Thursday, May 29, 2008

me = grumpy old woman

I was an at Important Academic Event today and something happened that rather annoyed me. So, as is usual, I'm laying it out here.

It was a seminar-type situation where one person was presenting. There were a couple of professors and junior scholars, including a good friend of the presenter. When it came to Q&A, the Good Friend kept on finishing the presenter's lines/arguments and jumping in when she (presenter) was asked a challenging question or asked to follow up/explain.

It got to the point that the presenter looked at Good Friend, GF jumped in and voila! Later, GF was making a lot of comments about how "tough" the presenter had had it and how the Q&A was unfair.

I was wondering what academics or academics-in-training would make of this? I found it insulting but then I'm the sort to prefer making an arse out of myself solo (and have a regrettable tendency to become highly sarcastic when publicly-challenged/pushed). But, still, I can understand a supervisor/advisor helping out if/when their student is under fire* but a Friend? Especially one who jumped in without the presenter actually being in trouble?

* I'd like to make it clear, though, the general view was the the Presenter was not under fire and the questions, while wankerish in their repetition, were straightforward ones, asking for clarification.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008


"Why, hello there, Fanny. Why don't you come on up?"

(Clive Owen, Rome, May 27. Image via Bauer-Griffin via Jezebel.]

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

moving on

Earlier this weekend I was thinking deep profound thoughts about friends and friendship. I realised that the friends I hang out with these days do rather different things to those I used to hang out with a year or two ago. It's as though I've reverted to my (usual) self--my time at uni and work overseas--a time before I came to the USA. A time when I refused to set foot in anything resembling a "club" or a "lounge", a time when I hung out watching football (and other sports) in dark, seedy pubs at odd hours of the day, a time when I hung out with people who have "game days/nights" (with the "game" in question being board games or video games), a time when I go watch films and plays with people (and end up in a pub after, discussing those).

I also realised that I have two groups of friends: one, people I keep in touch with via email (or, now, through Facebook) and whom I've known for over a decade and who seem to visit me at odd times and places (I had a vistor last weekend, a friend I'd not seen in nearly 4 years). The other group is friends I've just recently acquired--most of them in the past year. Sadly enough, apart from Fanny*, most of my friends from the years-in-between seem to have dropped out of touch and/or are living elsewhere.

I wonder if that means I've somehow become stable and set in this place where everyone is transient? I wonder if that means I should look into moving on elsewhere?

* Fanny doesn't get the luxury of not being in touch since, apart from us here, I also invite myself to her place every once in a while. Next month, for instance.


The previous post was the 100th for Fanny and I, btw. I didn't realise till just now. If I (we) had, I (we) might have put forth something profound and thought-provoking. Or so I tell myself.

In the meantime, it's been over 85 degrees (Fahrenheit, of course) here and I've wandered down to the stadium to watch my first DC United match this season.

Where I saw this (see right). Where had he been in my past few visits to RFK stadium, I wonder?

Saturday, May 24, 2008

The Road

I, like many others, was one of the people who didn't believe Viggo would make a good Aragorn. I preferred Sean Bean, just because I'd seen his work before and, hey, Sean Bean! and yet was a Viggo-fan by the end of LOTR.

What extent of a fan, yous ask? Well, I've watched Hidalgo more than once.

So, I'm rather excited about The Road (pic above). I liked the book though I'm curious as to how things will change in the film.

Friday, May 23, 2008


Now, I've been thinking I really should have woken up earlier to work on my thesis.

Now, I've been thinking that having a "late lunch" shouldn't mean eating your first meal of the day at 325pm.

Now, I've been thinking it would be nice if Fanny were here in my town so I could drag her to watch a film/hang out and do something this evening.

Now, I've been thinking the day has turned out lovely (bright sunshine, a cool breeze) and I'm sat indoors writing on the computer.

Now, I've been thinking I should have accepted the BBQ invite I got a few hours back (instead of the dinner invite I ended up deciding on)

Now, I've been thinking that three years is too long not to see my parents.

Now, I've been thinking I should really get off my arse and start doing some daily exercise (and not just lift pint glasses as I watch soccer).

Now, I've been thinking I should confess I voted for American Idol on Tuesday.

Now, I've been thinking this list is getting too bloody long and yet I have lots of things I could add to it.

But not now.

Now, I reckon I'll go sit outside in the backyard for a few moments and will do the daily crossword.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008


I've had this recurring thought. I'm not sure I'm meant for this life.

This isn't a mid-life crisis or existential crisis or dissatisfaction with what I've got going on. I'm quite satisfied with what I've got going on, more or less. It's not angst-driven.

It's more like thinking that if I didn't have these parents, if I hadn't made these decisions, I would be an entirely different person. I would be a tattooed up baker, in a large city who wore matte red lipstick everyday and had blunt cut bangs. I would be a jeweler at the sea, with long skirts, dirty feet and unwashed, ass-length hair in messy braids. I would be a writer in a garret, thriftstore chic and smoking foreign cigarettes. I would be someone else.

If I had more courage, more conviction, would I be more comfortable in my skin? Happier? Thinking that if I had different parents, made different decisions I would be the therapist with shiny lipgloss, many shoes and many cashmere cardigans?

I don't know. It's like peering into the looking glass, seeing something that was/is possible if not for the decisions made I didn't even know I was making. Possibilities out there that may not be better possibilities that what I have now, but different ones all the same. It's a disconcerting feeling, deep in my belly, that those possibilities are out there and I would be someone else.

I think I would like to know her. She sounds like fun.

(Apologies for the dramatic use of italics. That's how it sounds in my mind.)

World domination... Asian girl* at a time.

Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism Minister Tetsuzo Fuyushiba, center, poses with South Korean singer Younha and kimono-clad Hello Kitty holding certificates they received at his office in Tokyo, Monday, May 19, 2008. THE ASSOCIATED PRESS/Koji Sasahara

Obviously, we* are all very excited.

*Us Asian girls (women?), don't you know.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

(almost) friday frivolity: no more football

So, the English Premiership season is over. Liverpool, as always, didn't challenge for the title, lost in the semis of the Champions League and are in the midst of uncertainty about what's happening with their owners (who are fighting among themselves).

But, there's hope. Here's Xabi Alonso giving his opinion on quite a few things. I love the furrowed brow look and the confusion over "mushy peas or gravy"

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Life decisions.

I love this article.

I wanted to be Indiana Jones. I realize now that I am not terribly original.

Indy's main value in the academic world has been as an inspiration to aspiring archaeologists, said Zimansky, who noticed a spike in new students in the early 1990s while teaching at Boston University.

"If you asked these people why they were becoming archaeologists, it always starts off with Indiana Jones. It actually converted a number of people. They got their initial interest in archaeology from Indiana Jones," Zimansky said.

But, you know, I had to learn the hard way. I had to go and get the degree.

The reality of archaeological field work is not a lone hero dashing into hidden chambers with a bullwhip and a pistol and coming away with a priceless relic. It's large groups of academics and students painstakingly sifting through grids to retrieve artifacts as mundane as pottery fragments.

I had to sit for 8-10 hours a day, soaking, cleaning, brushing, cataloging tiniest bits of flotsam, because maybe! Just maybe! That bit of flotsam was a link to the Lower XiaJiaDian, and would tell us about these people, who were not unlike you and me. That little bit of pottery would lead the way to Important! Discoveries! To! Mankind! So I better handle it carefully and who cares if my hands were sunk in muddy water so much, they stopped wrinkling up? I was making Important! Discoveries!

Except my mind kind of went numb. The red-tape and rigmarole and ass-kissing and permits and politesse was just crushing the life out my dreams.

So I went away and became something else and have learned to like it. With no where near the fervency and love and zeal as I did for archaeology, but that's okay. I can still have uncrushed dreams.

But sometimes I would really like to wear a fedora and sit with my hands in muddy water for hours at a time, handling jumbled pieces from a very long time ago.

mid-week mmm

Just came back from seeing Redbelt. Loved it-cheesiness and all. Especially loved how many times Mr. Ejiofor managed to take his top off.

FYI: Nicked the "midweek mmm" idea from here.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

best(est) thing ever

aka "Vampires are made of win"

So much so that a famous professorial type has noticed the trend in vampire-ish books and has blogged about it.

Of course, most of the commenters seem like pretentious wankers (FYI, people, vampires have been around forever. Hee. See? vampires! forever!!) and slag off vampire-ish books as though there were no variety among them.

I do like these comments though:

Comment 1: "I live in Portland, Oregon and recently overheard two Powell's employees discussing this phenomenon. One was explaining to his new-hire charge that "Supernatural Romance" is the largest growing, hottest selling category in fiction right now, a subgenre he described as "women committing every imaginable act of lust and perversion with vampires, werewolves, demons, Lovecraftian tentacled rape gods, basically anything you can imagine as long as it's not a normal human man."

(another person responds):"So, kind of like anime, then?"

Yay person no. 2! I like how science-y types seem to reckon anime and suchlike (comics, graphic novels) are oh-so-cool while, at the same time, being pretentious twats about this...the point being, you can find dreadfully-written books in any shape/style/genre.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Friday Frivolity: Google love.

These make me giggle. And waste time. Two very excellent things, and like a Reese's Peanut Butter Cup, even better together.

Type in the terms in the Google search box, hit "I'm Feeling Lucky."

  • google pirate
  • google ninja
  • google light
  • elgoog
  • google goth
  • google emo (This one is for the Bum.)
  • google black
  • google fudd
  • google pig latin
  • google 1337
  • google linux
  • google redneck
  • google klingon
  • google easter egg
  • google chuck norris
There are some others of questionable taste. Will not add those here. No Hello Kitty one yet.


Best. Thing. Ever.

Everyone knows I love The Hills, right? I've moved past my secret shame, my self-mocking shame, my cultural zeitgeist shame, and right into whole-hearted, affectionate love. Don't judge me.

So tonight was the finale. Which is a bizarre concept because who has finales of lives? Also, who makes such poor decisions in their lives?


There was a commercial for this (from Broadcasting & Cable):
MTV plans Exiled!, an eight-episode documentary series that will ship the mini-divas from its Super Sweet 16 series to indigenous tribes in far-off lands like Africa and Antarctica for the chance -- their parents hope -- of gaining an altered world view.
Basically, this seems like a big Fuck you, Princess.

I cannot wait. (Squueeeeeeee)

My fervent wish is that this will maybe be the beginning of an antidote to the materialistic, fame-mongering, elitist, unexamined life attitude that's so disturbingly pervasive (and please don't take this as proselytizing. Remember: I adore The Hills).

My dread is that this project will make these people look like jack-asses who manage to offend people around the world and objectify other world cultures into sideshows.

I live in hope.

food blogging

Participated in the first of what is going to be a recurring series of brunches today. The plan (such as there is) being that we all meet every couple of weeks, bring food/drinks and eat/drink our way through the day.

Today's food* consisted of potato and egg (do all of them have eggs? is that redundant?) frittata; spinach (Fanny would have approved ), cheese and eggs casserole thingy; kielbasa (Polish sausage thingy); an extremely yummy french toast (with raisins and berries); potato salad; bagels, cream cheese, salmon; homemade bread(s); cookies; various fruit dishes; homemade chocolate cookies; 4 bottles of champagnes (with associated fixings for mimosas and bellinis); vodka (with fixings for Bloody Mary); daiquiri (with fresh strawberries).

We sat around, ate and drank and talked about jobs, schooling, punctuation, films, media, and just general silliness. An excellent time was had by all.

Btw, no prizes for guessing my contribution to this endeavour**. In the future, though, I plan to make the only brekkie dish I do know how to make: pikelets.

I'll put up pictures if I can snag them off one of the others.

* I apologise here for my lack of knowledge of food names/compositions.
** Alcohol, of course.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

news you all should know

Finished grading. Went to catch up with news and found the BBC's "most read" story was this:

"Great tits cope well with warming"


Friday, May 09, 2008


I have recently become obsessed with spinach. I'm trying to find ways to stuff pounds of it into my body and I'm not sure why. Everything is better with spinach! Soup? Dump some spinach in! Eating pasta? Why, a little green would perk that right up! Any kind of meat? A bed of spinach would be so decorative!

Fascinated by the way it wilts down into itty-bitty nothingness. Think it's fantastic that I can buy a pound of it fresh and be perfectly comfortable eating they whole pound cooked. Find it fabulous that I can pretend I'm being terribly, terribly healthy by stuffing mass quantities of it down my throat.

Perhaps I have an iron deficiency. Which means I should go eat more spinach!

It started out with this lovely creamed spinach recipe from Ree the Pioneer Woman. It's completely snowballed from there.

Do you think this counteracts the Cheet-o addiction?

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

i kicked the cobblestones today...

...22,000 dead in a land far away
It seemed as though the world was going astray
So what do I do?
Walk around without a shoe*

And here's what happened:

I walked around barefoot**
I did walk barefoot
I’m sorry but it’s true

I walked around barefoot
Oh yes, I walked around barefoot
I didn’t put on any shoes

I walked around barefoot
On the street, on the floor,
On a carpet near the door
It was gross, it was neat
I was doing it with bare feet

I walked the streets without shoes
Oh yes, that's big news
While yous are drinking tonic and gin
I did this thing that was made of win?

I said I was walking with feet unshod
On the bus, on the metro, on the way over to uni
People stood, people stared
People thought I was a bit loony

Naked feet, naked soles
Traipsing up and down the ‘ments
Keep eyes down, keep them there
Otherwise beware

But, yes!
I walked around barefoot all day
No shoes, no sandals, that was my way
It was fun, it was odd
To see my feet, see them unshod

On the road, on the stairs,
Everywhere (if you care)
It was warm, there was no harm
On the grass, in the lift
While reading Jon Swift
In the cafe, on my trip
I had no flops, nor a flip

* Apologies to the Beatles
** Apologies to Sarah Silverman/Matt Damon


Monday, May 05, 2008

Slow down.

You move too fast
Got to make the morning last
Just kicking down the cobblestones
Looking for fun and feeling groovy

I am suspecting, in my incredibly profound way, that Bum and I need to kick down the cobblestones some more. What do people do to kick down the cobblestones, let alone feel groovy?

Busy, busy, busy.

All the time busy.

When did it become like this? When did we not have deadlines and looming obligations and stuff to do right now? I think I will blame academia.

It makes it easier for me, instead of looking to the culprit of poor time management and inability to say no. I have not, in almost a year, been able to carve out the time to visit Bum in the magical land of cherry blossoms and grotty, yummy Thai restaurants. There's something wrong with that.

But what can I say? The Hills is on.

next stop: cover of Vogue

Fanny's inspired me to do some non-fluffy blogging. Hopefully. But not now. Not this week when I have over 30 twenty-page papers to grade by Friday and a journal issue to finish editing (due to publishers' by next week, thanks) and a chapter to finish revising (due to advisor also by next week).

So what do I do when not wondering whether a quick trip to the local cave to be a hermit might not be a bad idea after all? I do online tests. I'm actually rather obsessed by online tests. I take them wherever and whenever I can. And, sometimes, they turn out funny.

Fanny will prob laugh her fanny off at this (I promise I didn't actually lie about any of the answers. I think the test is broken):

Catwalk God(ess)

64% Flamboyance, 67% Originality, 52% Deliberateness, 59% Sexiness

[Flamboyant Original Deliberate Sexy]

You know fashion inside out but you're far from being its slave. To you fashion is what you decide to wear. You've got great, if unconventional, taste and plenty of courage to put your ideas into practice, which inspires admiration; but few have guts to copycat you. I suppose it doesn't worry you because to you originality counts. You are self-confident, perhaps even arrogant, and consider a day wasted when no one gives you an interested or shocked look. Great job.

The opposite style from yours is Librarian [Tasteful Conventional Random Prissy].

All the categories: Librarian Sporty Hottie Office Master Uptown Girl/ Boy Brainy Student Movie Star Fashionista Glamorous Soul Fashion Enemy Bar Cruiser Kid Next Door Sex Bomb Hippie Kid Fashion Rebel Fashion Artist Catwalk God(ess)

This test tracked 4 variables. How the score compared to the other people's:
Higher than 87% on Flamboyance
Higher than 85% on Originality
Higher than 30% on Deliberateness
Higher than 67% on Sexiness

Link: The Fashion Style Test written by mari-e on Ok Cupid
View My Profile(mari-e)

Sunday, May 04, 2008


I read a lot. A lot.

Mostly it's fluffy fiction. So I don't have to think. I can just enjoy the narrative. Escapism? Yes, please.

I finished a book today around 2pm. 8 and a half hours later and I'm still thinking about it.

I went back and read the epilogue twice. Because the first time I read it, I was too disturbed by my interpretation. So I went back and bent the words into something more acceptable. I'm not sure I've ever done that before. My investment in the characters is such that I can't be at peace with my first reading. Too upsetting. Perfectly in line with the story, yes, but personally unacceptable to me.

I'm not really sure why I am so affected by this story. It's rough-edged and sometimes winding, but, goddamnit, I can't get it out of my mind. My heart aches for Sam and Deanie (Jesus.). It doesn't help that Deanie is like every abused, neglected kid that comes into my office. I've ordered the rest of the books in this world.

Tabitha King has put a vapor lock on my consciousness right now. I'll be around later.

Juvenile Humour Alert

But it's punctuation! and teh sex!!

Best of all, you can buy this on a t-shirt for less than $10.

Friday, May 02, 2008

even mermen sing his praises

I'm not entirely sure this will work but I hope it does...

"I thought that little swimsuit had you written all over it"

I did think of putting in either Fanny or my picture but Mr. Firth works much better, I reckon!

Thursday, May 01, 2008

when football is just not enough

So, I ended up at a Happy Hour gig yesterday with a mate who writes reviews for an online site, her friend who is a regular blogger (but about cool non Colin Firth Penis stuff), and a few other people, all involved in creative endeavours such as writing, journalisting and theatre-ing.

I don't remember much of the two hours I spent there except:
a) I was told I was "very cheerful. Not like you"
b) I patted a bloke on his arm a few times (no, I'd not met the bloke before)
c) I asked about wedding etiquette, we discussed shaving bits and pieces (consensus=boys shouldn't do it),
d) I recall someone taking their top off to show a (shaved) nipple.
e) I shamelessly pimped out Chiwetel Ejiofor, even though his new film is about grown men beating each other up.

All this was the result of my having spent the previous 3 hours, watching Liverpool lose in the most annoying style (oh WHY did they play like they had huge concrete blocks on their feet throughout the first half? WHY?) and now having to face the prospect of a Chelsea-Man Utd Champions League final.