Friday, March 31, 2006

Bad Blogger Girl

I have been so busy this week. Along with being in training for work, we had a drink/dinner/work thing one evening and the rest of the week I had dinner and drinks with Stuart. (WHY? Why is it when I had no life and was a shut in the flat did I go no where for the most part???? WHAT THE HELL???? I'm really impressed with the company’s attempts to make this a global product. It really feels great. When I worked for Overture (Yahoo! Search Marketing) each country felt like a separate business unit. There were tools that we used in the US for years that they still haven't tweaked for UK use-- I can only imagine for the other markets. Anyway. . . Everyone seems very nice- they are trying to fatten us up like Hansel and Gretel with all the food and drink—but I think the Seattle trip will be a blast and that it all will be a lot of hard work as we go toward launch but well worth it. Good group of people that care about what they are doing. I have to say, I am so glad I didn't stay with Y! I'm very excited to be a part of this team. Okay. No more work boring shit. I promise to come up with NEW boring shit. Like: My cord for my powerbook started to fray, causing me to be afraid of fire, electrocution and the crisping of my computer. Like: My husband is (at this moment) in the pub with a French (male) Friend after I was promised an evening of watching silly things together on TV. (I could have gone to the pub, but I wasn’t in the mood.) Like: The new job welcoming people in Seattle are working to have our welcoming dinner at my favorite restaurants on the planet- Wild Ginger. . . Ahhhhhh Wild Ginger Seven Flavour Beef. . .

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

gig

I'm really impressed with the people at my new gig. Everyone is so friendly and my boss looked into sending me back from Seattle early so I could do my trip. (not possible- but what can you do) My brain is crispy from all of the training and there are weeks more left- but it is all good. . . I'm really excited to get going with it.

Monday, March 27, 2006

**DISAPOINTED!!!!!!!

So, good news with my job. They are sending us to Seattle for training in a couple of weeks. Very nifty. Lived in Seattle for a few years- have some old friends from when I lived there- also some new folks that I met through Stuart-- So this is a good thing. Bad news, we were going to go to Porto, Portugal over Easter weekend and the timing fucks it all the hell up. Oh well. First day at work? Good. I have a laptop with a little write on the screen thingy. Those of you that have worked in Internet land will appreciate the remarkable thing of having a working computer on your first day of work. The fact that it is a nifty peice of hardware is an extra. The day went by so fast-- Ah, to have days that go by fast again. . . FUCK- I wish I could go to Porto- the fuckers! **Lame "Fish Called Wanda" Reference.

One Year Later. . .

One year ago today I arrived at Heathrow slightly spacey with luggage stuffed to the gills for what I thought was a three-month tour on this island. Today I am off to my first day of work after six months. Slightly nervous. Worried that they will figure out that I am an idiot. The great thing is it is a new team so everyone will be new so there will be none of that new person walking into a bonded team thing. Been a strange year. . .

Thursday, March 23, 2006

I WANT AN OOMPA LOOMPA!

Barbara Bush plays with her son, George W. Easter 1948 It was recently reported that Conservative families breed at a higher rate than Liberal families. Another interesting article was published recently in the Toronto Star detailing the results of a twenty year study that found that confident children usually became liberal while the whiney complaining beasts you want to beat with a stick often become Conservative. Verrrrry Intervestink. . . How to spot a baby conservative KID POLITICS | Whiny children, claims a new study, tend to grow up rigid and traditional. Future liberals, on the other hand ... Mar. 19, 2006. 10:45 AM KURT KLEINER SPECIAL TO THE STAR Remember the whiny, insecure kid in nursery school, the one who always thought everyone was out to get him, and was always running to the teacher with complaints? Chances are he grew up to be a conservative. At least, he did if he was one of 95 kids from the Berkeley area that social scientists have been tracking for the last 20 years. The confident, resilient, self-reliant kids mostly grew up to be liberals. The study from the Journal of Research Into Personality isn't going to make the UC Berkeley professor who published it any friends on the right. Similar conclusions a few years ago from another academic saw him excoriated on right-wing blogs, and even led to a Congressional investigation into his research funding. But the new results are worth a look. In the 1960s Jack Block and his wife and fellow professor Jeanne Block (now deceased) began tracking more than 100 nursery school kids as part of a general study of personality. The kids' personalities were rated at the time by teachers and assistants who had known them for months. There's no reason to think political bias skewed the ratings — the investigators were not looking at political orientation back then. Even if they had been, it's unlikely that 3- and 4-year-olds would have had much idea about their political leanings. A few decades later, Block followed up with more surveys, looking again at personality, and this time at politics, too. The whiny kids tended to grow up conservative, and turned into rigid young adults who hewed closely to traditional gender roles and were uncomfortable with ambiguity. The confident kids turned out liberal and were still hanging loose, turning into bright, non-conforming adults with wide interests. The girls were still outgoing, but the young men tended to turn a little introspective. Block admits in his paper that liberal Berkeley is not representative of the whole country. But within his sample, he says, the results hold. He reasons that insecure kids look for the reassurance provided by tradition and authority, and find it in conservative politics. The more confident kids are eager to explore alternatives to the way things are, and find liberal politics more congenial. In a society that values self-confidence and out-goingness, it's a mostly flattering picture for liberals. It also runs contrary to the American stereotype of wimpy liberals and strong conservatives. Of course, if you're studying the psychology of politics, you shouldn't be surprised to get a political reaction. Similar work by John T. Jost of Stanford and colleagues in 2003 drew a political backlash. The researchers reviewed 44 years worth of studies into the psychology of conservatism, and concluded that people who are dogmatic, fearful, intolerant of ambiguity and uncertainty, and who crave order and structure are more likely to gravitate to conservatism. Critics branded it the "conservatives are crazy" study and accused the authors of a political bias. Jost welcomed the new study, saying it lends support to his conclusions. But Jeff Greenberg, a social psychologist at the University of Arizona who was critical of Jost's study, was less impressed. "I found it to be biased, shoddy work, poor science at best," he said of the Block study. He thinks insecure, defensive, rigid people can as easily gravitate to left-wing ideologies as right-wing ones. He suspects that in Communist China, those kinds of people would likely become fervid party members. The results do raise some obvious questions. Are nursery school teachers in the conservative heartland cursed with classes filled with little proto-conservative whiners? Or does an insecure little boy raised in Idaho or Alberta surrounded by conservatives turn instead to liberalism? Or do the whiny kids grow up conservative along with the majority of their more confident peers, while only the kids with poor impulse control turn liberal? Part of the answer is that personality is not the only factor that determines political leanings. For instance, there was a .27 correlation between being self-reliant in nursery school and being a liberal as an adult. Another way of saying it is that self-reliance predicts statistically about 7 per cent of the variance between kids who became liberal and those who became conservative. (If every self-reliant kid became a liberal and none became conservatives, it would predict 100 per cent of the variance). Seven per cent is fairly strong for social science, but it still leaves an awful lot of room for other influences, such as friends, family, education, personal experience and plain old intellect. For conservatives whose feelings are still hurt, there is a more flattering way for them to look at the results. Even if they really did tend to be insecure complainers as kids, they might simply have recognized that the world is a scary, unfair place. Their grown-up conclusion that the safest thing is to stick to tradition could well be the right one. As for their "rigidity," maybe that's just moral certainty. The grown-up liberal men, on the other hand, with their introspection and recognition of complexity in the world, could be seen as self-indulgent and ineffectual. Whether anyone's feelings are hurt or not, the work suggests that personality and emotions play a bigger role in our political leanings than we think. All of us, liberal or conservative, feel as though we've reached our political opinions by carefully weighing the evidence and exercising our best judgment. But it could be that all of that careful reasoning is just after-the-fact self-justification. What if personality forms our political outlook, with reason coming along behind, rationalizing after the fact? It could be that whom we vote for has less to do with our judgments about tax policy or free trade or health care, and more with the personalities we've been stuck with since we were kids. Kurt Kleiner is a Toronto-based freelance science writer.

Springtime in Balham

One of the great pleasures in getting to know someone is discovering what they enjoy. The little things that show that you know them. The little things that wind them up. . . There is an accordion player outside Sainsbury’s. I call Stuart. I hear the phone click as he answers it, but he doesn’t say hello. There is a long pause. “Thomas. Where are you?” “On our high street.” “There’s an accordion.” “Yes, I know.” “I hate accordions.” “Yes, I know.” I hold the phone out toward the music for a few moments then bring it back to my ear. Stuart isn’t amused. “I’m going to have you for that later.” “I was thinking of buying one. An accordion.” “Goodbye Thomas.” “Taking lessons.” “Goodbye Thomas.” “I could play ‘La vie en rose’ over and over and over. . .” “You’re a git.’ “I may sing with it too.” “Goodbye Thomas.” "In French." "Thomas. . ." “Quand il me prend dans ses bras. . .Il me parle tout bas. . .Je vois la vie en rose. .” ‘Remind me to beat you later.”

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

OINK!

I live with a bed hog. The worse kind. He is a bed hog that projects his hogginess onto me. We have a full bed. I had a queen size back in America that was all mine except for those relatively rare moments when it was shared with a boy. I have had a couple of boyfriends over the years with futons (why any man still has futon in his thirties is a subject for another post) and my joints still haven’t recovered. A couple of nights ago, I woke up to Stuart snorting with annoyance as he pushed my feet aside. I looked down and I was against the edge of the bed and he was sleeping, as he would say, star shaped diagonal corner to corner. I squeaked, "Stuart!" He looked down. "Oh. Right. Sorry." Another move he has (which is really sweet actually) is I wake up to him cuddled up to me holding me like a teddy bear. The problem is he is using my head as a pillow. In the morning before he leaves for work, he tucks the ends of the comforter around my feet and hands, strokes my hair and kisses my forehead, my nose. I stretch out invading the entire bed. As he shuts the door he mumbles, "Bed hog. . ."

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

guest book and last days of freedom (or jail)

I added a guest book to my little corner on the Web. It's just under my profile and above the paypal button. For those of you using IE on a PC - I know my links and everything are way down on the page. I'm not smart enough to figure out why. I'm waiting until my tax refund comes in and I can pay someone to figure it out for me. This is my last week of freedom before I have to go back to work and I will be so happy to get out of the house. Not working is great. Not working when you have no money and the weather is gray outside so that you become a pasty white doughy spotty shut-in is not so nice.

weird dreams

I need to stop eating chili pepper garlic squid late at night from the takeaway down the road. Or stop drinking. Or drink more. Or realize that coffee is not a food group and there is no nutritional need to drink a pot a day. Sometimes in my dreams I can fly. I have flown as long as I can remember, but it isn't easy graceful Superman flying. It takes some work to take off. I flail my arms trying to catch a puff of wind to pull me into air. Once I am up, I soar and occasionally need to bird flap to keep from crashing. Sometimes I lose the wind and I drift down. Sometimes people are grabbing my legs and yanking me out of trees while I twist madly trying to catch a breeze to get away. Sometimes in my dreams I am a character rather than me. Or, I am me but different. My friends Mike and Joe were waiting to go somewhere in a moving van and I asked for a ride to school. They were my friends but I wasn't me, I was this girl still in High School. Mike wasn't sure if he could give me a ride because he was waiting for someone to contact him for something that he had to do. (If you knew Mike, this is really funny.) I am waiting to see if I could have a ride rather than taking the bus. Then they were ready to go but suddenly I wasn't dressed. I had clothes on but they were all the wrong clothes, so I was running around looking for the right clothes so I could have a ride to school. Then I was a Muslim girl. I'm Muslim and I am looking for the right clothes to wear and nothing I have is right. Mike and Joe are getting angry because they want to go eat sushi. Meanwhile the part of me that is me, not the character of a Muslim schoolgirl knows that the character me is sick. I have some flu or something. I find the right clothes and I go to the bathroom but the urine doesn't go into the toilet. It splashes back all over the floor and on my clothes. Now I need to clean this up and find new clothes and I'm not feeling well because I have this flu thing that the character me doesn't know about but the real me watching does and I can’t find my clothes and I can’t find my keys and I can’t find my shoes. And then I passed out because I was sick with this flu thing. No more chili pepper garlic squid. Definitely. At least I didn’t wake up in the bathtub.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Back from Byzantium

I want to go back to Istanbul. There is so much that we didn’t get a chance to see, the people are very friendly, it is such a vibrant city, rich with history and culture.

And there were cats everywhere. . . Ginger Kitty Athens had dogs and Istanbul had cats. Are their cat and dog personalities for cities like there are cat and dog people?

We stayed in the old part of town and it seemed that down every street you would see another mosque. When it was time for the muezzin to do the Call to Prayer (Adhan) it would echo over the city, mixing with the voices of muezzins at other mosques. You can listen to a Call to Prayer here. It was really beautiful.

One translation of the Arabic I found is:

God is most great.
God is most great.
God is most great.
God is most great.
I testify that there is no god except God.
I testify that there is no god except God.
I testify that Muhammad is the messenger of God.
I testify that Muhammad is the messenger of God.
Come to prayer! Come to prayer!
Come to success (in this life and the Hereafter)!
Come to success!
God is most great.
God is most great.
There is no god except God.

I had done a bit of research before we went and what I read suggested that women cover their hair when they went into a mosque. At the Blue Mosque a number of other Western women did the same, but it was surprising how many that didn’t. The Blue Mosque (Sultanahmet) Built between 1609 and 1616, as the Sultan's answer to the Hagia Sofia, it is really magical inside. Inside The Blue Mosque (Sultanahmet) Inside The Blue Mosque (Sultanahmet) The Hagia Sofia (Ayasofya) is gorgeous. The Hagia Sophia (Ayasofya) Built over the ruins of two older churches in 537 by Justinian the Great it was the largest place of worship in Christendom until the completion of St. Peter's in Rome one thousand years later. After the Turkish conquest of Constantinople in 1453, it was turned into a mosque with minarets, tombs, and fountains added. Inside the Hagia Sophia (Ayasofya) A substantial amount of the original Christian theme was left undistuburbed- including some of the most elaborate and best-preserved Byzantine mosaics still in existence. Mosaic in the Hagia Sophia (Ayasofya) I was really impressed with the Archeological museum. They had a number of beautiful pieces. IMG_0058.JPG IMG_0054.JPG But the best part of the museum was the school kids. There were some (I am guessing) eight or nine year olds there on a field trip. I was trying to walk into a building just as a gaggle was walking out. I stood aside for them to leave and they looked up at me as they walked by smiled and said “Hello! Hi! Hello! Hello! Hi!”Fifty beautiful brown-eyed baby monsters. (Oh! My ovaries!)

The Palace Cistern (Yerebatan Saray) was a big surprise how much we enjoyed it. Inside the Palace Cistern (Yerebatan Saray) It was marvelously Phantom of the Opera-esc. It was built in 532 by Constantine the Great and was enlarged by Justinian in the 6th century. Largely neglected after the fall of the Byzantine Empire in 1453 the Yerebatan Cistern was basically became a muddy subterranean ruin until it was cleaned up and opened up in 1987.

I want to go back and go into more mosques and see more of the city and go to some nice restaurants. We found a couple of okay places but I didn’t get to try any fish really. It’s going to be a while before I get a kebab from the man around the corner from our tube stop.

I want to go back to Istanbul. I am also happy to be back home.

You need a thick skin to just walk down the street. The shopkeepers take Mamet’s famous line from Glengarry Glen Ross, “A-B-C. A-Always, B-Be, C-Closing. Always be closing, always be closing.” To an entirely new level. If you even glance at a shop you are asking to be accosted. One gentleman called out to us from across the street and then crossed over to get us to go into his restaurant/bar. It must be said that this approach did work because we went there the next day. After a while it is a bit exhausting. You might just want to read the menu of a restaurant when they pounce on you with a mixture of English, French, Spanish or Italian phrases. When we were walking along the Grand Bazaar they mainly called out in English while it was French at the Misir Carsisi.

When I bought spices at the Misir Carsisi, I was pressured me into getting more than I wanted. But that is part of the game. . . And it was a good deal. I spent thirty pounds on saffron, two kinds of tea, black and white pepper, vanilla beans, chills, mint and a pepper grinder. It would have cost much more in London.

At least the cabbies were honest - unlike Athens. (There should be a special corner in hell for the crooked cab drivers in Athens.)

We were nearly robbed when we were walking along the water. We were taking pictures of ourselves when a car driving by stopped, backed up and the passenger rolled down the window and called out to us. The driver kept both his hands on the wheel and stared straight ahead. We walked closer to the car but stayed three, four feet away. There was a barrier, a knee level wall between the walkway and the road.

The passenger said that he said he was with the police and Stuart said that he flashed a badge but I didn’t see it. He opened his door but stayed sitting in the car.

He asked if we had been smoking pot (we weren’t) where we were staying, pointed at me and asked Stuart if I was his wife.

I started to have visions of Midnight Express.

He then asked for our passports and I immediately knew that he wasn’t a cop and that he was trying to rob us. Of course we didn’t have our passports on us and even if we had we would have lied and said that we didn’t.

He tried to get Stuart to step over the barrier. Stuart looked at it and considered it for a moment.

I was screaming “No!” inside my head. It took everything in me to not tell these guys to go fuck themselves - which would not have been the right approach.

The guy gestured again for Stuart to come over by the car and Stuart said, “No, I don’t think I will.”

He kept at us, asking Stuart to unzip his jacket – I guess to see if he had a weapon. Kept asking us questions. Stuart said, “Tell you what. There’s a Police Station around the corner. (There wasn’t.) I’ll meet you there.”

Those were the magic words. He slammed the door of the car shut and speed away. I considered taking a picture, but I was worried that they would come back and that they had a gun.

I guess it isn’t a trip to Turkey without nearly being robbed or sold into white slavery. . .

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Not Constantinople

Baklava, round, honey-soaked pastries topped with green pistachios (Photographer: Greg Elms) © Lonely Planet Images Stuart thought it would be fun if we did a little trip before I start work in a few weeks so tomorrow we are off to Istanbul for a few days. A few weeks ago, I suddenly realized we hadn't looked into the visa requirements. Momentary panic- but after a quick bit of research we found you can get a visa at the border for ten quid. At least I hope it is only ten pounds. I am slightly worried that there might be a backlash extra special American price considering the wankedy wank-wank-wank-wank-wank-wank-wankness of the Bushies foreign policy. I'm certain it will be fine. I'm just being silly. I'm so excited to be in a city that was ancient when Christ was alive. I'm excited about the Grand Bazaar, the spice market and of course the book market. . . not to mention the Haghia Sofia and the Blue Mosque. And the food. I get giddy when I think about the food. One of the reasons why I love food is not just that I enjoy eating, (which the size of my ass can attest) but I love the story that food tells. There is a history found in how a dish is prepared. Can you imagine how great the food history is in a melting pot like Istanbul? Stuart could care less about food. He would happily wash a pill down every day with a Fosters for his nutrition needs if he could. I'm hoping he doesn't drag me into a Turkish McDonalds. When I return, there will pictures and an update on our visit to the oldest still existing city in the world!

Monday, March 13, 2006

The Holy Grail

Stuart is a bag whore who will happily spend hours digging around in a luggage shop. Me, I look around maybe for fifteen minutes and I can immediately see what I would buy if I had money and if I do have money I am buying it. Stuart needs at least another hour. Even if he sees what he wants, he doesn't buy it. No. He needs to think about it. I now know how men who are dragged off to shopping while their wife, girlfriend, daughter leaves them with their pocketbook feel. Time stops. The illusive object that Stuart has been hunting is the bag Johnny Depp carries in The Ninth Gate. Personally I think that if Anthony Powell (the costume designer) handed Stuart the exact bag Johnny uses in the film, Stuart would still find fault with it. Over the last year I have seen him buy and then sell at least four bags that I thought were really lovely. I told him that the bag in his head has become the essence of bag and that he will never find it- sort of like Plato's theory of forms. When I told him this, he rolled his eyes. "Shut it Thomas." When he goes on one of his shopping benders I have learned to just walk away. There are other things that I can look at. Important things. Like finding the perfect tube of red lipstick. 1950's red. I know it is out there. Someday it will be mine. . .

Saturday, March 11, 2006

My home planet



What Planet Are You From?
this quiz was made by The Autist Formerly Known As Tim

Friday, March 10, 2006

The Conservative Epiphany

March 10, 2006 Op-Ed Columnist The Conservative Epiphany By PAUL KRUGMAN Bruce Bartlett, the author of "Impostor: How George W. Bush Bankrupted America and Betrayed the Reagan Legacy," is an angry man. At a recent book forum at the Cato Institute, he declared that the Bush administration is "unconscionable," "irresponsible," "vindictive" and "inept." It's no wonder, then, that one commentator wrote of Mr. Bartlett that "if he were a cartoon character, he would probably look like Donald Duck during one of his famous tirades, with steam pouring out of his ears." Oh, wait. That's not what somebody wrote about Mr. Bartlett. It's what Mr. Bartlett wrote about me in September 2003, when I was saying pretty much what he's saying now. Human nature being what it is, I don't expect Mr. Bartlett to acknowledge his about-face. Nor do I expect any expressions of remorse from Andrew Sullivan, the conservative Time.com blogger who also spoke at the Cato forum. Mr. Sullivan used to specialize in denouncing the patriotism and character of anyone who dared to criticize President Bush, whom he lionized. Now he himself has become a critic, not just of Mr. Bush's policies, but of his personal qualities, too. Never mind; better late than never. We should welcome the recent epiphanies by conservative commentators who have finally realized that the Bush administration isn't trustworthy. But we should guard against a conventional wisdom that seems to be taking hold in some quarters, which says there's something praiseworthy about having initially been taken in by Mr. Bush's deceptions, even though the administration's mendacity was obvious from the beginning. According to this view, if you're a former Bush supporter who now says, as Mr. Bartlett did at the Cato event, that "the administration lies about budget numbers," you're a brave truth-teller. But if you've been saying that since the early days of the Bush administration, you were unpleasantly shrill. Similarly, if you're a former worshipful admirer of George W. Bush who now says, as Mr. Sullivan did at Cato, that "the people in this administration have no principles," you're taking a courageous stand. If you said the same thing back when Mr. Bush had an 80 percent approval rating, you were blinded by Bush-hatred. And if you're a former hawk who now concedes that the administration exaggerated the threat from Iraq, you're to be applauded for your open-mindedness. But if you warned three years ago that the administration was hyping the case for war, you were a conspiracy theorist. The truth is that everything the new wave of Bush critics has to say was obvious long ago to any commentator who was willing to look at the facts. Mr. Bartlett's book is mainly a critique of the Bush administration's fiscal policy. Well, the administration's pattern of fiscal dishonesty and irresponsibility was clear right from the start to anyone who understands budget arithmetic. The chicanery that took place during the selling of the 2001 tax cut — obviously fraudulent budget projections, transparently deceptive advertising about who would benefit and the use of blatant accounting gimmicks to conceal the plan's true cost — was as bad as anything that followed. The false selling of the Iraq war was almost as easy to spot. All the supposed evidence for an Iraqi nuclear program was discredited before the war — and it was the threat of nukes, not lesser W.M.D., that stampeded Congress into authorizing Mr. Bush to go to war. The administration's nonsensical but insistent rhetorical linkage of Iraq and 9/11 was also a dead giveaway that we were being railroaded into an unnecessary war. The point is that pundits who failed to notice the administration's mendacity a long time ago either weren't doing their homework, or deliberately turned a blind eye to the evidence. But as I said, better late than never. Born-again Bush-bashers like Mr. Bartlett and Mr. Sullivan, however churlish, are intellectually and morally superior to the Bushist dead-enders who still insist that Saddam was allied with Al Qaeda, and will soon be claiming that we lost the war in Iraq because the liberal media stabbed the troops in the back. And reporters understandably consider it newsworthy that some conservative voices are now echoing longstanding liberal critiques of the Bush administration. It's still fair, however, to ask people like Mr. Bartlett the obvious question: What took you so long?

I can stop anytime I want

I am not a reality show person. When other people discuss what happened the night before on Big Brother or American Idol or The Apprentice I would think "Pshaw! I am better than you. I don't care about such silly things." Well, I never thought pshaw because that would be downright strange to use in a modern vernacular. And sometimes I did watch these shows because I happened to be home and they happened to be on- but I never sought them out. That has now changed. There are two reality shows that I have now searched out Masterchief and House of Tiny Tearaways. They are both Brit shows my friends in America or in other corners of the world so you cannot also be sucked into my vortex of shame. Masterchief takes four amateur chiefs, puts them through three tasks and at the end of the show three of them are voted off the island and the next person goes on to the semifinals and the finals. In the regular show the chiefs walk in to a box of random food and they have to make a nice two-course meal out of it in an hour. The second they all go to a nice restaurant during lunch, create their own dish based on the character of the restaurant and make it as it is ordered. The third task they make their own two-course meal. We’re in the semi-finals now so they are doing all sorts of crazy tasks like cook for 80 Marines in the artic circle in sub zero conditions. Oh the pressure! Oh the lovely food! I don't know how they manage to make these wonderful meals when they have no Mise en place- Cutting up their veg and preparing everything is part of the hour. House of Tiny Teraways is a clinical psychologist bringing three families into a house with more cameras than a London street and coaches them to turn their children around from being shrieking monsters to good little boys and girls. What I love about this show is every time the parents walk in saying my child needs to be fixed when what needs to be changed is the parent’s behavior and that the child is reacting to what the parent is doing. Odd show for someone who has no intention for having any children to watch I know, but I find it really fascinating, But I must go. Masterchief will be on soon. . . (I promise dear reader that when my job starts (when I get a life) I will be much more interesting and less shallow. Okay, maybe I won't be less shallow but I will try for the interesting.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Lost Days

I just had to check to see what day it is. I seriously could not remember if it was Thursday or Friday. Having all the free time in the world but no money to do anything. . . I should be writing but I can't bring myself to do much more than surf the Web and sit for hours in the bathtub reading books. And eating. I have been eating all sorts of crap. Stuart's parents brought over these yummy store bought mini apple bramley pie tart cake thingies. They are dangerous. I am getting fat. One of my favorite new time wasters is Ah, Yes Medical School. He’s a third year medical school student with a biting wit and a few posts that made me cry. Of course that may entirely be due to my current sleep deprivation.

Insomnia

I had another night of not going to bed until after 5 AM and finding myself awake at 8:30 AM. By my fuzzy math calulation, I have had 24 hours of sleep since Sunday. If I have another evening of this, I will be seeing spiders crawling the walls. Wait. There's one now.

So Angry

After talking to my mom, I decided to pull this post until things are more sorted. I've deleleted the comments that detailed specific names and the situation. Sorry about that. Thank you for your concern.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Blog Against Sexism

Today is International Women’s Day and Vegankid is hosting a . I never really thought or felt sexism until I was older. One of the jokes I have about my Mom is if I had told her wanted be a prostitute she would have said, "Well, you go out there and you become the best crack whore that you can be." I always just assumed that I would do my own thing and if it were good enough, it would kick anyone’s ass. And, frankly. . . I did. Wait. I have. Wait. I do. I kick ass. The only time I have stumbled has been due to my own insecurity. No, I haven't won a Pulitzer or an Oscar or a VP position, but I've done okay in the last 35 years. I’ve had moments of male sexism that I have had to deal with like any one does but half the time it just makes me laugh. There were little moments when I was young. In high school a male friend said, (referring to the size of my breasts) “Someday you are going to make your husband very happy.” While, yes, okay the size of my knockers does make my husband happy, it was I now know, not the most appropriate thing to hear. I’ve been propositioned on the street and on public transportation, which has been excellent fodder for anecdotes at parties. One of the few times sexism has truly shocked me was when I was 23. My father had left my mother a few months before and I was meeting him for dinner at the TGIF in Las Vegas on Tropicana Ave. He was wearing a black silk shirt and these terribly garish wild print MC Hammer pants. He can be forgiven for this fashion disaster even in circa 1993 because he was going through his mid-life drama. Forgiven, but my sisters and I, evil bitches that we are, mocked him unmercifully behind his back. Somewhere in the conversation that evening, he said something along the lines of, "A man just wants his woman to shut the fuck up and support him." This is a paraphrase. I suspect what he actually said was worse, but I honestly don't remember. I also can't remember exactly what sparked his comment. I might have been saying something that pissed him off because he knew I was running circles around him. I suspect I was playing with him on purpose. Okay. Fine. I am certain of it. I may even have been smoking a cigarette and subtextually flaunting that he couldn't do anything to stop me. All I do remember is that he had tried to one up me in a number of conversations for a few years at that point. We'd gotten into one stupid conversation where he had confused Ben Jonson (No. Not the sprinter. Thank you for playing.) with Jonathan Swift and kept arguing with me when I knew he was terribly wrong. (Yes, I was an English Major and smug and obnoxious with my new found ability to kick my parents around the block when it came to any subject. I needed to be beaten.) I think he knew the moment that my sisters and I realized that he was a sham. The moment that we saw the man behind the curtain and that pissed him off. The moment that he wasn’t a Daddy-God but just a man. He didn't know that we would have been happy with him just being a man. Wasn't smart enough to know how to be just himself. I haven't spoken to my father in over twelve years. I started avoiding him at first because of the comments he made during that terrible dinner and it made me uncomfortable how hard he was trying to be "cool". It was like he was Dudley Moore in Foul Play. We slipped apart and after a stupid argument where I can't remember who hung up on who (although I think it was me), we haven't spoken since. -Yes, these are cliff notes, but it isn't important enough to be to air all of the dirty laundry. The writer in me feels sorry for him. He was angry. He was leaving a bad marriage. His daughters didn't enable him any longer. His rejection is understandable. The daughter in me used to be very angry that I had so little value. That he could so easily say, fuck her. I have gotten over it. I could pretend that I haven't and write something Steven Spielbergish that pulls your heartstrings. Cue violins and all that shit, but I am over it and that would be lame. It must be said that my sisters haven't gotten over his rejection. After he and I had my falling out he eventually fell out with both of them and recently they have each reached out to him, only to be rejected again. While both of my sisters are certifiable, I felt terrible that they experienced this additional abandonment. Were they brave, weak or stupid for reaching out? I haven’t contacted him. Does that make me brave, weak or stupid? For me, I decided a long time ago that just because someone raised me and provided my genetic makeup doesn't mean they get to be a part of my life if they are a class A ass-wipe. My father was the son of career navy man who was an even longer career alcoholic. He was the son of a woman who made you feel social status, how well you played gin and how small your ass was offered more value to the community than your character. I don't believe that this is how my Nana honestly feels, but often it appears that way. He chose to not to pull himself out of that vortex. What does this have to do with sexism? This is all a long way to say that I think a lot of misogynism steams from men that are so wildly insecure that they lash out. They are angry. Women are an easy target. So easy, that a father will cut his own daughters to pieces if it makes him feel better. I am lucky that I am with a man that values my intelligence and doesn't need him to enable him-- he just needs my love, which I am happy to provide. Well, it's not that I am lucky. There is just no way in HELL I would be with a man that thought my XX status would be open season for attacking my character and intelligence. My mother has been married to a wonderful man, my stepfather Gary for ten years now- or is it eleven? I've lost count. He loves her and has put up with more drama from my crazy family than anyone ought to be subjected. He spent hours and hours and thousands of dollars preparing his house for Stuart and I for our wedding and was so pleased to be part of our celebration. He is more my father than my real father ever was. It used to upset Stuart that I called Gary my stepfather rather than my father until he realized that the word "father" to me means asshole. My father is now remarried and I hope that he is happy. I am also pleased that he is out of my life. Mary Wollstonecraft wrote "A Vindication of the Rights of Women" in 1792. It depresses me beyond words that there is a need for a "Blog Against Sexism" over three hundred years later. We have come a long way baby. But we've got a long way more. I don't know what the answer is. I suspect it has something to do with every little girl knowing that she could kick anyone’s ass. If she wanted to.

Rain

It happened when I lived in Seattle too. I got cocky today. Somehow my umbrella found its way out of my bag and even though it has been raining off and on for days, I didn’t take the time to look for it. It started out as a mist. Even if I had my umbrella with me, I wouldn’t have pulled it out. But an hour later it was a steady down pour. My wool scarf, jacket and hair were soon sopping. But I didn’t care. The rain was warm (as warm as it can be at 50 F) and it tasted like spring.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Live-action Simpsons Opener

Bloody brilliant. They even give the actor playing Homer plumber butt as he runs through the garage.

Best Picture?

I didn't see Crash. I was going to when I came back to America in July even though the reviews were tepid because I was curious about how they handled the subject matter and I am a sucker for ensemble flicks with lots of actors I like. Then my friend Darren and his boyfriend went on a rant telling me how bad it was, so I spent my $14.00 somewhere else. Why did the Academy go with Crash? The producers sent out a crazy number of screeners to members and sometimes (often) people confuse the importance of the subject matter with a good story. I'm sure I'll catch Crash someday on cable. I admire the filmmakers for making the film. Brian at Faggoty Ass Faggot said it best in his post regarding Crash vs BBM: "There's still hope for Brokebreakin' 2: Electric Boogaloo Somewhere this morning, Ann Coulter and her orgy of sycophants are orgasming in glee that Hollywood turned back that faggot cowboy movie from winning Best Picture honors last night. Equally as shrill are gay bloggers everywhere shrieking about deep-seated homophobia in the film industry torpedoing Brokeback Mountain's rightful place as the top movie. Me? I'm a'ight with the world today. If you're not going to give the Oscar to the ground-breaking fag flick, why not award the film that tries to start a dialogue about race in America? Clearly, though, Crash was not the best picture this year. When I walked out of the theater last summer, its message left me broken. Even flawless Tinseltown beauties living perfect tanned and toned lives can't overcome their own racism? I was defeated by the overwhelming helplessness of race relations in this country. After the heartbreaking Brokeback, though, I was determined. Determined to write something equally as beautiful someday. Determined to work so that no one would ever feel such fear that they could not find and accept love. Determined that I would never pass up the opportunity to grab happiness when I stumbled upon it. Now that's my picture of the year." Hear, hear! Let us all be determined to never pass up happiness when we stumble upon it.

Fox Bark

Screaming. I wake up. Heart in my throat. I wake up and I can hear a woman screaming outside in the night. I’m alone. Stuart is away on business and Jennifer has a sleep in shift. What do I do? A woman is screaming and I am alone. Wait. As I wake up, I realize what it is. It’s a fox. In Tucson in the early morning I would often wake up with my heart thumping at dawn to the sound of rabbit screams as they were being killed by coyotes. I had been told that fox barking could sound like screams but this was the first time I’ve heard it. (If you have Real Player you can listen to a red fox barking here) So far, I’ve only seen one fox here in London. I was walking home at night and we saw each other at the same time. He was larger than I expected. We both froze, and then he glided into the front garden of the house we were standing in front of and disappeared. It felt like I imagined him. There is something magical about seeing a wild animal in an urban setting. It also is rather sad. My apartment in Los Angeles was walking distance from Griffith Park Deer would sometimes wander down to the parking lot at the AFI, and you would often see coyotes skulking around the Hollywood streets. One night, I noticed what I thought was a new cat hanging out outside one of the apartment buildings on my street. There were always three or four that lounged around the front door. When I got closer I realized that it was a skunk that was hanging out with the kitties. Walk away. Just walk away. On the list of bad things that can happen to you, getting sprayed by a skunk comes just after getting cut up into tiny little pieces by a serial killer. My friend Nanci’s cat was sprayed and her house reeked for weeks. If you even drive by an area where a skunk has sprayed the smell will waft into your car. When you go hiking in Los Angeles (yes, there is lots of hiking in Los Angeles) there are signs warning you about mountain lions. Attacks are rare, but have been known to happen. Back to foxes. . . There was a lot of hoopla about the banning of fox hunting in this country. I’m all for it. It isn’t as if you eat the fox. There doesn’t seem to be any point in it. The population is self-regulating depending upon the availability of food. While I must admit when I walk outside and I see that a fox has ripped into one of our trash bags, I do curse them for a moment, I think hunting them is wrong. At his flat in Brixton, Stuart used to have a fox that would hang out and sleep on the front step. This last September when he was walking home one night, he saw three foxes together-- which was really unusual since they are so solitary. He got the bright idea to chase them away. One ran down the street, one bounced straight up into the air over the wall into a front garden and the third got pissed and rushed him. I’m guessing she must have been a vixen and the other two had been her babies. I told Stuart my theory. “Well Thomas. When it’s dark and it’s chasing you down the street, you don’t really think about that .” It never fails to make me giggle. . . imaging Stuart running down a dark London street lined with Victorian houses, waving his arms in the air like Kermit The Frog, a red fox hot on his heals.

Monday, March 06, 2006

My little brain

I still haven't memorized my mobile or our landline. Every time I need to give someone my number, I look at a copy of my CV. I'm not sure why I haven't sat down and memorized my info. There are four year olds that can memorize their phone number. I finally got all my bank stuff sorted and have a ATM Visa and a Barclay Visa card that each have their own four digit pin code that you need to know when you use the card. There is a special membership number that you need to punch in along with your password and you need to detail random letters from a secret word to view the account information online. There isn't enough room in my brain for more numbers.

Drunk and Blogging

I must remember to not drink and blog. Stayed up until five like an idiot then woke up at 9 and I can't fall back asleep even though I am exhausted. . . All just to find out who won the Oscars. I need to join a support group.

awesome

bullshit interview. Idiot ass reporter interviewing Altman- makes a comment about Altman "inventening" intercuting dialogue in Mash. ????????????? Altman says, (major paraphrase) "Did you ever watch Howard Hawks? He did it first." Fucking AWESOME! If you don't know Howard Hawks, go rent one of his flicks NOW. Blows my mind the idiots that ask questions about film that don't know their bloody history. Saw Altman at the AFI for a screening. What a gentleman. Was so impressed with him. God, I hope The Prarie Home Companion Movie is good. Please. please, please be good. Please?

?

This most recent rant is regarding Best song and the award going to "Hard Out Here for a Pimp' The song sucks. IT SUCKS ASS. BIG FAT HAIRY ASS.

!!!

The online telecast went from The Oscars to the backstage masturbation interviews. Ach.

Three down

First Three Awards- and I have picked right. I enjoy being right- money is on the line. Crossing my fingers for the rest of the evening, Listening to the Oscars, rather than watching is interesting. No clothes to admire or mock- and my computer keeps kicking on me. I can't help it. I know these awards are silly- but I love them. And my 1st boyfriend now has an oscar. Go George! If I may say so sir, you kick ass. I love you- and it is not just because you have a pet pig.

oscars

Okay- I can't see it but I can hear it on oscar.com. I'll live with that. I love you Jon. . .

the dinner party

It went well over all. I did, just seconds after tasting the gravy and proclaiming it to be orgasmicaly good, manage to spill it all over my left hand and arm. For a moment my arm went bright pink I was worried I would be making my first visit to a UK hospital, but no blisters--- so all is well. I was more upset my tasty gravy ended up waxing our floor. One of my good crystal glasses that I shipped from America managed to get broken, but that is life. Things break. It made Stuart's "Take of your shoes off in the house rule" look really silly when we were afraid of stepping on glass. It's funny how good crystal (it was good too. If I think about how expensive the glass was, I want to cry. Christmas present from my mom. Sorry Mom) It is funny how good crystal shatters like crazy but cheap glass is easy to clean. I think dinner was good. I've never made a meal for so many people and it was beyond nerve racking. I think the big ass chicken kicked ass. I will post the recipe I used tomorrow. Now- I want to watch the pre show and then the Oscars but it turns out it is only for a channel you have to pay for. For weeks I have been asking people, can you watch the Oscars here and they have been telling me yes. Grrrr. I know it is stupid, but I love watching the Oscars. I have never felt further from Los Angeles than tonight. WHATEVER. I'll get over it Heather* I am going to try and get what I can online and I will watch Mr. Stuart (my 2nd boyfriend after Mr. Clooney) later. It still pisses me off. This is my superbowl Sunday. Blah. *Reference to the cult classic 80's flick Heathers.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

My oscar pics. . .

Leading Actor- Phillip Seymour Hoffman Supporting Actor- George Clooney Leading Actress- Felicity Huffman Supporting Actress- Rachel Weisz Animated Feature- Wallace & Gromit Curse of the Were Rabbit Art Direction- Good Night and Good Luck Cinematography- Brokeback Mountain Costume Design- Memoirs of a Geisha Directing- Brokeback Mountain Documentary Feature- Murderball Documentary Short- God Sleeps in Rwanda Film Editing- Crash Foreign Language Film- Paradise Now Makeup- The Chronicles of Narnia Original Score- Munich Original Song- Travelin' Thru- Transamerica Best Picture- Brokeback Mountain Short Film Animated- Badgered Short Fim Live Action- Ausreisser Sound Editing- King Kong Sound Mixing- King Kong Visual Effects- King Kong Adapted Screenplay- Brokeback Mountain Original Screenplay- Syriana

Friday, March 03, 2006

Homeland Security is Watching You

Be careful about paying off your credit card debt. They might think you are a terrorist. Pay too much and you could raise the alarm By BOB KERR The Providence Journal 28-FEB-06 PROVIDENCE, R.I. -- Walter Soehnge is a retired Texas schoolteacher who traveled north with his wife, Deana, saw summer change to fall in Rhode Island and decided this was a place to stay for a while. So the Soehnges live in Scituate now and Walter sometimes has breakfast at the Gentleman Farmer in Scituate Village, where he has passed the test and become a regular despite an accent that is definitely not local. And it was there, at his usual table last week, that he told me that he was "madder than a panther with kerosene on his tail." He says things like that. Texas does leave its mark on a man. What got him so upset might seem trivial to some people who have learned to accept small infringements on their freedom as just part of the way things are in this age of terror-fed paranoia. It's that "everything changed after 9/11" thing. But not Walter. "We're a product of the '60s," he said. "We believe government should be way away from us in that regard." He was referring to the recent decision by him and his wife to be responsible, to do the kind of thing that just about anyone would say makes good, solid financial sense. They paid down some debt. The balance on their JCPenney Platinum MasterCard had gotten to an unhealthy level. So they sent in a large payment, a check for $6,522. And an alarm went off. A red flag went up. The Soehnges' behavior was found questionable. And all they did was pay down their debt. They didn't call a suspected terrorist on their cell phone. They didn't try to sneak a machine gun through customs. They just paid a hefty chunk of their credit card balance. And they learned how frighteningly wide the net of suspicion has been cast. After sending in the check, they checked online to see if their account had been duly credited. They learned that the check had arrived, but the amount available for credit on their account hadn't changed. So Deana Soehnge called the credit-card company. Then Walter called. "When you mess with my money, I want to know why," he said. They both learned the same astounding piece of information about the little things that can set the threat sensors to beeping and blinking. They were told, as they moved up the managerial ladder at the call center, that the amount they had sent in was much larger than their normal monthly payment. And if the increase hits a certain percentage higher than that normal payment, Homeland Security has to be notified. And the money doesn't move until the threat alert is lifted. Walter called television stations, the American Civil Liberties Union and me. And he went on the Internet to see what he could learn. He learned about changes in something called the Bank Privacy Act. "The more I'm on, the scarier it gets," he said. "It's scary how easily someone in Homeland Security can get permission to spy." Eventually, his and his wife's money was freed up. The Soehnges were apparently found not to be promoting global terrorism under the guise of paying a credit-card bill. They never did learn how a large credit card payment can pose a security threat. But the experience has been a reminder that a small piece of privacy has been surrendered. Walter Soehnge, who says he holds solid, middle-of-the-road American beliefs, worries about rights being lost. "If it can happen to me, it can happen to others," he said. (Bob Kerr is a columnist for The Providence Journal. E-mail bkerr@projo.com.) (Distributed by Scripps Howard News Service, www.shns.com.)

Dingo Snack

I know it is a long way to go for a joke, but it almost makes me want to have a baby just so I can put them in this shirt.

Caught on Tape

An excellent column by Dan Froomkin at the Washington Post. You need to register to read it, but it is free. Thanks to Joe for forwarding it on. It discusses the Katrina briefing, how after 9/11 rather than call the Pentagon, Bush (1. sat and blinked for a few minutes and then (2. Worked on a statement for the press. His trip to India being such a wham bam thank you ma'am resulting in his offending the Indian Prime Minister and a number of officials. Bush, The Idiot in Chief said, 'If I were the scheduler, maybe I'd do things differently,' to a group of Indian journalists last week. He tried to put the blame on the White House Scheduler?????? (Excuuuuuuuse Me. You're the PRESIDENT. You tell the Scheduler what to do nimrod. If you are going to LIE, be a better LIER!) From Froomkin's article: It's something that has puzzled the locals, at a time when Bush hopes to deepen economic and political ties with the world's largest democracy. It also frustrates his own aides, who have repeatedly pushed the president to spend time on the softer, cultural side of his foreign travel. According to those aides, it is the president -- not his scheduler -- who cannot be convinced to carve out time to respect the local culture." Big Fucking Surprise. But he sure has plenty of time to be on vacation in Texas and look like he is a man by moving brush around. The Man has zero curiosity, which to me is one of the biggest sins a person can commit. (Oh yeah, that and cooking evidence to go to war so you can Nation build.) I disagreed with his father on a lot of things, but I never would have said that he was not a curious person. Froomkin cites a story that "former Clinton adviser Sidney Blumenthal writes in Salon, with a tale ostensibly from within the White House. "[A] Republican wise man, a prominent lawyer in Washington who had served in the Reagan White House, sought no appointments or favors and was thought to be unthreatening to Bush, gained an audience with him. In a gentle tone, he explained that many presidents had difficult second terms, but that by adapting their approaches they ended successfully, as President Reagan had. Bush instantly replied with a vehement blast. He would not change. He would stay the course. He would not follow the polls. The Republican wise man tried again. Oh, no, he didn't mean anything about polls. But Bush fortified his wall of self-defensiveness and let fly with another heated riposte that he would not change." Maybe he can explain all of this in a Press Conference? Oh. . . yeah. Forgot. He has the least number of Press Conferences than any modern President. The odds of him of doing one soon are right up there with his doing the right thing for the country and the world community. George W Bush. . . You are such a wanker!

Thursday, March 02, 2006

"I don't think anybody anticipated the breach of the levees."

I know Bush is a liar. And not just your basic, "I did not have sex with that woman" liar. I didn't need to see the videoof the briefing just released by the proving that Bush knew how bad was going to be to know that he was a liar. When will the people that glean their "news" from Fox get it? When will they get that this is not a high-school football game? You don't keep rooting for your side if your side has caused the death of thousands (THOUSANDS! And Thousands more will die. There is no escaping it) When they have turned a surplice into a deficit that would make Regan blush. When they have alienated every other country against America. When they refuse to do anything about the environment but pretend that they are. . . I could go on. I could cry. You don’t keep rooting for your Team when the very fundamentals that make America great are being dismantled in the name of patriotism. With all the hard evidence stacking up against the Bush Administration, when will something happen? When can I say I am from America and be proud of that? When will the Fox “news” people recognize the Bushies for what they are? That they could watch dead bodies bloated from drowning left to rot on the street while they stay on vacation or buy a pair of Manolo Blanicks. That for them we are nothing but lab rats in their grand experiment. Go ahead little rat. Press the button. Get the food pellet. What will the world look like in twenty years in the wake of this ineptitude? At the Concert for Hurricane Relief said, "George Bush doesn't care about black people." I think he’s wrong. George Bush doesn’t care about Americans.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Roast Big-Ass Chicken Dinner

We are having our first dinner party this Sunday. It all happened by accident. I was in Sainsbury’s and they had a big-ass chicken and it was only 5 quid. I thought, hey, big-ass cheap chicken! (It's enormous. 2.5 kg or 5.5 lbs) So since Stuart doesn't eat. . . big-ass chicken means dinner. Lunches for a week. Stock from the bones if I decide to go crazy. I told Stuart my plans to roast the chicken Sunday in the off chance he had plans to eat that day and it morphed into our having his folks and some of our friends over for a early dinner Sunday afternoon. I love having dinner parties, so I am excited about the idea. Although, I am slightly worried because the chicken is so large, calculating the when to put it in the oven time has me slightly concerned. When I am cooking just for me, I doesn't matter if it cooks faster or slower than I expected, but it is a different animal when you have guests. My plan. . . Going to use a variation of a cooking technique from The Cooks Complete Book of Poultry. Roast at 200C. Put chicken in the rack one wing up for 30 minutes, flip it for another 30 with the other wing up, then breast side up until it is done, which I guestimate to be another 40 minutes to an hour. Calling all cooks out there- Will that work? Should all be relatively easy. I can make my two of my sides the day before and they are served at room temperature so the chicken is my main concern. Will be interesting at any rate. Le Menu Marinated Mozzarella Olives Celery Carrots Big-ass Roast Chicken Roasted potatoes with shallots Roasted parsnips Yorkshire Pudding Red Pepper Terrine Mediterranean Eggplant and peppers Broccoli Green Salad with balsamic vinaigrette Bread Butter Roasted Garlic Dessert to be named later. Maybe brownies? Lots of red wine for the cook.