Ingratitude! thou marble-hearted fiend...

“Ingratitude is treason to mankind.” James Thomson

Monday 17 May 2010


I'm pretty sure the double entendre here was unintentional. Fair enough if they are not hip to that particular scene at TJ Maxx or Filene's Basement or whatever elegant emporium of frugality I was visiting when I took this photo.

But this? That phrase doesn't seem very marginal. This is suspect. (Photo from FYI, I don't think I want the look of Hand Relief.)

And I think this is perhaps a colloquial issue. 

Friday 14 May 2010

It may look to the untrained eye I'm sitting on my arse all day...

Apparently I am the only person who has not been eating quinoa since being weaned from the breast. We had a brief dalliance a while ago and I decided it was a little high maintenance - rinsing and toasting and boiling? - and pretty much forgot about it. Now my fat face is killing me a little every time I look at it, and in my efforts to simultaneously eat a lot and lose weight, I am having a quinoa moment. With everything. I think I have eaten my body weight in quinoa today and it isn't even 1pm.

Yes - quinoa and weight loss are my opening blog gambit today. I know you come here for the breakneck thrills. Wait till I tell you about my feelings for roasted beetroot.

Can you eat too much beetroot? It seems like the sort of thing that you imagine is healthy and harmless, like herbal tea or vitamin A, but maybe you could overdo it a little and wake up in hospital needing a liver transplant or dialysis. I can't help but think that the colour could be a warning signal.

Don't worry! It gets better! David Beckham's bizarrely frozen face appeared on the news today in connection with something to do with the World Cup and I still don't really know what it was because I was distracted by his masklike expression. He has the face equivalent of an unblinking eye. Does that sound a little like a free online translation? What I mean is that he is utterly immobile in parts of his facial area, while his mouth moves and speaks and he appears to continue to breathe and otherwise interact normally. It's like Bell's palsy. That he paid for.

Tony Blair went through a period of looking like the Joker in drag - that thing where there is a central eggshell dome of forehead and the eyebrows tip up provocatively at the outer edges. Has he laid off the 'tox lately? The recent photos of him seem to all look relatively normal in a wizened and desiccated way. Redundant I know, but wizened and desiccated are both great words and I couldn't decide.

In other news, I seem to be unable to write anything here that hangs together in a structured way. I am loath to think that this has the flavour of those observational comics who introduce a noun or verb followed by "What's that all about?" Despite appearances, I think a lot about this blog and what I will write here. By noon I have written and discarded or forgotten a dozen posts, if only in my head. (Maybe the head part is where I'm going wrong.) I feel like I'm trying to do too much and I'm not prioritising very well. I want to be funny and provocative and interesting, even though that is a ton of work and I already take ages to churn out the most facile fluff. I seem to have trouble with a narrative here. But, you know, it's a blog, so despite feeling as though I'm not quite hitting the nail on the head, the sky hasn't fallen in.

And finally, proof in today's Daily Mail* that civilisation is being infiltrated by upright, costumed lizards**:

*Or perhaps I should say "more proof," and yes, this is where I have always fully expected the truth to emerge.
**Lizards - ? Possums - ? Dancing teacup poodles? I can't decide.

Thursday 13 May 2010


I'm the walking dead lately, I really am. I looked for that excellent bit from Blazing Saddles where Madeline Kahn plays Lily Von Shtupp singing I'm Tired but sadly embedding was disabled and I'm not techie enough to know if there's a way around that, so if you'd like to enjoy Kahn's masterful comic performance I suggest you click here. Isn't she amazing? Funny and sexy and all grumpy and rumpled up. Who else could have carried that off?

For my part, since we can't all be Wild West hookers, there will be napping. And then I'll get myself to the doctor, who will probably think I am a malingerer and tell me I'm depressed. I don't feel depressed; I do sometimes feel sad, moody and weepy, but, you know, that's what happens when you are dragging your arse around like a ball and chain.

But holy hostesses Batman, today I girded my loins and got my pinny on and had my fabulous friend AC round for an impromptu lunch and blimey if she didn't bring a bottle of champagne. Friends, I have been teetotal for, ooh, nigh on two weeks, as penance for my last, terrible overindulgence. A couple of glasses of wine was surprisingly trippy and on several occasions during lunch I found myself speaking and wondering what point I was meant to be making. I daresay AC might have been wondering too.

In an attempt to cultivate an elusive kind of graceful hosting sprezzatura, I was determined to shrug off my usual neurotic foaming-at-the-mouth-with-added-hair-tearing efforts. I did a quick circuit around the downstairs with a broom and a cloth and a bottle of cleaner. Lunch was a sort of room-temp kind of thing: leftover grilled chicken, roasted beetroot, fennel and orange salad with quinoa. And, as an added bonus, no one mentioned the flipping election.

Wednesday 5 May 2010

Head. In. Sand. With pancakes!

Ever had one of those days when you feel like eating scrambled eggs and mushroom chow mein and toast with many cups of tea all day with the curtains drawn? And yet there is plenty you should be doing as your house hasn't been properly cleaned in eight weeks and the dishwasher is full and the kitchen surfaces are covered in dirty dishes and all your clean clothes are living in various inappropriate places in stringy piles because you've had some carpentry done in the room where they normally live - carpentry that you've been waiting to be finished since February - and yet this doesn't seem so bad because your suitcase from your holiday, from which you returned about ten days ago, is still completely full of perhaps inextricably intertwined items of clothing, so there isn't the contrast of tidiness which might show it up as messy, but everything has rather blended in as one large nest of chaos?

Just me?

Maybe I could lay some carpet over it and move on.

And then I'd like some pancakes.

Tuesday 4 May 2010

How bad is this exactly?

I read Angry Chicken pretty regularly, and this post hit me squarely in the lunch part of my brain, so I hastily assembled the last three or four items left in our cupboard from before our holiday (yes, I know that was almost a month ago and I am supposed to be at the supermarket right now) to try it out. As I chopped up the tofu, I noticed the date on the packet, which was not really anywhere near any recent date ...on any recent calendar. I checked out the jar of tom yum paste (added for extra flavour) and that too was, well, I'll just call it old and draw a veil. Noodles - ditto. The miso paste may have moved house with me; I have lived here for almost two years. The combined age of these items beyond their expiry, were they added up and translated into human years, would be almost old enough to ride their bicycles to school without adult supervision.

So: soup in bowl, ready to eat, all ingredients well beyond their sell-by dates except for the greens, which came straight from the garden. (Surely that counts for something.)

Reader, I ate it. I considered googling the killer potential of each dodgy ingredient, felt too hungry, and started to feel the germ of a challenge making itself felt. I don't think I will die, but maybe the shrimps in the tom yum paste will give me the swollen face syndrome again.

And it was fine, if not quite as intensely savoury and delicious as I had hoped. (Considering the ingredients, my expectations may have been too high.) I am going through a reluctant junk food phase in that I am both too tired to cook and I can't seem to make anything sufficiently stimulating to really want to cook. This is in the wake of last Friday night, which resulted in both a crushing hangover and post-drunk humiliation (not enough recall to really understand what happened but just enough to know I said some stupid stuff to people I was trying to make new friends with and now I am just trying to not think about it too much until sufficient time has passed for me to stop cringing and groaning). Saturday was inevitably a junk food day, to soothe the stomach and the psyche. Sunday I couldn't get away from the junk food, and Monday I was still in the grips of some kind of post-something syndrome, because my need for salty and savoury was great. Pizza seemed like just the thing

I know Time Out has just named this place the best in London and in the wake of that review they are struggling to keep up, but really, I'm not sure it's as good as this place. Plus, there was a strange kind of odd vibe, like there was a timetable for the next round of pizzas, and I arrived maybe five minutes later than the prescribed 7:15 pizza collection time and was told off for being late for my order, as in "If it isn't good, don't blame us." I thought, if it is cold I won't blame you, but if it isn't good, I will probably go back to my old place where they don't give you a five minute quality window. So my experience was coloured by that.

My experience was also altered somewhat by the face that I was apparently developing a cold sore, which, pardon me but what the fuck?, I have never ever ever experienced in all of 42 years. Certainly in that time, I have been not infrequently tired and run-down, and from time to time I have been sleep-deprived, jetlagged and hungover. So, and I'm sorry to repeat myself here, but what the fuck? It started with sore little cracks at the side of my mouth, like when you eat too many oranges or if you have a bug and get dehydrated. I thought that was what it was (hello hangover!), and one side began to feel like it had a shard of broken glass stuck in it, and when I looked closely in the mirror, I could see the little blisters. It is swollen like a motherfucker too, still. I keep slathering it with ChapStik and vitamin e and flipping Germolene because I have somehow managed to have the only household in Christendom without a tub of Vaseline. And I have washed my hands every five minutes since it started. Did you know you can get cold sores on your fingertips? (You're welcome. I like to spread the joy.)

And in other news, I just ate some of an old Easter bunny and now I do in fact feel a little queasy.

Tell me that your weekend was better (by which I mean that I urge you to tell me your weekend was as tragic as mine - misery really does love company!).

Well that's not even trying.

Whatever happened to the elaborate story of the relative trying to retain their family's fortune whilst escaping a repressive regime? I can't even really consider this a scam. And what about my bank details? Don't you want those too, lazyarse?

Just careless. Standards slipping all over the shop.