I’ve sort of been putting off writing this week’s round-up because It. Has. Been. Mental. But in a good way, of course. And I’ll be annoyed with myself if I don’t write it. So, here goes.

On Monday I had a gig. It was A LOT of fun. There will be videos soon, I promise. But currently they’re too big to be uploaded and Video Dude Who Knows What He’s Doing needs to do some kind of Magical Tech Shit to them before they can be live on YouTube. At which point I will of course share them shitless, so you better be following me on YouTube, bitches.

The set list went through at least a dozen incarnations before it finally settled. It went something like this:


This was purely because I couldn’t stop writing songs, which is good in the long run, of course, but was actually a bit irritating. Originally, the set list went: wolf, solitary road, red line, safe harbour, house of cards, poppet doll, shadows of the mind, irl. But then I went to Amanda Palmer’s Epic Roundhouse Gig, and accidentally wrote don’t ask me about my tattoos and dear french boy over the weekend. I was beginning to go a bit crazy by this point, but the girls were coming over so I decided to just go with what I had. On Sunday evening, Caitlin left, and as she was leaving, mentioned that it’d be really quite amusing if I accidentally wrote another song on Monday. I laughed. She went home.

On Monday afternoon I watered my garden and then decided to sit down for a while and chill in the sun before getting on with work again, and it happened. Another song was born. Probably one of my favourites yet, actually. It’s called “ok”. I wrote all the lyrics sitting in the sun, then went inside and immediately wrote the piano part, and then it was finished. Probably about an hour and a half’s work in total: not a complex song (not that any of them are, really), but one I really really like. There was no doubt in my mind: I had to play this at the gig. So I re-wrote the set list again, for what I hoped was the final time, and this is the one I took to the gig with me:


And then, in a move that’s never happened before, but which I quite enjoyed, I switched it around a bit when I got there. And this was how it finally ended up:


So, no irl, which is my classic ending song because it’s so much fun. Two got switched around in the middle (tattoos & french boy), and house of cards was probably a bit half-arsed, because it was a damn sauna up there. Seriously. Hottest day yet, apparently, people were saying things like “It’s 34 degrees”; I don’t know how true that was, but trust me, when you’re on a stage with a light shining directly in your face you certainly feel like you’re doing some serious bikram even when in reality you’re just bashing keys and screeching like a cat on heat. The next day the scales told me I’d lost half a stone. I reckon it’s actually a combination of the constant running and the scales being a bit unreliable, but I like to think that the desert-esque atmosphere had something to do with it.

It was, without a doubt, the best gig I have played to date. Not because the venue was cool (it was, though: I recommend the Alley Cat bar on Denmark Street to any London-based musicians), but because it was the first time I felt like I’d properly performed, you know? I still have a long way to go, but there were a couple of moments when I thought Yeah, this is it. This is being on stage. And I don’t think I’ve felt anything like that since I was killed on stage in Jekyll & Hyde as a seventeen-year-old.

So Monday was awesome. I also got paid a reasonable amount – the holy grail of gigging – and arrived home ridiculously late but really, really happy.

I spent Tuesday interviewing some people for a few articles which will be up on Forensic Focus shortly. That was fun. And then I received a couple of emails from people offering me work, which is always good news, especially when the rent is due at the end of the month and I was just about to enter Panic Phase.

I also spent some more time watering my plants, resulting in this experience:


So, Tuesday and Wednesday were spent working flat-out. On Wednesday I also spent some time reading a textbook called “Nuclear and Thermal Physics”, which made me very happy. I have been writing a paper about Gödel’s incompleteness theorem for about the past five years, and I kept thinking I should probably have a better basic understanding of physics in order to do so (I’m exploring Penrose’s ideas about artificial intelligence and computational simulation in relation to Gödel’s theorem, but I realised that whilst I thought I understood all the literature I’d read about the subject, I couldn’t really be sure without studying physics properly. So I took myself through a few textbooks to make sure.)

I then received an email saying that we’re soon able to go live with one of my Exciting Secret Projects, which is very cool. I will tell you allllllll about it shortly, and you will be excited too. Especially if you like music. And famous people. And really excellent entertainment.

Speaking of papers… I woke up on Thursday morning to an email from a journal saying that our Pilgrimage Project paper HAS BEEN ACCEPTED AND IS COMING OUT SOON. You have NO IDEA how excited this makes me. I’ve been on the project for six years, and I’ve been on a few of the papers so far, but only ever as an al. And whilst al is cool, she isn’t as cool as named author. Second author, in fact, for this one. WOOOOOOOOOOOO. It’s coming out in a few weeks. I’ll link it when it hits the shelves, and you can all scramble out to buy the Review of Religious Research. Or, you know, just read it online somewhere. It’s cool.

This was a particularly lucky paper, because the first time I wrote it, I knew I hadn’t done as good a job as I could have, and that bothered me quite a lot. I hate feeling like I’ve done something badly, or not well enough. But I couldn’t work out how to get past the block. Fast forward a few weeks, and the head of the research team asked me to rewrite it because he’d sent me an old version back and I’d made my modifications to that one instead of the actual paper. And then I spent the weekend with OCD Paper Friend having an Excellent And Productive Time, and suddenly the new paper was born. But there were still a couple of things I wasn’t sure about, and I was utterly terrified that the journal would reply with something along the lines of “Go away, you are not a real researcher and we know it”, so when it got yeses from all three reviewers (including the notoriously terrifying R2), I was ecstatic, to put it mildly. I believe my Facebook chat history went something like:





…which is, of course, the only cool, collected, professional response one can possibly expect in these situations.

The head of the research team naturally dropped another small bombshell as soon as we got the email:

Great news… now we can finish the other one!

The one we’ve already written, I enquired? No no, the other other one.

But I’m not complaining. I live for research. And forensics and linguistics and investigation and psychology and singing and performing and writing, all of which I’ve done this week.

By Thursday I was feeling a little overwhelmed with everything, so I went for an Epic Run which made the bottom of my shoes fall off, and then went food shopping. By the time I came back the inbox had piled up with more stuff, so I spent most of the night tackling cases and looking through files and tracking things down.

And then it was Friday, and my brain just sort of melted into itself. My calendar included things like “Update Ethics Code”, “Put Together Plan for OBC Scheme”, “Think About Plan M”, but in all honesty I found out that there was a third season of The Killing that I’d somehow magically missed, so I just sat down on the sofa with some Lambrini classy wine and vegged out completely.

I love The Killing (I’ve only seen the USA version, but I love it), and I came to a few slightly bizarre realisations during it. And there were clips that I played and replayed, and then I spent some time updating a file on my computer which is called “admissions to umit which i never sent”, which contains all sorts of very embarrassing things that I will one day drunkenly admit in a Facebook message, but until that day will remain solely in my head and on my hard drive. Along with all sorts of other stuff that no one else should ever have to read. Terrible teenage poetry, for example.

Saturday was a bit mental: two of my friends had birthdays on opposite sides of the city, so in the afternoon I headed out to somewhere beyond Wimbledon to hang out with an old friend from school (we used to sit together in Physics and make up theories about the universe, and she’d tell me off for deliberately failing the coursework), and then in the evening I legged it over to the East to party on down with Bene & co.

Caitlin came back to my place afterwards to hang out. By the time we’d got the train to the end of the orange line it was too late for the buses to be running on schedule, so we hailed a taxi. He pulled up outside my house. “£11.40,” he told us. Caitlin handed me a tenner. I handed her £3. We looked at each other.
“What do we do now?”
“I have no idea.”
“This is ten pounds.”
“Yes. This is three pounds.”
“Wait, wait. You hand the money to the man. Then we get out of the car. Then we go inside the house.”
“Yes. Yes, that’s it.”

At this point, the taxi driver said “Holy shit” and then “Good luck… in life…” to us. We assured him we weren’t even drunk, this was just our natural state. I don’t think it made him feel any more confident in our ability to navigate the world.

This morning I woke up, got my feet tangled in the sheet and fell out of bed. Went through to the living room, plugged my computer in and proceeded to tangle myself up in the cord until I was so confused that I couldn’t work out how to sit down on the chair behind me. The door of my spare room opened suddenly and Caitlin crawled out on her hands and knees. “The door got stuck, I thought I was locked in!”

She made coffee and waved the Amaretto bottle at me. I knew I was supposed to do something in response, but my body wasn’t yet ready to stand up, so I sort of melted onto the floor and flopped towards her proffering my coffee cup.

The day continued in much the same vein; Caitlin left in the afternoon and I moved from Amaretto to red wine. And then it was Top Gear time, so I put a curry in the oven (I’m not normally a ready meal girl, but evidently today my brain was not fully functional), and waited for it to heat up. Except that after half an hour, I went through and realised I’d turned the gas on but not the stove, so I had to open all the windows and go sit outside for a couple of hours until it was all clear. Dippo sent me this picture, which I think pretty much sums it up:


I managed to watch Top Gear, though, so the most important thing was achieved. Can we just take a moment to admire the Lamborghini Sesto Elemento? It’s so pretty it made my ovaries hurt.


They also had Steven Tyler in their Reasonably Priced Car; he was full of excellent quotes such as “Anything worth doing is worth overdoing”, with which I wholeheartedly agree. Definitely worth watching this week’s episode.

I had a couple of ideas for things I want to start doing. But to be honest, I’m doing so much already that the idea of starting yet more projects probably isn’t sensible. Which isn’t to say that I won’t do it anyway.

And now I’m writing the round-up, hopefully free from any kind of horrible gas poisoning, and looking forward to next week. Here’s hoping it’ll be as good as this one. I’d say ‘better’, but I don’t know if I could cope with a higher level of awesome than this one. Though I am spending the weekend in my friend’s country farmhouse, chilling out and eating all sorts of excellent food, so actually, it’s fairly likely to be excellent.

In other news, today someone sent me an email asking me to try on and review superhero costumes.

I. Love. My. Life.

This week I learned: f.lux is some really awesome software that will make your eyes feel less like they’re being stabbed by millions of tiny blue swords all night. Trust me, it’s excellent.

This week I read: Nuclear & Thermal Physics by Dave Kelly, The Death Chamber by Sarah Rayne, and a few academic studies about digital forensic readiness systems, Guttman-like progressions in pornography viewing and the inverse CSI effect.

This week I watched: Season three of The Killing. I LOVE IT SO MUCH.

* * *

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