Sunday, December 31, 2006

...and it goes by the name of London.

Hello everyone. I hate New Year's Eve, but this year at least I have an excuse to stay inside and be boring: namely, jetlag and driving rain. I wanted to go down to Trafalgar Square and see the fireworks but...well, it's not like I've never been to Trafalgar Square before.

Yes, I landed safely. I will write more about my trip there and back later and the bittersweetness of being here for what might be the last time. I got a treat coming in this morning though: for the first time ever we went into a holding pattern over the city and I could see all the landmarks out my window: the Eye, Tower Bridge, Piccadilly Circus, Charing Cross Station and (I think) Nelson's Column. Everything was lit up and beautiful, clean and quiet from the sky. No place like it.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

all I want for my birthday...

"Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows"

It's official!

Thursday, December 07, 2006

So if you care to find me, look to the western sky

Nickilovesdrama is taking a holiday. There is too much drama in my life right now for one little ol' blog, so I'm going to leave it for a couple weeks until things settle down. In the meantime, here's a picture of a ship.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Four more days

"You cannot conceive what I feel, when I call you all to my remembrance."
-Nelson to Emma, 1799

Somehow "I miss everyone" sounds so much better when Nelson is saying it.

Everyone is infighting at work. The secretaries are all accusing one another of fobbing their work off on other people because they're spending all their time screwing around, and the receptionist is mad because she hasn't had enough time to finish her embroidery due to the increased meetings. I'm just trying to stay out of it...everyone likes me because I'M the one they all fob their work off on and I'm willing to sit there and nod politely when they all shout about one another. Every time my boss calls me from Frankfurt where he's been living for the last three weeks he moans about how he's going to miss the Christmas party, AND his three daughters various Christmas plays. It's very hard for me to feel sorry for him though--surely if he's as highly paid and indespensible to the company as he says he is, he could make it home to go to the Nativity play.

Oh well. I am, as I said, just trying to stay out about it. I start to get stressed...but then I remember I'm coming home in a week. I bought purple shoes today. That made me happy.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Books have the same enemies as people: fire, humidity, animals, weather, and their own content.

-Paul Valery

I stole this article from Something to think about...

"Harry Potter and the Ministry of Fire"
by David Serchuk

In August 2003, two Michigan pastors, T.D. Turner Sr. and son T.D. Turner Jr., took a stand against sorcery by burning a Harry Potter book outside their Jesus Non-Denominational Church. The younger Turner, Tommy, says that while he hadn't read the book, the cover alone showed him it promoted wizardry, adding that Potter-related Web sites were gateways to harder stuff. The last straw came when a local girl tried to perform a magic spell. (She was unable, as far as we can tell, to turn anybody into a newt.)

"Parents [have to] realize this is more than a fictional book," says Turner. "It's attached to the occult."

The fire so inflamed parishioners' passions that, according to the Detroit Free Press, some of the 50 spectators proceeded to burn the Book of Mormon, a non-King James edition of the Bible, and even the Dan Aykroyd movie Coneheads. Turner regrets that things got out of control, but adds, "Since the burning, our ministry is growing and can seat another 400 members," he says. "God has been blessing us."

In their disdain for Harry Potter, the Turners are not alone. The boy wizard has inspired fundamentalists all over the U.S. to destroy his books. There have been half a dozen Potter book burnings in the past five years.

In some cases, though, the books weren't actually burned. In two towns, Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and Lewiston, Maine, local fire stations denied book-burning permits. One pastor, Douglas Taylor of the Jesus Party in Lewiston, undeterred, slashed and destroyed 12 Potter books instead.

"The city warned me they would intervene if I burned [the Potter books]," says Taylor, who held the cuttings in 2001 and 2002, "because of the toxic emissions used by the ink." Taylor points out that he only burns books he purchases. Also, he, like the Turners, is against the government censoring of the books; but unlike the Turners, he read most of one. He takes pride that at both book "cuttings," he allowed his opponents to speak at his microphone and question him. Some protesters even destroyed Bibles. "It didn't bother me at all," he says. "It's the message, not the print on the page."

As to why Taylor chose J.K. Rowling's books instead of something more sinister, the reason is clear: publicity. "Rowling has a world platform. I though I'd step up and share it with her," Taylor says.

Ray Bradbury, however, thinks that Taylor is deluded. The 86-year-old author of the anti-censorship novel Fahrenheit 451 is a passionate advocate of free speech and believes Taylor and his ilk are at best clueless about their actions.

"He [Taylor] doesn't know what witchcraft is," says Bradbury. "It's about wits. There's nothing wrong with the Potter books, because they're not promoting witchcraft. They're promoting being wise."

Regarding Taylor himself, Bradbury is succinct: "He sounds like a stupid man. He just shoots off his mouth, and he should just go somewhere, sit down and shut up."

It's hard to know exactly how many books are burned in the U.S. each year. The group that keeps the best tabs on this, the American Library Association, updates an anti-book burning Web site with links from around the country, but it resists a hard count of books burned. Indeed, Third Reich-style bonfires have never been popular in the U.S., says Judith Krug, director of the Office for Intellectual Freedom of the ALA. "Setting bonfires is either viewed as just stupid or amusing," says Krug. "It's amusing, because [book burners] are too dumb to find other outlets. We get hysterical about sex, yet the general feeling is, 'I won't let some yahoo tell me what to read.'"

However, that is exactly what Americans did through most of late 1800s and early 1900s, when Anthony Comstock reigned supreme as the nation's self-appointed censor. In 1866, Comstock started the New York Society for the Suppression of Vice, which had as its seal a picture of a top-hatted man burning a pile of books. Incensed by "lewdness," Comstock worked the halls of Congress and in 1873 got passed the "Act of the Suppression of Trade in, and Circulation of, Obscene Literature and Articles of Immoral Use," otherwise known as the Comstock Act. Soon thereafter, Congress made Comstock a special agent of the Post Office, giving him the power to arrest distributors of lewd or unwholesome materials, as judged by him.

Comstock--in a career that didn't end until his death in 1915--claimed he'd destroyed 160 tons of obscene literature and arrested some 3,600 purveyors of prurient material.

Though Comstock's influence has waned, outside the U.S., book burning is still in fashion. In May of this year, protesters in the Philippines and Italy burned copies of The Da Vinci Code to coincide with the release of the film version. In a tragicomic note, the Philippine Daily Inquirer pointed out that due to the high cost of the book, protesters likely only burned three copies of it, adding photocopies to make the pyre higher. In Ceccano, Italy, only one copy of the book was burned, even as protesters hurled tomatoes at the burners.

Perhaps the most famous burning of all time occurred at the Royal Library at Alexandria, Egypt, one of the great repositories of learning in the ancient world, which held 40,000 manuscripts, many irreplaceable. Accounts differ about who ultimately burned the library; some say it was Julius Caesar in 47 or 48 B.C., who torched it inadvertently during battle with his arch-enemy Pompey. Others say the decisive burning occurred in A.D. 642, overseen by Omar, Caliph of Baghdad.

What is not in dispute is that the library burned, taking many of the great works of the ancient world with it. In particular, the playwright Aeschylus' work suffered when the great storehouse burned. Today, just seven of his plays survive, though he wrote 90. The reason? Just one copy of his completed texts existed--they were never reproduced--and they were housed at Alexandria.

But even Aeschylus is lucky compared to the Greek poet Sappho, who lived circa 600 B.C. Famed for her revolutionary approach that expressed feelings of romantic longing, her work was destroyed first by early Christians around the year 400 and later by Pope Gregory VII in 1073, leaving just one complete poem existent.

Of course, the Bible has offended those in power for centuries, and it has been frequently burned. William Tyndale is perhaps little remembered today, but in 1526, he printed the first-ever New Testament in English. The Bishop of London, not happy to see the Word so easily put in the hands of the laity, hunted Tyndale and his books down, burning them where he could. The plot almost worked, as just two copies of the book survived. But survive, and eventually thrive, the books did, even though Tyndale himself did not. He was burned at the stake in 1536. His last words: "Lord, open the eyes of the King of England." But perhaps a more fitting epitaph could be his most famous turn of phrase: "Let there be light."

Saturday, December 02, 2006

"I've been thinking--" "I know, I heard!"

I went to see "WICKED" tonight with my roommate and her boyfriend. I had to see it before I leave for home, since Idina MEnzel, the woman who originated the role on Broadway is only going to be here until Christmas. (and then the girl who originated the role of "Meat" in "We Will Rock You" is going to take over. Which reminds me, I also need to egg Ben Elton before I leave...) So we went to the Victoria Apollo which is a gorgeous art deco theatre near Victoria station. The lobby is a riot of deco and it's! How appropriate.

The show was really good. Not amazing, but a really solid piece of musical theatre. I would have liked more politics than this faffing about with people being popular, but I think for the type of show they were going for they definitely succeded. So the twelve year olds in front of me led the standing applause charge, but I was left sitting in the middle of the second act going "wait! wait! Explore this theme of looks vs identity! Please!"

The star of the show was without a doubt Idina Menzel and she rocked. Oh Lord, she has a golden voice. And you could see that she had spent longer with her character than any of the other actors: the woman playing Glinda looked like an understudy next to her. One of the annoying points was that the English actors used their own accents, which is fine, but when they were singing the vowel sounds didn't match up, so they sounded out of tune with each other. Thank you, vocal training. I could have listened to Idina all night. I'm slightly mollified that she stole the Tony from Tonya Pinkins, but I need to see "Caroline, or Change" this week as well to make sure it was still awarded correctly.

I think my favourite part had to be the costumes but I'm not sure I liked the ones people wore for the OzDust Ballroom, they looked too modern. I was also pleased to see that James Gillam, the man who played Hinckley in the Sheffield version of Assassins was in Wicked as Boq. I'm glad to see he managed to get over his obsession with Glinda just so he could become obsessed with Jodie Foster and try to shoot Reagan. Brings a whole new meaning to the words "kill the witch!"

Thursday, November 30, 2006

tragedy + 2 minutes = comedy

I don't know if anyone has heard about the Russian spy who's died in London recently, but it's starting to turn into a secret agent movie from the 1960s. Apparently Alexander Litveneko, an outspoken critic of Putin's new Russian government, was poisoned with radioactive material at his favourite sushi restaurant. Now the British government is trying to find out who killed him. Luckily radioactive material leaves a radioactive trace wherever it goes, so they've been able to follow it around the city of London like one of those "Family Circus" cartoons. The Russian government denies all involvement, of course, but they're not exactly forthcoming with information, as you can imagine. One of the places Scotland Yard has found radiation is on 3 Boeing 767s which are owned by BA, and which have been in service for the past month. They've been grounded for tests, but BA has had to release a list of flights that were affected. This in turn has thrown the secretarial pool here at the office into something of a whirl, as it transpires that some of our directors may have been on these planes. Unless they were licking the guy who was holding the poison, however, there's not much chance they are radioactive. Besides, there would have been a few tell-tale signs: hair loss, vomiting, glowing green, etc. I joke, but seriously, this whole thing is like a bad pitch for the next Austin Powers movie: "Okay, so after getting off the plane and poisoning the Russian, Austin goes for a walk around Harrods and then has a night out clubbing before staggering around Soho for a few hours and then passing out in a doorway." And there's nothing like watching a highly paid executive going a delicate shade of pale when a group of mischevious secretaries point out to him that the flew on one of the Death Planes.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

please move right down inside the carriage

I'm still enamoured of the Tube, just...not at 8:30 in the morning. There were "SEVERE DELAYS" on the Piccadilly line today, which made me 15 minutes late for work and "severely cranky." When a train is stopped in a station it's customary to leave the doors open so that people can get some air, but this also leaves you susceptible to more people pushing on--and I do mean pushing--even when we're already packed in like salted herrings for a long sea voyage. The Piccadilly line has the smallest carriages, literally, if you're standing by the door you can't stand up straight and they are narrower than any other line. So we were waiting in one of the stations for the train to move along when a man behind me said "Excuse me, could you move down inside the carriage?" Short answer: "no." Long answer: "No you bloody nutjob, there is not enough room for the people already on the train much less you and your overstuffed briefcase. Open your EYES." That didn't stop him from getting on huffily, as though I was deliberately preventing him from getting on by somehow making my body twice it's normal size. Long story short, I spent the rest of the ride groin-to-groin with the man in front AND the jerk behind me. Awwwk-wwward. Just don't make eye contact. Just don't look directly at him. Try not to think about how happy you are you buttoned your coat before you got on. Consider fainting on jerk behind you, but then realise he would probably toss you off at the next stop if it meant more room. Jerk.

If I stay in London, I'm going to move near Greenwich and take a boat to work everyday. At least that way, if it was full, I could pretend to be a pirate on my way to loot and plunder rather than some miner on the way to t'pit. Arrrrr.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

how do you solve a problem like Nicole Marie?

I'll be seeing you in
All the old familiar places
That this heart of mine embraces
All day through

In that small cafe
That park across the way
The children's carousel,
the chestnut tree...
The wishing well.

I'll be seeing you in
Every single summer's day
In every thing that's light and gay
I'll always think of you that way

I'll find you in the morning sun
And when the night is new
I'll be looking at the moon
But I'll be seeing you.

Arndis is going back to Iceland and I'm sad that another friend from London is leaving. I know so few people, and I'm usually only seeing them when they're coming or going. We split a bottle of wine last night, had some sirius conversation about Lupin's love life and then had ice-cream in Leicester Square. Very nice.

The thing that's been driving me crazy lately is everytime I get into a conversation with one of my friends is a certain Someone comes up, and whoever I'm talking with, they always say: "Go for it!" and I have to explain my reasons why not. They say "You are always promoting confessing your Luv! Go for it!" And then I have to say, oh yes, with my track record, hm, dead, gay and flat out not interested. Well done me. Naturally I can circumvent all my problems by fixating on certain dead actors but that...well that doesn't quite fix it, does it. Not the overarching problem. I have all of you, my lovely friends and family, but as I watch people pairing off all around me, I can't help but get worried. Impatient. Am I going to have to wait forever? Maybe. That's a scary idea. Well, I just won't think about it then. I've had quite enough romantic escapades for a while, thank you very much. That doesn't stop me from hoping though. It's the ultimate nature-vs-nurture problem: will all the influences finally convince me to write that long anguished email? or will the inherent introvert finally win the day?

Friday, November 24, 2006

at least the sweet potatoes were good

The Menu:
Veggies, crackers and chees to start.
Turkey with sage and onion stuffing
Sweet potatoes with butter so thick with brown sugar you can stand a spoon up in it
Seven pounds of mashed potatoes
Cranberries with pomegranate and clementines
Fruit salad
Green bean salad with caramelized onions
Apple pie with vanilla ice cream
Red wine

So then, Thanksgiving. I was really excited to cook Thanksgiving because I love cooking, and because my friend Mel has a sweet apartment and she let me completely take it over to make dinner for ten people, including my first turkey. (which was too dry, but that's okay, because we had Bisto) But of the five people I invited and messaged the night before saying "Hope to see you tomorrow!" only my roommate Alison came. And because I was busy supervising the turkey, we didn't have a chance to chat. She left early as well, so pretty soon it began to feel like I was cooking for Mel's friends. They were all very nice--especially the Aussie who asked me if I'd "heard" of "Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell" and then couldn't get a word in edgewise while I quoted my favourite pages for ten minutes--but they weren't MY friends. I was feeling very upset that the people I handpicked to come couldn't even bother to send me an email and say "hey, can't make it, but have fun!" I thought it would be a good chance to catch up with these people, since I hadn't seen them in awhile. And it got late, and I probably had more wine than I should have...I got home by midnight, but today I'm being cranky and unhelpful. Not good. I suspect the people I invited who didn't come (all of whom are Brits) don't realise how big of a deal that Thanksgiving is, especially to me, so that not coming, or not letting me know that they're not coming is acceptable, but it's not.

I hope everyone else had a more cheerful Turkey Day than I did. Viva le Puritans!Next year I'm making pumpkin pie. From scratch. And I'm not sharing. Mrrr.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Filed under "C" for "Consumerism"

I really need to stop reading biographies before I go to bed, because I was dreaming all last night that I was fighting the French off the coast of Egypt and now I'm really tired after having to reload cannon all night.

Anyway, so I was reading online about a pair of Americans who bought a Playstaion 3 and then proceeded to smash it to pieces in front of other people who were waiting in line to purchase their PSP3. Apparently the PSP3 is this year's must-need gaming console, and people have been lining up for it for about two years now. (In Japan, businessmen were paying homeless people to queue for them--not kidding)These two Americans said it was to study the reaction of the people waiting. They also bought a second PSP3 to auction off to pay for their shennanigans. I'm not really fussed about them smashing a gaming console: it must be nice to have that kind of money. Me, I'd rather take my $300 and light it on fire, or perhaps use it to, I don't know, educate children in Africa or something. You can see a video of this stunt on

I was also reading this week about a movement called "No Shopping Day" which is a response to the shopping frenzy that occurs in America the day after Thanksgiving. It was started by a Canadian artist, and has spread worldwide. People who are involved in this engage in harmless activities like handing out used shopping bags, or putting old sneakers in the shiny Nike display at the store. The point is to make people aware of their mindless consumerism and to have them stop and think about where their goods come from, the kind of impact they're having on the world and perhaps even why they feel the need to give gifts to all and sundry. I fully support these consumer-warriors, since mindless consuming is something I do not enjoy. I like shopping for presents, but I'm usually on vacation, thinking "oh, won't Grandma like this tablecloth...oh, I miss Grandma..." instead of "Grandma will like me more because I bought her something." National No-Shopping Day is the day after Thanksgiving in the US and this Saturday in Britain. (Britain, not having Thanksgiving, has no buffer between Halloween and Christmas, which means I've been suffering through Christmas commericals since the first of November.)

So, don't buy anything on Friday! (or Saturday!) Recycle something instead! We can all make a difference if we just work together! (and recycle your old bags!)

Monday, November 20, 2006

I wish I was home

In a different place
In a different time
Different people around me
I would like to know of that different world
And how different they find me

Here I am alone
Though it feels the same
I don't know where I'm going
I'm here on my own
And it's not a game
And a strange wind is blowing

I'm so amazed
At the things that I see here
Don't want to be afraid
Don't want to be afraid
I just don't want to be here
In my mind this is clear
What am I doing here?

I wish I was home

"Soon As I Get Home" from The Wiz

I think my biggest problem is I have been homesick for most of my adult life, but I haven't really got a home to look forward too. Every now and then I get to thinking about how I'm going to have to move in February--whether it's another van job here in London or back to the States--and it seems so overwhelming that I just want to stick my head in the sand. Oh, to live in a place for more than nine months! To be able to paint walls and hang curtains and put David in my kitchen and Turner in my living room! To have all my books around me again in one place!--really, it's like being separated from children. I have got to find a place where I can settle down for a few years at least. I can live a big exciting life in a big exciting city--as long as I can have my own space.

Friday, November 17, 2006

steal this quiz

Everyone enjoyed my last quiz so much I thought I'd do another one--only this one is one that I came up with. I call it "A Quiz for Creative People" and I encourage everyone to copy it and fill it out.

1.Describe your favourite weather using a noun
Hammock weather!

2.If you could be alive during any time period, which would you choose? Why?
Probably 1770-1800s. the fashions would suit me, I think, and it would have been a very exciting time with all the new ideas and countries springing up everywhere.

3.Your favourite line of poetry?
“Rose leaves, when the rose is dead are heaped for the beloved’s bed.”

4.Book that you’ve read more than once:
Gone With the Wind: 6 times and counting

5.Worst traveling memory.
Probably arriving in rainy Glasgow with mom and dad during Bank Holiday and discovering that due to the Stones playing there is not a hotel room within a 150 mile radius.

6.What fictional character do you most resemble?
Belle from Beauty and the Beast.

7.Due to Bush not signing the Kyoto Treaty, the ice-caps have melted and the sea level has risen. What mountain range do you go live on?
The Appalachians, somewhere near Tennessee or Kentucky

8.If you had a daemon, what would it be? Name?
Probably something funny yet dignified, like a duck called Kismet.

9.Your favourite nail polish colour.

10.How do you express yourself creatively that pisses off the neighbors?
I tend to sing or listen to classical music really loudly while I’m cooking.

11.Dogs or cats?
Dogs plural.

12.Did you think the Beast was less hot at the end of Beauty and the Beast?

13.What’s your comfort food?
Mom’s meatloaf. If I have to cook, hotdogs with mustard and onions.

14.What song do you sing in the shower?
Either my friend’s song “Thing You Can’t Change,” “Worst Pies in London” or Weird Al Yankovic (good for breathing and diction)

15.Do you name your electronics? Do tell.
My computer is named Grane, and my iPod is named Napoleon.

16.Have you ever wanted to leave a show at intermission? What was it?
Yes. Titanic. GOD what a horrible idea for a musical.

17.Your favourite word?

18.Do you wear lipstick? Where do you wear it?
Sometimes. When I was younger I used to have some purple stuff I wore as eye shadow. Now I just wear it to work.

19.What’s your favourite part about your favourite holiday?
Christmas carols.

20.What kind of music are you listening to right now?
Thomas Tallis again—it gives a very chilled out feel to the workday.

21.Have you ever streaked?
Between my bedroom and the shower every night, teehee.

22.What’s your favourite way to travel?
On a boat!

23.Have you ever gotten a scar from doing a load-in? Where and how?
Several. Most recent was The Representative—I scraped my leg moving the seats.

24.Have you ever seen the aurora? How did it make you feel?
I saw it when I was coming home late in 2000…it made me feel really small but vitally sacred.

25.Your favourite way to end a piece of writing:

Thursday, November 16, 2006

very important movie part 2!

very important movie!!

Sweeney Todd: the Demon Barber of Fleet Street is currently being made into a movie (as I'm sure you're all well aware) and it is being directed by Tim Burton. I greeted this news with some trepidation, as I have seen Tim Burton's work and I hold nothing against it except that it looks like the work of Tim Burton. I reserve judgement. THEN I hear that the Demon Barber is going to be played by Johnny Depp. Again, I am very, very nervous, anxious even, BUT apparently Mr. Depp had to audition for Sondheim, and if the composer thinks he can do it, then, fine. Again, I will wait and see. Helena Bonham Carter is going to play Mrs. Lovett, and despite my best efforts, genuine panic is beginning to rise. Mr. Burton had a master-class at the London International Film Festival a few weeks ago and I had half a mind to go down there: "Ah, yes, this question isn't about directing? I was just wondering if you were had any plans for Sweeney Todd? Like having Michael Cerveris do it? Please?" Then today--finally--some good news. Sacha Baron Cohen has been announced as Signor Pirelli, a small but vital role. (vital as in the jugular! haha!) Finally, an announcement I can get excited about. Mr. Baron Cohen is best known as the gentleman who is being sued by frat boys who claimed they were coerced into being in his movie and irritating the prime minister of Khazakstan and I think he is one of the funniest men alive today. I haven't seen "Borat" yet, but I will this weekend, just to make sure that he's up to Sweeney snuff.

I don't know why I've taken such a hugely personal interest in the casting and making of this film, except that I want it to be good. REALLY good. I know that some studio has picked it up to cash in on the recent spate of musical movies being made, but, unlike "High School Musical"* Sweeney is a genuine chance to introduce the world at large to what a REAL musical should look, sound and taste like. Chris Columbus had the chance with RENT, but we won't go there today.

Support Sweeney! I will keep you updated as info becomes available.

*shoot me. shoot me now.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006


Mom was wondering why I didn't brag more on my MA, then I realised that I don't really talk about myself on my blog anymore. Probably because my life is stationary right now. So I copied a quiz my friend sent me from Myspace and here it is. I took out all the lame questions though. Enjoy!

3.Describe a typical Sunday for you:
Church, battling for groceries, lounging in front of the telly, big supper, long shower and early bed.

4. Any odd routines you follow when you wake up?
I curse out my alarm clock

5. If alcohol was banned worldwide, what would your reaction be?
Laugh—it didn’t work in ’29, it ain’t gonna work now.

6. When was the last time you cried?
After seeing “Bent” by myself.

7. Your CD collection is going to be repossessed. You may keep one.
Just don’t take my iPod.

8. Do you believe world peace is possible?
Ever the optimist, I believe it’s possible. Likely? No.

9. I'm a genie. Name your wish. (Money and Love cannot be granted).
Cillian Murphy. Or, alternately, peace in the middle east.
…fine, peace in the middle east, THEN Cillian Murphy

10. Name one thing about the OPPOSITE sex that automatically turns you off.

11. Name one thing about the SAME sex that automatically turns you off.

12. Speaking of SAME sex, what do you think of Brokeback Mountain?
I just can’t quit it.

14. Where are you?
At work, on the reception desk, aka Nicki’s email checking time.

15. Leatherface is in the kitchen. Will you fight to victory, or hide?
Probably hide.

16. Do you feel that people underestimate you?
They underestimate my strengths and overestimate my weaknesses.

17. When you're in a bad mood, what will always put you in a better mood?
Music and journaling. Or, alternately, yelling at people.

18. Honestly, do you talk about MySpace in real life?
Not really. But I do go on and on about my blog.

19. Have you met someone online in person?

21. Do you believe minimum wage should be raised?

22. If someone at a bar gives you "the look" how do you respond to it?
Pretend they’re not interested then flirt voraciously.

23. Desperation happens. Do you take advantage of desperate people?
No, I’m usually one of the desperate ones. sigh.

24. Pretend you're 15 deep in beers. Describe what you would be doing now?
I never get that far because I HATE throwing up.

25. Does everyone in your life know the real you?
Yup, I wear my emotions on my sleeve.

26. What is something you're afraid of?

27. Pretend you took a hit out of a bong. Describe what you would be doing now?
Probably hearing my dad’s voice going “tsk, tsk.”

28. Have you ever had a beer bong?

29. You have two weeks to live. Would you tell anyone?
Depends on what I was dying from.

31. A band you thought was cool when you were 15:
Queen, and they STILL ROCK!

32. You have a nightmare, who's the first person you think to call?
I don’t call anyone.

33. Wanna have kids before you're 30?
Yes, but not by myself.

34. A memory from high school?:
Freshman year, being in the play opposite the guy I absolutely loved and getting to faint into his arms.

35. Ever had a crush on one of your friend's parents?:

36. Naughtiest thing you've done at work:
Updated my blog.

37. Do you look more like your mom, or your dad?

38. Something you've always wanted to learn how to do:
Play piano

40. Where you'd like to be in 10 years?
“And the Academy award goes to…Dr. Nicole Lemery for ‘Nelson!’”

41. Something you learned about life:
If you love someone, you should tell them. It might hurt when they turn you down, but the world needs as much love as possible.

42. What do you want for your birthday?
Cillian Murphy.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

TV loves me too

I stayed up last night to watch a documentary called "Jihad: The Men and Ideas Behind the Just War" which was endlessly fascinating. And a little terrifying. It was comprised mostly of interviews of people who were friends with bin Laden and other al-Qaida leaders, as well as academics who would look into the camera and casually say things like "Basically, if al-Quaida gets a nuclear weapon, they're going to use it. They're not interested in deterring anyone." I'm starting to get a better grasp on how the current movement gained such an ugly, extremist slant. At one point they were describing the death of an Egyptian official, saying "al-Zaharwi (sp?) and his group had decided this official was no longer a Muslim, and therefore it was okay to kill him." Well, damn. If they can say that about someone who professes the Muslim faith, then clearly there is no hope for the rest of us. I can also see (tho not necessarily agree with) the train of thought that says we should stop terrorists there rather than let them get us here. Both sides of the issue! Ahh! Confusing! Add to that Rudy Giuliani is thinking about running for President, and if he does I MIGHT SERIOUSLY HAVE TO CONSIDER VOTING FOR HIM! Especially since I haven't heard anything from the blue camp other than "Hilary! Hilary! Hilary!" Saints preserve us.

I was also thinking that it's funny that the Secretary of War* was renamed the Secretary of Defence after WWII, since we seem to have declared a lot of wars since then. But then I realised that maybe we ARE defending ourselves, going overseas and stopping terrorism. By declaring wars and invading countries. Right? Right? Aww, this is hard. I want to go be a hermit.

*The first Secretary of War was General Henry Knox, originally a seller of London books, who brought captured guns from Fort Ticonderoga which were used to sucessfully kick the British out of Boston in 1776. Later, George Lucas would use the Dixon-Ticonderoga #2 pencil (mentioned in the Mel Brook's musical "The Producers) to write Star Wars. I'm such a geek.

Monday, November 13, 2006

I want to break free...

The Big Boss from New York is in the office today, so everyone is in a tizzy, trying to look productive.* The name of the company I work for is a hyphenated one, and the gentleman in from New York has the name after the hyphen. I was mildly curious about what the president of a major corporation looked like, and was disappointed when he proved to be a completely stereotypical businessman. If I owned a company this big, I would definitely go around wearing loud shirts and demanding oddly flavoured tea.

I stayed up watching “The Two Towers” last night, then I couldn’t get to sleep. It wasn’t a problem this morning because I definitely overslept yesterday, but now I’m starting to feel the drag. And I have a headache. Ah, Mondays. I spent lunchtime in the park near Lincoln’s Inn, watching a guy exercising his dog. I pretended I was a hugely famous producer and he was my intern, exercising my pedigree whippet because I was finishing my organic salad while waiting for a call from New York. I love my imagination.

*except for me

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Whose blog is this anyway?!

I just discovered a song by a 16th century composer named Thomas Tallis on my computer. Can't remember where it came from, but it is the most beautiful thing I've heard all day.

I went and saw "The Prestige" yesterday, and oh my Lord, it is a good 'un. RUN to the theatre, do not walk, do not pass go, IT IS AMAZING. I haven't seen such a solidly good movie since, uh...well, not for a LONG time. I can't believe how good it was. It's been 24 hours and I'm still raving about it.

The show closed last night, so I'm suffering from post-show depression. Mrrr.

The good news is I'm making curry for dinner.

A decision has been made regarding: The Future. Haven't quite picked the road yet, but I've got the destination...and yes, it involves me coming home. I'm going to see how I feel after I come home for Christmas, whether that means I'll be back in the US in February or September, but I'm going to be back on home soil sooner rather than later.

Feels good.

God, this is gorgeous music.

I also got a new tea set. I have a teapot (green, for creativity) but the other day I saw a gorgeous tea set in a chartiy shop for £1.50: a teapot, three cups with saucers, cream pitcher and sugar bowl. For some reason it didn't come home with me right then, but I gushed about it to Alison so effusively that when I came home the next day it was sitting on the counter waiting for me. Now I just need to get some silver spoons and we can have a tea party, even if the china is so thin I'm going to have to make uptight friends because I'm afraid the people I know will break them.

And the shops are putting out the Christmas things already. When is Thanksgiving? I'm cooking again this year (if you want to come, let me know), but I've got to get over to St. Martin's to pick up some Christmas cards and also a booklet of their Christmas music schedule. I wonder if I'll be able to hear the Britten again this year, I like that music.

It doesn't mean I'm going to be happy about leaving. I'm trying not to think about all the things I will miss... I won't think of that right now.

Damnit. It's too dark to see the keyboard.

Friday, November 10, 2006

A Sticker with Political Overtones

I was waiting for the bus last night when I noticed a sticker that someone had stuck onto the bus-stop. It looked like normal graffiti, until I read the message: “BRING SHARI’AH TO BRITAIN.” Helpfully, around the edges it said “An end to pornography. An end to violence. An end to alcohol-related problems. An end to the exploitation of women.” Etc. It was this last that put my ears back—I don’t think the system currently in place is perfect by a long shot, but the only it’s not is because women let themselves be exploited. I pulled the sticker off the window because, honestly, it made me a little angry, and I found it a little chilling. I feel as though the British government has tried very hard to extend a friendly hand to the Muslim community: they recently celebrated the end of Ramadan in Trafalgar Square, and MPs are angering constituents everywhere by renaming Christmas festivities “Winter Celebrations” but messages like that continue to appear.

I do not understand this radical religion.

I have had it explained to me several times, by people smarter than me: “Some Muslims believe that they must—MUST—force their religion on people.” It is a simple enough concept, but my brain just refuses to contemplate it. It’s as if there is a very stupid person living inside me going “Hang on. So, my options are be forced into a burka or be killed for my own honour? Wait. Why can’t we live and let live?” And then I have to have it explained again: because they want to spread their religion by any means necessary. And I don’t understand. I’m not going to clarify the situation by saying “this is a very small, vocal part of the Muslim community, most Muslims are content to worship in peace” because I know everyone knows that. I’m just very confused by the one percent or so of Muslims who aren’t content to worship in peace and who are willing to do whatever it takes to achieve their ends. It’s all very bewildering. Especially when, in the course of one bus ride, I can see C of E church ladies with their plaid shopping baskets, Jewish men dressed sombrely in black hats and full beards, Indian teenagers in saris and Turkish men unloading Polish food into a grocery store advertising itself as “Continental.” I just don’t understand.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

fun pictures!

I feel like I've been too serious lately, so here are some random pictures from the ol' desktop. Enjoy!

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Christmas Comes Early

One of the actors on "Dogfight" asked me if Americans were as excited about foreign elections, because "I feel as though WE'RE having midterms!" Alas, no. But because of this close scrutiny, I've been able to keep up on what is going on back in the US of A, and I am very happy! The Democrats have taken back the House of Representatives! Whooooo! Although, it is a mixed blessing: I feel like I did when I first received news of the Battle of Trafalgar: Britain Victorious but Nelson is Dead! Only this time the Dems are victorious, but a couple of referendums in Wisconsin passed, alas, alas. Namely, the one defining marriage as a union between a man and a woman and one indicating to lawmakers that the good citizens of Wisconsin are actually in favour of the death penalty. Drrr. I think it's just that word "marriage" which I think is unfair: I'm going to campaign for civil unions between men and women. If most people consider marriage a religious institution, then what if you aren't religious? Or if you have an interfaith marriage? What's wrong with "united we stand?!" Am I the only one who sees the word "marriage" and hears "Mawwage!" from "Princess Bride| every time?!

And don't even get me started on the death penalty: anyone else seen "The Green Mile?"

But the voting American Public aren't the only ones giving me presents today. Last night I got an email from Mom saying that they had receieved my results and I passed! So now I am OFFICIALLY Nicole M. Lemery, MA. I love it. I'm going to order stationery for the express purpose of embossing "MA" after my name. It looks so good. I think the only thing that would look better is "Nicole M. Lemery, PhD."

Monday, November 06, 2006

stomachy problems

It suddenly occurs to me that I have been eating nothing but crap for the past week. I think my problem lies mainly in the aforementioned grocery-shopping agony. When I was going to school, I could go on a weekday morning, in the afternoon, whenever I needed to. And I had piles of time to cook. Now I HAVE to go on the weekends, or after work, when everyone else on God's green creation is there (with their children!) and they are all in my way. It is so stressful. So I have come up with a neat solution, namely, to eat takeaway all the time. Takeaway, for my American friends, is not McDonalds or Subway, those oh-so-healthy staples of a Point load-in, but local shops that involve soggy food and low hygeine standards. So I had a brat on Saturday, an English breakfast and pizza on Sunday, then today I had a chicken sandwich and a shish kebab from a Turkish place across from the Arcola. I'm not going back there though--the shish kebab was very good, but the man behind the counter skewered lamb meat onto kebabs, wrapped up someone's sandwich, and made change ALL WITHOUT WASHING HIS HANDS. The guy who served me at least had clean hands, but I only managed to eat about half my shish, which was approximately the size of a baseball bat. (Note to British friends: a baseball bat is like a cricket bat, only longer and rounder, which is the way God intended them to be.) Where was I? Oh, right, handing in my vegetarian card in shame. I don't know what happened--I think because I didn't eat for three days last week my mind is saying "whee! Make up for lost calories!" while my digestive system is saying "You're going to pay for that." What I want, basically, is for this bloody country to invent some decent salad dressing that doesn't taste like runny cardboard so I can make a SALAD and take it to work--we have three half used up bottles of dressing in the fridge, all of which taste so terrible that none of us have the stamina to finish them off. I like cooking, and I don't know how I went from someone who could start off with a handful of vegetables and end up with dinner to someone who can barely drag herself out of the kebab shop. I begin to see why Britain's government is so worried about the declining health of it's nation. A pile of salad on a kebab does not a healthy meal make. I'm going to brave the store again tomorrow, but please, please, please, someone put a bottle of Kraft ranch dressing in the mail for me, I will love you forever.

I'm also very excited because tomorrow is Election Day. Yay! I'm going to sit up after the show and watch returns with a bowl of popcorn. Low-fat, of course.

"Dogfight" be at the Arcola from now until Saturday. It starts at 8:15--it's pay what you can tomorrow, then £12/£8, but if you want to get a deal, then tell the box office staff "Bite me!" for £6. Please come if you can, it's a really great show. It's only about an hour long, so there's plenty of time to go out afterward.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

He's a very nice prince

I'm taking next week off to help out with a friend's show. Yay! today was the load in. It was so nice to be in a freezing, dry, dusty, cramped theatre again. Ah. "Dogfight" runs from Monday until Saturday, if anyone in London wants to see it, it's at the Arcola. I'm just running the sound, but I'd rather be doing that than sitting in an office. blah.

Yesterday, I went down to Borough Market because my roommate told me they had brats. It's as good a reason as any to go to Borough Market, which is a trendy, crowded little market tucked under the arches at London Bridge. I didn't expect it to be so full, and at first I was afraid that I wouldn't be able to find the brats, but then--all of a sudden--there they were. Two and a half pounds for pure, unadalterated bliss on a bun with mustard and sauerkraut. Totally worth the walk. I would have written an ode to it in my journal, only I forgot a pen. So I read instead--a new book which I highly recommend called Ark Baby, about Darwinism. I should have gotten another brat, but it was very crowded after all. Now I've got something to look forward to next week.

He's a very nice prince

I'm taking next week off to help out with a friend's show. Yay! today was the load in. It was so nice to be in a freezing, dry, dusty, cramped theatre again. Ah. "Dogfight" runs from Monday until Saturday, if anyone in London wants to see it, it's at the Arcola. I'm just running the sound, but I'd rather be doing that than sitting in an office. blah.

Yesterday, I went down to Borough Market because my roommate told me they had brats. It's as good a reason as any to go to Borough Market, which is a trendy, crowded little market tucked under the arches at London Bridge. I didn't expect it to be so full, and at first I was afraid that I wouldn't be able to find the brats, but then--all of a sudden--there they were. Two and a half pounds for pure, unadalterated bliss on a bun with mustard and sauerkraut. Totally worth the walk. I would have written an ode to it in my journal, only I forgot a pen. So I read instead--a new book which I highly recommend called Ark Baby, about Darwinism. I should have gotten another brat, but it was very crowded after all. Now I've got something to look forward to next week.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

fangirl alert!!!!

OMG, I read today in the Metro, morning standard of journalistic integrity, that CILLIAN MURPHY is going to be in the West End in a new play. AAAAAAAAAHHHH! In London! He's here rehearsing right now! We might be breathing the same Tube-soaked air!!! Murphy, who is best known for being the guy who is going to be playing Nelson in my movie as soon as I write it, is currently reigning as my favourite actor. I don't even know what the play is about. I don't care. All I care about is it's going to be in a theatre with a stage door where one might potentially stand in painful excitement and embarass oneself so thouroughly that the only option remaining is to move to Antartica and never answer the door again. Ever.

Meanwhile, I hear that John Kerry is botching jokes in America. Apparently he was addressing a group of students and he said, "You know what happens when you don't have access to education? You end up in Iraq!" thereby implying that the soldiers serving overseas are idiots who couldn't figure out how to avoid being conscripted into the army. According to his spokesperson, what Kerry meant to say was "Do you know what happens when you don't have good education? You end up getting us stuck in a war in Iraq. Just ask President Bush!" thereby implying that Bush is the idiot. Which is true. But now I'm mad at Kerry because a) he sounds like a jerk, and b) he can't crack a joke properly. And he won't apologise for it either. I've been watching the news about the mid-term elections like it's the World Cup. I can't wait to see who wins. Rah rah, go Dems go!

Tuesday, October 31, 2006


The company I work for had free flu jabs yesterday, so I got one. I had to pull down my collar so the nurse could stick me in the upper arm, but she was nice enough to suggest I look away from the needle first. I looked at her, looked at my snitch tattoo and then said, “Go ahead—obviously I don’t have a problem with needles!”

Speaking of tats, it’s time for me to get another one. I am looking for an artist to help me design my tattoo, which I want to look like an eighteenth century engraving, about three inches by four inches. If you’re interested, send me an email and I’ll talk to you about the details, or pass this along to any arty friends. Since I want this to look good, I’m willing to pay for the design, up to fifty pounds. Hey, I’m commemorating my MA! Wait until you see my ideas for my doctorate!

Happy Hallowe’en!

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Ask it a question

Magic Stephen Sondheim 8 Ball says, "when you know what you want, then you go and you find it and you get it." I spent the week recovering from being poisoned, so all my schemes sort of ground to a halt this week. Then today I was very domestic, cleaning the house and going to the grocery store, which is a HUGE hassle. Ugh. The store near here is just too small for people to manoevre around, and I nearly knocked a guy over with my backpack, which I had on it's wheels. Then when he stopped to glare at me, I was thinking, "Don't you glare at me, the only reason I pushed past you was because you were SMOKING in my FACE." Drrr.

I love being middle class tho, it is fun. Friday after work I went to Marks and Spencer and purchased new slacks for work, then went to see "Rock and Roll" by Tom Stoppard. Hm, be those snickers of fringe-theatre going friends? Well, when you shop at M&S and work as a secretary, what choice DO you have but to grace the West-End with your presence? Yes, kids, it's official, I have become one of the ladies who lunch. The show, before you say anything else, was brilliant. Really. Just quality, amazing, so good, brilliant, classic Tom Stoppard good. It was basically a discussion about what will bring down socialist governments: intellectual, official protests, or young people being subversive merely by listening to different music. Points for anyone who guesses which side won. Rufus Sewell, who played a Czech intellectual was astonishing. I mean, I knew he was good, but I was astounded at HOW good he was. Damn. I am more determined than ever to have him play Napoleon in my Nelson movie...just as soon as I write it.

Then Saturday I had a date, but I saw that as no reason why I should waste a perfectly beautiful fall day, so I ended up dragging the gentleman in question to the Hunterian Museum, which is full of medical and anatomical models of historical goodness. I thought it was ded interesting. Unfortunately I did not find the gentleman in question quite so interesting, so we parted as friends. I spent the evening watching "Amadeus" with Alison. Then today I was domestic. I finally submitted to pressure and put up my postcards and pictures, despite my earlier determination not to, and instantly my room started looking more like, well, my room. Nothing like copies of artistic masterpieces and Nelson's cartoon visage to make one feel at home. I have a desk now: it's a lovely second-hand thing with broken knobs and a waterstained top, but I absolutely adore it. I swore years ago never to own furniture until I was settled, but now I have this desk. Which I love. I am going to have to be very upset if I have to leave it behind. "What I want most of to know what I want..."

Tuesday, October 24, 2006


So much for lofty thoughts of employment and life goals. Monday morning I woke up at about one am and was violently sick for the first time since I was ten. I have never been so miserable in my life. I threw up twice more before eight am, and spent most of the day in bed. I finally managed to make it downstairs for a little TV, but that seemed to take most of my remaining strength, and I could barely make it up the stairs to bed. Today I'm up and showered, and I washed my sheets, but it's only 3 and I'm thinking about heading back to bed. I think it was just food poisoning, but I can't believe how I went to bed feeling okay Sunday night and haven't been out of pajamas since.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Thorns of a Dilemma, or, it's a Nice Problem to Have

This is the dilemma I’m currently facing. Not high drama, but a sort of questioning…thing. I’m working for a huge company, and I like my job. I don’t love it, but I like it, the people I work with are nice, the work isn’t too taxing, the commute is bearable, etc, etc, I have money for theatre tickets. I have discovered that I enjoy the stability of a every-day working job, with steady hours and duties and, yes, a reliable paycheck. But. It’s not theatre. I’ve been writing, going to see, but not getting involved, and that is going to be a problem at some point in the near future. Now, I hear rumors floating around that I am going to be offered a full time position here, which would be nice because it would mean (in addition to all those other nice things) that I would get to stay in London. And living in London has been my life’s goal since I was about sixteen. The problem then becomes, could I live in London if there was diminished theatre involved? Obviously this is IF I’m offered a job, but I want to have a think about it so I can give an answer soon-ish. If I’m not offered the job/don’t take the job, then I’ll have to leave London at the end of February. I’m already scheming about what my next move is going to be: I’ve learned for me to be happy it must be something that is challenging and involves both stability and theatre. And a dog. I think about coming back to the States, but there’s no concrete reason for me to be there. There’s no reason for me to be HERE, really, or anywhere. I think I have the nomadic spirit upon me again, because I think about moving somewhere else and how easy it would be. I’d like to settle down somewhere and start a garden, but I don’t want to do it by myself, so until then I guess I’ll keep wandering. The important question is: do I stay here for a little while or a little longer? I can do anything. So what next?

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

What it means to be American

I was reading 1776 last night—not a crack book, but I did go to bed early so I could spend some serious time with it—and I was absolutely livid with glee when I read “…to most Americans, the ships now appearing over the horizon were enormous, but they were by no means the biggest ones the Royal Navy had to offer. HMS Victory, for example, could boast 98 guns…” To which I responded: “Ha! Victory had 100 guns because it had two mounted on the front so it could fire foreward!” Then again, maybe those weren’t attached until later. The ships that were sent to aid in the suppression of the rebels were 50 and 64 gun ships of the line like Rose and Eagle (she read with delight) which were picked for speed and manoeverability. Hey, have you tried to sail a ship up the Hudson? By the time the Navy had assembled their fleet, they had over four hundred ships, and EIGHT of them had more firepower than all the artillery of the Americans combined! Let the battle for New York begin. I’m not sure how it’s going to turn out: I think that General Washington certainly has tenacity on his side, but who needs tenacity when you have pretty ships?

It’s ironic that I’m reading about the Revolutionary War (that’s the American War for Independence, for all my Britty friends) at this point, because I read yesterday that five Americans recently tried to claim asylum here in Britain. I learned this from thelondonpaper, which is a horrible free one that is shoved at you as you’re just trying to get home. The asylum-seeking Americans were given a full page to themselves not to discuss rationally why people from the richest country in the world might want to leave, but to give angry Brits a chance to unleash their wrath, via text messages and paragraph-length emails. Most of them sounded like they had simply changed “illegal immigrants” to “Americans” in their normal rant, but I was really surprised at how angry people were at the idea that Americans might honestly want to stay in Britain. “They just want to take our benefits and not pay taxes!” is a familiar cry. I think you’ll find most Americans want to come here for legitimate reasons: I know I’d like to stay because the theatre scene is amazing, and, hello, I’m here legally AND paying taxes. I do not, however, “take advantage” of benefits. See below—geez, I haven’t even registered for the NHS. Yet.

I know that the people who write such hurtful things simply don’t have all the information: one of the asylum seekers claimed he was a victim of racial discrimination in America and thought it might be better here. To which I would agree, despite everything you read about race-hate in legit papers. As horrible and unwieldy as the NHS is, it’s HERE and it’s FREE, and for people who genuinely cannot afford health insurance, it is literally a lifesaver. Instead of getting angry that we’re trying to screw the system, it would be great if people would stop and ask themselves why Americans would want to live in the UK permanently—obviously in some ways, for some people, this country is a better choice. It is EXTREMELY difficult for an American to get a visa to stay for any serious length of time: unless you have a company sponsoring you for a work permit, you cannot stay past six months. We are not members of the EU or the British Commonwealth, so if we want to come, we have to fight tooth and nail to be here, proving that we’re going to be a valuable addition to society. Isn’t that the kind of people Britain wants here? As I sit here, sipping my tea, thinking about Trafalgar Day coming up and looking forward to going to the Tate Britain tonight, I can’t believe that the vitriolic comments I read in the paper were about me and my friends—much the same way I can’t believe I’m going to have to leave.

PS: Elections coming up! Don't forget to vote!

Monday, October 16, 2006

Nicki vs the NHS, round 2

You want health drama? Stand back, ER.

I was binding some contracts today when one of my bosses came in and we got to chatting. I casually asked him where he went to the dentist--I figured he'd understand my predicament, also being an American--because I need to get my teeth cleaned. He said, "well, just go to your GP and ask them to recommend a dentist." So I casually mentioned that I haven't registered with a GP yet. I know, I KNOW, but the GP here is only open for new patients on Tuesday and Thursday, and it is an all afternoon trial to get to see anyone. And I don't need a doctor, I just want to protect Mom and Dad's investment in my teeth. Well, when my boss heard that I effectively had no health insurance, he totally flew off the handle. "Nicole! this is the most important thing you could do! What if something were to happen to you?!" Thanks, Dad. "I'm serious! Do you have health insurance back in America or something?" "Er, no." "WHAT--!" Another ten minutes of berating, and he finally said, "Well, I'm not going to nag you about this, I'm not your father..." And then he said he was going to send me emails until I registered. I know that it's not practical to go flying solo without health insurance, but then again, most of the people I know don't have health insurance. It's just not a priority for people my age. My boss has got health insurance, sure, but then again, he's got a 50,000 pounds a year job AND two little girls.

I filled in for the receptionist again today when she had to go to the doctor for a quick checkup so she could get a prescription refilled. When one of the secretaries found out about it, she slammed down her mail and muttered, "Every week, innit? I'm so sick of her..." Thinking about how I'm going to explain having to take off Friday afternoon to get my NI number--an appointment I've been waiting SIX WEEKS for--plus another afternoon off just to register for a GP--and of course at some point I want to go get my damned teeth clean-- All anyone is going to see is me skipping merrily out the door, not the fact that I actually get all my work done on time and always seem to be available to help other people out. Then again, if my foot gets any worse, or if I hurt my back again, I might not be working for a while. Fine. Point taken. Stop harassing me. I'll get it sorted. Promise--this is a priority.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Long weekend

I was feeling blue this weekend, so I went to the National Gallery to draw the pictures. Not because I'm an artist or because I have any ambition to be one, I just like the attention you get. I also got some weird looks when people discovered that I had turned Whistlejacket into a centaur. And I had a good snicker when I passed a pair of American girls on my way out: "Yeah, and the Mona Lisa's in here somewhere!" Yup. Right next to The Last Supper of Christ and the Scream. I'm just not excited to be in this city any more. I'm lonely and I'm bored and I've started thinking that my visa expiring in four months isn't such a bad thing. Of course, if I do come back to the States, there will be no more walking through Hanover Square to pick up my paycheck and giggling manically to myself, drawing stares, because that's where Mr. Norrell used to live. I'm going to put on a play, I've decided, for something to do. Now I just need to pick one. I had bangers and mash for dinner tonight because the TV has been advertising it nonstop. It was pretty good, not bad for my first shot, but I think next time I'm going to cook the sausages in beer. And eat them with potato chips. And pretend they're bratwurst.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Lunch Hour Observations

It would take an a LOT to get me to take a baby down into the Tube (like, say, the Blitz) but I see people doing it ALL THE TIME. And not cute little walker strollers either, but those SUV-sized ones that I have such an especial hatred for. Come on, people, admit you're not taking Baby to Oxford Street to buy it new baby Benettons, you just want something to put all your shopping in. Get a babysitter and carry your damn bags like the rest of us. The Tube is not wheel-chair friendly, so I don't know how these mothers can justify shunting Baby down wet stairs and slippery escalators when I've seen more than one suitcase break free and go cartwheeling head over, er, wheel as commuters scatter. It's not that I really hate children, I just hate how they seem to take up so much room when they're at their smallest, and if you dare suggest to the mums that they are, infact, in your way and you're going to be late coming back from your lunch, they will shoot you the dirtiest look possible and insinuate heavily that THEIR lives, with their nappies and endless discussion of Teletubbies are infinitely more fufilling than your days of office dronery and your nights of debauchery and designer shoes, you less-than-a-woman.

Where was I? Oh, right--

On a happier note, just when you thought Kit-Kats, proof in candy form that God loves us and wants us to be happy, could not get any beter, they've come out with a dark chocolate version. Oh bliss. Oh joy. Take that, three year old in a stroller. I can have Kit-Kats ANYTIME I WANT! HA-HA!

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Power to the people

I took the afternoon off work to do my real job, which is write plays. So far this afternoon I have twelve shiny new pages, so I thought I'd take a break and do some research. I've been hearing a lot about "log cabin Republicans" because of the Mark Foley scandal, so I typed it in Google to see what I'd come up with.

(I'd just like to say--this whole Mark Foley thing fills me with glee. As long as no-one was hurt, I can sit back and giggle quietly to myself about what happened. How embarassing for the poor Republicans. We're gonna take the House! I can feel it! Whoo!)

So, right. Apparently, not only is "log cabin Republican" a term used for gay Republicans, there's also an organisation called The Log Cabin Republicans who are made up of, you guessed it, gay Republicans. Not as much of an oxymoron as you might think--I like this group because they actually took the trouble to find out what a Republican IS, and are arguing to a return to the party's roots. They also have a picture of Lincoln with his fist in the air, which is awesome. I was worried they were going to implicate our 16th president was in the pink mafia, but no, he is just a man they admire. As do we all.

It's so nice to see a conservative political group which actually focuses on the issues: ie, small government, lower taxes, etc, and isn't crazy with the scare tactics of "the terrorists are coming to get us" and "the gay agenda." Although, since the LCR is made up of gay Republicans, for once, the conservatives are right--they ARE gay, and they DO have an agenda. Namely, being recognised by the party they support. I think the mainstream Republicans (by that I mean the divorced, philandering and closested ones) could learn a lot from their happy counterparts. It's so nice to disagree with conservatives for well-argued reasons ("no national healthcare?! what?!") and not have to shout down their ranting first. ("No, I'm pretty sure God is not going to smite me for going out last night.")

On a completely unrelated note, Nicki is VERY EXCITED because she's learned that Disney's THE LITTLE MERMAID is being re-released on a special extended edition DVD on the 4th of November. (that's three days before the election, AMERICANS!) I have never actually owned a copy of The Little Mermaid (although I have voted--AMERICANS!) so I'm finally going to get my chance. Schmee!

PS: I changed the comments setting on my blog so now anyone can post--Blogger ID or not. So Go Crazy!

Today's post is dedicated to Alison, who let me have the living room and the only typeable surface so I could work.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Ev'ry now and then the country...goes a little wrong...

“I think we should order pizza for dinner—not that I want to celebrate the president getting shot, but—“

“Oh, I definitely think the president getting shot is a reason to order pizza!”

So last night Alison and I watched a documentary on the assassination of President Bush. It was a made-for-TV movie called “The Death of the President” and it was really interesting. The style was that of a documentary of an event that EVERYONE knows about, so while we the viewers were watching it thinking “who did it?!” people who had actually lived through the event would have the sensation of watching it and going “idiots! How could they miss the obvious?!”

The show focused less on the president than it did on the aftermath, although when the TV said “Vice-President Cheney will be taking the oath of office sometime this evening,” Alison and I both screamed out loud as the true horror of the situation hit us. I thought the response to the President’s death was very truthful: they arrested several people, but finally they ended up convicting a Syrian who had been to Palestine on vacation. They ended up gathering evidence against him under the new “Patriot Act III” (more screams of terror) and tried to force the idea that he had been acting as an agent for al Qaida. When the government couldn’t find a conspiracy, that didn’t stop them from convicting him of the death of the president. Even when they caught the real killer—a Gulf War vet who had lost a son in Iraq—the Syrian wasn’t released from prison, the most telling part of the new regime.

I thought it was a quite realistic look at the way America would handle a crisis like this, from the speechwriter (“I really do believe that George W. Bush was put on earth by God to protect us” ) to the FBI agent (“Of course we did everything we could, but we had to prioritize”) to the crowds of protestors cheering when they heard Bush had been shot. What is the value of making a film like this? I don’t think it was advocating shooting Bush—if anything, the message was “hang on in there, it’s almost over”—because the power on the throne in Washington became more militant and less friendly to human rights after he was killed. The person that made me the maddest was the FBI agent in charge of the manhunt, who kept saying “The President has been killed, we must do everything to find his killer.” Well, fair enough, but he was just one person—and apparently Cheney is more than capable of *shudder* continuing Bush’s policies of terror (he declares war on Syria two weeks after Bush’s death)—it’s not like there was a coup d’etat that overthrew the government. That’s no reason to turn the US into a police state. I don’t want to hear about “the Threat to the American Way of Life” because, unfortunately, the American way of life includes an assassin every twenty years or so. I’m not a fan of assassinating the president (my motto is “make musicals, not martyrs”) but it was interesting to see how filmmakers could create future events from today’s headlines—and come up with something that sounded eerily familiar.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Right, no more complaining

This week I arranged a trip for one of my bosses to go to New York City for the tree lighting ceremony at Rockefeller Center. The company I work for owns the Rockefeller Center, and they're responsible for getting the tree in and lighting it up at the end of November. Naturally, my boss is also going to be doing some business while she's in New York, but it was funny to see how excited she got when she was describing this tree. "We get it in from Pennsylvania, and they have to shut down 5th Avenue--in the middle of the night, they shut it down, so we can get our tree into the city."

So, no more complaining. I'm still having angst about working for a huge multinational corporation, but, she said with a rueful grin, obviously not enough to quit. Right now, I want to stay in London, and there are only two ways of doing that: getting a work permit or going back to school. Not sure if I'm ready to tackle the PhD yet, so I need to get a job so I can apply for a permit. I have been having very non-PC thoughts lately, thinking about all the EU citizens who can come here and work without having to worry about being kicked out when I, holder of two degrees and numerous valuable work skills, can not. Of course, if there's one thing England has plenty of, it's impoverished theatre people. I've also been reading dispatches from our friend Laura, who is working in Mississippi helping victims of Hurricane Katrina and providing my life with some perspective.

Today was the perfect autumn day. The smell of browning leaves managed to overcome the exhaust and chippy fumes for once, making me think of Massachusettes. There's no colours here, just brown, but the smell is enough to make me think of driving through the middle of Wisconsin, heading back to school.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

the Green Eyed Monster

I can't even say "ah, the show was crap, so I'm glad that I wasn't involved" because it was amazing! I don't know who I'm more jealous of--Sarah for writing such good stuff, or David for producing an amazing festival of work. I'm violently jealous and depressed and all my jokes about being able to pay the rent met with polite smiles of "well, you do what you have to do." Grrr. I must get back into this business we call show. I've been writing on my new play--broad strokes, angry shouting people and a nuclear war--which is quite exciting. As Nelson said, "My disposition cannot bear tame and even measures." Must have drama. And ships. Not necessarily in that order.

Monday, October 02, 2006

let me be your disaster

A friend exhorted me last week to not let a steady paycheck go to my head and remember that theatre is my true calling. "Great!" I thought, "I'm going to SM a friend's show next week, and I have NO PROBLEM taking off work, so yessir, I've got it all figured out."

Except today when I went to the tech rehearsal, there were about a half-dozen people running around taking care of the lights and sound, and the show had gone on so long without an SM they didn't really need one. I was upset like "hey, wait a minute! I SAID I would do it! Wait for meeee!" But then I realised the real person I'm pissed off at is myself. I should have arranged my schedule better and committed more time to this project. Now there's no need for me, so I'm not going to be involved. I was talking to one of the actresses who was happily nattering on about "oh, yes, I work for six weeks, then do theatre for six weeks, and it works out well!" And I thought "Yes, that's what I want to do." Unfortunately, my first assignment coincided with my first out of school theatre project and I'm horrified to realise that work came first. Just because they're paying me. So now I can take care of rent and buy that nice suede coat, but working on an exciting festival of new short plays isn't worth my time because I can't afford a travelcard. I truly am useless. I hope they DO offer me a job in this huge corporation, just so I can take it and becoming a complete sellout.

let me be your disaster

A friend exhorted me last week to not let a steady paycheck go to my head and remember that theatre is my true calling. "Great!" I thought, "I'm going to SM a friend's show next week, and I have NO PROBLEM taking off work, so yessir, I've got it all figured out."

Except today when I went to the tech rehearsal, there were about a half-dozen people running around taking care of the lights and sound, and the show had gone on so long without an SM they didn't really need one. I was upset like "hey, wait a minute! I SAID I would do it! Wait for meeee!" But then I realised the real person I'm pissed off at is myself. I should have arranged my schedule better and committed more time to this project. Now there's no need for me, so I'm not going to be involved. I was talking to one of the actresses who was happily nattering on about "oh, yes, I work for six weeks, then do theatre for six weeks, and it works out well!" And I thought "Yes, that's what I want to do." Unfortunately, my first assignment coincided with my first out of school theatre project and I'm horrified to realise that work came first. Just because they're paying me. So now I can take care of rent and buy that nice suede coat, but working on an exciting festival of new short plays isn't worth my time because I can't afford a travelcard. I truly am useless. I hope they DO offer me a job in this huge corporation, just so I can take it and becoming a complete sellout.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Doctor Who?

I will not become a Doctor Who fan.

No. Not me.

I'm turning the TV off RIGHT NOW. This has gone far enough.

I refuse.

I am going to go right over and...

...oh, bloody hell.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Few things..

There are few things from back home that I genuinely miss to the point where I get a little teary about it. Hammocks. Friday Night Fish Fry. Grandma. Taking Grandma out for Friday night fish fry. But now a little light has come back into my life. That's right, our 65 channels of pretty TV include "The Daily Show." Alison and I have watched it and laughed our respective heads off for the past two nights, much to the bemusement of Lisa, who doesn't quite get it yet.

But on a more serious note, the Metro, bastion of comprehensive reporting journalism, tells me that Osama bin Laden might be dead. The mainstream newspapers haven't picked it up beyond the second page, so I was forced to check out Apparently a leaked report from France says that bin Laden may have died from typhoid fever in August.

This is sort of a disquieting idea. Is he dead? Is he still out there? Will we know either way? The disturbing/annoying thing about bin Laden is there's no end to his story yet. Unlike other figures of evil, his legend is continuing to grow. And if he did die--well, what's to stop him from moving into the realm of the mythological? Until his real death becomes no more than a footnote and his symbolism becomes more important. Even Napoleon, caged on Elba, had a coda to his life. I know that bin Laden isn't solely responsible for all the terrorism that's in the world today, but just as he has become a symbol for extremists, he's become a symbol to those who would stop them. We need to capture him, the same way we would capture a battle standard, in order to shake the determination of his followers. I can't stop putting it in perspective of historical figures, but I try to remember that this is a new war. Would we know peace if he was captured? Or is it already too late?

Monday, September 25, 2006

chafing at the bit

I still like my job, I do, but this nine to five I don't know how people can do it. I'm not sure if I'll be working past this Friday, and that would be okay. I've got to find some time (and energy) to apply for real jobs. I talked to Mom and Dad last night, and when I mentioned the company I work for was interviewing people to fill my role full time, they both said, "did you put in an application?" But I don't want to do this full time! It is a really good job, but if I had to do it full time, I think I'd go a little crazy. Just a little. Although the receptionist did give me the "Gone With the Wind" poster that came with today's Independent, so now I have wall candy.

Next week I'm going to be stage managing a show that a friend wrote, yay. Back to black. I think I might still be at the place though--the HR manager dropped a clue today when she asked if I could "cover for the receptionist when she goes to lunch next week." So I might be around then. Which is fine. One week pays the rent, two covers all the bills and three, Nicki gets a green suede coat. Whoo. I need to buy a desk too so I can write upstairs in peace. Right now I'm in the living room with the oh-so-distracting TV. Mm. Pretty. 65 channels and what do we watch? American sitcoms.

Of course, the good thing about working all week is come Saturday you have no excuse not to party hard. This Friday was my roommate Lisa's birthday. I was all excited all week because I thought she was going to cook--she's from China, so when she cooks, it's tradional Chinese food and it is soooo gooood. But, like me she works full time and had no time to cook so we went out to Nando's, one of our favourite places. Saturday night I went out to a birthday party in Covent Garden. Whose birthday was it? No clue. I was the guest of the producer of the Rep, and we sat around all night talking and raising our blood alcohol levels.

Aw, now Lisa has come in here taunting me with a bowl of spicy Chinese food, when all I had was healthy chicken and potato, filling but boring. I need to learn how to cook with garlic.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

It Is Time

Alison is feeling much better: thanks to my careful ministrations, which have included feeding her a veggie-burger takeaway and demanding every five minutes "how are you feeling?!" so I can blog about something more important.

It is the end of summer: actually, it's past the end of summer. And as many of you know, that means one thing and one thing only. It is time to read "Gone With the Wind." For nearly five years now, at the end of every August I carefully re-read the beloved text, making sure that everything turns out the way it's supposed to. Ashley Wilkes, that coward, marries Melanie whom we all have a grudging respect for, and Rhett Butler sweeps Scarlett off her feet. *sigh* I don't read romance novels, but for some reason this one really appeals to me. I suspect it's because of Scarlett. She IS a good role model: brought up in a strict, traditional society, she breaks the mould and alienates herself to be able to support herself in a male-dominated world. Not sure if I agree with her using her looks to get ahead, but I suppose with all the obstacles she has to overcome, she needs every trick in the feminine toolbox.

I'm sure I'll have more to say about Scarlett's 17 inch waist in the future (20 inches after three kids) but right now I have to go make myself pretty for a party. I think that's the only problem I have with the copy at the library: the cover is the dishy picture of Clark Gable sweeping Vivien Leigh off her feet, so now when I'm on the Tube it looks like I'm ready a trashy romance novel instead of a piece of 20th century American literature.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

it's the little things...

I was really disgusted by the level of service at the hospital last night--I mean, I know it's free, but when you're in a lot of pain, and all you want is someone to reassure you it's going to be okay, having to put up with people who won't even make eye contact is NOT condusive to healing.

(Should probably start off by saying that it wasn't me who needed to go to the hospital, it was my roommate Alison who is apparently now taking kidney medication, but other than that, fine.)

Alison had been having pain in her side, so we went to the hospital about 10pm to get it checked out--better that than calling an ambulance when her appendix burst. I knew it was going to be a wait (luckily I haven't finished "Years of Victory" yet but I'm not hopeful: Britain has just been expelled from Spain again, and I think that this time Napoleon isn't going to let the Iberian penninsula go lightly.)


where was I? Oh, right, so we got to the hospital, and waited to see a nurse, then waited to see a doctor. Finally after about an hour and a half, Alison goes through the doors to the emergency ward and the waiting room slowly empties. About quarter to two, I finally got tired of waiting and went back to see how she was doing. I asked her, "What's up?" and she turned to the nurse and said "So what's happening?" They had told her they were keeping her overnight for observation, but not why or what they were observing! After the nurse checked her chart and mumbled something about her appendix, they wheeled her out toward the ward. The appendix specialist was coming in the next morning at ten. Surely, I thought, walking behind Alison's wheelchair, surely there is someone here competently enough trained--a nurse even--who can tell her if it's appendicitis or not.

Apparently not. They put Alison in an open, mixed dorm, which was all quiet and mostly dark for the night. My exposure to British hospitals was mostly limited to the opening scene in "28 Days Later" but I was decidedly not impressed by what I saw. The nurse from the emergency room put Alison in a bed, and another nurse from the ward helped him get her bag o' water hooked up. Without saying anything to one another. Not, "This is Alison, she's being observed for appendicitis. Alison, you okay? Have a good night." NOTHING NADA NICHTS NYET. I expected the ward nurse to at least say something--"hi, don't worry, you'll be fine"--but again, nothing, only a mumbled "...gotta taker blud pressure..." Granted, we were in dorm that was full of sleeping people, but a few words of acknowledgement wouldn't have gone amiss. Finally the nurse wheeled away (her only eye contact with me when I finally said, rather sharply, I'm afraid, "Are you done?") and I gave Alison a helpless hug. Her pain was mostly gone by that point, so there was little to do but say good night and leave. I took a taxi back home, barking at the driver a bit louder that I intended when he drove past my house, and was in bed by three.

Alison's fine, she's home now playing Internet, and I'm at work, managing not to fall asleep. (reason number 835 I like this place: free coffffee, tea and COKE!) There are so many horrible stories about the NHS* and jokes about the way it's handled that I thought "surely it can't be that bad?" But it's the same thing as paying tuition for college: Yes, we grumble about the high cost of it, but when it really counts (libraries that are open past five, eye contact) the little things are there when you need it.

*National Health Service: free to British citizens, a publicly owned healthcare system set up after WWII...and badly in need of reform.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006


We finally got our internet hooked up (plus 65 channels of pretty, pretty TV), and, without wishing to sound too dramatic, I feel like we've just got indoor plumbing. Think about it. You know you can go without it, and you adjust to having to go get your water once a day, if you're lucky, but when you finally get that hot and cold tap--you realise what you've been missing.

I was watching a documentary a few days ago about women getting plastic surgery. (up until about two hours ago, our choices were fairly limited) Most of them gave the same reason, "I'm not doing it for anyone, I'm doing it to feel better about myself!" This made me think about what makes people feel good. I'm already, thanks to Susan's lectures on ageing stage-makeup, more aware of the places in my face where the lines are going to be, but most of the time I don't really care. What makes me feel better about myself, is being useful and productive--see entries below. I don't know where I got that attitude toward my self-worth from, instead of basing it on my looks. I suspect I got most of it from my parents, but then I have to wonder if maybe I didn't succumb to a LITTLE media pressure: there are a lot of stereotypical women out there who want to be just like the faces in the magazines, but then again, there are a lot of stereotypes of the fat friend who has a "great personality." And is damn smart. And you better not forget it.

So, I've been working for a large--strike that, huge international building and investment company, which will remain nameless in case I have to bitch about co workers in the future. How big, you might ask? Well, they OWN the Chrystler Building in New York, and their main offices are in Rockefeller Center. I am working in a lovely reconditioned building. From the outside it has a stately Victorian manner, on the inside it is steel and glass, based around two courtyards. I am on the eighth floor, so when I look out I can kind of see the sky, and a bunch of nasty rooftops. Ah, London. To get to work I have to pass a veritable who's who of theatre streets: Kemble Street, Garrick Street, etc. I don't exactly work FOR anyone, and I don't exactly work WITH anyone, but all the people who sit around me are friendly and helpful. I am support to six managers, so I arrange their travel, do their expenses, file their folders, book meetings, schedule their calendars, things like that. It's a little intimidating, because I've never done it before, but at the same time, once you learn it, you remember it.

I've only been there for three days, but already I feel like, "is this my life? am I really working in London?" Obviously, I don't want to do this forever--and luckily this will work out perfectly with me stage managing a show in a week's time. My goal is to live off of money I earn and try not to touch my savings. We'll see if that's possible. Of course, I've already spent my first paycheck on office clothes, but isn't that always the way things go? Right now we're in the middle of a heatwave (courtesy of Hurricane Gordon) so I can get away with no coat, but I'm going to need a new one soon. I say "need" I mean "I saw this green suede coat that cried when I walked away from it..." No place like London.

And, I have about four shows that I want to see. SEE, as opposed to SM for a change. If any of you are in London, here's my list: Eden's Empire, Amadeus, La Traviata and Caroline, or Change. The last is the musical I've been RAVING about for two years and it's going to be HERE at the NATIONAL with TONYA PINKINS who should have won that Tony, damnit. I'll be sure and tell her that when she comes out of the stage door where I'll be waiting... :)

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Two Down, One to Go...

I had resigned myself to a pleasant writerly Friday yesterday, when the phone rang, and I got work for the next two weeks. I actually went in for four hours yesterday to see what I'll be doing. I suspect I may be in slightly over my head, but, eh, if there's one thing I'm good at, it's faking it. Just be cheerful and pay attention! I'll be office support for a huge building company that's located in, if it's not exactly theatre, at least I get to boast I work in the West End.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

remembering to breathe

Thanks everyone for those comforting words of wisdom. I always seem to be at the library at the height of my freaked-out-ness, so naturally that's what my blog is all about. I am feeling a little better today, mostly because I am remembering all my inspirational mottos and Queen quotes, which is calming me down.

I'm also more upbeat because I was writing last night. I thought, "well, all summer you werewhinging about not having enough time to write, well, here's your chance." So I decided to revisit an early piece that I had started and never finished--only I couldn't find the original script! We're talking pre-laptop, so I suspect somehow it didn't get transferred. Luckily I could remember most of the scenes, if not the dialogue, so I set about recreating them. And getting really pissed off because they were too good! Basically the main character is supposed to be really stupid in the beginning, and get smarter, so I figured that would dovetail nicely with my own development as a writer--only now there is no bad opening writing, only good first copy. damnit. Never thought I would lament my clumsy penstrokes of yesteryear. Oh well.

And yes, loyal readers, never fear, I have not forgotten that I am still in beloved London. I recently signed up for a study-day at the National Maritime Museum, just something to look forward to. The topic? "Sex, Crimes and Passion in Nelson's London." Some things will never change.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

back to our regularly scheduled programming

The frustration/anger/uncertainty I'm feeling at not being able to find a job is boiling over into my life in a bad way. I should be doing theatre--I should be stage managing my friend's show--but because I'm no longer a student, it would cost me £34 every week just to travel to rehearsals, which, because I have no job, I cannot afford. If I do get a job, I won't get paid because I have no bank account, and I cannot get a bank account until I can prove my address by having bills come in my name. But will a British gas company accept an American debit card? I can't look for a job because we have no internet at our house, and getting it installed has become a campaign on par with Napoleon's 1798 expedition. at least he got to land in egypt. My visa is going to expire in five months, and I will have no money to move to a nice place with theatre. I'm going to end up working in an office for the rest of my life. I need chocolate covered peanuts. I'm so worried, I'm grinding my teeth again.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Today is September 11th

I look back across the five years, and I see a nineteen year old girl on her way to a class. She has no idea that her world is about to change, no idea that the friend who is pulling her aside asking her urgently "Have you heard?" is about to tell her something that will alter the course of her life forever. She doesn't read the newspapers yet--but she will. She's never heard of the Taliban, or al-Qaida, but soon the words will become familiar. She's never spoken to someone of the Muslim faith, or been the minority in a group of people. She will. I look back at that nineteen year old, and I have to wonder how much of the Me sitting here is the natural process of growing up. Or how much of my personality today was shaped by the rude awakening of five years ago? Would I be as interested in politics, or have such a passion for different world views? The papers say that September 11th defines my generation. I'll agree with that and go one further, that it deliniates the moment when I grew up and realised there was a big ol' world out there.

Five years ago the opening to my journal entry of that night started out simply "I'm scared." It was the fear of uncertainty, not for any physical reasons, but the fear of what will happen next, of loneliness. These emotions wax and wane, but they are no longer unfamiliar.

"It is some small comfort that we can look back and draw parallels between the past & today's problems, which leads to the idea that we are not the first to feel frightened, angry and confused and thta we shall not be the last. We may not be united by religion, democracy, politics, but we are all one in our anger & frustration. Once we recognise that it is our FEAR that unites us, then perhaps we can start to come together, even if it is only as fearful children, clutching each other in the dark." (Aug 12)

I wrote this on the front of a Tube map after reading yet another book about the Napoleonic wars, something that nineteen year old would never do. It's easy for me to look at her and smile at her naievety and overwhelming optimism, but I wonder if she would see the same thing about me. The world is smaller now, yes, but it is also more familiar. In no way am I trying to co-opt the pain some felt that day, only to say that it laid a dividing line across my life that I can look back and see to this day.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

I want the spoils, but not too fast...

Yesterday I helped out at a rehearsed reading put on by the same company that did The Representative. I think that's what I needed: a little dose of theatre, Susannah's overwhelming cheerfulness and Kate's blunt encouragement ("you're not unemployed! you're an out of work writer, yeah? don't listen to your parents!") And a little mass murder. This play was about the Armenian genocide that took place during the first World War and it's interesting because Turkey, the country that perpetuated it, flat-out refuses to admit that they had anything to do with it. I think it went fairly well, and it was lovely to see some of the people from the Rep again. So yes, I'm much better today--it helps that I'm venturing out sans ibuprofen, but I still can't carry heavy things for long distances.

I'm settling into my new place, slowly. Forget everything you picture about London, this is just a heavily commercial, residential area, with lots of working class people and no things of historical value in sight. Well, except for the Victorian water mains. Which are currently being replaced. Right outside my window. Loudly. No chance of sleeping in here. I feel like I've moved to another city, almost. The best part about this area is the library, which is where I am now. It's just a solidly good resource for this area. And for me, since I've been starving for some fiction ever since I turned in my last books at Goldsmiths.

Although, they don't have Gone With the Wind here...and it's been more than a year since I read it. Might have to break down and buy another copy...hmm...