Tag Archives: interior decorating

How is a lampshade like a fire hazard?

a work of brilliance.

Every skype conversation with my parents begins the same way: “Hello? Can you hear me? I can hear –wait hello? Now I can’t see you. (Typing: turn your camera on) Okay that’s better. Wait can you hear me?” etc. Last night we repeated this sacred ritual and like usual surprised ourselves with a successful conversation. After talking about weather and church for an appropriate amount of time, given our backgrounds as Middle Americans, my parents commented that my video’s quality was quite poor. Based on the image, I was a freak that lived in a highly pixilated cave, one side of my face shadowy with never ending night and the other a dull orange.

There are a number of reasons for this, I explained. First of all, I do live in a highly pixilated cave. Second of all, my room is naturally dim because I only have two lamps. While thinking about the lamps, I was struck with the desire to show them something I was proud of, namely a lampshade I had made myself. I created this masterpiece by hanging a scarf between a curtain rod and a picture frame, hiding the lamp’s naked bulb behind a transparent scarf wall. However, instead of being impressed at my ingenuity, my mother said with an overtone of reprimand, “Now Emily, isn’t that a fire hazard?”

Where are the congratulations, the “well done, genius and thrifty daughter, for you have saved yourself the purchasing of a lamp shade and used a seldom worn scarf to diffuse light from a bare bulb?”

Also, of course it’s a fire hazard! Sometimes I look over and the scarf is draped on the naked bulb in a forbidden embrace. If I had left the room with the bulb and scarf in such a position, who knows what I would have found when I got back. The sock I’ve been looking for? A hole singed in my scarf? A fiery chamber of death? It could be anything! So yes. Technically, this precarious set up is slightly dangerous.

However, let’s not forget the fact I live in Egypt. The makeshift lampshade, or pre-fire if you will, is only one of many dangers I face daily. I also have to cross the street, no small task in a city with 5×10-7 crosswalks per person and billions of cars. Furthermore, according to World Bank statistics from 2004, Cairo is among the most polluted cities in the world. These pollutants daily become a part of my body, which itself is becoming more flammable. They’re also pollutants I’ll be bringing back with me to the states, where I intend to get as much medical work done as possible while still on my parents’ insurance.

The concern is certainly welcome, but I would prefer it to be done in a more thoughtful manner. I simply ask that if they’re going to worry, they worry about everything and in equal proportions. Road safety should probably come first, even before the worry I’ll convert, marry an Egyptian man, and never come home (in that order.)

For further questions on what should and should not be worried about and/or quotes from Late Night with Conan O’Brien circa 2006, please contact me. Thanks.

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The Set Designer of Jurassic Park Becomes an Interior Decorator

the closest I’ve come to Jurassic park is a place called Tafraoute, Morocco

His first meeting at a client’s home.

Okay, I like this villa thing you have going on here. It’s very simple, very real….but I just feel like we can make it more raw, you know, like people walk into your home and all of the sudden they’re afraid. BOOM. SCARED.  You see what I’m saying? Like they’re walking up to your house—what are your plans for the front yard, by the way, because I think we should fill it up with fleshy tropical plants and really thick undergrowth—oh you haven’t decided yet? Okay well you should give some consideration to a mud based yard with fern undergrowth and giant palms that a path can wind through mysteriously, like people can’t see your house from the street—oh and we gotta get those garden speakers that look like stones and have all kinds of nature noises.

We’ll get some scuffling and rooting around noises and maybe some low growls. Are the growls are too much? Okay I guess we can just go with the rooting —yeah I’m definitely getting some kind of vision here. And now that I’m looking at your ceiling I can’t help but think we just need to tear it off and replace it with dirty glass like an abandoned green house, but here’s the best part, we shatter part of the ceiling and put a tattered blue tarp over it, just to make people think, “Oh god what happened here?”

So we got a blue tarp covered shattered glass ceiling with those iron beams and pre-rusted screws sticking out everywhere…..how do you feel about leaving glass shards on the ground? You’ll have to wear shoes in the house, but it’ll be worth it for the stealth decorating points. Your guests won’t know if you accidentally forgot to clean the glass up or if you’re just that good at making them uncomfortable. Because as soon as they come in, they’re going to feel aware, you know, just really aware of everything because they know something’s not quite right and so their adrenaline is going to get pumping and their bodies are going to be telling them to FLEE.

Oh and how much plant life can we get in here? I say we dig up 30 percent of every room and plant a bunch of fleshy palms. We can get more stone speakers to spread the atmosphere, maybe get a couple dozen geckos and some birds and stuff….get things nice and tropical. We should probably break a lot of these windows and get some ambiguous animal scratches on the wall.

And then in the dining room we can put the outdated medical equipment and curious looking scientific instruments. These will make great conversation pieces if anyone ever wants to stay for dinner, and just think of the fun you can have with the roast at Christmas.

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