Monday, 23 January 2006

monday blues

i am more of a green person than a blue one. my blog is green.* my eyes are hazel green. green features heavily in my wardrobe. my politics lean toward the green side. and in the "what muppet are you?" quiz, i predictably come out as kermit the frog. it's not easy being green.

however, in a moment of jane-inspired color/colour appreciation, i noticed that today's palette is blue.


i made myself a large cup of green & black's organic fairtrade cocoa to accompany david vogel's the market for virtue: the potential and limits of corporate social responsibility.

but as interesting as the book is, i'd really rather be knitting.


my mother reluctantly gave me this yarn after she decided that it would be too itchy for her to wear. it is fiesta la boheme in caribbean (the la boheme collection comes in two strands, rayon boucle and brushed kid mohair, that are knitted together.) i am making a scarf in a simple lace ladder pattern and i am very pleased with it so far. i am planning to sew on a beaded fringe to help give it some weight and extra sparkle.

not pictured, but carrying on the blue theme, is the blue sweater i am wearing today, one of those beloved articles of clothing that has traveled far and wide with me for over ten years. chances are, it will still be with me ten years from now.

in other news, thanks to acechick for her comments on the entry below. euro, not euros. mingus, not menzies. see? i'm learning...!


*my blog was green. i just changed the template. what do you think?

Friday, 20 January 2006

visa hopes

yesterday, i sent off my application for "highly skilled migrant" status in the u.k. it is different from a work permit in that, if i get it, i will be able to live and work here on my own terms. i won't be tied to any particular company - in fact, i could even start my own business if i were so inclined. the HSMP visa is valid for one year initially, renewable for up to four (five?) years, and eventually allows holders to apply for naturalization (or naturalisation; i guess if i want to consider permanent residency in britain, i should learn how to spell things with extra u's and s's instead of z's - by the way, that's pronounced "zed's." but i digress.)

here is the bad news: it is very difficult to obtain an HSMP visa. you have to obtain a minimum 65 points in several different categories. depending on how they judge my application, i could get 60 pts, 75 pts (2 different ways), or 90 pts. i figure that the odds are in my favor, since i am above the requirement in three out of four scenarios.

it's funny - my views on immigration are changing as i realize (realise) more and more that my future lies outside the u.s. all i want is to be a productive member of the society i choose to live in. one of my friends even suggested claiming political asylum from george w's team america (f*ck yeah!), but i wasn't sure if i would have to swear allegiance to tony blair instead. i would rather be able to choose where i live based on factors other than politics, and have the opportunity to stay here without being forced into a marriage of convenience. why should that be so hard?

anyhow, i have my eyes on the prize: i am visualizing the happy day in a few weeks when my application is accepted and i am welcomed to stay here as a highly skilled migrant. it just HAS to work out.

by the way, for all you uri geller fans, i just noticed that i started this blog entry at 11:11 AM, a fortuitous sign indeed. although the current time is 11:29 AM and i usually change the time to reflect when i finish a post, i am going to keep this one as is. i need all the luck and wishes i can get.

oh, and on that note, today's lottery is up to 85 million euros!

Monday, 16 January 2006



s and i decided to spend the day outside of london for our "between birthdays" day (his is dec 14 and mine is feb 16, so jan 15 is between our birthdays...any excuse, huh?) we went to winchester to see one of his friends and check out the sights.

winchester is steeped in history, and i wish i had done more reading about it before we went. the cathedral dates back to the 7th century.



jane austen, author of pride and prejudice, sense and sensibility, and several other of my favorite books, is buried there.

ah, mr. darcy...!

winchester cathedral is also the subject of a song by crosby, stills and nash. i couldn't remember the lyrics or tune while we were there, which is probably just as well or the well-practised atheist in me might not have been so calm and peaceful while walking around inside:

"open up the gates of the church and let me out of here!"

the cathedral is quite beautiful, however, and we spent some time looking around, taking pictures, and listening to the pipe organ.


next, we walked around the town center - sorry, centre! - and saw the guildhall.




then we took a stroll along the river.



a helpful gentleman pointed out that ten young swans were born there earlier this year.


this one knew how to pose better, no doubt a skill that comes with age...


and we rounded off the day by having a few drinks with s's friend.


all in all, a very happy between birthdays day!

Friday, 13 January 2006

friendship karma

found: several friends from bryn mawr who i haven't talked to since we were all back at college together.

found by:
* a JET friend, justin
* one of my japanese friends who sent a christmas card to an address i had four years ago, but which (miraculously) still forwards to my parents' house
* a former co-worker at pacific academy who accidentally copied me on an email to her current colleagues

with the exception of the christmas card, email and the internet were responsible for each of these happy reunions. who have you googled lately???

Tuesday, 10 January 2006

spam mail poetry

i'm sure i'm not the first person to post spam mail nonsense on a blog - i'm certainly not looking for a gold star for creativity. i just happen to think that some spam mail messages deserve public notice.

i wish i could write as eloquently as the (computers? humans? monkeys?) who generate spam mail messages do. look at the following unedited spam mail subjects. don't they make you smile?

reykjavik cayenne horntail arragon blimp

and hourglass excelsior
(sounds like a christmas carol. in excelsis deo...!)

may mitre, in exile
(consider yourself warned!)

try vermilion polaris

omission can't carla stein verisimilitude
(i think we should all start carla steining verisimilitude.)

it's almost tempting to open the messages just to see what further beauty lies within. ALMOST. and how about the names of the "people" who send them?

collin norbert
(i'm sure this is the name of a cabbage patch kid doll)

alric mcintomny
(alric's just not that mc-into-me...sob!)

more to come as the spam mail poetry project continues...


update: jan 13
my buddy in essex emailed to comment that she and a colleague keep a list of "namos del bizarro" that they receive as spam on one of their work email addresses. her highlights to date include:

Baron Patsy
Crocodile T Parcelled (i like this one)
Mohammed Nance
Cannon Horseflesh (ewww!)

meanwhile, sitting in my spam folder is a message from flanagan andrade. sounds like a high-roller who would be found at the baccarat table next to james bond in some monaco adventure...

Sunday, 8 January 2006

little sis in london

when i was 5 years old, my parents gave me a great birthday present: my little sister. she's not so little anymore, but she's still one of the best presents i ever got. does it still count, then, that my parents sent her to me as a christmas present?

we enjoyed hot chocolate and fancy bread at liberty, my favorite london department store. not that i can ever afford anything there - the way i see it, i go there to visit all my pretty things which just so happen to live somewhere other than in my closet. ah, i love liberty...

those of you who know our first names will know why this picture is special. incidentally, it wasn't as hard to find brandreth road as you might think - this road is between balham station and my flat, so i walk past it everyday. coincidence?

we also took a "flight" on the british airways london eye. we timed it for the late afternoon so that we got both sun and sunset. we hadn't really counted on the snowy sleet while we waited in the queue... brrr!



i guess it's not that easy to wash the windows on the london eye...








we had a great time together bringing in 2006!


i love thanksgiving. it means different things to different people, but to me it is about family, friends and food. not necessarily in that order!

one of my favorite things is sharing thanksgiving with non-americans, which is made easier by living outside the u.s. this year, i made turkey, cranberry sauce, and two kinds of gravy. my lovely friends provided the veggies, potatoes, desserts, wine and snacks to make a perfect meal.

i ended up buying a frozen turkey and defrosting it the day before.

s helped chop vegetables for the turkey:

i was in charge of washing and preparing the turkey:



the trick to getting a juicy, flavorful turkey is not being afraid to rub butter under the skin. i also add rosemary twigs. trust me, it tastes better than it sounds.


it cooked incredibly fast: what should have taken three hours took about half that. we did have to carve it and put it back in for some extra time, but it stayed juicy and moist.

mmm, turkey!