But The Chance Is Never Around

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Thank you for your comments yesterday and this morning.

I confess that my curiosity was not without motive.

It began with this article in New York magazine.

Okay, so the article isn't that odd, but the tone of it set me to wondering just how sure New York were of their readership's ambitions if they could predict envy so confidently.

If New York are confident their readers would be jealous of a young author, just how many people out there want to make a living out of writing? New York City is full of publishers and media (Hi y'all), but to begin with in yesterday's comments box, it looked as though if everyone followed their dream the city would be full of writer-owned bars and bookshops, where would-be writers would meet and drink and talk about books.

Bloggers and blog readers might not be the best group with whom to carry out a survey on ambitions, it's true. It's natural that there be a bit of skew towards the literary. So that part of the motive didn't really get me anywhere.

There seems to be a theme in that people want to work for themselves; to own and run a shop or company of some kind, or be self-employed.
That's not odd. I mean, just as it makes sense to stop renting property and buy an apartment or house, it makes sense to want to stop giving the profit on your own work to someone else.

What is interesting though is that people's dreams centre on things which they don't necessarily need qualifications for...and these are the aspirations (I'm assuming) of qualified people. (Edit after Shana's comment below) Of course, to succeed at anything you need to have knowledge, skill and ability beyond the average, or there would be no differential between the sucessful and the average. That's why they are dreams...

On another level I was curious to see how many people are working towards their dreams.

On the flight from Detroit to Amsterdam the other week, Krissa and I watched the movie Madagascar. The zebra in the New York zoo, voiced by Chris Rock, is having doubts about his future:

Zebra: I dunno man, it's the same thing every day. I stand over there, I stand over here, eat some grass, I stand over there again. I dunno. Maybe I should go to Law School?

All We Want Is Some Success

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Hello, you!
How's it going?
I would like to ask a little something of you today.

A pop quiz for our distinguished readership.

This isn't an ego kick, an attempt to get lots of comments or anything like that. If you don't want to comment, you don't have to. Email me if you like. But I have a genuine desire to know something about you.

For this quiz you can take the jaw-droppingly complacent assumption that your love life and your health are otherwise perfect. This is so I can urge you out of an 'all I want is to be happy' response.

Tell me what your aim is. Your dream job, your ideal craft, what you want to do - your goal.

It might be something you do at the moment, it might be something you've always wanted to do...secretly, openly...either. If you don't know, say so.

I'm curious here.

A Bit Of A Vent.

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On the coach to visit Krissa's parents this weekend, I encountered the sort of person I have to be very careful around. The sort of person whose every action and spoken word I find so irrationally objectionable as to brook violence.

I like to think of myself as a reasonably well-balanced person. I am happily tolerant of most religious and political views by default, on the Voltairian basis of believing that you have a right to believe what you want. But there is something about the sort of person who is self-obsessedly loud and so inconsiderate of others you'd think they were wearing blinkers which instantly raises my hackles.

After our driver appealed for mobile phone use to be kept to a minimum for the comfort of fellow passengers, this guy started to read aloud a magazine article for his travelling companion, in a loud, brash and sarcastic tone, laughing unrestrainedly at his own jokes.

Forced to change buses, we somehow ended up sitting right at the back of the new coach, right behind this guy and his companion. He bounced and slid and half-stood and stuck his legs out and read aloud sections from his magazine and his book in the same nasal sarcastic way, snorting and laughing.

Then came the peak of his annoying streak. This was the moment I was closest to leaning forward and asking politely if he would withhold being himself until I got off if he cared to maintain a full set of genitalia.

After our first stop and the burly muscular man in front of my tormentor got off, the bespectacled little goit spent a good five minutes mimicking him, laughing at the ignorance of any person who would sling their arms over the back of their seat into someone else's lap, all the time with HIS arms slung over the back of his seat. He shook and wriggled and cast doubts upon the cleanliness of the departed man, mentioning viruses and bacteria and germs and probably STDs too, and all the time his hands slid backwards and forwards in my face.

I hate people like that.
I know it sounds like I could justify this now, but really, really, it's irrational. I didn't like him the moment I saw him. That's bad, isn't it. That's prejudice.

Lanky git.

The Good Kind Of Uncertainty

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I am not sure what to say right now.

Since returning to the city from the Island, I've felt different.

For the first few days I could point to the jetlag. Krissa and I were carrying around in our heads a timezone very different to the one in which we were living. As the percieved time of day slipped back closer to the actual time of day, we slept early and woke early, seeing the sun peek over the buildings on the other side of our block and cast a sharp shadow of our bedstead on the wall. And early mornings always make me feel good.

The mornings themselves have been glorious. Cool, bright and crisp. Refreshing to step into. The suffocating humidity of the weeks before we went to England has gone.

That's the word I'm looking for. Fresh.
I feel fresh.

Which is good.
But beyond that, I don't really know what to tell you.

Oh!
I watched Kill Bill Vol. 1 last night for the first time.

That was splattery.

What's the matter?

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Cat got your comments?
If so, what sort of cat was it? Was it big? Have you notified the authorities?

Honestly. Adrian goes on holiday and the commenting vibe of the whole site just ups and dies on me.

Oi you! Yes, you, there. With the keyboard.

What's yer name and where d'you come from?

One Foot On Two Continents

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After ten months of acclimatising to New York City, arriving in the UK was strange in that nothing seemed strange. There was no mental change of gear to look the right way crossing the road, it didn't seem odd that the driver should sit on the right hand side of the car, and I managed to avoid striking up conversations about baseball with each and every Brit I bumped into.
So far so good, but there were a few moments when it was clear that I have begun that irreversible process of being completely at home neither here nor there.

Friday morning dawned bright and early, and even without the 3 hour phone marathon with British Airways I wasn't feeling 100%, so I made an appointment with my family Doctor in the UK for Monday.

I was no longer registered at the Ventnor surgery, so I had to fill in a form with my current address and everything. After a less than engaging conversation about my malady, the doctor wrote out a prescription and buzzed through to reception.
"Hello, Muriel, yes, I finished with Mr. Bridgett from America. Yes, could you take care of it? Thanks."
Then he turned to me and said, "Right, well, as you're American, you'll have to pay, I'm afraid."
There was a moment in which my mouth dropped open and my flabber was gasted.
"I'm British. I mean, I'm from Ventnor!"
"Oh, I'm sorry, I thought you sounded American."
I left. Everything was made better by Muriel at reception.
"You're not American - I know your Mum."

To give the man his due, I haven't been ill very frequently in the ten years since he started being our family doctor, but still.

Walking through Newport with Krissa, heading to the bus station to catch a bus home after a day's gallivanting around castles and the like, she said, "Where is the bus station?"
"Just around the corner."
Only we turned the corner and BAM! the bus station had disappeared. Piled rubble and the tortured tangles of steel reinforcements sat dejectedly where once it stood. Reeling a little, I turned around and BAM! the huge supermarket had changed from Safeway to Morrisons. It was as close to feeling like Marty McFly in Back To The Future that I have ever been. Fair enough it was only two changes to a town centre I once knew well, but it felt so odd. I half expected the Island's only McDonald's to have metamorphosed into some sort of a friendly family eating establishment, but thank the lord, my nerves were spared.

Then there was the food shopping.
When I first arrived in New York, I embarrassed the cashier and subsequently myself by packing my own shopping bags at the supermarket. This just isn't done. Instead you stand there slightly awkwardly and watch the cashier pack the bags, and then you take them.
After ten months of this you get rather used to it.
So at the express checkout in Ventnor's branch of Somerfield, I dumped our basket next to the till and instantly lost interest. Express checkouts not being the widest things in the world, after a bottle of Irn Bru and a loaf of bread there wasn't much room left for the cashier to stack things. With me standing there frowning at the whisky prices and doing pound-to-dollar conversions in my head, she was left with no choice but to carry on scanning.
When I finally noticed, a packet of Wine Gums had rolled onto the floor, the loaf of bread was labouring valiantly to support two bags of mixed vegetables and a hot rotisserie chicken, and the poor woman was trying to balance a carton of ice cream on top of the Irn Bru bottle.

I had lapsed in my role as a British supermarket customer, and for me England will never be quite the same again.

All right, not much, but hey.

Small Gestures

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Along with many other people, I always say that you should never look a gift horse in the mouth. But as with so many wise sayings I have never had the opportunity to put this little nugget of sensible advice into action. No one has ever given me a horse as a gift, so I don't know what unearthly temptation there might be to peer down its throat. Come to think of it, if your mortal frame is racked with paroxysms of curiosity, you might as well just wait until the giver of the gift horse has gone home, and then you can look into the horse's mouth all you like.
It would seem that as with so much in life, patience is paramount when it comes to discreet equine dental assessments.

Krissa and I checked our travel details on Friday morning, to find that our New York-London flight had been cancelled. I spent two hours on hold with British Airways (dadadadada, dadadum, dadadadada, dadadum) and the icy tones of the woman whose recorded voice was meant to pacify on-hold souls such as myself, and then the system hung up on me. I was desperate to get through to a human being so when I redialed I deliberately chose the wrong option and the sales department answered immediately. I was painfully polite, understanding and empathetic with the Indian gentleman who answered, and I like to think that he was so taken aback by this approach (which surely must have been an unusual one in the midst of the strikes at Heathrow) that he actually helped me.

I was transferred telephonically from Mumbai to Toronto, where, after 45 minutes of route-hunting, some marvellous hero at a call desk found us our alternative route, taking in the delights of Detroit International and Schipol airports. This is where the earlier wittering on about horses and mouths comes in. We were given our miraculous second shot at getting to London, and we took it, packing our bags and setting off to Newark airport inside of forty minutes.

Detroit airport was a veritable oasis, and Schipol was just a little too far away from its mother town of Amsterdam for Krissa and I to do anything exciting with our three hour layover. I can honestly say that it has been a long time since I have unexpectedly ended up in Holland.

The final leg of our journey was actually with British Airways. As we boarded each of the passengers was given a small cardboard box containing a tiny tub of orange juice, a miniature fruit cake, and a pepperami.

It had taken us three hours on hold, madcap packing and a rushed taxi to Newark airport, two hours to Detroit, four hours in Detroit, seven hours to Amsterdam, three hours in Amsterdam, and we had hours and hours of travel to go before reaching our destination, but after all that international confusion there could be absolutely no doubt which country we were heading for as I prodded about in my little cardboard box of snacks and the pilot's voice came over the tannoy.

"Ladies and Gentlemen, we would very much like to thank you for your continued understanding and support through this little patch of unpleasantness we have been having with our caterers, and hope you will accept this small gesture of sustenance."

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH

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This is our route:

Newark - Detroit (NorthWest Airlines)

Detroit - Amsterdam (KLM)

Amsterdam - Heathrow/Gatwick (all sort of depends really)

Must dash, have several planes to catch.

Silver Service

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I am now on an ntirely different sort of hold; Silver Members' Hold, while the nice Mr. Munesha in Toronto attempts to get us to England via any means and any airport possible.

How did I attain this superlative level of being on hold?

I was exceptionally, one might say painfully polite to the first human being I spoke to.

Still Expecting

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Left ear now.

I hate this tune.

Expecting To Fly

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Our flight has been cancelled.
British Airways has cancelled a lot of flights into and out of Heathrow because of the caterer's industrial action.

I currently have a sickeningly high-pitched spanish guitar rendition of the British Airways theme twanging along in my right ear, with the occasional interruption of a woman with clipped tones, "We are currently experiencing long wait times due to service disruption. If you are not travelling in the next three days, please go to BA.com."

If they are encouraging people with travel plans in the next three days to stay on the line, this at least gives me hope that I will be speaking to a British Airways representative inside of the next 72 hours.

And Now For The Small Print

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Ladies and Gentlemen, Mr. Donald J. Trump has apparently started a blog.

I say apparently because I really can't see him sitting down and typing away, although the self-adulatory and glorifying tone of his posts so far isn't that different to a lot of other really bad personal weblogs which the internet has the misfortune to contain. Let's suggest to ourselves that it might be 'ghostwritten'.

The most recent post contains a load of smug chuckling at the misfortune of other corporate high-flyers in their conviction for corruption related activities.

Blogging is great because no matter who you are, you can present what you want to the world.
Example one: You're a celebrity mogul with a new internet learning "university" venture on the go, and so you use blogging to reinforce the brand, communicate through a new medium, and of course, boast that you're great and that everyone can learn from you.

Example two: You're a hobbying writer and blogger who happened to chance across the weblog of a celebrity mogul and you decided to comment. Blogging can now come to your aid, because your comment was edited, changed and falsified to only reinforce the brand and sycophantic tone of the whole sorry sham. Phrases like 'All this corporate trumpeting aside' might have been edited off the front of a sentence which now reads 'I think you have some excellent points.'.
You might have written a brief commentary on the fact that people who are corrupt or who put little effort into obtaining money may be more prone to bad taste and inconsiderate squandering, while people who work hard are liable to use more discretion...and that bit of the comment might have been completely deleted from the final comment.
Your slightly snarky final line, 'Transparency of action and truthful personal narrative from public figures can be useful tools and valuable assets.' might have been changed to 'Transparency and narrative from public figures can be useful tools and valuable assets.'
In which case blogging could help you out in straightening the details.
And then of course there's TrackBack...

Hello, Trump / Trump underling.

Did you know that in England "trump" is slang for fart?
Some people say, "I've trumped" when what they actually mean is that bacteria in their bowels have produced so much waste gas as they assist in the digestion of food or parasitically feed on the contents of their host's intestines that the gas has leaked out from between their buttocks.

You learn something new every day.

Update: Their Trackback is broken. Bloody typical.

Come Back To What You Know

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It has been ten months since I left the United Kingdom. In that time I have married Krissa and fallen in love with her a little more every day.

In that time I have come to know New York City better than any other city in the world, watched the autumn sun go down over Manhattan from the top of the Empire State Building, drunk from stein at long tables under the budding spring trees of Queens, and played the summer clown for the children of Brooklyn.
But people, more than geography and history, make me feel at home here.

It's the guy sitting on a pile of Metro newspapers in the subway station in the morning, his 'Free! Free! Free paper! Free free!' as much a part of my morning as the first cup of coffee. As most of the takers streaming past are resolutely non-vocal, I've always made an effort to be both grateful and personable, and we had a little chat in passing yesterday morning...a trifle surreal, I grant you.
"Hello sir. Here go. Habla Espanol? Free! Free!"
"Si, un pocito."
"Free! Free! Thank you, good day. A little, uh? Is good. Free! Free free!"
"I'd like to know more. Oh, there's a train. Bye."
"Adios! Adios, yes? Pocito? Ha ha. Free! Free! Free!"

Compare and contrast.
The amount of time in between the various incarnations of the next conversation makes no difference to it whatsoever.

"Morning Bob."
"Morning Stuart."
"I'll take a County Press and a 'Lucky 7s' card for my Mum, please."
"That'll be one pound fifty two."
(as I scrabble for change)
"How's Alex?"
"Oh, all right. Off in South America somewhere. Enjoying herself. Doing quite well, actually."
"Great. Well, tell her I said hi if you speak to her."
"That I will."
"Take care."

It's weekend mornings when Krissa and I can't be bothered to make breakfast, which happen more often than you'd think, so that the next conversation can happen.
"Heey, English."
"We okay to order?"
"Sure."
(Krissa) "Grilled cheese and french fries -"
(Nico) "yeah yeah yeah, crispy whatever."
(Krissa) "Thank you."
(Me) "I'll have the Irish Breakfast."
We hand over the menus and Nico responds in a cheesy attempt at an English accent, an accent which can't escape from its Greco-New York owner.
(Nico) "Chee-ers mate!"

Compare and contrast.
On summer evenings when the barbecue isn't running or the family have been out all day and no one feels like cooking.

"Hey Len! Evening Lin."
"Hello Stu."
Len comes around from behind the fryer and shakes my hand, while Lin, sticking her head up from whatever she's doing, carries on working further back in the shop.
"What can we do for you this fine evening? Oh, who have we here?"
Coming forward from behind the fryer means that Len can see the whole queue, and more often than not a couple of kids are waiting with their parents for fish and chips. Len reaches behind the counter and pulls out a tub of lollipops. The children, shy, take sweets and run back to wait with their parents, or play, running around up and down the steps.
"How are you?"
We chat. I order food for the family at home. Lin, shuttling back and forth from the till to the back of the shop either refuses payment entirely or accepts some trifling amount. Len slips a couple of cans of Boddingtons into the bag. We discuss upcoming plans for a barbecue or meal. It's hard to leave the shop.

And friends.
I could paint them for you but I couldn't do them justice. There are drinks and food and dancing and moments and laughter and recounting stories and gossip; The Bohemian, Saigon Grill, Sabor Tropical, Grimaldi's, Revival, Naidre's, The Gate, French Frank's, Jo Daflo's, Colonel Bogey's, The Hog's Head, Cask and Crispin, The Spyglass Inn, The Bargeman's Rest...the list goes on on both sides of the Atlantic.

Family...again. There could be no honest and truthful and worthy representation of my families. My parents and my parents-in-law have yet to meet, but my Dad and Krissa's Dad share a very particular sense of humour, our mothers an aura of elegance, and all of them are superlatively wonderful people.

All of which means that this week-long trip to England will a first for me, because I'll be going home both ways.

The Slugger

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Taken from behind the base plate at the Cyclones' Stadium in Coney Island during Friday night's game.

We rode The Cyclone rollercoaster afterwards...and man that is one hell of a ride. Far too short, but we really didn't care. We just rode it twice, in the front car both times.

Tea Is For Timing

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There's something satisfying about arriving in the tea shop just as the brewing timer goes off, meaning you get your cup of Moroccan Black straight from the teapot.

Even more pleasing is the discovery that the folk at my local tea shop, despite a frantic morning busy patch and thermos dispensers, brew the tea in a Brown Betty first.

Stunned

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I wrote a story this week. I finished it a couple of hours ago.
The really big thing is that I've finished it.
That f-word crops up a lot less than I'd like.

Finished finished finished finished finished.

And the other thing is that it's 17,000 words long...and I started it on Thursday.

Finished.
(Still savouring that word)
And I likeit.

There are fewer italics in the story, honest. I'm just excited.
I can't get over it. I started, worked on, and finished something.

I feel really rather fucking good.

Mongoose On The Tracks

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And just like that, there's a weekend in our way. I'm sure everyone will deal with it in their own way.

After an eventful yet still strangely dragging week, I'm looking forward to a two-day breather.

This week I have:

- been rained on in the office.
- endured ceaseless and irregular hammering.
- been present for a coincidental series of power failures on the subway rides home, including air conditioning and major lighting
- eaten my bodyweight in Brasilian food
- finished Zadie Smith's White Teeth
- sketched a few odds and sods for t-shirts and the like
- finished the bottle of good scotch that Krissa bought me when I got this job. Good to the last drop, so it was.
- wondering about going to England...looking forward, mostly, but just wondering.
- solving problems
- shifting bookcases
- making furniture
- washing up
- writing a story
- not blogging very well, really. But never mind. There's always next week.

Blighty

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Krissa and I are flying to England next Friday.
I can't wait to see my family again, nor to see how strange it will feel to be in surroundings so familiar...if you catch my drift.

Picture courtesy of Google Earth.

Think Only This Of Me

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Next Friday Krissa and I are flying to England.

Even in my grammar things have changed, so you might understand why I'm feeling...unusual, to use Withnail's words, about it.

To say, "I am going back to England" feels wrong. It suggests that I have but stayed awhile. The whole sentence smacks of resetting, of touching base and going home before coming back for another long stay.

And it's not like that. I live here now. New York is my home. There is no rule to say that you only have one home, far from it, but New York is the home where I live, if you can extract sense from such an apparently redundant statement.

I was worried about how it would feel to return to Ventnor, after the longest I've ever been away. Would I be able to look around without seeing all of the changes? When knowing a place so well is part of what makes it home, how will it be when time has made it different?
There have been times when I've hated that town for how familiar it was to me.
Now I'm in a situation where I'm worried it will be so different as to feel unlike the place I imagine, or the place I'm expecting.

But I think it'll be like meeting up with an old friend. If you're tense and worried about whether or not you're going to get on like you used to, you probably won't get on like you used to. How much of the time when you were with your old friend were you tense or worried about the relationship?
You have to just go with it - catch up, swap stories. Listen. Relax.

It's just going to be strange having to adapt to things which have been so familiar in the past.

When I moved to the US, I had to consciously change the directions in which I checked for traffic before I crossed a street. And now I'll be doing that in England.

I unthinkingly use American terminology. I go to the bathroom, I stroll along the sidewalk, I take out the trash, I take the subway. My sister is undoubtably going to take the piss out of me for this.

Note to Self

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I had two really good thoughts in the last 72 hours.
Really good ones.

Not the sort of thought where you immediately tell everyone around you and there is an end to World Hunger and Nobel Prizes further down the line, but more the sort where you go, 'Hmm. Yes. That's right.'

There was something about emotional openness which sprouted out of an unexpectedly deep and meaningful conversation over a bottle of Samuel Smith's Nut Brown Ale after the play on Sunday.

I had a bag full of pens right with me, and there were beer mats and napkins all over the place, but right smack in the middle of deep and meaningful conversations is not the time to start a-scribblin'.

Then this morning, when there was a djinn-like man sitting on the subway, with a black t-shirt wrapped around his head like an ancient Egyptian headress, muttering about his uncles and the UN and Grand Central, another thought - an idea, this time, popped into my head. I stood, shaking back and forth amidst my fellow passengers as we rattled downtown, and I turned it over and over in my mind. I can remember the shape of it, the feeling of completeness and satisfaction.

I had a bag full of pens at my hip, a fresh copy of today's Metro and at my latest estimate, three notebooks and a couple of drafts in there too. But jam-crowded 4/5 trains are just not the space you want to start idea-jotting.

But now I'll be buggered if I can remember either of them.

Started getting the t-shirt designs together, though. Just one, so far...but more are coming. Sketches for designs and concepts goes on around the clock.

Honest.

Here's one from lunch:


KAFFENE - God Of Coffee Delivery

Spirit Level

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Sometimes I get the impression Krissa thinks I'm a little crazy.

Like last night, when we were discussing the best way to return some of Kate's things; left over from when she lived with Krissa for two months before I moved in. There's a big (big...big and heavy) box of crockery, and a tall bookcase which is so long it'll stick out the back of the truck. We know it'll stick out the back of the truck because it's exactly the same model of IKEA bookcase that we have just this weekend put up in our living room, and our new ones stuck out a good eight inches on the drive back from Long Island.

"We could put the box across like this and rest the bookcase on it at angle like this, or we could break down the box into smaller ones and pack them around the bookcase, or, or, or, we could put some of the smaller packages in the bookcase to weigh down one end and save space," I said, gesturing rapidly.

Krissa slowly half-rolled her head to the right and looked at me. It's moments like that which give me the impression that she's trying to figure out precisely how many sandwiches short of a picnic I really am. As though she needs to come at what I'm saying from an angle she doesn't need to use in the course of a normal conversation.

"The box is too big to go underneath the bookcase. It would just sit on top of it and slide out the back. I'm not sure we can repackage all of the stuff around the bookcase, and there's no way you could put crockery in there. The back of the bookcase is practically paper."

Which left me feeling a little deflated, as you can imagine, but she had a point. Or rather, three.
But those moments of slight embarrassment when my loved ones have the niggling feeling that my common sense gene has switched off are more than made up for by times like Saturday afternoon.

When we got back from our second trip to IKEA, I aligned our two new shelves with a bottle opener, a piece of string, and a CD-R jewel case.

Byways

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Time's been short lately, and I missed a couple of site landmarks - the 700th post (which amazes me, let me tell you...seven hundred posts?) and, more importantly, the Autoblography's third birthday.

I only remembered the anniversary after reading little.red.boat's 4th birthday post. Shows you how mindful I am these days.

But hey!

Three years.

Blimey.

Jumpstart

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Bloody hellfire. That was quite a weekend.
Krissa and I had our last two performances of A Midsummer Night's Dream, another visit to IKEA led to hours of furniture building and redecorating, we were complicit in the abduction of our own furniture (the open sidewalks and freebie-loving passersby of New York are a handy way of getting rid of unwanted goods), munched our way through a diner breakfast and over the two days there was so much frenetic action on the sidelines that it filled up the gaps left by all of the above. I don't think there was a moment when we weren't doing something.

Jen and her beau came along to the Sunday performance in a warehouse art gallery in Redhook, Brooklyn, as did Shana, Heather, Jason, Conrad and a bunch of other people. It was fantastic, an amazing space for the performance and on a beautiful day, and I think everyone in the cast gave it their all. There was a real thrill to the show because of the size and reaction of the audience. Everyone played out of their skins, and I think that if you've got five and six year-old kids laughing their heads off at Shakespeare then that's something pretty special.

Our living room has been completely transformed. After two trips to IKEA, three LACKs, two BILLYs and a BENNO, I have an announcement to make:

Krissa and I now have enough room for our books.

How long this state of affairs will continue is anyone's guess. I for one feel a newfound sense of book-buying liberty, as though freedom has come to an oppressed land, or a too-tight pair of shoes has been removed. All of a sudden there is room.
So despite the downside of last night's bizarre dream in which our new black bookcases took the place of the monoliths in 2001: A Space Odyssey, I'd say it was money well spent.

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