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From the strange and brilliant (but mostly strange) mind of my friend Britomart comes my new blog picture. The woman is a genius. I’ve never looked better. There are a lot of in-jokes from our weird and wonderful friendship, but it makes me laugh. And after all, isn’t that what a blog portrait should do? She’s worried people will think a demented child created it, so for the really curious, or the really bored, here’s some explanation to help you understand that a demented adult created it:

The obvious
Images of books, film, TV, writing = stuff I like. The caption of the ’50s ad says “She’s a constant critic (that’s her job)”.

My, er, body
I’m a glass of a fizzy, refreshing beverage. I have been called the Diet Coke of Evil, but now apparently caffeine is too strong to describe my evil powers, so I’m the Diet Sprite of Evil.

The oven mitt
I can cook. I just don’t, much, and I like to mock my limited abilities. But I also told her the tragic tale of recently setting fire to my oven mitt, dousing it with water, then trying to use it again while it was wet, resulting in broiled fingers as well as chicken. Brain, meet hands. Hands, meet brain.

The flag
Britomart is American. I’m not. She’s almost forgiven me for my ignorance of Target (you know, the higher class Wal-Mart) and the Fahrenheit scale.

The stuffed jalapeño
Part of my collection of tacky Mexican souvenirs, of which I am very proud. I wrote about him in a DVD review of the movie A Place Called Chiapas: “Dolls representing Marcos and the other comandantes were sold to supporters, and today, semi-aware tourists lap up these dolls while wearing their Che Guevara t-shirts. (Yes, I admit, I bought one a couple of years ago, for the same kitsch value as the stuffed jalapeño wearing a sombrero, sporting a moustache, and holding a Corona and pistol I picked up.)”

Apples and olives
From a discussion on the TWoP House forum where some people didn’t get a throwaway joke about a vegan couple naming their baby Olive, which triggered some discussion about fruit-related baby names, which led to Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin. Then I did something nice for Britomart (sorry, it won’t happen again) and she offered to name her firstborn after me. I posted something along the lines of “OK, great, my real name is Apple Olive.” It became a running joke.

Origins were in an e-mail from me to Brit that became this – comparing watching a favourite show as it declines with a lobster being slowly boiled. It too became a running joke.

My university’s motto was (and I guess still is) Quaecumque vera, meaning “Whatsoever things are true,” from a passage in the bible. We used to refer to it as the “Kumquats of Truth” since that made about as much sense. When kumquats came up in conversation, as they so often do, I told Brit that story.

subject and artist