Saturday 31 August 2002

wonder no more

At last - proof that Paul isn't imaginary! Either that, or I found this bloke in a catalogue and Photoshopped him into the pic with me.

Friday 30 August 2002

by the skin of my teeth

From today's Register:

"Tech workers from overseas will find it harder to obtain UK work permits, following the government's decision to remove all IT jobs from its shortage occupation list." [source]

Yerk. Glad I got in when I did. :\
news flash

More Cambourne news for you all to read and enjoy. The lock on the door to our room seems to be broken. The cleaners haven't been in here for the past week and my bin is getting full. We're out of bread in the first floor kitchen. That is all. Thank you.
completely work-related

To emphasize the fact that this is "not strictly a work-related site but it does have a daily diary of Cambourne office events", here is your daily update of the important events around our office today.

Someone has been taking multiple cans of pop out of our free vend machines home with them. Similarly, someone has nicked a pizza and some ham from the first floor kitchen. This is very naughty indeed and I'm sure goes against our Citrix philosophy. Oddly, I notice that no one has taken my food and I think it may have something to do with the fact that everything that's mine is labelled "light" or "low fat". My advice to fellow workmates is this: if you want to keep your food safe, stick it in Tesco Healthy Eating packaging and it'll never get eaten by anyone else.

In other news, staff enjoyed free cake Friday this morning. One employee admitted an addiction to a pastry called "bear claws" and proceeded to stick his finger in the pastry and wave it around in the air. A good time was had by all and wackiness ensued.

Big discovery of the day: interns get paid! No, really! Not only do these students get to enjoy as much free toast, fruit, and pop (one can at a time, mind you) as they want, they apparently receive a paycheque each month as well. Who knew?

Am now off to a meeting for an hour. More news to come.

Thursday 29 August 2002


In a strange twist of fate, my evil boyfriend got hold of my keyboard and sent a note to Pete stating "I love you have my babies". Now all sorts of rumours are going to circulate around the office. Bah.

11 of us are heading out to Restaurant 22 for dinner tomorrow night. Despite the crap web site, it's supposed to have excellent food and wine and I've been wanting to try it for ages. I may bring my camera, so stay tuned for the possibility of "I'm trying not to get drunk so I can enjoy/remember this food" shots of my friends and loved one.
i'm just a girl

So there I was at the petrol/gas station last night, with my head under the bonnet/hood of my car. After putting air in my tyres/tires, I decided to top up my windscreen/windshield fluid (don't you love this simultaneous translation?). A guy around my age popped his head round and asked if I needed any help, but hastened to add, "I'm not asking because you're a woman! I just thought maybe you need some help." I assured him that I was okay and thanked him for asking, he left with a smile and later drove by and gave me a wave. Stuff like this restores my faith in humanity.

Tuesday 27 August 2002

back to reality

Ah, always so fabulous to be back at work after a long weekend. We had a brilliant weekend away in lovely Warrington (in a village outside of town, actually) and the rain wasn't as bad as expected. The BBQ was good fun (only my second one this year) and we knew we had indulged a bit too much when tequila sunrises were served and we couldn't really taste the alcohol. Someone brought a 1 litre bottle that was divided up into about 10 drinks, which made everyone else cough and splutter but Paul and I didn't find them strong at all. Frightening. I did, however, have a massive hangover the next day and had woken up in the middle of the night with a throbbing headache. The next night we went to the tackiest club I've ever seen - the DJ was like someone you'd hear at a really bad wedding reception. It was mostly 70s and 80s music, which would have been good if it's wasn't all the worst hits of those two decades. I mean come on, "Living on a Prayer"? So many 80s tunes to choose from and they played *that*? At any rate, because it was so naff, it was really fun and apparently would have been a lot more fun if we were a lot more drunk (we both paced ourselves after the night before). We had a quieter day yesterday, sitting in our friend's garden eating bacon butties (that would be bacon sandwiches to you North American types) enjoying the sunshine that finally appeared. Since we don't have an Ikea close to Cambridge, I wanted to visit the one in Warrington. So far I've been to Ikea in Croydon, Montreal, Toronto, and now Warrington - a veritable world tour of flat-packed furniture. Paul bought a couple of things, but I didn't find anything I wanted. After a very sunny and hot drive back to Northampton, we settled in for a night of Simpsons episodes as Sky One was showing a "Top Ten" for the evening. And now I'm back at work, and there isn't enough tea in this office that'll wake me up at the moment.

My mate Gary is on a mission to get this site unblocked at work. They've updated the firewall at my office and a whole whack of sites are no longer accessible from work, including this one. He's had to submit a business case for unblocking the site and said that it belongs to an employee and that "she writes a journal about things that happen at work". I will be more than just a little amused if they actually accept this reason.

Friday 23 August 2002

hooray for bank holidays

Last bank holiday until Christmas, so let's make the most of it. Except for you North Americans who don't have a bank holiday on Monday. You can whoop it up on Labo(u)r Day, Thanksgiving, and whatever other holidays your country/religion entails until Christmas. We're off to Warrington this weekend to see Paul's friends (yes, it will rain buckets all weekend long), have a BBQ, go out for a big night on the town, and enjoy a weekend of not cooking/staying in a hotel. Warrington is about 20 miles southwest of Manchester (more west than south, actually) and very close to Daresbury where I've been known to appear every now and then over the years.

In keeping with the travelling around the country theme... (and please feel free to do the same with your country of residence or any other for that matter)

Top five places to visit in Britain:

5. The West Country (Devon and Cornwall in particular)

4. Edinburgh

3. The Lake District (Coniston, Grasmere, and Ambleside)

2. Scottish Highlands (Glencoe and Skye)

1. Northampton (for personal reasons, of course)

Thursday 22 August 2002

random acts of weirdness

Yesterday, a workmate (we'll call him "Pete") grabbed hold of another (female) workmate's PC and sent a message simply stating "I love you" - to another female workmate. So in keeping with that theme, I suggested that Pete send "I love you" messages to random people today. So far, he's sent love-themed emails to three men: two of whom have responded (one rather gracefully), and the third has yet to reply.

The third message was:

"What part of South Africa is it you come from? Jo'burg? Don't you think the sunrises there are wonderfully romantic? Just makes you want to snuggle up with someone on top of some hill and just watch it come up...I'm so bored down here... I'd love some company from a South African."

So Adrian, if you're free, come to Cambridge and keep Pete company.
polling, polling, polling

Rightyo, let's get a top five week going. Okay, so the week's almost over - humour me. Promise not to alienate single people. ;)

Top five ways to relax when you're really stressed:

5. Take a bubble bath, light some candles, bring a glass of wine, and a trashy novel.

4. Watch Father Ted/Simpsons/Blackadder/Wallace and Gromit on DVD.

3. Eat something made of chocolate.

2. Buy one of those punching bags. Give it a name like...oh, let's pick a name at random...David Hasselhoff. Punch repeatedly.

1. Give yerself an o!

Wednesday 21 August 2002

now playing

Added Aqualung's new single "Strange and Beautiful" to the listening menu on the left. Yes, it's that song from the Beetle advert. It's fantastic and dammit, it's been stuck in my head for ages. Also added Coldplay's latest one "In My Place" as it's another crackin' tune. Mucho thanks to Chris Gissing for hunting these down for me.
also appearing in the top five

Surprises (good ones). Came into work this morning to find the DVD "Amelie" resting on my keyboard. No special occasion; he got it for me just 'cos. What girl doesn't like stuff like this? It shows that your boyfriend actually pays attention to what you say (e.g. knowing which films you love) and can be spontaneous.

Because I'm reading Nick Hornby at the moment and am in that kind of mood, I'll ask: What's in your top five things you do or things your partner does for you?

Tuesday 20 August 2002

gifts from home

My Mom sent me a "care package" that arrived yesterday. In it, she sent me: fat free Jello chocolate pudding, Orville Redenbacher light microwave popcorn, Japanese rice crackers, Sapporo Ichiban soup, "Canadian truffles" (maple-flavoured chocolates), "Canadian Delight" tea (your basic bags of ceylon in a box with a picture of Niagara Falls and a mountie on it), and "Moose Droppings" (chocolate-covered almonds).

This tells me that a) my Mom has made note of all the North American foods I stocked up on last time I was home and b) all the weird Canadian stuff she sent me indicates that she must be going insane. For some bizarre reason, my Mom keeps sending me Canadian things ever since I moved to the UK - like I need to keep reminding myself that I'm Canadian. We're not really a very patriotic flag-waving people; we're rather quiet about our Canadianness. It's rather odd to have a houseful of things with the word "Canada" and maple leafs on them. I've got so much Roots clothing I could open up my own outlet, I have a baseball cap and a t-shirt that says "I am Canadian", I have a beaver dressed up as a mountie mousepad, I had a wall calendar of Canada last year, and every care package always contains some sort of Canadian chocolate (not really complaining there, though).

Don't get me wrong - I love these packages from home. It warms my heart to open my kitchen cupboards and see food products with French and English writing on them. I think it's really sweet that my Mom sends me a parcel every few months (my ex-workmates at Convergys used to love her for all the chocolate she'd send). I'm just worried about the state of her mental health. Do other ex-pats go through this as well? I wonder if my mate Mark in Montreal gets jars of Branston pickle and packets of Bisto from his mother.

Monday 19 August 2002

the psychology of food

Standing in a queue in Tesco and the guy in front of me has the following in his trolley: one chicken madras ready meal, naan bread, lager, and three packages of Pot Noodles. Ah. I'm guessing a single man. I love looking at what people buy at the grocery store. It's like going through people's medicine cabinets (not like I do that, mind you) - you can learn so much. I saw a woman with the following in her trolley: Healthy Eating ready meals (Tesco's brand of low fat dinners), Diet Coke, Mueller Light yogurt, bags of salad, and a package of chocolate croissants. I'm guessing that this woman is perpetually on a diet and can't figure out why she's not losing weight. Has someone written a book or article about this? Or am I on to something here?

Well, dammit. I so wanted to see this Matisse/Picasso exhibition, and now it's gone. :( Poo.

Okey doke, now using Blogger to post stuff again. Not that Notepad wasn't lovely - 'cos it was. Mmmm. Anyway, this should allow me to post (during those well-earned breaks from work, of course) during the day if necessary.

Please refer to the archives link in the left menu to read previous (pre-Blogger) posts for the month of August.
alrighty then

Ah. My attempt to not get too personal has got...too personal. Let's try this again.

We had sunshine this weekend. No, really we did! It was the balloon festival in Northampton (you'd never get me in one of those, thanks), so they really lucked out with the weather. We celebrated by sitting in a nice air conditioned cinema to see "Sum of all Fears", which was a fantastic film if you can suspend your disbelief (there's just been a nuclear blast and yet Ben Affleck's mobile still works). I was completely spoiled by having not one, but two fabulous meals cooked for me (grilled salmon filets, salad, and bruschetta on Friday, and chicken stuffed with olives, sundried tomatoes, and basil with salad and asparagus on Saturday). I can hear all my blokey type friends laughing, but I am telling you - there is nothing sexier than watching your man cook. Okay, that's a bit dramatic...but it's definitely high up in the Top 5 Sexiest Things My Boyfriend Does (I should write a Cosmo article on this). We went out to a lovely pub called The Greyhound last night, which has an enormous beer garden out front (sat there for lunch on Saturday) and cosy tables inside.

Oh, and for some bizarre reason, I can no longer view this site from work nor can I FTP updates from the office. Trust me - this entry was written in the late morning/early afternoon, even if it is only showing up in the evening when I can get home and post it. Hmmm maybe I should switch back to Blogger...