Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Just finished: The Tower, The Zoo and The Tortoise

I just finished reading a great novel! It's called The Tower, The Zoo and The Tortoise by Julia Stuart. I really enjoyed the writing style. It was witty, suspenseful and informative, and some of the characters were particularly hilarious. I also learned a lot about the Tower of London, which I had previously only heard of, and knew nothing about. Now I'm determined to visit it one of these days. The story is about a beefeater (a tower guard) who works and lives there. He owns the oldest tortoise in the world, Mrs. Cook. As a result, he ends up being put in charge of the royal menagerie. The main plot involves him and his family, but there are many other funny twists and side stories that made this one of my more favorite books.

Here is a quote from when the beefeater's wife goes to work:

"Hebe Jones unbuttoned her coat next to the drawer containing one hundred and fifty-seven pairs of false teeth. It was a ritual she performed every morning upon arrival at London Underground's Lost Property Office, even during the summer, a season she vehemently distrusted in England. She hung it on the stand next to the life-size inflatable doll, a deep red hole for a mouth, which no one had yet dared to claim. Turning the corner, she stood at the original Victorian counter, its shutter still closed, and studied one of the ledgers to remind herself what had been brought in the previous day. As well as the usual several dozen umbrellas and bestselling novels, some with a bookmark tragically near the end, the yield included one lawnmower, a Russian typewriter, and sixteen jars of preserved ginger. The last item brought in was yet another abandoned wheelchair, increasing the office's hoard to the spectacular figure of thirty-nine. It was proof, if only to the staff, that London Underground could perform miracles."


December 2010 Blizzard Timelapse from Michael Black on Vimeo.

I LOVE snow! It is winter's frosting. It makes what would otherwise be a dreary day sparkle. Last night we had our second big snow storm of the season and I actually walked an extra block just to feel the first flakes falling on me –and I was grinning wildly the whole time. The above video is from the blizzard earlier this year, which is really about the amount of snow I wish we had all the time :)

Monday, January 3, 2011

Missed Connections

Have you ever read the Missed Connections section of Craigslist? It makes for hours of entertainment . . although after reading through a bunch of them I can't help but feel sorry for all those people out there suffering from unrequited love. However, they are endlessly cute, strange and hilarious. Missed connections is one of those things that would only really happen in New York, and one of the things that makes New York so great. I just found out about an illustrator who has made a blog based on the missed connections that she turns into illustrations. She also sells her work on Etsy. I think they're great! Enjoy.