Danica and The Big Mango.

I have two weeks vacation beckoning, but I don't know where to take them. I have this idea that I'm going to go back to Egypt (for the first time in 10 years!) in early 2011—a week in Cairo and a week in Aswan—but only if the Old Cataract is reopened.

Sometimes, when I'm teaching, I wonder how much my students are listening. The first 24 years of my life are a haze—especially between the ages of 18 and 22. Part of going back to Egypt, for me, is to recapture the details of all the things I missed when I lived there—to sharpen the memory of a place that completely changed my life. Shocked me out of my daydream. Woke me up.

Sometimes I don't think I ever even felt anything before 2001.
But why the desire to physically flee from Halloween as well? In recent years Halloween, sick of dressing up as Robin to New Year’s Eve’s Batman, has taken the Most Intolerable New York Holiday crown. Perhaps it’s because this city has such a buffet of flimsily contained id to being with. There are a whole lot of people living here who don’t need to let loose on Halloween — their psyches are pretty unstructured on an average Tuesday.
via
Been up since 3 a.m. Can't sleep and thinking about things that drive me insane. Like: windows here. I've never had any trouble opening any windows in other parts of the world—for the most part, they seem to be the type where there's a lever and you push out—like mini French windows. Easy peasy. But in New York, every single building I've ever lived in has these lift-to-open jobbies that often require you to be a body-builder to wedge open even the tiniest bit. It drives me bananas. Sometimes you just want to crack a window, you know, and not have to move furniture to wedge yourself up against the wall for leverage for the privilege of having some ventilation. That is all.

Retrospect.

A few years ago I was called up for an interview with the head of human resources at a major publishing house here in New York. We talked for a while and, at the end of the meeting, the head of HR presented me with a list of the magazines run under the auspices of the publishing house and asked me which ones I'd be interested in working for.

I named three or four.

The head of HR asked me, well what about this magazine—let's call it Magazine X—would you want to work there?

"No, probably not," I said.

"Why?" the head of HR asked, seemingly confused.

Now, if you know me, you know that I'm a horrible liar and often put my foot in my mouth because I am a terribly honest person—too blunt, probably.

So, at that moment, I couldn't help it, and I just blurted out: "Well, I read that magazine a lot and, to be honest, they seem quite stupid."

Aaaaaand that was the end of my interview.

Well, anyway. Here we are, two years later, and I'd just like to say that I stand by my statement.

Best. Thing. Ever.

Thoughts of the day

Doing some work on Racked Chicago. Anyone have any intel on that city or any friends who are style writers on the ground? Email me at danica@racked.com

Had dinner with Danny tonight; good to catch up and hear all about the wedding this weekend. Tim is coming to guest-lecture in my 8 a.m. class tomorrow; should be loads of fun. It's nice to break up the non-stop fashion-fashion-fashion at fashion school with a shot of sports talk. If you're interested in fencing or just want to support a great cause, Tim's Fencing Masters event this November in New York is the place to be.

I think it might be time to take another trip out west. Vegas? Utah? California?

What is this. I want it.

More people in California seem to read my blog than anyone else.
Even more than New York.

Obsessed: This is England '86


When we thought about what we had learned (the question most commonly asked) it came down to some things we already knew: The world is in terrible shape, money isn't the answer, mankind gets its priorities badly wrong, as well as some things we had always suspected and kind of hoped were true: gratitude is one of the most important things anyone – adults and kids – can learn; a good small community can make a huge difference to a culture; and that much of the world is being held together not by money, power, guns or celebrity but by small, often hidden, acts of kindness.
· via
Not long ago, I was persuaded to sign up for a weekly exercise class that met in my local park at 6.30am. It was marketed, militaristically, as a "bootcamp", a phrase now in common usage in the fitness industry, apparently in the belief that people, especially male ones, will find it less embarrassing to do star jumps in public if they think of it as preparation for hypothetically killing people later.
· via the Guardian

I love this sofa.

I guess I should get a driver's license before I get one of these.

"Why can I not spend my days eating Big Macs and watching inappropriate television? Is it merely because I am neither a student nor pregnant? Surely, that is discrimination!" - Danny Wallace
Woke up at 6 a.m. and downloaded a bunch of screenplays onto my Kindle. Gonna get back into it. There's a story here. Somewhere.
Wanted: Knee-high mid-heel rust-burgundy boots.
One conclusion drawn from drinks with K and M tonight: "I'm still not interested in dating. I just want to meet a guy I like, someone I want to spend time with, and who likes me and wants to spend time with me. And then we can be together and either get married or not." It's the first part, that bit about meeting someone, liking them, and them liking me back just as much if not more, that's the sticking point.
Sometimes I think it would be a good idea to start writing thoughtful, intelligent things on my personal blog here. But then I realize I can't think of anything to write about that falls into that category.
Also I am upset with myself for forgetting to bring some nice marmalade back with me from England.

Signed up

The thing about New York that's so jarring to me—and continues to be jarring to me even though I grew up here—is how aggressive everything seems. After a week in the UK (London and Oxford) I step off the plane, run up against a sullen hates-me-hates-life customs agent. Next, by the baggage carousel, is another airport officer screaming out, every twenty seconds or so: "NO CELL PHONES!!!!!" It took ages for the bags to arrive, all the while she's screaming at us.

At Terminal 8, American Airlines have done a great job of barring all the illegal cab drivers from entering the terminal. The problem with this is that they've now formed a terrifying blockade, accosting passengers as soon as they step outside the terminal. Literally, three large men blocked the door, shouting at me, "Want a taxi? Where are you going?" as I tried to leave the terminal. Even though I knew to expect this, it was terrifying to be surrounded by gangs of strange men like this. I can't even imagine what it must feel like for tourists.

I bought my apartment in 2005. It's small, but I love it. To me, one of the best things about my apartment is that it doesn't face the street. Okay, it's both bad and good—there's no view, but it's quiet. Well, it used to be quiet. Now there's some sort of crazy motorized fan thing that's a few floors down from my apartment. It runs all day and all night, so all I hear is this motor-sound 24/7. I can't imagine what it's for or why it has to be so loud. It's definitely new. Anyway. Even fans are aggressive in New York.

This morning I woke up absurdly early and went for breakfast. The man behind me was ordering aggressively—"I want an egg white omelet with spinach, no oil, half a grapefruit, black coffee."—and then there was an aggressive, angry, shouting crazy man on the street. Even our homeless are louder and more aggressive.

I guess this is what people sign up for when they live in New York. I'm thinking about soundproofing my windows.

Conversation at the Varsity Shop

Salesperson: Do you have your student card?
Me: No.
Salesperson: Why not?
Me: Because I'm 32.

It's such an amazing time to be in Oxford right now.

Well, it's always an amazing time to be in Oxford. But style-wise, it's pretty hard to beat right now.

The late-70s are back in the major way in the UK this season, with stores filled with A-line and boxy plaid coats, girls with bangs and messy hair, boy-inspired stacked lace-up heels and oxfords, opaque and knit thick tights, short skirts and dresses, hunting-derivative cross-body leather bags, red lipstick and smudgy eye makeup. All that set against the scenery of Oxford and all this cobblestone.

It's too good.

This is ridiculous. If I sold my studio apartment in New York City, I could buy this 3,614 square foot four-bedroom house in Omaha

Butter is sweetly, simply mammalian. The French eat four times as much of it as the Americans, but they're 35% less likely to die from heart disease.

This is a rainy island in the north Atlantic. It's not a natural habitat for olive trees, and our countrymen don't look like the people in the Bertolli ads. (John Lydon's excellent adverts for Country Life butter are much closer to the mark.) We got here with butter, barley, beef, beer and bread. Seamus Heaney's superb Churning Day captures the almost mythological place butter holds in the consciousness of these islands, the "coagulated sunlight ... heaped up gilded gravel in the bowl". So sod margarine. All hail the pail.
—via the Guardian

Hilarious

Twin baby pandas.

I want this tarp coat

Waiting for the bus in Philadelphia

Meadow.

Pub.

Butcher

Library.

Favorite bookshop.

Hometown.

"Observe Everything. Always think for yourself. Never let other people make important decisions for you." — from Bad News by Edward St. Aubyn