Thursday, January 15, 2009

2009 and Still Single

Well, here we are. I've been away for a while. There have been several things that I wish I could change in the past 2 years. There were a few conquests. Even more credit card debt. But the great thing is that I landed a new job. Also, I'm pretty stoked about the Obama inauguration for the United States. 2008 had me getting in a lot of political arguments. I'm not sure what party I belong to, but I was certainly hoping for a change for the Americans. I wish I could be at the inauguration. I think it will be one of the most important moments in their nation's history. I guess I could go, but I'd have to get out the ol' credit card. I've done some damage with that thing lately. Especially over the holidays. There's a few bar owners who probably bought new plasma TV's because I was a patron at their bars. I mean, I didn't mean to pick up the entire bar's tab for the night.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

What I Did On My Holidays Part 83

And so I went skiing again. As with last year, I spent a drunken christmas with the family and set off shortly after. This time it was 26/Dec, thus managing to miss that entire dead-zone between christmas and new year.

However, unlike last year I didn't spend 8 hours in the plane to find myself greeted by a cute girl in Vancouver. No, this year I spent 1 hour in one of EasyJet's finest (yes, I am cheap. I'm not proud) and found myself greeted by a hairy French customs guard, which really wasn't the same thing at all. This time, of course, I'd brought a cute girl with me instead.

We nearly didn't make it. One of our party had partaken of the bar at the airport a little too freely and thus the following exchange took place at the x-ray machine:

"Oi! You! Mate! I've got a bomb in my bag" (giggle) "Oi!! Look!! Bomb!!" (snigger)

And so it went on, right up until a well placed elbow delivered a bruise and a warning. The warning not being that continuing in this way would result in ejection from the x-ray queue and some quality intimate time with a big man called Alan and a rubber glove he calls "Betty" but that The Lovely B was reaching the point where a targetted knee would cause the witty rant to continue in a much higher octave.

I, alas, could not calm my nerves in the usual way (pills and alcohol) - I had to drive. In France. In the dark. In the snow. Up A Fucking Mountain.

It didn't start well - I got lost in Toulouse leaving the airport. Yes - Toulouse, the current record holder for most car torchings in a month. Not really where one wants to get oneself lost at midnight. The French don't really go in for road-signs that show up in the dark. Or many streetlights, it would seem. Which is my excuse for hitting a speed bump at 60 miles an hour. Every light came on on the hire car's dashboard. And then went off again.

I chose not to tell my passengers. The Lovely B was attempting to decipher a stereo so complex it could only be fitted to a car from Japan while The Boy M sat in the back, drunkenly humming to himself. No need to worry them. Hertz might be a bit upset about the bent front suspension though...

Tomorrow - how I managed to freeze toothpaste, and when 50 percent isn't 50 percent at all...

(The picture somewhat gives away the fact that we made it... nice view isn't it?)

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Fun In The Office

My we're a wacky bunch in the clinical trials industry. A trial for a new arthritis drug has the following question for patients to answer every day:

"Rate your stiffness this morning"


9 Out Of 10 Cat Owners Who Expressed A Preference Said...

Before I launch into 'What I Did Between Christmas And New Year', a question for you:

Last night I was watching the commercials sandwiched between the increasingly unpleasant 'Celebrity Big Brother' (an addiction that I hate myself for afterwards. A bit like cheap tequila on a Tuesday night.) Loreal aside (where American actresses are given hilariously dubbed English voices) the commercials are usually more fun than the show itself ("Tonight in the Big Brother house, Michael is picking his nose") but this time there was a wierd one. Hundreds of thousands of women striding purposefully down a city street.

What could it be for?

A variant of that annoying coloured bouncing ball advert for LCD TVs?
A trail for a new Lads Mag?
Something exciting on the wash-and-go theme?
Yet another 'We give women discounts because they aren't as bad at men at driving!' car insurance scheme?

No, the voice-over announced that '2 out of 5 women experienced seepage from their sanitory products in 2005. But not any more with new (insert name here)!'

Which survey extracted *that* particular statistic from the population at large?

Monday, January 23, 2006

Christmas Redux

Christmas chez Newly was an extravagant affair. Mainly due to the tree.

Last year I entirely failed to acquire a tree. Or any decorations. Or even the compulsory Perry Como Christmas CD to be purchased, listened-to and then quietly disposed of with the aid of a potato peeler after an aged relation puts the damn thing on for the tenth time at the highest possible volume.

Tch, I mean - if I happen to play a little bit of Thievery Corporation too loudly in my car, I get stern looks. Possibly more down to my dubious taste in music rather than the rattling of the Golf Of Doom's windows. But when my grandmother sticks on her bloody "El Divo" operatic nonsense and blasts next door's cat into the neighbouring suburb, she seems to get away with it. Doubtless by pretending to be deaf, which is, after all, the only way to truly enjoy any sort of opera.

But I digress. This year, following much urging from First-Born, I acquired a tree. Sadly artificial, but magnificent nonetheless.

It was epic in its dimensions. One of those purchases that look so much smaller in the shop, and then consume your flat like someone pulled a ripcord in its base. Kind of like what happens to mediterranean women exactly three days after marriage.

First-born was suitably impressed. More so that I'd managed to assemble it wrong and stuck all the big branches on the top and the little ones on the base on my first attempt.

"No-one's got a tree like this!" she enthused, gazing in awe at the bizarre upside-down green plastic pyramid.

"Indeed" I muttered, and submitted to the shame of having to read the instruction manual for assembling a Christmas tree.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Sign Of The Times

I read somewhere that "To Modernise" meant "Make Crapper" and "Outmoded" meant "Works Perfectly Well, But A Bit Expensive"

A case in question - the town sign for Horsham, where I used to live (I now live in a town called Dorking, much to the ongoing amusement of my trans-atlantic friends.) Its an old wooden sign with some ornate carving and the word "Horsham" carved into it. Its been there for over a hundred years, probably considerably longer than the councillers who have taken it upon themselves to add a shiny new sign with the same basic information, namely "Welcome To Horsham" coupled with the opening times of the shopping centre and the fact that Horsham is open on Sundays.

This may be progress, but replacing the old signpost with something clearly designed by someone more used to creating notices for hospitals saying "Rectal Examination Unit, This Way" doesn't do it for me.

Tomorrow: what I did over Christmas and New Year. Now that the hangover has finally come to an end.

Friday, January 20, 2006

Mystery guest spot

Somebody close to me is currently serving in the British Armed Services in the Middle East. This person's tour of duty is almost up (in fact, their military career itself is almost over, so jaded have they become by the general experience.) Every now and again I get an email giving an insight into the conflict. Here's this week's one. From Kabul...

"The armed forces from the land of the free continue to astound me in their general ignorance and lack of subtlety. Worse still, they nearly interfered with my lone night of luxury.

"Let me explain.

"For the last few days we have been gun running across the Pakistan boarder from Islamabad to Kabul. This morning I was setting off to work before you guys had even watched the News At Ten and had the great pleasure of watching the sun come up over the Khyber pass. The red morning light reflecting off the bowl of the snow covered mountains that surround the west of Kabul was magnificent and enough to hold me outside in -12.

"I mumbled a very unwarlike comment to the American refueller about the beauty and inspirational nature of the whole scene.

"He replied that it was good news indeed, since the snow over the last few days had prevent the transport aircraft from the USA landing, and so the dining hall burger supplies were at a critical level. The Americans, you see, fly all their food in from the USA to prevent any poisoning by Bin Liner or his friends. We, of course, make do with what we can scrounge up from the local markets.

"But I digress. During our shuttling, we managed to wangle a night in a hotel in Islamabad.

"Now, I have never stayed in this city before and was slightly anxious that we could end up in the Pakistani version of a TravelLodge since accommodation is at a premium in the city (Islamabad is the control centre for the Kashmir earthquake relief and many buildings in the city were damaged by the tremors.) Luckily for us the British High commission had booked us into a hotel that it uses. It was a throw-back to the days of Empire; my somewhat low opinion on the British Empire is of course based purely on what I have read, but the service was excellent and the rooms were palatial. The old boys certainly knew how to live.

"But once again disaster nearly struck! The Americans, thinking they had located one of Bin Liner's deputies, bombed a whole village. This village happened to be in Pakistan as opposed to Afghanistan, and in their excitement they forgot to ask permission to enter Pakistan let alone the bombing of the unfortunate locals. Then they refused to apologise blaming the war on terror.

"The effect on me? The British high commission were worried that there might be a backlash against Europeans and we would have to cancel our trip. Thrown out of our palace!

"However, I bravely, even courageously, locked myself in my room. And ordered a curry on room service.

"We left at 3am local time feeling pretty sure that we were safe since by then, any aggrieved Pakistani would have found an American (who were still walking around in their uniforms, blissfully unaware of the situation in their ignorance) to take their annoyance out on.

"If only they spent more on a good cause such as the earthquake relief, rather than chasing Bin Liners around the mountains, then maybe the world might like them a little more. But then thinking about it, as Pakistan is an Islamic country, the hamburgers they fly in probably don't go down too well either.

"I guess the refueller in Kabul doesn't need to worry about his burgers ending up in north Pakistan."