Wednesday, December 28, 2011

A Rural View

I am very, very, very much a city dweller. Don't worry, some of my best friends are country-loving folk. But I love people, bustling around; buildings. When friends and I discuss the places we most want to visit, mine are generally cities - Istanbul, Rio, Buenos Aires, Cracow, St. Petersburg - and theirs are often expanses, landscapes, without people.

Nonetheless, I adore riding trains, particularly the route from London to Sheffield, where I am visiting Dr. TOH's family, because England is so bloody pretty. Not awesome, not spectacular - no giant deserts or mountains or things on an American scale - but spectacularly pretty. It is breathtaking - rolling green hills, with hedgerows and farming equipment scattered around; chocolate box houses, sometimes clustered in small hamlets; horses idling grazing, cows loitering; barges along canals; kestrels hovering overhead. Perhaps because of the milder temperatures here - although it's still ludicrously warm in New York - I think winter is more becoming to the English landscape than that of the northeastern seaboard in the United States. That becomes very brown and scrubby, where here it seems more suitable, somehow, with the smaller, closed skies.

My brother will be heading northward to the north west of Scotland, where he now lives, and I am extremely envious of that journey. The light and the greens and soft greys and blues of Scottish landscape are yet another thing I've not seen enough of, but I have wonderful memories of from the few times I've been to Scotland.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Wired Out

Finally, finally, TOH and I finished The Wire last night. I searched my old blogging history to work out just how long we've been watching it. Definitely since before February, 2008, when I posted this - we'd already finished Season 1 at that stage. Ulp. So I think about four years. In Netflix DVD fees, I'm pretty certain that we could have bought it for less, seeing as it's available for under $150 on Amazon right now. Although we borrowed the series from people, so we weren't renting it that whole time. But still - a tad embarrassing to go through it so slowly.

There's not much to say, really - an extraordinary tv programme that rarely descended into sentiment or schmaltz, and treated its viewers with the intelligence they deserved. Other than the final episode, which I guess could be forgiven some self-indulgence, there were not meaningful cityscape shots, sunsets; no black bag American Beauty-style moments. The show allowed you, the viewer, to work out ambiguities and unfairness and beauty. Although many have slated the final season - Gus really was too good to be true; his "failings" of loyalty and stubbornness were, in fact, virtues - I loved the unraveling and the sense of continuity. The way that you could feel affection for a cold blooded murderer, but loathe a weaselly political staffer who did no physical violence to anyone.

It has to be said that I am now extremely excited about the prospect of other tv shows and using our netflix dvd for movies, not heavy hitting drama series. Bring on The Killing!

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Rider to the Rescue

So, I'm not a massive fan (i.e. at all) of Adele's music, but I get why people like it; it just does nothing for me. And she doesn't like tomatoes in sandwiches - what's wrong with her? Crazy fool. But I loved reading her tour rider and working out what I'd put on mine. So here goes:
  • Satsumas
  • Terra Blue potato crisps (seriously, these things are like crack)
  • Kettle for boiling water (she got that right!), Yorkshire tea, and non-homogenized milk
  • Toast & marmite making material (with non-US butter)
  • Crudites - cucumber, carrot, celery - & hummus
  • iPad with Worms Armageddon and Angry Birds HD (all three forms) on it
  • Fizzy water
  • Playing cards & poker chips
  • Pen & paper
  • Variety of wine: Spanish rose; Alto Adige or AlbariƱo for white; and a Nero D'avola/Barbera Asti
  • Hendricks gin & dry vermouth; cucumber (for garnish)
  • Peep Show/Psych/Scrubs/Veronica Mars/Father Ted on dvd.

Sunday, December 04, 2011


Today was the second of my attempts to re-train my gait to see if midfoot striking (outside ball of the foot) helps me run. Today definitely went better than last time. Maybe it was because I knew a bit more about what my foot form was supposed to be (mucho googling when I should have been working this morning revealed foot pointing forward in dorsiflexed form, ball striking lightly under the weight of the body, heel striking little, if any), maybe it was because I wore my knee brace, or maybe it was because my calves were a little stronger and muscle memory knew what to expect. Who knows. I'm not 100% sure about it - and not even 75% sure I'm doing it right - but it does seem to be going a bit better. Tuesday will be the next attempt. I'll keep you posted; do try to concentrate on your own lives until then.