Saturday, January 31, 2009

The Viper

The last few days have put expateek in mind of an old joke, from back when she was a kid in Wisconsin.

An old woman lives on the 4th floor of a posh 7-floor apartment building. One morning, the phone rings. She picks up, and she hears a strange voice on the other end of the line.

The viper is coming. I'm on the seventh floor. *Click*

Common Viper, originally uploaded by Sergey Yeliseev.

She is slightly alarmed, but decides it's just a wrong number, or some kid playing a prank, and she forgets about it.

The next morning, the phone rings again.

The viper is coming. I'm on the sixth floor. *Click*

Eyelash Viper, originally uploaded by ashour rehana.

Now she's a bit alarmed. The viper? My heavens, what could this be? How did this viper get her phone number? Vipers are poisonous, deadly, with sharp fangs. She's rather worried. But she decides she's being silly, puts it out of her mind, and carries on watering her African violets.

The third morning, the phone rings again.

The viper is coming. I'm on the fifth floor. *Click*

Viper, originally uploaded by dominiqs81.

Now she's terrified. Clearly, there's something horrible, a monster, coming nearer and nearer. What to do? She's afraid to leave her apartment, but afraid to stay too. She's paralysed with fear.

On the fourth morning, the doorbell rings.

Bamboo Pit Viper, originally uploaded by Enygmatic-Halycon.

Should she answer it? After all these awful calls? She moves slowly toward the door, takes a deep breath, and unlatches the door and opens it.

A little old man stands before her, smiling, and says...

Old man, originally uploaded by Alexander Danling.

I'm da viper! I come to vipe your vindows!

Window Washers, originally uploaded by Ben Ramsey.

Substitute moving men for viper, and you got expateek's mood....


Thursday, January 29, 2009

Black despair

Today, expateek wants to use the razor blades from yesterday's post and slit her wrists. She won't do it, of course, because that would make a big mess and cause untold difficulties for everyone else. For example, Mr D would have to clean the bathroom yet again.

Still, bleak despair has set in momentarily.

Because she has one day to inventory and value everything in her house. For the move.

The Company has had a month to organise a moving company, but they have waited until the second-to-the-last business day to approve the proposal and give the go-ahead. The packers arrive Monday. So expateek has ... let's see... tomorrow to document 30 years of accumulated possessions and guess at the replacement value of everything she and Mr D own abroad.

This is where Mr D's strategy of minimalism looks especially intelligent. Perhaps if they only owned a frackin' yurt and a few tapestries and tent poles, it would have been easier. Of course it would have been easier.

Moreover, putting aside that expateek has a hard time remembering anything these days, she now needs to remember not only what she paid for stuff, but then convert it into Polish zlotys. Great. She's still thinking in British pounds, she paid for many things in American dollars, and some stuff cost South African rands. Dammit. Exchange rates, anyone?

So this is the order of the day for tomorrow.

And then there's picking out anything she might need -- important papers, tax returns and documents, medical information, dissertation resources and notes, not to mention basic clothes and shoes and stuff -- for the next three months or even longer. Because once she arrives in Chicago, her stuff will go straight into storage until the next permanent posting for Mr D is revealed.

She and Mr D might not be in Chicago long term. No sense unpacking, and then packing up again 3 months from now to move to places unknown. expateek's hoping places unknown won't equal Mobile, Alabama. Although ironically, mobile pretty much describes expateek's life.

On days like this, expateek takes small comfort in the idea that at least she has an excuse for never having written a great novel, never having had a stellar career, never having gotten much of anything of any substance accomplished. After all, if one spends all one's time packing and unpacking every two years, there's not much energy for anything else.

This is Company move number twelve. expateek's done this twelve times. expateek's frackin' tired.


Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Bad parenting

What do you get if you cross this....

abacus, originally uploaded by pinkangelbabe.

with these...?

razor blade, originally uploaded by scottfeldstein.


IMG_6362 child's toy MUMOK, originally uploaded by ehdindigo.

Contemporary art!

And also the perfect tool to induce mathematics phobia as tiny children slice their fingers to ribbons while learning to count.

Definitely not available in the Early Learning Centre toy catalogue.

Brought to you by expateek and MUMOK, Museum of Contemporary Art, Vienna, Austria.


Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Dr Owl flips out

It's Tuesday, and once again, Dr. Owl has flown in from California to bring some of his much needed wisdom to Poland.

Though he is not a licensed psychotherapist, his accumulated insights and varied life experience give him the ability to cut through the crap touch the souls of his single numerous patients. Reading People and Hello magazines whilst in rehab on a journey of self-discovery will do that for a person an owl.

Again this week, after seeing our poor pathetic expateek, Dr. Owl has agreed to answer reader questions. Remember, consults with Dr. Owl are not a substitute for proper psychotherapeutic treatment by someone who actually knows what they're doing a licensed professional.

Let's listen in...

Today, expateek presents a note received from Flip:

Dr. Owl is all ears.

Ears which you will remember are placed slightly asymmetrically on his head so he can easily locate and kill his prey in the dark listen super carefully.

Dr. Owl,
I am so pleased that you have opened up your practice to help those of us out there cope with the everyday torments of life. I hate to admit it, but I too have a problem you might be able to shed light on. I had a really cushy job with the government until last Friday. Seems they monitor our computer usage and ...well...I was the highest user in our whole facility (yeah- I'm number one) so they pulled my computer and checked out the sites I was visiting. The government frowns on individuality and one of the sites they mentioned was a blog site I read by expateek. I can't use all of the words that were used in association with my Internet usage, but I quite distinctly remember the words expateek and disturbing being used in the same sentence (more than once and often repeated throughout a SINGLE sentence).

To make a long story even more convoluted, they fired me from my cushy government job and now I am unemployed, living on the handouts of others. I had to leave my winter wonderland and move to the southern part of the US. The weather is better but it's damn difficult to make a snowball.

So my question is threefold. First, is expateek really disturbed? Second, do you think I was fired unjustly? And lastly, do you think you could use a practice manager??? I work cheap... really...really cheap.


Dr. Owl is livid! Almost beside himself with vexation, Dr. Owl's feathers glow red, and his eyes, usually a soft and gentle golden hazel, are cold and icy blue.

For Pete's sake, expateek, now look what you've gone and done!

What, Dr. Owl, what? Geez, I only just got here.

You've gotten this poor government worker fired from a job! And a cushy job at that! All for pouring your disturbing thoughts and daydreams out onto the internet! What a selfish, selfish wacko you are. Don't you have any consideration for others?

But Dr. Owl! I do. I so care about other people. I'm always trying to be nice, letting people push in front of me, giving away my parking vouchers to perfect strangers when there's still time on the meter. What could I have done to cause this to happen?

Oy vey, where do I start? I think I'm just going to send you on your way today, expateek. I don't even want to look at you.

But Dr. Owl, it's only been 6 minutes and I've already paid for the whole hour.

Tough beans and hard bacon, expateek. You should've thought of that before you started blabbing on-line. You know, you better hope that Flip isn't going to sue you for causing the loss of that job! It's possible. That would fix your little red wagon!

It's possible? Dr. Owl, tell me it isn't!

Okay, it isn't, expateek, fine. So I exaggerate a little. But why don't you run along and pack some more boxes or something. I need to help Flip, and as usual, you're cramping my style.

Can't I just stay and listen?

Yeah, whatever. Just sit there in the corner and shut up. No, better, make yourself useful and get me a cappuccino. I'm parched.

Dr Owl continues...

Okay Flip, here's the deal. I can call you Flip, can't I? Oops, right. Flip's not actually here. Anyway, Flip, here's how I see it. Sure, expateek's a little disturbed. After all, she's in the process of dismantling her nest, as we like to say in pop psychobabble lingo, and that always leads to a little bit of distress and unhinged behaviour. But I wouldn't worry about her -- she's pretty much of a nothin'. Not like me, flying all over the world, seeing celebrities, royalty, heads of industry. Majorly popular, that's me. Though I don't really like to hoot my own horn too much. Cuz I'm modest, too.

But enough about me.

Here's what I think about your situation, Flip. Look at this not as a tragedy, but as an opportunity. You don't want to be hanging out in a place where you can't even feel free to read blogs and surf the internet on company time, do you? I mean, that's what the government is all about in the USA, anyway. Ever heard of the Freedom of Information Act? It means that all information is supposed to be free and available 24/7. Everything, everywhere. I've checked this out with my lawyers. It's against the law to prevent you from getting the information you want! Against the law! Understand? I don't care whether it's dog-training tips online or YouTube or what.

So the answer is, YES, you were fired unjustly. Go see your lawyer and start a class-action lawsuit. Cite the Freedom of Information Act, and see if you don't immediately get everyone's attention! They'll know you know what you're talking about!!!

As to needing a practice manager? Thanks for offering, but no thanks. Yvette's working out fine at the moment, and to be honest, I already hang out with plenty of cheap eurotrash types. If you're cheap, really cheap... well, I'm not sure I want that image in my office. This is a very professional operation.

Well, that's it for now. I'm flying off to London to catch the end of the Rothko exhibition. You will excuse me, non?

Ta ta!


Monday, January 26, 2009

Chaos theory

Because expateek has delved deep into psychological theories with the help of Dr. Owl, she knows that the best antidote for chaos in one's own life is to experience greater chaos via the arts.

This is why she so enjoyed the computer generated installation work by Peter Kogler at the MUMOK Contemporary Art Museum in Vienna.

When expateek entered the room, it was pitch black.

IMG_6392, originally uploaded by ehdindigo.

Suddenly, grids of light raced across the walls,

IMG_6393, originally uploaded by ehdindigo.

accompanied by mysterious and alien sounds.

IMG_6394, originally uploaded by ehdindigo.

Then, the grids began to bend and sway.

IMG_6395, originally uploaded by ehdindigo.

They bulged out and popped into strange new shapes.

IMG_6388, originally uploaded by ehdindigo.

Gradually, the grids disintegrated,

IMG_6389, originally uploaded by ehdindigo.

turning into more and more organic forms,

IMG_6390, originally uploaded by ehdindigo.

until, over the course of several minutes,

IMG_6391, originally uploaded by ehdindigo.

the room was finally encircled with swirling, winding light-trails.

And then the room went pitch black.

Lovely... expateek could have stayed there all day.


Tortoise or handbag?

Yet another photo from the excellent Natural History Museum in Vienna. Of course, expateek knows that you've always been interested in the biomechanics of tortoises,and she aims to please, so voilà!

IMG_6334, originally uploaded by ehdindigo.

expateek thinks that if you attached a long and elegant leather strap to each end, you'd have a very nice and completely organic handbag. And after all, organic is where it's at.

You know that expateek is all about trends and what's cool at the moment, so take it from her. Tortoise-shell handbags. The next big thing.


Saturday, January 24, 2009

Palanquin purchase?

Well, expateek spent a lovely few days in Vienna, and whilst there pottering about in various Viennese museums, pondered her imminent repatriation to the USA.

Naturally, her thoughts ran toward how she could make a splash upon her re-entry to Chicago society, and she decided that the best thing might be to acquire and utilise an unusual form of transportation.

As she wandered through MUMOK, the Museum of Contemporary Art, she came upon the perfect, the very perfect, thing.

It offers relaxing privacy for the rider, and at the same time it's rather spectacular. The only difficulty may be finding four man-slaves willing to tote expateek around town.


Friday, January 23, 2009

Ungulates on wheels

You heard it here first.

It's a trend, and you know expateek's all about trends and what's totally cool and new.

Reporting from Vienna, Austria, expateek's gonna just say three words...

Ungulates on wheels.

Because, check it out, people!
Yesterday, in the Natural History Museum,
we came across these bad boys hanging out in a dark corner.

They're just having a little convo before they roll outside and bust some old-school tricks.

And then today, expateek came across yet another bad betty
as she finished up a day of vert-skating in the Museum Quarter.

She can really shred!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Dr. Owl's Origins

What a surprise expateek had today! She flew from cold and rainy Warsaw to cold and rainy Vienna, and she and Mr D decided to take in the Das Naturhistorische Museum.

She was desperate to see the Venus of Willendorf, if only to reassure herself that her currently zaftig body could be deemed beautiful and with historical precedent. expateek loves citing precedent. She maybe shoulda been a lawyer. Except then she'd have to work full time and remember facts and stuff, and that's not one of her strong points.

But you know expateek. She's mad about museums!

She and Mr D saw the lovely Venus...

venus of willendorf, originally uploaded by mo pie.

and then they drifted on through the rest of the museum,

seeing dinosaurs...

IMG_6303 dino-bird, originally uploaded by ehdindigo.

snakes (eek!)...

IMG_6300 snake, originally uploaded by ehdindigo.

and stuffed specimens.

IMG_6314 ape room, originally uploaded by ehdindigo.

Note the "guard" in the far background. When Mr D and expateek entered this room, they thought that perhaps new experimental audio tracks were playing, simulating the growling of apes in their natural habitat. Turns out it was just the guard snoring. It's that exciting in Vienna on a Wednesday morning.

However, the most exciting moment came later, when expateek happened upon the stuffed effigies of Dr. Owl's paternal great-grandparents!

IMG_6325 snowy owl m, originally uploaded by ehdindigo.

Imagine the shock! Face to face with Grandma and Grandpa Owl!

As expateek started to think about how she knew their great-grandson, Grandma Owl opened her eyes and said, Oy vey! That one!

IMG_6326 snowy owl f, originally uploaded by ehdindigo.

Hunh? said expateek.

Don't worry, dahlink, I know you're seeing Dr. Seymour Owl. But why you'd pay that little putz anything for his worthless advice, I don't know.

Hunh? said expateek again.

Just because he was born in Vienna, the same birthplace as Sigmund Freud, he fluffs up his feathers and thinks he's so special. Let me tell you, he knows nothingk!

And Grandma Owl blinked angrily.

Oh my God! These birds are talking to me! In the Natural History Museum! thought expateek.

Now maybe I really am nuts!

No, expateek, you've only shown poor judgment in choosing a therapist, said the barn owl sternly.

IMG_6327 barn owl, originally uploaded by ehdindigo.

Next time, don't choose to talk to a Christmas tree ornament when you're seeking enlightenment.

stuffed birds in the Natural History Museum, for that matter!

Now run along, expateek, and go look at the butterfly collection. I hear it's absolutely lovely.

Ta ta!


Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Ask Dr. Owl: Hysterics

Once again, Dr. Owl has flown in from California to bring some of his much needed wisdom to Poland.

Though he is not a licensed psychotherapist, his accumulated insights and varied life experience give him the ability to cut through the crap touch the souls of his single numerous patients. Reading People and Hello magazines whilst in rehab on a journey of self-discovery will do that for a person an owl.

This week, after seeing our poor pathetic expateek, Dr. Owl has agreed to answer reader questions. Remember, consults with Dr. Owl are not a substitute for proper psychotherapeutic treatment by someone who actually knows what they're doing a licensed professional.

Let's listen in...

Today, expateek presents a note she received from Pinolona:

You forgot pirates! The ship carrying your container might get attacked by pirates!
And what about mildew, or rust, or terrorism?

Oh for pete's sake, expateek, what's this woman raving about? Pirates? Containers? What? Please, expateek, I hope I didn't fly all the way over here from California just to listen to a lunatic rant from one of your friends. I get enough insanity over in L.A. What's she on about?

You remember, Dr. Owl! Last week we talked about my anxieties about shipping all my worldly goods across the ocean. We were talking about ships and trains and that kind of thing. I admit, I wasn't really feeling better at the conclusion of the session, but perhaps I'm just beyond help.

Possible, expateek. You're rather tediously difficult to cure. I'm trying my best. So let's look at this note from Pinolona. Are you sure someone's not pulling your leg? Cuz if we look at the signature... I mean, this supposed friend of yours is named after a nut. A pine-nut. I think if we parse the meaning, we can read into this that the so-called Pinolona is telling you that YOU are a nut. It's all perfectly clear to me. There. Case closed.

Dr. Owl, that's not fair! She's a real person, I know it. She's got a dog and a blog.

Nice rhyme, expateek. I might use that in our next therapeutic rap session at The Wonderland Center. Did I tell you Amy Winehouse dropped in for a couple of weeks? I really want to get some of her make-up tips. Her eyeliner is extraordinary.

Geez, Dr. Owl, you don't wear eyeliner, do you?

expateek, let's keep on the topic, shall we? I swear, you are so distractable.

You brought up Amy Winehouse and eyeliner, Dr. Owl.

Yeah, isn't she hot? We got her to sing Rehab after dinner the other night. She does need to put on a little weight though. And she needs to get that heroin thing under control.

Look, Dr. Owl, I don't want to hear about Amy Winehouse or your experiences in rehab. And you're not supposed to talk about your other clients, remember?

Picky, picky, picky. You've been awfully grumpy lately. Kind of a Debbie Downer, really. You're bumming me out.

Dr. Owl, for heaven's sake, this is my therapy session, not yours.

Oh fine, expateek, have it your way. So back to this nut case friend of yours then, Pinolona. Frankly, she sounds like a hysteric. She's worried about pirates...

Pirate Ship, originally uploaded by robertstown2001.

mold and mildew...

Mold drops, originally uploaded by jurek d..


Rust-Over-Blue, originally uploaded by lafleurerouge.

and terrorism.

Terrorist, originally uploaded by Gérôme.

Well, there's yer Four Horsemen of the Apocalype, right there. OOOoooo! Spooky! Scary! Rust! Give me a break.

Frankly, expateek, I happen to know a pirate or two, and they're quite charming. Look, I've got Sparky's photo here in my wallet. And there's one of Ahab too.

Tiny Pete, Pirate Lord, originally uploaded by BenSpark.

They're just a bunch of fun lovin' lads. So they borrow your boat for a while. I mean really. What's the problem, expateek?

I'm speechless, Dr. Owl. Your lack of empathy is appalling.

Clearly, expateek, you're not speechless, because your mouth is moving and sounds are coming out. But do you want me to tell you what I really think?

*sigh* Go ahead, Dr. Owl. I might as well get something out of this session.

Well, Pinolona is onto something but she's completely missed the boat. So to speak. Ha ha hahahahha. I love inappropriate puns, don't you, expateek?

expateek??? Stop sulking and listen up. Pinolona's missed the most worrisome threat of all.

Oh no, Dr. Owl! Worse than fire, derailment, the ship capsizing, or abandonment of the container in a desert?

Far worse, expateek. Because your shipment could be attacked by pests. Moths, in a word.


Yes, they eat up all your clothes and flutter around annoyingly in your bedroom at night. Although I must say, they are delicious.

Gross! Dr. Owl, that's disgusting.

One man's meat is another man's poison, expateek.

And how about those silverfish in your book boxes?

IMG_7407, originally uploaded by budak.

Yum yum yum. My stomach's growling just thinking about it all.

Dr. Owl, I feel a little queasy.

Go ahead, excuse yourself for today, expateek. I'm flying off to catch the rest of the Inauguration festivities.

Me and Barack are like this. *crosses wing-tips* See you next week at 3pm?


Monday, January 19, 2009


Royal Mail, originally uploaded by Frank Wales.

Just in case you Brits are interested, expateek has been singlehandedly keeping the Royal Mail afloat for the last year or two.

You can say thank you now. And you're welcome.

Oh, they might go on strike every now and again, sure. They'll try to persuade you all that they need more money.

But don't be fooled!

's been footin' the whole bill. What with those crazy redirection fees [£74.75 x 8 bazillion because she moved about 8 times in the last 2.5 years], all your handsome British posties have nothing to worry about with their pensions and their health care benefits.

Oops, sorry! You can even forget about worrying about health care benefits for postal workers, because they're already covered! That's a really nice thing about the UK. expateek forgot about the NHS, because Duh! she's American and she only really has health benefits if she's employed, which apparently she is not, although she would beg to disagree as she considers blogging and packing boxes -- or blogging whilst packing boxes -- a rather noble calling, though the pay is shit)....

So she frowned with irritation when she realised yesterday that she would have to forward her mail yet again. She wondered if there's a limit to the number of address stickers that can be plastered over a mailing address before the envelope just throws up its imaginary hands in disgust and self-destructs.

Self-immolation, perhaps, preferably in one of those charming red post boxes in a small village by the sea somewhere. Because this over-burdened envelope we're talking about is not going to go quietly into that good night. Oh no. It's going to take some Argos catalogs with it on the way out.

And while we're talking about the Royal Mail, did expateek ever tell you that posties have great legs?

Overtake the postie, originally uploaded by hugovk.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

The Odyssey, re-enacted

expateek was pooped yesterday. She spent the morning cleaning (huh? whazzat?) and learned how to work the hoover. Usually she leaves the hard work to Mr D, but yesterday she felt an amazing and utterly compelling desire to avoid doing the taxes to clean the house, so she vacuumed the entire upstairs.

After this, full of zest, she decided that this would be the best day ever to dispose of gently used clothing in the local charity bin. Why not? A good walk on a crisp afternoon in Żoliborz. She went off in search of a donations bin looking something like this.

clothes and shoe drop, originally uploaded by bondidwhat.

(But with signage in Polish, of course.)

What could be more satisfying?

Plenty. Listen and learn as expateek describes her afternoon odyssey.

First of all, the charity bin at the end of expateek's street was destroyed by firecrackers at New Year's. You know how Polish people love gunpowder and explosions? Years of invasions and wars and fires and mayhem have nutured a love of all things incendiary. Naturally, some people use this tendency for good. Others? For evil.

So expateek knew that she'd have to find another charity bin. She walked to the next nearest bin. But the bin no longer had any instructions or pictures or Red Crosses or drawings of clothing or logos for the Sisters of Mercy, or any such thing. All details had been lovingly picked off the bin, and it was no longer clear if this was a charity bin or a bin for newspaper recycling or what. expateek was puzzled.

In the nearby hair salon, expateek asked her finely-honed state-of-the-art Polish question, which she uses at least 20 times a day. Czy pani mówi po angelsku? Do you speak English?

Nie, niestety. No, regrettably.

expateek pointed to the box outside, pointed to her two bags of clothing and made small mumbling questiony kinds of noises, and the woman said, "Aha!" Which is the all purpose Polish answer signifying enlightenment.

The woman burst into a torrent of Polish, out of which expateek got the words street, end, and to the right.

expateek walked the 65 city blocks 300 yards to the end of the street, turned to the right, and voilà! Nothing but parkland. No bin to be seen.

So she walked another 82 blocks three blocks to Plac Wilsona, because she knew there was a church nearby, and of course, a church would certainly have a charity bin near to hand.


expateek was getting frustrated. She decided to walk the 12 miles three blocks home, and then, one block from her house, she saw another charity bin. Her bags full of gently used clothes were starting to feel like bags filled with the heaviest shirts and skirts ever sewn by couture designer seamstresses sweatshop laborers in southeast Asia, so this was a welcome development.

But again, no explanation as to whether this was a charity bin, or part of some other nefarious plot designed to cleverly trick expateek into disposing of her gently used clothing in an inappropriate receptacle.

But Aha! Help was on the way, in the form of a small little old lady dressed in a fur coat and hat.

expateek stopped her. Przepraszam... Excuse me....

Czy pani mówi po anglesku? Does Madame speak English?


Po francusku? French?

Czy pani wie... Does Madame know.... and expateek pointed to the possibly-a-charity-bin and raised her eyebrows hopefully.

At which point the woman in the fur coat came right up to expateek and launched into the longest story ever told in Polish, which seemed to involve a trip to Paris, during which the woman only knew how to say thank you (Merci!) in French. Because the fur-lady spoke Polish and Russian, naturally, and when she went into shops, she did know the word for small (petite!) but that was it! And then, she continued, what about those language schools for small children learning English! And small children can learn! But she, no, she could speak Polish and Russian only! And so on and so forth! And more things! And whatnot! And the fur-lady came even closer to expateek and said even more very important things! And raised her eyebrows, as if to say, Isn't that so?

And then expateek, whose charity bags were now feeling as if they weighed 6 tonnes each, was wondering how in the hell she was going to exit this situation gracefully, so she said one of the other useful Polish words she knows, which is Tak! Yes! And then dziękuje! Thank you!

And then the fur-lady said, in Polish, Pani speaks very good Polish! And then she said another forty-four paragraphs of comments on the state of the world, and language learning, and Paris, and Russian and Polish, and this and that and whatnot and whazzat and how now brown cow and whatsoever and such. And expateek said dziękuje again, and then finished off with one of the last really useful phrases she knows, which is Do widzenia! Goodbye!

Do widzenia! the fur-lady said gaily, and they parted ways.

expateek walked the last block home, put the bags down in the front entryway, and vowed to try again another day. Or not.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Lighting revolution

Well, only two posts on lamps, and already the rest of the lighting fixtures were getting restive. They were all complaining to expateek.

"When's it gonna be my turn? When?"

"You love MoonBall more than us! You do. Is it because he's prettier than us?"

"How come you dance around your bedroom with Miss Fringe's lampshade on your head, but not with mine?

*sigh* I guess I just don't light up your life anymore, do I, expateek?"

The lamps with bayonet-type bulbs started getting all angry and began rattling their sabres and talking about uprisings and guerrilla warfare style attacks. They were getting short-tempered and blowing their fuses right away.

The lamps with screw-type bulbs naturally became one giant pity-party with the predictable complaint, "We're getting screwed!"

So expateek is just going to go the quick and dirty route, and feature the rest of the gang. You don't mind, do you, Readers Reader? Bear with us. It's probably the last chance for some of them, before the long unelectrified trip across the ocean. One last chance to be in the spotlight, in fame's brilliant glare.

Give the kids a break, eh?

First up, the fraternal twins.

You read about the amazing twin story recently where one twin was born white and one black? This is just like that. Except one twin is school-bus yellow and one is teal blue. No one wanted these two. In fact, Teal had been beaten and his shade was in tatters. expateek adopted both of them from John Lewis' January Sales table, for the amazing price of £5 each. Not that you can put a price on love. She fitted out Teal with a new shade, and hey presto! Life's good again.

Next, the Alabaster sisters: Frances, Freya, and Finella.

They were cheap. So cheap.

And they don't mind expateek saying that. It's no reflection on them. Once again, one can pick up almost anything at the Ascot boot sale for £5.

The wonderful thing about these girls is that they're curvaceous. And curvaceous, in alabaster, equals bloody heavy. These gals will come in handy if expateek ever has to beat off beat up a robber. One clunk to the head, and it's lights out, buddy!

Of course, Georges Sand needs a nod.

She's in love with Chopin and sits atop the piano, waiting to hear her favorite nocturnes. Such a romantic! It's a pity that everyone's too busy packing to play the piano right now.

Then there's Arina.

She was gifted to expateek by a friendly client back in the UK. The client felt sorry for expateek in the dark little unfurnished flat of 2007, so voilà! Re-homed! We think she had another name at birth, since she might have come from IKEA. We think... her name might have been Dar. We like Arina better.

And finally, Satoshi,

who's all about natural materials and subtle mystery,

and the exotic Sunisa,

from a market stall in Thailand.

And that about wraps it up for today. It's lights out for now.

Cuz it's time for expateek's afternoon nap.