i have found myself at the onset of yet another illness... what joy is mine. last week, every single person i came across (with the exception of a few wonderfully immune-strong people) was toxically ill last week. i kept commenting in wonder about how i - the unbelievably immune-weak who could catch the flu if the carrier were 1000 miles away - had somehow stayed unstuffy/coughy/miserable in the midst of so many sick folk. apparently, the fact that i had remained without the ickies was the simple result of incubation, for i now find myself in with that weird feverish floaty feeling that has come out of absolutely nowhere.

the timing of all of this is really quite super (read: unbelievably inconvenient). i have a possible deadline at work tomorrow... i have my good friend's birthday/house-warming party tomorrow night... i am supposed to go to augsburg with axel on saturday... and - if the other people around me who were sick last week are any indication - i am going to be miserably sick (read: bed-ridden) for my whole stinking weekend.

i am just pleased as punch.


a case of mistaken identity

apparently, i am famous. i have discovered today that a celebrity website apparently thinks that this is the blog of the australian actress, natalie blair. imagine my surprise, when i went to look at the links of how people find my blog, to find that someone came here from a natalie blair (not yours truly, of course) fan site. i find this more amusing than one could possibly imagine.

this is not the first time someone has gotten us mixed up... (sorry, but i have to provide a little bit of back-story in order to tell this tale... please bear with me for a few lines)

up until i was 15, i went to school in riyadh, saudi arabia... at the time i left riyadh to go to boarding school, most of my friends and i didn't have email addresses and most of us did not have a permanent address to speak of (lots of military kids and lots of people who simply move a lot). a few years ago, one of my former classmates created a message board to allow all of the sais-r (saudi arabian international school - riyadh, now called the american international school - riyadh) kids from the 90's to get back in touch with one-another. one of my very good friends asked if anyone had seen or heard from the natalie blair who left sais-r in 1998 (as i had apparently dropped off the face of the earth for about 7 years or so). one of the people from my class (who had seen me every day for about 7 years) said that i was now, apparently, a very successful young actress on australian tv... and that i was looking very good. ... when i was directed to the page by a friend, i laughed so hard, i had trouble breathing (mainly because i am not australian, i have never been to australia - not yet, at least- , i am not an actress - though that would also be cool- , she is younger than me, and we look nothing alike ... i should be so lucky so be so tall and thin and blah blah blah).

anyway, i have pointed out the error to the website and i hope that the fans of the australian actress who shares my name will not be disappointed to find out that this is not her blog. i am just a regular-non-famous-girl who likes to rant about random shit on the internet...


full of why

i came to work today, turned on my computer, opened the new york times' homepage and was confronted with the news of heath ledger's death... i am so deeply saddened by this... for multiple reasons. one is that no one, anywhere, should ever have to outlive their children... my heart aches for his parents and his family. for that matter, my heart aches for anyone - my parents included - who have ever or will ever have to outlive their child. my heart also goes out to his little girl... no one should have to lose their parent at such a young age.

this is also so tragic because his life had just started, really. he was so young... and he could have had the opportunity to bring the gift of so much talent to so many via the silver screen... but his light has been tragically and so swiftly extinguished. it's not so much that a famous person has died that makes me so upset, but the fact that mr. ledger's sudden passing throws into sharp relief that so many people are taken - it would seem - so far before their time.

it is nothing less than heartbreaking.

what makes his death even more sad is that the media have begun to sling assumptions about drug overdoses around like so much confetti. all because sleeping pills were found in the same room he died in. i may be mistaken, but i believe that many, many, many people have sleeping pills... there are advertisements for them on primetime tv every single day. now, there are assumptions about 'addicitions' being slung about without confirmation... and that is nothing less than disgusting. high-profile though he was, in the end, mr. ledger was just a person... and every person deserves to have dignity in death.

may mr. ledger rest in peace. and may the world have dignity enough to allow those who knew him to grieve without speculation or slander.



lookie lookie at what i found. i haven't laughed so hard since i was a little girl.

oh - and good music i've been listening to today on blastFM
1. parov stelar - spygame
2. funkfaker - baby blues
3. rossi b & luca - legacy e.p.
4. parov stelar - the last dance
5. dj cam - success
6. parov stelar - kisskiss *i apparently really like parov stelar*
7. j. boogie's dubtronic science - try me
8. röyksopp - someone like me
9. dj dsl - happy bear
10. rae & christian - trailing in the wake

... now go and shake what your mama gave ya!

book jacket genius... among other things

i found this link via poppytalk (who found it via door sixteen)... not only is chip kidd the author and designer of one of my favorite books of all time, but - to be perfectly frank - he is just cool as shit. (please do not ask me to explain the level of cool that shit possesses... just take it as 'he is extremely, extremely cool.')

when i was in architecture school, a guy i met at a penny poker game suggested that i should pick up the cheese monkeys: a novel in two semesters, primarily because he thought that the cover design was so freaking cool... while i completely agreed that the book is the most impressively-designed book i have seen, i also found that the writing itself was incredibly compelling... though it may have been something i appreciated all the more simply because i was in the middle of design-school-hell. nevertheless, i and everyone that i know who has read it, flew through the pages faster than a speeding bullet.

there is this wonderful part of the book - and i cannot tell you where to find it in the pages because it is sadly in storage in the states where i cannot put my hands on it - where mr. kidd describes a design critique... i think that this is something that can only be really, truly appreciated by someone who has had to stand up in front of ump-teen critics (more analogous to a firing squad than anything else i can imagine), with your work displayed behind you (the product of countless hours and near-nervous-breakdowns, i.e. your heart and soul, blood, sweat, and tears... not to mention sacrificed sleep, social life, love life, sanity...), while these people - most likely to be complete strangers with a much-too-obvious sense of self-importance - attempt to tear you and your work apart for 45 minutes to an hour (on average).

i watched this one critique when i was in my fourth year (out of five) of architecture school, in absolute wonder as this heinously bitchy (but apparently very prominent) woman actually tried to get one of my classmates to cry. afterwards, i went to the coffee shop during one of the breaks that day to refuel and i ended up behind her in line... she was talking on the phone and was actually pissed off that she hadn't gotten said colleague to shed tears. she then loudly complained that she was 'losing her stuff.' pfffff. argh. pishaw. it made me so angry, i could have clawed her eyes out right there in front of the pastry display... but i maintained composure.

i am rambling... anyhow, the book is fantastic, the author and designer is one of my heroes... and i thought that i would share a little piece of my inspiration with you, my few readers.

happy tuesday.


all the evidence i require...

why i am glad that i no longer live in dubai:

... yes, that is the city under water. ... this happens every time it rains heavily, which - thanks to global warming - happens almost regularly from the end of fall to the early spring. this normally only happens on the outskirts of the city... but it is just such an utter disaster. ... and people insist on driving in it anyway even when and especially if their cars are not equipt for such extreme conditions (please note the bridge full of cars/trucks on their way into the city and the mostly-submerged taxi with the red roof by the on-ramp).


starting as i mean to go on...

after listening to this wonderful cast on podcast (from which title of my post has been stolen), i started thinking about the idea of making new year's decisions, rather than a series of resolutions that i rarely ever keep and which are mostly discarded before the 1st of febrary. so - not that anyone will be interested - but i feel like sharing the decisions that i was thinking about all night (i also think that jetlag might still have something to do with me being awake half of the night, but c'est la vie and i get more time to think things through, i guess).

1. i will continue to make myself healthier - i have lost over 40 lbs. since june of 2006 and i am going to finally get into shape this year in time to run the nike women's half marathon in october, 2008.
2. i will be better about writing and calling my family and friends - i tend to get distracted by work-and-whatnot far too easily and my correspondence with said friends and family inevitably suffers... and they are far too precious to me not to keep in touch with them, particularly with me being half-way around the planet.
3. i will teach myself to quilt again - i used to be very good at this and it is a long-standing family tradition to quilt... one that is too good to simply die out... therefore, i must re-teach myself once more.
4. i will be more diligent about learning german - it is really too easy and arrogant for me to expect people at my office to speak english whenever i am present and though i understand a lot of german, i will no longer accept not speaking the language.
5. i will brush up on my spanish, italian, and french - i have spent far too much time and money learning these beautiful languages to simply let myself forget how to speak them for lack of use...
6. i will go to a country that i have never visited before before the end of the year - last year, i visited germany for the first time and look how wonderfully this is working out so far. so, before the end of the year, i will visit some country - near or far - that i have never visited before (i'm thinking peru, vietnam, or indonesia... but i am really up for anything)
7. i will apply to grad school, without fear or hesitation, by december 2008 - i am studying for the gre and i am eagerly awaiting the release of the harvard (urban planning + architecture), mit (urban planning + architecture), and risd (architecture + digital media) 2009 applications... wish me luck.
8. i will not be so angry all the time - this really should be at the top of my list, but it is also a good closer... for some very strange reason, i have become increasingly angry over the last five years or so. while my anger is mostly fleeting, it bothers me that it rises due to the smallest and most senseless things... not to mention that it makes everyone around me incredibly uncomfortable when i do lose my temper. i have been working on this for a while, but i am going to work much harder this year to find my center and to get rid of whateverthehell it is that is causing me to blow up with such regular-yet-unpredictable frequency.

fin. these are the things that i will do this year... i will not accept self-defeat.


the steam from your cup...

i am in the midst of jetlag recovery... in which, i attempt to sleep at a reasonable hour (so that my body will re-acclimate) but find that i am still awake at 4am... and thus absolutely exhausted when it comes time to go to work. therefore, i am consuming enough coffee today to keep an army awake. bring on the jitters.

last night, i attempted to keep myself awake until said reasonable hour by starting a new knitting project with some absolutely delicious cashmere... but first, i had to wind the yarn into a center-pull ball. instead, i ended up fighting with an unbelievable knot in my yarn for about 2 hours. because i am so stubborn and because the yarn was so pricey, i fought and fought (and honestly, i know that i completely freaked out a few times) and finally got the knot out - using scissors was not an option, you see.

so, hopefully, in a few days, i will have pictures of a beautiful new cashmere cowl to show off, as well as some absolutely amazing photos of my vacation in the hills of arkansas (and a few of my absolutely amazing, beautiful, brilliant, wonderfully cuddly niece).