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Showing posts from September, 2005

Random Thoughts

I am way too tired to think connected thoughts, so I'm going random instead. I want to age like the people in Scorsese's Bob Dylan documentary. Ok, maybe not Allen Ginsburg, but Joan Baez looks great. Speaking of Dylan, what's up with his hair? All that money, you'd think he could buy some conditioner. And he still has a Minneosta accent, doncha know. You'd expect him to sound cooler and not oh, say, like my dad. (I love you, Dad, but you're just not that cool, you know?) I am fearing the end of Six Feet Under . I can't watch Lost because I fly too much...the plane crash thing will freak me out. I was recruited for a different job today. I can't take it, but it got me thinking about possibilities. What's so great about Coldplay? When I go to New York I can have pickles. I have too much to do at work right now. Tom DeLay was indicted. Nice to know the justice system works. I see that they're going to start selling th

Everything is Illuminated

I hear this movie is out now. If you haven't read the book, please do so immediately. It is extraordinary, and will make you weep. It will also connect you to humanity in a raw, profound way that I didn't believe was possible with literature until I read it. Oh. And don't see the movie first, because part of the fun of the book is the fanciful nature of the narrative. And Pam says you'll be retroactively disappointed in the film if you see it before you read it. It's by Jonathan Safran Foer, and it's got weirdly colored cover...easy to find on the shelf. Go get it. You heard me, go.

This ain't right

Did you see the article about the dog that swallowed the 13 inch knife? How can this possibly be true?

Long Live Paul Wellstone

So I'm sitting on the couch listening to the radio and catching up on news, etc. I try to check in with the NYTimes, the Washington Post, The Seattle Time/PI, and the Star Tribune each week so I know what's going on. In today's Strib there's an article about the legacy of Paul and Sheila Wellstone. Personally, I think it's great that people have turned their grief/pain/loss towards political action. What better way to honor the memory of a fiery, principled politician who voted his conscience as opposed to the polls, and who got to the US Senate with effective grass-roots campaigning, than to teach others how to do the same. Yes, Paul Wellstone was a big liberal, but more than that, he was a real, live Mr. Smith going to Washington. The Wellstone Action team and the Camp Wellstone concept is a great way to continue his work in the world. Now, the reason for this entry....partway through the article, David Strom, president of The Taxpayer's League of Minnes

The Parrot, Part Two

My worst fears are being realized. The parrot next door is learning new songs. He now has the following repertoire, and it seems to be growing daily: Col. Bogie's March (AKA the theme from The Bridge Over the River Kwai ) A cellphone ring The laugh of someone, I assume his owner A host of car alarm squeals A sound like police scanner chatter Shave and a Haircut, Two Bits Quacks like the ducks across the road Ice Cream Van songs (part of Fur Elise and part of some chipper German sounding ditty) What will he learn next??? If the music I hear through the wall is any indicator, I'm in for nothing but heartache (or headache, as the case may be.) They seem to be fans of bad easy-listening music. Yesterday I heard "When We Get Behind Closed Doors", and "People." God, help me.

Cooking Shows Reveal All

I had a rather stressful week. Between working a trade show in London, an offsite meeting with my team, and a two-day retreat for a leadership training course, I was not only exhausted when I got home on Friday but a bit overwhelmed by all the talking and interacting I'd been doing. I longed for sleep, relaxation, and peace and quiet. After a 12 hour sleep on Friday night (followed by a two-hour post-coffee nap,) I decided to read the online news and watch a little television. UK Food Network was having a marathon of their most famous television chef, Delia Smith. I love cooking shows so this seemed like a good non-intensive way to multi-task...read a little, watch a little, etc. etc. But what started as a casual time-killer turned into a revealing education into the differences between my homeland and my current home. Take, for instance, beloved US TV chefs such as Sara Moulton, Rachel Ray, or Emeril. They chat, they smile, they make jokes, they make mistakes. They leave the di

Jesus of the Week

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Go here if you want the narrative. Personally, I believe the picture is silly enough.

Pride and Prejudice

So I've discovered a new favorite thing about England. Everyone here loves Pride and Prejudice . They have all read the book, even the men. They love their BBC-1991 version, and more than half of the people I work with sat through five hours of it on Sunday in honor of the new version arriving in theatres. Most people I know have also either been to the opening weekend of the new one, too, and if they haven't they've got plans to go. They discuss the nuances of Elizabeth Bennett and Mr. Darcy like they are friends, and even men see why women swoon at the mention of Colin Firth. It's nice to be in a nation of romantics. Considering their demeanor, who knew?

Sky News inadvertantly speaks the truth

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(just in case you don't read Wonkette.)

Argos, the catalog store

Tonight I discovered a new shopping experience. It all started because I need a new toilet seat. The one I have has been loose since May. If you're not careful, the thing will slide off like a toboggan on a well-iced run. While this is perhaps a good way to build your core muscles, four months of this is enough. Plus, my toilet is already a challenge for visitors, what with the temperamental British flush, so making them perform some crazy butt surf whilst using the loo is perhaps a bit much to ask. Resigned to the idea that I needed to actually go buy a toilet seat, I decided to ask around the office for help finding the sort of DIY place that would carry something like this. Milton Keynes is a city of roundabouts with green space and trees shielding the main roadways from the buildings on the side of the road, therefore you don't necessarily see what you're passing. Plus, most of the stores aren't on my way to anything, so when I have a specific need I have to ask:

Spiders part 2

There was a giant spider living in my boots under the steps. He is dead now. I never, ever, EVER play that if-I-had-a-boyfriend game because, frankly, I can't really be bothered with the hassle they bring and I know how to hook up my own DVD player/computer/stereo, thank you very much. But I tell you what. A big strong man with a thirst for spider blood could make me swoon and bat my eyes, yessiree, BOB. If he also cleaned up overgrown plants in the wet, spider-filled Garden of Terror, I'd marry him on the spot. Heck, a cave-chested, pencil-necked, pasty-white-stay-inside could turn my head if he had a good strong pair of boots for kicking spider ass. But then who am I kidding? Pasty-white-stay-insides always turn my head.

Quiz Night 2

Tonight, we had our second quiz night. My first one was back the second week I was here (see November posts, if they're still there,) and so this was definitely a testament to how much my life has changed. I knew the answers to some of the TV questions. I knew the name of everyone but two people out of 45. (And those two are new.) I had conversation with people not on my team. I identified and successfully avoided all marmite. I followed proper pint-paying protocol. I didn't drive on the wrong side of the street when I left. All in all, I'd call this progress.

Happy Thanksgiving!

I know that thanksgiving is two months away, but I am happy happy HAPPY about it today. I confess, I've been homesick lately. I think the permanence of my move has now sunken in, my friend Patricia and I have been busy with our respective jobs, so our Americans in England lifestyle has been on hold for a couple of weeks, plus I've hit the 10 month doldrums that you get any time you move...all in all, I've been dying for a friendly familiar face. So yesterday my friend Tom and I were emailing. I sent him a link to a castle here that is throwing a thanksgiving party for beaucoup ££s. We decided if we win the lottery we could go, but otherwise it was aimpossibilityty. But Tom invited me to NYC for Thanksgiving instead. He and Georgie are having dinner with friends who also happen to be wine merchants, which means excellent food (from George) and excellent wine (from friends), and then Tom is responsible for the scintillating conversation. I jumped online looking for a fare I

Cricket for Dummies

England has just taken the Ashes, a little urn of cricket bat ashes from 1882 created after the test where Australia first beat England. Every two years the two countries battle for the right to "own" the Ashes. There are 4 - 5 days of play in each series, with four series total. England hasn't won the Ashes in 20 years, so this is a big deal. Pretty much everyone is glued to the tv for the duration. Since test cricket is only played in the daylight, it usually goes from 1030 or 11am through 630 or 7pm. Watching cricket is a time-consuming hobby. The nice thing about it, though, is that because cricket moves slowly it doesn't matter if you multi-task or step away for awhile. You might miss some exciting developments, but they'll be others to come so you needn't stress. Plus, they have scheduled breaks for lunch and tea throughout the day and the telly coverage shows highlights regularly. You'll catch the major plays eventually. Sidebar...can you imagine

Oh Happy Day

On Friday, my belongings arrived from the states. I didn't ship that much, but what came will make me feel like there's a bit of me in the house. I shipped art by my friends Larry and Pam, as well as some items that friends and loved ones have given me that remind me of home. I have pictures of my friends and family already here, but there are more in the boxes. You'll be spread around the house now. I shipped some glassware and such because, while I don't really need my dishes, the glasses here suck and I have cool ones. There are a couple of things broken in that box, but I don't know which because I haven't had time to unpack it. I'm hopeful it's not too bad. I shipped all of my cds, as well as some books I've been meaning to read. I can now fill my house with the sounds I like and can finish Hillary's (auto?)biography before the campaign. There are winter clothes in time for winter. There are summer clothes in time for the last days of

More on the international reaction

Want to know what the Brits are saying about the US and Hurricane Katrina? Read this .

How Katrina looks from here

I've had a lot to do the last few weeks, so I've been working a lot. This weekend, I took stuff home, and have spent a good amount of my weekend working on different projects and keeping an eye on the TV. I hadn't really been tuned in to the news or the internet and I don't get a daily paper, so I didn't really understand how bad Katrina was until Saturday AM when I decided to watch CNN. My God. As you all know, it's impossible to put words to how horrible the scene is. Not even going to try. It looks like New Orleans is one of the closest things to hell on earth that's happened in my lifetime. Watching the suffering and dying on national TV was overwhelming. I think I cried for about two hours. I know I saw old people and children from footage earlier in the week who are now sitting in a makeshift morgue somewhere. How can this happen? I finally couldn't watch it and weep anymore. I had to start intellectualizing it...distance myself from it so I cou

I hate spiders

I hate spiders. I really hate spiders. They should warn you before you move to England that there are lots of spiders here, just in case. There are spiders that live in my car. They build little webs on my mirrors every night. In the daytime I knock them off, hoping that eventually the demoralized spiders will move on to some Vauxhall or Peugeot parked next to me, but they keep rebuilding. I had to take a broom to my house today, knocking down webs and eggsacks on every ground floor window. There is a spider in the front that I've nicknamed Charlotte, as it regularly builds a web between my rose bushes and my hanging basket that is literally six feet in diameter. I periodically knock it down, though, as I am not kind-hearted like Wilbur.

Robert Redford is a stone cold fox

Watched The Way We Were on tv this afternoon while I worked on some projects for work. My friend Lauren has pointed out on her blog that there is absolutely nothing not to like about Robert Redford, and I must agree whole-heartedly. I caught part of The Sting on Monday afternoon, and about a month ago I saw Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid . My, he's attractive. And of course, as a Katie-girl myself, TWWW always makes him even more attractive. Guys like that never happen to us, so being "Hubbell" makes him extra dreamy, even if it's not real. Yes, Robert Redford is timeless.