Tuesday, January 31, 2006


A rather nice house in South Square - if I was a sucessful commercial QC, this would probably be my home. And my wife would be all into cats, and would be wetting herself at the cuteness of this pic.


Went to dinner at R&J's last week, and R made the most fabulous poached pears - which we polished off pretty quick. They had a chilli thang going on. We were impressed, especially for a weeknight.


Long story, but I ended up in a school last week. And they still have late books, can you believe?

Although, I'm really surprised that smart gals at a lovely north london school don't know the word chiropodist. And I don't think netball is an excuse.


My bulb is still growing. I am still moderately overwhelmed by the beauty of nature. I think I may even get into gardening.

As my houseguests pointed out over the weekend, it does live in the bathroom. Just temporary.
Stuart tagged me with a meme. Even though I think they're pretty much all like the old-skool Friday Five. But worse, in some memetically huge blogospherica jargon way.

Four jobs I've had:
  • typogographer in art department at manchester office of international ad agency
  • copywriter in newmedia agency I had to leave because it was like a party with the music and my trainers weren't hip enough. The "creatives" were in a different "pod" (kidney shaped table arrangement) from the "suits" and there were continuous arguments about music, like being at a party when you're fourteen
  • Writing a (bad) VBA front-end for a large series/family of linked spreadsheets that ran a huge media company. I was regarded by the board as some kind of wunderkind - "that girl who could deliver geekery, speak tech, communicate like a regular person and understand the business." I was regarded by my coworkers as "that spreadsheet nazi, who demanded 100% compliance with her lousy front-end". Not to be confused with front-bottom. In the end, I was replaced by an ERP. More expensive, and, I heard only last week, still doesn't work as well.
  • Running a media company. Old media: face-to-face events (how retro), newsletters, a little online-ness.

    Four movies I can watch over and over:
  • American Beauty
  • Dirty Dancing
  • The Wizard of Oz
  • The Breakfast Club

    Four places I've lived
  • Amsterdam
  • Singapore
  • Tel Aviv
  • Cheadle

    Four TV shows I love
  • Desperate Housewives
  • ER
  • Monk
  • House of Elliot

    Four places I've vacationed (we call this a holiday):
  • Derbyshire
  • Guatemala
  • Cuba
  • South of France

    Four of my favorite dishes:
  • humous (you knew I would say that)
  • the ravioli on a bed of rocket and pine nuts at La Brocca
  • steamed brocolli, on a healthy day
  • cheesecake

    Four sites I visit daily:
  • flickr
  • delicious
  • BBC
  • Guardian

    Four places I would rather be right now:
  • The British Library
  • Swiss Cottage Library
  • New York Public Library
  • Central Reference Library, Peter's Square, Manchester

    Four bloggers minxim and minxot I am tagging:
  • Fraser (not that he does memes, I'm sure)
  • Girl
  • Vaughn (you can do it in the comments, if you like)
  • Darren
  • Monday, January 30, 2006

    Now I know I'm web2.0. A friend just IMd to say they're in Helsinki.

    World's a village. A Finchley Warner Village. Or should that be world's a vue?
    Call me a bit too Web2.0, but I just don't get the point of Wikipedia coming out as a book.

    Also, sorry for lack of updates. I know, I don't call, I don't write. I've been struck down - like almost everyone else I know - with the norovirus, although it took me till Saturday morning to work out why I was feeling so ropey. And the advice of my in-house physician.

    Friday, January 27, 2006

    Just to say that if you've emailed me in the last week and I haven't replied, I'm not being rude, it's just that my email seemed to randomly stop arriving and I don't know why. I have emailed my email hostim, but they have not replied (athough I am sure they will say if people aren't getting bounce backs, they have nothing to go on).

    So this week I have missed: hearing that a friend's dad died; a meeting cancellation, two clients who called me and said "why didn't you reply to my mail?"

    It seems to be randomly back, so do email again.

    I am in the Regent Street Apple store, in honour of the Brent Cross Apple store opening tomorrow, which I clearly can't go to because it's shabbes.

    Thursday, January 26, 2006

    I used to travel light, in all meanings of the word.

    I worked abroad for a couple of years(ish) and got the packing art down to carryon. I backpacked a lot, and liked to be able to carry what I needed.

    But I lost it. To NY, I took more than I needed, even though my erstwhile travelling companion B, who was staying for longer, got everything in a wheelie-handluggage contraption. He, however, doesn't need to take hair care goods.

    Now, airlines are going to penalise you if you check luggage in. Incentive, or what?
    British Divers Marine Life Rescue spent £100,000 trying to rescue the whale last weekend. Like, I didn't even know they existed.

    Looks like they're trying to recoup their costs with this eBay auction, then.

    Wednesday, January 25, 2006

    So I'm trying to be efficient, and my British Gas Three Star contract is up for renewal and I thought I'd look into the burgeoning "homecare" market.

    I have the internet, it's easy.

    So I look around, and I come across Home emergency cover by Norwich Union UK. Sounds good. I can get a quote now, via the callback system. So I click, and type in my name and number, and choose "now" as the preferred callback time, as I am an immediacy chick.

    A few minutes later, my phone rings. I pick it up. An electronic voice, the kind that turns your text messages into voicemail, says in variegated monotone "I am calling from [some outsourced company] on behalf of [some other outsourced company] who is not available at this time. Thank you for your call."

    No, really.

    Guess that's one supplier off my list.

    Tuesday, January 24, 2006


    This is my house on google maps (they just got better satelite photos - it's actually the third from the top (left).

    I mean - you can practically see into my bedroom.

    Can you see the two rooves that look similar? With extra extensions on the roof, and and a large extension at the back with three velux windows? The people next door bought the plans from the developer from my house when they did it about fifteen years ago. If you look at the extension, on the far side where there are two windows? The one nearest the house is my bedroom window.

    Other interesting things - I was clearly out the day they took this photo, although my neighbour's car is there. And, sadly, no sign of my bus shelter, so it must be a little old.
    And my road tax fund licence from the DVLA arrived this morning.

    How efficent. And also, when the birdflu comes, we'll all be able to transact our lives online. As long as the people at the other end ate their Tamiflu.
    I joined the LOVEFiLM two-month free trial at the weekend, and two DVDs arrived today.

    All great, except they were so far down my rental queue, I didn't even remember that I had a slight inkling I might want to watch them.

    Oh well. HHG2TG (TV version) here I come...
    Deborah Lipstadt's blog, History on Trial (also the name of her most recent book), is celebrating its first anniversary. Mazaltov.

    Monday, January 23, 2006


    My bulb is really growing. It doesn't actually live in the bathroom, that's just its media backdrop, it lives in the living room, which is fairly sunny. It's really exciting. I might even be ready for pets. Nature is growing on me (and I'm an urban Jewish gal, if ever there was one).


    Although I had a really great trip, I missed one thing.

    I mean, I love restaurants, and great food, eating out, fab ambience, all those things... but the truth is, I quite enjoy steamed vegetables.

    There's nothing quite so satisfying (and good-making-feeling) as the bright, sharp green of freshly steamed, not quite cooked broccoli. The colour's amazing, for one thing.

    So I kinda like home-cooked food. And when I go on holiday-holiday (relaxation type, rather than run-round-see-friends-and-shop type) I like some of it to be self-catering. I'm getting a bit back-to-the-earth, I know. But I do.


    Love Eat Live

    Words to live by. I guess. Met up with F for humous and juice at the Muswell Hill Giraffe. Bumped into a cheadlite. Went home for an early night (too much socialising, not recovered from jetlag, entirely).


    Originally uploaded by sashinka-uk.
    North edge of the Serpentine, early on a Sunday morning.
    Martin Rowson on the state of Britain in this morning's Guardian. We were all whale watching (TV/online, not in person) all weekend.

    Friday, January 20, 2006

    I realise this is slightly dull, but I have just done my Vehicle Licensing online for my new tax disc. It's amazing: I used to have to have to dig out all my documents, park in West Hampstead, pay to park, queue in the post office, and then get my disc. It took about an hour. Now, in five minutes flat, it's all done (including checking the insurance database so I don't have to show them any paper). I'm impressed. Paperless government. Seamlessness. Really.

    Now, what should I do with that extra 55 minutes?

    Thursday, January 19, 2006

    The Joy of Yiddish in this week's Independent. Maddona zaftig? I think not.

    Wednesday, January 18, 2006

    I'm back. Something about being away, however fabulous, makes you appreciate home. I have a mother of a jetlag, trying to stay awake for Corinne Bailey Rae tonight.

    Also, I forgot to mention that the 16th was my blogiversary. Four years: nearly a million words (I think, rough estimate). Can you believe it?
    I just finished reading Kathleen Tessaro's Innocence - airport read, really - and was bowled over by a very crap piece of mis-editing. She talks about Thai Chi, not Tai Chi (it's only in passing). It looked wrong, but because I was 2% unsure I did the only thing you can, nowadays: I googled on both, and tai chi won.

    You know how it is when there's a mistake in a book? Suddenly, the fiction world cracks, and you realise it's a cobweb of someone's imagination.

    Tuesday, January 17, 2006

    I was all set to go to the TeaNY cafe on the lower east side, but they're only open weekends.
    Just had the most fabulous Vosges chocolate truffle - I went for the absinthe. Of course. I'm an art deco kinda gal. And I had quite a lot of vodka at the weekend.


    Originally uploaded by sashinka-uk.
    Bus shelter advert - for Ouidad. New York's a town with two curly-hair salons. As you know, I'm a Devachan girl.


    Originally uploaded by sashinka-uk.
    I'm finally cool. Ish. I drank the beer.


    Originally uploaded by sashinka-uk.
    This isn't a totally fair image - LimmudNY was not so different from Limmud UK. It's just that they had Starbucks coffee. No, really. But then New Yorkers are coffee purists. I even met one guy who brought his own grains.
    Hanging out in tribeca, just watched the Golden Globes - hope Transamerica comes to the UK soon (best actress for Felicity Huffman). And really oughta see Brokeback Mountain now it's officially best movie.


    Originally uploaded by sashinka-uk.
    It was way cold in the Catskills... ice on the inside of the windows and snow outside. Meanwhile, on the inside the heat was turned up to scary grandma in St John's Wood block of flats. Maybe when you get older you get colder?

    Monday, January 16, 2006


    Originally uploaded by sashinka-uk.
    The Kutsher's Online Carpet Museum

    We were wifi-free for like 20 hours. It was stressful, although I got over it.

    More on sessions later - including a fascinating debate about the history of the Catskills resorts in books and movies - but here's a thing.

    Kutschers is a faded borsht belt hotel that's past it's best. There's a kitschy-old-school feel that's part Jewish renaissance interior decor, and part whatever was on sale when they recarpeted that particular room. And the carpets are to die for.

    As they say in NY - enjoy.

    Sunday, January 15, 2006

    Wednesday, I hung out downtown and F invited me to his weekly marketing meeting. It's kinda fun going to someone else's work.

    New York - or NY media-ish types - are very laid back. I liked it. I was introduced as "my good friend Sasha from London, who's in marketing, (which I am as much as I do anything else), and there were about a dozen people, from sales, design, project management.

    I shared a cab with the sales woman, and she told me the ABC of New York real estate (Always Be Closing), and when it got to looking at the logo, a dozen or so of us were looking at various logotypes, and she takes a look at one of them, and says, "y'know, for me, it's just a little ongepotchket".

    What was great was - unlike in London - even the Irish and other-non-Jews, looked at the design and were all "y'know, it is a little ongepotchket."

    Only in New York, as they say.
    How do you say Tikkun Olam in Hebrew?*

    Friday lunchtime, I was at the Can "Jewish Culture" Sustain the Jewish People? Is "Hip" Enough? panel. Panelists Robbie Gringras, Leon Morris and Jennifer Traig, ably moderated by Gary Rosenblatt, chewed the fat.

    Leon had some incisive thinking: that the "hip" fringe/disempowered expressions of Jewish identity has an adolescent edge to it tinged with a degree of self loathing - I'm still thinking about that. Robbie played devil's advocate ("we are a people divided by a common religion", "I don't think all this Jewish learning is the answer"), and Jennifer really got it: she talked about doing the hip stuff with an ironic detachment - although Robbie countered with critical attachment.

    Interesting - unanswered - question from the floor about whether the cannibalisation of African American culture, and the thousands of MCs of eastern european descent had an inherent racism to it.

    Seems to me that the whole debate missed the debate about bothness/duality - it's not an either/or, you can be a sabbath-observant Heeb reader, and religious/spiritual identity and cultural secular identity can play off and inform each other.
    Jewschool may or may not (yet) have an MP3 posted, so you can hear the whole thing verbatim.

    * tikkun olam - repair of the world (lit) or social justice, is seen by some as the New Jew mantra

    Friday, January 13, 2006

    First serious session: Jen Krause showed the Christ in the City short, directed by Yitz Brilliant, followed by a discussion on religious identity in the twentyfirst century.

    Let's just say Yitz's utterly one-dimensional movie didn't really do it for me - if Jesus came back, not sure it would be to the upper west side of NY, despite it's comedy value, and he sure wouldn't know from looking for a shul for shabbes - and from an English perspective, felt... caricatured, at best.

    J comes back to see Mel Gibson's the Passion, and the movie's kinda like laying out the anti-Passion position: christians (and muslims) could get as angry about this one.

    Jen, however, is a powerful, dynamic presenter, and instisted on calling me bubeleh because I'm wearing my bubeleh t-shirt.
    So I'm here at Kutsher's in the Catskills, it's day -1-ish (starts "properly" this afternoon, quite a lot of people came up last night, and sessions have already started).

    First off, I should say that it was unseasonably warm in New York: yesterday I was walking around Soho in a t-shirt like it was July. But up here it's properly snowing/snowed and cold and icy.

    In Manhattan, I saw Auntie F, a very old (ie of longstanding) family friend, a native New Yorker who's been back in NY for a couple of years now. (She married a Manchester guy, and whenever her and Uncle S would argue, she would say, "Sidney, I was just coming for one year").

    As a kid, the nearest thing to a "Jewish resort" in the north of England was Palm Court in St Annes. We went there for Pesach a few times until I think (probably) it closed. On Pesach, it was creaking at the seams with overeating Jews desperate not to change their own pots.

    When I told Auntie F I was coming to Kutschers, she said, "it's like Palm Court, but worse," and it's fair to say that there's a certain... faded grandeur to the whole set up.

    Last year's Limmud NY was at the Hudson Valley Resort, and compared to Nottingham university's student acommodation and walking four miles to a shared cold shower, was extreme luxury. But some of the New Yorkers were really disappointed with the Hudson Valley; tired, faded, not quite the service level they wanted.

    Kutscher's is all that and more. For a start, they have the heat up to about 90, and because many of us are not 95, that's quite warm. But you can't open any windows. But if you go outside, it's icy. It's like that Woody Allen sketch where he makes a weather system in his hotel room: I expect to see a storm in the lobby any moment.

    Last night, after sessions, they showed Dirty Dancing in the bar - which was part-filmed here, in like 1987 - and it reminded me of watching the Rocky Horror show as a kid: everyone knew the dialogue, although when B and I started dancing, we were the only ones.

    In other news, most Americans, on hearing my dulcet UK tones think I'm South African.

    Thursday, January 12, 2006


    Originally uploaded by sashinka-uk.
    Not so much a park as a tiny open space at the busy intersection between Canal and Watts. Nice signage though. Feels more parklike. parklife.


    Originally uploaded by sashinka-uk.
    Do you think this is the beginning of the Holland Tunnel? I guess it has to start somewhere.


    Originally uploaded by sashinka-uk.
    There's actually a McGovern's Bar in Kilburn (London) but I figure they're not related.


    Originally uploaded by sashinka-uk.
    This should be my motto - when I'm not thinking deep intellectual thoughts, I'm all just so-hair. So there.


    Originally uploaded by sashinka-uk.
    God's love they deliver. You can't ask for more, really.


    Originally uploaded by sashinka-uk.
    When you look up close, this image is actually made up of thousands of black and white ipods.


    Originally uploaded by sashinka-uk.
    Do you think I should get one of these to replace my sony bedside clock radio, which was a batmitzvah present, and is not exactly DAB radio?


    Originally uploaded by sashinka-uk.
    Do you think other people's street signage is just better?


    Originally uploaded by sashinka-uk.
    Great graffiti.. covers the whole building.

    caramel machiatto

    caramel machiatto
    Originally uploaded by sashinka-uk.
    I realise coffee isn't everything - or even, possibly, anything - but in NY you get your coffee in a real cup and saucer. And they back a big deal about the "Europeaness" of everything.

    This is a realtime photo - I just took it off the coffee I'm drinking and uploaded it. Fascinating, right?
    I am going to Devachan and Departure Lounge (don't even ask about the departure lounge stuff) to get my haircut (by the Curly Girl people). And to the Soho Apple Store. Great combination, right: geektoys and hairstuff.

    Of course, usually the only soho I see is my small office home office (not true, actually, but sounds good).

    I'm half on NY time and half on London time.
    Last night, F, W and I went out for italian, at Giorgio's a new place in Tribeca.

    I'd spent the day partially admiring stationery at Stapes: I didn't buy anything, but the joy of all the different kinds of stationery totally reminded me of being a kid, and loving Hello Kitty and all other paper-and-pen related nirvana-gifts.

    Bizarrely, F and I got to discussing Cheadle-related stationery last night, and reminisced for some time about "Watling Stationers" on Wilmslow Road (as well as Marsh's on the High Street) and the really frum guy behind the counter there. Both of us realised our earliest stationery-related memories were forged checking out the red pencils after cheder on a Sunday morning.

    Of course it's long gone. Cheadle, like most other faux-suburban places now has a high street replete with charity shops, building socieites and... that's it, really.

    Maybe the next generation will only ever know from chain stores. Their chain stories will be generic, the same as every other kid growing up at that time, whatever place ("remember how Sainsbury's used to stack...."). The uniqueness of our memories is a marker of our age; kids of the seventies who about independently run shops, and owner managers (Alan Butler at Butler's the newsagents). Nowadays, it's all like, do you know Mr Tesco and Mr M&S?
    What I've noticed is, waiters in restaurants and the like, all say "how you going?" (rather than how you doing, which admittedly is a little Joey/Fonz, but what I expect), and it all sounds rather australian.


    Originally uploaded by sashinka-uk.
    And in the land of the free, this must be a great hobby. Mabye there are pistol ranges in London, that I just don't know from. You know, the St John's Wood Rifle and Pistol Range. Of course.

    Walk, don't walk

    Walk, don't walk
    Originally uploaded by sashinka-uk.
    So I walked from 59th to about 24th street, zigzagging across from east to west.

    Took in the Gap (crap), Banana Republic (excellent), Ann Taylor (kinda for the older/more corporate woman, but I bought a couple of plain-brown-wrapped things), Duane Reade (a whole host of toiletries you can't even get in the UK), got a small blister, drank coffee, heard a hundred Israelis talking into cellphones on street corners.

    Wednesday, January 11, 2006

    Perfect NYC breakfast (bagels, lox, cream cheese), off for some shoppage and visiting.


    Originally uploaded by sashinka-uk.
    So, you know how these things happen.

    When I got on the plane, I was seated next to a an English-looking guy; tall, willowy, looked like he did something back-office in a hedge fund or second tier executive search fund. Milchig, he sure was. I was thinking I could be head down in Madame Bovary for seven hours straight.

    The row in front (the one with all the legroom), was a ball-of-energy of an American woman, who immediately reminded me of M, my mentor (when I had a job); older but looked fabulous, friendly, warm. She started a conversation with this guy about how she preferred his seat, and he couldn't believe his luck that he would get all the legroom (he was about six five) and she wanted to rest her legs on the ledge on the row behind. They effected a swap, and he kept saying "and I don't have to pay you?"

    B turned out to be absoultely delightful: the flight went unbelievably quickly, she turned out to be Jewish and entrepreneurial and creative, and we had a lot to talk about. I mean, a lot. We might even do some work together.

    I still managed to fit in seeing Flightplan (the new Jodie Foster - great twist, even though I don't really do thrillers) and Grave Danger, the Tarantino two part CSI. I was almost biting my nails, but wanted to save them for a NY manicure.

    So I'm ensconsed in Tribeca, trying to stay awake till a decent hour so my bodyclock can be normal (whatever that is) and hello.

    Say hi. It's all so - international. You know. How cool would it be when I got up in (my) the morning, you (UK) peops had all told me what you're up to.


    Originally uploaded by sashinka-uk.
    Photographic evidence - as if you needed it - of my earlier comments. Because, as we all know, most people are cheaper in the airport.


    Originally uploaded by sashinka-uk.
    But before I get to here, can I just mentioned that I had a fabulous curry on Monday night in the Khana curry house, my prefered supplier since the sad demise of the Cricklewood Tandoori. Mutter paneer, pilau rice and peshwari naan, since you ask. Yes, I am lo-carbing. Not.

    roots, shmoots

    roots, shmoots
    Originally uploaded by sashinka-uk.
    Yep, I'm in New York. It's like 1.30 London time, but it's only 8.25 NY time, (where did that other five minutes go? Aside: when I was a kid, my mum managed to persuade me that time differences weren't just for countries/time zones; it was five minutes across the road and 20 minutes in North Manchester. Let's just say I was confused about relativity).

    Anyway, the wonder of technology means that I can get my photos off my phone while I'm afk (abroad) due to bringing a wire with me. So this isn't really a travel pic: as I was speedily decanting shampoos into various tiny travel containers this morning, I rediscovered this bulb that I "planted" in November - it's got loads of roots, and I feel all green-fingered (or should that be white-rooted) and excited. I've left it in the sun while I'm away, and who knows what might happen.

    Tuesday, January 10, 2006

    I'm going to New York. I'm at the airport. You will be reassured to know that Starbucks in Terminal 3 charge the same as their UK High Street prices. Silly money, then.

    See you on the other side.
    Only the other day, when I finally decided to give my gym the boot, I realised the one thing I'd really miss - because I can get exercise in all sorts of other places - was the ab roller. I like that.

    And then, lo and behold, I went to go into town, and the ab roller fairy had left one by the bus stop outside my house. In the way that people in cities who don't want things leave them outside their house, some kind person left me the very thing I wished for.

    Be careful what you wish for.

    Monday, January 09, 2006

    [IT Housekeeping] Things I still need to do to make my PC perfect:
  • make email addresses autocomplete in Outlook mail (from the address book)
  • I used to have an insert-signature (I have many) tab in outlook mail; all the sigs are set up, but need to be able to choose them
  • get my music off my old hard disk and re-setup iTunes with all my playlists (yes, must do proper backup next time)
  • install audiograbber
  • find my lost photos (from old harddisk?)
  • install LookOut
  • when I click on a link in an IM message, it doesn't work
  • Sunday, January 08, 2006


    Originally uploaded by sashinka-uk.
    And here's somewhere I won't be next Sunday - the Kabbalah Centre Open Day.
    This is cool: things have changed at Virgin Mobile USA since I was there last year.

    Then I had to get a fake address, and get an NY buddy to top up my phone for me. Now, I had to re-register the whole (prepay) phone, so it's a new number etcetera, but I can top up with my paypal account. How cool is that?

    New York is calling me. As is my NY hairdresser, manhattan buddies, the exchange rate, shops, galleries, funky Jewish stuff, and - of course - Limmud NY.

    Saturday, January 07, 2006

    Turns out he was a dead man walking. Charles Kennedy just resigned (looks like his plan backfired).
    Excellent piece in this morning's Guardian, about a faux Galloway constituent trying to reach him while he's in the Big Brother House. Glad he's getting paid the big(ish) bucks to represent the people. Then.

    Friday, January 06, 2006

    Who knew? Turns out Neil Gaiman is Jewish. Although, obviously, you have to be careful what you read on Wikipedia.
    Did you know you can create your own blog with lastminuteliving.com, the travel and lifestyle bloggers community?

    How, er, odd.
    Since the demise of Jewhoo.com (unlinked, turned into a blog rather than a who's who of the Jewish-ish world), I've wondered. About a lot of things. But now I discovered the List of Jews.

    Did you know Orlando Bloom is Jew-ish?

    Thursday, January 05, 2006

    The Jewish Book Week programme is up (25 February to 5 March). I'm thinking about Barmitzvah Disco, Mike Leigh, Linda Grant, Superheroes, William Frankel, Dangerous Writing and Sarah Paretsky.

    Given the rich tradition of Jewish comic/graphic novel creators, the Art of the Graphic Novel looks a little pedestrian/bandwaggony.

    Waddyou think?
    This is really odd. Synchronicity, or something.

    Until last night, I'd never head of the Magic Numbers, but I went over to J's house to check out his PVR and wireless house music setup (boy, am I jealous), and he played me something.

    Today, now, I get email from a PR company, pitching a music company who's done a special community site for them, for an event I'm putting together.

    Coincidence is my middle name.
    Someone at Telewest just sent me a document, and they have their own font. TelewestVoice.

    Y'know, I'm going to get my own font.
    Ariel Sharon's really not well.
    Deborah Lipstadt made metafilter.
    Only the other day I recommended Firefox to a buddy. Now, this - Browse Happy. It's like a 12-step programme for people who gave up Internet Explorer.

    Wednesday, January 04, 2006

    Nowadays, the news is like the back-channel to everyone's brain, the soundtrack to our lives. If you're a newsjunkie, online kinda gal, you have a constant vague sense of breaking stories.

    So yesterday I knew about the miners in West Virginia, and when I heard early this morning on the Today programme that after two days, twelve of them had been found alive, I was quietly jubilant and thankful that maybe this year would be a better year for the universe (hippy that I am).

    So now it turns out it was a mistake. Forgive me, but how exactly do those kind of mistakes happen? Twelve families were jumping all over town, celebrating in the church, and ringing bells, and everything. And then it turns out there's some kind of "miscommunication". "Technical error." What, exactly?

    You - they, whoever - just can't play with peoples' lives.
    And I re-installed iScrobbler For Windows, so I can see all my iTunes stuff on LastFM. I'm so 2006.


    Originally uploaded by sashinka-uk.
    I spent Monday evening (although let's face it, the whole of the last two weeks has felt like a month of Sundays, so who knows what day it was) making pegdolls with R & J - J eventually got bored, but not after he'd made a fabulous rabbi-type character.

    I made this one - she's the mother of the barmitzvah boy, and she has a purple handbag (hand sewn) to match her skirt, and is wearing one of those doilies/mantilla things that women of a certain age with bullet-proof hair wear in shul instead of a hat so that their hair doesn't get "ruined".

    I think this whole peg-dollery lark could really take off.

    Tuesday, January 03, 2006

    New year, new harddisk - you know how it is.

    My desktop/workhorse PC is only two and a half years old, but it works hard, and the hard disk was getting more and more errors, and actually, Evesham were cool about just replacing it, although I had to wait from December 17th till today. But hey.

    So, just because I'm list-driven and derive a certain degree of geek pleasure from all this (provided I have trusty technical support, which I do), here's where I'm up to:
  • spent an hour or so trying to connect to the web, till I discovered that the engineer had left the RJ45 cable unplugged
  • turned on my Windows firewall
  • downloaded Windows updates
  • installed MS Office, OneNote, Visio, ProjectDoodar
  • downloaded Office updates
  • downloaded Firefox 1.5
  • reinstalled all my Firefox settings/tabs etc with MozBackup, which I can't recommend enough - easy to use, and just wow
  • downloaded Norton from my extended licence (easy to search on Symantec store with email address and last five digits of credit card)
  • reinstalled BackupDirect, which I also can't recommend highly enough. I pay #20ish a month to do a nightly incremental offsite back up, and it's easy to use, intuitive, and has the most amazing customer service (I happened to have the MD's mobile number, so called him to check where to get the reinstall, and I got a susbequent email and callback to check I was ok. Also, the reinstall prompts you for keys/passwords etc and is dead easy to use)
  • downloaded all my data (took an hour or so), just my email to go now
  • downloaded itunes
  • reinstalled that great del.icio.us toolbar thing for tagging on the run

    So, all that's left is:
  • recreate my fiddly, idiosyncratic IMAP outlook settings, with two mail providers and local archives. This is the thing that stops me getting a "real" job - I have my email just the way I like it
  • install iTunes, find my music and make everything work again
  • move all the data to my newly partioned hard drive
  • install and configure my Palm
  • configure Norton antivirus
  • download Adobe acrobat reader, which I'm slightly scared of, because it gave me a hard time in November
  • check data versions... couple of recent projects have been worked on on my USB drive, as it was all getting ropey
  • remind BackupDirect to timetable backups
  • get all the icons on the desktop the way I like them
  • find that nice 1970s BBC2 screensaver
  • eat chilli

    My expert technical support buddy is worried that he might not be singing for his supper.

    So far (touch wood) just not as stressful as I thought it might be...)
  • Monday, January 02, 2006


    Originally uploaded by sashinka-uk.
    Alison Lapper on the fourth plinth in Trafalgar Square. Taken with my camphone/phonecam (never sure which). There's a bit of a delay - when I took it, it looked like I'd got two birds just flying overhead, but then when it saved, they were gone. I hate how that happens. J helped me frame the shot (you can see it looks better than the other one).

    Sunday, January 01, 2006

    ... and also, Happy New Year.

    I feel I should call it non-Jewish/goyishe New Year, to differentiate it from the other one, and to ensure that I don't inadvertantly eat a lot of honey cake or pomegranates.

    Had a great New Year - played Singstar (for the first time) and hung out with cool, mellow people: didn't even get to all the parties I planned to. Because, really, you can only be in one place at one time.
    Fire in Kilburn - y'know, I thought there was a lot of activity (fire engines etc) when I went out today.