Tuesday, January 25, 2011

'Away we go' - are they F*** up's?

Social networking sites help. I heard about 'Away we go', the movie through a friends post on facebook. I know her, and so decided that if she liked it, then it's worth a watch for sure. Plain ol' primitive word of mouth reference does have its place even in the modern world, its just that the medium of dissemination has altered.

Last night I caught Away we go on TV. I propped myself cosily on my couch, made sure I was in easy reach of a snack, water, the remote and my phone somewhere around and started the movie.

Firstly, I was excited about the movie because it stars Maya Rudolph who I think is hilarious, and quite love her from the Saturday Night Live sketches. John Krasinski plays the male lead. He is the guy best known as Jim from The Office (US).

It's an easy-to-watch movie, can be regarded as slow, but I didn't mind it coz it gelled with the overall theme of the story. It was a pleasant change from watching action thrillers, and reality shows where Kendra shows off her booty with hard hip-jerking movement, 'Go kendra, Go kendra!'. I find it too funny!

The story of the movie, without giving away too much is this: Maya is pregnant (6 months), and both Jake and Maya are figuring out their place in the world, and considering options on where they'd like to raise this new addition.

They question their position relative to the 'normal's' of the world, and aren't sure if they are f***-ups because at 34 (Jake is 33) among other things they 'have a cardboard window'!

They decide to 'go' and explore new places to find the perfect spot. In the bargain they explore not only places, but come into close proximity with lives of people dear to them, and also confront past fears. They do get to the crux of it all in time, which is to cherish what THEY have.

And what they have is a cute, fun and 'knowing' dynamic which only the inhabitants of a relationship can understand. It may seem bizarre, silly or mushy for others, but it's perfect for them.

I really liked the calmness, but warmly funnyness, and understated performance of Maya, which is rather different from her crazy side on SNL. Jake isn't awesome, but his character works, coz he's a nice guy. A bit goofy, but nice.

The movie isn't perfect, but here's what I liked:

  • It makes you reconsider the 'wish it were me' syndrome? Coveting another person's life, job, or perceived happiness is tricky. You can't be sure you want it until you've walked a few steps in that persons shoes
  • It allows people that society thinks should follow a pattern, to NOT have a pattern and be Ok with it
  • The simplicity but strength of a relationship that is not displayed as overtly passionate, but it so so special
  • The marriage certificate is precious, but it is not a requirement for commitment
  • Maya Rudolph's freckles and facial emotions
  • Maggie Gylenhall's very very emotional, but hysterical, "I reject your aggression"
Not every movie has to move you enough to make you want to conquer the world. Some movies sneak by stealthily and leave you with a little more warmth and something to think about, smile about and plenty of good music to listen to. Away we go did just that for me.

Today I'm humming All of my days by Alexi Murdoch (also in the movie)

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

A box of fresh organic vegetables at my doorstep - why is it still so daunting?

Last week I caught up with two classmates from Cambridge who are now in London. We met at Baity Kitchen - the Mood Food deli, a gem of a place in South Kensington that I've been meaning to visit ever I read about it. Recently opened, it is small, but super cute and homely with delicious Greek food. The hosts and servers are very nice, almost shockingly so given the overall level of customer service in this country (as compared to NY). A pleasant surprise and a definite edge over many other eateries.

After going through the usual pleasantries with my dinner buddies, we got down to job talk, heavy gossip, the lack of sun in London, the characteristics of your 'ideal' man/or the type you are attracted to, our travel plans, and ingenious ways to be invited for classmates' weddings that hope to be in exotic lands including Russia, India, Uruguay etc. We decided that we have to start early if we want to be on the guest list! How insensitive and sly no? We had a great laugh about our charming ways.

Given we were eating delcious food - a moroccan chicken and rice with olives, tabbouleh salad, roasted chicken, and macaroni and cheese in truffle oil - the conversation steered to cooking.

R'all says that she orders a vegetable box on a weekly basis from Able and Cole. A box full of fresh, seasonal organic vegetables delivered to your doorstep with recipes to match the ingredients. 'Delicious' she says, and 'healthy'! The perfect alternative to munching on deep fried sweet and chilli crisps'. I say, 'hmm...now, waittt a minute. Not entirely true you know'.

It sounds pretty awesome, especially with the spoon feeding they do by providing recipes too. Given her enthusiasm for it, I must consider. And yet, I can't. Not yet anyways.

On one side, being a diligent carnivore, but now with herbivorous habits neatly imbibed more and more over time, I still find it overwhelming to think of this big box sitting in my kitchen. Oh the pressure to devour all the supposed goodness! On the other hand, it will be healthy. And on yet another side, the scary thought of looking at rotten veggies at the end of the week.

I am being pessimistic, but I know myself. The few veggies I do buy sometimes rot if I'm not quick enough. Now, I am cooking a lot more so the waste is lesser, but a box. I mean, its a box full!

Perhaps in the future when I have someone to 'manage' the box, when it is not solely 'my' responsibility, I will welcome the box. Until then, I'll stick with the little packets of brussel sprouts, three carrots, coriander, one small cabbage, one portion of spinach, a cucumber and lots of potatoes and meats to tide me through the week. Baby steps.

Today I'm humming Consider Yourself from Oliver Twist

Monday, January 17, 2011

Annette Bening wins the Golden Globe and I am thrilled

Annie is a star. Period.

I've always found her tres interesting. She comes across as someone strong, but with a sensitivity that cannot be completely ignored. She has that womanly delicateness even in her deceptively stiff, straight and no-nonsense elegance.

She's terribly articulate, charming as hell, and has a presence. Her being quite tall surely adds to it, and whatever we may want to say, taller, does command a different type of attention. You see the person more easily, especially in crowds, and aesthetically and objectively speaking, height does matter...to me anyways.

So, Annie in her dark, super trendy glasses and black dress definitely rocked the Golden Globes last night. It went on until too late London time so I could see only half of it. I did get to see enough of Annie though. See, here's the thing, in my opinion the dress wasn't great. BUT it was a nice style, and it fit her like a glove, but it's Annie that made the dress look like the way it did. It's the package. Warren Beatty, you are a lucky man. And she a lucky woman. You two look good together, and are a testament to success in marriage in an industry that holds onto divorce or breakups more than togetherness.

The Kids are All Right is the movie for which Annie won. She plays a lesbian woman in a relationship with Julianne Moore (also love!), and trying to have a happy life with their two kids. Interestingly the kids have been brought into the world by both the mothers, each delivering a child that has been fathered by Mark Ruffalo, who was the sperm donor. The movie revolves around these five characters and how the dynamic changes when the new 'Daddy' comes onto the scene.

Ms. Bening does a wonderful job, and so does J. Moore. Annie is the provider, and the care taker of the family displaying outward strength, and possibly hiding the vulnerability of a lover when she's scared about the future of her troupe. She's protective, headstrong, very capable, and beautiful.

To Annie:
"I like you Ms. Annie, but my gal pal Nata
loves you if you know what I mean. So imma leave you to her. She can deal with Mr. Beatty. We were considering making a trip to Costa Rica, and while I sip on a bacardi, she plans to check out the women. I told her that she should forget the 'women' and just call on Ms. Annie. What do you think Annie? It'll be fun. You in?

Other highlights of half the show that I watched:

- Ricky Gervais, the host of the show: hmmm I get what you were going for, but maybe you took it up a bit too much. These H0llywood types are sensitive people you know. Ego's are pretty much what they hold on to.

- Robert Downey Jr. You are a smooth, charming, intense and funny man. Like Like very much.

- Johnny Depp, Al Pacino, Colin Firth are continued favorites. btw, Al's got a new gal. Not impressed.

- Note to self:
Need to watch Black Swan and The King's Speech

I am looking forward to the remaining half of the show which I think airs again tomorrow.....at a decent hour.

Today I'm humming We're Going to Be Friends by Jack Johnson

Friday, January 14, 2011

Facebook is down

January 14th, 2011. This is the day that Facebook refuses to open as quickly as all the other sites are opening. Boo hoo. Yes? It's funny though coz for many it is quite the distraction from whatever it is we are doing, or rather, supposed to be doing.

I decided to log on and see what's been put out there coz clearly many people are not able to let the world know that they are 'feeling down', or 'really enjoyed their last dinner', and I really pity the person who wants to 'check in' through Facebook Places at some hip cool joint and cannot tell the world about it! Life sucks doesn't it? For you, me, and for Facebook, which is probably losing out on tons of ad revenue for all this down time.

It's funny, but terribly interesting to see how much FB impacts our life. And (not) surprisingly how much 'JOY' rests with time spent with Facebook. I found some messages online where people are reacting to the situation.

  • I've been trying for over an hour to get on facebook. Grrr.. :( no joy. If you get anymore info would be glad to receive it.


  • "I've been sitting on this toilet having a **** for 45 minutes now, and still no Facebook activity."

  • Is it really the end of the world - just wanted to upload some Christmas holiday photographs but another day will do. I think I will telephone a few friends and maybe even start a new book!!!

  • Been trying since 3am. Wanted to post late night knitting project(s), I guess I'll just go to sleep... Hope it comes back soon!

  • Hope it gets sorted soon, my crops are going to wither, my pet will end up in pound and I'm on a deadline for frontier missions. HELP! If it doesnt come back on soon it means I'll have to do some housework.

Life does go on. And for some, a productive and perhaps more touchy-feely life. One person has decided to actually 'call his friends', and another has decided to start writing a book! That does say a lot. Facebook, what have you done to the human race??

Today I'm humming Englishman in New York by Sting. Quite love this song, the version and STING!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

'Sweet Talking' in the Arab world - Kalam Nawaem

If you watch one of the episodes of this highly-rated TV talk show in the Arab world, you will not hear a lot of Sweet Talk, which is basically what Kalam Nawaem, the talk show title is translated into, but you will be drawn in and interested in the opinions and the openness of the discussions.

MBC 10 is the channel that picked up this show that been pervading the homes with thoughts and ideas to help provoke discussion within the Arab countries. You may agree or choose to disagree with the topics chosen, and the points of views offered, but at least you are thinking or trying to form an opinion.

It's been compared to The View but personally, I think that perhaps the format is mainly what is similar. Given the context of the viewers, the location, and the potential impact it can have on the audience, it is quite different.

(Left to right: Fawzia, Rania, Manu, Farah)

The show includes four women -

Muna Abusulayman: Saudi Arabian, quite an accomplished single woman with two kids.

Farah Bseiso: Palestinian

Fawzia Salama:
Egyptian journalist and social researcher - love her!

Rania Barghout:
Lebanese journalist

Note: It seems that Manu was supposed to leave the show to pursue her own show. I'm still looking for the latest episodes of the the show to see who is on it right now.

Strong personalities. Strong words. Intelligent, but also quite diplomatic and tactful considering they discuss controversial issues, but are well-versed in knowing what to say, and more importantly how to say it without ticking off the wrong people.

It does take some amount of tact when discussing homosexuality and its place in the Muslim religion, or then masturbation, and even addressing viewers letters that tell them that 'they should all go to hell' (apart from Muna, coz she is veiled) for what they are doing.

It's worth checking out! You can watch more about the workings of the show, behind the scenes and the lives of the four women FREE on this cool site. Here's the link just for you my fav peeps, lots of other cool indie movies here too! - Satellite Queens.

Today I'm humming Just the Way you are by Bruno Mars

Monday, January 10, 2011

Imelda May's got a boom boom

Just a bit quirky, with a fantastic voice!

I didn't know of her until I watched an episode of The Graham Norton Show this past week where she performed a single from her new album Mayhem. Quite a presence she has, this blues-y, jazz singer.

Especially loved the dress she wore, it was an Elvis inspired dress since she was quite influenced by The King. You like? Not sure it can be wore terribly often, but appropriate to pledge her respect to a star on his anniversary.


What a wonderful sunday. London doesnt see much sun. But, when it does, everyone comes alive! There is a happiness in the air, and both people and animals find a reason to celebrate. It's a pity the sun doesn't see its effect and come out to visit more often. Can't complain, today is a sunny day too.

Yesterday, I walked through Holland Park. Oh so beautiful in the sun. It retains its forest-like feel which makes a walk through it all the more fun. Walking past the bustle of hi-street Kensington and into the serenity and calm of the park is da best.

There are benches spread all across the park with cute phrases and notes by people who have donated. Quite loved this one.


Everyone's happy when the sun is out. Case in point. The peacock up on the tree.

And everyone else too.

Today I'm humming Johnnie's got a boom boom by Imelda May

Thursday, January 06, 2011

The Macho Mach Air has arrived!

As of yesterday a kinda cute delivery man brought home the newest addition - Ze Vax Mach Air Bagless Upright Vacuum Cleaner.

I'm not someone who particularly enjoys vacuuming(do you?), but they are cool things aren't they?

And personally, I think he's super awesome. Why he? Just coz I love to personify things. And I think guys should do all the cleaning. Always.

Today Macho Mach Air and I spent some time together, just a little bit though. I used him around the house. Even though he's the one doing all the work, the motion is a bit repetitive, no? Need someone else to do this on a regular basis. As hot as he is, he won't interest me for too long. I get bored easily.

He's definitely much much lighter and easy to maneuver around as compared to the stocky ol' fellow who is now in a cold damp place where he can't be seen. What can I say. Life is hard. Things and people get discarded from time to time. Sorry, buddy. Lean is much better than stocky (wrt vacuum cleaners), get with it, yo!

Today I'm humming Say Hey (I love you) by Michael Franti and Spearhead

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Powerpoint and clapping at church? You in?

Picture this scene in a movie:
A congregation of parishioners all dressed up in their Sunday best (lacy hats included); they enter church and in time start swaying, sometimes even in unison to catchy beats. So catchy are the beats, so strong is the energy, so fantastic are the melodies and the voices that it is hard to sit still. Music does that to me. So I get it. Sway people sway if you can welcome The Lord much better that way.

Still, we have never done too much swaying at mass in reality at a Catholic church.

Two days ago, I attended mass at Our Lady of Victories, quite close to where I live. It is a nice church with a grotto on the outside. It reminds me of a chapel/room back home where you could spend some time when the world is seemingly rushed or noisy.

Mass at OL of V, was good. I knew many of the songs (some were Christmas carols), which is not often the case since songs vary by country and region too.

Three things that caught my eye:

Am I in class?

The church used a projector to include the lyrics of the songs on one part of the wall. Innovative no? I sneaked in a picture on my phone see if you can see the words.

It does away with the need to print song books. Great. But, it also takes away the pleasure that we as kids felt when we entered church and scrambled to find a song book of our own, with no need to 'share' with sis. Ah well! We grow up, and we become all dogmatic.

It is true, a projector with words up is great, and even though my kids may never fight for a hymn book coz sadly there may not be one, I still think it's not a terrible idea because when I entered this church, I didn't have no hymn book near me, and yet I immediately got right into the singing, though not as loud as Mr. Grandpa right behind me.

Sermon with powerpoint?

The priest also used powerpoint to discuss his sermon! Yes, visuals help, but in church? Am still dealing with this. It does make it easier to understand for us easily distracted people who can't possibly focus our hearing on every word coming out of the priest's mouth. But now with visuals, I am,

- Trying to listen to the priest talking
- Trying to enjoy the visuals on the wall
- Trying to read the bullet points
- Wondering why the woman eight rows ahead is wearing a sequined purple dress from neck up flowing to her pretty toes, and topped off with a gold sequined hat
- Thinking about adding yogurt to my grocery list sitting in my pocket

Talk about multi-tasking.

And now we're very happy

After dealing with the powerpoint change, and new way of doing things, I am calm, and then verse 3 of a song comes along. There, suddenly, the choir who all this while was 'into the music' and swaying quite happily and whom I thought just enjoyed the music starts clapping! Clapping to the beat alongside each word of verse 3.

Now, Im not completely at ease. See its ironic, and a bit hypocritical too. I see it in movies and think its cool, fun even, and yet because of my memory of what mass should be like, all of a sudden I'm feeling like we are not conforming.

Mass used to be a holy celebration, even the singing of happy songs was at most accompanied by unintentional movements, reflex movements, but not intentional clapping.

I'm not denouncing it, I'm just not used to it.

I think it through coz changes do happen. We are evolving far too quickly, and how you did something a year ago is just redundant today.

Traditionally, mass for me has been a somber and holy event, whatever that means to a little girl. Being in the choir or even singing as a member of the church in my seat is celebratory enough, thus far. I don't see the need for clapping, but I can understand that music when accompanied by a guitar, drums and the piano is engaging, and most often makes me move without me even knowing it.

So perhaps, for others the movement is displayed through clapping in church? I can only guess.

Many restrictions/traditions are man-made - which ones we want to carry on and which we don't are sometimes a mass decision made mandatory by religious top management, and sometimes you have a choice to do it differently.

In this case, I can choose to go to another church if I don't like the clapping. But no, I'll go back. You'll see me again, soon Mr. priest and purple sequined-dressed lady. I'll sing. I'll read the bullet points on your presentation. But I won't clap.

Today I'm humming Laughing with by Regina Spekor

Saturday, January 01, 2011

Today we must write

It is the first day of 2011.


Another set of 365 days ahead of us like a staircase leading us to great things.

Today, I must write, coz the only resolution I make is to make a serious effort to do whatever I really want better, so that I am happy with the effort or the result. It can be anything at all. It can change, from day to day, or month to month, but the promise I make to myself is just to do it well and wholeheartedly, whether it is having more fun, clicking more photographs, applying for more jobs, or writing more often this year.

And so I will.

2011 was brought in surrounded by dear ones as we gorged on a spicy-ass dinner at a Thai place named Namh in Belgravia. Everything was delicious, but ooo very spicy even for someone like me who loves the heat.

It was quite the meal with a variety of meats and fish including chicken, yummy beef salad which almost burned our mouths, and hot and sour fish and prawn soup. My vote goes to the soup which on a cold winter day couldn't have been better.

The mains included rice, sea bass green curry, venison in green chillies, and garlic and shrimp in shrimp paste with tomato flavored mackerel served on a bed of star fruit and pear apple. I know! Awesome right.

The mackerel took me back to mama's table, coz it tasted just like a dish mama makes superbly. And just in that one instance, even though I was sitting so far away from my peeps back home, I felt warm, fuzzy and like I was gonna be hugged by a sis just then. Just simple signs can mean so much.

I was with people I wanted to be with. I was happy.

This year is gonna be a good year. I just know it.

Today I'm humming Replay by Iyaz