Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Resolved in April

  1. Done! Admittedly at the expense of my drafting assignment and law & lit revision, but whatever... I dinnae care! (that might also be because I am so close to being done with law school I can smell it, and because I had a margarita for lunch).
  2. 28.4%, which I was surprised to discover is lower than last month (by a massive 0.3%!). Hurrah! It's been a pretty revolting month, healthy living wise, and the next few weeks does not bode well, either - cinco de mayo, Senior Week, graduation, etc. Ulp. However, the bar review starts fairly soon thereafter, and I think I'm going to have a much more regimented life, which leads to more gym time, which leads to less bodyfat. In theory. It's still lower than the 29% at the start of the year.
  3. Big nights out... hmm... well, wine club was cancelled a couple of weeks ago, and we had a dance party. All four of us at a friend's place. I also went to Optimo, which was AWESOME (apart from the plan that to stay awake whiskey would be the only liquid to pass my lips). And danced my behind off at a wedding this weekend. So not too bad, although there's not much on the horizon. Rats.
  4. Classic movies not really happening either, although TOH and I are off to see a Chaplin double bill tomorrow, which should be sahweet. I loved, loved, loved The Great Dictator - even though it took me three attempts to watch it (kept falling asleep - that doesn't sound good, I know, but the same happened with Dr. Strangelove and that's heaven). We also progressed on the Coens, having seen O Brother again. Mostly, we have been watching It's Always Sunny... sigh, love it SO.
  5. Hmm, after Bleak House I've read almost nothing. Started Crime and Punishment, but really, have been having reading assignments for school and so nothing. That'll change next week, I swear... finish C&P, and then move on. Books for fun - I cannot wait!
  6. Indeed, we have more flowers from yet more vases that I purloined. Oops.
  7. Hmm, again, nothing new. I've really been feeble and not cooked much at all. I made pie again, but that's not new anymore. DAMMIT! I will try something next week when I can be a domestic goddess because I will have NO MORE LAW SCHOOL.
  8. Nothing cultural. Nada. Except a transvestite brunch in DC. That counts, right? Going hopefully to the Brooklyn Museum of Art and/or the Botanical Gardens this weekend. That counts, definitely. Even if it's in May.

Friday, April 25, 2008


Coming home always feels like stepping into an imprint of my memories, but like a spot the difference puzzle - some things have shifted to a different place, changed colour, or simply vanished. While I know that things can't stay the same, and my expectations have changed over time, it's weird when you walk down a road you've walked down countless times, and you're reaching for something that just isn't there any more. It's disorienting. Particularly when you idealise the place. Not that I think Catford is the, because it's really not; it doesn't have to be, though, because it's home, and that's far more affecting than some former paradise you once had a great holiday.

Today, I came home, and all those feelings and processes have resurfaced. The beauty of crossing the Thames, reminding me just why I feel the absence of a river where I live in NYC (maybe Brooklyn and crossing the river daily will change that, as and when we move?), and those sights that have been there for centuries, the cobbled together houses and Southwark Cathedral at Borough, the rooftops seen from the train; all these felt familiar, warm, comforting. The blossom in full effect, bluebells out everywhere, people cutting their hedges in their front gardens - front gardens! - were glorious. Yet I crash back to earth, with the ugly, stripped, mutilated magnolia tree in a garden of a deceased neighbour. She was a sweet lady, always friendly, and her garden was always heavenly in spring - anything you could name, bursting in colour. But what really hit me, every time, was the sight of that magnolia in spring - huge, dripping with the weight of its petals. And it's gone, to all intents and purposes. Why would you do that? Why not cut it entirely, rather than desecrate it?

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

One of these things is not like the others

A copy of my email to New York Magazine:

To the Editor:

I recently received the first issue of a new subscription to NY Mag (April 28, 2008). I was excited, given I use the website all the time. I opened the article on Gossip Girl with a little trepidation - another piece about how it really captures something truly zeitgeisty of the NYC / privileged teenaged lives, etc., etc. Instead, my concerns were focused on the diagram of the interwoven lives of the characters on Gossip Girl.

I get it, that you had to colour code the different types of relationships, but I am interested to know how long and hard you thought about the decision to categorise "attempted date rape" as the same type of thing (colour = purple) as "hooking up" or "losing one's virginity." You separated sex from dating-type relationships - hence blue for boyfriend/girlfriend, which is an interesting concept, too, that sex of the one night stand type is removed from the sex in a relationship. Date rape may be closer to the general sex continuum than stranger rape,* as it may result from what started as a romantic encounter, but it troubles me that it's so easily put alongside consensual sex, given repeated studies about the closer relationship between power and rape than sexual desire and rape.

Yours, a potential unsubscribee.

* [note that I use "may," because I'm not sure how I feel about this at all. Talking to a friend who watches the show regularly, she said that he was kissing forcefully and had to be fought off - so it was not as close to rape as the magazine makes out. But my point remains, I feel, and I'm not in any way justifying or excusing date rape. I think it's just as damaging and dreadful]

Friday, April 18, 2008

Laid back... relaxed...

Yep, I feel the sunshine. It's such a ridiculous mood enhancer to know that it's going to be fairly warm out, no matter what, until October. So it occurs to me to talk about things that are making me happy rather than grumpy for a change.
  1. Midnight Boom by The Kills - I'm just lovin' it, lovin' it lovin' it (like that). Sort of a cross between the White Stripes and the Fiery Furnaces with, I think, a real Pixies sensibility thrown in - the way they use her voice to cut through everything really minds me of Kim Deal, for some reason, particularly on Cheap and Cheerful. URA Fever and Sour Cherry are worth the purchase on their own.
  2. It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia. A friend lent us it and we've only just got around to watching it, but it is genius. For the abortion episode alone - particularly as it's got Taylor from The OC in it - sheer awesomeness. I love working out which one is the worst human being in each episode - and it's always, always, ALWAYS Charlie.
    1. Other tv shows currently loving - Torchwood, Buffy re-runs.
    2. Annoyed at (STILL) - waiting for new Pushing Daisies.
  3. Outside drinking. Holy cow I've missed it. And it's time to bring out the rosé - hallelujah.
  4. Maria moving back to NYC - hurrah!
  5. Football - two victories last weekend, for the first time ever, for the two teams I play on. Playing at this time of year is utterly perfect - and at the moment two two matches are the sandwich to my weekend, and love it.
  6. Rediscovering the good songs from The Great Escape by Blur - and yes, there were a few - I love Entertain Me and He Thought of Cars - I'd completely forgotten that song...
  7. BLOSSOM! It suddenly appeared from nowhere, and so now I can have lunch in the park, with the sun on me and enjoy scent. The smell of hyacinths is glorious, hypnotic - there's a patch of purple ones right by our football pitch in Chinatown, and it's wonderful. The magnolia and cherry trees are out, and I am just extremely happy about it all.
Of course, I wouldn't be me without a grumble - bad things about better weather are, of course, self-tanning streaks and having to maintain fairly decent toenails. But I can manage that, of course.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Four and counting...

I only have four classes left at law school. It's utterly terrifying. I really am almost done - I've even registered to take the bar. Ulp.

So, slowly, I am having my last ever last class of the semester. Tonight I had to say goodbye to my legislative drafting class. This has been absolutely fantastic - I've learned so, so, so much. Even more exciting has been sharing the class with politically active people who know so much about the inner workings of New York - both State and City. Several people in the class work for politicians, and one of our profs works for the judiciary. So tonight, in our last class, we talked a bit about the bill & statute we're drafting for our final project (on testing criminal defendants for HIV where there was a chance of transmission), but had a few glasses of wine, some pizza, and gossiped about what's going on in the government in NYS. I find my anger so often directed at the Bush Administration, I don't pay enough attention to what's going on around me, on a municipal level. This class was absolutely great, and I'm really going to miss it.

As for law school... yep, that too. I expect.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

A Close Shave

Today, my dear beloved mac gave me an almighty scare, refusing to switch itself on but endlessly circling with that grey screen. It made me realise how stupidly I'm attached to this machine - not just what's on i, datawise, but just having it around. Using it every day and getting joy from it every single day.

Fortunately, the legend that was Tim at the genius bar fixed it. Strange how every person he asked answered "no" to the question "Have you backed up?" Which is why, shortly after this (and making sure I have the latest version of OSX) I will. Honest, guv.

Still, my love for all things apple reaffirmed by the glories of the genius bar. It is, indeed, genius.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Random Rules: April '08

  1. Reign Dub - Dual Tones. This version, at least, is from my Thievery Corporation DJ Kicks album. It remains my favourite of the DJ Kicks, which is probably also my favourite of this sort of compilation (although I like Back to Mine a lot, too). Unlike some snobs, I see no problem with collecting what your favourite people are listening to, and exploring music that way - how is it different from getting a tracklist from a DJ set? Or are you just supposed to know? I have been and still am a music snob in certain ways, but that seems pointless to me. I buy basically everything Thievery Corporation do, as either DJs or their own music, because it's all fabulous. This album is also absolutely awesome to work to. Which is what I'm ostensibly doing while writing this post.
  2. Looking for Love - Karen Ramirez. Embarrassingly, I just love this song. It's soppy and silly, but it's just so sweet. It's an Everything But The Girl Song, but I love this version - her voice is so delicate, and somehow the production seems to capture the wonderment of falling love - it just makes me happy through its sheer loveliness.
  3. Feo - Fito & Fitipaldis. I think this is one of the cds that my dear friend Larra gave me when I left Costa Rica. We had talked repeatedly about my ignorance about Spanish-language music - other than another embarrassing like for Alejandro Sanz (if you admit to that over the age of 16 in Spain they think you're an idiot). So she did a really sweet thing and gave me a wallet of cds of Spanish language. And generally, I like them. Generally, but I don't listen to them enough.
  4. Top Hat - The Dizzy Club. I love this song - it's from one of my favourite films of all time - also called Top Hat. I prefer the Fred Astaire version, it has to be said, but I don't mind this one at all.
  5. The Twelfth of Never - Nina Simone. Her voice is just a wonderful instrument, and that she fought so hard for civil rights, and was an activist, makes so many of today's infantile stars, those that just want to be famous so they can have a big house and get free stuff just seem... pointless. But you knew that already. And I shouldn't rail against them too much - I do have a weird loathing for Bono, after all.
  6. Got To Be Me - H20. Well, here's another from a DJ collection - this one Another Late Night by Rae & Christian. I bought this not because of the collection, but because Blazing the Crop by Rae & Christian is one of my all-time favourite DJ mixes, if not my favourite. This I listen to less, but I still like it a lot.
  7. Hey Mama - Kanye West. I'm never sure how I feel about rappers thanking their mothers, particularly if they speak about other women with utterly foul mouths and seem to have no problem with the depiction of women as money-grabbing whorish sex objects. I just wonder how much their mothers are proud of those lyrics, or those videos? How much respect for women and the work that mothers do are in those? Still, Kanye's not exactly a bad offender, so it's not about him. I don't mind this song but it's not exactly my favourite of his tunes.
  8. A Girl Like You - Aaliyah. I was not a big fan of Aaliyah in her earlier years, basically because I was going through my indie purist phase, when I didn't like R&B or Hip Hop at all (other than Public Enemy, natch). What I failed to appreciate was the way her delicate, sweet voice was such a perfect match for heavier production; it just floats over the top, and raises what might otherwise be mediocre songs to much greater heights. She was such a good foil for missy eliot & timbaland - it's weird to remember that that's how Missy got her big break. This is typical - sweet and soulful.
  9. Don't Die Just Yet - David Holmes. As I suspected, I had David Holmes last month, too. So you should read that entry.
  10. Montego Bay Spleen - St. Germain. I did not use to be a fan of all things Frenchy-jazzy-housey until TOH converted me. This is off one of his favourite ever albums (Tourist), and although it's not my favourite track, it's grand. That honour goes to Rose Rouge, which once we heard at the roller disco in Central Park - it was such a great moment to see the crazy skaters and this fabulous song together, a bizarre mismatch and yet perfect. Sort of like NYC, really.

AND NOW - I TAG YOU PEOPLE! Portax, Xopo, WUB, Mrs. Devo - generate your tunes, randomly!

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Gonna Have Myself a Time

South Park first came out when I was at university, and I quite enjoyed it, but mostly for yelling "beefcake" a lot. I didn't watch it regularly until last semester, and am now utterly obsessed. The creators' unrelenting vitriol, and merciless treatment of everyone, is glorious, and pokes equal humiliation at everyone, left and right wing alike.

But last night was particularly wonderful. If you didn't watch, Cartman somehow ends up teaching kids in an inner city high school - none of whom, obviously, are white. Cartman teaches them how to succeed - by cheating like white people. Bill Belichick is his exemplar for the students.

The key moment for me, however, was when a Latina runs out of the classroom, crying because "it's pointless." Why? Because she was pregnant, and she therefore couldn't go to college - . she couldn't have an abortion, because she's Catholic. Cartman's response - but why shouldn't you cheat here? An abortion is the ultimate cheating of a life in your belly. And white girls will have no compulsion about cheating that mistake so that they can go to college and have careers, education, and get ahead.

What is scary is that so often anti-choicers will have abortions, arrange them for their daughters, but think of their situations as exceptions, not those women like this student. And they'll deny this schoolgirl's right to get funding for an abortion, who they will teach about contraception - thanks to the powerful, almost exclusively white folks who voted for Title X, and for the Hyde Amendment, and Abstinence-Only Education. That's cheating, in an abominable way.

Also genius: Mr. Garrison is back! And all thanks to the pregnant man on Oprah...

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Swing, Batta, Swing

Yesterday was my first attendance at the ball of base. It was Shea Stadium's last opening day - CitiField is next door and already looking pretty good, and much better than old Shea - I'd not thought about it much before, but it really does seem shabby in comparison.

But then the Mets.... sigh. Let's hope they do something worthy of filling such a stadium (WITH SHAKE SHACK!). Yesterday was not a good start, really - very little hitting, getting on base or hustling at bat; and the bullpen looks disastrous. So disappointing. I've seen them win twice or thrice, at most, live, in the four years I've been going. I'm clearly bad luck. So Friday doesn't bode well for them mets, either.

Still, there's something about being outside all day, beer, yelling, cheering, and hundreds of peanuts - even if it is an outrageous $8 for fricking budweiser. And going for an awesome, very highly rated bacon cheeseburger on the way home... Next time - pollo mesoaméricano...

Friday, April 04, 2008

Catty Friday: 1

It's Friday, I don't really know what to blog about, but I'm bored of the bad stuff. And my cats are, frankly, the cutest things alive, so may as well go with them.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Lou Dobbs is a Wanker

This title is unsurprising to most of you, I'm sure.

Nonetheless, if you haven't seen his telling Condeleeza Rice that her experience as a black woman is inauthentic, calling her a cotton-picker - then you should.

Just when we thought some progress in the dialogue - if not the reality - was happening.

I will have some more cheerful posts. Honestly. But people do seem rather to be trying to thwart me.

Here is what Racialicious has to say, and it's much smarter than anything I've got.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Resolved in March

  1. Done!
  2. Not great at all - 28.7% and I have been pathetically lazy. This also includes spring break, though, which was somewhat indulgent. However, I have been running more, and I'm up to 9 mins run, 1 walk, three times, which is great and slowly but surely, my knee is getting stronger and I'm getting better at running. All this is designed to deflect you from my lack of work on the body fat business.
  3. Well, a bit of boogying at Ghostland Observatory, and this Friday Optimo is planned. I also had a bit of a dance on the Hen Weekend - in awesomely ludicrous shoes - so some done. But not really.
  4. Classic movies not really happened - we're halfway through The Godfather: Part II, but that's about it. However, we have plans. Oh yes, we have plans. I have instead managed to see an awful lot of dross in the past few weeks, which reminds me that even if I don't watch the classics all the time, I watch better movies than: How to Lose a Guy in Ten Days; The Wedding Date (for the SECOND time, no less); My Best Friend's Wedding. Ugh.
  5. Read Bleak House, which was my Dickens for the winter. And yes, it is still winter here, I reckon (today's low - 33F), although it was 85F in Vegas and Pasadena where I did most of the reading of this. It was really, extraordinarily good. I loved it. I also read The Book of Daniel, which was... interesting, and also another Walter Mosley, Black Betty, which I think are classics.
  6. Yes. But only because I... took advantage of their availability from functions at school. Still, three new vases out of it, so no excuse, because we have all sorts in which we can put new They're pretty, though. The cats liked them.
  7. Now, I'm having trouble remembering, but I know I've made something new. I know it! I made peppered steaks, which were yummy, and particularly good with them were the sweet potato pancakes, which are incredibly easy and will be done in the future.
  8. Hmm, no museum, no classic cinema, nothing that cultural. I did go and look at the exquisite "landscaping" in the Bellagio in Vegas, however... Does gambling count as cultural activity?

Tuesday, April 01, 2008


I have discovered my mission for the next ten months or so: Convince so-called liberals that John McCain is really, really, REALLY not going to be a good candidate. I'm mildly (to say the least) obsessed with it.

Reality Check's podcast this week pointed out that with all the kerfuffle over Barack Obama's pastor, maybe we could direct a little attention towards the man that John McCain calls a "spiritual adviser," one Ron Parsley. Ron Parsley is another dreadful human being trying to claim that Planned Parenthood is committing a genocide against black women (death toll = 1500 per day, apparently), compares Planned Parenthood to the KKK (no - really), wants to destroy Islam and anything that progressives cherish.

People are starting to point out the hypocrisy of the media for not touching him yet attacking Jeremiah Wright - like this on his "free pass" - but it's not enough. It needs to be in the mainstream. And, more importantly, it needs to go out to self-proclaimed moderates and liberals - these are not even moderate positions. Yet nothing, nothing, nothing is said except in the liberal media. So, self-importantly, tell your friends and make sure it's not just a few of us who can't vote that realise this. PLEASE!