Thursday, 30 March 2006


is it wrong that i can somehow relate to this sentiment?

Wednesday, 22 March 2006

today's bargain: three blog entries in one

e and i went to see the documentary film ballets russes last night. the filmmakers have cleverly woven together archival footage, photo stills (many bought on ebay, apparently), and recent interviews to tell the story of rivals, lovers, success, failure, greed, power, war, racism, fans, dreams, and dance. it is less a day-in-the-life-of-a-ballerina story than a chronicle of the management decisions that took the company all over the world. as such, none of the principal dancers outshines the rest, but we did have a soft spot for the energetic nonagenarian, freddie franklin. go see the film; it is well worth it.


coming home on a crowded northern line tube after the movie, i staged my own quiet revolution: knitting while listening to prokofiev's romeo and juliet on my ipod. i find it somehow subversive to be so high-tech and low-tech at the same time. plus, it amuses me that people still find it so ...wrong?... to knit in public - on a tube, no less! - but i assure you that it is both (a) a practical, productive use of time and (b) a tactic to ward off the motion sickness i get by doing predictable things like reading on moving trains. and no one glares at me if i don't give up my seat, either.


in other news, my personalized google home page has informed me that yesterday's word of the day was aubade, a song or poem greeting the dawn. i am not a morning person (which is one of the things that s and i have in common), but i love this word and the idea of a song to greet the dawn. the closest i ever get to performing an aubade of my own is quoting bart simpson: "good morning, world!" but most of the time, it comes out more like, "nnnggggghhhhhhhrrrrrrrzzzzzzzzz....."

welcome, spring!

Friday, 17 March 2006

vote for pedro*

s entered a picture from his cuba trip in the photo friday "red" challenge.

vote for it here by clicking on the VOTE! link.

s's photo is #297: StephenD

(* lucky!)

Tuesday, 14 March 2006

haiku for the unemployed on a grey london day

bloody cold today

stay home under warm duvet

nice to have no job

Monday, 13 March 2006

chronic sinusitis

there is a history of sinus problems in my family. my mother suffers more than the rest of us - she once had her entire head flushed out with hot running water pushed through tiny tubes. my father is never far from a pack of kleenex. my sister gets frighteningly bad nose bleeds. i have colds and headaches on a regular basis. we all live on sudafed - i used to smuggle it into japan when i lived there. thank goodness i can buy it over the counter here.

i have had bad colds, fevers and a nasty case of tonsilitis in the eighteen months since i have lived in the UK. any time i have visited the doctor here (more frequently than i would normally, since contrary to popular opinion, i love the NHS...) i have been told that i have "chronic sinusitis" and am dismissed with a curt "you'll just have to learn to live with it" prescription. i managed to obtain a referral to the royal national ear, nose and throat hospital when i went in with huge white lumps on my tonsils last october. my appointment was booked for late february (all of a sudden, i'm not lovin' the NHS so much) and then moved to march 10th (now i see why people complain about the NHS!) regardless, i was looking forward to getting to the bottom of things.

as a new patient, i was first subjected to an allergy test - cool! the nurse drew 12 boxes on my arm, then carefully put a drop of 12 different substances in each one, and pricked the skin to let the liquid enter my bloodstream quicker. any allergies would invoke a small rash to break out.

predictably, i developed a blemish around the positive control, just to show that the test had worked. i had a mild reaction to grass pollens, but that might have been overflow from the positive control in the bordering box. but i was slightly upset that the only other substance i reacted to was cat fur! oh no! all my dreams of bringing a fuzzy creature into my life at some point flew out the window. fortunately, it was only a mild reaction, so i can get that kitty someday...

next, i met with the doctor. we reviewed my history and he duly took notes. he took a quick look up my nose and then decided he needed to get closer. out came the medieval torture device: a long, skinny metal tube that he shoved up into my skull which allowed him to look directly into my sinus cavity. OUCH!

long story short, i have no polyps or other undesirable growths on my sinuses. i do not have an overly admissable amount of mucus up there, either. my previous colds and bouts with strep and tonsilitis were just one-off viruses that my body combatted with sleep and fluids.

i do not have chronic sinusitis.

after four months of waiting, however, he must have known that i would want something a bit more satisfying than to be told that my occasional physical misery is just a fact of life to be dealt with. so he ordered a referral to a neurologist to look into my headaches and migraines. it might be months before i get to see another doctor, but next time i am determined to have a real problem. in fact, i think i'll start cooking up a killer migraine right now.

stop the world, i want to get off!

Thursday, 9 March 2006

international women's day

yesterday was international women's day. it was also a friend's birthday, and we had planned to meet her for dinner in the west end. i stopped at liberty along the way and bought her a pink gerbera daisy. when i got to the pub where we were meeting before the restaurant, the ladies at the bar asked me if someone had given me the flower for women's day. sadly, no... but the birthday girl was very pleased with it, so it served its purpose nonetheless.

when i got home, there was an email from a SOAS friend wishing me a happy international women's day. hurrah for the sisterhood!

dinner was lovely, by the way. we went to andrew edmunds, one of the only places i have ever been where they have pigeon on the menu (p tried it and said it was ok. i was a bit put off by its reddish color and quietly sipped my broccoli and stilton soup instead.) the entrees were fine - i was happily surprised that my simple penne pasta dish was so flavorful thanks to the sundried tomatoes and leaves of baby spinach. but we all raved about our desserts: s had tiramisu (almost as good as the ones he has been making) and i had cinnamon ice cream, which complemented the tiramisu so well that you can hardly blame me for taking a bite...or two... :)

Monday, 6 March 2006

coconuts and cupcakes

i made another batch of cupcakes over the weekend in preparation for the mighty boosh, season 2. a bunch of us gathered at m's house yesterday to laugh along with vince and howard. making her first appearance was yvette, our boosh mascot.

photo credit: sd 2006

no doubt, the following will make very little sense to those of you who have never seen the mighty boosh, but here is what i submitted to the fansite art gallery.

"While it may be a bit optimistic to classify the attached as 'art,' we present to you Yvette, our coconut mascot inspired by the lovely Ruby and enchanting Precious Lilywhite in the Milky Joe episode.

Made entirely from a 39p coconut and materials found lying around the flat - knitted Rowan Biggy Print skirt, flowing pink hair with baby blue bow, sello-taped lips and eyes (a bit freaky, we acknowledge) - Yvette is probably better suited to the arctic climate of the Tundra than to the tropical desert island of her famous sisters.

Yvette may favor pastel colors, but she's no girly-girl. She earned her black belt in karate while training to join the Cheekbone Ninja delivery service. She speaks several languages, including her native French (hailing, as she does, from Tahiti). She is currently single, but has her eye on film director, Serge - not for the prestige, mind you. She senses that he has a deep soul beneath his rough exterior. Her hobbies include Scrabble and the occult; she is an accomplished cello player; and she frequently submits articles on the subject of paranormal occurrences to the Royal Thai Airlines in-flight magazine under the pseudonym Natalie Jones. Her favorite song was Ricky Martin's 'Living La Vida Coco-loco' until she heard Rudy & Spider's new sound and became a hardcore fan.

Yours Mightily,
The 'Artist' and Friends"

i haven't heard back from the website moderators yet, but yvette has already been offered a place on a's upcoming bike tour from argentina to alaska. m, the matchmaker extraordinaire, has also offered to post yvette's picture on her blog in an effort to help yvette find true love. c has also offered to help me design yvette's travel wardrobe. who knew that making clothes for a coconut would lead to so many other creative endeavors?!

meanwhile, check out these cupcakes!

photo credit: sd 2006

talk about fun with food coloring! s helped decorate them and took the picture.

this is the ultimate tulip-shaped cupcake:


striped with green, purple and orange frosting, with a dollop of yellow frosting, lavender sprinkles and a purple sugar flower on top. (sorry for the photo quality - this one came from my mobile.)

sadly, as lovely as the cupcakes were, i thought the cake part came out a bit dry. that's what i get for making up the recipe as i go. i found the chocolate chip cake recipe on and had written out the ingredients. the server was down when i went to make them, however, so i had to improvise the steps. hmmm. looking back now, it's clear where i went wrong.

one last note for the boosh fans: topshop!

Thursday, 2 March 2006



in a dazzling display of technological sympathy pains, my iBook decided to follow my digital camera's lead. i spent nearly four hours with a "mac genius" at the apple store on regent street yesterday (all things considered, there are worse ways to spend an afternoon!)

the diagnosis was that my hard drive was on the verge of imminent failure. in fact, some time during transit between my flat and the store, it had frozen and would not reboot when i got there. we managed to start it up off of their external hard drives; ran every type of disk rescue and first aid; and retrieved my files - after i was persuaded into an emergency purchase of an external hard drive of my own.

during the time it took to retrieve the files, my genius tech managed to break for an hour's lunch and serve one other customer as well. i went through my mobile and deleted about 100 text messages; read a few chapters in empress orchid; and did some serious people-watching.

the iBook has now been sent off for repairs. hurrah for applecare protection! and for apple's recent decision to honor applecare protection all over the world, not just in the country where you purchased your equipment. and to s for finding the article that announced the decision. and to mom for finding my account information. my computer will come back in about ten days with a new hard drive, new keyboard (the C, S, and D have all nearly rubbed off), and an upgrade to OS X tiger - another emergency/impulse purchase that i decided i needed sooner rather than later. s pointed out that i will most likely have to invest in iLife 06 as well. so be it :)

in the meantime, s, ever-patient and generous, has offered to let me use his laptop. hurrah again! my hero...


incidentally, i took the picture of the apple store above for my sister's birthday blog. check it out... free stuff is cool.