Thursday, June 28, 2012

Scary stuff

Today my mother called me to tell me she had heard of a boy with a PhD from the U.S whose parents were looking for a suitable girl. She wanted to know if I was interested in her initiating a conversation about me filling that position.
I wanted to know if she knew anything more about him (she didn't), and if just a PhD from the U.S was my going rate.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

in the summertime

things to do while spending the summer in switzerland, generally understood to be among the most lovely places to spend a summer.

1. write 60 page long papers over 2 weeks. field e mails from anxious professors over missed deadlines. this only makes the situation more enjoyable.

2. decide to work part time at what must surely be the most boring job in the world, paying bills for serbian policemen who are being sponsored by the swedish national police board to learn 'strategic management'. try to figure out what strategic management might entail- not that it matters though because all your time will be spent dealing with cantankerous accountants, one of which has a single gropey hand (the right one).

3. develop a repetitive stress injury from using the computer too much, because staying in and furiously banging away at your keyboard is what summer is all about.

4. stop signing in on skype. your friends want to meet and go to one of the concerts being held in parks around town, but you cannot keep saying no because it makes you look un-fun, and forces you to acknowledge how slowly you are progressing at your writing. avoid them instead.

5. develop a bizarre obsession with daily talk show hosts and their work, craig ferguson for example. you must choose a show that has been on for at least 5 years, if you choose the late late show, which has been on for 8 years. 8 years x 40 minutes a day gives you plenty of time-wasting fodder on youtube.

6. eat vast quantities of biscuits. in the little time that you do have to spare you must concentrate on sending yourself into one sugar coma after another.

7. get yourself an earworm. here. this will do for now.

plotting and scheming

In the summer of 2013 I will be taking the trans-Siberian express from Moscow to Beijing.
It is going to be an adventure.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012


I took a nap this afternoon and dreamt that my grandfather was at the door to have tea with me. He was fumbling with his mobile phone because he wasn't quite sure how to use it, alone, and slightly unsure about if he was there at the right time. And it was so disappointing because even in the dream I knew this was wrong- it was him but it could never have been him.

1. My grandfather was always on time; at places at the time he wanted to be at. If he was at my door it was the right time for him to be there. And he would never have been tentative about if it was a good time to see me. It was always a good time to see me. He knew that.

2.  My grandfather knew how to use his mobile phone. The two things he needed to do, disconnect calls and delete text messages without reading, he had mastered. Everything else was unnecessary and there was no uncertainty about this either.

3. We lived together, so there was no reason for him to visit me for tea. Had we lived in the same city we would have been in the same house. This visiting business was for other people. We were intimate enough to sit at the same table every night and eat out of the corner of each others plates. It wasn't the cute quirky thing grandfathers who occasionally see their offspring and dote on them do. It had the slightly competitive tinge of people who live together and know that whoever gets to the chutney first gets to eat more of it. Though we were never like this at tea. Only at breakfast.

But it was nice that he came to visit me while I was napping. There aren't too many other options left to us.

I think the dream was brought on by a deep deep desire to have someone make me a really good cup of tea.

 Cup of tea?

Friday, June 15, 2012

Movies during the week

Beastly was a waste of time. I watched it because I watched Craig Ferguson chat with Neil Patrick Harris about it and I was charmed by their camaraderie. This is not enough of a reason to watch something. The film reaffirmed my opinion that anything with Vanessa Hudgens in it is a terrible mistake.

Happythankyoumoreplease was another one that I learnt about from Craig Ferguson, this time in a chat with Josh Radnor, who directed the movie. It was marginally better than BEastly. But this is not saying much. I was bored.

Angel was delightful. It was macabre, over the top and crazily fun. I like Romola Garai. I loved her in Atonement. And Dirty Dancing 2 is a guilty pleasure. Though I have to say the charms of the lovely Cuban boy in it had eclipsed hers for me. Until now. I ow want to watch many things wit her in it. I also want to watch the other stuff by the director Francois Ozon. I liked Swimming Pool quite a bit. He looks like fun.

Love's Kitchen was ghastly. All things with Gordon Ramsay are doomed.

Soul Kitchen, another film about cooking and rescuing a sinking restaurant- this time in Germany, with Germans. The film was full of people saying "so-oul kitchen munn" (man) in the peculiar sing song Germans get/do when they're being all hard rock about things. It was ok as films about food go, but this is because so many others are so spectacularly terrible. Like Love's Kitchen. Love's Kitchen made all of 121 pounds on its opening day. Which does not surprise me.

In other news my obsession with Craig Ferguson continues. As does my addiction to Master chef Australia.  But more about Craig Ferguson in the next post.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Movies on the weekend

On Friday and Saturday I wrote a term paper. On Sunday I went on  movie bender. It seemed like I hadn't watched anything film like in a long time. Over the week I had fallen into a Craig Ferguson charm vortex- and had gone through every clip on YouTube. So I thought it might be time to watch something more substantial instead. And so I put myself through Chloe, Shame and A Dangerous Method.

Chloe was ok. I didn't know, until a friend told me after I had watched it that the lesbian bit was supposed to have been very exciting. It wasn't terribly thrilling in the movie. The whole thing seemed a little too much like Unfaithful. But this might be because all films about cheating seem kind of the same to me. If the plot was something other than unfaithful married person who feels bad and then dumb stuff happens I would take note.

As I did with A Dangerous Method. Which I liked very much- due in great part to Keira Knightley. We never get to see her being a doctor in her own right. First she is the patient, then the mistress, then the pregnant wife of someone else, while all along clearly far too intelligent and compelling to be just any one of these things at a time. I would have liked to see why she moved to child psychology. I would have liked to see that developed more than the elaborate bit about Otto Gross and his influence on Jung. Or if not more than equally.

Shame was great, except that the title made it seem a bit preachy, or gave it a bit of a judgmental context that the rest of the film doesn't really hold to. It didn't seem to be as much about shame; it seemed to be about compulsion and wretchedness, so the context provided by the title is not necessarily one I would have arrived at myself.

You could tell from about the 10th minute, from the way the music kept swelling higher and higher while all the man was doing was riding the subway, that this movie was going to be a long, torturous and self consciously so. I liked it. But I couldn't watch it again. I will be watching everything with Carey Mulligan and Michael Fassbender though.