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Reasons to drink wine:
I have had a really difficult day. Not a stressful day, not a hard or tiring day, just difficult. Sort of a fucked by the fickle finger of fate day.See, all good reasons to have the odd glass of wine. Or two.
The sort of day where you'd really quite like a glass of wine at the end of it.
My car broke down in the Blackwall Tunnel. I managed to get it to the exit and off the road by rumbling along in a sweat-stained panic. Thank Christ. If I hadn't done that, most of Greater London's traffic would have ground to a total halt. Aaaargh!
Waited in the disused Millennium Dome car park for three hours for the AA (slight error in their procedures, they're normally ace). Drank as much coffee as I could lay my hands on. Had given up on coffee and started in on sushi and bento boxes for early lunch by the time they fixed the car.
I was also supposed to do appraisals for three people whom I manage today; three of the most terrifying people in the whole organisation. So terrifying that I can't remember what the appraisal process is, or what I'm supposed to ask them. I telephoned them at 3 o'clock (coward!) and begged for a stay of execution. I have till Wednesday. Like, shyah, management techniques will be my new religion by then.
Reasons not to drink wine:
But Dave K told me (after relating a hilarious tale of a holiday in the Spanish mountains with his new gf's children and no sweets) it was a good idea to go on the wagon (that and never to holiday with anyone's children), and he was right. I'm trying to get 6 hours sleep a night, but actually I'm mostly getting 4, with about 2-3 nights of sheer devilment where I get 5. That's not really enough time to sleep off more than one glass and leads to hangovers like you wouldn't believe.God, blogging can be tedious. It's taken me half glass of Shiraz just to get this lot typed.
It's getting pretty hard to stop at one or two glasses, too, I mostly can drink a full bottle, and that's a bit stupid.
Plus, I went out and got trollied all weekend. (Much good it did me, in the pikiest gay nightclub I've ever had to misfortune to smash a glass in.)
But most plus of all, the DH flies home tomorrow (she'll get here by Wednesday). She doesn't know the locks have changed on the front door. Owing to a slight disagreement of the sort all couples no doubt encounter from time to time, the night before she went, when I threatened to change the locks and throw her stuff away, I haven't actually dared to tell her this.
Of course, some things are easier to say than to email (and certainly easier to say than to blog - to say this blog is tangential at best is quite an understatement of the true horror^^^tedium of daily life in Catford). However, I can only really telephone her at about 12am-1am ish my time, to get her at 8am hers. The combination of staying up combined with the fact of 6am starts has meant that every single time I've rung her in Oz so far, I've been pissed out of my tiny skull.
You've never really felt like a functioning alky till you've drunkenly blurted crap at someone who's just woken up on a weekday.
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The journey to King's Cross was utterly bizarre.
Firstly, two wrinkly round faced old people on the tube were rubbernecking and smiling beatifically at the other passengers for so long that I began to believe they were incarnations of some deity, briefly mortal, and come down to bless us all before the tube rammed us into a twisted pile of metal and charred bones. I got off at Bank, rushing slightly to get away from redemption.
Secondly, I saw a fat little boy waving shyly to the train driver as the tube swung along into the platform. Made me wonder when it is exactly that we stop believing that firemen and train drivers are Gods who walk the earth? Evidence: count up the number of trains and fire engines you waved desperately at as a kid .... and the bliss when they tooted a horn. You remember roughly when you stop believing in Santa Claus, but when do you stop believing in train driver-gods?
Thirdly, after having a snippy email exchange about whether you can tell someone's class by their clothing (my argument was that all clothing is drag in some manner), I decided to dress upper middle on the journey to Leeds. This took the form, partly, of a blue shirt**. I rarely ever buy or wear blue shirts, due to a slightly paranoid inner voice telling me that blondes who wear blue shirts look like NHS staff.
Boarding the tube at Holborn, a squat old gent dressed in tweeds and Toad of Toad Hall get-up was so impressed at my manners, that he toook great care to enunciate "Thank you, Nurse."
(** Strangely, whenever speaking to someone in Leeds I eventually mentioned that I was from London; clear assumption: "I hail from a superior city; kowtow accordingly"***)
(*** whether the blue shirt had any connection with the geographical arrogance****, I have no idea)
(**** needless to say, kowtowing failed to occur)
Was barred from the bar in a ritzy hotel (for nothing! It was the others who were pissed-up angry and flailing, not me! Barred by association), yet still persuaded them to bring me breakfast in bed. The concept of room service itself was enough to carry me through most of the Full English breakfast, but even I couldn't stomach the sheer levels of lard-swimming involved in a Northern variant of the meal.
Finally, hard evidence that UK cats are becoming ever more pampered. In the process of buying off guilt by feeding super 'spensive Sheba catmeat to my poor, neglected little, pretty, mewling things, I noticed the Cat Powers That Be have rejigged the catfood, to make it look much more like scrapings of human food.
Doubtless the overindulged little epicures simply did not feel sybaritic enough when stuffed to their splendid little gills with mere 'cat' food.
I should be getting my stuff sorted to go up to Leeds today. It always seems a bit odd to be going to Yorkshire - I admit that I quite like York and Leeds now, but years of indoctrination at Lancastrian and Scouse primary schools induce a gut reaction of pity at any mention of Yorkshire. Sure, you know it's there, and you feel for them - they can't help being from Yorkshire... but why would you want to go there?
Anyway, by 6pm -- assuming I can find the train tickets, get dressed and ignore this hammering headache -- I shall be looking for clubs in Leeds.
For the past two days I ate not much more than prawns. Prawns, crab, fresh salmon, and so on. With tons of chilli and lime. And butter.
I found out that prawns make you fart like a bastard, belch like you're Welsh, your stomach rumbles constantly and you feel quite ill. Combine it with 3 inch heels, and it's an accident waiting to happen, frankly.
I didn't know anyone in the building or in New York, and I didn't lose any friends or family. It seems slightly odd that something a continent away had so much effect on us in Europe, but it was massive. Everyone was astounded by it ... like watching an accident that you can do nothing to stop.
I was teaching in North London. I finished the last class of the afternoon at around 4pm, and was packing away my stuff to get upstairs to afternoon registration, when Panayiotis, a generally hysterical greek drama teacher in his fifties, burst into the room sweating and all wild eyes. He burst out with "Pakistan have bombed New York City! Everybody is dead! Look on the news - this time tomorrow Pakistan won't exist any more. The Americans will wipe them out!"
I couldn't really understand what he was trying to tell me, but as a child of the eighties I'd hidden behind the sofa during 'Threads' and'When the Wind Blows', so a huge chill went down my spine at the words 'Pakistan won't exist any more'.
I went upstairs where I usually registered a sixth form class in a computer room, and asked them to log onto CNN to find out what was happening. That was the second scary moment - when we realised that CNN was down.
Nobody could raise any news. We all agreed to go home and listen out for what was happening. Some kids decided if America had been bombed, there'd be a war, so they wouldn't have to do their exam projects or come in tomorrow. I wandered in to the empty staffroom, and scoffed at the latest rubbish that Panni had come out with, and one or two stragglers interrupted to tell me it was true.
I decided to go home and find out. It was a two hour drive, and I heard the real story on Radio 4 as I sat in various traffic jams. I'd been up the WTC the year before, and was thinking about the photographs of us all standing and waving on the viewing platform. Later on, when the buildings fell, I thought more about the pictures of us in the malls deep below.
I'll never forget the moment when they interviewed a bystander who was describing the scene before her, the confusion - then she screamed and screamed as people first began to jump. I had to pull over then. It was too horrible - a situation where people were alive, but had so little chance of escape that they would choose this.
They replayed that sound clip again and again, on into the next day, and the next. It's the sort of thing that sticks with you way beyond the sell-by date.
It wasn't till I got home that I saw the images on the news. Most people I know recall it as a visual thing, and certainly, when the second plane crashed, it was as chilling as watching the first smart bombs explode onscreen in the first Gulf War. But, it was radio that told me about it first, and that really humanised it, because it was all ordinary people, standing in the street, just like Londoners do when there's yet another bomb scare, and chatting about what might be going on.
When the second building went down it was horrific. There's a beauty and majesty in watching buildings being demolished at any time, and in a horrible sense that fascination was mixed in with the realisation that this building was full of innocent people. The scale, the occupants, the symbolism of it all - it was really tangibly a 'big' moment, and I remember stuffing my hands into my mouth in horror.
That was the start of a really really hard year at that school. The anger felt by everybody at what had happened was palpable. For us that was a problem, because the majority of our students were immigrants, recent immigrants, many of them from Afghanistan. They hadn't bombed America, and it became a matter of urgency to avoid a religious war happening at the school. Fearing a riot, we took care to hold our two minutes silence for the victims of the four plane hijacks, the people killed, and for victims of terrorism everywhere.
The next day, the personal attacks on the children travelling to school began. The school was situated in an opulent, middle class area, and the students were by and large bussed in from areas like Haringay, further into London. My 17 year old female students often stopped coming in - if they wore a headscarf in public, they would be spat at by fellow bus passengers, and told that the deaths were their fault. Young girls, told that they'd killed thousands of people because of a piece of cloth that represents piety and religious faith. It was incredible, really.
For the next six months, the whole school had a bomb threat almost every week. At one point we'd be stood shivering on the sports field every other day. Because there were Afghani refugee children at the school. One particular afternoon, the police who by now regularly patrolled the place deemed the threat real, and we were all told to leave the site and go home, as it would take six hours to secure the building from any threat. It was raining, October, kids had no coats on, no money, and lived ten miles away. The teachers had no money to give them to get home, either - all our cars were trapped in the car park, and our car keys stuck inside the school. There was nothing for it, but to ask children to look after younger siblings, and to walk home in pairs and threes; make sure they weren't in public alone. I recall that time sitting down in the playing field to wait the six hours, unable to walk the 16 miles home, watching these little kids shivering as they set off. Because some of them were Afghani. Incredible how some people's minds work.
This year, I tried not to memorialise it at work, although I had last year. Today I chatted to one student with learning difficulties who had been in NYC at the time - his memory of 9/11 is of being grounded for no reason, being unable to fly home for an extra week, and being stuck with a family who didn't dare to let him out of their sight for an instant. His feeling about 9/11 is simply that he hates America, because he got grounded. It's sad and kind of innocent, at the same time.
This morning I started to wonder about the reasons that it had felt so shocking, given that we in Europe were so far away.
(treat as a given that it felt shocking because it was shocking - yet it's not the only such carnage in living history - look at the entry titled 'Have You Forgotten' on 3rd September on here for a reminder of times when we were the terrorists.)
I think obviously the increase in global media meant we witnessed a visual record of tragedy as it happened in a way that had never happened before.
But it wasn't just that - it was the sense that this was not a media event. If anything, it was the first truly unmediated media event. You could see that the picture behind the newsreader wasn't meant to be doing that. You could see that the newsreader was as stunned as you were; he just didn't know what to say.
And you could also see too much. I never want to see the pictures of those people jumping ever again.
Each year I have to give seminars contrasting American and European cultural attitudes. This year was the first I had to specify we were discussing a time and a culture that was 'pre-9/11' - to an outsider, American attitudes to themselves and the world seem to have changed irrevocably since then.
My inner child is sixteen years old!
Life's not fair! It's never been fair, but while adults might just accept that, I know something's gotta change. And it's gonna change, just as soon as I become an adult and get some power of my own.
How Old is Your Inner Child?
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Firstly I have to rescind my criticisms of udate. I go on there and I have to laugh at the horror that awaits, because my profile is always browsed by 48 year old male(?!) perverts who ming. However, friends have proved by sending photos from there that others have a different experience, and in fact there are plenty of gorgeous, attractive, sane people on udate - they just don't mail or browse me. So there.
Also, it is apparently abysmal manners to relieve oneself on the floor in a nightclub. I have to point out that nobody saw, it was in a roped off VIP area. It was very very dark, and I *pray* they don't have CCTV. It was also the most jumped up arrogant smug wanker-filled place I've been to ina long time. What were they thinking, letting a commoner in?! Plus, I'm sorry! Will that do?
Finally, the reason I blog is partly to practise writing more, because it's important for my job, but mostly so the DH, who is travelling without me in Australia for 7 months, knows that I'm only up to the usual stupid acts, nothing horrendous or naughty. I miss her, and she doesn't email enough, so I have to constantly check the time zones of visitors to the blog, and count up all the Australian ones - this is what makes me ramble on, half-fascinated and appalled about having foreign visitors.
Oh, and for Sue: Dave commented yesterday that it must have been intimidating growing up with me for a sister. Hah! Shyah, riiiiiiiight.....
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Where is the best place to go on a Date ? my Mistress s wish is my command.I reckon he's at least a high court judge. I've added him to my 'Friends' list, alongside the transvestite who browsed my pic a week ago.
Where will you be in 3 years from now ? Hopefully serving my Mistress
What really makes you happy and what makes you sad ? Being dominated and controlled by and serving pleasing and obeying a Dominant Female.
On Thursday I tried to meet up with some lezzers who call themselves the 'East Benders', at Vespa Lounge. I had a nice, if brief time, but not being a terribly 'scene' homosexual, I have no idea where most lesbian clubs are, so it was a little difficult finding the place. (Note to postman: "Centrepoint" is not a terrifically specific address to give any establishment), and I was pretty late anyway.
Was only when I got there, to find a bar full of intimidating looking, pretty, young, slightly butch types playing pool that I realised I'd forgotten to establish:
a. any way of recognising them;
b. their real names.
This meant I had to go up to complete strangers serially, and introduce myself.
Things weren't looking particularly auspicious, when I started by ordering a bottled beer, because the barman, unprompted, informed me that Bud was #1.80 a bottle. Do I look poor?
Patently I do look poor, very very poor, because as he passed me the beer, he also kindly added that "for next time, Carlsberg is #1.60 a pint."
Beer safely in my poverty-stricken lesbian stomach, I proceeded to work the room. You have no real idea of what 'humiliating' entails until you have spent an evening alone in a bar, walking up to groups of strangers, and asking "Do I know you from the internet?"
Personally, I know loads of people I met via the internet, I'd merely be amused if the boot were on the other foot. But judging by the looks of sheer horror and disgust, this is not the general experience....
After a few of these encounters, I retired to the bar, to converse with the drunk pensioner who was watching 'Bad Girls' on the big screen, and to drink the remainder of my pikey poor people's beer.
As I sat and pondered if this were the most embarrassing hour of my life, or not, a new circle of hell emerged: anyone leaving the bar would first come up to me and pat my knee in a pitying fashion, whispering "I hope you find your internet friends" as they left.
Five minutes till I'm sposed to be there. Hmm.
I could get changed. Into something clean, say.
Look snotty, crumpled and spod-like, or look better dressed but possibly miss the whole thing?
Tomorrow, somebody I know (I dare not say their name, for fear of embarrassing them to David Kelly proportions) is going to go to the Singalonga Sounda Music with me. I shall spend my Friday night in the company of singing drunken transvestite nuns! How do you solve a problem like Maria, indeed.
Round 1 - blatant four hour tea break in the office with feet up, biccies and a paper, when working against a deadline.I'm on Round 4 tomorrow, and I've bet jatb a fiver that if I continue in this vein, they'll not even mention that my behaviour is becoming a little odd by Friday.
Me half a point, jatb half a point. Somebody came by and 'offered' to meet my deadline for me twice (see yesterday's blog), then sighed and went off and started the work without me.
Round 2 - Setting up a tv in my room, and watching Trisha on full volume with the doors open, when working against a deadline.
Me two points, jatb nil points.
Round 3 - Nicking the tv and giving it away to a friend.
Haven't developed the bottle to do this yet....
Round 4 - Performing hits from corny musicals in the corridors when up against a deadline.
Rounds 5 and 6 - yet to be invented.
Adding weight to the spurious smell of 'gravitas' is the repeat of yesterday's promotion convo, today. I hadn't looked that eager, so they went away and sweetened the deal for me (bastards! I don't want to do it, but greed and curiosity are pulling me, pulling me doooooowwwwwwwwn....)
It's a bit like last Easter, when I lost all interest in working for a living and disappeared for two weeks straight, then turned up back at work again. Quite contrary to the bollocking and marching orders I had expected, suddenly I could do no wrong - I'd gone in a trice from 'gullible wage slave loser' to 'management material written all over her'. They sent me on all these courses about becoming a senior manager.
Weird, huh? In a 1940s BBC information film I'd be the twitching dumbshow visual behind the double-barrelled announcer "Workers! Don't make effort at work. Promotions is gained by disassociation from the working class. Act as though you are no longer dependent on money. If you appear too unstable to make a living, you will be admired and feted by your betters."
Today's deal is double the money, and I don't have to do my current job at the same time, like before. That surprised the heck out of me (I hadn't been negotiating, I genuinely don't want to do it.) I'm holding out for no responsibility for mistakes, and all confrontational situations taken off my hands. Cos I'm a delicate sensitive flower.
So, here's where my luck patently migrated from:
CNPS - 19. Still.
Celebdaq - 32677th place.
Today I knew I had a huuuuuge amount of carrying very very heavy things to do. Enough to fill most of the day.
So, eager to get started and prove my mettle, I sat in the general office and read my newspaper frantically from 8am till 1.30pm in the hopes that I was a senior enough figure for nobody to question this (tee hee! Worked! This is A Bad Sign).
But eventually, Peachykeenyboy pointed out that if I simply asked absolutely everybody to help, it wouldn't take long. I agreed, and voted to wait another hour while I worked up the strength to ask; so he, being peachykeeny and all, went and asked everybody for me. That's helpful, but it's also just too peachykeeny.
I pointed out that it was really lunchtime-ish and I should wait till I'd finished the whole paper, so they all started it up without me. That gave me guilts, so I had to join in.
It took about four hours or so of really really hard physical work. We carted up around 8000 chunky A4 sized hardback books. (yes, it's actually part of my job to count the things... ffs - thankfully it's such a ridiculous concept that nobody can ever be bothered to check.) That's up four double flights of stairs. when you've pretty much walked to the car and back three times a week all summer it's no joke.
At one point the stairs were chocka with 6 people who were hot, tired, carrying too many things too far. No words were possible in that stifling muggy heat, so the entire stairwell sounded like a bad porno movie.
In fact, after three and a half hours everyone else (i.e., those who had no vested interest in carrying books/shortening natural life span) quite understandably sloped away, leaving me with about 400 books left. I did two more super huge piles, then nearly had an aneurism on the stairs. Like, proper puffy! I had to climb out of peachkeenyboy's window and sit on the roof till I could breathe again. (Christ, what's the point of never having smoked if all those 20 a day bastards don't have to lie on the roof for 20 minutes to calm down?)
I had no idea I had gotten so bloody unfit again. Well, okay, slight exagg: I knew I hadn't moved far for weeks; I knew I had put on six pounds - a Bad Thing - but to come across as Buster Blood Vessel for walking up and down stairs a few times?
This might be serious. This might involve Actual Exercise. . . . .
I mangled^H^H^H^delivered three hours of training and presentations to 13 people in this sad bedraggled state - think I got away with it ... they only seemed to stare at me and shake their heads three times. Was it totally obvious my disconnected mumbling bore no relation to logic? Yet I still got offered another promotion! Weirdos. Have refused this one twice already last year.
Will refuse again, of course - would rather work on attaining sanity than cash. I can't even mumble coherently in public, and they want me to be in charge? Bloody idiots.
I'm a born underling, an idler, a grumbling malcontent. How could I bloody function if I were the Evil Boss against whom I plot, fume and betray at every chance?
Tomorrow I'm going to nick a widescreen telly. It's true! I need to find me a gullible fool, though, for the getaway. It's for Duch and I'll wager she'll pay me in foooooooooooooooood.
Disclaimer: don't bumming well blame me if this entry makes no sense. Blame time, blame jobs blame clockwatchers. You malcontent.
I'm off to bed, up with the caffeine at six!
Then I added a Guestmap to the blogrings below.
On the good side, I managed to get up at ten this morning. On the bad side, the virtue all belongs to the Sikh festival-goers eight doors down who hired the steel band and amplifiers.
However, waking up to see late festival goers dressed up to the nines in orange turbans and amazing jewel encrusted saris is a pretty lively way to start the day, and it puts me in with a better chance of waking up by eight or nine tomorrow.
On the good side, Tajik Girl, who I vaguely recognise from somewhere, and who has the best job I've heard of for ages, invited me to her party tonight. On the bad side, I didn't even tell her I wasn't going to go, because I couldn't think of a polite or amiable enough way to say I have hugely self-pityingly gross PMT. It seems quite pathetic as excuses go, although I don't think I'd have made good company tonight.
However, wallowing in supremely maudlin tearjerkers tonight was nice; I watched Angela's Ashes (which Tess made me read, to her everlasting praise). Also, Etre Et Avoir, which is sposed to be excellent, is on digital on Monday night.
On the good side, I spent a serious amount of money on a great wool pinstripe suit for work. On the bad side, your friendly distorting changing room mirror tells me I haven't done any real exercise this summer, and I need to lose 4-6 pounds at least.
However, I'll be on my feet dashing and diving all day from Monday; and the amount of energy I'm burning should take a vertiginous leap. It shouldn't really take more than a fortnight if I'm stern with myself.
On the good side, I got some really gorgeous monkfish tail cheap yesterday (dead scrumptious and 'spensive, it was). On the bad side, I had to rip / hack / saw / tear a thick gelatinous membrane from the fish first, which was so slimy, rubbbery, and gruesome, that I had to keep the tap running and rinse my hands every four seconds to keep from retching.
However, although I'll never ever cook tamarind curry monkfish ever again, now that I know just how bloody difficult that fish is, I'll enjoy it all the more in restaurants.
On the bad side, I still find myself incapable of getting started on the document I need to write and print by Monday. On the good side, the sheer weight of 14 hours of displacement activities means that my flat is now spotless - no, really spotless -inside and out.
However, my first burst of ironing in seven years or so reminded me of how pointless an activity it is. Why can't shirts iron themselves? They have arms.
I dunno. On the good side, I think it was a good day, that my sour mood is determined to interpret badly. On the bad side, I just tried to end on a positive note, there, and then coughed up half a monkfish on the screen. Am I Laurel? Or Hardy? I think both.