Lady Crumpet's Armoire


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January 05, 2007

No plastic, please

When it comes to paper clips, I prefer metal over plastic. The standard paper clip is clean, streamlined and inherently functional. It holds pages together without a lot of fanfare. It is there, but it is unobtrusive. There are no dents on the pages. Plastic clips, for all that they come in a variety of colors, don't work for me. I don't like that the top of the clip sits well above the border of paper, or the way the pages no longer lie flat on the desk once plasti-klipped. And if I try to clip a few too many pages, the clip breaks. Even the big plastic ones don't hold paper so nicely as the metal ones.

I am not averse to using binder clips, but I prefer to use them judiciously. I tend to have more paper clips than binder clips readily at hand, so I can clip my papers and move on to the next thing without being interrupted by showy but ultimately less effective paper paraphernalia.

Yours, &c., LC at 05:31 PM | Sundries | TrackBack (0)

January 09, 2007

Thank you, Mr. Noodle

The Ramen Noodle Guy has passed on to his big bowl in the sky:

Momofuku Ando, who died in Ikeda, near Osaka, at 96, was looking for cheap, decent food for the working class when he invented ramen noodles all by himself in 1958. His product — fried, dried and sold in little plastic-wrapped bricks or foam cups — turned the company he founded, Nissin Foods, into a global giant. According to the company’s Web site, instant ramen satisfies more than 100 million people a day. Aggregate servings of the company’s signature brand, Cup Noodles, reached 25 billion worldwide in 2006.

I've got a pack of Nissin Cup Noodles in my desk. Ando certainly has made my life easier.

Mr. Noodle [NYT]

Yours, &c., LC at 02:45 PM | Food | TrackBack (0)

January 11, 2007

Dipping in (as opposed to diving)

Life has settled down a bit. We were able to close on our home at the end of November, and we moved into the condo straight away. There was a lot of packing. Now there is a lot of unpacking, but we'll get there.

The living room has been painted a blue (Cosmos) and the office has been painted green (Sea of Grass). There's more painting in the works, but right now it's time for touchups and for getting some bookshelves from Ikea. We still have our storage unit, so the sooner we can get the shelves the sooner we can get rid of the unit. Maybe this weekend, since I'll have Monday off for the MLK holiday - hurrah!

I've been reading a bit, catching up on shows like Entourage, Extras and season 3 of Battlestar Galactica (yessss!). Thank goodness for rerun marathons. Our fourth Tivo has been working - so far. Keeping my fingers crossed on that one.

As for blogging, the break was nice, but it's nicer to be back.

Yours, &c., LC at 04:23 PM | Slice o' Life | TrackBack (0)

January 15, 2007

A little at a time

It's possible to think too much, and then not end up actually doing anything. So this weekend:

*Went out to dinner for our fifth anniversary. Dinner at Eclipse di Sol, including appetizers, hangar steak, swordfish, and raspberry chocolate cake.

*Made it to the gym for the fourth time this calendar year. Which is a good start.

*Bought bookshelves from Ikea. Several trips later, we still need extension units and other hardware. Having a master's degree does not guarantee that one can interpret the visual instructions. But mistakes were undone and the final results look pretty good so far.

*Went to a Dirty Santa party. I was determined to steal a present from somebody but it turned out that I actually liked the gift I pulled from the pile - a pair of commuter cups that plug into the cigarette lighter to keep your drinks warm. They won't do any good for our commute since we take the train, but they'll come in handy for road trips.

*After spending most of the day putting together bookshelves, then washing dishes, and doing other things so as to avoid the inevitable, I made dinner last night. I'm a novice in the kitchen, but I do want to learn to cook. As encouragement, a friend gave me a recipe for chicken piccata. I dredged cutlets in flour, sauteed them in olive oil, made a sauce with chicken broth, capers, garlic, lemon juice and parsley. There were some minor mishaps, but the results were still tasty. Definitely something I will make again, without fear!

*Today has been a lazy day, which has been great.

Yours, &c., LC at 10:28 PM | | TrackBack (0)

January 18, 2007

The Children of Men - P.D. James

This book was extraordinary. Another book I would like to revisit. Puts me in mind of The Handmaid's Tale. The near future is dystopic and humanity faces extinction, having suddenly become infertile in 1995, the year that became known as the Omega. Great Britain, one of the few countries where civilization still seems to survive, although it too is crumbling into chaos, is now run by a dictator known as the Warden of England. People have resorted to watching old movies and television shows about the young, keeping dolls in prams and having their kittens christened in order to cope with the loss of children in the world. There are state sponsored porn shops, the regular checkups of selected men and women for possible fertility, official mass suicides of the old - not necessarily of their own free will - in the effort to sustain remaining resources. Omegas, the last generation to be born, are exceptionally beautiful, cruel and selfish.

Theodore Faron, the main character, happens to be cousin to the Warden of England. He's an Oxford historian, whose area of expertise is the nineteenth century. He has his own loss, his own failures, and has never been able to connect with others in any meaningful way. He becomes drawn in with a group of revolutionaries, and ends up finding the salvation he realizes that he needs. But even at the novel's end, we are left both elated and chilled, wondering what will become of these people.

Yours, &c., LC at 12:43 PM | Books | TrackBack (0)

January 21, 2007

Together Again

Holy cats! The official announcement is still in the works, but it's looking very definite that Crowded House will reunite. The lineup will be Neil Finn, Nick Seymour, Mark Hart, and a new drummer. Auditions for the drummer are said to be taking place. From the Daily Telegraph (Australia):

CROWDED House, one of Australia's biggest ever musical exports, is reforming for a world tour.

The band's former frontman Neil Finn and bassist Nick Seymour will hold auditions for a new drummer in Melbourne this week.

Paul Hester, the band's founding drummer, took his own life two years ago.

Sources say Finn will commit 12 months to a world tour by Crowded House. Rehearsals will begin when Finn and Seymour find their drummer.

Finn's UK-based management group are expected to make an official announcement this week.

The surprise re-forming comes 10 years after the band's emotional farewell performance on the Sydney Opera House steps.

It won't be the same without Paul Hester, but I'm glad that the guys will be making music together again. Please please please come to Atlanta when you tour!

Just released this past Tuesday (finally!) are the DVD and CD releases of Farewell to the World, Crowded House's final concert back in 1996. This is great news, especially for those of us who have had to be content with tracking down PAL-format videos and bootleg CDs of the concert. Waiting for my official releases in the mail!

Crowded House Rebuilt [Daily Telegraph (Aus)]

Addendum: Full text of news article after the jump.

Crowded House rebuilt
By Nui Te Koha

January 21, 2007 12:00

CROWDED House, one of Australia's biggest ever musical exports, is reforming for a world tour.

The band's former frontman Neil Finn and bassist Nick Seymour will hold auditions for a new drummer in Melbourne this week.

Paul Hester, the band's founding drummer, took his own life two years ago.

Sources say Finn will commit 12 months to a world tour by Crowded House. Rehearsals will begin when Finn and Seymour find their drummer.

Finn's UK-based management group are expected to make an official announcement this week.

The surprise re-forming comes 10 years after the band's emotional farewell performance on the Sydney Opera House steps.

Finn has regularly dispelled notions of reforming Crowded House. However, Hester's tragic death shook his resolve.

Last year, Finn toured with Split Enz, his band that pre-dates Crowded House. In March, he will release a solo album, on which Seymour plays bass.

"In the shadow of Paul's passing, we had more than enough reason to seek each other out and take a bit of comfort from each other,'' Finn said last month.

"But we've reconnected musically, too. I've really enjoyed him playing bass. There's something instinctive that we've got together and it's pretty undeniable.''

Two years ago, he said Hester's talent as a beatkeeper was virtually irreplaceable.

Finn said he truly appreciated Hester's musical chops after the drummer left Crowded House in 1994.

"I never knew how great Paul was for me, how much he gave me, how incredibly important the chemistry was, until much later, when I was trying to show drummer after drummer how to play the brushes properly on Four Seasons In One Day,'' Finn said.

"Not one bugger got it. I realised how professional Paul's groove was and how genetically in sync we were.

"It was an accident, but a beautiful one. A fate that drew us all together.''

With Finn's incandescent pop at the helm, Crowded House became one of Australia's finest pop exports.

They split in June, 1996, with Finn saying he was sick of touring.

Yours, &c., LC at 04:22 PM | Music | TrackBack (0)

January 22, 2007

It's official: Crowded House comes back to life

While we're still waiting for the announcement from the band and its management, I think an article in Billboard Magazine seems enough of a public confirmation:

Crowded House will reform after a 10-year-plus hiatus for a tour this year, including a stop at California's Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival in late April. The reunion, which was first reported by several Australian newspapers and confirmed by the webmaster of the Neil Finn site Frenz.com, will coincide with a new studio album.

Finn had previously maintained he would never revive Crowded House following the 2005 suicide of drummer Paul Hester. "It's an instant knee-jerk reaction, 'no Paul no Crowded House' for some, and you, know that's actually okay," webmaster Peter Green wrote on the Frenz.com message board. "Simply don't see them or play the new record. But there is a good chance you might be missing out on something special. Sometimes it's worth taking a leap of faith and giving something a chance."

"Neil has had a hankering to play in a band again and what better band to do this in but the one he had the most joy with," he continued.

The solo album Finn previously told Billboard.com would feature Crowded House bassist Nick Seymour has morphed into a Crowded House release, although it is unknown when it will hit stores. Also unclear is who will replace Hester; auditions are said to be underway to fill the slot. Multi-instrumentalist Mark Hart, who joined Crowded House full time in 1992, will be back in the fold for the live dates.

So between this, and the fact that - ahem - yesterday I pre-ordered a copy of the new album through the fan club, seems official enough for me!

I don't know how long they'll stay together this time around; it may be a fleeting reunion. But I will be happy to hear the new songs and see the band live again, for however long they want to make music together.

Yours, &c., LC at 01:58 PM | Music | TrackBack (0)

January 28, 2007

A little too ironic

Tuesday the 16th was only slightly out of the ordinary for me. I had a long overdue doctor's appointment, the kind that involves wearing a paper gown and sticking one's heels into stirrups. With that obligatory unpleasantness out of the way, I drove back home and took the train into work.

That weekend I received a message from Stylefeeder that I had won their daily random drawing for Tuesday, the 16th. Stylefeed allows you to build your own wishlist as you browse the web and come across items that strike your fancy. I noticed Paul's Stylefeed on his blog, and decided to try it out. So thanks to Stylefeeder and ultimately to Paul, I am now the happy owner of a brass handcuff lariat necklace, designed by Erica Weiner.

Getting home from work Friday night, there's a letter from the city police department, telling me that I was ticketed for turning on a red light. There are pictures of the car, turning while the light has been red for .77 seconds, completing the turn in under two seconds. I check the date and time in my calendar, and realize it was Tuesday the 16th, when I'd gone in for my appointment. In my rush to get home to park the car to get on the train to go to work, I turned just after the left turn arrow had disappeared and now I have my first ticket. Arrgh.

So in one day I have been ticketed and won a necklace featuring tiny handcuffs.

Yours, &c., LC at 10:32 PM | Blogos , Slice o' Life | TrackBack (0)

January 30, 2007

Things that have unnerved me

A tv ad from the AARP features a song by the Buzzcocks.

Daniel Radcliffe, the actor who's been playing Harry Potter, is in a stage production of Equus. The promotional photos are rather highly charged, featuring young Daniel without a shirt. While I am not old enough for the AARP, I feel a bit pervy after seeing those images.

Yours, &c., LC at 10:22 PM | | TrackBack (0)