Friday, October 31, 2008


I have been reading appliance manuals all day. Maybe I should celebrate Halloween by dressing as a stove. With nice tactile controls. That sounds kind of dirty, except it's literal and boring. Besides, can you imagine a sexy stove? Yeah, me either. You know why? Because stoves aren't sexy. Even stainless steel stoves. I don't care what this fancy stove is trying to tell me. Even with the black - nope - not sexy.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

The revolution, or not, as the case may be

I am so tired I just misread "endgame" as "edamame". Let me backtrack - yesterday night, in the car, the Spouse and I had brief discussion about Billy Bragg's song "Waiting for the Great Leap Forward". It went something like this:

TDEC: I love "Waiting for the Great Leap Forward"
S: Is he being ironic calling it that?
TDEC: Hmm. Sort of. He is being ironic like he is when he says that "the revolution is just a t-shirt away". He is ironic on one level, but also sees that to some extent the revolution is all about t-shirts.
S: Layered irony...?
TDEC: Something like that.
S: Could he not be ironic about something that doesn't involve a reference to the suffering of millions?

The has a point, in fact he often does. I don't think Bragg is Maoist (I hope to goodness he isn't) but then what does that mean for the song? Maybe he just means a great leap forward, no connotations? Is that possible? Because I really can't see the song as a Maoist anthem. No, it has to be ironic. But no, irony is not his strong suit. No, I think he is advocating for a great leap forwards in the modern sense while acknowledging the failures of the past. Or something.

Well, I don't exactly agree with Billy Bragg's politics all the time, but essentially I really value his honesty and unwavering commitment to what he believes in - the good stuff - equal opportunity, equal access to healthcare, equal rights.

Let me backtrack further. Yesterday I found myself in the Rams Head Live, surrounded by people with shaved heads, cute student girls with odd clothing, middle aged middle class folks, and some oddments. People shouting socialist things at a graying man in a lumberjack shirt. Bragg's American audience is certainly different; who knew men could get all emotional about Billy? You know, that's kind of sweet.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008


For some reason my stomach has been upset for days, and I have been chewing antacids by the handful. I feel quite American. I can't even blame the politics, because I have been avoiding coverage lately. Oh - wait- yes I can. So many signs/stickers/cardboard cutouts. Actually, no cardboard cutouts; that was just wishful thinking.

Saturday, October 25, 2008


It's Friday, and I just got back from drinks with a friend. It's been a busy, somewhat odd week, so it warranted a few beers and a good chat. Tomorrow the Spouse gets back and I can't wait, can't wait to see him. Still listening to Kate Nash. Wonderful. You know, all in all, things are pretty good right now.

Friday, October 24, 2008


Today has been kind of an odd day. By all right I should have felt awful - I didn't sleep much (too much caffeine!) and yesterday was a long day. I should have been exhausted and miserable. Instead I have felt increasingly chirpy, perky to a fault. There's life for you, you never know what you get; and bad days are easier to redeem than ones that have to be good. I've been listening to Kate Nash's Pumpkin Soup over and over and over (because I'm obsessive - may as well make the best of it). Thanks to the lady in the cool costume for the tip. I just want a Queen of Hearts costume so I can yell "off with his head!" at people. Bust the best costume of all would be the Cheshire Cat, but I don't think they make disappearing costumes yet.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Again, I am not

Optimal, that is. I did my duty, by which I mean I worked, then talked to the Spouse, then blogged fairly sensibly. I am done now. I am sensible no more. My throat hurts and I am getting sick. I already was tired. I am sorry. I will be better next week, really, I will, I'll apply some of my intelligence here, I do have some small amount thereof. But right now I've used up my ration and I'm just missing my Spouse and feeling knackered.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

I need to watch Scrubs

I need to watch Scrubs because my brain is fried from today and the blogging and MSNBC's ludicrous (but entertaining) coverage.

Jeremy is talking about Orwell on Voters Broadcasting and I love it when people talk about Orwell. Also I need to make salad. I need leafy greens (not pumpkin pie, not pumpkin pie) and not to think. Too much thinking.

I'm going to wander off and sing little Winnie-the-Pooh humming songs. Toodles.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Why? Because I can.

Well, folks, I am the victim of my popularity these days. I am going to be blogging elsewhere as well as here for the next while. Since both of the other blogs are under my actual name, I won't list them here, but suffice to say that I shall be blogging politics in two languages! Though this involves some amount of work, I look forward to it, and am attempting (!) to write actually substantive posts. We will see how I do. Loading work on myself seems to be what I do these days, so I may as well do something fun, I guess. It does me good to have a clear topic and audience to write for, and it's great practice.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Perfection, and lack thereof

This weekend I was walking amid the autumn leaves and perfect cool blue sky, and it was one of those days where perfection seems only just out of reach (though I put my hand in the cold water of the stream by the path).

I keep listening to Katie Herzig's song Hologram. "A mystery with nothing more to see" indeed. I've been working so hard lately, at doing a good job at work, at being a good hostess, at being a good friend. By the time the returns (on investment!) arrive I'm already gone.

There's the expatriate life for you: living between a place you can never quite be and one you can never quite return to.

There is all this news. I listen to NPR's Planet Money. I read the good voter in my sidebar and a million political blogs. I'm informed, I guess. It serves two purposes: it informs the discussions I try not to have, and it reminds me that I am not an American citizen.

The best thing I've done all week was to talk to a moose handpuppet; and the best thing anyone has done for me this week is to have their toy seal talk to me (over the phone).

Actually, the best thing I did all week was listen to FDR. It says something about the times (and the TDEC) that when I heard Sarah Vowell say on The Daily Show that she had gone back to the "Fireside chats" for reassurance, it sounded like a great idea to me. It was. The first fireside chat in particular is elucidating, and has one thing that politics lack just now - a desire to see the American people as intelligent, a desire, not to dumb down issues, but instead to explain them, to render the complex, not to reduce it. It's a shame the man is dead.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Radio Free Snape

I found another Snapecast. I had missed it. I really must keep a closer eye on the folks over at Anyway, I'm now caught up, and it was good. I listened to it before I listened to the glorious radio that is "The Giant Pool of Money" (see previous post); can you blame me? It was not as good as that, I admit, but then Snapecast is ten or so people on skype obsessing over Snape, and This American Life is famous radio by people paid to do radio. It was still pretty good. I always like the silly songs at the end, and the unabashedness.

So these are the things that have been keeping me from politics. That and Bone, the apparently incredibly well-known graphic-novel-comic thing with these bone creatures and the most wonderful dragon (he need italics; he has tassled ears; see link). And there's this bug called Ted...anyway, it's great. The phrase "Is you pickin' on Ted?" has been the most cheering thing on a gloomy day. The drawings and visual humour are exquisite.

The politics do get a bit much sometimes. Huzzah for other things that aren't politics.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

National treasure

One of the great pleasures of living in the US is listening to the manifold permutations of NPR, National Public Radio.  The local station is a little boring, so I listen to the public, sort-of-NPRish-except-with-music-not-talking-all-the-time WTMD. WTMD is wonderful. I do not know a better radio station, and yes, that does mean it has superseded Studio Brussel.

Anyway. My point was about NPR, and how great it is. If you didn't know yet, one of their most popular programmes is This American Life, a fantastic programme. I can't explain. You need to listen to it. Really. I read somewhere that I need to listen to their episode about the sub-prime mortgage crisis cum financial armageddon, "The Giant Pool of Money", so I finally downloaded it, then waited (too depressing). I listened to it today because I had a long bus ride and ran out of other things. 

"The Giant pool of Money" is some of the best journalism/broadcasting I have ever had the pleasure of being exposed to. You need to listen to it. It is like having someone turn on the light. I didn't think that was possible. It is fantastic. I paid 66 cents for it, since it is not the current episode and I have an Audible subscription. You can get it on the site, or on Audible or iTunes. You may have to pay 75 cents. It will be the best 75 cents you've ever spent. I promise. Get it. Really. These folks, when they're good, they're great.

Go ahead. Listen to it. I promise it will be worth your while.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

The future, as seen by a banker

I had set up a meeting with the person who manages our pension plan investments today. I did this as much out of interest in his reaction to the current financial armageddon as out of interest in my investments. I'm not sure that I am entirely comfortably with having investments; but I have them, and I have no real doubt that it will all be ok. I have more than thirty years, and frankly now seems as good a time as any to be buying stock. The investment banker looked like an investment banker, which was very gratifying. In his sixties, pinstrip suit, half-moon spectacles (well, something like that) - really, very Dickens. Nice man, quite helpful, and all reassurance of course. Zenlike calm. The economy will recover. No steepling of fingers. No suspicious looks, cunning plans or eagerly fingering of gold coins - in short, not quite Dickens enough, which is perhaps for the best insofar as my pension plan is concerned.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

I'm bored

That was a boring debate. Really. I took wine to get through it all. Obama was flat and wordy, McCain repetitive and petty, and really, Brokaw looked like the only sentient being there.

My brain hurts, I'm so bored. 

The best thing was that last question (not the answers). 
"What don't you know, and how will you learn it?"

I will resist the urge to provide an obnoxious answer, but feel free to answer better than they did.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

The election coverage is possibly damaging my sanity

It is hard to imagine the surreal politics in the US unless you're here to witness it. With Fox and MSNBC competing for most crazily partisan network, there is always plenty of silly/made-up/offensive/funny news. The closer we get to the election, the more the reports sound like Stephen Colbert and  Jon Stewart respectively. That should be disconcerting, but instead is somehow amusing.

Monday, October 06, 2008

The smell of

Pumpkin pie. Which I just made. For the first time ever. I must be turning into Martha Stewart.
(but the pie does smell good)

I am also watching Princess Bride, because there is no limit to the times one can view it.

Meanwhile I've been absorbing a bunch of political stuff, and watching debates and Sunday morning tv. I should have something to say about that, but I don't know what. I've read too much, I think - I can find nothing to say that isn't already written up somewhere.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Everything is craziness

And tomorrow we're watching the debate. Yeah, there is wine to ease the pain. I have a feeling I will need it. I'd write about all of it, but a good voter kind of has it covered (and broadcasts, which I don't). I'm kind of useless this week. There's too much going on. Some of it is really good. I can't really talk about it, hush hush, all that. I wish I meant that in a Cambridge Spies sort of way, if you take that to mean "involving sexy men and wit" rather than "involving destroying your soul and your family for the sake of an illusory greater good".