Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Missing Out

While bombing around California last week, I noted a whole new range of fast food places that I had never experienced - and, indeed, that added to my list of American foodstuffs that I have never encountered (along with American bands & tv shows that just didn't make it over in Britain). It always fascinates me to learn what traversed the pond and those that stayed firmly in the US. For example, we had The Cosby Show and The Golden Girls (although not in those prime time slots that were here - 6pm, Channel 4 was their place), but not Full House. We got all those archaic sci-fi shows (Lost in Space and Land of the Giants in their Sunday morning slots - again, Channel l 4!), and of course Flipper. But tons of other American references just pass by me... It's really intriguing. But here is a list of staple American foodstuffs that I have not had - yet.
  • A blizzard from Dairy Queen
  • Twinkies
  • Ring Dings / Ho Hos and all those strange synthetic sweet cake things
  • A whopper from Burger King*
While we were out and about I did manage to get my chops around the amazing King Taco. If you're in or near L.A., you MUST go there. It might even be more essential than In-N-Out.** And I LOVE In-N-Out (double double animal style had on Saturday, thanks for asking). It was cheap and glorious - and like proper Mexican food - at least it was according to the Mexican with whom we went. If you somehow get yourselves there, go for the al pastor tacos (at least two!), cheese & jalapeno tamales and a carne asada sope.

* This is in part due to my long-term vegetarian status; I hadn't had a Big Mac until two years ago at the airport in L.A. while waiting for a connecting flight to Vegas.

** This, by the way, was the best April Fools' Day joke I've seen for a long time. Us poor old New Yorkers would kill for it to be here. But that would take away some of the magic, I reckon. Like Top Shop at home - I like certain things to be limited to keep them as a special treat. I've not ventured to the US top shop and, probably won't.

Friday, April 09, 2010

The Questionnaire

Ye gods. I love Mary, I really do, but her answers to the Guardian's Q&A feature fall into many hackneyed and, frankly, dull answers. Such comes with people who have undergone a "spiritual awakening," sadly enough (although of course I am very very happy that she is happy these days). So I thought I would, aided by a red stripe, complete my one:

When were you happiest?
Last night at the LCD Soundsystem gig* gets pretty close (see also Arcade Fire/LCD Soundsystem gig on Randall's Island a couple of years ago, just dancing my brains out with TOH). Our holiday in Hawaii last year might be a contender: hot tub, fresh papaya daiquiris, and no one to bother us - anywhere.

What is your greatest fear?
Losing TOH.

What is your earliest memory?
Eating ice cream as a very young child. And then it skips forward to being in a horse-drawn cart in Ireland somewhere with my mum and dad.

What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?
Loudness and inability to think before I speak. Utter self-absorption, too.

What is the trait you most deplore in others?
Ill manners (ha!) and hypocrisy (see the Republican party, Glenn Beck, ugh).

What is your most treasured possession?
My beautiful camera which was a gift from TOH last year for my milestone birthday. [NB: Mary said "my life." yep, she did]

What would your super power be?

What makes you unhappy?
Spurs losing; being so far away from my family; not having been to Barcelona for six years.

What is your most unappealing habit?
There are far too many to compile here. No, really.

What is your favourite smell?
Chips. And I mean proper ones, covered in salt & vinegar, on a cold winter's day. Yum yum yum. Second: hyacinths in spring.

What is your favourite word?
Discombobulate is glorious.

What is your guiltiest pleasure?
I read recaps of The Biggest Loser every single Wednesday morning.

What do you owe your parents?
Owe is a strange word, but I am a pretty secure, happy, confident person with a very strong internal sense of wrong and right but with, mostly (I hope!) the ability to not judge people for living by a different code. And that's because they are wonderful.

What would be your fancy dress costume of choice?
A banana. Oh no, wait, that's for the cats.

What is the worst thing anyone's said to you?
You're Australian, right?

To whom would you most like to say sorry, and why?
To my parents, for living so far from home and for not being great at communicating regularly.

What or who is the love of your life?
TOH (NB this answer does NOT indicate I believe in "The One" or other stupid concepts that are designed to make people feel bad about not having attained "The One")

What was the best kiss of your life?
No one cares. And of course, it was with TOH.

Have you ever said "I love you" and not meant it?
Yes. But that's normally to the tv or people who have just done me a favour.

Who would you invite to your dream dinner party?
TOH (duh!); my mate Adam (raconteur par excellence); David Attenborough and... goodness knows who else. Hugh Laurie.**

What is the worst job you've done?
I've not really had a terrible job. Boring, yes, but nothing so terrible that I hated the specific tasks. Pretty lucky in that respect.

What has been your biggest disappointment?
Well, I liked the second season of The Wire, so not that, unlike some people. Spurs' complete and utter failure to reach the Champions League is bad - that season where we missed out on the final day of the season was godawful. And England's performances against Australia basically from 1987 to 2005 - particularly our failure to ever get Ian Healy out.

If you could go back in time, where would you go?
To last night, and I would do that LCD gig all over again.

When did you last cry, and why?
During Someone Great last night (nb: it is about parental death, and a good friend's father died yesterday - I'm not a complete sap).

What single thing would improve the quality of your life?
My knee working again so that I could run and play football again.

What do you consider your greatest achievement?
My fringe.

What song would you like played at your funeral?
It's so hard to not have a cliched one here. But I think All My Friends by LCD Soundsystem would get close. Also: Chime by Orbital, and Forth and Back by Slum Village. There's not enough dancing, and I love the idea that any grandkids could not believe I used to dance to that stuff.

How would you like to be remembered?
With copious amounts of alcohol and laughter.

What is the most important lesson life has taught you?
Don't wear the wrong day-of-the-week socks (i.e. Tuesday on a Thursday) - something bad will happen.

* Check out the fourth picture down - the eagle-eyed of you will spot an out-of-focus me in the background talking to a dude we know that we randomly bumped into, plus a couple of my lovely friends are standing at the bar on the left of the pic).

** Because he is a "national treasure" this of course automatically includes Stephen Fry for all British folk.

Monday, April 05, 2010


Spring has, officially, sprung. So says I. The baseball season started yesterday (thank you, Hideki Okajima, for getting a win, putting me top of my fantasy baseball so that I haven't given up on it just yet - it happens earlier each year), and we spent several hours slumped on a blanket enjoying the sun in Prospect Park while people all around us flew kites, played cricket (although they didn't even chuck, they just straight out threw the ball), and played annoying hipster hybrids of volleyball and basketball with a giant beach ball. Luckily for my rage buttons, we were nowhere near bongo players, and just had to put up with some light strumming of a guitar (by a group of young folk who spent roughly an hour discussing a) hair straighteners and b) how much they loathed Taylor Swift. I am shallow, but not that shallow).

TOH was here for all of spring break, and we ate incredibly well, culminating last night in our second making of this in a week - absolutely spectacular. We don't cook fish that often, but this was amazing. Other new recipes tried out this week: a glorious, relatively healthy version of laksa, a lemon-chili baked chicken, and a Basque-style chicken casserole. Yum yum yum. We also saw the sprouting of all our various planted seeds, so thinning out will take place this week as we strive to keep them healthy and alive. But it's finally happening. I'm going to post on the growth in the garden and seed table later this week, with photos, but it is just utterly thrilling to see things slowly emerge and grow.

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Two Brilliant Things That Make Me Happy

First: I think this video is amazing, I love the song, and she rocks. I've heard a ton about Janelle Monae, and then my friend posted a link to this - it's awesome.

Second: Have you seen hipster puppies? It is amazing. It makes me chuckle every single day. Dogtaches are