February 29, 2004

Wonder Girl

I spent this leap year working with a confident, creative, nine-year-old wonder and the mom who brought her up to be that way. Michelle, Claudia and I started work on a CD storybook entitiled The Good and Evil, complete with high fashion devils and angels and of course, dogs.

February 28, 2004

All or nothing

Right now it's all.

I've had 3 cups of caffienated coffee this morning. Had four beers on Tuesday night a the Fiery Furnaces concert and a glass of red wine with my Moroccan meal Wednesday. A Starbucks muffin and a cookie yesterday. Better go run.

The skies are grey. No rain at the moment. Yesterday there were a few flakes of snow in the air. No white on the ground though.

February 24, 2004

Fiery Furnaces

The Fiery Furnaces were the headline act at the Garage tonight. This duo has loads of talent and an unpredictable sound. The quirky piano and story-line lyrics remind me of Elvis Costello or, dare I say it, Sparks. But the sound is much more hard-hitting rock, sometimes psychadellic, sometimes blues and sometimes electronic-pop. It's a brother and sister out of New York who reportedly grew up in Oak Park Illinois. She does vocals and guitar, he does piano and guitar. After the show, I checked the Internet to verify that they were indeed from the States, lest I have another Alabama 3 revelation. I heard a lyric about walking along Regents Canal. Turns out she spent some time in London and many of the lyrics are from her travelog. Their sound and lyrics gave me the sense that they've experienced a lot of life's harsher realities at a young age.

February 22, 2004

I choo-choo-choose you

Remember that Simpsons episode? Cackle cackle cackle. (That's for Jay.)

Mom sent me an edamame recipe. I just love those little soy beans! She also sent me a design book for Valentine's day.

Ran a little over 2 hours today. The temperature was perfect and it only rained twice, just briefly. I ran through Regents Park and around Hyde Park. I love running in London. So many interesting places to explore!

I'm currently reading The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith. Light reading, very pleasant. I'm still listening to The Fountainhead on audiobook.

Tomorrow I have my Anatomy and Physiology class. The instructor is excellent. My mitochondria and cytoplasma feel a little off tonight. Better get some sleep.

Go Fish

Brian, A and I saw Big Fish at the Trocadero. I found it disappointing. It was one of those cases where I had high expectations for the film, built on rave reviews from friends and it being a Tim Burton film. I imagined something much more stylized, in the vein of Nightmare or Scissorhands. To its credit, there was a lot of creativity involved and the individual scenes that make up the movie are unpredictalbe. But the big picture is too Hollywood and the story isn't compelling enough.

February 21, 2004

Da Vinci Code

I finished the Da Vinci Code last weekend. The writing isn't great, but the story is intriguing. I like the art connection and delving into different philosophies on Christianity. The perfect book to run to.

February 16, 2004

MMM at M

Michelle, just got hired at Microsoft. She'd rather not leave Palo Alto, but she's excited to have employment after 2 years of job hunting. She's moving to Seattle at the end of this week and starts work next Monday. She'll stay in temporary housing for a month (Microsoft moving allowance) then will move into Mom's house in Edmonds for a few months.

February 15, 2004
Chris Riley was in town on business. We toured Westminster Abbey together. It was the fourth time I've been there, but I never tire of it. There's so much history in that place, I pick up new information with each visit. We also took a slow bus down Oxford Street (my mistake), tried to go on the London Eye but tickets were sold out for the rest of the day, and ate fabulous Mediterranean food at Galipoli Again.

February 14, 2004

Give me spice!

Brian and I had a romantic Ethiopian dinner at Queen of Shebah in Kentish Town. We got a free glass of Champagne and a rose on the table. And it was all within walking distance of our flat. I'll say it again...I love London life!

February 13, 2004

Viva Flamenco

Claudia, A and I went to see Maria Pages and her dance company at Sadler's Wells in Islington. Maria choreographs and performs Flamenco mixed with modern jazz dance techniques. It was fantastic! I've never seen such beautiful arm and hand movements. The men's finger movements were as stunning as the women's.

Most of the music was live; Spanish guitars, a drummer and a passionate vocalist, all augmented by masterful hand clapping and foot tapping. I was astounded by their rhythmic genius. It was so wonderfully contagious that we left the theater stomping our feet and tapping the hand rails. Bravo!

February 08, 2004

West Side Weekend

I spent most of the weekend on Virgin trains. I went up to Lancaster (in the North of England between Blackpool and the Lakes District) to watch a production of West Side Story. Chris Haughton invited Brian and I up to see his son Nick in the leading role. Nick didn't disappoint. And while Maria also had a fabulous singing voice, she had an entirely operatic voice and it was all wrong for West Side Story.

The Lancaster Theatre has been around since 1782, the oldest operating theatre in London, so said Marion Haughton.

It was a four hour train journey from London Euston train station to Preston, then another 45 minutes on a bus from Preston to Lancaster. Not something I want to do on a regular basis, but it's good to get out of London every once in a while. We saw lots of green fields, sheep and winding canals, as one does whilst traveling through the English countryside. We sprinted the 1/4 mile distance between the car park and the theatre because a big storm hit the area and we were caught in a torrential downpoor. We had a party of 25 that went to a pizzaria after the show. The rain was still hammering down so there was another sprint back to the car. On the way back to Chris' we ran into a sizable tree that had fallen across the road. Marion was driving and quickly put on the breaks so that we were just barely up against the tree. Chris' brother Trevor was following closely behind us in a jeep and skidded into the rear of our car while trying to stop. No damage to the passengers and both cars made it back to Pilling where the Haughtons live.

Chris starts his new position at Lancaster University tomorrow. We will miss him at Videotel.