“Egypt: Rediscovering a Lost World” by the BBC:
Over the lengthy course of my life, I thought that I had seen every documentary about ancient Egypt that had ever been produced. Imagine my delight as I discovered that there was a series made by the BBC that I had never seen. Happily, it was on Netflix and it soon was sitting in my house waiting for my happy consumption. The night I returned from New York, I popped a big bowl of popcorn and eagerly watched the first two episodes about the history of Howard Carter and the discovery of the tomb of Tutankhamen. I was enchanted from the beginning. Instead of being the usually interesting but dry, educational and straightforward narration, this series is more interested in the human aspects of Egypt’s archaeological beginnings. The actors are absolutely excellent, the writing’s good, the camerawork is excellent. I’m just terribly pleased that I have five more episodes to watch of this quality program. I can’t wait to get home this afternoon and watch all about Giovanni Belzoni, who I don’t know nearly enough about. I recommend this show to you all, even those of you who aren’t as passionately interested in Egypt as me.
I had intended to have my gym painted by the time I left for New York City, but that didn’t prove to be the case. But, when I returned, I was determined to get it done before work began again, so I spent Sunday painting the room. I had bought these delightful new tools at the Farm & Fleet that were alternatives to brushes and rollers and I rather enjoyed using them. They are sponges that spread the paint onto the walls beautifully and quickly, I was very impressed. Anyway, I painted the room Sharkey Grey by Martha Stewart, my favorite paint color, and fell in love with it all over again. It’s the absolutely most perfect color in the world. At night, it looks grey. In the sunlight, it looks like the loveliest tan. It’s just flawless and I paint every room this color. You can accent the room with anything and it looks stunning. I’m rambling now, but the color is perfect and so is Martha.
New York City:
Now, I didn’t fall head over heels in love with New York City the way that I did with San Francisco. I don’t think that there will ever be a city in this nation that can compare to the way I felt when I was there walking down Lombard Street and shopping at the markets. San Francisco is pretty damn close to perfection. I could easily live there the rest of my life. New York, though, is great, too, and I’m awfully glad that I went there over my break to see the sights and shows and to eat all the food that I could force down my throat. I think I could have a lovely life in New York with all that culture and the museums and the parks and the glorious architecture and the theatre and the people and the cheap pizza. It’s rather heavenly. I can’t wait to go back.
I haven’t watched The Mummy in ages. Growing up, that is one of the major cinematic influences on my life — that and Bedknobs & Broomsticks — and I think intellectually, too; I’m a very different person than I would have been if I hadn’t ever seen The Mummy. Not the old one with Boris Karloff, mind you, that one is a classic but yet it is dry (LOLZ, see what I did there?) and frankly, rather uninteresting. No, I’m talking about the swashbuckling Brendan Fraser vehicle. My love for the film is deep and real and unending and I could watch it a million times and never fatigue of it. I think it’s one of the modern monster classics — it’s funny, exciting, not too slutty, and just a good time. Last night, my sister and I got together to watch it and eat loads of pizza and I couldn’t help but fall in love with the picture all over again. As a learned adult who has now studied ancient Egyptian art, history, and writing rather seriously for a number of years — I fully intend on becoming an Egyptologist one of these days, the handsome one that they use on all the ridiculous shows on the History Channel — I found the film remarkable. Remarkably nonsensical! I adored it more than ever, but I couldn’t help but laugh at seeing the Great Pyramids in Thebes or the fact that Imhotep — an Old Kingdom architect — was playing a New Kingdom high priest. That’s only the tip of the iceberg. It’s rather like the producers of the film took every well known bit of Egyptian iconography and threw it in a blender and procured it out onto there set. Hysterically inaccurate, but I don’t give one bother. Go watch The Mummy, reader
MUJI Mechanical Pencil:
When I was in New York last week, I stopped in at a charming shop called MUJI that sold a rather eccentric collection of tableware, office supplies, furniture, clothing, and a few other odds and ends. I was utterly charmed by an emergency travel bag that had shrunk wrapped tshirts in it along with other clever grooming tools like black cotton q-tips. I didn’t buy any of that, though. I bought pencils. My favorite was bought on a whim, not expecting to love it quite so much. It’s a simply elegant pencil — the kind you would expect Martha Stewart to have on her desk — that uses .3 mm lead. I’d never even heard of lead this thin before! From the moment I put it to pencil, I adored it. The thinness of the lead makes my handwriting look ever so elegant. I’m always delighted in the differences a writing tool can make in a person’s written script. I’m in love and need to buy a dozen more to replace all of my pencils. If you’re ever in New York, make sure you go. And if not, just buy them online.
Yesterday, for some horrible reason, I had a panic attack. I didn’t care for it one bit, reader. I was just fine, the morning was going along smoothly, but then my heart felt like it was beating incorrectly. This obviously alarmed me — was today the day I was going to die? Would I be properly buried in Père Lachaise like I’ve so often requested? Would my funeral turnout be high? Would I be a ghost and learn all the secrets of the universe? Then, my breathing became difficult and I couldn’t really focus on anything at all. I felt anxious and nervous and panicked and it was just no good at all. I wanted to escape the classroom I was working in, but that wasn’t possible. I don’t know why it happened and I’m rather terrified that it will happen again. I read through all the causes, but none of them seemed likely in my case. I hadn’t eaten anything differently or drank a gallon of coffee or had any reason to be nervous about anything at all. It was just dreadful.
The Phrase “Ahead of its Time”:
Ever so often, I find some word or phrase unbearable. Right now it’s the phrase “ahead of its time.” This is just a lazy way of describing something as too weird or too outside the normal to fit the mold. It’s not saying that it’s good or bad, but just that is it’s different. I have no problem with looking back on something as perhaps a good idea, but I always get annoyed at the thought that somebody was misunderstood. Perhaps I’m completely wrong here, but I’ve been listening to a series of lectures about Beethoven’s sonatas and the professor says that they were ahead of their time every four breaths. It’s absolutely ridiculous and terribly exhausting. Perhaps it is true that some things are only appreciated later on in the course of history — but they weren’t ahead of their time, the concepts and ideas and inventions were complete and total products of their time. This is why that phrase bothers me so much, I think, because it makes little sense. The thought behind the phrase is acceptable, of course, but not the words themselves.
Inability to Find Passionfruit:
I absolutely adore passionfruit. They’re easily one of my favorite fruits, but for something that I love so dearly and profess such admiration for, I’ve only ever bought them once. This isn’t because I’m unwilling to, it’s simply because I cannot find them anywhere! It’s endlessly frustrating. When I finally found them – that singular time — each fruit cost $2.50, an extreme price for a little orb of fruit. With the four that I bought, I made Pierre Hermé’s recipe for Mogador macarons. Those, dear reader, were an absolute triumph of the pastry arts and may be my favorite macaron I’ve ever made — well, aside from the wine grape and chocolate ones that I made with fresh vineyard jam. I still have some of that jam. I should bake some more macarons — I haven’t made macarons in ages. I think I will put that on my to-do list for this weekend — several flavors, definitely lemon. Anyway, passionfruit is impossible to find and I’ve never been able to figure out why. They’re able to be shipped and they don’t spoil in two minutes. It must simply be an issue of demand. I’ve found passionfruit on Amazon, both as a fruit and as a container of pulp — but the prices were so ridiculous that I couldn’t bring myself to buy them. I’m going to look into growing my own vine.
Yet Another Awkward Hair Length:
For the past few weeks, I haven’t really minded my hair all that much. You recall my earlier whining about it, I’m sure, but it’s grown out a bit and it really hasn’t looked all that shitty, to my immense pleasure. Annoyingly, it seems we’ve arrived at yet another strange spot for there’s nothing I can do to make it look nice. I begin to wonder if perhaps it has little or nothing to do with the actual length of my hair and more to do with the weather because this really doesn’t make that much sense. How could it change so drastically in so little time? It’s not as if hair grows at four inches a month! Every morning when I wake up, I don’t wake up flawlessly like Beyoncé, I wake up looking more like Helena Bonham Carter. I’ve applied every product in my extensive hair care cabinet in search of a tidy and attractive mane, but I’ve thus far failed. I just want to wear bandanas everyday, but I’m pretty sure I’m not allowed to do that at work. I also just want to chop it all off and dye it lavender, but since I’ve decided to donate my hair, I can’t do anything too damaging to it. Ugh, my life is the worst. There is nobody who is more miserable than I.
Inability to Sketch:
[A rare example of one of my successful drawings.]
I read a lot of Victorian novels and travelogues. The writer is always going on about sketching some ruin or the main character is always going on about sketching to pass the time away. I’ve always thought that this sounds like a nice way to spend the day. Unfortunately, whenever I try to sketch, the results are rarely that great. I’m not a poor artist, mind you, I can do a nice job if I put in some time and effort. But, I don’t know any of the theories behind being a good sketcher. I’ve never taken a class or read a book on the subject. Whatever successes I’ve had have simply been dumb luck and an instinctive appreciation and genetic disposition toward art. I looked up a podcast the other night and downloaded them in the hopes of learning how to draw things with more precision. Maybe I’ll be a triumphant success and you’ll see my work housed in the Met, but absolutely not next to the horrible modern artists like Warhol and Pollack. They make me sick.