Monday, June 6, 2011

much more to discover

"We reached what I now know was Victoria Park.  Far enough.  Far enough away from territory I knew, that northern spine: Stockwell, Kennington, Waterloo, Charing Cross, Leicester Square, Tottenham Court Road, Camden Town, Chalk Farm, Belsize Park...the uncharted territory of this East London park, without tourists or celebrated views, was mysterious and alluring.  Anna and I came away delirious, appreciating that there was much more to discover.  About London.  And about ourselves."

-Iain Sinclair, Hackney, That Rose-Red Empire


Sunday, June 5, 2011

Thursday, June 2, 2011

a good book

I started reading this novel on the tube, and between Mile End and Tottenham Court Road I only made it four-and-a-half pages in--because I had to read them twice.  They were that good.  And the rest of the book was just as satisfying.  I love Helen Garner's writing style.  She is a master at saying a lot with a little, leaving just the right amount of open space for readers to fill in themselves.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011


I went to Edinburgh a couple weekends ago with Rachel and her friend Carolyn. They both go to Brandeis College, and we stayed with another Brandeis girl, Becca, who is studying in Edinburgh for the semester. It was a successful trip. We walked all over the city, went to a couple museums, had a couple fun nights out, ate some good food (deep-fried Mars bar, anyone?) and scaled a volcano!

We liked the section of the museum designed for young children the best.  You are never too old to play dress up:

On our way to the volcano.  Beautiful day.

But very windy!

At the top!

We rewarded ourselves after our volcano adventure with hot chocolate from a place called Chocolate Soup.  So good!

I was enthusiastic about jumping for the camera on this trip.  Behind us is a national monument, never completed.

I liked Edinburgh a lot!  The weather was totally sporadic.  The sky alternated between pouring down sunshine and pouring down rain.  But mostly sunshine.  Apparently, fried Mars bars are a "thing" in Edinburgh.  So delicious, in a slightly disgusting kind of way.  We cooked dinner for ourselves two nights we were there--stir fry.  It ended up costing 2 or 3 pounds a person.  We also ate at a mosque kitchen twice.  The food was delicious, and we got huge platefuls for under five pounds.  My favorite part of the trip was definitely the volcano--so exhilarating!  The wind at the top was so strong I could hardly stand up, or breathe.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

well hello, Gerard Manley Hopkins

On the tube the other day, I saw one of my favorite poems! It is part of a program called Poems On the Underground. I think it's a great idea: so much better to look up and see a poem instead of an advertisement for Easyjet.

The Windhover

I CAUGHT this morning morning’s minion, king-
dom of daylight’s dauphin, dapple-dawn-drawn Falcon, in his riding
Of the rolling level underneath him steady air, and striding
High there, how he rung upon the rein of a wimpling wing
In his ecstasy! then off, off forth on swing,
As a skate’s heel sweeps smooth on a bow-bend: the hurl and gliding
Rebuffed the big wind. My heart in hiding
Stirred for a bird,—the achieve of; the mastery of the thing!

Brute beauty and valour and act, oh, air, pride, plume, here
Buckle! AND the fire that breaks from thee then, a billion
Times told lovelier, more dangerous, O my chevalier!

No wonder of it: shéer plód makes plough down sillion
Shine, and blue-bleak embers, ah my dear,
Fall, gall themselves, and gash gold-vermillion.

Gerard Manley Hopkins

Sunday, May 29, 2011

heartfelt junkmail

This was in a spam email I received today--I only opened it because it was in my Westminster inbox, which, like, NEVER gets spammed. The message made me smile:

I wish I sent your blessings that strikes you the most fresh and worth reading a hundred times, and wish you a happy happy happy birthday!.

Aww, thanks! Five months too early, though.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

paparazzi, ping pong

Yesterday was a tribute to the East End.  Rachel and I went to the Whitechapel Art Gallery, then to Brick Lane for beigels (that's the local spelling).  We played paparazzi to the hipsters.

I like the above image because it presents two prevalent demographics of the area.

Beigel in a brown bag = the must-have accessory of Brick Lane.  That, and oversized glasses, skinny jeans, and a single-gear bicycle.  Extra points if you are carting around a large piece of artwork.

Later that evening, we went to the Book Club in Shoreditch.  Dj's downstairs, a ping pong table upstairs.  I left my friends to go to the toilet, and ended up getting sucked into the ping pong crowd.  I teamed up with a sweetheart named Yaz and impressed everyone with my American ping pong skills.