Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Washing Machine From Planet Evil

This week has been rather light on the interview front, (I have one tomorrow- cross your fingers for me since it is one I actually want) which is fine with me because I am getting over a little cold gleaned from walking around with wet feet in Graz. I have been a homebody and I didn't mind or have a Gloria Steinham moment like I have with past partners (you know who you are. yes you.) when S asked me to put some washing on. I talked about British Washing Machines when I was here in the spring. I really don't understand why a country that was once the superpower big bad in the world not that long ago, can't make a bloody decent washing machine. Forget about drying your clothes in these stupid things. Just don't even think about it. Really. Stop. Trust me. It won't work. So you load your clothes in and it fits 1/4 of what a normal wash would be even in a nasty little apartment in Hollywood. You shove it in and the soap is a little plastic bag/capsule/sack thing that you shove in with the clothes. Somehow the plastic holding the soap in evaporates during the wash. It is one of those things you don't ask how it happens, it just does. Sort of like transubstantiation except, you know. . .different. I'm really not sure how long it takes for the wash cycle to occur but it feels like three hours. It may only be two. So you wait two hours for the few paltry bits of clothing you were able to shove into the fucker then you hang it over drying racks or the tops of doors. It feels like 69% of the time we have laundry drying in our front room. So I do laundry Monday. I messed up and put one of my favorite jumpers (sweaters) in the wash and since it was wool it can now fit a six year old. A very small six year old. I also noticed I slightly shrank one of S's new jumpers. A gray wool Russian army jumper that he just got in Camden. It looked like it might be okay though. When S saw how I hung the laundry (which was absolutely fine mind you) he started rearranging it because he is anal like that which is beyond annoying but I am learning to live with it. I mentioned the Russian jumper. He saw it. Took a piss. And then. . . He saw two of his other jumpers that have magically GROWN in size. I didn't notice them when I hung up the laundry. "What did you do???" "I just washed it on the setting you told me to." "It looks like you had them professionally stretched. This can fit my Dad now." It's a mystery. I can understand the shrinking of jumpers but the growing of them seems to break a few rules of science. I am now under orders to no longer doing his washing, which doesn't make me happy because now he won't do mine. Well, that isn't strictly true. Knowing him, he probably will do mine. That evening S took off his ring when he washed his face and it was gone when he went to put it on. In the morning it was on his desk. I think the ghost was punishing him for getting upset with me. (Not that he was that upset. His idea of upset is so mild, I'm not quite sure what to do with it.) I suppose it is a convenient thing to have a ghost. Someone to blame things on. The moving of rings. The stretching of clothes. . .

Monday, November 28, 2005

Graz

river
river,
originally uploaded by nicdthomas.
Click the photo to go to flickr and see more. . .

Went to Graz, Austria this weekend and had a fantastic time playing in the snow with S, Mattieu and Ollie.

We drank mulled wine and I tried to refer to the bit from It’s A Wonderful Life with them where the Angel Clarence and George are ordering drinks at the bar:


GEORGE
Okay, all right. Double bourbon, will you? Quick, huh.

NICK
Okay. (to Clarence) What's yours?

CLARENCE
I was just thinking. Uh...It's been so long since I...

NICK
Look, Mister, I'm standing here waiting for you to make up your mind.

CLARENCE
That's a good man. I was just thinking, uh, of a flaming rum punch. No, it's not cold enough for that. Not nearly cold enough. Wait a minute. Wait a minute. I got it. Mulled wine, heavy on the cinnamon and light on the cloves. Off with you, me lad, and be lively!

NICK
Hey, look, Mister, we serve hard drinks in here for men who want to get drunk fast. And we don't need any characters around to give the joint atmosphere. Is that clear? Or do I have to slip you my left for a convincer?


. . .and they all blinked at me like I was crazy. I guess they don’t play it at Christmas in the UK and in France.

Graz is such a cute little town. We will be going back I am sure.

Friday, November 25, 2005

Friday

Sat around all day looking for jobs on Monster that I know that I can do but that they won't let me have the chance to do cause for --wahtever. You know the song. Just can't dance to it. Left to get a bite and wandered into a nice restaurant in my neighborhood that has couches instead of chairs and had a nine quid cheeseburger and a few glasses of red. Okay four. But who is counting. My liver gave up on me years ago. I'm reading Andre Dubus short stories. I have been for the last three days, which is a recipe for depression. Is like saying, I think I will ring up my father or my crazy sister(s) when I am drunk and seeing how that will go and we all know how don't we? But I'm reading his sad stories in this obnoxious little restaurant in my cheap little neighborhood and it feels good. Being alone. Gray skies. Good overpriced burger that I know S would mock me about if he was here, red wine, amazing stories (if you don't know Dubus pick him up- the flicks In The Bedroom and We don't Live Here Anymore are adapted from his work). Leaving now to meet S and the band. Tomorrow, Graz.

Turkey Day

Had a lovely Thanksgiving dinner with four American expats, two visiting Yanks, my Brit, a Spanish woman and a Syrian man. It was like the UN but different. The whole band wasn't there as we needed our flat mate from Oz, the German, the Frenchman and the Canadians. It was a very nice meal. Except. . .Okay. What is it with what the English call stuffing? I need my mother to send me some on dry ice. Been having lots of job interviews and I am trying to not panic that nothing has stuck. I've only been here for three weeks today right? I do have an interview at a big place that I want through Janelle forwarding the CV along so let's hope something good happens. My ideal would be to get a job but not have to start until after the New Year. If I had money, I would create a store that sells all the stuff that American expats crave: Stove Top Stuffing, Kraft Mac and Cheese, Sugar Frosted Flakes. . . Every nasty prepackaged thing that is terrible for you. I would be rich.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

So Sad

Our broadband has died leaving us without Internet access in the flat and we all feel cut off from the world, which is overwhelmingly pathetic. There is an Internet cafe a block away from our place so I am able to get my fix. Last night Basil took S and I to a cute little Italian place in Holborn- La Porchetta and we pigged out (no pun intended) on really nice and reasonable Italian. Will be going back soon to try the Pizza. S and I need a larger bed or we are going to cause serious injury to each other. A few nights ago, I was climbing back into bed late at night and I didn't realize he was laying on the end of my pillow. I sort of swung my head in to move my hair out of my face and head butted him straight out of a sound sleep. Last night, he yanked my pillow out from under me to take it for himself. "Hey!" "Waa?" "You took my pillow." He reached behind himself, grabed his pillow, gave it to me then once I was settled shared the corner of it, cuddled up against me. When I mentioned it to him this morning he had no memory of it and wondered if I dreamed it all. It is defintely a Comedy of Errors with us.

Monday, November 21, 2005

The Woodward Bombshell

For a number of years I have thought that Bob Woodward was nothing but a whore for the Bushies. His disclosure last week confirmed that for me. Howard Kurtz wrote an excellent article that details what a lot of reporters and bloggers are saying. The Woodward Bombshell By Howard Kurtz Washington Post Staff Writer Thursday, November 17, 2005; 10:33 AM A particularly surreal moment on a very intense day: I had already interviewed Len Downie and Bob Woodward and posted a story on this Web site about Woodward's late-in-the-game disclosure of his role in the Valerie Plame controversy. As I was writing a story for today's paper, I saw Woodward across the newsroom and walked over to ask him a couple of follow-up questions. At that moment, Downie appeared on a TV set, fielding questions on "Hardball," and we and a few other reporters watched as the executive editor described how Woodward had made a mistake but generally defended his reporter. Chris Matthews began asking increasingly speculative questions, and Downie increasingly was declining to answer them. Finally, Downie said Woodward would be more careful about expressing his personal opinions on TV -- "even if you ask him questions, Chris." Woodward laughed. But I think it's fair to say that yesterday was no laughing matter for him or The Post. He is accustomed to being the subject of controversy, but usually it's for something he has reported rather than held back. I'm going to post my story on the subject, then round up some MSM coverage and tell you how all this is playing in the blogosphere (hint: not well). Here is the story as it appeared in today's Post: "Bob Woodward apologized to The Washington Post yesterday for failing to revealfor more than two years that a senior Bush administration official had told him about CIA operative Valerie Plame, even as an investigation of who disclosed her identity mushroomed into a national scandal. "Woodward, an assistant managing editor and best-selling author, said he told Executive Editor Leonard Downie Jr. that he held back the information because he was worried about being subpoenaed by Patrick J. Fitzgerald, the special counsel leading the investigation. " 'I apologized because I should have told him about this much sooner," Woodward, who testified in the CIA leak investigation Monday, said in an interview. "I explained in detail that I was trying to protect my sources. That's job number one in a case like this. . . . " 'I hunkered down. I'm in the habit of keeping secrets. I didn't want anything out there that was going to get me subpoenaed.' "Downie, who was informed by Woodward late last month, said his most famous employee had 'made a mistake.' Despite Woodward's concerns about his confidential sources, Downie said, 'he still should have come forward, which he now admits. We should have had that conversation. . . . I'm concerned that people will get a mis-impression about Bob's value to the newspaper and our readers because of this one instance in which he should have told us sooner.' "The belated revelation that Woodward has been sitting on information about the Plame controversy reignited questions about his unique relationship with The Post while he writes books with unparalleled access to high-level officials, and about why Woodward denigrated the Fitzgerald probe in television and radio interviews while not divulging his own involvement in the matter. " 'It just looks really bad,' said Eric Boehlert, a Rolling Stone contributing editor and author of a forthcoming book on the administration and the press. 'It looks like what people have been saying about Bob Woodward for the past five years, that he's become a stenographer for the Bush White House.' "Said New York University journalism professor Jay Rosen: 'Bob Woodward has gone wholly into access journalism.' "Robert Zelnick, chairman of Boston University's journalism department, said: 'It was incumbent upon a journalist, even one of Woodward's stature, to inform his editors. . . . Bob is justifiably an icon of our profession -- he has earned that many times over -- but in this case his judgment was erroneous.' "Shortly after Woodward's conversation with Downie in late October, a federal grand jury indicted Vice President Cheney's chief of staff, I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, on charges of perjury and obstruction of justice in the Plame case. Woodward told Fitzgerald that he met with Libby on June 27, 2003, but that he does not recall discussing Plame or her husband, White House critic and former ambassador Joseph C. Wilson IV. "Fitzgerald has spent nearly two years investigating whether administration officials illegally leaked Plame's name to the media to discredit Wilson. "Exactly what triggered Woodward's disclosure to Downie remains unclear. Woodward said yesterday that he was 'quite aggressively reporting' a story related to the Plame case when he told Downie about his involvement as the term of Fitzgerald's grand jury was set to expire on Oct. 28. "The administration source who originally told Woodward about Plame approached the prosecutor recently to alert him to his 2003 conversation with Woodward. The source had not yet contacted Fitzgerald when Woodward notified Downie about their conversation, Woodward said. " 'After Libby was indicted, [Woodward] noticed how his conversation with the source preceded the timing in the indictment,' Downie said yesterday. 'He's been working on reporting around that subject ever since the indictment.' "Once Fitzgerald contacted Woodward on Nov. 3 with a request to testify, the newspaper's lawyers asked that nothing be published until after the deposition, Woodward said. "The disclosure has prompted critics to compare Woodward to Judith Miller, a New York Times reporter who left the newspaper last week amid questions about her lone-ranger style and why she had not told her editors sooner about her involvement in the Plame matter. An online posting at Reason magazine called Woodward 'Mr. Run Amok,' a play on Miller's nickname at the Times. Neither reporter wrote a story on the subject. "Rem Rieder, editor of American Journalism Review, called Woodward's disclosure 'stunning' and saidit 'seems awfully reminiscent of what we criticized Judith Miller for.' "Times Executive Editor Bill Keller accused Miller of misleading the paper by not disclosing earlier that she had discussed Plame with Libby. Managing Editor Jill Abramson has said she has no recollection of Miller suggesting that she pursue a story on the Plame matter, as Miller has maintained. "In Woodward's case, he says he passed along a tip about Plame to Post reporter Walter Pincus in June 2003, but Pincus says he has no recollection of such a conversation. Pincus has also testified in the probe but, like Woodward, has not obtained permission from one source to disclose that person's identity. "Woodward has criticized the Fitzgerald probe in media appearances. He said on MSNBC's 'Hardball' in June that in the end 'there is going to be nothing to it. And it is a shame. And the special prosecutor in that case, his behavior, in my view, has been disgraceful.' In a National Public Radio interview in July, Woodward said that Fitzgerald made 'a big mistake' in going after Miller and that 'there is not the kind of compelling evidence that there was some crime involved here.' "Rieder said it was 'kind of disingenuous' for Woodward to have made such comments without disclosing his involvement. "Liberal blogger Josh Marshall wrote: 'By becoming a partisan in the context of the leak case without revealing that he was at the center of it, really a party to it, he wasn't being honest with his audience.' "Downie said Woodward had violated the newspaper's guidelines in some instances by expressing his 'personal views.' "During the Watergate scandal, Woodward protected the identity of 'Deep Throat' -- the government source who helped reveal Nixon administration corruption -- and kept the secret until former FBI official W. Mark Felt went public this spring. In this case, Woodward is protecting a Bush administration official who may be part of an effort to strike back at a White House critic. Woodward said he has 'pushed' his source, without success, for permission to discuss the matter publicly. "Woodward and Downie said they doubt that The Post could have found a way to publish the content of Woodward's conversation, which under the ground rules established with the source was off the record. Woodward said that the unnamed official told him about Plame 'in an offhand, casual manner . . . almost gossip" and that "I didn't attach any great significance to it.' "Woodward said he realized that his June 2003 conversation with the unnamed official had greater significance after Libby was described in an indictment as having been the first administration official to tell a reporter -- the Times' Miller -- about Plame. Downie said he has told Woodward that he must be more communicative about sensitive matters in the future. "Woodward said that it was 'pretty frightening' to watch Fitzgerald threatening reporters with jail -- Miller served 85 days for initially refusing to testify -- and that he 'had a lot of pent-up frustration.' Woodward said that he 'was trying to get the information out and couldn't' because of his agreement with his source. "Woodward has periodically faced criticism for holding backscoops for his Simon & Schuster-published books, which are invariably trumpeted by The Post, and several Post staff members complained yesterday in in-house critiques of the newspaper about his role. "Downie said he remains comfortable with the arrangement, under which Woodward spends most of his time researching his books, such as 'Bush at War' and 'Plan of Attack,' while giving The Post the first excerpts and occasionally writing news stories. He said Woodward 'has brought this newspaper many important stories he could not have gotten without these book projects.' "Woodward, who had lengthy interviews with President Bush for his two most recent books, dismissed criticism that he has grown too close to White House officials. He said he prods them into providing a fuller picture of the administration's inner workings. " 'The net to readers is a voluminous amount of quality, balanced information that explains the hardest target in Washington,' Woodward said, referring to the Bush administration." Here's how the papers are playing it, starting with the New York Times : "The disclosure that a current or former Bush administration official told Bob Woodward of The Washington Post more than two years ago that the wife of a prominent administration critic worked for the C.I.A. threatened Wednesday to prolong a politically damaging leak investigation that the White House had hoped would soon be contained. "The revelation left the special prosecutor, Patrick J. Fitzgerald, grappling with an unexpected new twist - one that he had not uncovered in an exhaustive inquiry - and gave lawyers for I. Lewis Libby Jr., Vice President Dick Cheney's former chief of staff and the only official charged with a crime, fresh evidence to support his defense." Who's the source? "A senior administration official said that neither Mr. Bush himself, nor his chief of staff, Andrew H. Card Jr., nor his counselor, Dan Bartlett, was Mr. Woodward's source. So did spokesmen for former Secretary of State Colin L. Powell, former C.I.A. Director George J. Tenet and his deputy John E. McLaughlin." Oh yeah? What senior administration official, New York Times? Los Angeles Times : "Bob Woodward's latest bombshell -- this one about the CIA leak investigation -- touched off a furor in Washington on Wednesday, raising questions about the noted journalist's previous failure to disclose what he knew, the completeness of the government's investigation of the case, and the identity of yet another top Bush administration source. . . . "Other journalists were more critical of Woodward, whose reporting techniques have come under attack before. He wins access to high-level officials in researching his best-selling books, but draws complaints that there is a conflict between his roles as book writer and reporter. Former New York Times staffer Sydney H. Schanberg, now a writer for the Village Voice, said Woodward might have become too close to his sources, much like the Nixon apologists in the press corps who termed the Watergate break-in -- the scandal that Woodward helped uncover -- 'a third-rate burglary.'" Wall Street Journal: "This week's testimony by Washington Post assistant managing editor Bob Woodward in the CIA-leak investigation raises the prospect of additional Bush-administration officials becoming entangled in the two-year probe. "At the same time, Mr. Woodward's involvement muddies Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald's case against I. Lewis Libby, the vice president's former chief of staff and the only official indicted so far." Baltimore Sun : "The notion that Woodward appeared to be operating under his own rules echoes complaints about him in the past from fellow Post staff members, some of whom resented the fact that he sometimes withheld exclusive stories for books such as 'Bush at War' and 'Plan of Attack' rather than submit the information for publication in the paper. "It also brought to mind a common view of Miller, who apparently failed to reveal to her editors the extent of her involvement in the Plame case and who unnerved many of her colleagues at The Times because, by her own admission, she did whatever she wanted for much of her career." The passion on the blogs is mainly on the left. Arianna Huffington : "Bob Woodward. What a career arc. From exposing a presidential cover-up in Watergate to covering up his role in Plamegate. And being forced to apologize to his own paper. And asking a colleague, Walter Pincus, not to mention Woodward's role in the story. And failing to tell his editor that he had vital information about a major story. "And, to bottom it out, doing the TV and radio rounds, minimizing the scandal as 'laughable,' 'an accident', 'nothing to it' and denigrating Fitzgerald as 'disgraceful' and 'a junkyard dog' without ever once divulging that he was not just an observer of the CIA leak case but a recipient -- perhaps the first -- of the leak. "Hear that hissing noise? That's the sound of the air being let out of Woodward's reputation. Especially now that he's decided to challenge Pincus to a round of credibility one-on-one. My money's on Pincus, who was appropriately skeptical about the administration's WMD claims while Woodward was writing hagiography about the brave president and his fearless aides." Slate's Jack Shafer : "What did Bob Woodward know, and when did he know it? . . . "What sort of journalist publishes a 'statement' in his paper as opposed to writing a story? What sort of journalist refuses to talk to his own newspaper when making such a revelation, as Woodward did? Wednesday's story reads, 'Woodward declined to elaborate on the statement he released to the Post late yesterday afternoon and publicly last night. He would not answer any questions, including those not governed by his confidentiality agreement with source.' "But wait, I have additional digressions! What sort of journalist, even one writing a book -- Woodward is always working on a book -- withholds blockbuster information about a major investigation, prosecution, and First Amendment battle from his editors until the 11th hour, as Woodward did?" Atrios: "Booby's story just doesn't make any sense. Why would you grant confidentiality to something which is 'almost gossip' and told to you in an 'offhand manner.' What ethical issue prevented you from telling the world that an administration source had given you that information as you could do so without revealing the identity of the source? Why could you not tell the world about this when you felt free to share the information with Pincus (denied by him)." Steven Clemons at The Washington Note: "Woodward's celebrity-status has seriously blinded him and affected his judgment about quality journalism and his responsibilities to the public. He should never have been making such comments on television about the Plame case if he was, in fact, involved. He should have RECUSED himself in such discussion." John Aravosis at Americablog: "It's also beginning to sound a lot like Bob Woodward is becoming our next Judith Miller. His repeated rants in defense of this administration, and against the special prosecutor, certainly take on a very interesting edge considering Mr. Woodward didn't bother disclosing that he was quite involved in this story, and was hardly the impartial observer his silence suggested he was. "Not to mention, he knew all along that HE TOO had received the leak, suggesting that a clear pattern of multiple leaks was developing, yet he still went on TV and said that all of these repeated leaks were just a slip of the tongue?" More from Josh Marshall : "Woodward had no obligation to discuss this publicly and in most respects probably no right. But he has been an aggressive critic of the investigation itself, challenging the premise that there was any underlying wrongdoing in this case. By becoming a partisan in the context of the leak case without revealing that he was at the center of it, really a party to it, he wasn't being honest with his audience. I don't see much way around that. Now, his antipathy toward the investigation seems much easier to understand." Matthew Yglesias : "Early speculation on why Woodward's undisclosed source on Valerie Plame's identity spilled the beans is that this is part of an effort to exculpate Scooter Libby. I don't understand how that's supposed to work. Libby stands accused of telling investigators that he first heard Plame worked for the CIA from Tim Russert. Russert denies this, as do several other reporters, as do several government officials who say they discussed the matter with Libby. What's Woodward got to do with it?" Seems to me we'll be better able to judge the impact on the case, and Woodward's career, when we find out who his source was--assuming that, unlike Throat aficionados, we don't have to wait another 33 years. © 2005 Washingtonpost.Newsweek Interactive

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Oh Llama!

Ollie and Claire gave us their wedding present tonight: A llama trek for two. We will be leading a llama as we walk through the British countryside. They couldn't have picked a better gift if they had tried. . .

Friday, November 18, 2005

chilly

roof This morning the roofs were covered with frost. At 10:45 the roof outside our bedroom is still rather white. The green blobs are moss. It feels as cold right now as it will get in LA. I hope my blood thickens up a bit before we go to Budapest.

Harry!

Seeing Harry Potter tonight and I am very excited. Was bad and read the NY Times review yesterday. S bless him bought the tickets ages ago. Hee-hee-hee

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Toni Morrison

Someone else I wanna be when I grow up. At the National Book Awards last night, she introduced Norman Mailer who was awarded the medal for distinguished contribution to American letters. While she praised him, calling Mailer "a huge and provocative talent" with "a carnivorous intelligence", she also said, "I have my own list of objections that I can peruse at my leisure, not least of which is an almost comic obtuseness regarding women." God (or whatever diety you prefer) bless her.

Bliss

For the first time in I don't know when, I have nothing to do today. Nothing. No job to go to. No cats to find homes for or drive to their new homes. No wedding to plan or do. No one to pick up or take to the airport. No furniture to sell or donate. No boxes to unpack. No job interviews. No cleaning. I slept in until 10:00 AM which was amazing. Drinking some coffee and putting around on the Internet. It is gorgeous here today again. Crisp, clear fall sky. The fall light here is really throwing me off. I can usually feel what the time is by looking at the sky but being down south and then zooming up north I am thrown off. The light reminds me a lot of Seattle, which makes sense. Going to finish my coffee and walk around my neighborhood. Maybe go to the Ritzy in Brixton and go see a flick. Who knows?

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Assignment 51

I did an assignment from the Learning to Love You More page. 51. Describe what to do with your body when you die. Ultimately it is about the people that are left behind. What do they want? I'll be gone so it doesn't really matter. . . But if I do get a say so, I'd like to be mulched. I read about this in the wonderful book by Mary Roach, Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers. So how does a girl get mulched? I would like my body flown to Jönköping, Sweden to The Promessa Foundation- (unless by the time I die, croak, kick the bucket, say the big sayonara, there is a closer facility that does this process). My body will be treated with liquid nitrogen which will freeze dry me, transforming my body into organic, odorless, hygienic powder. Extensive use of embalming fluid is eliminated. I'd then be placed in a biodegradable coffin and buried in a shallow grave, Maybe there are some trees or plants near by. I hope sometime before this or after or both, there is a party where everyone that loves me gets really lashed and tells stories of me tripping, falling down and hurting myself. I hope they laugh a lot and maybe cry a little. I hope that I am missed but that they move on and think back on me fondly.

Learning To Love You More

Somehow in my surfing I came across this wonderful site. Click on the assignments and see what people have submitted. Maybe get inspired and submit something. I loved Miranda July's film Me and You and Everyone We Know which came out this summer in the US. Well, in LA anyway. Learning To Love You More is a project of hers and Harrell Fletcher. Is very nifty.

John Cusack article on Huffington Post

I agree with Mel, no wonder I have had a crush on Mr. Cusack since The Sure Thing, Journey of Natty Gann and Better Off Dead days. (I feel so old.) I have been well aware of his politics for a while. Check out the fantastic film Bob Roberts written and directed by his pal Tim Robbins. Cusack has a small but biting part. He ends the article with a quote from Dr. King: "A time comes when silence is betrayal. Some of us who have already begun to break the silence of the night have found that the calling to speak is often a vocation of agony, but we must speak. We must speak out with all the humility that is appropriate to our limited vision, but we must speak." You can read the article here.

Inspired

Sainsbury's has the best juice ever. Orange and Banana. They don't have orange and banana juice at the store in California. You might get a blendy type of Naked juice maybe or at Jamba Juice but in the big OJ cartons, they don't have anything like this. I know it is bad for me but I bought some anyway. I am a simple, sad girl to be excited by this, but there you have it. Today, walking along The Strand to go to interview the sixth- (which actually went very well and I hope that I get it. It has a spin that makes it different from what I have been doing so that on paper it doesn't look like the kind of gig that will make me want to kill myself.) I'm walking along and the sky is clear and crisp and the buildings are old and I felt really good. Like I belong.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Rubbish

Before At our flat you put your trash bags in little front courtyard, which we share with the man who has the ground floor flat below us. Because of my move, I had A LOT of trash stashed in the front. The picture doesn't even do it justice to show how much was there. It was 99% bags full of paper, but still. . . Was a little worried that the trash men wouldn't take it away today, but they did! So, (because he always does stuff like this to others) I decided to play on the fear of S because I knew he was afraid too. I IMed him and said that they took about half of it away and then told me that because there was so much, that I needed to arrange a special pick-up, that our neighbor was pissed and that I was really sorry and that I would take care of it. He took the bait completely, called and asked me some questions and said that anymore trash that we have this week that we will stash in other people's yards in the cover of darkness. I then handed it off to Preston who told him that I didn't want him to know but that she was telling him anyway, that they were going to charge me 2 quid a bag because it was a "labor intensive" job. Hee hee. I told her that we couldn’t let Stu stew too long because this would upset him all day. So as soon as I finish composing this, I am sending him the link to the blog so he knows. After

The Street Where I Live

I took this last week. What you can't see (because my camera was too slow and I was too far away) is the dad playing hopscotch and skipping with his daughter as they go down the street. So many families in my area. If you don't watch it, you will get knocked about every which way by parents pushing prams (strollers). From what I understand, this area has become recently gentrified so all these families have moved in because they can afford it- although a three bedroom flat that S and I saw advertised at a estate agent office on the high street was 500,000 pounds, so it is relative to what it would cost in the center. But I likie it here.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Buskers

Evil recruiters. She sent me for a job where there was a senior top level VP job or a few graduate entry-level bullshit things. Nothing for Goldilocks. If I am only going to be earning 18 K a year I want to be doing something that I actually like goddamnit. I am marinating in annoyance at my recruiter who sent me off to speak to someone who didn't actually have a job for me, wasting my time and theirs, winding my way through the labyrinth that is the London Underground until you finally get to wait for the train and I realize . . . no buskers. Where did the buskers go? Are they not at the stops that I go to? Been to Balham, Charing Cross, Embankment, Goodge Street, Oxford Circus and Tottenham Court Road in the last nine days and no buskers. Is this because of the bombings or is this not busker season?

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Classic Dame

I was hoping for Katherine Hepburn but Rosalind Russell is pretty fabulous.
Rosalind Russell
You scored 14% grit, 42% wit, 33% flair, and 23% class!
You are one wise-cracking lady, always quick with a clever remark and easily able to keep up with the quips and puns that come along with the nutty situations you find yourself in. You're usually able to talk your way out of any jam, and even if you can't, you at least make it more interesting with your biting wit. You can match the smartest guy around line for line, and you've got an open mind that allows you to get what you want, even if you don't recognize it at first. Your leading men include Cary Grant and Clark Gable, men who can keep up with you.

Find out what kind of classic leading man you'd make by taking the Classic Leading Man Test.




My test tracked 4 variables How you compared to other people your age and gender:
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 29% on grit
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 75% on wit
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 31% on flair
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 43% on class
Link: The Classic Dames Test written by gidgetgoes on Ok Cupid, home of the 32-Type Dating Test

Rememberance Day

First day that I was here, (has it only been a little over a week?) I noticed people wearing red plastic flowers on their lapels, sweaters, coats and bags. I thought there was an odd misplaced fashion attack that was consuming Londoners. I didn’t ask S or Preston was about. Mid week I was reading the Guardian and I discovered the flowers are plastic poppies sold by the Royal British Legion for Rememberance Day which is sort of like Memorial Day in the States, but it seemed a bit more. . . more here. Probably because so many people are wearing these little plastic flowers and the date is commemorating the end World War I. The Royal British Legion does a lot of good work assisting ex-Service and Service men and women and their dependants. I found myself wanting to wear a poppy. From the Poppy Appeal Website: The first official Legion Poppy Day was held in Britain on 11 November 1921, inspired by the poem In Flanders' Fields written by John McCrae. Since then the Poppy Appeal has been a key annual event in the nation's calendar. In Flanders' Fields: Some of the bloodiest fighting of World War I took place in the Flanders and Picardy regions of Northern France. The Poppy was the only thing which grew in the aftermath of the complete devastation. McCrae, a doctor serving there with the Canadian Armed Forces, deeply inspired and moved by what he saw, wrote these verses: In Flanders' Fields John McCrae, 1915 In Flanders' Fields the Poppies blow Between the crosses, row on row, That mark our place: and in the sky The larks, still bravely singing, fly Scarce heard amid the guns below. We are the dead. Short days ago We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow, Loved and were loved, and now we lie In Flanders' Fields. Take up our quarrel with the foe; To you from failing hands we throw The torch; be yours to hold it high, If ye break faith with us who die We shall not sleep, though Poppies grow In Flanders' Fields. On the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month in 1918, the First World War ended. Civilians wanted to remember the people who had given their lives for peace and freedom. An American War Secretary, Moina Michael, inspired by John McCrae's poem, began selling Poppies to friends to raise money for the ex-Service community. And so the tradition began. If you are curious, you can see the statistics for the casualties for WWI by country. Another interesting fact I just gleaned from a fun little book I just read, A Treasury of Royal Scandals, Kaiser Wilhelm II and King George V had the same grandmother, Queen Victoria. Imagine that war made where to spend Christmas dinner a bit uncomfortable at the House of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha or, as he changed to appease British nationalist leanings, The House of Windsor.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

handcuffs

A few years ago I was a dominatrix for Halloween. Simple costume. Black dress. Black leather jacket. Black knee high boots. Black bobbed wig. Black riding crop borrowed from a gay friend involved in the Silverlake S & M scene which I used to smack the asses of anyone who came near me and black handcuffs that I got from a costume shop. I kept the handcuffs because. . . well. . . you never know when you might need handcuffs do you? I unpacked them yesterday, set them on a shelf where they were gleefully discovered by Jen who promptly put herself into them. She thought it was funny until S tightened them so that she needed the lock to get them off. She bleated for a while before we let her out. Just now I looked above the fireplace and saw that she removed the picture that was there and hung the handcuffs up on the nail. So funny. Either it was her or our ghost likes the handcuffs too.

Ghost

S said when we moved in that he saw a mirror move and that he feels that something is always watching him in the flat. I thought he was being a little overly. . . I don't know. . . wanting the place to be haunted. Is there a word that means that? The desire to be witness to ghosties. I haven't seen anything but his saying something has put thoughts in my head so late at night I have been feeling a little edgy. Have been having really vivid weird dreams and S and Jen have as well. I usually sleep so deeply I don't remember my dreams. Have had a few night terrors, but I know that is from stress. This afternoon, just now, this very moment, I hear piano or music box music. Simple little pattern. I IM’d S asking if one of our neighbors has a piano and he tells me that it is our resident guest. Tells me that it is loudest in the kitchen and that if I go in there it will stop. I go in the kitchen. Loudest in there. Then. . .it stops. Feeling a little freaked out. Asked Jen in IM if she ever heard it and she typed, (sic) "whoa!!!!! easy going tiger.......never heard that b4.....noone told me i was gonna live with loonies!!!!!. . .and is god telling u 2 drink more red wine? cos thats wot he says to me." It keeps playing on and off. I'm listening to Bill Evans right now. Listening to Bill Evans trying to ignore the music box noise that keeps playing behind me. I’m here alone tonight. Jen is pulling an all nighter at her job and S has a work dinner thing. I wish I were making this up.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Dumb-ass

Shot a,"In London- Please send job" e-mail to a recruiter I met in June who had given me her card. She had me come in today to make sure I didn't have two heads and has already set me up for three interviews tomorrow. Need to do my research on these companies and get my head screwed on so they don't think I am an idiot. At least not to start. Let them realize I am an imbecile after they hire me. I should have waited to contact her next week after I was all moved in. Whatever Heather. I'm sad I didn’t get short listed for that a gig at The National Theatre. How stupid am I that I’m sad that I didn't get to interview for a job that only pays 18,000 quid.

unpacking

Why do I have so many books? What was I thinking? How did that happen? I keep thinking of that poor sap in Howards End who is killed when the bookcase is pulled onto him. That could happen with the shelves in the hallway here. I now know why I stayed in my apartment for eight years. It wasn't the huge rent controlled apartment. It was for the simple fact that I didn't want to move.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Nov 8 NY Times Editorial

President Bush's Walkabout After President Bush's disastrous visit to Latin America, it's unnerving to realize that his presidency still has more than three years to run. An administration with no agenda and no competence would be hard enough to live with on the domestic front. But the rest of the world simply can't afford an American government this bad for that long. In Argentina, Mr. Bush, who prides himself on his ability to relate to world leaders face to face, could barely summon the energy to chat with the 33 other leaders there, almost all of whom would be considered friendly to the United States under normal circumstances. He and his delegation failed to get even a minimally face-saving outcome at the collapsed trade talks and allowed a loudmouthed opportunist like the president of Venezuela to steal the show. It's amazing to remember that when Mr. Bush first ran for president, he bragged about his understanding of Latin America, his ability to speak Spanish and his friendship with Mexico. But he also made fun of Al Gore for believing that nation-building was a job for the United States military. The White House is in an uproar over the future of Karl Rove, the president's political adviser, and spinning off rumors that some top cabinet members may be asked to walk the plank. Mr. Bush could certainly afford to replace some of his top advisers. But the central problem is not Karl Rove or Treasury Secretary John Snow or even Donald Rumsfeld, the defense secretary. It is President Bush himself. Second terms may be difficult, but the chief executive still has the power to shape what happens. Ronald Reagan managed to turn his messy second term around and deliver - in great part through his own powers of leadership - a historic series of agreements with Mikhail Gorbachev that led to the peaceful dismantling of the Soviet empire. Mr. Bush has never demonstrated the capacity for such a comeback. Nevertheless, every American has a stake in hoping that he can surprise us. The place to begin is with Dick Cheney, the dark force behind many of the administration's most disastrous policies, like the Iraq invasion and the stubborn resistance to energy conservation. Right now, the vice president is devoting himself to beating back Congressional legislation that would prohibit the torture of prisoners. This is truly a remarkable set of priorities: his former chief aide was indicted, Mr. Cheney's back is against the wall, and he's declared war on the Geneva Conventions. Mr. Bush cannot fire Mr. Cheney, but he could do what other presidents have done to vice presidents: keep him too busy attending funerals and acting as the chairman of studies to do more harm. Mr. Bush would still have to turn his administration around, but it would at least send a signal to the nation and the world that he was in charge, and the next three years might not be as dreadful as they threaten to be right now.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Did I Leave?

Today on the tube to the city to buy pillows so the sofa doesn't look quite as frightening and sad, it really didn't feel like there was any lag time between my leaving in July and now. I now have a library card, an appointment for my National insurance Card and at the bank to open a checking account. I stopped by the Balham Leisure Center to get info on joining so I can get rid of my flabby bits. Tomorrow my 45 boxes and my Argos order arrives so I will be unpacking and building cheap furniture. I should make sure that there is beer in the house.

My new home

I keep pinching myself. There have been certain points where I have done the major life change, usually around going to school or breaking up with a long term boyfriend, but this one wins. Our street in Balham is row after row of Victorian homes that have been converted into flats. The tube is a three-minute walk away and Balham High Street has lots of great shops. There is an organic butcher around the corner, a little farmers market with fruit and veg stalls and the Sainsbury's is a proper grocery store and not one of the little convenience things that I had to use when I was in Central London last spring. Of course there is a Boots and at least four kebab shops that I have seen (there are probably more). It is a cute little area that walks the line between nice and dodgy quite well. I was all for living in Brixton but I can see that this area will be a little less stressful. There is a pub one minute away down the street and it is friendly with huge windows that look out on the street, although they play a lot of football and rugby, which would commend it for others. We were in there Saturday for the Wales/ New Zealand match and it was great how the entire room groaned and cheered. S took me to another pub down Balham high Street after I arrived for lunch that was really nice- huge Victorian rooms, sofas and they rent games for you to play. Friday late afternoon I took a nap and I woke up to the sound of people setting off fireworks early for Guy Fawkes night. I have my insomnia that I seem to get when I come this way across the pond. I go to bed all right but wake up at two- three in the morning. My stuff is being delivered Tuesday as well as some things I ordered from Argos. Love the Argos.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Feeling a wee bit teary

Last Night in LA at Tom Bergin's with the boys Feeling a bit teary. Wasn't expecting that. Things I will miss about LA. A good shower. I have been told that our shower in the flat is complete crap. S has taken to showering at work. I am looking forward to our trips just so I can have a decent bath and shower. Being in the center of the movie universe. I may have stopped wanting to be part of the industry a while ago but I like the info you hear just by being here. Plus good screens like they have at the ArcLight. Mexican Food. Walking out my door at 1 AM and getting the best Thai food outside of Thailand. Zankou Chicken. The garlic sauce at Zankou chicken especially. The beach. Okay I hardly ever go, but every time I go I think, I missed you beach! The weather. Grocery Store. I will miss Whole Foods. I will miss Trader Joe's. I will even miss Ralph's. You walk in and they have what you want. Not only do they have what you want, but also there are ten different variations of what you want. Ordering a simple drip coffee at a Starbucks and they understand me. (Every Starbucks in London it seems that the baristas don't speak English. When all you are ordering is a cup of coffee, it can be frustrating.) Good pizza. Yes, there is good pizza to be found here. my favorite is Village Pizza on Larchmont. Driving a bit too fast on the freeway with my music blasting, singing along. Walking in the morning and you catch a whiff of jasmine or some other flowery flower. Or walking at night in the fall and the air is crisp but not freezing and there is that fireplace burning wood smell. My friends. Things I will not miss about LA Being in the center of the movie universe with all the poser people that cling to it like cat hair on a cheap suit. Sunset Boulevard on a Saturday night. Trying to make a left hand turn. There are maybe five left hand turn signals in the entire city. In order to turn left when the light is green, you inch into the intersection and when it is clear you turn. Problem is it is usually not clear until the light turns yellow. At this point you need to use the force to determine if the cars coming toward you are going to try and push through the yellow light or stop. They are usually pushing through the yellow light leaving you to turn left when it is red and other cars are coming at you from the other direction. Smog. Panhandlers. Current governor of California I am sure I can think of more but I have a lot of last minute things I need to finish up. See you in Londinium!

Last Day in the USA

So this is it. Tomorrow I bust out of this popsicle stand and get on the jet plane. Surreal. I keep checking to make sure my passport is there.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Google requires user to enter 'minge'

For my American readers that do not know what the slang "minge" means, check out the British Slang dictionary on the right. . . Google requires user to enter 'minge'

Homeless

I am out of my apartment. When I moved in 1997, the rent was $467.00. One bedroom, three (huge) closets, enormous rooms and high ceilings. Was built in 1927 and it is still there, earthquakes and all. I never heard my neighbors unless I opened my windows and I heard some evil soul from the next building blasting Whitney or Britney. I didn't have my windows open very often. If you ever watch the classic 1944 film noir flick, Double Indemnity, directed and co-written by my hero Billy Wilder, you will see my apartment. The establishing shot of where Fred MacMurray drives into the driveway of his place is my building. My place is (was) 2nd floor stage left. Eight years later my rent is $584.00. If you live in an old building they only raise your rent a certain percentage each year. (Rent control but different.) Now, after they renovate my place they will charge $950.00. There is no way in hell that I would have lived in that neighborhood and paid $950.00 especially with no parking. I will miss that apartment. 27 when I moved in and 35 when I moved out. The people that I had visit, the dinner parties, all the room for all of my crap. I have always felt like I am a lucky person. Things have always worked out for me. That apartment was part of my luck. A friend had a friend that lived there. My credit was so bad I had to beg for the manager to give me the apartment. It worked. I have always been lucky, Finding Young across the Atlantic was part of my luck as well. I am a lucky, lucky girl. Always have been.