I'm A Legal Alien Now

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Summer Pants

Every summerI go through the same trauma of finding lightweight, machine washable summer pants since I don't wear shorts. I usually find a pair I like around March (Australia) so I'd resolved myself to not finding any until September (US). But, glory be!, I have found some at Sisley. A shop I adore. Not least because the salesman told me he liked my look- which was all a bit too exciting really since I'd gone to no effort at all. My new summer shoes from Barneys are tearing my feet to shreds, but it'll be worth it once I've developed my summer feet. I also discovered I quite like J.Crew's pants. This has me mildly shocked and questioning myself as it is such a preppy store- sort of Polo on the Cheap. Their mannequins wear bowties with plaid shorts. Yet I still like their pants.

Also I don't quite get why everyone goes ga-ga over H&M. I'm yet to find a single thing that I would actually pay for.

What a link frenzy.


Saturday, April 28, 2007

Black Hole of April

The Black Hole of April has whirled itself to a close. Six functions- all successful. I'm really glad I dragged myself out of bed for Dawn Service at 5am on Wednesday. Not so pleased I didn't think to bring my camera however. It was beautiful. The Lincoln Memorial was deserted but all spectacularly lit up. It's the first time I've seen the Vietnam Memorial not swarming with people and at around 6 the sun started to come up behind the Monument and the sky turned pink.

Last night our branch celebrated with enough bottles of wine to result in a game of gridiron round the conference table.

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Sunday, April 22, 2007


I took my camera with me to Safeway this morning to celebrate the fantastic weather and to get some spring floral shots- there are tulips and daffodils everywhere.

This last one is in my secret garden.

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Saturday, April 21, 2007

Stunning, Just Stunning

Tra la la la go the buds of May April.

Work has been crazy but I did get to hang out with one of Australia's foremost authors this week who was so wonderful and unassuming I won't hear a bad word said against him. Why, I plan to read one of his books even.

Today is the grandest Spring day. It's about 26-27C with a slight breeze and brilliant blue skies. All the flowers are in full bloom- the only ones I can recognise are tulips, daffodils and pansies- so there's colour everywhere. All and sundry are out on the Georgetown streets today and we all share knowing smiles that it's such a pretty day in such a pretty place.

To celebrate I went to Barney's Co-Op and bought some Converse laceless sneakers. I wanted something slip on and easy for summer and although I vowed not to wear Converse, I decided I quite like them. I was originally going to get the Paul Smith ones I saw last time I was there but they were gone so I also saved about $100. Hurrah!

In other news, my hunger striker is back. He's no longer planted outside the Sudanese Embassy but rather pacing Mass. Ave wearing a sandwich board looking rather gaunt. He does have a rather stunning tan though, so it's not all bad.

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Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Sweet Whistlin' Dixie

I have been silent of late but things are beyond crazy at work. Today even hit new peaks/depths of craziness to the extent I can't even blog them for fear of my job.

But one thing I do love is the dixie band which sometimes appears about this time in Dupont Circle. I know nothing about them. They don't appear to turn up at the same time regularly. But it's truly fantastic to be coming home after a long day to this dozen-head dixie band bopping away with everyone stopping by to have a listen. Love them.

New Reason Why I Hate Google

So I dutifully created a Google account to access my blog. Since then I've also created a Gmail account. However I can't now use my Gmail account as my Google account so if I need to go into my blog I have to log out of gmail and log back in as my Google account. You'd think this wouldn't be such a hassle, since Google have plans for world conquest and their stated mission is collation of information in the most organised format such as, oh, I don't know, being able to access my mail and my blog with the same account.

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Thursday, April 12, 2007

Chicago, A Pictorial Report 2


Metra trip to the South Side for a bit of a Frank Lloyd Wright love fest. Despite the nasty habit of his buildings falling down, I adore FLW, and Robie House is considered one of his masterpieces.

I cannot explain how much I covet this house. It is two parallel rectangles which meet in the middle at a square- which is also the central fireplace cos FLW believed that was the core of the house. He used roman bricks- which are very narrow- in construction and the dimensions of those bricks are used over and over again in the interior detailing.

Compare and contrast the side of Robie with the new University of Chicago Business School (Robie is in the middle of their sprawling campus):

After Robie I went to the Museum of Science & Industry. Meh. It was full of colour and movement but geared for an audience much younger than I. However were I 12 again, I know I would totally lose my shit over the massive model railway that simulates a Chicago-Seattle route and is too big to fit in a photo (not a great photo, but my point must be made):

Who am I kidding? I totally lost my shit over this railway at 24.

After a long nap, it was time to go up the John Hancock Center, the world's tallest multi-use building and the second highest observation deck on level 94 (after the nearby Sears Tower, which is the multi-level black one in the distance in this photo). Unfortunately the visibility was crap.

Walking back to the hotel I passed the most wonderfully, gloriously tacky wedding cake I have ever seen. Not the greatest photo, but you have to see it in full size to truly appreciate it.

Seriously, is it for cult weddings? Look at all those brides and grooms!


Not quite sure what to do with myself, I headed to the Museum Campus to check out the Field Museum and the Shedd Aquarium. First, there was a bit of a vista moment.

There's Lake Point Tower sticking out to the right! It sure gets in a lot of photos. Visited the Shedd first. It does look sensational but I was so shocked at the $30 ticket price I only bought an $8 main-level-only ticket. I discovered I am still terrified of octopi, and spider crabs are so unbelievably hideous I almost retched.

The Field Museum is sensational. I loved it completely and without restraint. It has stuff with colour and movement for the kids and rowdy teens, it has sensitive and intelligent displays on human cultures, it has more stuffed dead animals which are both old fashioned and informative than you can poke a stick at, has dead Egyptians and is completely huge. However what I loved most was the HALL OF PLANTS, a section so touchingly dorky and daggy and completely deserted. There is no way to make it interactive or kid-friendly or anything other than rows and rows of mock plants and trees made in wax or plastic or whatever they use. The photo makes it appear much brighter than it is. It has the same effect on me as the Hall of Gems at the British Natural History Museum- so desperately boring and out of date it has a fascination of its very own.

It was then time to hurry back to Midway, where I caught my flight sitting next to a small girl who farted fairly consistently for the entire 90 minutes.


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Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Chicago, A Pictorial Report Part 1

I am rather over Google.

And that they buy every goddamn website on the internet and I innocently come online to do my Pictorial Report and I need a google account. I will not have a goddamn google account Google, I said good day sir! I cried but it soon became evident I didn't have much choice if I wanted to keep this blog.

And I was this close to switching to Gmail but now I shan't out of pure, unadulterated spite even though I use it occasionally for work when we need to send images and our server can't hack it and it does seem kinda neat and I'm always at least several months behind these sorts of trends (apropos- I've started to think I wouldn't mind an IPod at some point).

Chicago, A Pictorial Report

A sudden cold snap descended upon the USA for Easter and prior to flying up to Chicago on Friday morn I had to get out my overcoat and scarves which I had optimistically stored for Spring.

After an uneventful flight north I was able to check in right away at the Palmer House Hilton. The room was tiny. There was about 30cm between the end of the bed and the TV, and if I were two inches fatter I would not be able to close the bathroom door from inside the bathroom. As I would later discover, the mirrors were very badly lit and the bedside lighting required a serious, ligament tearing stretch from the bed to turn off. Also, I found it kind of cheap that if you wanted a little bar fridge in your room you had to pay $30- extraordinary when most motels will chuck that in for free.

I debated whether I'd made the right career choice and should have gone into hotel design after all, then headed to the famous Art Institute of Chicago. It was real crowded which put me in a bad mood, and I was ready to eat my fist so I wanted to eat first. The line for the cafe was so long I decided to suck it up and go to the posh restaurant instead where I sat at the bar and had an absolutely divine meal.

The AIC has two particularly notable works which are sensational but otherwise didn't do much for me.

Gold stars for those that can correctly name both works (double gold stars if you get the one in French with its original language title).

Strolled through Millenium Park next, saw the Anish Kapoor work which is indeed groovy. Chicago is famous for the beauty of its skyscrapers so I apologise for the endless photos of buildings.

After a promising start, the weather was already turning to the cloudy, windy and freezing shit it would stay as for the rest of the weekend.

The big pointy building at the back is the Sears Tower, which has the highest observation deck in the world and is the third highest building in the world.

From here I charged up Michigan Avenue, known as the Magnificent Mile for its shopping (eh, I don't need to see another Needless Markup or 'nana 'public) to the Museum of Contemporary Art which, asides from its totally fabulous store, was hosting a Rudolph Stingel exhibition. It was kinda neat, the entire hall was wrapped in tin foil and you could write in it and pin messages to it. Another wall was shag carpeting which you dragged your hands through to make your own patterns.


Saturday held a special treat for me, the Museum of the International College of Surgeons. I walked from Fox & Obel, which is near one of my favourite buildings in the world, Lake Point Tower. I've loved its curvy form ever since I first saw it in a skyscrapers coffee table book I obtained when I was 13. I did take a photo but it's really crap, so the link is public domain. The walk was so cold I got to the stage when only four blocks from my target I seriously considered hailing a cab.

Anyway, the Surgery Museum is absolutely tremendous and I love it for its old-fashionedess and making absolutely no concession to this day and age of interactivity and kid-friendly exploratoriums. Asides from a rather unsettling concentration on amputation and trepanning I learnt more than I ever thought I would known about cesarean sections (the first success- with both mother and child surviving- was in 1793!). It also, happily, has a superb selection of souvenirs.

Housed in an old mansion on the lake, the former libary is now a magnificent boardroom.

I then walked all the way back down Michigan Ave to Palmer House, quite a hike indeed, but it did mean I could have many crazy photo moments of impressive buildings.

The building right out on the left is Lake Point Tower. The big mama is the John Hancock Center (more on the ol' fella to come).

After an invigorating nap, I headed out to the ArchiCenter Store, where I found Mum a birthday present. It truly is a sensational piece of store, it is. Nearby is the Artist Snack Shop in the rather splendid Arts Building. This is a dump of a diner where all the waiters are obnoxious out of work arty types who talk about their dramatic writing major as if their tutor was Ibsen. Despite listening to the whining of students, it was a great place.

It was time to head out to see Kathleen Turner in Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? It was, as could be safely predicted, an invigorating night of theatrics. Slightly ruined by the fact that every time someone went upstage their torso got chopped off. It didn't happen much, but enough for me to think it should really be on the ticket as a sightline issue- I know I would've bought a more expensive seat. Also I missed much of the third act because the staff in the foyer were chattering so loudly and I would've had to vault over three rows to go out and teach them some theatre etiquette.

But the etiquette games were not over yet.

I returned back to Palmer House famished and asked the front desk clerk where I could buy a chocolate bar. She sent me to a 7-11 on Wabash, round the corner. I said 'Fantastic, thanks!' and then as I walked away the second clerk mimicked 'fantastic, thanks!'. Outrageous!

Part 2 to follow.

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Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Take me out to the ball game

Scarlett and her boyfriend took me to my first ever baseball game last night. It was rad. The weather was balmy. The Nationals, who are now my team, were reliably terrible. It was almost comical really, they kept dropping the ball and hitting it in the wrong direction. Apparently this is not unusual as hitting the ball in this sport pastime only three times out of ten is considered rather brilliantly good. It's known as America's Pastime and I much prefer that to sport because it's such a friendly, convivial game. If you screw up one innings, you get eight more to give it your best shot.

Though the Nats were rather reliably screwing up. We didn't even get a run until the 7th, and that was be default for heaven's sake. In the end we lost by 9-3 to the Florida Marlins, who are like the second shittiest team in the league after the Nats.

The good thing is with supporting a shitty team is the tickets are really cheap, which makes the exorbitant prices for beer (we had a very funny beerman in our section) and hot dogs more tolerable.

I never knew I even had a sports function on my camera until last night.

For some reason the guys who rake the infield amused me beyond belief.

Some other random things which amused me:

1.When the 'guess the attendance' bit came up halfway through the last innings, the crowd booed when the right answer was '20,854' because by this point the Nats sucked so hard that at least 15,000 people had left. This is not an exaggeration.

2. The fifth innings was so boring there were concentrated efforts to get a Wave round the tier.

3. There is a race of guys dressed up as dead presidents round the field.

So it's a bit like cricket I imagine, in that the actual game can be quite incidental at times. Unlike cricket though, you have a winner in under three hours and I actually want to go the baseball. Perhaps many times again. The dawning of a frightening new era in my life this is.

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Sunday, April 01, 2007

Blossoms n Blooms

As you may recall, I took quite a few photos of snow. Now that it is springtime, I'm doing the same-only for cherry blossoms and marigolds which began to bloom this week! Churrah!

On Thursday night I had an event to attend and en route snapped this very pretty shot near where I work-

On my way back from the event I stopped by Lafayette Park to try and replicate Tuesday's moment. I couldn't, and I couldn't get a decent photo of the White House at night but I did get an okayish and interestingly coloured shot of a marigold.

Plans were made for a little stroll through the Cherry Blossoms on the Tidal Basin for the weekend. Unfortunately the weather was horrific today but I couldn't reschedule as next weekend I'll be in Chicago (whee!).

Spot the monument!:

Told you the weather was crappy. Interesting clouds though. The cherry blossoms are that white rim right round the basin.

In other news, my hunger striker is still there and this chap wants to become president:

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