19 November 2006

another reason to fancy Joe Escalante . . .

(. . . an enjoyable account of a recent tour of England)

'It was so cold outside, people were afraid to go anywhere. I did a long power walk to get some exercise but I went so far I had to take a bus back. I just faked an english accent and put a pound in the drivers tray and said "university please" in a ron weasly voice and it totally worked. They don't know you are faking it and if you do it well, like rene zelweger does, they actually understand you better. But you can only do this when you are alone because if the guys in your band hear you doing it, they will likely puke.'

Yes, Joe, I understand . . .

02 November 2006

run, run away. . .

. . . here we go again

coming soon, with ref to this, this (warning - pdf doc), this and this


05 July 2006

viva arsenal . . . er, i mean france

I interviewed really poorly for a job today. Shame. Just...bad. I wasn't in the mood and it directly followed the realisation that I had f***ed up big time a large mailing we spent heaps of ££ on; I co-ordinated it, prepared the list, etc and as 'invalid address' packs started to pour in, realised that my Excel sort clearly had somehow gone a bit funny at the proverbial eleventh hour and the first line of nearly everyone's address went pear-shaped and 5,000 packages went out to incorrect postal addresses around the world. With first class postage. And an external mailing house (paid) to carry out all the work. Sigh.

So I must make a new list, and by hand solely open each package, make a new label, re-stuff new envelope and post again. Did I mention there were 5,000?

I used to have the bloody word Director in my job title, for God's sake - surely I shouldn't be expected to mail merge properly and should have people to do this.

Funny, I never (rarely) used to make mistakes in any job that I have done, but in my current one, I seem to make them fairly often. New kind of pressure? Red tape? Geordie boss? One couldn't begin to guess...

01 July 2006

q: how do you know when . . .

. . . you have officially become an honourary english girl. . . ?

a: when you too look and feel like this* when this happens

(*awaiting sad photos to turn up on web for pasting)

25 June 2006

it started . . .

. . . here

to which my comment to a friend was:

yet another one from over there making friends over here and giving a brilliant impression of how (un)worldly and educated americans are viewed by those over here. truly embarrassing:

'Her many utterances are so outrageous, for example, "I think the government should be spying on all Arabs, engaging in torture as a televised spectator sport, dropping daisy cutters wantonly throughout the Middle East and sending liberals to Guantanamo."'

I read the article first, then watched the video here (er, and yes, Paxman does tend to just jump right in and on people like this)

then really enjoyed the comment here

and added my own after reading:

'...especially when I consider British viewers sitting at home taking in her usual dog-and-pony show of snide stridency. I can only imagine she confirms their worst suspicions about Americans: contemptuous of science and reason, nuttily and selectively religious, arrogant, stupid, and shrill.'

as someone (who was at one time) from the u.s. (she says uneasily and non-patriotically) who has been living in the uk for several years, I had composed an email to a friend on this topic before reading this blog, commenting nearly these exact words about the impressions given by brash, insular u.s. types such as this woman. this kind of stuff really sets relations back. . . they've only just stopped talking here about how the u.s. ambassador/embassy refuses to pay their accrued congestion charge (£271,000 as of 1st may), presuming they/he is above the law (surprise, surprise!) and happy to pass along these charges to londoners. but I digress...

also agree with the '...a real press -- such as they have in the UK -- that she can't help but look like an idiot' and that Pax didn't take her seriously anyhow

people tend to get offended if I get annoyed when someone says a bit too loudly 'she's american' and/or 'she's from america' - but it's because of people like this that I wish to constantly distance myself from any responsibility. also - frankly - I simply do not at all identify with the term/label. sometimes I don't even realise it's me they are talking to/about - it's a bit like if someone pronounces or spells your name wrong and you don't even associate the fact you're the person to whom they refer

by the way - in attempts to circumvent any flaming - I'm not saying britain is an angelic country that can do no wrong and doesn't have its share of idiots (oh no - just look at the hooliganism news (again) re the world cup (again) .. and many, many other things, of course)

. . . . .

a brief extra bit on the Paxman interview - I found this to be quite a typical response from a brit (as nicked from here), given the majority of them seem to have no concept or respect of religion, etc (which I still find astounding, given their history):

'Paxman immediately countered her by jumping to a conclusion: "So, you think that the world was created in six days?" What I found interesting about this brief exchange was that Paxman seemed to be reasoning that Biblical creationism "seemed silly" on the face of it, whereas Darwinism "seemed rational enough" by the same criterium.'

current mood: chuffed it's england v ecuador in 2hrs

22 June 2006

you don't get into a car for ages . . .

. . . then five come along at once

more on that later (not that it's exciting - well, maybe (this) one...)

it can be a bit frustrating, this blog, because one never knows which walls have ears, so i find myself continually holding back certain events, thoughts and photos that i would otherwise quite like to share

but even if i am anonymous with names, faces, places, dates - as well as hide my blog from searches - what if someone happens upon it randomly and works out who i'm talking about, where we were and when? or does it really even matter, really?

it may seem unlikely this could even happen, but i remember when around 3 years ago, i was going through some cvs for a job for which i was helping to recruit. there were loads of them, so it became a quest for the ones most visually pleasing to go into the 'read' pile. i suddenly spotted one with a format i really liked...then quickly worked out the reason i liked it...it was mine! or...was it?

in fact, it was a nearly-precise carbon copy of my cv (in font/format/verbiage/etc), submitted by a former colleague to whom i'd sent my cv the previous year when looking for work and asked him to keep an ear to the ground. the cheeky bugger! i was tempted to drop him an email but was afraid he would be thoroughly mortified - don't we all nick ideas from other people's designs/content - ? - yet never expect said other people to see it?

but i digress, as this is but only a tenuous similarity

my point was that i have done quite a lot of interesting things over the past couple of weeks and am currently composing (mentally) how best to blog about them without getting myself into trouble with a wandering eye

more tbd

16 June 2006

yesterday was a very bizarre day, but . . .

. . . all good, really

no time for chat now - here's a cute pic in the meantime

ps - still having a bit of trouble with this kc thing - and why on earth, after all this renovation and expense, would they make the stairs and walkways half the size they used to be and put two less carriages on all the trains!? makes the whole more-efficient-service-to-passengers thing a bit of a joke

30 May 2006

Hunting for a . . .

. . .flatmate is truly a sick cross between recruiting for a job and finding a date. It has become a second job, and I quite honestly think moving-out-housemate should pay me for all the work...

One guy has provided 21 bullet-points of his 'Flatshare Specific Attributes', even including his list of top ten films - no surprise that I like all the details, and he's coming round this evening. Forget the flat, perhaps I'll get him to take me out...

So far there has been only one nutter, but I've been looking for over 4 weeks now and it's really not much fun.

Think my standards might be a bit too high? No wonder I can't find a nice young man to take me away from it all...what's so wrong with settling, anyway?

29 May 2006

eek, i'm a tourist . . .

. . . or it felt that way this morning, anyway

of course i'd seen the signs for the past few weeks, advising customers that the interchange between over and underground lines would be changing from 28th may and that signage would accompany duly

but i wasn't prepared for a whole new station (ish) ! they've been working on it for ages, but when there are barricade thingies all round - behind which you assume there is simply a little corner for the builders to have their tea - it is truly amazing to discover they've been building a whole new everything back there

suddenly i was a tourist in my own city/station - wandering about aimlessly without a clue as to where i was, needed to go, how to get there and why

once i found the platform, of course i realised it was the same one as usual, but just a bloody long way round to get there. typical. they renovate the full lot, but make it more difficult for me to get from here to there, rather than simpler

i'm additionally saddened by the completion of this work because sometimes when coming home late at night, the guys were working on the area through which i needed to walk, so they would open a short cut, through which it took about 30secs to cross the distance rather than 3mins(ish). damn

by the way, what's with ken using a photo that's decades (ok, maybe years) old . . . we all know he has no hair now, so he may as well give us a current pic

Currently reading: Global Finance by Leo Gough
Current mood: mischevious/uncertain/a bit giddy

22 May 2006

another fantastic quote from . . .

. . . Auntie Abigail (a code name which I have only just selected byway of a funny little word association that just happened in my head):

' "fellow traveler" used to be code for pinko commies who were trying to bring down the establishment.'

I had not heard this before, but have now also found it here.

I do love it, especially given the context in which it was used regarding a friend who working somewhere with someone who is pure Hell...

19 May 2006

so on my way home tonight . . .

. . . there were about...guessing...20?ish coppers at the station I always pass through. they were sort of spread out as well, so not sure if maybe something happened. too tired to ask

though I did notice that they have installed a airport-stylely detector thing, which is new since yesterday! I had heard they were going to trial one of these at a random station that is a bit off the path, which seemed pointless. glad to see they are also doing this in this other station, which is a perfect place to have one (largest and busiest station in london - and where the bomber boys arrived/disseminated)

bit unsettling with all the coppers, though - it's not them I mind, but whoever they're looking for . . .

18 May 2006

just a wee bit . . .

(this post is a work in progress)

. . . more on this topic, since it seems to not be going anywhere

so it seems that even the people who tell us not to let people in have let people in not only to the country, but to their offices to given them a little sparkle and shine

passports for food?

'But the home secretary stressed that 3,500 had been going missing every year before a more secure mailing system was introduced in February 2004...More than 300 passports were stolen or lost in delivery and others simply went missing and were never recovered. They introduced a secure delivery mechanism and even that is failing.'
this is a cracker, the alleged secure mailing system; when they had to return my passport in september 2004 (hmmm, 7mths after this revoluntionary system came into use), it was sent in a non-descript puffy brown envelope with no return address. i was very reluctant to open it at the time, for fear someone had sent some errant porn or perhaps a severed finger

with regards to legal immigrants, check out how wonderfully prepared we were for them - amazing!

'A government report estimated 5,000 to 13,000 workers from the 10 new EU countries would want to stay in the UK. In fact 293,000 immigrants have applied for work permits since May 2004.'
(this post is a work in progress)

are you ok for a little rant?

this began as a short email to a friend, but grew along with my annoyance . . .

for those who might enjoy a good debate over those people who come into our country, take our food, education, housing, medical, etc and give nothing in return (oh wait, that's asylum seekers)

with ref to:

Illegal immigrants 'not hunted'; Wednesday, 17 May 2006, 07:40 GMT

'He said the UK's illegal immigration problem, which according to one estimate was about 0.7% of the population, was small compared to the United States, where they made up "7 or 8%" of the population. '

how ridiculous is this quote, considering the vast differences of:

9,631,420 sq km
298,444,215 total pop
23,875,537 illegal

california alone:
158,302 sq. mi.
33,871,648 total pop
2,201,657 illegal
(for a bit of pedantesque comparison)

149,757 sq km
60,609,153 total pop
424,265 illegal

which doesn't quite add up to their delusional figure of 25,000/yr x 10yrs, now does it; especially when last July there were allegedly 570,000, and today they say they are expelling 1,000 per month. so 1,000 x 10mths = 10,000. which means there are roughly 470,000 at the moment and not 424,265 nor 310,000

and if in 2002, mr blunkett (also see point5 below about our leaders) supported the idea that 'there are as many as 500,000 illegal immigrants in the EU', does that not mean we are the biggest offenders? but how is this figure possibly feasible anyhow, in a population of 379,000,000; for those keeping track, that's only 0.14%.

3,976,372 sq km
456,953,258 total pop
639,734 illegal based upon figures above

so are we to believe that in today's figures, there are only 640k illegal immigrants out of 457mil and upwards of 500k of those are in the uk alone? if so, the problem is even bigger than we realise.

making comparisons to the problems in the us simply infuses the notion those of 'authority' in the uk are trivialising what is in fact a very big problem. how is there even a comparison?

and obviously don't even get me started on the '1,023 foreign prisoners who were released without being considered for deportation', encompassing: 'three convicted murderers, nine rapists and five of sex offences against children'. this may seem a small number, but not when they might be living down the road from me, working for the local taxi service or behind the till selling sweeties to kiddies. another demonstration of how this country's shamefully pathetic legal system adds further detriment to the safety and wellbeing of every one of us.

it is interesting how often i seem to get into a conversation with someone about my feelings on how unbelievable it is that in this country, a man can rob, assault, rape, murder, chop up a woman whilst driving ten times over the limit in car full of child pornography and probably get 2 years, then reduced to 6mths- or perhaps a £20 fine. really, he is better off carrying out all of this than getting caught selling illegal cigarettes down in nag's head or ambling from pub to pub with a bag full of dodgy dvd's

this guy was before my time, but let's get him back

but on the upside, our local politicians are sound, since they:

-are not racists, speaking on behalf of this lovely city, who do not know the difference between iran/muslim and israel/jewish - and could care not
-do not have sex with their secretaries in rooms paid for by taxpayers
-do not engage in dodgy dealings with aussie businessmen and italian prime ministers
-do not reduce kind, clever men consumed with guilt for hiding secrets about their incompetence to such despondence that he goes out into the woods to shoot himself
-do not publicly tout their personal problems and mistakes to the press, lose their place in the cabinet, get another one, lose it, get another, repeat repeat
-do not regularly commit any other 'serious errors of judgement', shaming their colleagues and the country as a whole

. . . yet . . . i still love it here - go figure . . .

but reckon anything's better than george bush (except maybe mugabe)

currently reading: The Women Who Knew Too Much by Tania Modleski

17 May 2006

signs, symbols and semiotics . . .

. . . as if my current mood and outlook was not bleak enough, a quick look at the 10day local weather forecast solidifed any hope of pulling out of the grey funk (just like mother nature)

happy summer, london - bah humbug

13 May 2006

i need a title for this one . . .

in an effort to even further avoid what i should be doing at the moment, i decided to clear out the spam folder in an inbox i never use (not sure why i don't just get rid of it altogether then)

only 2036 spams since april - or since either 1938/2038 if you want to count the clever date-amender-senders

but there were a few whose subject titles i loved to bits and thought too good to delete (i didn't open the actual messages, of course)

so i thought i might start a list of top spam subject headers - it may be a list for today only, it may carry on, who's to say...

today's top prize is a draw:

preconceived bell pepper
paralyzed frosting

honourable mention:

i thought he was going to kill me
(one might find dialling 999 a more efficient means to cry for help)
flasher scavenger
(do people go looking for these?)
cardigan sedentary
(i think my vintage green cardy would like this special moniker, whereas sad neglected navy blue would be jealous)

08 May 2006

eritrean formula . . .

am just loving this too much:

'When I was younger I used to read the "Let's Visit..." series of books in the local library, and became particularly enthralled with "Let's Visit Albania". This led me to try and find out more, but seeing as this was the early nineties and there was no internet, there was little I could find. So I wrote to the Albanian ambassador. He wrote back and invited me to the embassy for tea. It was lovely. I was very excited, I was only about twelve and I went with my mother to a bedsit on Eccleston Square in Pimlico where I met his wife and his son and was given a can of coca-cola and a copy of Ismail Kadare's "General of the Dead Army". It was wonderful, and I think that ambassador (I can't remember his name) was a lovely man. I think it was the most succesful (in terms of fully winning over one heart and one mind) PR stunt of his career! '
Dan Bidewell, London

to see what brought this on, go here

04 May 2006

reading the coolest book ever . . .

. . . tbd

25 April 2006

a list of things i do and places i go. . .

. . . really should be started, before i forget what i do or where i go. must come up with some categories, etc. . .

i'll start now, off the top of my head and nearby pinboard:

bbc taping - the write stuff - waterstone's (yes, there is a secret room on the 6th floor) - 27 april 2006 (inc guest john o'farrell, whose book i loved so much, i read it twice - and some other people i didn't know; nb: comments tbd re the female reader with 'the voice')

theatre - period of adjustment - almeida theatre - 25 april 2006 (more tbd - for now, i saw this guy there in the audience)

theatre - resurrection blues - the old vic - xx april 2006 (featuring matthew modine and neve campbell (yes, julia from party of five - or, to any male readers - yes, the one who snogged denise richards in wild things) and others whom i can't remember at the moment)

bbc taping - counterpoint (music quiz radio show - special 20thyr anniversary edition) - drill hall - xx april 2006 (inc guest julian lloyd-webber (who i have always thought was andrew's son until this very moment, when searching for this link - they are brothers!)

bbc taping - never mind the full stops x2 (new bbc4 telly programme - channel 4 - xx march 2006 (presented by the (surprisingly) ever so impish julian fellows; inc guests carol thatcher, janet street-porter and a few others i'd never heard of (like ned sherrin, who was terribly english...so i went to see him record counterpoint, as above!))

music - classic concert with motoki hirai and john pearce - st cyprian's church - 18 march 2006

theatre - the producers - theatre royal drury lane - 23 november 2005

theatre - romance - almeida theatre - 28 september 2005 (featuring the top mancunian, john mahoney)

theatre - a life in the theatre - apollo theatre - 3 march 2005 (featuring patrick stewart and josh jackson (yes, pacey from dawson's creek - he's all grown up now!) - we saw them both in their knickers)

you know what those sirens mean, don't you . . .

. . . it means the gooners may well be at it all night

but hey - we won ! a few down, one to go . . . phew

it was one of those moments i'd dreaded . . .

tbd, re cornstarch

konichiwa hirigana!

tbd - arigato

18 April 2006

carlsberg and the crucifixtion

coming soon!

alliteration and meeting matthew modine

coming soon!

15 April 2006

full metal jacket is truly . . .

. . . one of the best films ever

some people seem to find it odd that i - little, tiny, innocent and defenceless female - could love it so. but i do

and of the things that's great about it is matthew modine. c'mon, you know matthew! you think you don't, but you do. if consumed with uncertainty, go here and here

well, i got to meet mr modine this evening! yes, it's true, and not at all the way i would have envisioned my day going, at the point i left the house in the morning

. . . to be continued . . .

i have just read this . . .

. . . and am a bit fired up

this began as a short comment i was going to make on the bbc website article which you can read here (if you wish)

i agree completely with tom watson’s comment as above: ‘however, i think americans need to be educated in such a way that equips them better to travel without appearing to treat to rest of the world like an extension of disneyland. i frequently hear patronising, insensitive comments made by american tourists who are tarnishing the reputation of their compatriots.’

having been born and raised in the US, i have lived here for nearly four years, and have never experienced any of the behaviour ms cox indicates. although i did anticipate it initially and have discussed it with my british friends and colleagues at various times over the course of the years, they too are unaware of this sentiment being thought of and/or used on us-types living or visiting here.

when i hear these stories, i tend to think they are embellishing as a means of drawing attention. i once heard a student here on exchange from small town america say that a woman on the til at a shop said to her 'you sound just like george bush - you must support the war and killing innocent people', leaving those in the room to whom she said this to tut-tut incredulously. puh-leeze, i would like to hear from a witness to this actually happening, because i do find it quite unbelievable

that said, i too lower my voice when in public and/or meeting new people - but that comes more from the belief that americans speak in a loud, uneducated and crass manner. i tend to agree with that, and am fairly embarrassed when hearing others in public. but the same can surely be said of, say, australians who are here to get away from oz, or the brits in ireland, who are there to get away from here, or anyone wanting to get away from ‘their own’ people, yet finding there is no escape, no matter how far you go

as steveo said: ‘i honestly think its all about the tone and volume. americans are always wah wah wah on the train, in the restaurants. you can hear them a mile off. its as irritating as when someone is talking on their mobile loudly in a train. it gives the impression they are better than everyone else. what i would advise americans to do is to talk less, listen more, and talk more softly.’

indeed, there was a noticeable difference around a year or so ago when people automatically assumed and asked me if i was canadian, rather than american. that had never happened before, but is rampant now. and though this could have more to do with this funky 'transatlantic madonna-esque' accent i seem to have acquired, i believe it is more to do with not wanting to cause offence with a general assumption i am american. this has always struck me as amusing, bearing in mind the generalisation in america of canadians being 'dumb, uneducated, rubbish' (see south park, et al); (although those such as john candy who were happy to play along with the stereotype in things like canadian bacon were brilliant. but i digress)

supporting emilie dingler-meek's comment of: ‘as a seattleite living in london i often find that i can get away with pretending to be canadian as well. and i do. i am ashamed to be american. i didn't vote for bush and i don't support the iraq war and i feel american foreign policy is abhorrent. but i also find that people will assume i'm a thick headed, right-wing, mcdonald's loving, anti-islamic, fundamentalist christian, intolerant, homophobic idiot. that couldn't be further from the truth, but i never get a chance to show people who i really am.’

i am grateful for the rare opportunities in which i do not have to say aloud the words 'i am american' or 'i am from america'. gain ire at the words, if you will, but i would rather than not be classified by where i was born but rather who i am

besides, the thing about london is that one is hard-pressed to even find a true anglo-saxon through-and-through brit (is there such a thing?) - a brilliant facet of the multi-culturalism of this city is that when taking stock of your tube carriage, you are likely to run out of fingers rather quickly when counting the nationalities/backgrounds of those sitting amongst you

if ms cox felt she needed to 'go back to 'the states' (another term i despise because it sounds quite selfish to me - there are other countries in the world that use the term 'state' - it is just further evidence of americans having no cognisance of there being a world outside their own country. but i digress. again.) where she felt loved, then perhaps she should go back there full stop. i mean, really, if people don't like it here, make no efforts to ingratiate themselves into the local life/culture/knowledge and simply prefer to moan about all things london/english, then by all means, go back to from wherenst you came. she is possibly too of the ilk of those who, when the bombings happened in july, greatly contemplated the idea of 'going home'. whereas there are those of us who feel this is our home, and felt more connected to this country, london and londoners than ever before

someone clever once said something to the effect of 'you can't choose where you were born, but you can choose where you die'. indeed. although i hopefully have at least another 50-60yrs until reaching death, i know i would rather it be where i am happy and around those to whom i feel i can relate

-an expat with no desire to ever 're-patriotise' to the us (canada, maybe - the anglo/euro-cised parts...)

01 April 2006

now that's what i call . . .

. . . melodrama

how excellent was eastenders last night? truly, if you must know - it's not often one can say that these days. the one when leo died was probably the last time it was to this standard. even when dennis was stabbed/johnny beaten up on new years eve, it seemed rather contrived and up to par of the previous year when dirty den was killed (again)

i wonder if tony jordan is back - there was rumour he'd be returning, and i think he did for a short while; but i don't recall seeing his name in the credits of late. must investigate . . .

am loving our newish teleport replay, which seems to be used solely for 'tenders catch ups these days. although in my procrastination two evenings ago, i picked a show at random, and ended up thinking it was absolutely brilliant

it was called 'you need a dog' (i know, don't let the title put you off), which is a new series, presumably. in the one i saw, there was this beautiful, vibrant, intelligent single mother - sam - who was lacking in 'companionship'. so the pet experts decided that having a dog for 3 weeks would help her to meet people and feel better about herself. i thought this woman (age 30ish?) was so amazing - she had what sounded to be a terrible childhood (leaving home and being on her own since the age of 13), and she also had a daughter aged around 9-10 who was deaf, having contracted meningitis at the age of 2, from which she lost her voice and hearing. sad. but sam just pushed on, learned sign language and lived a happy little life

but there was something missing...cue arrival of bob the dog. he was a black cocker spaniel and the sweetest thing ever (says she who does not like dogs). with the assistance of various pet therapy types, sam and bob went to obedience school (for bob, not sam), made a little room for him in a storage cupboard, took lots of walks and - the culmination - attended 'puppy love' - a singles night for dog owners

it all sounds so completely ridiculous, but really, it was superb. sam was feeling loved (by both herself and bob), getting out into the fresh air and meeting other dog walkers, as well as getting cuddles on the sofa (from bob, not the other dog walkers)

at puppy love, she met a few nice young men. one was deaf, and i thought it was brilliant the way she was able to not skip a beat and start signing to him. impressive. she eventually met adrian, owner of two dogs. they had a couple of drinks, exchanged no.'s, and met up a couple of days later to walk their dogs together. adrian asked her for dinner and sam was a happy clam

but then disaster struck - the 3 weeks were up!! bob had to go away. people who aren't pet people have no idea how easy it is to get attached to an animal, even in a short time - they're like your children, really, but they don't cry or throw their food at you (although they have been known to leave a mess on the floor when being potty-trained)

so bob left, and sam and i were both gutted, but knew bob was off to conquer his next mission of bringing love and cuddles to the next deserving person

adrian and sam went on their date, he asked her out again, sam and daughter got a hamster, the end

there is a lesson to be learnt whilst watching other people turn themselves round. i, for one, have been thinking a lot lately how desperately i want a cat again, because they can really make all the difference in the world. i can't really have one where i live, but i'm thinking about asking. what's the worse the landlord can say - no. so i move on and continue to hunt for ones to pet along the road

i had also been thinking mildly about learning to sign, and it seems to suddenly be a recurring theme in conversations that should otherwise have nothing to do with it. someone was telling me last night (bringing it up voluntarily - i had not mentioned it at all) that there is some ridiculous statistic like for every 60,000 people who are deaf, there is one speaking/signing interpreter. how depressing is that (nb: i'm not actually sure if that was for here or america, as she is clued up on the topic in both countries)

i remember looking into learning this a couple of years ago, but it seemed a lengthy and expensive process. how on earth can they charge people to learn this amazing thing that is rewarding for all involved? i understand there used to be a government scheme in britain where it was free. it should be again. i must investigate . . .

Current mood: pensive

hairdresser on fire

i should think it's certainly not too often one gets the opportunity to quote the lyrics from 'the death of a disco dancer (well it happens a lot round here...)'. but it just fell straight into my lap, begging to be said - even though the person on the other end didn't get it at all (who is not only gay, but apparently used to do hair - go figure)

such a fortunate coincidence that this morning, i opted to take along to work with me the smiths book in which people recount stories that are associated with their songs. i've not picked up the book since nov 2004 (according to the rail ticket inside), so a bit odd this should come up in the same day. odd in a good way. . .

31 March 2006

strangers on a . . .

. . . train

at around 23.30 this evening, when i was about to get on a piccadilly line train - having taken the circle line from baker street to kings cross - a girl got off the piccadilly train who i had seen about 11hrs earlier on the westbound circle/hammersmith/metropolitan platform. how kooky is that? in a city of millions. this kind of thing happens to me at least a couple of times a year

i recognised the girl in question because she was wearing a super fab little green skirt with little white dots on it; i'd been tempted this morning to ask her where she'd got it. wonder if she recognised me as well - i felt like she looked at me for an extra second when she passed, but that doesn't mean it actually happened. how many people notice other people in their usual commute?

i remember when the bombings happened, and reading various accounts of train passengers after the fact. i recall one of them saying something like 'after the bomb went off, sat opposite me in the carriage was the girl who i'd seen nearly every day for the past several months - i'd always wondered about her' (she ended up either dead/passed out/lost limb/similar - i can't remember)

but of course people do notice, even though most would prefer to pretend they don't. funny thing - one has no idea if the person they've seen every day for 3 years - yet to whom they offer no recognition - could well be their next best mate or partner. interesting thought...

which reminds me of when i first started my blog, and the friends i met on the old thameslink commute that i used to take each day . . . so just a little side note, for those keeping score - the lady whom i called june back in 2004 ended up meeting a guy when she and i were commuting friends - they both work for a rail company and would bump into each other at monthly meetings - he seemed to fancy her (he brought her biccies to one meeting!) but she was: 1) blind to it 2) in denial

see, he was white and she was black and it had never occurred to her that this was something that could happen. she was also in her late 30s with two kids and a truly rotten ex-partner, and/so she felt she was finished with all that love stuff, and couldn't possibly ever meet anyone, bless her. he also had a long-term partner with whom he was in the middle of splitting - so dear june was adamant and cautious about keeping her distance

however, through various trials and tribulations, they eventually: started dating, meeting each others' kids and parents, going on holiday, moving in together, getting engaged, planning a wedding for august 2006 (which is hopefully still happening, since i've not been in touch with her since before christmas!)

all together now for the big sigh - ahhhh

Currently reading: All Men Have Secrets, edited by Tom Gallagher

06 March 2006

right, ok, so it's . . .

. . . fine - i'm over it now. honest. show's over folks, there's nothing to see here

i know they say this kind of crap to everyone, but they did say that it was a very difficult decision, blah blah and that they were really impressed with my enthusiasm and the amount of research that i had done, etc (too bloody right)

and they would like to meet with me later this week to provide personal and detailed feedback. which is good, i guess - i've never heard of anyone else doing that. but i suppose they may feel they have to in order to preserve relations and that. hmm, i seem unable to work out a way to spell the sound i am making

the biggest disappointment is the overall long-term picture here; this could have really been the catalyst for my continual visa issues. not could have - would have, i'm quite sure

but of course things '
happen as they are meant to', of which i am aware, yet still wonder if perhaps someone is trying to tell me something and i need to give up this ridiculous battle of finding a way to stay here. i don't even have fun anymore, because i'm so concerned about how i'm going to eat and finish this stupid degree, which will only result in my having to leave. what's the point, then?


i might also add the oddness of the comment on the phone (from caller) of 'well, thank you for taking the news so well' - how the plucking pluck hell else am i going to bloody
take it at that precise moment while he's still there on the phone?

now if i only i had someone to take me out for a nice evening on the town . . .

Current mood: indifferent
Currently listening:
Under the Big Black Sun By X

i did not get the job

advised - 4.48pm - 6 march 2006

off to cry now

Current mood: disappointed

05 March 2006

just in case i wanted to . . .

. . . embarrass myself further, following the meeting with the
boss lady the other day

today i came in to do some things at work. i look terrible. i mean, terrible. mind you, i'm showered with clean hair, make-up and such but really poor effort on what i am wearing and the overall look. but it's sunday, for boo-boo's sake

so when going to my office, who's coming down the stairs, as i'm going up? yes, that's right. boss lady again. timing was of course everything - since it's so lovely out, i had brought my camera along to take some photos to show non-uk'ers where i work and such. had i gone right instead of left when deciding what pics to take, i wouldn't have run into her

she smiled, as if she realised she had seen me before. i should have just done the same and carried on. but nooooooooooooo, i had to be a complete goon and immediately say that we met the other day in the loo when i'd burnt my hand, and i'm sorry about that (why was i sorry? i have no idea!), and by the way, i wanted to say before that i am being currently
considered for the dubai job. oh dear - 'nutter', she must be thinking, 'thanks for the warning'

but she just sort of 'oh, i was just working on that, where do you work now?'. not sure how involved she is with the set-up, but guessing completely, and perhaps she has seen the interview notes from friday! which is ok, i guess, considering how it went

i digress, as usual

why can i sometimes say terribly brilliant and clever things straight off the mark when encountering someone unexpectedly, yet in this instance(s), behave like such a ninny!

in other news, we are having some major building works done at work over coming months; yesterday, some temporary builder/worker-man huts went up in the car park (pic coming soon); they were installing them when I came in yesterday. because of their positioning, we and they will be able to look straight into each others' windows at will for the next seven months. that’ll be comfy

04 March 2006

but didn't his mummy . . .

. . . ever do this?

was just queuing behind a chap (aged late30s-early40s?) in a little shop; behind the til, they were about to put some cookie dough into the little oven, in order to (obviously) bake the special cookies they sell

chappy saw the bag with all the little dough dollops and said something to the effect of 'blimey, they're so small!!!! is that really how they start out?!?!'; he was in absolute amazement. i even said to him 'have you not ever made cookies or biscuits or seen how it's done?'; he hadn't and was in pure awe

he said 'but how do they get so big, then, and how do they come out flat - do you put something on top of them while they're cooking?’ bless the poor little man who i wanted to pat on the head

didn't his mummy or granny ever make him chocie chip cookies? such deprivation...

03 March 2006

ok, so i had . . .

. . . the interview today

it is but to laugh...i experienced so much anguish over my covering letter and cv (which i suppose has been to my advantage) as well as reading a ridiculous amount of background information*, competitor-related stuff, dreading the 'tell us about a time you provided good customer service' or 'what kind of tree would you be' questions

[*i seriously turned up with a categorised binder full of my research and a notebook full of questions and comments,
monica's-wedding-book styley; surely i frightened both chaps with this]

i didn't even receive the full job description until last evening, so what was included there didn't get as much preparation as it should have (or, er, it's ok now that it didn't. oh never mind, just read on)

so the laughing bit - my interview:

1) started 25mins late, as the other candidate was still in there when i knocked on the door - whoops - didn't get a look at the person, though

2) lasted about 20mins. one might think this is a bad thing, since it should have gone for an hour or so. fortunately, my application had pretty much spoken for itself (if i do say so myself, ahem)

3) was given by two people i already knew. phew

4) involved absolutely none of what i had researched

5) was inclusive of me being terribly charming and saying lots of clever things; therefore

6) went brilliantly!

i wasn't hit with any adverse questions, nor did we much talk about anything in the job description; since the job would entail helping to set up an entire new office, it was more about how would i implement this and that. thought i'd been caught out at one point when i'd said there were aspects of it that may be daunting, and one of them asked me 5mins later what i'd meant by that. whoops. tut tut, fluff fluff

as i answered some of the questions, they nodded vigorously and all but seemed to be helping me to answer the slightly difficult ones. they kept looking at each other and raising their eyebrows and nodding (in a good way). 'cool', methinks, 'it's going as well as i think it is'

i might also add that I was looking
super fabo in my profesho suit and heels

they then said that everything i was saying was great, jolly good, spot on, etc. and/but that they thought i was overqualified for the role, and wanted to re-think the situation since there are only two roles for the project - director and coordinator/administrator (i'm ok with low level for a few months!). they want to have a think and come back to me after they do director interviews on monday. they can't possibly think i am qualified to be a director, can they!? whew. and in a role that requires an mba and xx years of experience in the particular industry (two things i do not have - nor do i even feel ready for such an undertaking)

perhaps a change of job titles would suffice. and salary of course! worst case, reckon, is that they decide i am over-qualified for one, under-qualified for the other, and go with someone(s) else entirely. but now they know what i am potentially capable of, something for them to remember next time something fab comes up. mind you, the dubai one could help me to get my prize
visa, whereas another opportunity would not. drat

right then - speed type - back to work

Current mood: accomplished
Currently listening: Different Class By Pulp

28 February 2006

third strange thing . . .

. . . for the day; or should i say fourth - the latter being that this is my third bloggy for the day when i've otherwise not posted for weeks

i was rushing to attend a training course this afternoon, quickly stopping at a little machine we have where one can buy tea/coffee/soup (i have a secret key so that i don't have to pay - more on this later). so i got my soup and for whatever reason, my hand jerked a bit when i pulled it out from the little dispenser thing. the soup splashed onto my hand and was hot, hot, hot! i dropped it on to the ground (sidenote: somehow the cup stayed upright and nothing else spilled out - remind me to try tying some to a cat's back and/or a piece of buttered bread)

i tried to remain calm as there were people all round, so i quickly ran upstairs to the ladies and who was stood there fluffing her hair when i ploughed in but the supreme boss of the company. that probably doesn't sound that exciting, but she is a superifically-well respected woman, not only around the place but to the global economic, political and business world in general (again with the crypticness - my apologies). and a rare sighting. many people think of her as our own built-in celeb, including people who have worked there for over a decade

we've never met before, and there she was looking at me, and there i was with soup dripping from my hand. i quickly just said 'oh, oh ms xxxx, how lovely to see you and finally meet you (as i'm thrusting my hand under the cold running tap, wearing jeans and a pseudo-retro t-shirt that says something like 'we serve it hot and fresh' )', 'my name is xx and i work in xx dept and we've never met before'. she said hello and made to shake my hand, when i blurted out 'oh sorry, i would shake your hand, but i've just burnt it quite badly and may still have soup on it'. cue thunderous laughter, in retrospect. even for those who've never met me - can you not just picture it?

so she made to leave and sort of tut-tutted about my hand, nice to meet you, out she went and back under the cold water my ouchy hand went. someone had been in one of the stalls the entire time, and i was so pleased it didn't end up being someone i knew. i could not help but laugh to myself in the mirror, and the woman next to me washing her hands began to laugh as well, even though she had no idea what had just happened

really, you can't make this stuff up . . .

nb: for those concerned, i got a cold pack for my hand, went to my training course, the ice melted after about 20mins, and my hand remains a bit red. fortunately, we've an
aloe plant in our office (as one does), so i slathered that on when i got back. still a bit red, though....

nb2: note i may well have dealings with afore-mentioned extra-special boss lady, as she is heavily involved in the
project for which i've an interview on friday. had i my full faculties about me at the time, i would have mentioned this. but in case she forgets the incident, it might be better i didn't, in case we soon meet again more properly!

Current mood: amused

i have a class this . . .

. . . term about preparing oneself for next year's

this week (today) rather than having a formal class, we were made to meet at a particular
library to learn about the services they offer. because we don't know what libraries do (?). i considered not going, especially since i had to leave one hour earlier than usual this morning to spend three quarters of an hour getting there

but i went, because i'm considerate like that

there are around 50 in the class; about a dozen or less turned up. no surprise, really. we were led upstairs, taken into a room to be explained the rules of the library. this took about 5mins. in the room was a table, chairs and hundreds of journals on the wall shelves. wow, I am rendered speechless at the grandeur of it (that's sarcasm, in case you missed it)

we were then led into the next room where the e-library catalogues were located, and shown how to find the library's website and search the catalogue. are you kidding me with this? this took about 5mins

we then went into the main sitting area and shown how to fill out a form to request something that is stored in the basement. this took about 3mins

next was a room where we were shown some old photos, letters, memento etc bits of a london actress from early 20th century. this was to show us all the amazing artefacts they have for visitors...yet all these nice things stay boxed up in storage in the basement (so we can't get to them anyway). this too took about 5mins

and guess what? that was it. i got
out of bed for this? could my intelligence possibly be insulted any further? answers on a postcard, please

so while the others stood about waiting for further directives from the faculty (of which there weren't any - directives, that is, not faculty), i simply slid out, went to the locker to retrieve my things and absconded

pardon me if i've said this already, but: i got out of bed for this?

well i have been . . .

. . . invited for interview for the
job - Friday, noon

seems i nearly stuffed it up entirely as was phoned today by human resources to say that i had neglected to follow one key point of the application process (which i suspected would be a problem - i even drew attention to it in my email (good/bad?), but still didn't do it properly)

so the call began with 'we appreciate your application and interest in the role, but i'm afraid we will not be taking your application further because of x'; i managed to turn it round, say i would do x, proceeded to do it, let them know, then received a subsequent email from them confirming my interview for friday (apologies for the
cryptic description)

note i was also told (again) that someone else was already being seriously considered (read: 'they've got the job already, so don't bother doing x and applying'), but rather than admit defeat, i confirmed that i would press on

so - we shall see . . .

Current mood: indifferent
Currently reading: Alfred Hitchcock By Nicholas Haeffner

26 February 2006

shooby dooby dubai

since i have been remiss in my blogging duties of late, i'm just going to dive straight in, as if you already know what i'm on about . . .

so i have done it - i have just applied for a job in
dubai. i can not believe how much i have laboured over my covering letter [can you say nearly 3-4 days straight? - really sad - they (whoever they are) should really offer a course in how to not be a obsessively pedantic perfectionist]

in the first several days of hearing about the job (and following discussion with the decision-maker), i was feeling quite confident about at least being considered. then i found out a couple of days ago that there are at least two others being considered who are already working with the key people/on the project in question. so it could well be a matter of them having only advertised the job because the recruiting guidelines say they have to. that's just not nice

on the upside, i also learned that a flat would be provided (gratis), as will monthly flights to the uk - albeit for business purposes, but presumably still with time to see friends and stock up at tesco and waitrose. the salary is also decentish, and would offer a swell opportunity to start saving money again, bearing in mind there would be no rent and no taxes (woo)

the closing date is tomorrow morning, and since they want a team in place by the end of march, i assume the process will move rather quickly. if i don't even get through the first round, i won't feel too dejected, because i know that i have presented them with a damn good application. so in the words of the iconic
doris day, whatever will be, will be . . .

apologies re the secrecy surrounding any details on what the role entails, but the project is still confidential at this stage; not that you would have any need or interest in
telling anyone, but y'know...

Current mood: relieved
Currently reading:
Time Management - self-development for managers By Chris Croft

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