Friday, August 28, 2009

We all live in ... a great big ship?


My Dad rocks. After a full law career and a few years teaching locally (he taught law stuff, history, ethics, literature, writing, and even Spanish to college students), he's off on THIS SHIP to Asia as a part of the Naval College Program for Afloat College Education (NCPACE). He's teaching history and seeing amazing things. Dad is always one for meeting people, so he's been touring with local college students, having intelligence officers give special presentations to his classes, and helping with immigration cases. A VERY different experience, but pretty cool.

Picture from wiki

Thursday, August 27, 2009

I'm supposed to be saving money, but...

I had to buy this because it ROCKS. Please check out Catherine Deeson's other work, because it's pretty amazing!

I know that spending money isn't supposed to make me happy, but this did. It was only £2!

Other things that are making me happy:
-the homemade jam I made!
-a long run
-my new job
-Zoe coming SO soon!

Image from Catherine Deeson's website

Monday, August 24, 2009

Wow.

Mad Hatter (copyright Su Blackwell)
The Story of Peter Pan: The Pirate Ship (copyright Su Blackwell)

Knowing my tastes in book art and beautiful things (and sharing them herself), a friend sent me a link to Su Blackwell's work. Seriously lovely. And the fact that she uses books like Peter Pan and Alice...even better!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Mmmmm


This is why I love him. I called Dean to say, "What should we have for dinner tonight because I've just had cocktails and looked at rare books and don't feel like the dinner I had planned?" He said, "Let's make our own In-n-Out burgers. Veggie-style. With animal fries." And we did. THEN he made milkshakes to go with them. Although I feel about a million pounds heavier, it was soooo good.

PS. Do you like my new tablecloth? I think it rocks. It's all a part of my new obsession with Cowley's retro shop.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Triffid Love


Ok. I'm really tired, and have had a busy two weeks, and I'm struggling just to finish work and living things, so blog posting will be short. More to come, because I'm super excited about what my Dad is doing right now. But as a short in-betweener, I'll say that I just finished John Wyndham's The Day of the Triffids. In addition to all the brilliant Soviet-hating, oil-crisis-fearing, civilisation-is-bringing-horrible-things-upon-itself (including satellite warfare and biological terrorism), look-we-can-rebuild-humanity-but-even-better stuff going on, it's just an entertaining science fiction read. The type you know makes a great cheesy 60s/70s sci-fi film (and it did...). AND it had a great book cover.

Image via Wikipedia

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

And the cat came back...


While sifting through and cataloguing soap advertisements today (some of them highly amusing), I found what I think might top a whole year's worth of such things: An ad for Johnsons' Dyers and Dry Cleaners from the 1920s, cut into the shape of a black cat, sporting tears, bandages, and in particular a cloth bandage over one eye. The cat was supposedly injured trying to leave Johnsons' for another drycleaners (gasp!), and the back warns other customers to take note, or face a similar fate.

Don't you think the customers thought it was a bit odd....??

Image from here

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Health Care Fun

Right. Maybe I'm missing something? Except I don't really think so. I've been absolutely shocked by the vehemence, rudeness, and violence with which many Americans are greeting Obama's healthcare proposals. Although the proposals themselves haven't had much press over here, the violence has (see the Times here, and the BBC here (a little more out there), and the Guardian here). And it's generating what has become a concerted movement by the UK government, who feel they now have to defend the NHS against American criticism, both to the US and to UK citizens themselves (see Will's blog entries here and here for commentary and links to media reactions). There's even a "we love the nhs" twitter campaign.

So. I know that free healthcare is not perfect. I live in the UK. I use the NHS. It takes two weeks to get x-rays back. It takes a week to get the results of mono test (what if it had been mono? um...well, oops). But. It's free. FREEEEE. And although it's slow and has lots of things wrong with it, I'd argue that it's no more messed up than the US system (although I did love Kaiser...sigh...30 minutes for blood test results) -- just different and wider-reaching in a wonderful way. If you're interested in what I feel is a well-written quick account of an American's experience with the NHS -- that is, decent and adequate but not always perfect -- see here.

I suppose that I'm puzzled here not by the particulars of the new health care proposals (which could probably use some work -- although what many people are failing to realise is that there are many points in the bill that have bipartisan support), but by the insane shouting match that's followed. Since when has opposing the right to basic health care, whether provided by the government or otherwise, become a matter of patriotism and nation-bashing? As the NYT put it, "Many Republicans view fighting the president as a smart political strategy, turning a potentially wonkish debate over Medicare reimbursement rates and subsidies for the uninsured into an ideological battle over the government’s role in health care."

So this clearly isn't about health care, at least not for the people who are brawling at town hall meetings. They forget that the government already spends quite a lot of money on their health care, especially if they're retired, a veteran, or disabled. This has descended into what I hate to say is the worst of America, although perhaps it's the worst of many countries -- a fear of change causing violence and a determined ignorance blocking conversation. I'm not saying everything about this plan is great. We should be having lots of heated discussions about it, so that it eventually becomes better and better, in whichever direction is best. But punching matches and anti-NHS? Not cool, and downright stupid.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Lovely By Surprise and Flann O'Brien



Ok, I haven't actually seen the film yet (more later when I do), but it seems intriguingly like my favorite favorite book, At Swim-Two-Birds by Flann O'Brien (if you link to Wiki please don't believe absolutely everything it says. Well. It's literary criticism and I happen to differ from certain critics' opinions). In AS2B, writer writes about student who is writing about a novelist whose characters decide it's 'undemocratic' to be forced to fill their roles. They rebel, put novelist on trial, etc. (I. Love. This. Book. I wrote my Master's dissertation on it and still love it. It rocks).

So, from what I can gather about Lovely By Surprise (a Kirt Gunn film), the author is writing about fictional characters whose connections to reality become so real that they begin to influence her actions. I suppose there are other books/ideas that may have influenced the film, but of course I like to believe in O'Brien :). I want to see it. If anyone has/does, please let me know!

Friday, August 7, 2009

Brilliant

Someone did a typography tour of Portland. They rock.

A note to my two cities:

Oxford, I do like you. You're pretty cool, and when it comes to typography you can hold your own. Plus, Dean's in you.

But Portland, I think you have my heart.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

An ugh followed by a yay

I love my friends. I'm sick at home today and really annoyed because I've only got three weeks left of this job, I really like it, and I don't want to miss any (plus I've got things to do!). A few minutes ago, the doorbell rang, and the mailman handed me a belated birthday present from my good friend Meagan in NYC. She sent me not only a beautiful card, but Kusmi tea!!!!! I think it was Meagan who first gave me Kusmi to try (she's always been much more savvy about tea than me), but it really only clicked last summer when Arathi and I were in Paris and tried the most fantastic green tea ever. It's pretty hard to get over here, so I'm so pleased that now I can minister to my sore throat with the best! Thanks Meagan!

Picture from www.kusmitea.com

Saturday, August 1, 2009

I'm Baaaaaaaaack!


I'm back from Berlin!!! And it was such an amazing city. Pictures to follow (Dean usually likes to vet which ones I use so I make his photography look good!), but here were some highlights:

-baby animals at the zoo!
-architecture. simply amazing. I was expecting far more ugly cement, but even the ugly cement was covered in interesting graffiti (parts of East Berlin were very foreign...an entirely different atmosphere)
-sun. more sun.
-the beer garden in the Tiergarten
-going out in Fredrichshain (the coolest club ever...in an old factory site, with two indoor floors, one with a foosball table and a college common room vibe, outdoor seating in the trees and between interesting old factory buildings covered in some really beautiful graffiti, food stand with great barbecue, a climbing wall, abandoned buildings to explore, a skate park...it goes on. It was cool.)
-spending time with Dean without either of us stressed about work
-spending time with Dean in general :)
-Karoline came to visit!