Indietracks 2017

Our decision to go to Indietracks this year was a fairly last minute one. Joe was offered a ticket to the festival in order to review it for Birthday Cake for Breakfast (his review can be found here) and I got attend as his…emotional support? I don’t know exactly what my role was but I was happy to get to tag along.

   

We got set up our tent on Friday afternoon but then ended up waiting out the rain for a few hours in our tent before venturing to the site to see Chorusgirl, Kid Canaveral and Martha play. It was my second time seeing Martha that month and I found myself welling up during their set because of how very important and vital their music feels to me. I was feel grateful that even though it had been a really rubbish few months, I was glad I was there. I particular enjoyed the 90’s rave lights that accompanied their set too.

   

Saturday was thankfully dry (as our slightly crappy Argos tent was already leaking at this point) so we got to dry off, hang out with our camp mates and laze around for a while before going to see Crywank who were AMAZING. I think seeing that they were going to be playing was what convinced me to go to Indietracks this year. I was very happy to hear them play Forelorn Leghorn as I’d been listening to it a lot over the last few weeks. Dan is one of my new drumming inspirations.

   

Sunday I was excited to see Grace Petrie play (and I’m pretty sure she was excited that a sudden downpour sent a load more people dashing in to where she was playing) Lilith Ai blew away everyone who managed to get into the Church stage to see them. When the sun came out, I finally got to ride the singe gauge train.

   

I completely failed to make it to any workshops this year and once again didn’t make it to the campsite disco due to a combination of feeling achy, going back early to check our tent wasn’t under water and then feeling too lazy to move.

Highlights

Can crush! Martha covering Semisonic’s Closing Time, whoever made the Indietracks Ultras stickers, hearing 2 new ONSIND tracks being debuted in the merch tent, the great burgers, chips, nachos and ice cream from the Teatime Collective, seeing some cute owls, walking up the lane from the campsite to the festival and it feeling so familiar and comfortable, getting excited at how many excellent drummers I saw play and the fact that everyone I spoke to over the weekend was so friendly and just there to have a good time whether it rained or not.

1 second everyday – July

Here is my 1 second a day video for July. It ended up being a much better month than I expected. This was in no small part down to a last minute decision to got Indietracks Festival at the end of the month. I’ll try and do a separate post about this in a the next few days.

A post shared by Sarah Beth (@kittenesque) on

My July included seeing Martha twice, helping at a Graduation ceremony at work, a real mixed bag of weather, watching Glow, eating far too many bags of McCoys chip shop crisps, reading a lot of books (as well as hitting my reading goal of the years 7 months in!) starting to ride my bike again and appreciating small details in Coventry.

2017 goals – the halfway point

I think it is fair to say that in a lot of ways, I’m not where I wanted to be at this point in the year. I lost a member of my family in May and it hit me quite hard for a variety of reasons that feel a bit too raw to go into on such a public forum.

My yearly goals can be found here and I reflected on them after 3 months here.

Studying and Learning
This has actually been one where I have made some progress on all of the goals I set out to do. I let Wanikani practice slide over the last few months and I debated restarting at a lower level but then spent last weekend working through all my outstanding reviews and feel like I am getting back on track and am now finally making some progress towards completing level 5.

I went on a lino printing 1 day course in June at the Herbert Art Gallery where I made this print of a squirrel. I’m hoping to do some more printing at home (once inspiration strikes)

I’m still having drumming lessons and I’m about to go from having fortnightly lessons back to having weekly lessons which I’m looking forward to.

Travel

This is the area where I have made the least progress. So far, we haven’t booked any holiday or breaks away anywhere and the only cities I have visited are ones I’ve already been to.

Creating

I haven’t done much under this category. I’ve been working on bits and pieces of crochet but I haven’t really made progress of the blanket or jumper. I have done a few more pages in my sketchbook though so that’s something.

Other

I’m making great progress on my Goodreads target as I’ve currently read 54 books out of total goal of 70. I’m pretty confident that I’m going to hit this way before the end of the year as I’m finding reading it one of the few things I have been able to commit to at the moment. Plus kindle sales have meant I have plenty of things to read that take my fancy.

Here are the books that I have enjoyed most in the last 3 months;

 Infinity Net – Yayoi Kusama
 Becoming Betty – Eleanor Wood
 The Upside of Unrequited – Becky Albertalli
 Our Chemical Hearts – Krystal Sutherland
 Beartown – Fredrik Backman
 You and me and him – Kris Dinnison

I actually ended up deleting the FB app off of my phone during the lead up to the election which has had the bonus of cutting down my casual FB browsing time. I’m still using it (and twitter) but not as much I have been so that feels quite positive.

Going forward, I think I want to try and focus on building some positives for this year. I’m still looking for houses but I also want to make sure I have some other things to look forward to whether it’s more day courses, short breaks away or gigs. I’m heading to Manchester this weekend to see Martha play with Joyce Manor.

1 second everyday – June

A few people I know have been using 1 second everyday to make monthly videos and I decided to give it a go starting on the 1st of June.

So in just over 30 seconds, here is my June – it was a month that included an election, a funeral, squirrels, cats, heavy rain, blue skies, a golden bunny, giving blood, vegan pizza and some lazy days at home.

A post shared by Sarah Beth (@kittenesque) on

It was really fun to see this build up day by day and to figure out what 1 second of video would best sum up each day.

Absence

Life kind of got in the way of me posting here. The longer I don’t write, the more I don’t know what to say about it so I suppose this entry is me drawing a line under that and trying to move forward.

I had a birthday a few weeks ago and went to Manchester to see some friends, have a mooch around and eat lots of tasty vegan food at V-Rev.

 

Other than that, I’ve just been focused on getting through the summer exam season at work. I’ve been trying to remind myself that it’s ok for me to get home in the evening and just relax. I’m anxious about the upcoming election. I’m pretty much hoping for the best but bracing myself for the worst. Josie Long wrote this piece which sums up how I am feeling – They say we can’t win, but on Thursday vote for Labour anyway

2017 goals – 3 months in

I thought it would be helpful for my own reflection and accountability for me to look at how I am doing with the yearly goals I’ve set myself at the end of each 3 month period.

The house hunt continues. Not at a particularly fast pace because there isn’t much on the market that suits what we are looking for and when we *do* find one – I don’t seem to have much luck at getting estate agents to return my calls. We’ve already lost out on two houses that we loved so far which has quite frustrating and hard but on the flip side, I am getting to learn a bit more about the process and how it all works.

I’ve started having drum lessons. I had a hour long introductory lesson and then have been following up it up with weekly half hour lessons as well as practicing basic rhythms at home by hitting cushions and other soft furnishings. As part of the lessons, I’ve been learning about drum notation and type of beats. I’m just really enjoying the whole experience and it has been fun to see the little improvements I am making each week.

I’ve booked myself onto a 1 day lino printing course at my local art gallery for June. It’s run by local artist Adie Blundell – whose work I have seen before (and been blown away by). I’m really looking forward to this as it falls in a busy time at work for me so it will be nice to take some time out to do this.

I’m now at level 5 on Wanikani. In fact I’ve only just started level 5 – level 4 took me quite a long time and at times I didn’t really push myself with it. I did find it useful to read about how Koichi – the founder of Wanikani studies himself. Him saying that even a small bit of study each day is more useful than cramming every now and then so that’s what I’m aiming for.

Book-wise I’ve ready 25 books so far and my goal for the year is 75 so I’m 1/3 of the way through. So far the ones I have enjoyed most this year are –

Flawed – Cecelia Ahern
One of us is lying – Karen M McManus
The Year of living Danishly – Helen Russell
Beautiful Music for Ugly – Kristin Cronn-Mills

Travel-wise I don’t have anything much booked although my Mum is coming to visit over the Easter weekend and we have plans to go visit some alpacas which I’m excited about.

In terms of everything else…I’m doing bits where I can but also trying to accept my own limitations and need for down time in which to relax from work.

Tiny Things Tuesday #50

Wow, I can’t quite believe I have done 50 of these posts. I’ve never really kept up a public blog for this long before. I took today off of work so it’s felt like a mine mid week(ish) break for me. The majority of the posts I have written are these TTT ones which has been a good exercise in itself in gratitude and reflection. It make me happy to look back over that tag and remember things

   

I read a book in bed (this one) before getting up, making myself some fresh coffee and pancakes. I then pottered around the house, playing Stardew Valley, listening to music, washing up and then made a huge pan of sweetcorn chowder (recipe is from #2 of Grub zine)

   

1. I went one a day trip on Saturday with some friends to the Cotswold Farm Park to see their baby animals. We got to bottle feed some of the lambs as well as feed some sheep, goats, horses. I also got to see some piglets but sadly didn’t get close enough to cuddle one (a long time goal that still remains unfulfilled.) The little guy pictured here was called Bear and was an orphan but he seemed to be doing well and at one point he made a bid for freedom and was frolicking around the barn on his own.

2. I got this very exciting envelope through the post yesterday – it’s the first mailing of Cryptogram Puzzle Post by the very talented Jack Fallows. I’m pretty rusty at puzzle solving so I think I need to spend some quality time with this envelope and its contents at the weekend.

I had my first drumming lesson tonight. Turns out that I sadly don’t have an amazing skills that were just waiting to come out when I sat down. However I could see myself gradually improve over the course of the lesson which was pleasing. I struggle with learning new things a lot and its hard sometimes for me to motivate myself to practice and try when I don’t see any improvement. I need to keep reminding myself that I am doing these things for fun because I can take it too seriously.

It looks like there is going to be a new Moomin TV series and it looks really wonderful. You can help crowdfund it here and get all sorts of nice looking rewards or just get excited about seeing it when its out if you don’t want to contribute.

Now my bed and another book is calling. Till next time…

Tiny things Tuesday #49

I haven’t managed one of these Tuesday posts for a while but I was feeling particularly positive today so here goes…

   

   

   

1. A few weeks ago I devoured the whole first season of A series of Unfortunate Events on Netflix. I read (& loved) the books a good many years ago and I enjoyed the film but the rushed ending and part where they muddled up the timelines wasn’t great. I LOVE how the Netflix version seems to be so much more openly queer friendly with both Sir and Charles being explicitly depicted as a couple and the person of undetermined gender who appears to be playing it as non-binary. I’m excited for season 2.

2. Speaking of TV – I am also really enjoying Riverdale at the moment. I haven’t read the Archie Comics before so I’m pretty new to the story but the noir vibes reminded me of Veronica Mars which is always a good thing. So far my favorite character are Betty and Veronica (together) and Jughead. There is something about the way that it’s shot that also really reminds me of Life in Strange.

3. J got me this lovely Moomin cushion as a valentines gift. I love the print on it. I think I need to have a duvet days soon where I drink lots of coffee, make pancakes and read one of the books.

4. Tegan & Sara were amazing on Saturday evening at The Institute in Birmingham. You can see the set list here – I was most happy to hear Alligator and U-turn plus 100x because I knew it was one of J’s favorites. The tickets were part of my Christmas gift (tucked inside the CD of the latest album) and when I first opened them I was a little taken back because I hadn’t really listened to them in ages but as I started listening to the new album and re-visiting their old ones, a lot of memories started coming back and I realised how many emotions their music stirs up in me.

5. Stardew Valley – I brought this for my laptop about a month ago for around £12 and it terms of giving vallue for money, I cannot fault it! It’s a pretty simple game with a retro pixel art look to it that combines elements of Harvest Moon, Animal Crossing and other farming simulators I am finding it really relaxing to play (aside from when I die in the mines in the desert) Here’s a little article about how SV is an improvement on previous games of this type.

6. I got exciting post from Wanikani the other day as a reward for completing the first 3 levels. It was a magnet, hand written postcard and sticker. I’m a sucker for surprise post and I’m also still really enjoying using Wanikani to learn Kanji. It has given some structure to my days especially as I tend to use my bus ride to work to work on revisions and new lessons.

Some other bits and pieces that I have also been enjoying;

I’m really into this article from Rookie on how to be alone. I’m an only child and having alone time is pretty vital to my wellbeing especially since I started living with someone else.

Spring being almost here. The evenings are finally getting lighter and it helps my mood so much.

Looking at the tweets from the Cat Reviewer.

It’s Sheffield zine fest this weekend and I’m excited to go and see my friends and eat some tasty food. Last year I had the best salt and chili tofu that I had ever had and I still think of it about once a month. Ahh!

I had my fringe (and thge reset of my hair) cut a few weeks ago after not bothering since the start of October. It actually feels like it had a style now and isn’t such a pain in the butt to blow dry in the mornings. It shocked me just how much of an impact it had on my mood and I guess its a reminder to myself that these things I sometimes think are trivial can make a difference.

A mid-February update

Life is…life, I guess. House hunting is slow and frustrating. It’s hard to imagine what you can have when all you have been used to is renting and making do with what you can afford, where will allow pets and where you’ve managed to get your application in first. Looking for somewhere to buy seems more exciting in some senses especially as it’s all so new but for the same reason, I am also feeling a bit overwhelmed and confused about it all.

I’ve treated myself to a Spotify paid account and that’s helping somewhat. I’ve spent most of the week listening to Tegan & Sara on repeat and discovering that I enjoy Sainthood much more than I thought I did when it came out. I’ve managed to hook it up to my very neglected last.fm account so you can see what I’ve been listening to here should you want to do that for some reason.

Here’s a picture of Cabaret because too much text in a row is boring

I’m trying to get better at managing my money. I’ve got a busy weekend coming up as I’m seeing Josie Long on Friday evening and then Tegan & Sara on Saturday – both in Birmingham. I need money for the train and food and I’m squirrelling away pounds in different accounts for both.

I feel like I am weighing up how much value I get from things. I had previously deemed a Spotify membership as too much of a luxury until I a) realised I could get a student rate and b) heard the same 1 or 2 adverts too many times in a row and wanted to scream. We’ve had an office move and being slightly closer to people is a bit of a struggle in terms of overheard noises so I’ve been relying on listening to music more to help me concentrate. I guess I’m only justifying this to myself at the end of the day.

This morning I also listening to the latest episode of Pomo Pain podcast which is an excellent podcast by my friend Ingrid. If you haven’t heard it, then you should listen. It always helps me to make sense of my own thoughts and gives me a different but helpful perspective on things.