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zabster's Journal

I was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, but we left when I was six, and I don't remember it that well. We used to vacation in West Virginia, and I loved loved loved it. I did most of my growing up just outside New York City, and moved to the San Francisco Bay Area after college. My dad is from England, and I am very close with his family, who still live over there. I feel very tied to England.

I love to read: mostly fiction, stuff with strong complex characters. Some of my favorite authors are: Vikram Seth, Rohinton Mistry, Arundhati Roy, Doris Lessing, Michael Chabon, Douglas Adams, Rumer Godden, and Douglas Adams. lrc introduced me to Terry Pratchett's Discworld series this past winter, and I have devoured it from beginning to end--or, at least up to the most recent book in the series that has been published in the U.S.

I also love reading children's books, and some of my favorite children's authors are: A. A. Milne, Laura Ingalls Wilder, Lois Lowry, Arthur Ransome, E. Nesbit, and Anne Frank. I admit to loving all the Harry Potter books, and being amazed at what a good job has been done translating them to film.

I love dance: blues, lindyhop, Argentine tango, bhangra, and Odissi, a classical dance form from India. I broke my foot in May of 2007, and do not know if I will be able to dance Odissi any more, as it involves a lot of foot stamping. If it turns out that I can't dance Odissi any more, I will probably take up belly dance, though I might consider Manipuri, the only classical dance form of India that doesn't involve stamping. I've seen some video of it, and it is very delicate and graceful. But I believe there aren't as many teachers of Manipuri in the US as there are of some of the other classical Indian dances.

I love music: swing, blues, big band music, celtic rock, ghazals, afropop, reggae, ska, bhangra, country, highlife, rock. I seem to like almost any music that includes a harmonica or a saxophone. Musicians I have been listening to a lot lately include: Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday, Bessie Smith, Amy Rigby, Bob Marley, Louis Armstrong, Mary Gauthier, Arthur Crudup, B. B. King, Big Maybelle, Buddy Guy, The Austen Lounge Lizards, Benny Goodman, Los Lonely Boys, Etta James, Jimi Hendrix, Jimmy Cliff, John Lee Hooker, Stereo Nation, Lavay Smith, Nina Storey, Farida Khanum, Oak Ash and Thorne, Steeleye Span, Peter Gabriel, R.E.M., Tom Lehrer, UB 40, Jonathan Coulton, Prince, They Might Be Giants, and The Red Elvises. Two Bay Area performers I like a lot are The West African Highlife Band and John "Broadway" Tucker. lrc recently introduced me to Pig Radio, out of Freedom, California, and I have discovered alternative country, something this city girl had never explored.

I love film, mostly foreign and alternative. Some of my favorate movies are: Welcome To The Dollhouse, The Scent of Green Papaya, Earth Girls are Easy, Salaam Bombay, Once Were Warriors, The Apu Trilogy: Pather Panchali, Aparajito, and the world of Apu; Raise the Red Lantern, Kama Sutra, Latcho Drom, Les Parapluies de Cherbourg, Hope and Glory, Groundhog Day, Taxi Driver, The Deer Hunter, Who's Afraid of Virginia Wolff, and My Beautiful Laundrette.

My favorite television includes: Six Feet Under, The Sopranos, 42 Up, Futurama, South Park, Law and Order, Monte Python, Northern Exposure, St. Elsewhere, E.R., and Upstairs Downstairs.

I'm constantly listening to NPR, and especially love This American Life, Fresh Air with Terry Gross, Selected Shorts, My Word, Wait Wait... Don't Tell Me, and Car Talk.

I really respect the work of the following actors: Daniel Day-Lewis, James Gandolfini, Rachel Griffiths, Anthony Hopkins, Harvey Keitel, Meryl Streep, and Emma Thompson.

Ah Beauty. It shouldn't matter as much as it does. But oh, it catches the eye and freezes the brain. I love to look at these men: Adrien Brody (The Pianist), the young Jeff Goldblum, Shahrukh Khan, Spike Lee, the young Al Pacino, Jeremy Sisto (Six Feet Under), Tiger Woods, and I'll admit to being yet another girl who likes Johnny Depp's looks. I also like to look at these women: Ingrid Bergman, Halle Berry, Juliette Binoche, Nandita Das (Earth, Fire), Joie Lee (Spike Lee's sister), Gong Li, Julianne Moore, Parminder Nagra (Bend it Like Beckham, Twelfth Night), Isabella Rosalini, Do Thi Hai Yen (The Quiet American) and Tran Nu Yên-Khê (Scent of Green Papaya).

I found out in high school that I love learning languages. I speak French and Spanish pretty well. I have also studied Hebrew, Hindi, and American Sign Language, but I never reached fluency in any of them, and I have forgotten a lot. I'm interested in languages--language development in babies and small children, the ways languages change and develop into groups of related languages over time, the things we can figure out about the early IndoEuropeans from the common roots of certain words in many European and Indian languages.

I have made a few Halloween costumes I am very proud of. I've toyed with the idea of working in costume design. I love fabrics and textiles. I discovered that I have an enormous enjoyment of the arts of India. I love the fabrics, the dancing, the jewelry--well, okay, some of it--the literature, the film, the architecture. I have never been there, but I very much hope to go.

I've got this great new man in my life, his livejournal name is lrc, and I'm pretty excited about him. I recently started a masters program in Library Science. And that about sums up what is going on in my life for now...
a. a. milne, afropop, animal behavior, anne frank, anti-bullying, argentine tango, arthur ransome, arundhati roy, asl, babies, backrubs, ballads, beauty, benny goodman, bhangra, big-band music, blues, blues dancing, books, britain, california, canooing, children, children's books, chocolate, coming of age stories, compassion, conversation, costuming, cuddling, dance, dancing, dark chocolate, dickens faire, dining out, doris lessing, earth girls are easy, england, english, evolution, evolutionary roots of behavior, fabric, feminism, fertility, fiction, film festivals, flanders and swann, food, foreign film, french, french food, fresh air terry gross, friends, gaskells, getting organized, ghazals, google, great britain, harbin, highlife music, hot tubs, hugging, human rights, humor, ice cream, india, indian classical dance, indian food, intelligent conversation, justice, kama sutra, kids, kindness, kissing, korean food, language, latcho drom, laughter, laura ingalls wilder, les parapluies de cherbourg, libraries, lindy-hop, linguistics, literature, massage, michael chabon, mosaics, music, my beautiful laundrette, mythology, new york, npr, oakland, odissi, old school r&b, once were warriors, pather panchali, patisseries, peers balls, psychology, quilting, quirkie people, raise the red lantern, reading, reading aloud, red hair, redheads, redwoods, reggae, ren faire, respect, retro fashions, rohinton mistry, rumer godden, salaam bombay, san francisco, sarees, saris, saxophone, scent of green papaya, sensuality, sex, sex positive, sing-alongs, six feet under, ska, skiing, sleeping, smart people, spanish, spelling my interests correctly, stretching, sushi, terry pratchett, textiles, thai food, the internet, this american life, vietnamese food, vikram seth, waltz, watsu, welcome to the dollhouse, west virginia, who's afraidof virginia wolff, wit, women's rights, writing, writing well, you tube