Lighthouses, dogs, and Bill

(Send to a friend)

Some random bits before I leave for Christmas (which is not before Wednesday):

  • I need to buy a present for those two slime monsters. I am going to spent some days with them in Ireland after Christmas and I am sure we will be even better friends if I bring them a dog pressie. They are lovely dogs.

    The next week or two will be very dog filled as my mum is currently baby sitting my brother’s few months old chihuahua. They are small dogs but they are ubercute, actually (check out that heart on his back!). Maybe I should buy him a little gift too.

    I think it is fair to expect some dog pictures when I come back.

  • He grooves me out. And it’s a really great cause.
  • And what are those lighthouses doing there you wonder? I apologize, I am still in Illustrator mode. It will pass.

The Heart of Life

Pain throws your heart to the ground
Love turns the whole thing around
No, it won’t all go the way, it should
But I know the heart of life is good

I know it’s good

Send this card to a friend

The card is inspired by this wonderful song from the Ghost Town soundtrack. Speaking of romcoms, you really should see Ghost Town, it’s the DIRL of this year.

Now press play and enjoy:


(Illustrator is real fun, and for the purists, the flowers are made from heart shapes too – and yes I made it from scratch).

Why romcoms can be bad for your love life? Really?

Well that means I am pretty buggered. Even more so at this time of the year where I take in an overload of romcoms (how else to survive the Christmas time?).

You can read some of the article on the Daily Mail or in today’s paper version (which I happened to stumble upon at the tube station).

What’s next? Action Movies make you want to find your red Rambo head band?

Update: The BBC has picked up on it too. Hypocrites, I am sure they have scheduled all possible romcoms for the Christmas time, and Pirates of the Caribbean – Dead Man’s Chest.

(Oh, oh, oh – the cards have arrived from the printer today! That means I will probably post them before Christmas which hopefully means they will arrive with you around New Year, depending on the speed of the post man.)

To conquer Illustrator and say hi to Roger

Happy Holidays

I really wanted to learn Illustrator (especially the pen tool) and the only way to do that was to actually make something with it. I found a nice tutorial for this winter landscape here, this is my interpretation of it.

This drawing has taken me an insane amount of time to make, but I have learned a lot. Mostly that there is a lot to learn. Everything is drawn from scratch (except the xmas font), the trees, the snow man and the birdies.

It looks simple but it has taken me ages to draw the bloody christmas trees, and to make a heart shape frazzled my mind completely. But determination got me to this illustration, which isn’t great but it’s a start. And it is enormously relaxing to draw.

If you are into Illustrator and you are not a pro yet, this is a nice site, and this tutorial really helped me on my way.

Send the card to a friend

Download in full size here.

In other news, the animal family, Eddy and Bridget will soon get company from Roger. I think Roger looks pretty cute. Roger is going to help out some people in Africa, as he is pretty good at helping to carry large loads over long distances which really eases the burden of for example fetching and carrying supplies to and from a market.

If you want to give a useful xmas present this year have a look at Oxfam Unwrapped they have loads of original and fun gifts. The good thing about Roger: he comes with a DVD with footage of Bill Nighy in Tanzania on it. I mean – what are you still doing here? Go. Go. Go!!

And to make things even more festive, it’s Bill‘s birthday today. I hope he has a happy one. If you like him (which, of course, you do) make sure not to miss out on the brand new Charles Paris radio play. (It’s 4 episodes, the first has been sent but catch it on BBC iplayer or BBC Radio 4 listen again, it’s worth it.

The girl and the interview

The lovely Bloglily has published an interview with, ehrm, me about writing.

In stead of typing it in a long email I scribbled the answers in my notebook, took pictures of it and sent it to her, you can find all of it on her website.

It makes me realise that I really should start picking up my pen/laptop and get back into doing some actual writing soon. I miss the thrill.

The this-is-not-an-xmas-card exchange – last chance!

I am looking forward to your cards already

I have just spend most of the day in the office where I work to drink tea and listen to music, and oh to work on my card for 2008 and it is done! I am quite pleased with the result and have just send the order to the printer.

There is 1 card left available, so if you want one, read more here about the rules and send me an email if you like the idea. Sold out!! (Unless 10 more people signup then I will order extra cards!)

The people who are already on the list: the cards will arrive with me (hopefully) from the printer around the 20th of December so they will be with you earliest in the week after Christmas. Seeing as it isn’t a Christmas card anyway, hopefully that’s fine. And I will email my address to you somewhere next week. But please don’t send your card too far before Christmas, I am away from the 24th and would love to find them when I come home after New Year.

Four things that are better in London than in New York

Chubby Checker Hot Chocolate

Four things that are better in London than in New York:

  • The queue culture. There is no queue culture in NY and I so miss it when I am there, I love the built-in politeness of the British people.
  • The language. I am a sucker for the UK English language and prefer it over American anytime.
  • The London underground stations compared to the subway stations in NY. I feel more safe in London, and I also think there are more CCTV cameras over here.

    NY does have a better service (24 hours a day) and the subway trains are quite nice in NY but the seats are hard to sit on (anti vandalism I guess). I do love the newer NY trains which show you exactly where you are on a small map with blinking lights indicating the next station.

    Oh, the Oyster card does beat the MTA card on ease of use though.

  • In London what the pricetag says is what you pay in shops. In NY they always add tax to the price when you pay for your item and I still haven’t figured out how to calculate it, you never know what you end up paying.

Four things that are better in New York than in London:

  • The skyline. I never get tired of the Chrysler building by night nor of the view of any of the other impressive skyscrapers.
  • There is more water around. I love the Battery Park area with all the piers and the view on the Hudson river and the Brooklyn bridge. It feels like you are more away from the city than you do when looking at the Thames from central London.
  • They have Taco Bell. Yes, and yes before you start – you are probably going to tell me that Taco Bell food has nothing to do with Mexican food. Maybe you are right, but I love Taco Bell food. I wonder why there isn’t one in London!
  • I love the diners. I know there are some NY diner wannabees in London too but the ones in New York are best. And hey they have the New York cheesecake and the above Chubby Checkers Hot Chocolate. I mean, who can say no to that! (And I love that formica table)

So which city do you prefer?

The credit crunch in New York and “Black” Friday

Statue of Liberty, New York

Thanksgiving Day in New York meant that all the shops were closed that day. Not a big deal really.

But to compensate for this one day shopping loss there is a concept called Black Friday. Black Friday is the beginning of the official Christmas shopping season in the US and shops open their doors with special Black Friday offers very early the day after Thanksgiving. Very early, as early as 4am in the morning. Who on earth wants to go shopping at 4am in the morning I wondered?

Well quite a lot of people. When I left the cinema at 21.30 that Thursday evening, the queue of people waiting to get into Circuit City (a big computer store) on Union Square was quite long. So people were actually queueing 6.5 hours to get into a shop opening at 4am? I found that slightly insane, but then I find the whole Christmas presents race insane and I have abandoned it long ago.

It got even more insane. Or maybe insane is not the right word here, the right word is “tragic”. Very tragic. A Wallmart on Long Island (an area near New York city) opened their doors at 5am and a lot of people couldn’t wait to get in. In fact it got so busy and out of hand that the eager shoppers tramped a Wallmart employee to death when the door opened, blinded as they were by those great Black Friday offers.

Did anybody say credit crunch? Happy Thanksgiving. And Black Friday indeed. Crazy people.

Thanksgiving Kermit

Yes they were really big those inflatables in New York!

And yes I am back in London, back in a very busy job and a home without internet for the next two three weeks. This makes it a big problematic to blog, but I will do my very best to post a bit more tomorrow in my lunch break.

New York was of course great, but London is not a bad city to come home to.

Thanksgiving day in New York

A short New York report where it is cold but sunny.

Yesterday I did the circle line boat trip (from 42nd Street) around Manhattan, and I would say that it is definitely worth doing. The commentary is great, you will learn lots about New York, you will see the island from the other side with great views on all the high landmarks, the statue of Liberty (from close by) and we passed 20 bridges. We also passed the little red lighthouse, which saved me a trip going there, it looks cute, located under a huge bridge. Recommended this boat trip, it takes three hours.

Today is Thanksgiving day in the US. Most shops are closed, but there was the famous Thanksgiving parade going on in the centre of Manhattan. It was a long parade, and according to the news, thousands of people participated but the most impressive items where huge (and I mean huge) inflatables of well known characters like Snoopy, Shrek and Buzz lightyear. Quite entertaining to watch. Photos will come later.

The thing that is a little scary here at the moment is that there has been a terror threat on New York’s railway system. There is a lot of police on the stations, and let’s hope it remains a threat. I am not too worried about it.

Seeing as most people are eating turkey with their family tonight not much is going on in the city, but the cinema is open so I will go and watch a film.

Happy thanksgiving to everybody out there!

Good evening from the Big Apple

It’s 7.24pm local time here, but I can truly feel that I am still on London time (00.25am). The flight went smooth with on board entertainment: Ghost Town (again – and I did watch it again and loved it and cried again), Inspector Lynley and I even saw bits of Mamma Mia. Add to that a bit of dozing and the 7 hours flight went relatively quick.

When we landed the streets were still wet from the morning rain, but it is fresh but clear now and the next couple of days should be dry with some sunshine. Very nice. I am planning to do the 3 hours circle tour (boat) around Manhattan one of the coming days, it is supposed to be a nice trip.

It also seems to be something with Thanksgiving here this week, and there is a big parade near Macy’s on Thursday. I will have to investigate as I don’t know much about Thanksgiving traditions in the US. (Maybe someone can enlighten me?)

I hope all is well in London and with you, in New York all is well.

And I love New York because during the long subway ride from the airport to Union Square I saw Bill Nighy posters in nearly every station. Valkyrie is coming!

Sleep well, wherever you are.

(They have new pc’s here in the hotel, so I might be able to upload some photos while I am here, I’ll do my best).

This was the weekend where I

  • Discovered that New York, or rather Manhattan has a Little Red Lighthouse. Awesome. It’s on the list, and if the weather is reasonable I will go and visit it.
  • Discovered that New York has a lot of nice cafes. I am planning to visit at least two of them: City Girl Cafe and Peace and Love cafe, just because I love the names. But hope to visit more cafes. I also hope to visit the cafe from Serendipity. It was closed last time I was in New York, but will try again. I must also eat New York cheese cake somewhere. And cup cakes.
  • booked a lock smith for Saturday. He let me wait all day and in the end did not turn up but promised me to come Sunday evening. He didn’t! The bastard. Called another one and he did turn up. It gives me more peace of mind to go away for the week now that I know that our door lock is properly fixed. Wouldn’t want to come home and realizing that Billy Mac is missing.
  • saw Ghost Town for the second time. I love that film. Ricky Gervais (a dentist) is so funny in it, and the ending has such an original last lines:

    Gwen: It hurts when I smile…
    Bertram Pincus: I can fix that for you.

    A lump in your throat I can promise you. Catch this film it is warm, it is funny and it is set in New York! There are some beautiful shots of Central Park in it.

  • found out that Bill Nighy still rocks my boat and rules my world. Swoon and awesome.
  • Burned a hole in a shirt with the ironer. It was an eco shirt and I suspect that it wasn’t all 100% cotton after all! It was amazing – the ironer just melted holes in it! Shame as I loved that shirt.
  • Decided which books to take to New York. My New York guide book, I love this book it has a lot of pictures and loads of information and is very easy to read. Unmissable for any trip to New York, I bought it when I went there the first time and it has been a good investment. Apart from that a Kurt Wallander detective (can’t wait to see Kenneth Brannagh as Wallander, very soon to come on BBC) and a romantic novel, should I be in the mood.

How was your weekend?

New York state of mind

I have three questions to you today dear readers:

  • 1. After how many pages is it allowed to decide not to read the rest of the book? I recently stopped reading a Zoe Heller novel just because it bored me to death. Should I have hold on or is it OK to stop reading?
  • 2. Which novels do I simply need to read? I am looking to take some books to New York next week. I need books that hook me from page one. Have you read any good books lately that you can recommend?
  • 3. What are your favourite things/best tips to see in New York?
    I am preparing for my trip and want to make a list of things to do and sights to see.
    (Even though it snowed in Central Park this morning, the weather looks fine next week. Cold with some sun.)


Wall-E - what do I know?

I know it has been a while.

Apart from a flu I also had some serious thought about closing the doors here for a while. I have no inspiration whatsoever at the moment. There is not much exiting to write about and it feels like the plot is seriously lost on this website. I also know I am stilled pissed off about my film crash and it somehow blocks me in writing a new script. I know I need to get over it.

But then …

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