Hi, The point (if there is a point) of this blog is to post liner notes and playlists of mix CDs originating from moi and hopefully fanning out into a chain of mix CDs. If you get a CD from me, make me and a friend one, and email me some liner notes and I'll post them. Then your friend should make you and someone else a mix CD etc etc. Maybe it will work PS If you want to be on my knit list, let me know what you want and I'll see what I can do!

Monday, February 27, 2006

Fat Tuesday

So, March 1st occurs the same day as the first day of Lent. Is that a perfect day to start a diet or what? Especially if you are starting a weight loss study (as I am). If nothing else, it will be interesting to be a guinea pig. I'm a very fluffy one, you know.

While looking for healthy recipes, I stumbled upon this old cookbook written by this dude, Bart Ritner. On the cover, he's wearing Stay-prest slacks, and as a concession to the 70s, his hair is brushing his collar. I found the book ages ago when I moved into my house, and it's pretty interesting. If I took out every recipe that used mayo, canned tuna, canned soup, jello or Crisco, there wouldn't be much left.

I'm sort of half watching Skating with Celebrities right now, and John Zimmerman is pretty hot for a figure skater. He reminds me a bit of David Beckham, who I just love in spite of him being a total fame-whore.

This version of that design classic, the London Underground Map, is an interesting idea. I am fascinated by the London Underground Map - it's succinct, recognizable, easy to follow, reduces a massive city to a few interlocking colored lines, and it was designed without the aid of computers. It's an amazing icon.

OK, I will admittedly knit just about anything, but here is where I draw the line. Jeez, those knitted birthday suits are disturbing. And they look awfully scratchy.

Britain has one of the largest gender pay gaps in Europe. I think it's about the same as the gender pay gap here. Which means the US has a gender pay gap that's unfavorable compared to most European countries, several of which provide generous maternity and daycare benefits. But I would bet the birthrate in the US is higher than most European countries. I guess you could chalk that up to good old fashioned American optimism.

David Hockney and Joe Jackson have been honored by the FOREST Annual Awards. I have to say, I think they have a point, even though I don't really like to sit in a smokey fug. It's very easy to demonize some bad habit or another, where the truth is always a bit more complex (see: latest findings about low-fat diets). And I think quite a few people unfortunately, are very comfortable with a prim, prudish and judgemental world view, which doesn't actually help anyone at all, except for boosting the egos of the self-righteous abstainers of vice.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Normal Service Has Resumed

A little me time, some awesome friends who took care of my son, and some more awesome friends to have dinner with, and I'm back to normal (or as normal as I'll ever be).

My son really is a great kid; he's funny, smart, creative, cute as a button, and wise beyond his years, and I am very lucky to have him. And I want to do the best I can for him, and occasionally it just gets to be a bit much.

But I'm ok now. Really. La-la-la-la....

Friday, February 24, 2006


Most of the time I love my life and I am very happy. I have a great kid who I just adore the crap out of. But once in a while (and this is one of those days), I just feel completely overwhelmed by it all.

Imagine you're a person who loves to travel, who's fascinated with learning about other cultures, who likes evening classes and seminars and museums, who likes to go see music once in a while, and likes trying new things. Now imagine you are living with someone who just wants to be home all the time, and you can't leave them alone for any length of time. Or if you do it will cost you money or hassle. Imagine not going on a date for seven years because even if there is someone you might be interested in, the person you live with is so demanding and jealous it would take a saint to persevere, and you're not that great a prize. Besides, you look like hell because you are fat and wear second-hand clothes. It does not take a rocket scientist to figure out why.

Imagine hearing about other people going on great vacations and weekends away, and you can't because it will cost you twice as much, and anyway, you have to shell out thousands for summer camp and braces and school clothes and shoes and food and....

Imagine making all your household decisions, from the trivial to the big. You write all the bills, cook, clean, mow the yard, decorate. You have to make holidays special. Imagine having to make huge life decisions with no-one to bounce them off; where will we live? where should my son go to school? how can I encourage him to be the best he can be without nagging?

Imagine that your last several large purchases have been for someone else, and that someone treats them as a right. You want them to have the best you can manage, but it never quite feels good enough.

Imagine you can never step off the hamster wheel. The everyday demands just keep coming, regardless of anything else going on in your life. And they are boring, repetitive demands; for money, for time, for food, for attention, for company. It feels like a prison, a prison of duty and obligation, and yes, love. But a prison nonetheless. And like a prison, there is some comfort in the routine if you don't really think about it too much. But once in a while you do, which is probably a mistake.

Imagine every time you turn around, the person making all the demands is always there. Ready to make the next one.

Imagine having basically given up any notion of your own separate life because to fight for it is too damn hard, on top of everything else you have to do.

And I know I should engineer my life so I get a break, and have babysitting, and switch off childcare and blah-de-blah-de-blah. But guess what? That takes additional work and effort and is one more fucking thing I have to do. And one more thing I am thus failing at.

Anyway, I apologize for venting. And tommorrow I will probably be back to my usual self. But today I have to complain and bitch.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Penny Pinching

This is the time of year where I am simultaneously paying off Christmas and putting down deposits for summer camp, and have yet to cash in on the bounty of my tax refund. My son wants to go to a rather expensive music camp, which I think I will be able to manage, but it is hard to plunk down $400+ for one week of juvenile joy and learning. I could have an awful lot of fun with that money.

Obviously, the purchasers of Jack's shirts have no such monetary constraints. I wonder what they would do with two such ordinary looking shirts? Extract Jake Gyllenhaal's DNA from the armpits?

Marriage pop quiz from the New York Times, via the always interesting Susie Bright, which blows the myth of the 'traditional' marriage right out of the water. We are in possibly the most romantic era of history, because marriage today is based on love (or lust) and not wealth or political alliances or just societal expectations, and unfortunately, love is much more ephemeral than money. Wouldn't it be nice to get an annual love refund based on the love you expended throughout the previous year, so if you have been Mother Theresa, you could look forward to a night of unadulterated lust with a hot stranger (sorry for the mental image), and if you had been somewhat curmudgeonly, you could look forward to something a little lesser, like a brief smile from the checkout girl?

I do not get the appeal of Carine Roitfeld, editor of French Vogue and style icon to the over-40 set. She looks tired and manly, which I don't think is very stylish, though she is skinny which I guess always trumps facial deficiencies (see: Jennifer Aniston)

Here are some not so innocent Sanrio items. If I were in a compromising situation with a man (purely hypothetical I know), and he extracted a Hello Kitty condom, I would run for the hills.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Fings ain't wot they used to be

Britain is a little behind the times in rejecting psychodynamic therapy. I have never had therapy, but traditional Freudian therapy does not appeal to me at all, whereas I would definitely like to try cognitive behavioural therapy. It seems much more practical and useful; plus, I have always had the opinion that the therapist is a flawed human being too; who are they to tell me what's wrong with me? Having a therapist as a coach who is not involved in the personal mess of your life does seem eminently sensible.

And this is a pretty different take on our ancestors, with fairly profound societal implications. As a feminist, I think this is very interesting; our ancestors co-operated to fend off predators and protect their young. So this current dog-eat-dog, selfish materialism that seems endemic is really not natural to humans. And it is having some very really negative consequences; it's hard to contemplate raising children knowing you will be penalized. Not that I'm espousing 'family values' - I just wish the dominant value system was not based on the almighty dollar, and that raising, teaching and caring for children was not so undervalued and undersupported.

Scientists are trying to create lower calorie fruit. Does this seem like an enormous waste of time? How many people are fat because they ate too much fruit?

I finally listened to the Arctic Monkeys after reading about them for months and months. I like them but I'm not really overwhelmed. Maybe I need to keep listening....

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Thatcher, Thatcher, Milk Snatcher

Children used to sing this when Mrs. T was in charge and stopped the school milk program. I remember school milk as warm and vaguely sour, having sat in it's crate next to the school radiator for three hours, but I would have felt cheated if it had been taken away. Unfortunately, this is not one of the songs in the Margaret Thatcher musical. Though I would love to hear Fuck the North, because she truly did.

Tony Blair has just passed a ban on glorifying terrorism. I think the very existence of this ban does the very thing it tries to prevent.

This robotic slime sounds like science fiction. I just wonder how you program something that has autonomy and respond to it's environment.

A seventh grader has discovered that there is more bacteria in fast food ice machines than toilet water. I now feel totally justified in my hatred of ice in drinks, after being laughed at by countless Americans.

Filling in this Nohari window for Dick Cheney is strangely satisfying. Then of course I had to make my own Johari window - go on, tell me what you think!

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Return of the Cooking Club

Yay! To celebrate Valentine's Day, Mykull and I decided to make some cupcakes, using Magnolia bakery's recipe. Let's not dwell on the sad fact that the beneficiaries of our Valentine's largesse are our workmates.

I've only made these cupcakes like a Brazilian times, for my son's birthdays and PTA thangs, and they are always good. It's hard to go wrong with 4 sticks of butter and 10 cups of sugar. Mykull beat the batter, because he has nice strong wrists. We filled the cupcake liners about 1/2 full, baked them and they turned out jest right.

We took a break to go to a dessert-heavy party, then returned home to make frosting in a beautiful Pepto-Bismol pink.

Sample dialog from the kitchen:
I don't think it can take eight all at once
Let's loosen it up a bit, then I think we can add it a little bit at a time, and we can get all eight in
Wow, you're right!
Of course, we were talking about sugar. After the dessert party, and licking the frosting bowl, we both ended up in the corner of the kitchen nauseous, shivering and talking each other down. But the cupcakes looked pretty good.

Here's a really bad idea for Valentine's. Nothing says I love you like a big cabbage fart, which I suspect is the end result of this cake. Plus Scharffenberger costs nine bucks a bar. Not the chocolate to waste on a novelty cake.

And here's a skeevy candy for Valentine's Day. Is it worse if it's really chewy? I wonder if it unrolls. Then it could fit on the chocolate penis from my last post.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006


Err, I mean Superbowl. Of course I didn't watch. Maybe a couple of commercials, and a little bit of the half-time show, for assimilation purposes. After fifteen years of living here, I still don't understand American Football. It seems so S-L-O-W, and seems to involve a lot of staring at spandexed buttocks. Now of course, we have the Internet, so we have the commercials and their critiques instantaneously posted.

The Budweiser Wave one (second down, middle column - hey, that sounds like something one of those football-y guys would say) is stunningly similar to but not as good as this one .

Also, what is the deal with Go Daddy? What are they and why do their commercials always get banned, and where are they the other 364 days of the year?

This is just exactly the kind of crap that should sound the death knell for the British Monarchy. What the hell? Someone in a public position who can take a stand for so many things, sticks up for old greasy sheep meat (I won't stoop to a Camilla joke). Plus it seems a bit hypocritical for an incredibly wealthy man who still takes government subsidies that could go to the farmers he claims sympathy for.

I bloody hate St. Valentine's Day, it makes me feel like such a loser (I can guarantee none of the bouquets at the reception desk will have my name on it). However, I do kind of like these these Valentine's cards and scraps. They used to belong to Susie Bright's mother, which somehow seems apt for the holiday.

And for you men out there looking for a unique gift for that special someone, it would be hard to top this (except with a swirl of whipped cream and a cherry).

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Lisa Loeb's Butt

It's everywhere. That little video of her prancing around in her thong is all over the place, and something compels me to watch it every single time. She's a cutie-patootie, that's for sure, but who knew so many guys apparently have a thing for her?

Apparently, being negative and grumpy is contagious. I can certainly think of people who are just exhausting to be around because they are so negative. And it usually has very little to do with what they have in life. Even more reason to keep away from toxic people (supposedly ten percent of the population, which seems a bit on the low side to me).

I'm just waiting for someone to use male schadenfreude as an argument against women becoming lawyers.

This article about British gum chewers has the grossest picture EVER of a gum-splattered street. It's one thing to chew gum, but to just spit it out anywhere is revolting.

It looks like Steven Soderbergh's film Bubble isn't doing very well, in spite of the innovative release (simultaneously on DVD, cinema and cable). I wonder if the numbers will be better after three weeks in heavy cable rotation. I have to admit, the fact that he used 'non-professional' actors puts me off a bit. It could be pretty deadly.

Aren't you glad you're not a student doctor? Lisa Loeb should watch herself, wandering around half-naked. An electric cable might wind up in her rectum.