Friday, January 25, 2013

Kenz has a show; I pull the juicer out

Granted, the two aren't of the same caliber. Kenz has spent months working on her piece, organizing the show, moving materials and pieces, and enduring the grief that other, disorganized students have thrown at her. All I did was pull the juicer off the shelf again. 

Much like last week, this one has been relatively unremarkable. I've come to believe that's not necessarily a bad thing. We need a few unremarkable weeks here and there. 

For Christmas, Whitney got me a month's membership to CrossFit Central London. She's been doing CrossFit for several months, knew that I had tried it (unsuccessfully) solo several years ago, and thought it'd be a good idea for me to try again. 

For those of you who aren't familiar with CrossFit, my summary : CrossFit is a hive-minded community that subscribes to a fitness ideology with devout faith. The overarching idea is that fitness should be general, not specific. They allow results to do more talking than their mouths. It's likely the hardest fitness regimen I've ever encountered. You can learn more on your own if you're interested. 

In order for me to become a 'member', however, I had to complete a foundations course. From 1pm-6pm on Saturday and Sunday, I was at the gym, learning about lifting techniques, nutrition, safety, and (on my own, somewhat anthropologically) about the culture. By Sunday night, I was nearly immobile from the lactic acid in my (long forgotten) muscles. 

I FaceTime'd with Whitney on Saturday night in order to share my experience (and pain):

She got a kick out of how sore I was
She happened to be with her friend, Sara. Sara's dog had just finished rolling in the stuff that dogs like to roll in. As a result, a bath was in order.

I won't go too deep into my experience with the gym. I've always been somewhat annoyed with people who go on and on about their workout routine, so I'll spare you. I will say, however, that I've chosen to do the early morning classes, three days a week. Early being 6am. I wake at 4:45 in order to get there on time. It's been, surprisingly, not that bad. However, it's been one week. Let's not get ahead of ourselves. 

Upon returning to our home on Saturday night, Kenz and I found that the power had gone out in our building. Power outages are a nuisance for anyone, sure, but it was especially bad for us considering the fact that we have an electronic gate along the perimeter of the parking lot. 

We stood there, dumbfounded, laughing to ourselves, wondering what to do. We haven't made friends with anyone else in the building (NOT OUR FAULT, we always say 'hi' to people! Damn British, too polite to talk to anyone), so we had no one to call. Not as if they could've done anything anyway. After five minutes of staring at the gate, mildly panicking, punching the code in despite knowing it wouldn't work, getting frustrated and planning an angry monologue in my head (to be delivered to the building manager), and trying to pry the gate open, Kenz suggested I lift it off it's roller/track. Boom; solution; problem solved.

The mild snow could've been the culprit:

I'll reiterate that it's cool to live in a city that doesn't require us to have a car. However, when you don't have a car, you gain an entirely new set of pet peeves, one of which is walking on a sidewalk covered in a snow/slush/ice mixture. Walking speed is cut in half because your push-off foot is always slipping right at the very moment you need maximum momentum. Step, slip, step, slip, step, slip. All the way to the grocery store. All the way home. All the way to the bus stop. Immediately after exiting the bus. For someone like me, who finds himself counting steps, cracks, potholes, etc. this kind of walking obstruction drives me mad. 

I'm not complaining as much as I am trying to give you an idea of what it's like. I mean, you're reading this to get an idea of our lives here in London, right? 

I'd put the juicer up in order to prepare for Friendsgiving. We didn't have the space in our kitchen to keep it there while we were prepping all that food. But, then, the juicer began to earn 'fixture' status on the top of our bookcase. You know the drill: you get something you think you'll use a whole bunch, you're really excited when it shows up at the house, you swear to everyone how cool it is, that you're going to use it so much, and then you find out how much of a hassle it is to set up, use, and break down. You give it the college try for a few days or weeks, and then something happens that causes you to hide it away somewhere. A month later, you notice it sitting there, all alone, and think to yourself, "I really need to get that out again," because you know that if you don't do so in the next few days or weeks, it'll be gone forever. 

That's where I was at with the juicer. To her credit, Kenz hadn't said a word about it. She thought it was ludicrous that I'd purchased it in the first place (at least I used a gift card!). She probably knows the drill better than I do - just the other side of the drill. She's always the one who'll be the recipient of my soliloquies, politely nodding her head as I extoll the virtues of whatever purchase I've just made. 

However, when we were at the grocery store two weeks ago, I bought two bags of spinach. Kenz looked at me sideways, as if to say, "you hate spinach - what are you doing buying all this spinach?" I knew the look and preemptively uttered, "it's for the juicer," knowing, in my head, that it was time to pull it back out - I was not going to be defeated by this damn juicer. 

A week passed and I'd forgotten about the spinach. I was out on Monday, grocery shopping for the week when I saw more bags of spinach. 

"I should get more spinach. I don't remember seeing it in the fridge. Maybe Kenz used it while I wasn't at home."

I bought two more bags (for the juicer), brought them home, and found the existing two bags in that drawer I never open. Shit.

I knew that if she came home to four bags of spinach, Kenz wouldn't be able to hold her tongue. Refusing to lose this battle, I set to making some juice. 

2 bags of spinach, 3 apples, and 1 grapefruit (don't ask - it was there - it was another thing I'd bought for the juicer)

Was it good? Nope. Do I still have two bags of spinach in the fridge? Yup.

In fact, after I (stupidly) drank both glasses, back-to-back, while standing in the kitchen, immediately after making it, I felt sick. I had to sit down.

At least the juicer's back out!

Tuesday night was Kenz's night for a private viewing. There were so many exhibits that the students had to split into two groups. The first got to invite friends and family on Monday night and the second group on Tuesday.

It was great to, once again, see Kenz in her element. She ran into friends as we strolled through the basement of the Shoreditch Town Hall. They'd stop and chat, she'd introduce me, they'd discuss favorites, and we'd move on. There were so many exhibits that it took us nearly two hours to get through the whole show.

It's fun to see Kenz proud of herself (as she should be).
Discussing art

Again, I can't explain her installation. I asked her what it was about and she meandered through a few different things that went directly over my head. Essentially, she reconstructed images, from memory, of the things that stood out to her while travelling through France and Spain with her sister last year. She used no photographs and built everything in the wood shop (having to learn/teach herself some new techniques along the way).

Her floodlight, however, made it impossible for me to take a good photo (something about the piece had to do with shadows, FYI, thus the light).

Like last year, I saw a lot of stuff that had me thinking cynically. I took a picture of the one below, trying to act as if I was just photographing the room. Nope. I just wanted to get this pink, brainlike blob in a picture:

All in all, it was a fantastic event. Kenz has definitely come a long way in her time at Camberwell. She's just passed the halfway point - three more semesters and she'll have this degree. It's damn cool.

Side note: I cooked swordfish for the first time.
It was much more yum than I expected it to be.

That's it for this week. Thanks for reading! Have a great weekend!

Poor quality, but you get the idea.