28 February 2013

0 february: a revue

'i cannot get over the giant pickle/penis building. i just cannot. london must be a strange place.'

'i will say this about your papers - they are thorough. if prince charles passed gas, they would have before, during, and after pictures, along with an illustrated history of the monarchy, and an illustrated history of passing gas.'

'i've not yet thoroughly investigated the candy aisle. will have to get on that.'
'dude, that was more important than eggs.'

'i like the idea of being happy, but i'm just waiting for something to go wrong.'

'i really feel we turned a corner this weekend in our communications via pictures.'

'i mean, really. could this be his love child from an orientation-experimental phase in the year 2000?'

'i’ve been McCooughna-hankering a burger as well.'

'i remembered we were both usually at work on the "lower" holidays.'
'oh, to work in a bank and not work on any level of holiday!'

'and then we looked him up on IMDB, and i was like “STEVEN EGGELSTON!”'

'i'm curious as to whether we will ever play scrabble again and under what conditions.'

'fortunately, there's wifi at a nearby mcdonald's.'

'please be turned on by my breakfast: two fried eggs (from a FARM in nolensville!!!) and a big bowl of oatmeal swirled with vanilla almond milk, chia seeds, and raspberries.'

"internet fast: not to be confused with fast internet."

'he saw my cap'n crunch sitting on the kitchen counter, and came into my room and asked for the cereal with the zoo keeper on the box.'

'i feel like i am rounding the curve to the slippery slope to eventually not knowing a single person on people.com. thank heavens for a- listers!'

'how do different generations play board games when they are not related? this feat seems scientifically impossible.'

'she lives in london all the time?'

'i'm so obsessed with emoticons. i just can't help it. they make everything better.'

'like I am allowed to complain about any type of change to the woman who just moved herself to london."

'oh yeah, we're bringing that back.'

27 February 2013

6 dear james franco

we had some good times, but i think this is the end.

0 i do not have the internet this week

so my emailing and blogging has been limited to stolen moments on stolen internet in various cafes. this'll be quickly written and riddled with typos and half-thought thoughts.

some things...

POUNDLAND (ie. the uk dollar store) = my new great love.

today, i finally braved the school library. meaning: i walked through the doors, figured out how to swipe my card, walked inside, was COMPLETELY overwhelmed, and left. i do not like libraries. they confuse me. all the numbers and systems when all i need is a shelf that reads 'everything you need to write about jackie.' sadly, no such shelf exists and so i work up my courage only to be overwhelmed. tomorrow, i'm going back. i am committed to making it past the foyer this time.

there are no drawers in my flat. excepting the vegetable/fruit drawer in the fridge, which- let's be honest- doesn't really count because it's not like i can keep all of my important papers in there.

i have so many important papers.

more important papers than i can remember ever having had at any other point in my life.

my passport. the loan letter regarding my funds. the letter from the school saying i am enrolled. the letter from the school attesting to my address. the letter from the NHS noting that i have insurance. the letter from the jobs bureau declaring that i can be employed.

scratch that. maybe it's not so much that i have so many papers as that i have so many numbers. an SSN. a passport number. a visa number. a student number. a library barcode. a barclays membership number. an NHS number. a national insurance number.

numbers and letters. lots.

lest that read as a complaint, i should clarify that the letters i'm whining about are official letters. unofficial letters are lovely.

25 February 2013

0 so, random thing

constantly, i am now asked for my title. like, every account i've created, whether it's for the broadband, the phone, or amazon UK, i've had the option of miss, ms, mrs, dr and mr. sometimes, as in the instance above, there's just a mr  or a mrs. 

so precision is either a very big deal or not a deal at all, apparently. 

i look forward to a time when i can put dr and have it not be an outright life but, in the meantime, i put miss. right? i feel this is not what the enlightened woman would do. actually, i'm pretty sure the enlightened woman would put 'ms.' because isn't that how 'ms' came into being... from a movement of enlightened women? but honestly i don't feel like a 'ms.' 'ms' feels very try-hard. still, isn't 'miss' what kids call their nursery school teachers? miss so-and-so. 

i am so not miss so-and-so. 

yet, i would identify more as a miss than as a ms. miss is what i've been putting, for what it's worth, whether it's true or not. 

still, every time i confront this question, i have to think about it. because, on the one hand, i feel these titles mean nothing. on the other hand, they are identifiers. and identity- one's ability to both choose and have it- is a terribly important thing. 

22 February 2013

0 freedom

i'm moving into my for realz british apartment tomorrow, after having 'taken possession' this past wednesday (an expression that makes it sound like i'm haunting the place). the last few days have been spent attempting to squeeze all my stuff back into the two suitcases it came over again whilst also outfitting a home from scratch for the first time since college.

this is tricky. both because i have limited funds and limited hands. at present, my home is comprised of a kettle, three pots, a hairdryer, a single plate, and a single bowl. oh, an enormous martini glass that was apparently abandoned by the prior tenant.

today, i ran over some odds and ends, made the bed, and bought groceries.

then i poured a glass of 3£ grocery store cabernet into the enormous martini glass, knelt on the floor by the landlord-supplied coffee table, and sipped my wine whilst nibbling a baguette and reading the owner's guide for my new 4£ kettle. i don't know that i've ever in my life felt more eat, pray, love than i did upon remembering that it was 2 p.m. on a friday afternoon.

0 burgered

remember last fall when matthew mcconaughey was extreme dieting for that film role? well, way back then he gave this interview wherein he discussed the cheeseburger he was going to have when he stopped dieting and he said this: 
“I will have some 70 percent beef, 30 percent fat ground beef, maybe a half pound cheeseburger with another three types of cheese. I’ll prepare it all and I’ll make sure that it takes three hours just to prepare. I’m going to have buns with butter on both sides, toasted and grilled. I’m going to melt the cheese on the top bun, Hellmann’s Real Mayonnaise. I want kosher dill pickles sliced nice and thin, diced white onions, slightly grilled until they get almost hard, and some thin jalapeno slices. And then I’m just going to sit back and let the [expletive] just drop on the ground.”
for lindear and me, at the time and ongoing, this was some pretty serious burger porn. we may have been the only people in the world actively waiting for the ensuing followup report informing us that matthew mcconaughey had, in fact, gotten his burger. eventually it did and we were pleased, though we had expected it to be more explicit.

this whole episode has led to the phrase 'McCooughna-hankering.' a phrase whose meaning might, admittedly, be a little obscured by the fact that we do not know how to spell matthew mcconaughey's name and so usually pull a phonetical jake gyllenhauualall spin on it, but surely you get the idea. it references  those are moments when you need a burger so badly that it is like you have not eaten in weeks.

i've been mccougnhankering for a burger lately and last night i finally got one when c.smartt and i ventured out to portobello road to electric diner, the newly opened london establishment of my favorite chicago restauranteur. a martini, fries, and a burger. it tasted like home.

21 February 2013

4 want.

3 home decor

i had fairly exceptional success finding an ikea bedspread on ebay uk for 3£ and thought i might try to replicate that success in the area of curtains. come with me on this magical journey...

so this is tamest (pardon the pun) of the curtains i found. for the nervous homeowner who wants aslan guarding their windows.

and then there was...

father christmas!!! apparently he sells curtains online in his down-time. how disillusioning is that?

can you find the phonics fail here?

because i'm living in an old land whereforfrom (new word! that basically serves the same purpose as 'from whence') came shakespeare, there are a lot o' old shakespeare curtains, like this one from the 4th centenary: 

there's also THIS GUY again:

while i never have been asked what i imagine the view would be as a caterpillar inside a cocoon, if ever i were asked, this curtain would be my answer:

paddington bear!!!
i feel like these people used every derogatory hipster-associated word when 'christmas' would have sufficed:

three words: scarlett o'hara's dress.

can we all agree that this is the laziest sales job ever? as, really, let's be honest, it's just mardi gras beads taped to a doorway.

20 February 2013

0 i thought i wanted to be a vagabond but, turns out, nah.

17 mangled musings on the news of the day

is everybody in the US as glued to the whole oscar pistorius business as the brits? is this the OJ of our time? (except can it be, since OJ was already the OJ of our time? is this the OJ of the next time? are we in the next time? is NOW the NEXT time? or are we just at now now and next will be then? existential crisis!) 

as one of the two mini-dramas unfolding nearish to my time-zone (the hilary mantel/kate middleton smack-down being the other), i'm kinda riveted. 

first, because this story is everywhere. that shouldn't be at all surprising given i'm in a land where prince charles's taking the tube is major front-page news. it does, however, make it difficult to keep perspective, and i'm fast losing my understanding of what constitutes 'major' news. 

you guys, it is like i am in wolf blitzer's THE SITUATION ROOM all of the time. 

but i'm also interested in this story because it begs to be dissected from the angle of story telling. there's been absolutely no analysis of the media accounts that i've seen over here, which is odd (or maybe not really, because are the british papers known for their introspection? is that a distinctly american journalistic trait? as an american in a foreign country, i find myself rushing to brand every inconsistency as a national difference). because there are some fascinating dynamics at play here. 

there's the disgraced olympian angle. the boogie-man that is the south african prison system. GUNS! and violence against women. plus, at the risk of being totally gauche, there's the fact that this is a crime involving a paraplegic.

there's all kinds of layers to stories like this so it's problematic to say that this story wouldn't be such a big story if that detail weren't a part of it. pistorious also wouldn't have been a paralympic hero if he weren't a paraplegic, so imagining how altering details might have changed the outcome of how his story was told is pretty futile. still (bear with me, because there's probably no way i'm going to word this right), that is an issue here, yeah? at least it is in the british papers. 

pistorious's argument is that he felt 'vulnerable.' which is interesting. i don't have a clue what to believe about what happened here, but i do think it would be far more interesting if the vulnerabilities of paraplegia were discussed overtly rather than just being exploited for titillation, as they have been. a quirky detail in a salacious crime. particularly as culpability seems to hinge on this. 

the fact that pistorious had to put his prosthetic legs on, and when, precisely, he did. 

19 February 2013

2 a brief message from the vieve



i know that's what you were wondering. i've been telling the oline, yo, i'mma need to speak! The People are waiting! but you know how she is. she was all like, but vieve, all of the recent pictures are just of you lolling about by my old stuffed animals. won't your people be waiting for more than that? um... no, silly oline. my awesome is not contingent upon my surroundings. my people are simply waiting for ME.

so yeah, where have i been? so.many.places. you've not forgotten right? that I AM AN AMERICAN HEIRESS? i've been in the living room and the dining room and the music room and the kitchen. up in the attic and even out in the yard.

what have i been doing? well, y'know. being awesome. some lazing, some dancing, some rollin' on the flo.

question: are you surprised that i talk like the love child of barney stinson and kanye west?

oooooooooo, TREATS!

gotta go, gotta go.

love you bitches,
the vieve.

0 have you ever noticed

the acrobat dude is very badly dressed.

18 February 2013

1 we are family

my father (who always has a  light-beard when we skype) is going to this art workshop on march 5th. because, on a recent visit to brooks museum, he found this artist he really liked and then found out that artist was teaching a workshop and he signed up for that workshop. 

the aforementioned visit to brooks occurred on saturday. please appreciate how all of these things (the discovery of the artist and the subsequent superfandom) have happened in the span of two days. 

i am a lot like my father. i know this. but there are moments where the scales fall from my eyes and i can see how clearly this is true, not on some superficial haha we totally laugh at the same things level but as in how our brains work.

my father is going to this art workshop on march 5th. in advance of that, he has to provide the workshop organizers with two pieces of material that he wants to incorporate into the mixed media piece he will be making at this workshop. in the last 24 hours, this fact has led to a full-on panic.

WHAT IS HIS THEME? WHAT SHOULD HE DO? he keeps asking me this as if it is something i could possibly answer. i can only respond that he needs to remember that this is a workshop. that he isn't taking it to produce a masterpiece but, rather to learn techniques.

we are in the midst of something of a family renaissance (you should well know by now that anything any of us does is then echoed twice over). i am writing and going to lectures. my mother is painting and going to exhibits. my father is questing and taking workshops.

my mother produces these fabulous watercolors in a primitive style. they are beautiful. but my father and i are totally mystified by her method. because she'll start with an idea and then decide to throw in beads or new colors or new textures and wind up with an idea ten ideas from the idea that she began with.

my father does not work like that. the idea he begins with is the one with which he'll end.

he asks, BUT WHAT SHOULD I DO?!??! and then it hits me. he is trying to become an expert in advance of the workshop. to perfect the craft that he is ostensibly going to this workshop to learn. 

why are you laughing? he asks, and i say, because sometimes you make so much sense of me. 

17 February 2013

0 reading

this is oddly fascinating...

also... GOALS:'Unfortunately, Bertie was not the studious type. He smoked cigars (which Victoria loathed) and succeeded in making some raffish friends.'

15 February 2013

0 friday

wherein i made a photocopy, mailed a letter, got lost, got found, and ate an enormo whoopie pie. 
(btw, no photo manipulating at all. the sky was for real.)

12 February 2013

0 hunkered down

i've been hermitting the last few days, trying to squeeze out the last of the 8,000 words needed for the completion of my first assignment.

this has been varying degrees of not fun.

i'd forgotten somehow how awful this process could be. (are the agonies of writing, like labor, dimmed immediately after and only recalled once you're irrevocably committed again? a potentially outrĂ© question for me to pose as a woman who will, likely, never give birth.) 

and i should clarify. it's not awful in the sense of I DON'T WANNA WRITE!!! but something far more nebulous. the act of having to articulate thought.

though i'll cop to being a capable writer, i will never ever claim to be capable of real thought. which maybe actually lessens my claims to capability as a writer, as isn't the entire point of writing to convey thought?

i'm trying to think now, not even deeply but on the most shallow of levels. man, does it ever suck.

my initial outline for this 8,000-word monstrosity reads like it was written by cheech and chong. i give you this sentence: 'The choices Jackie was presented with in her life, the choices she actually made, the choices magazine editors chose to highlight, the choice readers made in choosing what to read and in choosing what to believe.' RIGHT?! that shit is total she sells sea shells by the sea shore.

so i'm a dud at thought. it does not come easily to me. it is very hard work. my exciting london saturday night was spent extracting two pages of biographical theory from my brain like teeth from a jaw.

unfortunately, the fun doesn't end there. once you've extracted the thought, you have to- horrors!- write it down. having done that thousands of times to the tune of 8,000 words, you then sigh in relief, only to remember that the paragraphs that have been littered across 19 pages like randomly dropped beads must now be strung together, connected. in a way that not only makes sense but highlights their brilliance, disguises the fact that they are imitation gems.

the other evening, around 2 a.m., something slipped into place. a thought. i don't even remember what it was, only that it blew my mind. and that i cried, because it was one of those moments that we write for. one of those moments that affirms why we write and for which we continue. it was, at once, so obvious, and yet totally new.

mind you, i'm talking about jackie. so even my biggest breakthroughs here could be dismissed as terribly small. a tendency i often give into, though my work (yes, i'm calling it 'my work' now. it is embarrassing.) is trying to argue the exact opposite: that small victories, small battles, small things, events so seemingly trivial, frivolous, aesthetic, silly that we would almost rather overlook their significance than try to define it, carry power. provide freedom. are the things upon which lives and stories need be built.

i've been reading about jackie for nearly 20 years, writing about her for 10.

the other day, meggie asked why i am getting a PhD. what is the next step? what do i want to do?

it is fair to say that i want to be able to think. to think for long, productive periods. without being stricken with exhaustion and forced to lie in bed for a full day after.

surely my brain isn't so fragile. surely this is something i can make it do.

11 February 2013

0 PS90210: “it’s time we learned how to defend ourselves.”/”it just feels like everything’s changing.”

Oh ya’ll. in my mind, season 3 of beverly hills 90210 gets reduced to pretty much one thing: DONNA MARTIN GRADUATES. but that’s rather ungenerous of me because SO.MUCH.SHIT happens before she does. today’s episode, ‘dead end’, might seem a bit pedestrian at first. there’s lots ‘o problems as usual (what to do when you’ve come into money but can’t get your hands on it fast enough! what to do to defend yourself! what to do when you’ve dug yourself some gambling debt and spent all your money on skis! what to do when you’ve picked a record deal over your BFF!) blah blah blah, and then… BOOM.
wait for it…

10 February 2013

3 ex-patted

i spent the day at a conference on paris in the 20s. mostly because i've begun to pine for a parisian idyll, and going to a conference on paris on a whim was far cheaper than going to the city itself.

slowly, secretly, i'm amassing a trove of american stereotypes. here is what i have so far:

*americans put ketchup on everything.
*americans eat everything with their hands.
*americans love comebacks.

today, i learned something new. in the conference brochure, there was a plug for a program entitled 'SUPERPOWER', which focusses on 'america's continued domination on the world stage'. i was struck by two things.

(1) this write-up was entirely in the past tense.

(2) the date on our 'SUPERPOWER' status was 1950-2000.