnight matinee at The Globe and he wanted a concert and found a great one.

Somerset House, on the banks of the Thames, has a long history. The site has been home to a Tudor palace, a residence for members of the Royal family and their entourage, and apparently later a barracks. It was demolished and rebuilt in the neoclassical style and has moved over time to house various arts and learning societies and is a popular venue for performances. Particularly in, hey! Summertime! We first heard about the band Daughter on NPR and Jeff snapped up tickets as soon as he found out they were going to be performing.
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Not bad, venue.
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Drinks boys circulated the crowd with these signs and easy-to-spot flags that I probably found entirely too funny, but that I clearly had to document.
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No makeup and summer allergies, but pretty happy to be here!

The opening act was D.D Dumbo, an Australian artist who builds his songs while you listen (see more here, thanks again to NPR’s music reporting).

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A disproportionate amount of my music is tragic or vengeful, the blues feature heavily, so make of that what you will. Daughter makes music that is gorgeously sad and depressing, and the lead singer Elena Tonra has a perfectly haunting voice so she’s right up my street. The band is still learning how to tour and their stage presence could use some work, but the music is the slow, quiet kind that gets its claws into you.

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Just as pretty in the dark. Hopefully there can be more concerts in our future, as this has only been my third ever. My second, incidentally, was my first date with Jeff, so things are working out pretty well so far.

There is only one fish and chip shop in London

“Alive without breath,
As cold as death;
Never thirsty, ever drinking,
All in mail never clinking.”
― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit

At least, one worth knowing. The Golden Hind, named for Sir Francis Drake’s famous ship, is 100 years old and has been serving acclaimed fish and chips for the entire time. It’s an absolute culinary landmark in London and a required stop on any gastronomic tour of the city.
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The shop itself is not grand. The tables and chairs are beat up and wooden, I’m not entirely sure they all matched, and the crockery is utilitarian. The cash registers are straight out of the 80s and the decor is minimal and mostly involves photographs from the city area in the early 20th century. Don’t let that fool you. There is almost always a line to get in, and you need to go in slightly off-peak hours to guarantee a seat.
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The plaque detailing the ownership of the Hind.

The only major deviation in the menu is the type of fish you can serve, and the sides that can accompany your main course. I recommend the cod, which along with haddock is the traditional choice. The fish slabs are absolutely massive, I could barely finish a third of mine on our last visit, it was easily the length of my arm from fingertip to elbow. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t order the chips, though. Slather those suckers in vinegar and get stuck in!

Friday Links (New York Times, Edition)

“I don’t think intelligent reports are all that hot. Some days I get more out of the New York Times.”
- President John F. Kennedy

It’s been a busy week, as you may have suspected. I’m afraid that makes for an even busier Friday, so here are your links. Share anything else worth reading, plus what you’re getting up to this weekend, in the comments and enjoy high summer!

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Had to wait an extra day to get it over here, though the original is currently winging its way to me thanks to friends.

Headline of the week.

Teri, over at The Lovely Drawer, has shared another design freebie: beautiful desktop wallpapers.

Interesting story about an unexpected sumo wrestler.

Marvel is changing the comic book character Thor to a woman and certain parts of the internet reacted to the news…internet-ish-ly. Luckily the blog Texts from Superheroes had the perfect response.

Art remixes where new and old subjects and pieces are mashed up beautifully. (Warning for pearl-clutchers, nude forms are present!)

This video of a person playing with a platypus is exactly what it says on the tin and much cuter than you’d think. Almost makes you forget those odd beasties have poisonous spines!

A giveaway I assume most US based minions will want to know about.

Interesting development from Amazon, what do we think about this? Janssen, our resident book aficionada needs to weigh in!

A Facebook friend, moderator of a freelancer forum I belong to, and a writer herself penned this hugely useful piece on the realities of how to do your taxes when you work for yourself.

I could never persuade Jeff to this, he’s all about lofts and modern space, but I’m currently house-lusting over this 14th century home.

And, the biggest news for me personally, in case you missed it, I wrote an op ed for the New York Times that was published on Tuesday. It contains my perspective on Kate Kelly’s excommunication, its place in the “Mormon Moment,” and what I feel to be the larger implications for the church. It was not easy to write, and it was very scary to share, but I’ve been really overwhelmed at the positive and sincere feedback I’ve received from it. A huge and heartfelt thank you to friend and Friend of the Blog Caitlin Kelly (unrelated to Kate) who urged me to write a piece after many emails on the subjects of Mormonism, feminism, and religion in general, and who helped me to place it.

Writing Hard Things, Part II

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about wanting to write “hard things.

This week I got the chance.

It’s an experience that’s still unfolding, but let me just say that I’m grateful to have the chance to contribute what I hope is something meaningful to the conversation. To be able to do so in the Grey Lady herself is truly a privilege.