Look at it Sitting There All Green and Leafy Like it Owns the Place

baby in bath

That’s right, cilantro/coriander leaf tastes like soap to us haters of it. Soap! Who wants to eat soap?!

A few weeks ago, I posted about 21 things I hate or just don’t like very much, which may or may not be irrational. Generally people agreed with my list of dislikes, except for number 8, “Cilantro/coriander leaf” (just to clarify, in the US they call it cilantro, here in the UK, we call it coriander. In the US I believe they do call the seed of the plant coriander, but we call the whole plant, seed and leaf, coriander. Got it? Anyway, it’s the green leaf I hate).

These were the cilantro-based comments:

“Do you really hate cilantro (coriander leaf) so much? I absolutely love it…there’s no accounting for taste!”

“I must enter my strong objections to #8. Cilantro is a fine herb”

“These are terrific, except the cilantro one. I’m sorry. It’s an essential component in my husband’s very delicious salsa”

“I do, however, enjoy cilantro!”

“The only thing I can’t agree with on this list is coriander / cilantro! Really? That’s one of those herbs I can’t seem to grow, but can’t live without either”

“Except for coriander leaves. I have no strong opinions on coriander, though, oddly enough, my sister also hates it”

“WOW!!! Every single one, we have in common! Except for the cilantro.”

“Agree with every one, except I love cilantro. (And that’s a very rare thing, when I’m the one defending a green, leafy food.)”

“I love cilantro, but everything else – yes!”

I even received a rare comment via email from a friend (he will verify the rarity) -

“It is rare that I feel that I must respond to your blog but  …….How can you not like coriander?  I shall never read your blog again (sob …)”

(See how he verified the rarity).

That's right! Cut it up! Chop it into tiny little pieces! Destroy it! Oh...I see, it's for your dip. I feel silly now.

That’s right! Cut it up! Chop it into tiny little pieces! Destroy it! Oh…I see, it’s for your dip. I feel silly now.

And then when I was waffling with Mike, cilantro came up again, and we had these comments:

“But we really must talk about your hate of cilantro.”

“I, OTOH, would love to eat cilantro every day.”

“Vanessa, you don’t like cilantro? You have wounded me to the core”

I’ve noticed this before with cilantro (I’m going to stick with calling it cilantro on this post, seeing as the majority of my followers are from the states), it always brings out quite extreme reactions in people, it’s definitely a love it or hate it thing. There is no indifference to cilantro. Well, except for that one comment I posted up there from someone who said they had no strong feelings about it. Except for that one. Hmmm, time for a poll I think, please vote:

I do happen to know at least two other bloggers who also speak of a strong aversion to this green leafy pest. I won’t name them though *cough* Carrie Rubin and She Drives a Vegetable Car *cough cough*  and if you do an online search for “I hate cilantro” or similar, you will find a wealth of haters. A wealth I tell you! We are not alone.

So what is this witchery contained within these seemingly innocent green leaves to bring out such reactions in people? Hatred amongst some, disdain for those who hate it amongst others. Is there an alien connection maybe? Or are the Government involved in some kind of conspiracy here? Or…or…oh wait, no, Jilanne Hoffman reminded me that there is  apparently a genetic reason for this hatred. It’s true, read all about it here.

It's all to do with our jeans apparently. Who knew!

It’s all to do with our jeans apparently. Who knew!

According to…people who know about these things, it’s possible to build up a tolerance to it by regularly eating it, I’m considering doing this because honestly, it seems to be making its way into more and more dishes (Hmm, I might have to revisit the alien and government conspiracy ideas again, because really, it’s EVERYWHERE). So should I see if I can get to tolerate, maybe even like, it? What do you think?

Do you have any interesting cilantro stories to share? Or actually I’ll take anything herb-related. Or food-dislike related. Or let me know if we ARE related.

Photo credits:
Soap eating fido – photo credit: Smabs Sputzer via photopin cc
Cut up cilantro – photo credit: PetroleumJelliffe via photopin cc
Jeans – photo credit: snaps via photopin cc

Sometimes I Really Think I Can Fly

I’ve come up with a list (you know how I like lists) of those little moments in life that we all experience from time to time, which give us a little burst of feeling of some kind.

- The moment when…you’re reading a book and realise this is going to be a GREAT book.

- The moment when…you’re climbing up the stairs and you realise that you can’t remember why you’re going up stairs, but you continue climbing anyway, in the hope that you will remember when you get there (you won’t. Not yet. Not until you have come back downstairs, sat back down and continued with what you were doing previously).

Dog climbing up stairs

Now, what was I doing again?

- The moment when…you wake up thinking it’s a work day, and then realise it isn’t (thank you for reminding me of that one a while ago Exile on Pain Street, it was that which inspired me to write this post!).

- The moment when…you hear that a sequel to a film you loved is going to be made (this can sometimes be two moments; a moment of delight, followed by a moment of concern that it won’t be as good).

- The moment when…you’re just about to drift off to sleep, and your bladder screams “Hang on a minute! I need to be emptied! It’s no good trying to ignore me in the hope that you will make it through to the morning, you won’t, you know I’m going to be waking you up, so you may as well force yourself out of that lovely snug warm bed right now, and get it over with!”

Toilet tissue

Great name for a toilet tissue!

- The moment when…the postman arrives, and he has brought the thing you’ve been excitedly (or anxiously) waiting for. (More often these days that happens by email, but the moment isn’t the same as when it’s a physical envelope that has been delivered).

- The moment when…you deliberately dragged yourself out of bed extra early to work on something, you look at your watch and see that it’s not even 9am and you’ve already achieved more than you usually achieve in a whole day (I LOVE this one).

- The moment when…you’re delayed in getting somewhere, and you know with certainty that you have reached the point where it’s too late, there is no way you can make it now, so you may as well relax. (Up until that moment, you were continually doing more arithmetic that you’ve done since school “If I can get through this bit within the next 7.5 minutes, and then the next part takes no more than 3 minutes and 5 seconds, and assuming there is a line of no more than 4 people, then as long as…”)

- The moment when…you wake up from a dream in which you were able to fly, and for a short time after waking, you still believe that maybe you really can fly; you know it was a dream, but you think it was a dream where you learned the secret to flying which can be used in real life. Thankfully it is a flying method that is achieved from ground level, simply requiring a graceful leap forward and assertive lifting of the arms, so there is no danger involved in testing it out. (Or maybe this one is just me).

Girl with arms raised

I’m sure if I just wish for it hard enough…

Can you relate to these moments? Any moments you’d like to share?

Photo credits:
Dog on stairs – photo credit: IONclad via photopin cc
Toilet tissue – photo credit: elmada via photopin cc
Girl – photo credit: Pink Sherbet Photography via photopin cc

Waffling With Mike

Mike 3-D

Today the fabulous author, Mike Allegra, has invited me over to his place to stuff my face with waffles and have a little chat with him. Do come on over and chat with us!

I’ve closed out comments here so that you’re not faced with the dilemma of where to comment – Here? There? Both? (Psst, the answer is ‘there’). See you over there…

Have you received a web link from my ex?

If you haven’t yet, and you are a regular follower/commenter here, then you can be sure you will soon, either by email or as a link posted on your blog.

Thank you to those of you who have already emailed me to express support.

I don’t know whether you have read the website he links to, or whether you will, but I have deliberately never spoken about any of that on this blog, and I don’t intend to start now. Suffice to say I would have very different things to say than he has.

I have disabled comments on this post, but if any of you do want to say anything about it, or ask me any questions, please feel free to email me using the contact form on this blog (or direct if you already have my email address).

Thank you.

21 Things I Hate or Just Don’t Like Very Much Which May or May Not be Irrational

21 on a wall

Some blogging folks, such as Rarasaur, did this 21 Things I Irrationally Hate thing. I wanted to do it too, but “hate” is too strong a word for most of these, and they’re not all irrational either, so that’s why I came up with my own (I’m sure you’ll agree) very catchy title.

I give you 21 things I hate or just don’t like very much which may or may not be irrational. In no particular order…

1) Having to see people chucking up on TV shows and films. It used to be a rarity to see this on our screens but now it’s everywhere – comedies, dramas, reality shows, movies, documentaries, you name it, there are people throwing up on it. Why? Who wants to see people spilling their guts? Anyone? Does anyone ever think “Ooh, I’m so glad they showed that, it has really enhanced my viewing pleasure”?

2) When people ask you a question, but instead of letting you answer it, they run through a list of suggested answers and don’t let you get a word in. Like “So why did you decide to move house? Was it because the old house was too small? Or was it the area you didn’t like? Or maybe it was too long a drive to work? Or perhaps you just felt like a change? Or maybe…” If you just shut-up for a minute, I’ll tell you!

3) When people talk with their mouth full.

4) TV or radio interviewers who think that the best way to interview someone is to continually interrupt them and challenge EVERYTHING they say. It comes across as arrogant and rude, and is annoying to listen to.

5) If I get woken up from a lovely sleep for no good reason. Like if it’s the weekend and I forgot to unset my alarm.

Grumpy face

Getting woken up makes me look like this

6) When someone on Facebook (or wherever) specifically asks for advice/suggestions/help/opinions on something, but then doesn’t thank or even acknowledge those who respond. You don’t have to respond to every comment, but a general “Thanks everyone for your input!” or whatever doesn’t go amiss. Note – if it’s unsolicited advice then that’s different, but if it’s been asked for then it’s only polite.

7) I did a post about this a while ago, and it is still rife – when people share various warnings or bits of advice that they’ve seen somewhere without checking if they are true first. I say again – snopes or hoax-slayer, it doesn’t take a minute.

8) Coriander leaf/cilantro.

Cilantro / coriander

Yuckity yuck yuck

9) Clusters of holes – again, I did a whole post about it.

10) When after much deliberation I finally decide on something I want to buy and they don’t have any left in my size. Why? WHY?!

11) Wasted food. I feel less bad about this though now that we have bins at home for waste food that are collected as part of the recycling collections.

Food waste bin

This is my bin. You don’t want to look inside. It’s not pretty.

12) When I can’t remember what I was going to put for number 12.

13) When I’m really excited to tell someone something, but they already know.

14) When I accidentally hurt one of my cats by stepping on their tail or something, and they look at me all hurt and confused as if I did it deliberately.

15) This is a more serious one, and definitely a “hate” – seeing images of distraught relatives in the media when there has been some kind of disaster. They need to stop shoving cameras in those poor people’s faces, sometimes you can see the people trying to turn away or shield their faces from the camera, and still they are snapped. It’s awful, a really low form of journalism, we’ve seen it a lot in recent weeks with the missing Malaysian plane. It isn’t a necessary part of reporting the story; these are human beings who are suffering; leave them alone.

16) Undercooked potato in any form.

17) An obvious one, but one we all share – the frustration of phoning customer service centres with multilevels of number pressing to get through to the right section, lots of waiting on hold, having to repeat yourself so many times, and all the rest of it.

Angry on phone

I can’t tell you the number of phones I’ve chewed through after one of those conversations

18) Shop staff who are more interested in talking to each other than serving customers.

19) When I grow my nails all lovely and then bite one of then down (yes, I know that’s my own fault but fellow nail-biters will understand).

20) When the weather doesn’t comply with my wishes.

21) When I compile a list and I just know that later after it’s published I’ll think of some better ones I should have included.


Photo credits:
Number 21 – photo credit: coltera via photopin cc
Grumpy kid – photo credit: 4BlueEyes Pete Williamson via photopin cc
The yucky green stuff – photo credit: Qfamily via photopin cc
Phone angry – photo credit: Cayusa via photopin cc

27 Years of My Hair

If you’ve felt for a while that there’s been something missing in your life, it could be because you’ve never seen a montage of the wide range of hair styles I’ve had in my adult life. You’ll be pleased to know therefore that I’m here to fill that gap for you today. I give you 27 years of my haircuts, starting in 1987 when I was 17, up to the present day. Long, short, curly, straight, brown, blonde, red, it’s all here…

Have you had a wide range of hair styles in your adult life? Or have you tended to stick to pretty much the same style over the years?

Vanessa Chapman


Vanessa Chapman


Vanessa Chapman


Vanessa Chapman


Vanessa Chapman


Vanessa Chapman


Vanessa Chapman


Vanessa Chapman


Vanessa Chapman


Vanessa Chapman


Vanessa Chapman


Vanessa Chapman


Vanesa Chapman


Vanessa Chapman


Vanessa Chapman


Vanessa Chapman



A Post About Spammy Hacky Type Things

Twitter and WordPress logs

Two Spammy Hacky type things that have happened this week:

1) My Twitter Account Was Hacked

Well, I’m not sure “hacked” is the right word here, I actually invited them in and made them a cup of tea and sandwiches by STUPIDLY clicking on a bad link when this arrived:


I’m usually more alert to dodgy links, I haven’t been caught out before on Twitter, but I was half asleep, it came from a blogging friend, and without thinking properly I clicked on the link. So of course what happened subsequently was that my Twitter followers were sent something like that from my account, with a few variations on the wording.

When your Twitter account sends out bad stuff, people tell you about it. At first that’s good, you need to know. But I ended up with about 40 people telling me that my account was doing this, and they were coming at me from everywhere – on Twitter, by email, on Facebook, even as a blog comment on another blog I write for. I’m sorry that I’m complaining about this, I know you were all being helpful, but in the end I was thinking “I KNOW!!!”

I also had a few people getting annoyed at me for it, which was a bit much considering that they had done exactly the same thing as I had, which was to fall for it, and click on the link! We did the same thing guys, so don’t get mad at me ok? But nevertheless, I do apologise to those of you who were affected by my stupidity (on this, or in general!).

I quickly changed my password once I realised what was happening, and hopefully that’s the end of it, and I learned my lesson.

2) Spam Comments Slipping Through on Blog

Generally I find the WordPress spam filters to be very good, loads of spam ends up in my spam folder and that shows it works, very few slip through and actually get published on a post. However one post that I wrote well over a year ago has been getting hit for several months. Now, at least two bits of spam a day make it past the filters and end up published live on that post, and each time I mark them as spam to get rid of them.

I decided to contact WordPress support about this, to see if there was anything I could do. It just seemed strange that it was only happening on that one post. It turns out, according to them, that I am lucky. Apparently lots of other WordPress bloggers get hundreds and thousands of spam comments getting through and being published live on their posts every day. Hundreds and thousands! Here is a screenshot of my support conversation:

Wordpress support conversation

If you can’t read that, you can go to it here (the screenshot above was the full conversation at the time I grabbed it, but someone else has just commented on it now, so I don’t know if there will be more). Sorry to timethief if I seemed a bit grouchy in my responses!

But I’m interested, do any of you on wordpress.com get hundreds and thousands of spam comments not being caught by the spam filters and ending up published on your posts? If so, how do you cope? Remember, we’re not talking about the spam that ends up in your spam folders (bolded for extra emphasis :) ) just the stuff that makes it through to appear on your live post pages. I still find it hard to believe, but hey, what do I know, I’m the type of gal that clicks on bad Twitter links!

I’m a bit late to the party but…

A hand with five fingers, each one with a hand

A few bloggers have been doing this 5×5 thing – Benzeknees came up with 5 topics for people to preference on (yes, “to preference on” is proper grammar in Vanessa’s Book of Invent Your Own Grammar, 2nd Edition). A few of my blogging buddies took part, such as Carrie Rubin and Rarasaur. I haven’t been as bloggingly active as usual lately, either in posting or visiting others, not through lack of interest or ideas, just lack of time. Anyway, I felt like giving this 5×5 a go, albeit a few weeks later than everyone else. Here goes…

5 Things I Am Passionate About
(I don’t think this one was meant to be about food, but I’m hungry, so I’ve chosen to interpret it in that way)

Cadbury Creme Eggs
Cheese (I couldn’t possibly narrow it down)
Pick ‘n mix from the cinema
Ice-cream (many kinds)
(That was about 5 wasn’t it?)

5 Things I Would Like to Do Before I Die

Publish a book
Do more acting
Do more singing
Travel more
Win the lottery more…or at all

5 Things I Say A Lot

“In fairness…”
“Do you know what I mean?”
“I don’t get it”
“I’m so tired”
“That’s so funny!”

5 Books or Magazines I have Read Lately
(I realise this selection makes it look either like I’m trying to appear highly intellectual, or that I’m just very dull, but while I’m studying I really have no time to read any books or magazines that aren’t related to my course, I barely have time to answer blogging quizzes about myself! At least I haven’t gone the whole way and listed these in Harvard referencing style)

Quantitative Methods in Educational Research: The Role of Numbers Made Easy – S. Gorard

Contemporary Theories of Learning. Learning Theorists in Their Own Words – K. Illeris

Reproduction in Education, Society and Culture – P. Bourdieu

Writing Your Dissertation: How to Plan, Prepare and Present Successful Work – D. Swetnam

Critical Theory, A Very Short Introduction – S. Bronner

(Sorry about that, ask me this again in a year’s time and the list might be more…more what? Or do I mean less?…less what? Well, different anyway!).

5 Favourite Movies

All of Me
Groundhog Day
Being John Malcovitch (Just because it’s so hilariously bonkers!)
The Full Monty
Finding Nemo
Being There
Love Actually
Back to the Future
The Devil Wears Prada
Gorillas in the Mist
Working Girl
(Again, that was about 5 wasn’t it? I feel I should have had some more intellectual choices in there, but never mind, it’s a nice balance to my book list. I’m sure I’ll think of lots more I should have included later.)

EDIT: Wait! I just remembered two more movies that have to go on the list:
50 First Dates
Letters to Juliet.

Well there we go. If you want to join in, then please link back to Benzeknees so that she can see how widely it has gone. Or feel free to just answer any or all of them in the comments section below…

photo credit: Robbert van der Steeg via photopin cc

Things I Would Like to do in Real Life That I’ve Only Seen On Screen

I’m at some function, everyone’s dancing, but as soon as my partner and I start dancing, the crowd parts to watch and cheer us because we are choreographed to perfection and are SPECTACULAR!

Grease dance

I don’t think my one will be in a school gymnasium, but other than that, very similar

I walk into a dive bar, I’m a stranger. Some jerk is playing pool with his jerky buddies. They make disparaging remarks about me, so I challenge the jerk to a game of pool. Him and his jerky buddies laugh, but he takes the challenge anyway. I totally thrash him while remaining super-cool at all times. At first he looks like he’s going to get angry, but at the last second his buddy touches him on the arm which miraculously turns him into Mr Super-Nice. He has a change of heart, smiles, congratulates me, and welcomes me to the bar.

Movie pool table

There’ll be a lot more people here at the time to watch my victory game

I could have just listened at the door, but that’s no fun. Instead I crawl along the ventilation duct which positions me just above the room where the two baddies are having the crucial reveal-all conversation, which starts just as I arrive, and finishes when I move 1mm and create a creaking sound that makes them look up to exactly where I am. It’s ok though, I’ve got all the information I need to save the day.

Bruce Willis scene

Thankfully Bruce Willis will be there to help light the way

I’m driving through a city to escape the baddies. After crashing my car into some crates of fruit, I leap out and carry on by foot. I will run at high speed across several busy roads while looking behind me and  not getting hit by anything, and will then join in with a St Patrick’s Day parade that is conveniently passing through, enabling me to hide long enough for the baddies to lose me.

Taylor Lautner

I’ll be like Taylor Lautner, only in high heels

I walk into a bar (again), there is some reason why I need to have my say about something to someone in there. As soon as I utter the first few words, the jukebox music screeches to a halt, and everyone goes silent. I deliver an award-worthy speech; I’m making it up as I go along, and yet it is word perfect, everything flows, it is poignant, dramatic (but not overly so), and leaves everyone in awed silence. There may follow some applause, I’m not sure, maybe even a few tears. Either way, I’m pretty sure I’ll be looking fabulous throughout.

Movie glamour

I’ll be looking pretty much like this when I deliver the speech

What have you only ever seen in movies that you would like to do in real?

(This post was inspired by a recent post on Slouching Towards TV that you may like to read too.)

The Best Cup of Coffee I Ever Had

Walking in high heels

I don’t think I had ever felt as cold before as I did that night. Or since. As I sat huddled on my back doorstep, I cursed myself for being dressed so inadequately for this biting winter night. At first I shivered, gently, and then more vigorously. When the shivering began to subside  I knew I could be in trouble if I stayed.

The night was beautiful. Perfectly clear, with a purity and crispness that awed me. It was approaching 2am, two hours since the cab had dropped me back. I didn’t have a mobile phone back then. Not many people did. Desperately I searched my bag for my key. Again. My gloveless numb fingers struggled to function.

I thought about those who spend night after night on the streets and wondered how they cope. How they don’t die. Walking. Walking was what I needed to do. I couldn’t stay on that step. The only choice was to walk. I knew I still had some feet because I could see them, and I managed to stand up on to them. These dainty shoes had seemed like such a good idea earlier. One foot in front of the other. Walk. Walk. Walk.

The world was asleep as I walked the streets. No destination. No plan of where to walk. Despite feeling pathetically sorry for myself, I was also aware of a slight sense of excitement about the adventure I was on; something new to add to my life experience. My tentative first steps turned to brisk rhythmic strides. My legs walked themselves, and I was carried along. I couldn’t allow myself to stop for fear that I might not be able to start again. I knew I was there because I could see the houses and trees passing by, and I could hear the clicking sound of my heels on the ground. And yet I had the sensation of being detached and removed from myself. The extreme tiredness and coldness permeated me and yet belonged to someone outside of me at the same time.

Time speeded up and slowed down and went backwards and jumped forwards. And then I saw the lights and everything stopped. I stopped. The sign said 7-Eleven and it was open. I approached it cautiously, afraid it would disappear in a desert mirage way if I rushed towards it. I took a moment to look at my watch. 6am. The night was over. I could see the coffee machine before I was even through the doorway and I knew it would be the best cup of coffee I ever had. As I was leaving the store clutching my steaming cup of nectar, the words “I found heaven in a 7-Eleven” formed in my mind, and I smiled. It’s all about context.

photo credit: mugley via photopin cc