Sunday, December 16, 2007


Tomorrow, I'll fly home to Chicago for the holidays. Things I'm looking forward to (aside from family/friends, of course):

*Watching the ref at least 3 times, per my family's christmas tradition.
*Birthday cake...with mom, with dad, with friends, I can count on at least 3 in my immediate future. whee.
*twinkly Michigan Avenue
*cold walks with my dogs
*documentary on the Helvetica font at the Gene Siskel film centre. YEAH.
*wandering wicker park with ryan, pool & beer in pubs
*horse-back riding with my aunt
*snow........???? I came out of Harrod's yesterday and for a full 5 minutes, twilit Knightsbridge went a-glow with snow flurries. all of the tourists gaped open-mouthed at the sky, pointing and exclaiming. I texted my friends to let them know it was snowing, but no one else saw it. Unless it was some magical winter wonderland PR stunt, I swear it happened, though of course I did not have my camera with me. It was pretty magical, and was over by the time I walked to the tube station.

beautiful primrose hill.

Christmas (chrimbo) feast at mark's party last nite. i learned what BREAD SAUCE is (behind the brussel sprouts), and jesus christ, it's fucking delicious. also i had parsnips for the first time, which were LIFE-CHANGING.

an entire store dedicated to ukuleles. awesome.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

deadweight on velveteen

One week to go, and Christmas parties every nite....

Believe it or not, Big Ben. London on my night-tripping camera.

Trafalgar Square tree-lighting ceremony! We couldn't hear anything, and could barely see thru the crowd, but 'twas a glorious sight when the Norway-donated tree went all-a-twinkle.

My new favorite 30-pence meal.


Tuesday, December 11, 2007

empty as a pocket / with nothing to lose

I met some friends at a pub tonight, ordered a bowl of hummous for dinner for 2 quid and told the bartender I didn't need the bread on the side, because it costed an extra pound.

"Wait, really? You sure? You don't want the bread? At all?"

Instead, we scooped the hummous with a leftover baguette from breakfast that was still in my bag, covertly ripping off little pieces and spreading it around the table, one watchful eye on the servers. Stealthy Broke Graduate Student Hummous tastes way better than the regular kind.


hahahaha several viewings later....ah god. so brilliant. Since I don't get how to upload a video on here, just go here. And laugh.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Ahem. Prezzies.

I'm now obsessed with Bona Drag.
I want every item on this website, forreals. Their photo styling is brilliant, and I covet their lovely models' hair.

Look at and love this rad plum jumper by Mooka Kinney, a design duo whose rogue-meets-girly jumpers I've been coveting for awhile:

Um, I want nothing more for my upcoming birthday than this dress. Not even money to eat nicer things than tinned baked beans when I get back to London after break! I would RATHER HAVE THIS DRESS THAN FOOD. Mom, you reading this?? Take heed. Someone make this dress mine and make me into the prettiest party ballerina there ever was!

A Momentous Occasion

TODAY MARKS THE FIRST TIME IN 3 WEEKS THAT I CAN FULLY HEAR OUT OF BOTH OF MY EARS!!!!!!! Huzzah! This has been the longest-running cold of ALL TIME.

I even called the NHS helpline this morning to see if the nurses could affirm my suspicion that I am, indeed, going deaf. The constant underwater swimming sensation in my clogged ears have shifted from right ear to left, not to mention the nose keeps on a-running like it's the god damned Boston Marathon up in this piece.

Apparently, that friendly nurse has magical trans-telephone-wire-healing powers, because a few hours after she gave me the illuminating advice to see a doctor again or continue taking Sudafed until the cold was over, my ears finally fully popped and I could HEAR AGAIN.

Tra-la-la! Now I don't feel guilty about going to see what's sure to be a very loud concert tomorrow nite, courtesy of the Klaxons & Simian Mobile Disco. The Klaxons requested that glowsticks not be brought to the concert, and any glowsticks found at entry will be confiscated. Hahahhaha. Guess they don't want to be known as a Nu-Rave band anymore.

Can't wait for eyemakeup and shiny clothing antics tomorrow nite. Whee.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007


Hello. I'm on a 17-hour, 600-page showdown with Ulysses right now, so I don't have time to write much but I thought I'd share a photo via ms. meg of our expat Thanksgiving. Notice the central feature being enjoyed by all (well, definitely by meg & me): RAINBOW CHIP FROSTING. yessss. No meal is complete without it, people.

also, betwixt Joyce reading bouts, I'm loving this little ditty from Gawker on our crushing our lost generation's dreams.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

We haven't located us yet.

I've been anticipating its release for months, and tonite I was finally able to see it: The Darjeeling Limited. Wes Anderson had me at "hello" with Rushmore, and I've loved his follow-ups, though the Royal Tenenbaums was far superior than the Life Aquatic. He blends color, music, and the perfectly quirky frame like no other contemporary director, and in my opinion, this script trumpeted the rest. I'm a sucker for an indie film about familial relations, and he just totally & completely won me over with this one, so much that I had tears of life-affirming happiness by the last shot.

Jason Schwartzman, Owen Wilson, and Adrien Brody won my heart while playing out Anderson's favorite theme of sibling rivalry and dealing with their experience of being abandoned by their parents. Natalie Portman shines in a lovely short film leading up to the Darjeeling Limited. She's so effing beautiful it's ridiculous. In sum, it's my new favorite and I can't wait to see it 18 more times, because I'm obsessive like that. It will make your heart smile. I think I was smiling during the entire film, actually. : )

It helps that it was shot in India, which has been my fantasy-land for as long as I can remember. I'm trying to plot my way to get there sometime next year, as this movie made me long to go there more than I've felt since Mira Nair's Monsoon Wedding, another favorite of mine.
I was Indian in another life, it is certain. I feel a strange affinity to the country's music, literature, language, colors, writers, and photographers.

Photography of Raghubir Singh, my favorite photographer, who captures India's light and rich primary colors in a way that makes me sigh with happiness.

the cracked lookingglass of a servant

My days since Spain have been filled with trying to get over a sickness I picked up over the nights there of no sleep and too much drink.

I love a good sick day in bed, I won't lie, but it's all a different game when you're sick for seven days in bed, and when you're in a foreign country and so your mommy's not there to make you tea, orange juice, pick up the remote off the floor when you drop it, and generally pander to every wish. Hauling myself to the ER (or A&E here, "Accident & Emergency") with a fever, clogged ear, and a sore throat with difficulty swallowing, after just an hour and a half wait, the NHS was kind enough to have a doctor examine me and give me a pack of penicillin, all for freeeeeeeee!!!! Brilliant.

Anyway, thanks to penicillin, 36 hours later I was feeling tip-top. I had a great week of seminars on Ezra Pound & Hitchcock, and lovely socializing with mates from my program.

Thursday evening, Rebecca had a bunch of us over for a Thanksgiving feast, which was an improvised riff on a traditional T-day. There was roast chicken, sliced potatoes, apple&sage boxed stuffing, green beans, yorkshire pudding with jelly bears inside of them, and for dessert, RAINBOW CHIP FROSTING, brought all the way from America that very day by Rebecca's saintly friend.

Saturday was yoga & a trek out to Wimbledon to have a thanksgiving feast with Meg & Ben. We made mashed potatoes FROM SCRATCH, and the rest we sort of...heated up. More delicious boxed stuffing, a lot of Whole Foods pre-made tofu & quiches & whatnot (they don't get their Tofurkey until Christmastime here, phooey), brioche rolls, gravy, mm, gravy.

Delicious English yuletide log thing of mint ice cream...the name escapes me now, starts with a "V." Verdict: DELICIOUS. X-Factor in the background. O, Simon Cowell & Sharon Osborne, I love you!

Lovely twilit Wimbledon:
All in all, I'm feeling healthy again, and two Thanskgiving dinners in one week: not bad, not bad at all.

Today's lazy Sunday will be filled with listening to NPR online, which makes me feel happy & closer to home, more Ulysses, which is holding a strange charm over me, yoga, and tonight: the EAGERLY-anticipated (by me, anyway) new Wes Anderson film, Darjeeling Limited. Yessssss.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007


I'd been to Barcelona once before, with my mom & diane, and discovered cultural spain. This time, however, I discovered la EspaƱa verdadera, and let me tell you, it's got nada to do with museums.

It's about tapas in the late afternoons, naps at 8 o'clock in the evening, dinners until 2 in the morning, and dancing 'til dawn. And being totally & utterly useless the next day. How do the Spanish do it? I'm not sure, because as soon as the plane landed in London yesterday, I thought I was going to be deaf after the pressure in my newly congested head. I've spent the day in bed, sleeping and fucking around on the internet, trying to rest up and get healthy again. Six straight days of partying and debauchery is quite the wear and tear on the old system, and I hadn't been dancing til dawn since...well, the last time I was in Europe, 2 years ago.

I think Americans get their parties started at a more reasonable time because we want to make the most out of our days and our nights. Sure, we'll get drunk and party, but the next day, we've got errands, we've got work, we've got people to meet up with, shopping to indulge in, exercise to do, dogs to walk! Our weekends are not just for taking it easy. It took me until around 8pm to work off our hangovers, and then it was time to do it all again. AWESOME.

I asked this one Spanish girl, "so, did you go out last night?"
"No, I just had beers with friends until about 3 in the morning."
I laughed. "Wait, you don't consider that going out?"
::cue spanish laughter::
"Ay, americanos! No, that's not going out!"
Of course, of course...unless you're still awake when the next day breaks, it's nothing.

My first day in Barcelona, I walked around while Juan worked, strolling down Las Ramblas, where everyone gathers to gawk at tourists and locals alike, and down the labyrinthine alleyways that meander away from it. I went in and out of shops, I saw a photography exhibit on anti-war spain, i got coffee, i got kicked out of h&m for carrying my coffee, i bought my aunt a christmas present, i got more stares at my Hansel from Basel socks than i've ever gotten from any other item of clothing I've ever worn, even my insanely ugly cobalt blue-bowed ankle boots never garnered as much attention as these bad boys with the knee circles:

tapas: (manchego cheese, tomato bread, tortilla espanol, sardines, mussels, goat cheese-stuffed pimentos...)

Then I went to the MACBA with juan when he got off of work, barcelona's renowned contemporary art museum.
beloved bruce nauman:

juan & his lovely coworker elena & i went out to our friend from grenoble maria's birthday dinner.
wuv, twue wuv:

then we went to Hot Chip's DJ set at the apollo, this beautiful old theatre converted into a dance club for the evening......they put on a great set, and they're so adorable!
Hot Chip:

Sunday, shaky with no sleep and lots of hangover, i hopped on a 4-hour long train ride to Madrid to visit ms. anna. Oh, there is nothing in the world like old friends!!!! How lovely it was to have someone who knew everything about me, to be able to talk to someone as easily as you can with someone you've known for 10 years. wow. 10 years. that's insane.

best translation i've ever seen.

We went to a museum, we chatted in cafes, we ate delicious tapas, and then we danced, danced, danced, danced...we met a group of sexy italian guys in a 17th century palace-turned-dance club who pulled their instruments out of the coat check and serenaded us with flutes, accordions, and traditional french/italian songs, truly one of the most surreal and cinematic moments of my life.

It's moments like those I live for. One of the men told us about his friend:
"Il chasse toujours les emotions tres fort."
He is always chasing the strongest feelings.
And I thought to myself, "Me, too."

At dawn, we returned to my hostel and slept the morning away, until it was time for a goodbye at the metro station, and I left feeling simultaneously invigorated and exhausted.