Tuesday, 30 September 2008

What I WOULD have said

My friend Geo wrote this amazing post which I loved, and I was all fired up and headed straight to the comments section. I was sizzling. I was typing away. I was drawing unique parallels. I "saved my comment". It may be saved somewhere, but not anywhere near Geo's blog, that's for sure.

So I started again (after some wailing and gnashing of teeth). The second time I was brilliant. Even better than before. My asides were charming, my prose witty. I tabbed over to see Geo's orig post, noticed there was another comment, thought "oh maybe my comment saved after all", clicked it, and was taken to comments, BUT MINE WAS GONE!!!! The new window replaced my superlative musings! The window simply regenerated with no thought to what may have been in the works! So, top tip, DON'T DO THIS.

Well, in all good conscious, I couldn't start again. I mean, really, to lose one husband might be careless, but to lose two looks suspicious. Or something.

It has rather been that sort of day.

Thursday, 25 September 2008

Ooooh Books!

From the wonderful Miss Prism - books you are supposed to like but (gasp) don't. I can't agree entirely with Miss Prism's list, (I love Catch 22, and I quite liked The Bone People as well - implausibility is not really an issue with me), but I'll have a stab at it.

1. Jane Eyre
I read this in my I-may-not-have-a-classical-education-but-god-damn-it-I-can-be- erudite-too phase. What is with that ending? Crazy-woman-in-burning-attic a metaphor for what? Really?? Clearly the classical education part must add some missing touch that is unavailable to us mere mortals.

2. Wuthering Heights.
Yup - I'm right with Miss Prism on this one. Are we actually supposed to like these people?

3. Birdsong by Sebastian Faulks
WWI with muzak treatment

4. Midnight's Children - Salman Rushdie
Maybe if I'd read this one first, it would have been different. But I read Satantic Verses first, then The Moor's Last Sigh, and The Ground Beneath her Feet. By the time I got to this one I just felt, in the words of Elton John, like I'd seen that movie too. I have started this book twice, but never managed past the half-way mark.

5.The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
Go on, hit me on the head over and over again with those clumsy similes, go on - you know I love it - wait - actually I don't. Don't patronise me.

I'm sure there's more. Oh yes.

Friday, 19 September 2008

A most remarkable turn of events

more animals

I was a late arrival to the world of higher education - I started my undergraduate degree at 29. I loved it. I have been plotting my return ever since, but being perennially skint has made this a complex undertaking. I have this attachment to, you know - eating and stuff. And housing -yup - I'm big on paying the rent.

Birkbeck College is one of the schools of University College London, and they offer part-time post graduate courses that are taught in evenings and on weekends. I applied last year, and was accepted for the LLM in Law and Political Justice, but all hell broke loose this time last year (death, pestilence, disease etc), funding fell through, and I deferred entry.

This year, being still skint (*sigh*), I applied for their scholarship programme, but was rejected. I wasn't really surprised - I was neck deep and sinking in a project from hell at work and barely managed to get a coherent application in. I figured, well, obviously the timing's not right. You can't push these things too hard - and it would be hard - juggling 60 hour work weeks with a part-time Masters is insane, right?

Yesterday I got an email from Birkbeck. They have additional funds, my scholarship application was shortlisted in the last round, and I've been awarded a full fees bursary for my degree.


I start in two weeks.


Processing this has been made more difficult by the fact that I was celebrating last night (ahem) and I was dreadfully, horrifically hung over this morning. I had to chair two meetings and attend two more and I am not sure how I even got through today. I am so so glad to be home and no longer trying to look enthused about how our new accounting procedures are going to affect the coding on my project lines.

I'm ecstatic.

I am not sure how I am going to get through the next 6 weeks or so.

Wednesday, 17 September 2008

Omnivores R Us

I can't resist - it's a list! A list of food! Pick me! ME! Me - oh miss - ask me!!! (yes, I was that kid in school - sorry). Here's the story, courtesy Very Good Taste

1) Copy this list into your blog or journal, including these instructions
2) Bold all the items you’ve eaten.
3) Cross out any items that you would never consider eating.

The VGT Omnivore’s Hundred:

1. Venison
2. Nettle tea
3. Huevos rancheros
4. Steak tartare
5. Crocodile
6. Black pudding
7. Cheese fondue
8. Carp
9. Borscht
10. Baba ghanoush
11. Calamari
12. Pho
13. PB&J sandwich
14. Aloo gobi
15. Hot dog from a street cart
16. Epoisses
17. Black truffle
18. Fruit wine made from something other than grapes (ha ha just a bit!)
19. Steamed pork buns
20. Pistachio ice cream
21 Heirloom tomatoes
22. Fresh wild berries
23. Foie gras
24. Rice and beans
25. Brawn, or head cheese
26. Raw Scotch Bonnet pepper
27. Dulce de leche
28. Oysters
29. Baklava
30. Bagna cauda
31. Wasabi peas
32. Clam chowder in a sourdough bowl (sourdough bowl?)
33. Salted lassi
34. Sauerkraut
35. Root beer float
36. Cognac with a fat cigar
37. Clotted cream tea
38. Vodka jelly
39. Gumbo
40. Oxtail
41. Curried goat
42. Whole insects
43. Phaal
44. Goat’s milk
45. Malt whisky from a bottle worth £60/$120 or more
46. Fugu
47. Chicken tikka masala
48. Eel
49. Krispy Kreme original glazed doughnut
50. Sea urchin
51. Prickly pear
52. Umeboshi
53. Abalone
54. Paneer
55. McDonald’s Big Mac Meal
56. Spaetzle
57. Dirty gin martini (what is dirty gin? I have certainly had a few martinis in my time)
58. Beer above 8% ABV
59. Poutine
60. Carob chips (unfortunately)
61. S’mores
62. Sweetbreads
63. Kaolin
64. Currywurst
65. Durian
66. Frogs’ legs
67. Beignets, churros, elephant ears or funnel cake
68. Haggis
69. Fried plantain
70. Chitterlings, or andouillette
71. Gazpacho
72. Caviar and blini
73. Louche absinthe
74. Gjetost, or brunost
75. Roadkill
76. Baijiu
77. Hostess Fruit Pie
78. Snail
79. Lapsang souchong
80. Bellini
81. Tom yum
82. Eggs Benedict
83. Pocky
84. Tasting menu at a three-Michelin-star restaurant.
85. Kobe beef
86. Hare
87. Goulash
88. Flowers
89. Horse
90. Criollo chocolate
91. Spam
92. Soft shell crab
93. Rose harissa
94. Catfish
95. Mole poblano
96. Bagel and lox
97. Lobster Thermidor
98. Polenta
99. Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee
100. Snake

I scored 62 - the fact that I have lived both in North America and Europe certainly helped.

The only thing I would refuse to eat is the Big Mac meal. Ewwwwwww. Why is that even there?

So - c'mon - how 'bout you?

Wednesday, 10 September 2008

Those who dance

"Those who dance are considered insane by those who can't hear the music."

- George Carlin

Once, years ago, N and I were stuck in a small airport with hours to kill before our flight. However, the airport had a bookshop and a bar, both still open. To our glee, we found and bought a George Carlin book, Braindroppings, retired to the bar, and read bits to each other - laughing so hard other people actually asked us what we were reading.

So I loved seeing this*

* note: contains "bad" language :)

Sunday, 7 September 2008


"The more people connect, date, befriend, network and socialize online, the more likely they are to eventually meet up in meatspace."

- from an interesting report on the links between online/offline worlds, unfortunately geared in its entirety to corporate marketing, but still intriguing for all that.

But meatspace? Have you heard this before? Admittedly when I first read it, I laughed, in my head. But upon further reflection, I'm not so sure. Is this supposed to be self-depreciating? Meatspace? Is this supposed to be some sort of pun?

It's just too ugly to be redeemable, though I like the concept behind it (which I am taking to be a tag on the inherent physicalness of real life, possibly with the added interest of the linguistic transition of different words for animals and meat, which I have recently read exists in almost every language - mirroring online vs offline spaces - but I may be giving these self-appointed trend-setters too much credit on that last one)

Nope - too ugly for me. What do you think?

**8/9/8 - well apparently I am out of the loop. According to Wikipedia (no - not source, obviously, but useful):

Some early uses of the term include a post to the Usenet newsgroup austin.public-net on Feb. 21, 1993[2] and an article in the Seattle Times about John Perry Barlow on October 30, 1995 [3]. The term entered the Oxford English Dictionary in 2000 [4].


Saturday, 6 September 2008


H: Are you going to wear that jumper? It's a little snug.
J: I thought I looked like Simon Templar.
H: Simon Templar wears roll-neck jumpers.
J: Well, I can't see my neck from here

Thursday, 4 September 2008

Friday Night at the Hop Festival

This band is Sur Les Docks, and they played at Faversham Hop Festival last weekend. This clip is not from last weekend, I hasten to add. We saw them first on Friday night in a small traditional pub by the creek, and I am telling you people - I danced like a monkey all evening long. The pub was packed, the music was loud and the vibe was fantastic. The band played and danced with us, among us, and there were old dancers and young dancers, good dancers and bad dancers and everyone was laughing and dancing together. When they stopped we all poured outside into what was actually a beautiful summer evening (I know! in England!!) and grabbed another pint of Festival Ale. Then the music would start up again and we would re-assemble, grinning and dancing the night away.

The Hop Festival is Faversham's big blow-out weekend - lots of bands, hops everywhere, Morris dancers a-plenty, and the whole town walks around with tankards of ale from 10 in the morning till late at night and it's all cool. I love it especially because it was Hop Festival Saturday when we came to see the oast for the first time, five years ago, and I fell head-over-heels in love with it. The landlord said it was ours, and we headed into town to see what Faversham was like. That was a bit of a surprise.

This year I was really looking forward to it, because I booked the Friday before and the whole week after as annual leave, and also because one of N's dog walking buddies who also walks/is walked by a greyhound, got us places on the CAMRA (Campaign for Real Ale) Shepard Neame Brewery Tour on the Friday night - for CAMRA members only and heavily subscribed.

The brewery tour was something else too. Most people (ie everyone but us) had already been on it, several times, so they skipped most of the generic info and just launched into what turned out to be the main point of the tour, free beer. Lots of free beer. Straight from the cask. I really can't quite believe they let 30+ members of CAMRA loose in a brewery with free beer at every stop. It was like some kind of beautiful dream (except if it really was a dream it would have been Goachers, or Nelsons, not Shepard Neame!) But hey, with free ale like that, no complaints here. Our CAMRA memberships have paid for themselves in an evening.

Needless to say, we were already happily squiffy as we walked down the lane to the Anchor to meet our friends and check out the music.

It was the start to a fantastic weekend. Great music, friends down from London, hot sun on both Saturday and Sunday - first time since the one or two days in July (ah England - your summers doth fail to impress) - bbq's - and probably close to my body weight in ale. Good ale.

And people ask us why we moved here. Yeesh!

Tuesday, 2 September 2008

And another thing

Mama Mia is not a good movie. It's probably not even a good musical. Abba lyrics were never meant to stand up to plot synthesis or dialogical consistency. Freud would have had a heyday with this movie - not to mention Dworkin.


(N refused to see it. About 5 mintes in I was so grateful that he wasn't there and at
least the I-told-you-so's were internal. I figured (before-hand) - maybe it was like Babe. A movie, which on the face of it, was going to be over-emotional, family-values crap, but which was very funny and charming and lovely. It wasn't. I realise this is all subjective.)

However, I have had an almost constant song list of Abba on my internal radio station ever since. It makes everything seem vaguely frivolous.

I'm feeling a bit hippie

so, twice in one evening, I've heard heard the word hippie being used as an adjective rather than a noun.

when did this happen?