Wednesday 30 October 2002

welcome to 1999

That's right, I've finally shelled out for broadband. I had ADSL in Montreal (no really, I did) but had to give it up when I moved to the UK. Since then, I've been one of those out of date weirdos using a dial up connection at a pathetic 56k (which is actually an improvement over the 33.6k connection I had with my laptop the first year I lived here). I'm all agog. I can download lots of porn really quickly get files from work much faster and won't have to wait hours to receive my Dad's emails (he still hasn't quite got used to the notion of resizing photos so that they're less than 1MB each). Whee!

Tuesday 29 October 2002

sleep, interrupted

I fell asleep quickly last night, curled up under the duvet after a nice long bubble bath. This went fairly well for a while, until I started having a bad dream. Not a maniac weilding a chainsaw kind of bad dream, but more of a realistic things going bad and it's really unpleasant kind of bad dream. I woke up at 1am, my jaw sore (I clench my teeth when I'm tense) and still feeling upset even though I knew I was back to my trouble-free (at this moment, anyway) life. Back to sleep I went, only to pick up where the dream left off and continued with the storyline. At 4am, my television came on - the power must have cut off at some point and when it came back on, switched the TV on as well. I plodded downstairs in a stupor, turned the TV off, and crawled back into bed. I was still thinking about my dream and reviewing the plot so far, which is a bad thing to do if you want to get back to a peaceful slumber. Minutes later, the drama continued and things got more depressing. Even when my clock radio went off four hours later, I was still having this same horrible dream.

Yet for some bizarre reason, I feel really well rested and happy today. Go figure.

Poo, it looks like it's too late to enter Pete's sculpture in the Turner Prize competition.

Monday 28 October 2002

the blustery day

It was a bit windy here this weekend. East Anglia (which is where Cambridgeshire and my home reside) is extremely flat, so it must have been a real treat here this weekend. In Northampton, the wind howled and rain poured down on us. I sat in the living room next to the big patio doors, watching Paul's fence buckle and heave with the wind. Paul was sitting at his desk facing away from the window, so his main indication of how bad things were getting outside were the sounds coming out of me. The afternoon went something like this:


"Is everything okay?"

"Yeah, the fence is just moving around a lot."



"What? What?"

"That conifer bent right down to the ground."

"But nothing's tearing apart in my garden?"

"Nope. OOOOOH!!"


"That fence is really bendy!"...etc.

Despite my false alarms, part of the fence did manage to come loose and had to be nailed back up again when the storm passed. Very luckily, all of Paul's conifers and roof tiles remained intact. I'm now convinced that someone is trying to remove England from the face of the earth - first earthquakes, and now hurricanes. Okay, so the earthquakes were a pathetic 2 or so on the Richter scale and that wasn't exactly a hurricane, but I'm still on the lookout for plagues of locusts and frogs showering down on us. England must have done something bad lately, and I can only assume that it has something to do with Atomic Kitten (who are indescribably evil).

I leave you with this masterpiece: Pete's sculpture. Don't say I never bring you any culture, bacterial or otherwise.

Friday 25 October 2002

when dining gets ugly

"An angry customer tried to break into a pub just to prove the chef had used HP Sauce instead of a home-made chilli dressing, a court heard." [source]

Thursday 24 October 2002

take a chair

Or specifically, take my chair back to the shop 'cos someone (let's call him "Paul"), broke mine this morning. As for my chair at work, I had to fill out some forms to attest to the fact that my chair is shite. Now it goes to the head of facilities, then to my manager for approval, then they'll give me a chair to try out before ordering one in for me. Apparently it won't be one of those kneeling chairs like I had imagined; it'll be some sort of regular office chair with funky ergonomic bits on it. I predict I'll get this chair some time in 2004.

Pete has created some sort of Turner Prize award winning sculpture in our publications/localisation room. I'll try to remember to bring in my digital camera to take a picture of it. It really does defy description - needless to say, it involves office furniture in a creative arrangement. It's sort of like that scene in "Poltergeist" when the mother turns her back for a second, turns back round, and her kitchen table and chairs have been stacked in a bizarre formation...except Pete took a few minutes to do this and we were all watching him. "Polterpete"? "Petergeist"?

I hate to mention Avril Lavigne again (I truly do not want Google hits about that woman leading to this site, thankyouverymuch), but I have to say one thing: how very clever of you to have rhymed "for" with "before" in your hit single. You must have rummaged through the dictionary for days to come up with that one. Kudos to you!

Tuesday 22 October 2002

wish i was there

Ed has done a fantastic photo "documentary" whilst he was on a 15 minute walkabout from work the other day. Hmm why do I keep plugging Ed's site lately? Must remember to ask him for some sort of commission in December. Anyhoo, I love seeing images from home and this is why I enjoy keeping up with blogs from Montreal - it gives me glimpses of the city that I'm missing a lot right now.

In a "proud to be a Montrealer, even if I wasn't born there" kind of way, I'd like to say a big wooohooo to Yann Martel for winning the Booker Prize. Yes, I will get around to reading the book (got it last year for Xmas) but in the meantime, I am thrilled that another Canadian author has nabbed this prize. I would have been equally thrilled if Carol Sheilds had won as she's one of my favourite authors (right up there with Margaret Atwood and Alice Munro), but it's certainly nice to see this won by a Montrealer. To make up for the horrifying crap we usually export to you poor souls outside of Canada (I cannot apologise enough for Celine Dion and now Avril Lavigne), please get familiar with one of our excellent authors. I promise you, it'll make up for William Shatner and Loverboy. Well, maybe not Loverboy...there aren't enough ways to say "I'm sorry" to compensate for that one, really.
i'll look like a dork, but my back will love me

Before I blather on about today's topic, I'd just like to say that Paul used the word "sexy" to describe both his new mobile and computer to his friend yesterday. If he does this one more time, I'm chucking those hussies out of the house.

I'm looking into getting an ergonomic chair for work. My poor aching back needs a good chair, because the one I have right now is awful. In fact, at this very moment, I'm sitting on the edge of my seat (literally) because if I sit back I'm too far away from my keyboard. My chair has two adjustments (up and down), which isn't very useful. Has anyone used one of these chairs before? If so, did you find that it helped?

Hopefully, I won't end up looking like this guy. I'm dorky enough as it is, thanks.

Friday 18 October 2002


First Chris W. got one. Now Paul bought one. This is the phone that I wanted a month ago when I was looking to upgrade, but it was too expensive. Now it's �80 cheaper. I am NOT amused!

*mutter grumble*

Thursday 17 October 2002

tip du jour

Here's some advice: don't pack a suitcase after you've been out all night at a pub with your mates. I had to pack my stuff tonight as I'm heading to Northampton straight from work tomorrow, and I'm a little worried about what I've actually put in my suitcase. I'm pretty sure that I've packed clothes and necessities for the next three days, but I'm a tad concerned that I'll get to Paul's house, open my suitcase, and find it packed with nothing but baked beans and coathangers. Really must get to bed and wake up early tomorrow to check this out. On the plus side, I had good fun tonight and had some fantastic Thai food. Tomorrow I'll feel like poo, but there you go.
big bags of fun

Totally ripped off from my fabulous friend Ed's recent blog entry, let's play What's In My Handbag (or whatever it is you lads carry around with you):

  • mobile phone

  • iPAQ pocket PC

  • nail file

  • wallet (let's not even discuss what's in there)

  • keys

  • Polo mints

  • a Badtz Maru notepad

  • security pass for work

  • glasses

  • sunglasses

  • feminine protection (wish I could remember who once said, "What is that, exactly? A pink uzi?")

  • Kleenex

  • lip balm

  • Tylenol

  • allergy tablets

  • Pooh BandAids

  • passport

  • chequebook

  • sewing kit

  • hair clip

  • contact lens case

  • eye drops for contact lens wearers

  • and sometimes, my small digital camera

When I used to ride my bicycle to work, I'd carry around all this plus a lock, my funky bike tool, waterproofs, and a reflective belt. Oh and then there's my gym stuff. Plus all the things in my car.

What you got, then?

Wednesday 16 October 2002

ay carumba

Homones made me eat Mexican food tonight. No, that's not true. Chris and Micky made me eat Mexican food. Yes, that's right. They forced me to have dinner with them at the White Horse pub in Oakington tonight, and pressured me into sharing a big deep fried starter. They're evil, I tell you! My colleagues continue their reign of terror tomorrow night when they make me go out for Thai food at the Hopbine pub. What's worse, I can drink tomorrow night as I won't be driving. Eeeeeeeeevil.

A very sad day in scooterness. I finally picked up my things from the bike shop; I had a few belongings under the seat and needed to pick up the money for my dearly departed scoot. All I've got is a D lock, a litre of 2 stroke engine oil, waterproofs, a reflective belt, and �100 to show for my three months as a scooter driver. The guy at the shop is brilliant and really went out of his way to make sure I got a little something after all my woes. He said that I must be happy to be on four wheels now that the weather is turning miserable, but to be honest, I always feel a little twinge of sadness when I see someone whizz by me on a scoot. I really loved winding through country roads in the sunshine on my way to and from work each day. I love my car to bits, but there are days that I wish I was still a scooterbabe. Focusbabe simply doesn't have the same ring to it.

Monday 14 October 2002

it's beyond my control

My Mom sent me this brownie mix (that she found god knows where because there's not one word of French on the box - and it's illegal in Canada to not have bilingual packaging, as far as I know), and I've finally got around to baking them tonight. Oh my. Fat free chocolate brownies, and they don't taste like shite. Mind you, it really irks me how companies convince you that "low fat" means "good for you" when the product is loaded with sugar. Sugar is fat free; low calorie it is not. These brownies are a lovely little treat, but if you look at the ingredients, guess what's first on the list? Sugar. Since my hormones don't give a rat's arse about watching my sugar intake this week, I'll just enjoy the brownies with my nice cup of tea.

I also blame hormones for that big curry I ate on Thursday night, the Domino's pizza I had on Friday night, and the Doritos and guacamole washed down with margaritas I had on Saturday night. Yes, that's right. Hormones. Did too. You want a piece of me, punk?!?

A bit homesick today as a few of my Canadian friends emailed to remind me that it's Canadian Thanksgiving. Thanks for rubbing in the fact that I don't get a turkey dinner and didn't have the day off work, you bastards. Pfffft. I think Canadians are smart having Thanksgiving in October. You Americans have to go through all the turkey basting and family gathering fiascos in November, mere weeks before you have to do it all again for Christmas. At least we have over two months to forget the fact that most of our relatives are completely insane and that we vowed never to have them in our homes ever again. Paul claims that the turkey bacon he made for me for breakfast yesterday morning should count towards my Thanksgiving festivities. The breakfast he made was so fantastic that it actually does almost make up for the lack of a full turkey dinner tonight. Almost. Hmm getting to that time of year when homesickness is becoming a lot more apparent. Must eat another brownie.

Ah yes, the film we saw on Sunday - Red Dragon. Since I'm too tired and lazy to write up a decent (and I use the term loosely) commentary about it, I'll just say that I liked it and maybe spit out a sentence or two. Ralph Fiennes (side note: every time I see his name now, I always think of "Coffee Talk" with Mike Meyers on Saturday Night Live. One of the lines when Linda gets all "verklempt" was, "Ralph Fiennes is neither spelled 'Rafe' nor 'Fines' - discuss!") is immensely creepy yet somehow pathetic. Seems to be a theme in this season's films - murderous lunatics who can gain our pity. Ed Norton teeters on the border of intense brilliance and slack-jawed simplicity. There are points when his expertise and intuition are supposed to astound us, then there are moments when he almost seems to drool a little as he tries to get his mind around the painfully obvious. Still, the dynamic between Norton and Anthony Hopkins works and the manhunt is captivating. No, it's not better than Silence of the Lambs, but it's a massive improvement from Hannibal. Maybe I'll change my mind if I watch Manhunter (the first film adaptation) or read the book again, but for the time being, I can say that I enjoyed it.

And may I just say, it's a tad depressing to be sitting here in a sweater and jeans with the heating on. :(

Sunday 13 October 2002

fin de la fin de la semaine

Weekend's not quite over yet, but almost. I always hated Sundays for that reason - I usually spend it thinking how crap it is that it's back to work the next day and how fast the weekend's gone by.

Blogging live from Northampton today. Oooh aaaah never done that before! A little hung over, still full of Mexican food (damn we're good at this whole salsa/guacamole/fajita thing), and off to see Red Dragon with Paul's brother and sister in law in a couple of hours. Insightful (*cough*) film review to come later.

Rightyo, off to enjoy what's left of the weekend. Wah.

Friday 11 October 2002


I have just realised how fantastic it is to type along whilst listening to Gould's fingers floating across the keyboard. In a moment of insanity, I have decided to do some more work as I wait for Paul. As I was typing a lengthy bit of text, I noticed that my fingers were moving in time to the music. Very cool.
lemme ouuuuut

Got to keep myself occupied while my boyfriend does work type stuff as he's my lift home this evening. I could do work myself, but that would be wrong in so many ways. Plus, it's been one of those panicky deadline everyone is annoying me type weeks and I've hit the wall. I cannae work no more.

We are entertaining Paul's brother and sister in law this weekend, with Mexican food and margaritas. Mmmmmmmmm yes.

I am listening to Glenn Gould courtesy of one Mr. Leftbanker, who very graciously mailed one of his CDs to me this week. Absolutely fantastic stuff. If you get the chance, rent 32 Short Films About Glenn Gould not just because it's a fine Canadian production, but because it's a brilliant film. Thank you so very much, Mr. Leftbanker - my spirits have lifted significantly since putting my headphones on.

Wednesday 9 October 2002

miss canada

I went out with a couple of Convergys girls today (I am still getting quite a few hits each month for the search term "Convergys girls", which is more than just a little disturbing), and my mate Jan was talking about someone she said was "not very Canadian". She meant that this person wasn't what she thought a typical Canadian is like - friendly, polite, and outgoing. She explained that this "not very Canadian" Canadian person wasn't like me, as I'm the only other Canadian she knows. Then it struck me: for a lot of people, I'm the only person from my country they've met. There are tons of Americans here; the English are more than just vaguely familiar with people from the States. Me? I'm one of the few representatives of my lovely homeland - what a burden to carry. So now the English must think that Canadians are Father Ted and Simpsons obsessed, wine drinking, chunky Kit Kat loving weirdos. I'd just like to say, for the sake of my country's dignity, I may not be your typical Canadian. I don't know, really...what is a typical Canadian?

sometimes a sponge is just a sponge

"His sexuality has become the biggest talking point since US campaigners claimed handbag-carrying Teletubby Tinky Winky, an import from the UK, was a bad role-model." [source]

Tuesday 8 October 2002


Pictures from Jack's birthday 'do can be found on my brand spankin' new album page. If you've been reading this page for a while, you've probably seen all of these pictures before ('cept for Jack's party pics 'cos I just uploaded them tonight). Enjoy!

Oh yes and big up to my homey Jack, whose birthday is today. Big up da cake, you mofo!
a whole lotta nothing

I don't really have anything to say today, but that doesn't stop me from writing. Oh, no. That's because I care about you, the reader. Yes, I do.

I got an information pack about the MA programme I'm starting, including a form to get a student card. What's the first thought that crosses my mind? "Woooohoooooo student discounts!" That's right, it's cheap movie tickets for me. To be honest, I will probably never use the card to get a discount, mostly because I don't want to present it to some spotty kid who'll raise a sceptical eyebrow at the old broad who simply cannot be a student at her age. Although this being a university town, I do often get asked if I'm a student. Being foreign also helps, because why the hell else would you come to Cambridge from abroad? At least, this is what the locals ask me.

Work related news: Wowie, haven't done this for a while. No wonder my site's still banned from the office. We received bread yesterday morning that expires on September 28. It's like a penicillin experiment in a Hovis bag. I need someone to explain the banana mystery to me. At the beginning of the week, a new supply of fruit is brought in which usually includes several bunches of green bananas. First I wondered why these unripe bananas were always gone in a matter of hours, but now I think I've figured it out - people are taking them back to their desks to eat when they're ripe. Now I'm wondering about the bizarre phenomenon of the extremely ripe bananas that have been showing up later in the afternoon throughout the week. When I check the kitchen for a fruity snack mid-morning, we're always out of bananas. Lately, when I go in after lunch, there's been three or four ripe freckly bananas sitting on the counter. Where do they come from? They can't be the same green ones that arrived earlier, unless we've got some sort of accelerated ripening chamber hidden in the office. Why are they only being put out three at a time? I'm stumped.

Monday 7 October 2002

nigella wannabe

I love Nigella Lawson - I think she makes fantastic food and she's absolutely gorgeous. She's built like a real human woman (i.e. she's got boobies - hurrah!) and she gets extra marks in my book for slagging off low carb diets on her show recently. So in my quest to become a domestic goddess (I'd really like a jaunty little tiara), I have made the most luscious risotto this evening. Inspired by the longstanding tradition of making dinner out of whatever's available at my local supermarket, I decided to go with risotto for dinner tonight. I didn't want to bother with the gigantic grocery store a few miles away as it's usually a zoo on Monday nights, so I scampered across the road to my little local grocery store. Wanna know what I put in the risotto? Oh go on, you do. I sauteed onions and garlic in olive oil, then added the rice (arborio, of course) and fried it around for a couple of minutes. Then a hefty glug of white wine went in, and I stirred the rice until the wine was absorbed. I repeated this with ladlefuls of soup stock until the rice was plump and al dente. In the meantime, I grilled some chicken in pesto and cut up some peppers, mushrooms, and fresh dill. When the rice was almost done, I added the veggies, sliced chicken, dill, and freshly ground black pepper. Then, I added a mountain freshly grated parmesan cheese, stirred, and it was ready. Mmmmmmm.

You can't really make risotto for one, so I made what I thought would be enough for dinner tonight, maybe lunch tomorrow, then another dinner later this week. Since I'm utter crap at estimating food portions (and forgot that risotto is so rich that you only need a few spoonfuls per portion), I've ended up with a silly amount of risotto. Like enough to feed the village. So, if you're in the area, please stop by and have some risotto.
monday, monday

I only half jumped out of my skin this morning, and fell back into it to listen to the radio for a few minutes before reluctantly getting out of bed. Yes, the radio is definitely a far less traumatising way to wake up.

"One Hour Photo" was very well done; Robin Williams is surprisingly good (and I think much better in this role than the similar character he plays in "Insomnia"). Williams is Sy "the photo guy", a quiet middle-aged loner who works at a Walmart-esque photo counter. His life is an orderly routine: knowing the habits of his regular customers (such as the lady who only takes pictures of her cats and the plastic surgeon's nurse with her "before and after" shots), his meticulous attention to detail in the photos he develops, the diner where the waitress knows him by name, and his immaculate apartment. He is gentle, far more dedicated to his work than even his boss thinks is acceptable, and gains the sympathy of his customers who can sense his lonliness. He is also a delusional stalker. Sy is obsessed with the Yorkin family, plastering his wall with prints he's duplicated from their rolls of film and mentally inserting his image in these family shots - desperate to become "Uncle Sy". The cinematography in this film is incredibly effective - Sy's world is filled with brutally stark fluorescent light, while the Yorkins are bathed in warm, earthy tones.

What makes Williams' character so brilliant is his ability to make us sympathetic, regardless of his actions and delusions. He is dangerous and disturbing, yet has morals we can condone. He seems more outraged by a husband's infidelity than his wife, causing Sy to demand "What is wrong with these people?". There is an explanation for his behaviour that is revealed near the end of the film, which doesn't dismiss his actions but certainly makes us understand how he got there. Unlike characters like Travis Bickle in "Taxi Driver", Sy doesn't go on a bullet-riddled moral rampage. It's what he doesn't do in the final scenes that surprises us; and this is how he maintains our pity.

Can you tell I took film studies courses in university? Ah, to be young and pretentious again.

Sunday 6 October 2002


Ouch. My. Head. Pounding. Thirsty. Tired. Sore. Throat. Pain. Ouch.

Jack's party (pictures to come later) - a good time was had by all, especially by those who drank wine out of pint glasses. Now that's class. Off to see "One Hour Photo" with my lovely boyfriend, then I'm being taken out to dinner for a three month anniversary treat. Awwwwwwwww bless. :)

Saturday 5 October 2002

little miss naughty

So I bought the clock radio. And the digital phone. And the Gamecube game. Didn't get the Braun mixer, though. See, I was able to control myself. Oh shut up.

Friday 4 October 2002

everybody's working for the weekend

Hah, all you Canadians try to get that song out of yer heads NOW! Hah! Oh, damn. Now it's stuck in mine.

A belated happy anniversary to me - two years ago on Tuesday, I arrived in the UK with nothing but two very large suitcases and jet lag. I'm over the jet lag now, thanks.

Sally the lovely osteopath lady took good care of me this morning, easing muscles back into place, and listening to me moan about my aches and pains with gentle sympathy. I'm actually much better today...well, I can move my head to the side. That's a big improvement. I'm amazed at how she can tell what hurts, simply by touching my back lightly. It's almost mystical how she places her hands on me gently and in a quiet voice not asking, but stating that the muscle she's currently touching is tender. Sally said that she had to do so many adjustments last week and move joints that hadn't budged in years, that the muscles sort of freaked out and tensed up like a new bra just put through the wash (I'm paraphrasing here, obviously). Her empathetic tone and sincerity lull me into a sense of comfort, and I am feeling more certain that this will get better. On the plus side, nothing is cracking in my back or neck this time round.

It's Jack's birthday shindig tomorrow night, which should be good fun. I may bring the camera to get more drunken pics of my mates, because I can't seem to get enough of those. What will Jack thread through his earlobe this time? Oh, one can only guess. I haven't seen my friends in a while (since we went to Chris' bday shindig, I believe - and haven't seen Jack since Restaurant 22), so I'm looking forward to that. Chris made a comment to me about not having seen me lately because Paul and I are still in the "honeymoon phase", and suggested that we take some vitamin D supplements or open the curtains due to sun deprivation. Har har har. As if we get any sun in this country.

And in the "incredibly uninteresting news but I'll write about it anyway" department, I think I'll go buy a clock radio tomorrow. At the moment, I've got an alarm clock that goes BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP at approximately 2,000 decibels and gives me a mild heart attack every morning. Needless to say, it's not a gentle way to be woken up on a daily basis. It does have one advantage in that Paul is usually awake before the thing goes off, so he'll spare me the shock of the alarm by waking me up with little kisses (all together now - "awwwwwwwww" *barf*). On the other hand, I think he finds it entertaining to see me jump out of my skin and hit the off button in a small frenzy. I must control the urge to buy a new digital phone, as the cordless one I have is rubbish and Paul just got a nice new one last weekend (that he seems disturbingly fond of, I might add). I also want a Braun hand mixer with all the funky blending and chopping attachments. Oooh and there's a new Gamecube game out that I want. Help. No, no, I'll only buy the clock radio.

Unless there's a really good sale on.

Thursday 3 October 2002

a pain in the neck

Yes, my neck, shoulders, and back STILL hurt. I drove over 2 1/2 hours to our other office yesterday, drove another 2 1/2 hours back to Northampton (sitting in traffic and eating jellybeans for 45 minutes of it), and drove over an hour into work this morning. Stating the obvious here, but all of this driving is not helping. Neither is this sitting at a computer thing right now. I'm seeing the osteopath again tomorrow, but now I'm at the point where I'm almost afraid to go. I'm so traumatised by the week of pain I've experienced after seeing her last Friday, that something in me says that tomorrow will lead to more suffering. This just proves my point that exercise and seeing medical professionals are bad for you. Okay, so I'm exaggerating slightly. Not about the pain, though - I'm having a hard time holding my head upright, and I've not even had a single glass of wine. I think it's time to go home, soak in a bath until I stop feeling like bursting into tears or passing out, and prop myself up on some pillows and work on my laptop from home.

Tuesday 1 October 2002

quote of the day

"I wish my flat was filled with one big man in his blue underpants." [source]