about me art

Make a tissue box cover with a handkerchief

This time round, I combine the concept of grids with something practical anyone can try. I have grown to like plaids and check fabrics. Today is Monday and I’ve included a selection of my mundane stuff.

Set of handkerchiefs in check patterns from Burberry, Kitson and Vivienne Westwood, along with other items, photographed outdoors

Below, you will see two tissue covers, three of my favourite handkerchiefs and a mini hand towel. Later, you’ll see a green and white mini tote for a lunch container.

One tissue cover, open

I have a terrible cold and, over the weekend, consumed a whole box of lotion tissues. I cover tissues in two ways. The easier way is to remove the tissues from the boxes and place them inside one of two flat covers.

A large multipurpose wrapping cloth in red and white check, open, with the tissue box on top

The other way is to use a handkerchief or square of cloth to cover the box. It takes less than a minute. This box is oversized, so I used a multipurpose wrapping cloth. I have two in this red and white check. The other one wraps a different lunch container.

Cloth ends are tied up at one end of the box Drop the box in the middle, fold up and adjust as you work.

Knot tied at one end of the boxAlmost done, but I crush down the top ends of the box to give the cloth more room to move. Tie and tuck the ends.

The box is completely wrapped, with the box ends crushed down to make room for the cloth to fit overFinished. That didn’t take long. Remember to crush the box ends if you need more room to work. (Miss Vivienne looks pleased.)

Thank you for viewing. I hope you’ll like covering your tissues.

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Bird’s nest

View of street through window from second floor of coffee shop
[i] Nostalgic

People watching from my favourite perch. I wish you a great week ahead, wherever you are.


View of street through window from second floor of coffee shop toy camera filter
[ii] Toy camera (obscura)

After a  long day of connecting with people, I often decompress before heading home, by connecting with more people. How about that?

I was at work this weekend, so Monday will be my holiday, the same as my American friends. My plan is to sleep off a mild cold with Inside Story (Australia) episodes on autoplay in the background. May you have a restful Labour Day.

Best wishes x SB

about me art

Sorry, we’re getting close…Way out?

“If you ever get close to a human,” sang Björk, “be ready, be ready to get confused. ” (Human Behaviour, Debut1993). You may have experienced or instigated a “sorry we’re getting close, please show me the way out” situation before.

[i] Sorry, we’re close. Way out?

It happened to me after a game of “SB, please don’t reject me.” I hid clues in plain sight. Soon enough, I noticed the scramble for a way out. But I kept calm and pointed to the door.

You see, my plan all along was to convert the vanishing points into refined sugar.  In the spirit of the game, I first looked longingly at the kiwi fruit panna cotta.

 [ii] Kiwi fruit panna cotta

While trying to make up my mind, I ordered an affogato. If you’ve never tried it, I should warn you, the middle section is a double espresso and will keep you awake for exactly 72 hours. (I have already stopped drinking coffee.)

[iii] Affogato, tiramisu and raspberry/cranberry panna cotta

A cranberry with raspberry panna cotta and tiramisu completed the set. My dessert is gluten free but I did not forget you, my biscuit eating friends.

[iv] Biscuit

That biscuit did not waffle. Please devour slowly with your eyes. The sugar crystals in the dessert salute your excess.

[v] Bon appétit!

Have a yummy xoxoxoxo bonbon time!
x SB

about me fiction

I am talking about books

Julie is a lifesaver. She asked me to answer some questions about my reading habits yesterday afternoon. Her timing was excellent because I tanked a ranty post. Some of you are sick so I would rather cheer you up. I have some options: (a) read this post (b) listen to the music (c) type any off topic comment. Or do all three.

I had to keep my eyes closed for most of the day because of a migraine, so I’m squinting and prepping this. And now, a word from our sponsor. Art of War, performed by Vanessa Mae, courtesy Ionna Pianissimo via YouTube.

(I am) talking about Books
The Q’s & A’s

You have 20,000 books on your iPad. How do you decide what to read next? That is impossible. I have tried to download every work from every classical French poet and novelist but there aren’t that many texts available. I regularly meet for after work tea with a colleague who needs her French poetry fix, so I need to have the works in digital format. Twangent allez tu? (I just made that up).

You’re halfway through a book and not loving it. Do you quit or commit? Toss.

The end of the year is around the corner and you are far from finishing your GoodReads challenge. Do you quit or commit? Why does everything have homework? You know there are textbooks for married couples, so they can get a degree in how to be married? I’ve even read about a girl who has a breakup plan and a two month evaluation clause in her relationship contract with her boyfriend. (I’m not introducing you.)

Painting of Queen Victoria in full regaliaQueen Victoria. Image courtesy article on Victoria’s Scottish secrety,
via The Daily Beast.  Her biography, A Personal History, was a very good read.

The covers of a series you love DO. NOT. MATCH. I usually cover my books. I prefer to read the book rather than judge it by the cover.

Everyone and their mother loves a book you really don’t like. Who do you bond with over shared feelings? My subscribers, who are very smart about hating on stuff and are more eloquent ranters. I once used my Amazon account for sharing feelings. However, no one cared that the autobiography of the Arab princess was fake.

You’re reading a book and you’re about to start crying in public. How do you deal? Cry. I like the runny eyeshadow look. I like to mix colours just in case. (Reliq Minerals aubergine and mud pie). Also, I would be completely invisible under sunglasses the size of my face.

Helena Bonham Carter via Vlad Rodriguez @ Pinterest

A sequel of a book you loved just came out, but you’ve forgotten a lot. Will you re-read the book? Highly unlikely I’ll read a sequel of anything. Unless Alexandre Dumas writes a spicy follow up to The Count of Monte Cristo on his secret blog. I know what you’re driving at and no, I did not make it past chapter six of 50SOG.

You don’t want ANYONE borrowing your books. How do you politely tell people “no”? I don’t mind lending my books out. Many people ask to have my books, so I sign and gift them over. If someone finds my taste in books intriguing, I take that as a compliment. One exception is a Verdi (Requiem) libretto, which is an early edition. It’s stashed away safely somewhere. (I have no idea where it is).

You’ve picked up and put down five different books in the past month. How do you get over the reading slump? I don’t have a slump because I’m a voracious reader.

There are so many new books coming out that you are dying to read! How many do you actually buy? Everything I want to read is so old, I can download them free from the iBook store.

After you’ve bought a new book, how long does it sit on your shelf until you actually read it? You mean, how long do books sit in the box until I stumble over it, while cleaning, only to realise that I bought a box of books and forgot to open the box?

** FIN **

about me People

Thriving as a normal, friend type

Whenever I hear a woman cursing a man, I try to find out what kind of relationship they had. At one point, I placed some of the responsibility on women who have cultivated unrealistic expectations via  Ego Butter Barbie. Later, I objected to men using S/M bedroom games as an excuse to physically torture women.

Since then, I have come to understand that quite a few women have a high tolerance for mistreatment from intimate partners. One label does not fit every woman, but it is my understanding that they get a high from retelling the worst moments of their relationships.

I will never advocate for a woman to stay in a relationship with a man who mistreats her. Hearing such stories causes me a great deal of stress, so for me, there’s a fine line between unburdening to a friend and forcing that person to experience abuse vicariously.

Specifically, I would like to discuss when this unburdening happens after it is clear what an entanglement is all about: Banana milk. When milking is over, some women say they deserve a huge helping of chocolate and cry because it was not offered to them. They refuse to see the man’s passive aggressive attempt to extract himself from the situation. “Hey, I don’t like you. See, I’m treating you like garbage. Get it? I’m politely ignoring you. Take a hint, go away.”

There’s a difference between feeling let down and failing to respect the other’s right to choose to be in a relationship. When the latter happens, I feel that some women offer up dignity and sanity, hoping to bribe chocolate out of a cow that can only provide banana milk.

Take my batchmate in university, for example. She had a fling with a fellow dorm resident, who was engaged to a law student residing in the UK. My closest friend and I sat her down. She was in love and imagined that he was, too. We told her that if he has a girlfriend and they’re engaged, that’s a non starter. His love was only in her imagination.

He graduated at the end of the semester, cut off all communication and got married in London two weeks after that. I agreed to give her my telephone number, thinking that she was a normal, friend type. On the phone, she sighed these words over and over: “I miss him. He dumped me, you know. But I miss him. I love him. I miss him so much. I love him so much. I really miss him. I really love him. He left me. I miss him.” She was talking to herself and I was obliged to overhear.

In person, she would ask how my day was going. I only said it was okay because on cue, she would continue from the middle of the thought I interrupted with my presence. Out of context, she’d continue with, “After the trip there he said he was going to do that thing we talked about.” He, we. There, that. She was not content with driving herself bonkers. If she had her way, I was headed there, too.

Broken hearts feel bad. I was nursing a breakup, myself.  Fortunately, I saw that past the point of helping her to unburden so she could move on, I was enabling her unhealthy choices. The fix was easy. I gradually spent less time listening to her. Today, I smile because I realise that she might have burnt through several potential friends in this way.

Thriving, in the context of emotional health, is a complex set of conscious decisions. But to begin, we feel that something is not right and do something to mitigate a negative spiral. I thrive when I’m around self confident people, even if they don’t feel great at the moment.

Professionally trained listeners are paid to witness hand wringing and repeated retells. They may say that this is a healthy way to recover. They might object to my method of thriving after a breakup, calling it love on the rebound. On the contrary, I prefer to remember, while my batchmate was strumming her pain, I was happy recovering with the delectable coach of the water polo team.

about me


Pecs Bowen tagged me to answer the Questionnaire for Imagineers and I agreed to do it even though I’m an uptight control freak. I can’t imagine what will happen after I post this, and that terrifies me. Christe, eléison.

(☄ฺ◣д◢)☄   ::::::  (ʘ言ʘ╬)

1. If you wanted to name yourself again, what would you call yourself?
Savannah Westmore, after two parishes in my home country. Or the more androgynous Pritchard Douglass.

2. If there is one, what would be the last line of your biography?
“She was always going to do whatever she felt like.”

3. Would you kiss a complete stranger in the rain or an old friend on the shore?
A complete stranger in the rain, under an umbrella. Wait… Does “in falling snow at the stroke of midnight on New Year’s Day in a crowd of thousands” count towards this? The clocktower bells were clanging and it seemed like the appropriate thing to do.

4. If you had to choose two famous/historical figures to have coffee, who would they be?
Kublai Khan and Attila, just to see how they’d react to my hair, right now.

5. If you could pack your bags, leave all behind and be forgotten for a year, where would you go?
Iceland. It’s a remote island with a small population, plenty of book stores, spas outdoors and nature that’s still unspoiled (but not for long if GE has their way).

6. People with a particular talent that you don’t have and wish you did?
I would feel really happy if I could play the piano well and enjoy it. I would be a concert pianist, since I would practice compulsively and want to do nothing else.

7. One thing that always fascinated you and you know it always will?
Marc Jacobs’ kilts. He looks great in them.

8. If God exists and you had to give Him one piece of advice, what would it be?
{Null set}

9. What is the sexiest place you can imagine to do it on?
Floor to ceiling window glass of a 28th floor hotel suite, which has a panoramic view of the grounds of a certain palace. I thought the tinted glass was one way, but I realised the next morning, walking back from Tully’s, that if the living room and hallway lights are on… Right. Et cetera.

10. If you had only one hour to live before the world comes to an end, how would you spend it?
I’ll comfort the people dearest to me and in silent prayer, send requests ahead for the afterlife. In a different star system.

11. If you could go back in time and meet yourself for an hour, which year would you go to and how would you spend the time?
September, 2000. I would say, “Say yes. He is a great travel companion and conversationalist with refined manners. He will give you all of your space. He’s also aged well. And … this is the formula for the 100% Pure super fruits moisturiser I’m using. Make. Patent. Sell. When you finally tie the knot, you’re going to live in Fort Lauderdale. Which is perfect because there’s this huge outlet mall … ”

12. If you had to destroy yourself, how would you do it?
Bare my soul to someone and have that person respond with the frozen, smelly cod fish thwack of indifference.


about me

What she said


Condescension is manufactured self praise. Two things might happen. Sometimes a person wants to say “I’m great” but for that to work, the others must be low impact. (I discussed this in Envy and GOYA). Or, one insignificant aspect of the other person is used to judge them as wholly incompetent in all matters.


Case in point? A fine arts conference I attended this past week. After surviving a two hour planning meeting, which I co-chaired, I realised I was missing a painting session in the park. Then, it occurred to me I was only a ten minute drive from the restaurant of two friends. It is a visual spectacular stuffed with beautiful antiques.

I invited a colleague to join me. At the previous year’s conference, she was nice to me. She had not packed her lunch, so I thought she would like a delicious meal in a unique setting. Five minutes after later, I knew I had made a huge mistake. The first face slap came after I told her I confirmed the reservation, so I couldn’t rescind the invite.

Joy's kitchen

I used a PLUG for the rude remarks, but she was a slinky on an escalator. What she said: Below are the highlights.

12.40 You drive?!?!?!

12.41 Do you want me to drive? Are you okay driving a car??!

12.44 Where are we going?!!! Do you know where you’re going?

12.45 Did you get your license HERE??!?!??!?

12.48 You are driving like a wild person. (The driver in front of us has swung out in front of me and I am forced to brake suddenly.)

13.25 You’ve started eating already.


13.30 This restaurant is so beautiful. I feel bad eating here because we are attending a work conference.

13.43 You’ve finished already.

13.47 That’s a take away dessert. You must not eat it now!!

13.59 This biscuit is delicious. You can’t have flour? But it’s yummy. Mmmmm…. Hmmmm? (I am gluten intolerant).

14.01 (I quietly pay for lunch. This causes her to feel guilty about something).

14.02 Oh!!! No. I …  It’s …

14.06 (I realize I’ve left my umbrella). You’re a careless girl. People are inconvenienced by you. (It’s my friend’s shop, and they don’t care about that stuff).

14.09 You are able to paint? (NB: This is an fine-arts conference with over five hundred participants and I co-chaired the morning session).

14.20 (End of ordeal and time for a walk in the park.)

about me

Endless Quest

On a much lighter note, this post is about the endless quest for alien life. It started when I read the poem A man’s heart and told The Hallucinating Angel, Nidhi, I wanted someone to feel this about me:

She makes my heart pound with just a blink
And leaves me in this state of pique
She has become the centre of my universe
And I shall keep revolving around her for eternity to come.

Excerpted from A man’s heart on Hallucinations of an Angel.

Nidhi suggested we create lists and publish them on our blogs. “Breathing” was my first item, but that was not good enough, so we talked about the details. You can see her handwritten list at Hallucinations of an Angel.

I was talking to a friend last evening and we joked that I should call this “the search for aliens.” Because who can take me except for Martians?

I managed to fill a page with my unreadable scrawl. Don’t read it… Look at the stickers.

Endless Quest

about me People

To Whom this May Concern

Bad things can happen when we take shortcuts to judgement. I am reminded of one of my favourite films, Match Point, where a young former tennis pro marries into a wealthy upper class family after carefully playing to their assumptions. I recommend the film to anyone who wants to understand how fixed, ready processed ideas can leave us vulnerable to manipulation. Skyfall‘s villain, played by Javier Bardem, tricked MI6 into handing him their entire database. The ploy was convincing because he was difficult to capture and lives were sacrificed to protect his identity.

A person can deliberately take offence to what was said in order to create dissonance and use the heavy mist of emotions to avoid speaking in truth about the real issues in question. Dramatic cosplays may backfire if the other person is wise to that strategy. Let me explain why that stuff does not work on me. First, consider three non fiction essays I’ve published here: One called GOYA; another about how to act SMART and most recently, one called Bread. Second, notice that in practice, they work in harmony, like this.

I happened on a poem from a writer, in which he identified himself as “racist.” I didn’t accept that he was one. That was me giving someone the benefit of the doubt. Even so, I was stung that he wrote how if a dark skinned male passes by his open garage door, he feels that the person will jump him. I have dark skin, so I felt unfairly judged.

This is how I reacted.

I asked him if the feelings were real. He said, yes. Then, we had a short discussion about the differences between the privileges afforded by his superficial identifying features and the privileges I’ve enjoyed after working hard to earn them outside of my comfort and safety zones. I said something like, I have learned to take control over my environment as a result of not having everything handed to me. I also let him know that even if we don’t have the same ideas, we can be decent to each other. I extended my best wishes and invited him to delete my comments if he found my presence on his blog disconcerting.

His response may surprise you. He thanked me for my comment and said, “I need more dark skinned friends” after inviting me to read and comment on his blog. I accepted his invitation and found out that we both enjoy fine wine. This discovery warmed me and so did his recommendation for a place to sample some delicious wines on my next trip to the United States.

The reason I’m posting this commentary here is to say this. Welcome to my universe. In it, I can make the choice to not jump down someone’s throat, be offensive, unkind and disparaging just to be confrontational just because something seems provocative. On this occasion, I may have met a fascinating person. I still feel some tension but I am willing to give this a try.

To whom this may concern,

When I am aware of an assumption of mine, I test it by asking the other person to present their side. A stranger, who does not know me and could have tossed out my opinion, chose instead to engage in conversation on a sensitive matter.

We could have torn each other to shreds with words. We chose not to do that.

Why not you?

Warmest regards,

about me

Crazy making/Toma de loco

This has been my entire week. One colleague.
Esto fue mi semana con una colega.

Crazy making. Is that one word, or two? Let’s make it one word.
Toma de loco o tomaloco. ¿Debe ser una sola palabra o tres? Debe ser una palabra.

I agree. It’s a great idea.
De acuerdo. Es una buena idea.

No. That’s wrong. It’s two words. 
No. No tienes razón. Son tres palabras: toma de loco.

I agree. Let’s make it two words.
De acuerdo.

Okay. But don’t you think it’s better as one word?
De acuerdo. Pero ¿No piensas que debe ser una sola palabra, tomaloco?

Let’s do that, then. It works as one word.
Por supuesto.

Why don’t we put a space between the y and the m?
Por favor mete un espacio entre el a y el ele y añade de.

That would make it two words. Is that what you want?
En este caso tendremos tres palabras.

No. It has to be one word.
No. Debe ser una sola palabra, tomaloco.

If we add a space, it will be two words.
Entiendo, pero si regresamos, otra vez, tenemos tres palabras.

Oh, you’re right. It is two words. So let’s remove the space and make it one word.
De acuerdo, son tres palabras. Quitamos los espacios y la de.

Okay. It’s now one word.
Bueno. Ahora es una sola palabra.

But I like it as one word. It shouldn’t be two.
A mi me gusta una sola palabra. No debe ser tres.

Okay. I’ve just made it one word.
¿Cómo no?

Why did you make it one word?
¿Por qué estás escribiéndolo como una sola palabra?

You’ve just said, you want it to be one word.
Como tú has dicho, en este momento, debe ser una sola palabra.

Yeah, but it needs a space between the y and the m.
Sí, faltan dos espacios.

That will make it two words.
Pues, tenemos tres palabras.

I don’t think so. It’s one word with a space. Isn’t it?
No, no, no, no. Es una palabra con espacios. ¿No?

Okay. Change it back.
Podemos regresar …

But people will think it’s two words, so can we take out the space?
Pero nuestras colegas van a pensar que esta palabra es realmente tres palabras.

De acuerdo.

Yes, but it’s one word now.
Sí, pero en este momento es una sola palabra.

Because we removed the space.
A causa de que hemos quitado los espacios.

Yeah, but it should have a space. Don’t you think?
Pero necesita unos espacios. ¿Sí o no?

Okay. Let’s put the space back.
Sí. Por supuesto. Otra vez.

Wait. I’m getting confused now. Is it one word or two?
Espere un momento. En este ahora estoy muy confundida. ¿Debe ser una palabra o tres palabras?

Hmmm. Which one you prefer?
Vamos a ver. ¿A ti qué te gusta?

One word. Hmmm…
Por supuesto una sola palabra.

De acuerdo.


about me men women

Love vs Love (2/3)

When I say I love someone, I actually do. For most people, love is a salary for a high stress job and you need to do lots of things to earn it. It’s wrapped up in some velvet purse, and it’ll only come out when the right recipient appears.

In truth, the deserving one will always remain elusive. Don’t vie for my love, you thunder and roar. This is Mount Olympus. You’ll never get there. Complete the form and submit your fingerprints for checking. Finish all the tasks on this list.

But you’ll never qualify because, as summer college flings proclaimed, “you are not a blowup doll” or “your legs are too long”. Rubbish. That’s not why. You want what you can’t get. When these boys eventually got their precious listed items, they were sorely disappointed. Out came another list, and another. More and more women were needed to make up the right one. I was overjoyed to learn of their misfortunes.

Love is not a tangible quantity. We can’t hoard it. It has to stay always at the surface or our consciousness, as an offering of goodwill to all, even those that don’t make our cotton candy, soda pop shortlists. When I love someone, I know that the more I give, the more I have left over for myself. Love is not a muscle you can touch but it needs to be stretched to places that are hard to reach: Backstabbing friends who abandon you when you’re sick, gossipy clients, untrustworthy and self obsessed colleagues, suspicious neighbours.

I got loved in spades over the past week, from people I never expected to receive it from. Last Tuesday, while recovering from an autoimmune flareup, I went to the office to organise my work projects for the year. I was carrying a heavy tote and caught my foot on a box. I tripped and slammed face first, full body weight into a doorknob. I gashed the side of my face a half inch away from my eye. My Gucci frames saved my eyesight. They don’t have a scratch on them. However, the skin on my left palm, knee and a small area near my left eye, are held together by tape. I also have to visit the hospital every day to check the healing and change bandages. Today, I’m finally able to bend my knee and move my face.

The colleagues who scraped me off the floor, who rushed me to hospital and waited patiently for me to be released, are the people I loved anyway.

about me


This is a complaint, a reflection and rant at the same time. I sought to ease the text heavy tension by publishing a fashion focused post with a story. As it transpired over an eight hour period, the post got a small number of views. I was surprised in a pleasant way.

Earlier in the day, I’d noticed some immensely popular blogs on WordPress. For example, one was comprised of copied and pasted quotes from famous books as status updates. Shut the front door. Now, how do the seven thousand plus readers appreciating those quotations know that the quotes really came from those books? They could all be victims of a cruel fraud, don’t you think?

A very cute Barbie faced girl with large blue eyes caught my attention. I went to her blog. She is a photography student with eight thousand followers. She gets about one thousand new followers every month, but I am baffled by her content, beyond jumping GIFs celebrating her follower count and gossip about how her husband has abandoned her with their three children to go eat food from tins in Europe. 

Amused by this mysterious discovery, I thought I would look up “Why do people get lots of traffic when they don’t write anything interesting on their blogs” using Google, to see what would show up. I came across a website dedicated to luring readers who want to increase their viewership. The author answered the above question in every post: “I have no bleeding idea.” The blog author also said that I was writing what I wanted, was not trading enough sexual favours, published every day, was new to blogging and that I was a pathetic ninety nine percenter who was not genetically blessed with the “Like” “Comment” or “Follow” gene. The comment I left on his blog is obscene and unprofessional. I may release the screengrab at a later date. 

Another blog was a literal shrine to someone whose content was “stupid things I wanna stick on this page.” I have no quarrel with that. However, here’s what I have to say about advertising yourself as having a fucking awesome day job, in order to win attention. If in your free time you have nothing to do but put shit on your blog, then I really can’t with you. If you are a force to be reckoned with at a desk job you should not be able to shut it off.

While one of this feed’s followers is appeasing the Job Gods, there is a worshipped magazine editor who is literally sitting there in her office sticking swizzlesticks photos on her front page. While she does that, she mines data and ideas from bloggers with oomph from around WordPress. I’m calling out professional resume readers headhunters too. Shame on you! Go work at your local animal shelter or at the Salvation Army. Get a meaningful job and don’t profit off others’ suffering. Ladies and gentlemen, this is the world we live in. There is a lifestyle magazine editor who has no decorum, no style, is colour blind, has no sense of balance or proportion, and has a content free mindscape. I believe that she follows content rich blogs to trap authors into begging her for breadcrumbs. These may include features in her magazine. All that while, they will post quality content on their blogs to impress her. That mediocre zap mama’s one reason why I created this installation.

People have to be smart enough to know that what they’re looking at is junk. So, going back to my original questions, I believe they are just using the space to take advantage of what that space can offer them: Visibility and a foot in another blogger’s front door. Carry on!

I am reminded of the time I published the post about the famous anti brunch food editor, who knows fuckall about how to dine. I had to write something about his barbaric behaviour. Imagine I had to spend my Saturday lunches and Sunday dinners, as a child, being corrected on the use of silverware or delicately handling heavy crystal goblets. Is it any wonder why I am OCD right now?!!!!

When I reached adulthood, I was disappointed to learn that most of the people in my peer group have never written thank you notes or used a fountain pen, do not know the smell of silver polish, how to dress for an evening out, nor care that you must handle the chicken drumstick and not cut into it.

The experimental post was a reaction to my notions about fellow Pressers and Gravatourists who I believed would jump on any bandwagon and not think deeply about what’s in front of them. If that post had got too many views, I would have been livid.

Instead, I ended up collecting another handful of conservative Christian followers. I don’t know why they love me so, I literally don’t, but I thank them all very much for their kindness.

xoxo Sabiscuit

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About that…

Happy New Year! I said I would do no promotion for Sabiscuit’s Catalog, but I was so disappointed after dinner with two airheads that in my despair, I went against policy and went through a list of all of my frieeends to see which of them I could ask to subscribe to my blog. Please laugh now. Turns out, apart from subscribers, I have none, aside from “”.

So I turned to a very star studded cast of enemies for support. Nineteen white flags were waved. In addition, I invited six people who are followers of a social media account that was created with my email address by one very disgruntled former disciple. He has a cushy university teaching job now thanks to my merciless bullying, so you’re welcome, Ryan!!!!

My real name isn’t Ruva Kungingunun, so I don’t know who is updating my account. I was at the bookstore at midnight whispering mysteriously into the speaker of my iPhone, dictating to Siri, and staring down curious customers. If you’re reading this after that mysterious email, this is the story. This is my way of saying, “Thank you for visiting, and sorry.”

I’m a horrid person. I value my subscribers dearly, because really you are just the sweetest, loveliest people, ever assembled in an iPad app. But, I thought I might need to do better than this and find some flesh and bones outside of my Apple devices to hang on to.

Alright, let’s suspend that thought for a minute. I haven’t had a face to face conversation with a woman, apart from relatives, who speaks English as a native language, in a while. Most people I speak to, in any country, speak it as a second language. This is somehow not normal. New York City: Find me one person who speaks English as a native language. Wait…there was that one stalker from the grocery shop. I should have followed him home. Jorge made my carrot and beet juice, but he did it silently in Guatemalan, or was he Lebanese. I don’t know.

The women in my city are useless, as they can’t do any topic more difficult than milk toast, and do Instagram updates of themselves coming out of the shower. I like to pepper my conversations with Latin and references to the Viking Sagas, so it’s a tough audience. I spent years studying a particular foreign language, only to learn that the people I would converse with were just uninterested in actual conversation.

Everyone in my peer group here manages their own business, so thinking can’t be that hard. However, there was a lot of eye rolling at dinner today, when I told my forty year old best friend, that at forty, she needed to be her own Goddess. Apparently, people with boyfriends don’t need their own self esteem because their boyfriends give it to them. Also, she, my best friend went snowboarding with a client after I got sick and was kind enough to bring her along for dinner on the way back. So, that’s why, as mentioned at the start, I have only one woman friend. And I can’t rely on her.

I am going to need to find a new peer group of people who use their brains to think, so please come through for me. Thank you.

Update 2015/01/04 15:40 UTC
My cryptic messages worked, and the response from “enemies” was overwhelming. Special thanks go to new readers from Australia and Iceland. Yay!

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Viral Harsh Realities

Freshly Pressed is bogus. It’s got a year-old article from a man who posts every two years. And a Christian expatriate living in South Korea who’s obsessed with pre-marital sex (and the prevention thereof). She’s married to a man who gives her butterflies. So, it’s okay for her but I should want not.

She’s also a greedy young woman who has complained that 1.6 million article views aren’t making her happy enough. Writing is hard work so she’s scared because the expectations are plenty. But, on the other hand, she wants more followers so she can feel validated as a writer, “It’s not fair! Only 200 + people are following me”.

You, fellow blogger, are preventing her from getting more subscribers because you are taking up space on the Internet. She wants you to delete your blog so she can get more readers. She has nine hundred plus subscribers as of this post. Should her readers say “congrats” or hand her a tissue?

If I have my way, this blogger will define herself forever as the woman who got 1.6 million views for one article. When she meets people she will find a way to sneak it into the conversation. This obsession with a statistical anomaly will stunt her personal growth and dampen her creative outpourings.

Our Christian blogger has another problem. She says writing is hard work and she wants to give it up. She envies friends who have book deals. She projects unto them envious thoughts of her million-view spike. A sensible person should be asking, “How many of those views were from real readers?”

This behaviour is typical of greedy people. They are bottomless wells of want. They want what they don’t want. Then they fantasise that everyone wants to be like them.

Life is too precious to get hung up on page views. If no one reads a post, it is okay to feel bad. But find out more about the numbers, where they come from, and leave your self-esteem out of it. Acquiring new readers requires an effective strategy, hours of work, and perhaps a consultation with a professional.

On a slightly tangential note, I want to say that I am amazed at how writers are beholden to publishers. They outsource the reading of your manuscripts to freelancers but you are offering up your self-worth to them?

I sort of get how that starts. One editor told me, “I’m promoting feminism among women of colour to make the world a better place.” An essay of mine addressing those two issues was not accepted for publishing.

A week after that, the editor published a rant from an Asian-American woman saying nasty things about “white belly dancers”. I realised that this is a game called, “the editor is a two-topic pony (white people are racists/you all hate fat women) and will not publish material she could not write herself.”

This same editor later went to a grocery store and when the staff did not genuflect to her highness, she tried to create a national scandal about it on Twitter. I now see why she would not publish my essay.

And as the world continues to marinate in that sauce, I continue to have zero expectations and immense gratitude every time someone shows me that they are paying attention. I am defined by the desire to create. I let my  stories write themselves. I am their engine.

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Tea time, at desk

Tea time at the office.
Tea time at the office: Peppermint with a teaspoon of nectar.

I’m enjoying a fifteen minute minute break, and I decided to sneak in a bit of peppermint tea and stage a photo shoot for a tiny pot of nectar I got from France. That aubergine piece of satin is a dinner napkin. I found it at a charity bazaar in September, and I still don’t quite know what to do with it. I didn’t want to buy its companion (green) because I thought: who’s going to use the other one? Ha! I’m still asking that question. It has been tucked away in my treasure chest until today. Of course, a colleague complained about the shutter noise, but I think he was secretly envious that he was not the subject of all this attention. That box was a container for chocolate covered nuts, believe it or not. I was so intrigued by the Latin inscription on it (a description of moon phases), I decided to recycle it as a honey pot holder. It’s going to inspire me someday, I just know it.