30 December, 2007

Auld Lang Syne

May 2008 bring you every possible happiness. Contentment, refreshing walks, warmth, comfort, laughter, meaningful conversation, and lots of fresh fruit.

Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
and never brought to mind ?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
and auld lang syne ?

For auld lang syne, my dear,
for auld lang syne,
we’ll tak a cup o’ kindness yet,
for auld lang syne.

Happy 2008.

Pride & Prejudice

All 6 episodes.
With Tash. (i.e, Chava)
And a table full of gorgeous organic food.
Shamelessly indulgent!
What a way to bid farewell to 2007.

We had to rewind a few times so we could watch Colin sit. (He has a very special way of flaring his his coattails elegantly and gliding into a chair...mmm...) And Tash was very patient and appreciative with the audio-commentary (I love to add little "somethings" to every televisual viewing: subtext, inner monologue, witty quips, etc. I'm sure it's an acquired taste in viewing, but we had a grand ol' time). I highly recommend the marathon.

Mr. Darcy: Do you talk by rule, then, when you're dancing?

Elizabeth Bennet: Yes, sometimes it is best. Then we may enjoy the advantage of saying as little as possible.

Mr. Darcy: Do you consult your own feelings in this case, or seek to gratify mine?

Elizabeth Bennet: Both, I imagine. We are each of an unsocial, taciturn disposition, unwilling to speak unless we expect to say something that will amaze the whole room.

Mr. Darcy: [drily] This is no very striking resemblance of your own character, I'm sure.

PS) In case you were wondering, yes, D's similarity to Darcy has already been noted...

23 December, 2007

10 December, 2007

Domestic Happenings, Episode 2: Christmas Tree Debacle

[At rise: Al and Damian at Wilkinson, a local home goods shop, to purchase this year's Christmas tree.]

A: What?! 3 feet or 6 feet. Those are the only options?
D: Looks like it.
A: 3 feet is dinky and stupid. 6 feet is ridiculous.
D: Yes.
A: What do we do?
D: I don't know.
A: Let's get a real one!
D: I've never had a real tree before!
A: That settles it then.
A & D: Excellent!

[They march out of the store with newfound Christmas Purpose]


[A street market on Wood Green High Road. Make no mistake, Wood Green is dodgy. Questionable in too many ways to articulate. But it's Christmas and this corner is selling pine trees. They smell beautiful. Like Michigan.]

Dodgy Wood Green Tree Seller: Right. You 'ave the 3 foot ones in the pots for £14, or the 6 foot ones 'ere for £18. The needles won't fall off either [pronounced "ee-vuh"].

[??!! Fantastic.]

A: Right. That's helpful. [Square One. My favourite place.]
D: Well... I mean, at least it will be real. And we can replant it afterwards.
A: [to Tree Seller] Can we LOOK at the small trees without the net?
TS: No.
A: Really?
TS: 'fraid not.
A: Uh huh...
D: Real trees love the earth...?
A: ... and we're supporting our local community by buying from this woman on the street...?
D: and we can replant it in January...?
A: ...but we can't LOOK at it.
D: Right.
A: Right.
D: Let's just get this one. [indicated to dinky potted tree.]
A: Okay.

[Money exchanged. Awkward journey home with ethical potted mystery tree.]

* * *

[At home. The Spot selected. Arrangements made. Mystery Tree is placed on a small side table, the one it will majestically stand on for the next few weeks. String net is removed, branches flattened. A pause.]

A & D: [Silence]

[They stand there side by side. Arms crossed. Examining the tree. It looks like a mangled stray dog. It looks worse than a Charlie Brown tree. It looks like they bought it from a dodgy street market. It looks awful. But can they say it? What is the other thinking? Do we love it anyway or tell the truth? If we tell the truth will we crush the others' hopes?!]

A: Wow.
D: Mmmm.
A: It will be great.
D: Mmmm.

* * *

[Lying in bed later that night. The darkness brings out the truth...]

A: Damian...?
D: Yes Al.
A: Damian, I-- I--
D: --hate the tree?

* * *

Today we bought the socially unethical, environmentally unfriendly, highly dependable, fake tree.

The real one it outside, waiting to be planted. Our mitzvah.

08 December, 2007

Sometimes I say stupid things...

This is one of those unfortunate situations where I cannot name names really. The names would MAKE the stories in many ways, but suffice it to say that these people I have made myself an idiot in front of, are important. At least in my particular line of work. So a few names have been changed to protect the innocent.

Scene 1:

At rise: Swanky London Theatre Do. Very loud. Very crowded. Very posh. Cameras, canapes and drinks.

Exchange between myself and an eccentric, but very swanky member of a Theatrical Royal Family. I have made an idiot of myself in front of this man on many occasions, including one where I was singing 'Matchmaker' with a very free spirit indeed, and wearing an outfit that did very little to salvage my dignity. Another time I accidentally caught him out misquoting Shakespeare. Needless to say, many of my interactions with this person, ever go over well. Anyway.

Him: Hello there Alexaaaaaandra.
Al: Hello.

[Al notices this man is dressed head to toe in velvet, including his shoes. Takes a moment to process this...]

Him: Did you phone me a few weeks ago? I erased it by accident, I am utter crap.
Al: I did, about my UK Visa. It's fine. I didn't really expect--
Him: How are you dahling?
Al: Fine. Things are fine. [Insert Snow Day story here] Looking forward to the holidays.

Him: You look gooooorgeous my love, really fierce. It's always lovely to see you at these "DOs"
Al: Ah, thank you, uh, likewise. How are you doing?
Him: [Hands to forehead] Oh... well you know how it is. Busy busy busy as usual. Never any time for frivolities.
Al: Uh, indeed.

[Al doesn't know what to say at this point, not much has been said thus far. Do you engage in more small talk or launch in to an artistic dialogue that could lead to dangerous paths of Bard misquotation and possible humiliation? Or does one just gracefully leave? In a panic, Al decides on none of these, and instead, blunders. A messy and gruesome few seconds ensue. She places her hand awkwardly on the jacket lapel of Royalty Man, and says the following:]

Well here we are! And look at you! Well, well. Huh. YOU... Just.... well somebody sure loves velvet!
Him: ... Well... Yes ...I do in fact...


Scene 2:

TV Interviewer: Mind if we interview you for XYZ TV?
Al: Not at all.

[Al is thinking 'Oh God.']

TV Interviewer: Just look straight at me, and relax.
Al: Alright.

[Now Al is thinking 'WHATEVER YOU DO, DON'T USE THE PHRASE "AMAZING JOURNEY." Only idiotic, lame scrambling artsy types say that. Only people that have nothing to say. DON'T SAY "AMAZING JOURNEY!" DON'T SAY IT... SAY ANYTHING, EVEN "F*%k" BUT NOT "AMAZING JOURNEY"...']

Al: ...Well it's just been such an amazing journey...

[Whist continuing to speak utter rubbish, Al is thinking: 'Fantastic.']

07 December, 2007

Homemade Marshmallows...

Homemade marshmallows are an exquisite delicate candy. With a full vanilla flavour and a melt-in-your-mouth texture to die for; they like little clouds of sweetness that are easy to eat, go perfectly with coffee, flavored coffee drinks and of course hot chocolate; as well as being crucial for the creation of the glorious S'MORE. They are also surprisingly easy to make, and very impressive when you bring them out to serve your guests.

The only real drawback is that you really need a stand mixer to make them (it has a very large whisk--as opposed to the slightly less efficient beaters of a hand-held mixer). I recommend using vanilla bean paste or vanilla bean crush instead of plain vanilla extract because the tiny bean specks really look fantastic in the finished candy, as well as tasting gorgeous.

Homemade Marshmallows

.75-oz unflavored gelatin (3 envelopes of Knox gelatin)
1/2 cup cold water
2 cups granulated sugar
2/3 cups light corn syrup
1/4 cup water
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

    Line 9 x 9-inch pan with plastic wrap and lightly oil it. Set aside.
  • In the bowl of an electric mixer, sprinkle gelatin over 1/2 cup cold water. Soak for about 10 minutes.

  • Meanwhile, combine sugar, corn syrup and 1/4 cup water in a small saucepan. Bring the mixture to a rapid boil and boil hard for 1 minute.

  • Pour the boiling syrup into soaked gelatin and turn on the mixer, using the whisk attachment, to high speed. Add the salt and beat for 12 minutes. After 12 minutes, add in the vanilla extract beat to incorporate.

  • Scrape marshmallow into the prepared pan and spread evenly (Lightly greasing your hands and the spatula helps a lot here).

  • Take another piece of lightly oiled plastic wrap and press lightly on top of the marshmallow, creating a seal. Let mixture sit for a few hours, or overnight, until cooled and firmly set.

  • In a shallow dish, combine equal parts cornstarch and confectioners' sugar. Remove marshmallow from pan and cut into equal pieces with scissors (the best tool for the job) or a chef's knife. Dredge each piece of marshmallow in confectioners' sugar mixture.

  • Store in an airtight container.

Makes about 40 large marshmallows, depending on the size you choose to cut them.

Enjoy... mmm....

05 December, 2007

Snow Day!

The revolve broke. So they cancelled the matinee.
And the screaming in celebration was phenomenal. It shook the building. The boys upstairs in 18 pounded the floors until the ceiling cracked. I think I hit a note that nearly broke the mirror. Frances danced on the spot. Tash simply fell to her knees and genuflected. Tomm and Damian blasted in to our room and we all jumped up and down in a group embrace. It was delirious, exaltative insanity.
The break from the routine.
The knowledge that something is greater than the power of the show, and it ruling our every breath and heartbeat. It was a good moment. Like a Snow Day.

01 December, 2007

'The Quiet World' by Jeffrey McDaniel

In an effort to get people to look
into each other's eyes more,
and also to appease the mutes,
the government has decided
to allot each person exactly one hundred
and sixty-seven words, per day.

When the phone rings, I put it in to my ear
Without saying hello. In the restaurant
I point at chicken noodle soup.
I am adjusting well to the new way.

Late at night, I call my long distance lover,
proudly say I only used fifty-nine today.
I saved the rest for you.

When she doesn't respond,
I know she's used up all her words,
so I slowly whisper I love you
thirty-two and a third times.
After that, we just sit on the line
and listen to each other breathe.

-- Jeffrey McDaniel


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