webcowgirl: (Default)
At page 614 of Vanity Fair. I was too busy to read much today, though. First thing I did was spend some time writing up last night's trip to see Shunkin at the Barbican. Mental abuse, puppet sex, codependence, self-disfigurement-it was essentially perfect and I wound up not feeling so resentful about the extravagantly priced tickets.

Review done, I headed out the door at noon and met up with [livejournal.com profile] wechsler at the Market Coffee Shop in Spitalfields for lunch; then we wandered around a bit killing time before our scheduled tea time at the Teasmith shop. We were given about six kinds of tea paired with various sweets - it's all a bit of a blur though I remember Pi Lo Chun and whisked Matcha among the options.

After this we found ourselves with an hour on our hands and I was able to convince W to go in search of a few of the locations of Surround Me, a multi-sited art installation consisting of recordings of 17th century songs projected in 20th century locations, done in such a way to create the strange feeling of standing put while time moves backwards around you. I'd found one a few weeks back on my ill-fated trip to meet [livejournal.com profile] shadowdaddy for a movie at the Barbican: as it turns out, they are only "on" during the weekend. So it was a Saturday and we were in the city, so off W and I went off to Tokenhouse Yard, Change Alley, and then the northern underside of London Bridge to soak up some intense atmosphere. It was really very great, even though it was a bit disconcerting that most of the music was on a 10 minute loop, with a great deal of that being silence; but to be honest it made for a better effect having to wait and having all of that lack of noise surrounding it. I have two left to have heard the set; no real reason not to go tomorrow, I think, since they are only on during the weekends. I did a video recording at two of the spots:

Done, we headed to Gipsy Hill and [livejournal.com profile] lolliepopp's house, where we spent the next four hours eating, drinking, and playing Rock Band. It was a good night, really, and the day had a lot of good bits in it, including a very happy moment while I was watching the sun set over the river and hearing the echoes of John Dowland floating up to the bridge.
webcowgirl: (ActionFigure)
Sunday was busy, too busy.

First I had to clean the house. This is because I am renting out a room for a very short time to someone who's in London to do a bit of postdoc work at UCL. So the guest room needed to be cleaner and the glasses from Saturday night's party needed some attention.

Then it was rush to Trafalgar Square to meet [livejournal.com profile] shadowdaddy for the fakes exhibit at the National Museum of Art. It was the last day of the show so obviously I'd waited a bit long for this and because I was late, I actually had to skip the last room.

Then I ducked around the corner to meet [livejournal.com profile] djm and Amy at the National Portrait Gallery to see "Darling of the Day," the most recent installation of Lost Musicals. I'll write it up soon; suffice it to say I had a great time and liked it much better than the Sondheim I'd seen Friday night.

I was supposed to meet someone for drinks afterwards, but as I was leaving I got a text from them canceling (bah) as they were called into work. So Amy and I continued on to Angel where she was having her birthday drinks, and I had most of a pint of cider in her honor.

At this point said tenant was supposed to be meeting [livejournal.com profile] shadowdaddy and being led to the flat, but his plane had been delayed, so I headed back to Tooting and J and I had some dinner at Chatkhara. Then (as I was falling asleep), J continued to wait for him, while I went home to write up my review of Passion at the Donmar. Apparently, some people think it's the Sondheim it's okay to hate; I didn't need permission, though.

And at about 9:30 "Simone" showed up. He'll be here for two weeks. He dropped off his bags, hopped on his bike, and headed back to the Southbank to watch the fireworks. He's kind of hard core. I hope he enjoys his stay.
webcowgirl: (reading is fun-damental)
Well, my Pilates class was canceled tonight. They offered me a free class in compensation (ace as I'm perennially broke these days), then [livejournal.com profile] wechsler invited me to do the "hanging out after class" thing without the class, which meant going over to his, both of us leaving work early so we could actually get on the Tube. We bought groceries and I cooked a big dinner: roast chicken & garlic sauteed greens & corn on the cob & mashed potatoes and gravy. YUM. Then we watched Where the Wild Things Are, which I meant to see in the theaters but kept missing. Same problem with Pan's Labrynth. Some day, you know? Anyway, it was fun and got better as the rain started pissing down but we were comfortably sat on the couch. I left at 10 and made it back in very good time, with easy connections in a spookily deserted Clapham Junction.

So adding the latest book I finished reading to my "Books Read" list, I see I'm just one book away from having the number of books I've read equal the number I've bought this year (in part this is due to getting lots of free books; my book acquisitions have actually been too great for the space available for said books). The question is: what do I read next "to restore balance," as it were? Here's some options:

The Djinn in the Nightingale's Eyes - A.S. Byatt
The Female Man - Joanna Russ
Across the Wall - Garth Nix

And with that, I'm going to bed. Working from home tomorrow, yay!
webcowgirl: (Proust quote)
Major Barbara last night was a lot of fun - it's great to see such a well-written play performed so sharply. Shaw always leaves me thinking about the lives of his characters before and after the moment of the plays, so I'm thinking he's probably hitting my limited pantheon of "great" writers (ooh, I am able to pick out the Nobel prize winners, aren't I something!). I was particularly amused my how the play was so perfectly au courant for 1905 and yet so completely engaging, something that won't be true for Angels in America as time goes on, I fear. My review's up here though I can't really add much to the West End Whingers.

Proust is really rocketing along - I'm at page 330 of The Prisoner and the Fugitive, and I've caught myself reading it when I'm not on the Tube. Lord, what is happening to me? He's pretending to break up with his girlfriend in order to make her give up her wishes to spend time with people who make him jealous, and I'm finding it all just ... well, twisted, but also a sadly timeless tactic. My suspicion is that it is going to backfire on him, but we'll see.
webcowgirl: (London)
I just found out as a part of the application for the new work permit that I have to prove I have £800 in the bank at all times for three months before my application. (See Tier 1 - general - guidance for where I'm getting this info. If I applied in June I'd only need one month's proof, but I don't think I'm eligible to apply until July 21st - one month before the end of my permit.) The average amount in my account doesn't matter - it must not slip below £800.

The thing is, I have been sending all of my extra money back to the US - if there's anything left in the account, off it goes. And we've been using our US bank account as our "savings" account - the UK one gets drained down regularly.

So it looks like somehow I need to knock £800 off of this month's budget so I can let the money sit in a UK bank doing nothing (and making crap for interest).

Grrr. Grr grr grr. If only I could use my US accounts as proof.

PS: the one thing I can say is that I'm really glad I worked two Saturdays last month and am working another one this month.

PPS: Also being out of debt right now is good. Maybe I can look at this is my starter account for my house here, which I might be able to purchase in, oh, about three more years. Or ten. If the pound keeps falling and all of the recent EU immigrants move to more lucrative shores, perhaps housing may move out of astronomical and into merely atmospheric ranges ...
webcowgirl: (Theater)
I wasted most of my evening (once I got back home) making a list of all the ways I know to get cheap theater seats. I wrote 12 and then J reminded me of another and then I remembered even one more, so while it was originally twelve, now it's fourteen. So if you're interested in how I manage to support my "glamorous lifestyle" of eight shows a month (or so) - I've spilled my guts here. I have to keep my theater expenses down or I just couldn't go (thus why I haven't been to Hairspray yet) - my lid is at about 20 quid per and I really try to buy tickets for even less. I guess I could have added something like, "And then if you don't buy makeup or new clothes or new shoes and bring your lunch to work every day you can see even more shows!" but that's more of a matter of how I prioritize spending money and not really so much a tip. Buy less "stuff," have more experiences - it's a way of life, really, but not what everyone wants to do. And thanks to all of you who pitched in to get me a Donmar membership for my birthday, it was really a great present, even six months (and more) after the fact.

At any rate, for my fellow theater lovers and penny pinchers, I hope you find my post useful.
webcowgirl: (Default)
So exciting ! Sun this late, and only 2 months after the solstice! (It was taken at 5:45.)
webcowgirl: (Queen Apple)
I swear to God I am about taking a day off just to catch up with blogging. There's also dishes, grocery shopping, Christmas tree dismantling and other things to attend to, but I am really feeling the pressure of being behind on my blogging! That said I realize most people who have me on their friends list don't give a rat's patootie about my trips to see plays and look at paintings, so I've put my review of Matthew Bourne's Nutcracker on the Wordpress site I created a few weeks back to handle my authorial overflow. I need to review the "Painting of Modern Life" show (er, well, yesterday was the last day to see it, so who really cares other than [livejournal.com profile] m_vermilion) and the sleep exhibit we went to at the Wellcome as well as Masque of the Red Death still. But today is taking it easy day - I want to make sure everyone is in good shape so we can make it to the party tonight and be bright and shiny.

Er, yeah, about Masque: does anyone want to go back, say in April? It was really just cool as snot and it has been extended and I realized at the end of the night when I was looking for my lost cards that I'd actually missed many rooms in there still.

Exciting moments from Masque: while in the bar, I was picked for a mind reading exercise in which Mr. Usher attempted to figure out what initials I had in my mind. (JM! How shocking!) After I left I was trapped in a room by an elder actor, who kicked everyone else out, gave me absinthe, and begged the forgiveness of me, his "long lost sister, Rose." I also had another actor reach out to me, and when I reached back, he said, "See! See how the spirits respond to me!" I was very pleased to have so much interaction, and I guess wearing the Victorian costume really did work for me. (If only I had not tried for authenticity with my damned bag!)

Also re: lost Oyster card: it's a good thing my pass had expired as the card I have registered is the one [livejournal.com profile] shadowdaddy has. So the 8 quid pay as you go I had on that is lost to the winds. I guess only being down 30 from losing the contents of your wallet isn't so bad.
webcowgirl: (Christmas tree)
Today we were somewhat blowing with the wind. During our discussion at [livejournal.com profile] rosamicula's last night it came up that I was interested in seeing the Millais exhibit at the Tate Britain; I woke to discover Miss Micula had offered to guest [livejournal.com profile] butterbee in to the exhibit. So off we went, at the late, late, post-cleaning-up-the-house hour of 1:45 (but I felt much better for having all of the wrapping paper and presents out of the living room and also for having made little roast beef sandwiches for us to have for lunch).

The exhibit was nice, especially when you consider that all four of us made it in for eleven quid and the price of a round of heavily doctored cups of tea ([livejournal.com profile] shadowdaddy is not recovering gracefully from his cold - I imagine it kicking and screaming from its position deep within his sinus cavities). The first two rooms were mostly filled with the paintings of his I've seen a million times before - Ophelia, Mariana, Christ in the House of his Parents, The Order of Release, Autumn Leaves - the really pretty paintings I'm so fond of but .... well, let's be honest, which occasionally have a touch of schmaltz to them. (I still like many of them quite a lot, and enjoyed seeing new works I'd not seen before, such as "Love," pictured, and the studies for many of the paintings I was very familiar with.)

The "schmaltz" factor seemed to more and more take over as the exhibit wore on. I was happy that he found love in Effie Ruskin, but once he had eight kids to feed, I guess he threw artistic purity out of the window in favor of commercial success. Sappy sweet kiddie portraits, random decorative romantic "scenes," society portraits ... the middle three rooms ("The Boyhood of Raleigh," "The Ruling Passion," bleah!) were full of what looked like the kind of crap you need to crank out to keep the bills paid.

That said, the last room was full of lovely Scottish landscapes that he painted when he ran away from London society and went to live "the life of an English gentleman," which apparently involved a lot of hunting and fishing and hiding in little huts for seven hours a day painting water pouring over volcanic rocks. Unfortunately I was a bit too tired by this time to really appreciate this art and just wanted to sit down and have some more tea and recover a bit.

Afterwards, off we went to Liverpool Street Station to meet [livejournal.com profile] spikeylady and enjoy a christmas tour through the Dennis Severs house. All of the house was lit by candlelight and in each room it appeared the occupants had just left - leaving behind a half eaten softboiled egg, a whiff of perfume, some overturned crockery, etc. I found it all quite charming but felt like a little bit of it was passing me by! Apparently the whole house was the artistic project of Dennis Severs, who died some years back, but like my last trip to see a Punchdrunk production (in this case Faust), I felt like I was just a little bit behind getting what was holding it all together. But it was neat, anyways.

That said my big fun was having dinner afterwards at the Nazrul Restaurant on Brick Lane. Of course, the whole thing was an experience, with every damned restaurant having a shill outside trying to drag you in and make you a paying customer. I was insistent that we find a place that had an "English menu" with fish and chips on it so [livejournal.com profile] butterbee could have something utterly unspicey to eat, and managed to escape from the clutches of many proprietors based on needing to fill that criteria (one offered to bring us some from down the street while we ate, which was really just OTT but had me say, "We may be back!"). But we were convinced at last and settled down for a nice dinner (with fried fish, and with the discount I'd been offered elsewhere carried over to this one - 20% off plus free drinks :-) ). It was YAP YAP YAP for about two hours or so and then we all called it a night and slunk back home after getting some sweets down the street (burfi and that fried honey pretzel thing, yum!) and passing through some of the Ripper haunts we'd visited when we did the tour. It seems like we didn't do much today but we are all now very tired.

65 words

Touch Typing online

And now, cake! ("Cake!")
webcowgirl: (Default)
Wow, my accomplishment of the day was walking to the apartment's office and picking my Christmas present from my dad. Oh, wait, I also took a shower! And I've made not just poached eggs, but I've also heated up some turkey and barley soup I had frozen after Thanksgiving. I am a human dynamo!

So yeah, I think this is a real sick and not just slacking off, er, "skiving." [livejournal.com profile] shadowdaddy is also down for the count, which, to be honest, has made for a much better day at home. At least we can keep each other warm as we doze the afternoon away. I cancelled our dinner with [livejournal.com profile] robot_mel - as I stood in the bedroom watching [livejournal.com profile] shadowdaddy sleep at three in the afternoon. He wasn't going anywhere, and neither was (or am) I. So hurray for frozen soup in the fridge. Let's hope we can pick it up and be well enough to have people over tomorrow.

I'm looking at all of the 2007 retrospective posts, and I have two thoughts about them: they're too much work (to write or really even to read) and I'm too busy with NOW to do one myself. Frankly, I'm all excited about 2008, and so busy making plans for the future I've hardly got time to look back on the past.

My 2007 retrospective post goes like this: I'm happy and there are more fun things to look forward to next year! I don't know what the future holds, but I didn't this time last year, either. I'll keep blundering along and at some point, maybe in the summer, I'll see about coming up with some big plans, like buying a house here or really figuring out what to do with my career. How's that?

Oh, and after a full year here I can say with certainty that moving to London was absolutely the right thing for me to do. I really don't see how I could ever want to move back.
webcowgirl: (ActionFigure)
Ah, London at 1 AM on a Sunday morning. Puke on the bus, puke on the streets, the smell of ketchup on french fries in the air. I think people really just do drink a whole lot more here but there's something about packing this many people in such a small amount of space that seems to contribute to the whole grossness of it all.

Um, but lovely party with friends down south - got visits in with more people that I care to LJ check, but mostly just very pleasant, felt the "cared for" thing going on, felt connected and part of the community - and then at 11:15 or so I turned into a pumpkin and all I wanted to do was lie on the bed in a cuddle pile and fall asleep. The party rages on, but the last train back home beckoned me. Bit of a pisser to leave at 11:45 and not get home until now - well, I guess it's only an hour later so not too bad but it was only eight miles!

Oh, but I'm soooo tired. Stupid work week. I hate being so worn out.

Um, Wayreap's Battle at the Barbican was great - the Ramayana done with gamelan accompaniment and Thai temple dancers - the flavors that add up to Cambodian dance. The costuming was great and I loved the exact hand and foot movements of the dancers. Plus - monkey warriors - what more could you want? One more day, see it if you can, tickets available for only £7.

PS: Hey, look, I'm wearing the same clothes now as I am in this user icon. Maybe I should see about shopping some more some day.
webcowgirl: (Cards2)
I had both [livejournal.com profile] shadowdaddy and [livejournal.com profile] wechsler tell me in the last week that I seem to be cheering up, "recovering your resiliency," etc. To me, what I'm hearing is that I'm settling in and things are going well for me - that I'm adjusting to living here, feeling more stable, and, well, I think, feeling happy about how my life is going. Yeah, I want [livejournal.com profile] shadowdaddy to get a job, but it is nice having him here, we've got friends and things to do, and we're not feeling hopeless about stuff. (Hurray for the holidays being over.) So things are going well.

Bonus chippering message: in the manager training I went to yesterday, on "giving feedback" (mostly how to chew people a new one without making them quit, but also just a little bit about how to say nice things to them), one of the actor/coaches told me that I had a real and genuine attitude that people really respond to well, and that my employees could see that I was sincere about what I was saying to them and not a fake. That made me really happy (especially good after the last session ended with me in tears). She also said that my instincts about when to respond to people emotionally was spot-on, which I found incredibly validating. I am super manager, hear me tell you you're a great employee. :-) It actually reminded me of saying goodbye to Saritha and Vidya at Tripadelic - they both had a hard time not crying and I felt so reinforced in my belief that I am a _good_ manager, the kind I always wish I had, the kind I think makes it possible for my superstar employees to perform at their highest level. One of my folks at $howboat told me late Monday that while it sucked coming in so early that day, no one on the team minded it because I was always so easy the rest of the time that it just wasn't a big deal. So yay again there.

Today was the Big Day of Skiving, followed by some housework and hosting [livejournal.com profile] thekumquat and [livejournal.com profile] conflux for lasgagne and Puerto Rico, which [livejournal.com profile] shadowdaddy won (66, T-K 56, me 53, Cx 49). It was really well played and a lot of fun and the start of what I hope will be a long series of fun games with some very nice folks.
webcowgirl: (Ballet)
Big excitement of the day: we're heading from the Pic to the District line at Earl's Court, and we've kind of gotten behind the crowd in general. We're walking toward the escalators. An elderly couple is a little bit ahead of us, with about two rollie suitcases each. Suddenly, as the flat metal starts to morph into stair steps, the woman, lower down, gets caught up in her suitcases and starts to fall over. Her husband turns to help her, and of course HE then starts falling, and OMIGOD it's like a bad Disney cartoon or a dream where you just keep falling down the steps over and over

only I drop my bag and book and run forward up the stairs and grab the woman as she is spinning around and catch her and keep her from falling any more

and Jason, behind me, rushes to the edge and pushes the button

and the stairs stop and the people are almost upside down and there is luggage all over the place and I'm holding on to an oldish American woman who's scared and startled and getting her readjusted so she's not falling onto me any more

but she seems to be okay. Two other people run up past me to the old man and check in on him (apparently he got a bit of a gouge). My lady sits up and tells me she's been travelling since 10 AM and she's very tired and the luggage just started slipping. I help her get upright. She's fine. Jason (now carrying my stuff) gets a little further ahead to help the man with his heaviest bag; I hold onto the woman's elbow and walk her up the now-stopped escalator. The man turns and looks at us and says,

"Can you get this thing to start again?"

No, I tell him, we all have to walk now, but it's not that far to go. All the people are now helping them up the stairs with their stuff, checking in on them, assuming (incorrectly) we're with them because we're also American. I tell the woman it's better to walk now because she won't lose her balance, but that she'll be fine when she gets to the hotel, and that she should go right to bed. Nobody is pushing or being impatient, everyone is helpful. The old couple is alright.

Ballet was also good, great value at £7.50 considering that the first one (Chroma) blew my mind away (like best ballet in about three years), the second had Carlos Acosta *swoon* and the third had music by Michael Nyman.

It's late. I'm worried that I'll wind up not finishing any books this month because I've been caught up in Remembrance of Things Past, so now I'm trying to finish up some short stories by Connie Willis and feeling a bit embarassed at the fact I'm not savoring them as if they were a box of chocolates. Remembrance is more like a meal, the kind you get served over three days. I did manage a few more pages tonight but I feel like I'm shorting Connie. Oh well, Proust will probably be keeping me company until spring at this rate. And I'm still kind of cooking on adrenaline.
webcowgirl: (disco ball)
Yep, we've got chocolate pecan pie and a pumpkin pie on the table, we're all drinking white wine (or something of the sort), and now we're ready for dessert! Good group altogether, slightly more saucy conversation than the typical for Thanksgiving, but we're having a good time and everyone is quite full. :-)

PS: Boots downstairs too big, boo.
webcowgirl: (SpaceBubble)
I suspect I make the same jokes every year. Man, that turkey looks suntanned, almost on the verge of being burnt. I'm pretty sure I've overcooked it! The temperature seems to be very different between the front of the oven and the back of the oven ... oh, doom! I'm sure I can get some good meat out of it but it's just all done too fast and I fear very little of it is going to be very good. Dammit. Stupid celcius and kilos. Even my meat thermometer didn't save me.

Now some rice stuffing for the squash. I know I'll be able to feed everyone somehow, I'd just prefer not to waste a bird that was supposed to be as nice as this one.
webcowgirl: (Blythe)
Well, getting the bird in the oven was actually a bit more of an affair than I expected. While the packaging bragged about how this was a turkey with dark feathers, I really felt they could have made a bit more of an effort to actually get them all OUT of the bird. I don't want gravy with feathers in it, thanks. Pictures will follow of me with my tweezers out. At any rate, as near as I can tell this turkey spent its life on a bird resort and probably had a martini glass in its hand until the last five minutes of its life, at least according to what the info in the package said (kindly provided by Kelly Turkeys).

[livejournal.com profile] shadowdaddy has made himself proud with his pie, except for the part where it's not done yet and now he has to fuss over it. My cornbread-sausage stuffing (an amalgamation of two different recipes, with homemade cornbread instead of box) is in the fridge, waiting for closer to time. I'm having some fruit juice because I'm feeling dehydrated. Now I'm going to take a shower and dream of a nap and maybe, just maybe, run downstairs to try on those boots.
webcowgirl: (4CupsOfTea)
I've got squash cooking and onions chopped; [livejournal.com profile] shadowdaddy has just put a pie crust in the oven and will shortly be making his very first pumpkin pie. It's raining like mad outside.

Do they have whipped cream in cans here? I could sure use some of that stuff for later, provided the pie doesn't burn.

Next: finish stuffing (involves cooking apples, celery, and onions), and determine if the cheddar-herb biscuits are worth fighting over the oven space to make. (I'm also wanting creamed corn gratin but this will require going out to the store.)
webcowgirl: (HotTomato)
I realized as I was getting my clothes on for the day that I looked like I was going out to run for a few hours. I've got on a t-shirt, sweat pants, and my hair is in a bun with a band holding it back. I guess this is my personal marathon.

I'm cooking bacon for sustenance, sausage for dressing, and I've scrubbed the squash - not sure how many I want to cook but they sure are a pretty lot. Now for some onion chopping.
webcowgirl: (HotTomato)
That's right, I'm having guests over for dinner. I realized last night when I was on my way to the show that while [livejournal.com profile] shadowdaddy had managed to pick up several key ingredients for the meal, they weren't actually all of what I needed to make any of the dishes - canned pumpkin but no spices, onions but no celery, etc. So the first thing to do today is shop, and to do that I had to comb through the various cookbooks and make sure I've got the exact list of ingredients. It's not like days gone by - I can't rely on my kitchen to have anything, especially not spices. And in this brave new world, I don't quite have enough chairs for all of my guests, though one of them is bringing one (or so he said).

Anyway, hopefully all of this activity will help chase away my Thanksgiving blues. The wine-laced lunch actually cheered up the bit of blues I had going into yesterday enough to get me through most of the day in a non-weepy mood, hurray. And at some point I must take a shower AND run to the shop downstairs and see if those size 39 1/2 boots fit me.

This time next week we should be swimming in a sea of boxes - only we'll be in Bath so I won't care. :-) I can't wait to get back my bed and my cooking stuff and my clothes.
webcowgirl: (HotTomato)
That's right, it's really nice out, there's a Goya exhibit going on ... and J and I are going to walk up the street to the Fulham cemetary, because the leaves are changing and I think it will be pretty. I guess there's a park there, too. Sunny cold days, what more could I want to do in a city this big, with this many cultural opportunities, than go for for a nice walk?


webcowgirl: (Default)

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