Monthly Archives: January 2010

Literary Crime

I’m not a person who makes a habit of thievery.  I am a well-known snoop and gossip, I have a hard time keeping secrets (although I have learned how to make myself forget things in order to do better at this).  When I drive, I enjoy speeding, but I rarely drive so this doesn’t matter much.  I tell weird little lies for no reason (once I told a stranger at a dance club that I married Jeremy for the Visa, he looked at me with disgust and total belief).

But theft I am not much for.  I don’t watch pirated movies (1. because movies should be viewed on the big screen and not all shaky like on the computer and 2. because it’s stealing) and I don’t steal cable (Dana stole the cable in Chicago, not me). 

In 1994 though, I did something kind of horrible.  I stole a copy of Catcher in the Rye from my high school library.  It just seemed like the right thing to do.  Like it should be set free, you know?  So I slipped it into my bag and walked out with it.

Then I loaned it to my friend Shannon, who loaned it to another friend, who lost it.  Karma I guess.  Or maybe it was still trying to get free. 

I had to buy two more copies before I got one to stick.   I can’t, for the life of me remember what happened to copy 2.  Probably I loaned it to a boy.  You ask for trouble when you loan boys books.  You also ask for trouble when you steal from the library in a silly moment of teenage rebellion.

So yesterday the news broke that JD Salinger died at 91 years old.  It made me think of stealing that book and the thrill it gave me to just walk out with it.  And the thrill it gave me to find it twice more when I wanted to read it over the years.  I’m glad he lived a long and good life on his own terms, but I’m still a little sad that he’s gone.  It sort of makes me want to steal another copy of the book, I won’t though, I’ll just want to.

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Adventures in Brixton

So I was in the Brixton Body Shop yesterday looking to buy some more Seaweed Ionic Clay Mask. It’s good for my combination oily skin you see, also it is good for scaring Jeremy when coupled with the phrase ‘Oogedy boogedy boo!’  Seriously, total comic genius. So yeah, there I was poking around in the seaweed section (because, yes, I do have combination oily skin and yes, I buy products specifically geared towards said skin, especially those featuring seaweed and ionic clay) when the security guard starts asking me if I’ve tried the night serum.  I was all like, ‘What now?’ And looked up to see this wiry thug of a guy with a scar on his face and a gold tooth get all psyched to tell me about the benefits seaweed products for combination skin.  It should come as no suprise that this was the best thing to happen to me all day.  Possibly all week. 

Also he gave me a free sample.  I wonder if he gets an under the table commission for any night serum he sells?  I smiled at him as I left and was rewarded with a proper twinkle from his gold tooth.

This more than made up for an especially frustrating visit to Marks and Spencer down the road where I spotted 3 pairs of trousers I wanted to try on only to be informed that they didn’t have a changing room (My response: Well that’s kind of a pain in the ass) but that I could return anything that didn’t fit (My response: No, that’s stupid) . 

So thanks to you, gold toothed security guard at the Body Shop in Brixton.  You saved Sunday!

Also, right now if you buy their Bag for Life they donate almost half the price to causes helping out in Haiti, and that’s a nice thing to do.

Also, also, I promise you I am not being paid by Body Shop.  I just really like their seaweed based products.  Especially that mask.

Oogedy boogedy boo!

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Lucky Me

So I was watching the BBC Morning show while checking my emails and Facebook this morning and they had an interview with a doctor from Medicins Sans Frontiers talking about how their planes have been unable to lan in Port Au Prince the last few days and instead ae being routed to the Dominican Republic which means that vital supplies have been taking up to 2 extra days to get to victims of the earthquakes there.  This means people are dying who otherwise would have lived.  This is horrifying.  And I was struck by 2 things. 

  1. I need to donate to this organisation.  They do very important work and deserve much support.
  2. I am incredibly lucky.  I am lucky I was born where I was born to the people I was born to.  I am lucky for the tremendous privileges I was granted as a result of this first bout of luck.  I am lucky I live and have lived in countries with reliable and safe infrastructures (give or take a few stretches of road in Detroit).  I am lucky that when I lived in the US I had access to health care.  I am lucky to now live in a country with nationalized health care that has provided with support when I was unlucky enough to become very ill.  I haven’t done anything to deserve this.  I was just born in the right place at the right time.  So often, in the midst of my everyday life I forget these things.  I get caught up in urban complaints about buses and work and snow and all sorts of nonsense, but really, my life is very good.  It’s good to remember this sometimes.

So yeah, go here.  Spread some of your own luck around.

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And Another

Season 3 of Mad Men is finally starting in the UK!

FINALLY!

Next Wednesday on BBC 4.  Oh thank Christmas!

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Things to look forward to:

  1. Road trip!  In June a friend currently living in NC is getting married in Durham.  We are using this wedding as an excuse to see some more of America.  The tentative plan right now is to start in Florida to see Jeremy’s grandparents and aunts and uncles there and then drive up  through Savannah to Durham, from there we’ll see another friend in NC and then onward to Nashville and Memphis and then upward to Chicago and maybe a side trip to Indianapolis to see my cousins as well.  Alannah, if you are reading this do you think we might be able to arrange meeting somewhere?  My knowledge of the geography of the south is very slim so I’m not sure where you live in relation to all these places but I would LOVE to see you.
  2. Michael!  My old friend and coworker Michael bought tickets to see the Ultravox reunion concert in Amsterdam this spring.  That means he and his partner will be stopping over in London at the end of April!  Yay!  Michael is one of the best people ever and I miss him (and working with him) a lot.  I totally lucked out the day I walked into the library and learned we’d be working together almost every day.
  3. Heidi!  My friend Heidi is coming to visit at the end of May.  We are going to go to the flower show and the Horniman and the pub together.  And probably other stuff too.
  4. Primavera Sound!  She will also be coming along to Primavera Sound 2010, a music festival in Barcelona. I’ve mentioned it before but it’s important that you know it will be awesome and on the beach and full of good times.
  5. Ann!  So long as she gets her passport my niece will be visiting this summer.  I’m looking forward to showing her around London and giving her a slice of life outside of Port Huron.
  6. Spring!  Spring is coming.  I do not have a full midwestern winter ahead of me.  Soon flowers will be blooming and daylight will be lasting longer. Maybe some sunshine will even break through.

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Filed under dorking it up, SHUT UP pollyanna, the travails of living abroad, travel

I only wanted to see you . . .

So Sunday I woke up with a headach and a vague feeling of dread.  You know how it is, you had a few beers the night before, watched a couple movies and then you ended up at a karaoke bar.

A karaoke bar.

Not that I don’t love karaoke bars.  I totally do.  If they would have me I would move in to Sidekicks on the west side of Chicago and live there on Rolling Rock and chicken wings for the rest of my days.  I just don’t usually sing at karaoke bars.  I’m much better at acting as the little voice just behind you that says things like ‘Oooh, look they’ve got The Bangles!’  or ‘You know what you should sing, you should totally sing ‘Total Eclipse of the Heart” I always offer to do backing vocals but rarely do a solo presentation.

Sadly, Saturday night Julia beat me to this role.  ‘Someone needs to sing Purple Rain!’ She shouted and then somehow there I was, on a tiny stage by the door staring up at a plasma screen showing one of those cheesy karaoke videos and spinging (that speaking in a tuneful way) along with the verses of Purple Rain.  I belted out the chorus, as you do, but decided to keep it restrained and tasteful on the verses.

Jeremy took a video of the whole sad show on his iPhone, but that’s been deleted now and it’s better for all of us if it stays that way.

Besides, I had nothing on our friend Ian’s performance of Kate Bush’s Wuthering Heights.  He IS my Cathy.  He really is.

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Oh for the love of something!

Dear Pat Robertson,

Please shut up!

Thanks,

Carolyn

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