March 26, 2006

please don't call it 'san fran'

The country hopping continues... I'm back in San Francisco and 'suffering' through the early waking jetlag once more. It's actually not such a bad thing, considering that I start working at 12pm in London, I don't usually wake up until later in the day (odd since I was bred a Morning Person). So it's actually really nice to come back to SF and be up early, although at 3am there ain't nuthin much to do but blog about nothingness.

I guess it must be all the cross-continental flying recently, but I cannot, for the life of me, sleep on planes anymore. I used to have that inherent mechanism where as soon as I boarded a plane, as soon as my luggage was safely slowed overhead and my seat up straight - ZONK - I was out. That was the beauty of it. Gotta 12-hour flight?? Nooo problem, get in, sit down, pass out for 10.5 hours - you're there! Not.any.more.

It's made me realize that 12 hours seems like (to use an old cliche) waiting at the DMV ... but having said that, SF has this really groovy (I can't believe I'm using that word and "DMV" in the same breath), system where you can get your "number in line", as it were, online. You just get it, it tells you what the queue is and you head over when you're close to being called. It even gives you an estimated time! A once trusted, reliable, tried and true cliche demolished and disemboweled by a good scheduling software program. How sad.

But I digress.

The great thing about Virgin though is that there are seriously 30 movies you can watch at any one time, ON DEMAND. Although after the 7th hour, you're so hypnotized by moving pictures, your mind so phelgmy by the ease of access, that you actually think 'Dukes of Hazzard' could be ok enough to pass the time.

I assure you it is not.

I wish they would show old movies, classics. I still haven't seen "Gone With the Wind", etc. Although they are showing documentaries which was beyond cool, checked out Murderball and Rize, one right after the other. Talk about 360.

I get it though, the one part where one of the female dancers talks about the choice between staying in a dangerous neighborhood or moving to Hollywood/somewhere nicer. I saw that side in West Philly when I did home visits. It's home, it's what is known and a sense of community and coming together. Would be better to be 'safe', isolated and alone, or share, be a part of something, loved, but in mortal danger? That is a complete and utter simplification, but for 3am on a Sat morning ... I think I get it. Mortal danger, drugs, violence, etc. aside, at it's sheer basic core... I do envy that sense of community.

Yeez, this is a boring entry, I'm typing about movies, I'm waxing philosophic, I'm putting myself to sleep. Oh, suwheet!

[tangent]

I was listening to a guy, don't remember his name, at South by Southwest this year. I'm sure I could google it now, but I really can't be bothered. The point is that he's an author and grew up in Austin, associates himself with Austin but currently lives in Eastern Europe with his wife. Travels a lot for work. VERY liberal. Tech guy, I think, but also some sort of popular culture author. Rants about Bush a lot among other things. Funny guy, ends all his sentences with an upward tilt, like he's asking a question.

He talked about feeling like an Austonian (sp?), even though he doesn't live there anymore and when asked if he would permanently live in Bulgaria or wherever he is in E. Europe, he had the greatest reply, "No, I'm not going to live there forever, it's just another place where I keep my shoes."

I like that. I get that. I aspire to that... but it does mean I'll have to get more shoes.


Posted by slin at 07:29 AM

March 20, 2006

some cool things in london lately

I don't usually post things that I've done (i.e. activities and such), but figure since most of my pals and family are 2,000 miles+ away, it might be nice for them to see how interesting London is, (other than staring at the guards watching over Elizabeth Alexandra Mary's house and all those other activities that include the word "Ben" and "Tower" and being mistaken for a Japanese tourist.)

In no order of importance:

The Gothic Nightmare exhibit at the Tate Britain with pieces by Fuseli and Blake. How can you not love an exhibit that has viewing rooms called "Perverse Classicism", "Gothic Gloomth" and "Fairies and Fatal Women" ?!

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It is such a comforting thing when you look back in history and realize that the people living back then (1700's/1800's) were just as creatively deranged, twisted and morally suspect as the people now. They weren't all just walking around sipping tea, hunting foxes and eating cucumber sandwiches. If you do go, I highly recommend going in the middle of the day with the over 65+ set, the commentary alone is worth the price of admission, especially in the x-rated section...fine art soft porn, gotta love it.

Went to check out the International London Gypsy Film & Music Festival. Unfortunately, I'm leaving London for SF during most of the films that I really want to see, but did check out Latcho Drom and some live music by Yorgui Loeffler.

gypsy.jpg

The documentary was interesting, it didn't have any dialogue but just followed different groups of gypsies across the world, East to West, just showing their way of life and most importantly, the singing and music. It was really good, for about the first 10 minutes and the very last 10 minutes or so of each segment, when they would introduce the group and then build up to the music, but you had to sit patiently through the middle filler of artistic shots along the way... in slow motion. A shot of bare feet walking. [5 minute interval] A shot of the horse's tail. [5 minute interval] A shot of a flower ...you get the idea. Wonderful and moving, but multiply that times 103 minutes, in the absence of sound, and well...

I also realized that, at least at the Cine Lumiere, I was out of my socio-economic status and age range, (not that that should ever be a problem), but other than the very very cool live music ... it was all (ironically) a bit posh/pretentious (or maybe that's just cuz it was so very French).

It bummed me out so much that I didn't have enough energy to stay for the entire music session afterwards and really regret it. Ack well.

Here's something that I really wanted to see and tried and tried to get tickets for, but it was all SOLD OUT.

insect.jpg

"The Insect Circus - Dancing snails, trained butterflies, wasp tamers and balancing bugs, a travelling insect circus menagerie. "

But I'm happy to say, in keeping with my quest to embarass my American self in front of as many Londoners as possible, in as many diverse ways I can think of, I dragged some pals in the freezing cold night to see an urban street art exhibit (ironically in the same place where they were showing the Insect Circus). We arrived, stumbling through the door, only to be told disdainfully with spectacles perched on raised nose, "you are 2 months early".

Oh shite.

Well, I'll tell you how it was come May 19th.

ugh.

Posted by slin at 01:47 AM

March 16, 2006

today, this made me happy

I finally found tofu in London! Non-marinated, non-Westernized, non-sun-dried tomatoed-aioli-flavoured-crystalized-gingered tofu.

And not only plain tofu, but tofu I like (firm) and UNDER 1 pound sterling (wow!)

I bought 8 boxes.

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Today is a good day.

Posted by slin at 08:02 AM

March 12, 2006

shrivel

We're getting a few holes in the clouds, a few peeks of blue sky as Spring pokes through, but it's still nice to see some dried up flowers and stalks from the Winter...

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Posted by slin at 03:07 PM

March 06, 2006

necrotic

So you'd assume that most things in the UK are pretty similar to the US, and for the most part, they are. But there are just a *few* little niggly things that are so unassuming, so not immediately noticeable that they often don't register with you except for that weird dizzy 'huh?' sensation (like when your contact slips) telling you that there's something that's just. not. right.

Doors.

Bank doors. Shop doors. Some house doors. Restaurant doors...*

THEY SWING THE "WRONG" WAY!

Yes, I've never noticed this before either but in the US, the doors swing TOWARDS you when you enter *, but in the UK they swing AWAY from you. Meaning, when you grab the door, it immediately falls away from you as you stumble in. Whereas in the US you grab the door firmly in hand and control each confident entry...

You may not think that that's a big deal, but you stumble into enough stores, trip over enough steps, throw your body towards some unknown gravitational pull enough times... and it gets all a bit disorienting.

Or even perhaps, makes you so disoriented as to squash a finger (which really has nothing to do with the doors, except for the fact that I got my finger stuck in one, but I needed an excuse to post a pic of my black finger tip).

tip1.JPG

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Posted by slin at 06:29 AM