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« February 2004 »
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Tuesday, 10 February 2004

Drink! Feck! Gurls!


Well a mere ten hour delay enabled myself and yidaho to observe all forms of airport life - from the family man who sat nursing his black coffee and glass of red wine, while his wife and child tucked into a 7am full english breakfast, through poodle woman, who appeared to have secreted an untamed poodle into her topknot - heaven knows what security made of the contraband hairpiece; to an early morning amiable looking witch wandering through Gatwick Airport's Knickerbox. I know witches need frilly knickers, too - but cheap continental flights? Why? Broomstick out of order?
Belfast was snowing and colder than Switzerland - I was shattered after four hour's sleep and chilled all the way through despite the ski jacket. I was also the unluckiest twat alive - I worked out I'd missed my flight after putting the wrong postcode into the RAC online route planner. I shan't say whose I put in, by droopy brained mistake, but suffice to say I should not be daydreaming about stalking them while farting about at the internet cafe, anyway.
Urgent texts from cat sitting Tybalt proved the demonic felines fouled up her night by waking her through bloodied scratches at four o clock in the morning (logical; it's the time I fed them a day previously). Hah. One night's care in six months I think qualifies them to scratch slightly.
I must have looked well dodgy, because airport security searched all my bags for the first time in my entire well travelled life. This is an internal flight for fecks sake. They pulled out my smalls and swiped the inside of my bag for Semtex traces. Bastards. I was carrying that jewelled pink G string for a friend.
My bad luck run continued in Belfast as I got the serious giggles in a pikey Bingo hall near the Shankill Road, as we tried to understand what number 'sabannty sabann' might refer to, while I handily and time savingly had marked most of the bingo numbers some time earlier. Yidaho helped out by shoving bingo dabbers in my mouth whenever I lost concentration, and Dee made us even more popular with the locals by noisily interjecting outbursts of loudly voiced religious respect (note to self: comments such as 'Jesus!', 'Christ, no!' and 'So shoot me' don't go down Well in the Shankill Road area.)
I capitalised on this by making sure that my inappropriate attire got us banned from the Belfast night club and forcing all the perfectly trendily dressed folk to come back to Tess's house and take copious amounts of, erm, thing, while bribing Vic and Nik into shouting karaoke blandishments at the neighbours on a miniature PA system. For eight hours. My voice has gone now. I'm sure Tess's neighbours feel really bad for me, there.
Not only did I fuck up the morning and the evening, for my next trick, I lost my oversized expensive ski jacket in Belfast Airport on the journey back. Poor bored Yidaho had to stand around swathed in stinky bags while I argued, shivering in my shirt sleeves with all-weather jacketed Easyjet and Norn Irish customs staff, ending up with the too too helpful advice: "we won't tell you where the Lost Property Office is, they don't answer the phone, and you should go ask them yourself, or you can get the last plane home."
Ah, right, that would be the plane for which I have to queue on the tarmac runway in my shirtsleeves in the snow, would it? Taking me to the airport where I have to queue at one in the morning, alone, in a state of ... erm ... near undress at the courtesy bus stop to access a darkened, three miles away 'long term car park'? So I can wander around alone and underdressed in the small hours looking for my car without getting jumped or catching pneumonia? Damn, I'm going to make sure I never turn up for the cheaper, early flight for you bastards, you can always heft your arses finding seats for me at no extra cost on your most popular planes if that's your idea of how to treat customers.
So I have a stinking bloody cold, now, and I had to sniffle in bed reacquainting myself with my teddy bear last night instead of blogging. Hence the post Belfastian hiatus.
Whingeing done with though, I had a really good time, because the people I was with were such mad conversationalists. I'd do it again, anyway.

Bitch of the day (shamelessly stolen from Paul): today I paid bills and wheedled with Free UK broadband suppliers, a division of ClaraNet and now officially CUNTS and WANKERS of the highest order, because they won't cancel the account at my old address which neither I nor anybody else will use, then they politely rang me back to let me know I need to pay an entirely new #60 connection fee at my new address. When I asked them what was to stop me from deserting their stinking cunting stupid bollocking company and signing up with a company that would charge me in a less swingeing money grabbing fashion, they politely agreed ... nothing. Can a disconnected telephone voice sound like it's blushing?

This page graced by sarsparilla at 9:24 PM GMT
Updated: Wednesday, 11 February 2004 7:36 PM GMT
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Saturday, 7 February 2004

Grounded


Topic: Hurtling to Obscurity
Fuck!

Fuck Fuck Fuck Fuck Fuck Fuck Fuck Fuck Fuck Fuck Fuck Fuck Fuck Fuck Fuck Fuck Fuck Fuck Fuck Fuck Fuck Fuck Fuck Fuck Fuck Fuck Fuck Fuck Fuck Fuck Fuck Fuck Fuck Fuck Fuck Fuck Fuck Fuck Fuck Fuck Fuck Fuck Fuck Fuck Fuck Fuck Fuck Fuck Fuck Fuck Fuck Fuck Fuck Fuck Fuck Fuck

I missed the FUCKING plane.

You know I thought I'd experienced road rage before.
Nuh-uhhhh.

Fuck Fuck Fuck Fuck Fuck Fuck

This page graced by sarsparilla at 10:04 AM GMT
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Friday, 6 February 2004

Tick Tock


Topic: Lactose Incompetent
I don't have nah time to blog tomorrow, innit, so I'm blogging the next day today. Rah! I caught up with real-time. That's why people like me live at zero degrees longitude, and people like you live somewhere not as important as here. Near Penge, that is.
So where was I? Ah yes, Malice's soft tepid spurtings of joy juice. (ew)
Lost in a haze of relaxation in my two inches of lukewarm heaven. I diligently removed my watch and placed it in this week's customary pose on the bog cistern.
An hour later, it was gone. Gone! Where the fuck is my watch? You do not realise how much my bloody job is regulated by time and appointments. How far out of my normally adapted sleep routine I am in a too hot bedroom, with not enough air, cats who are ignoring me, a different route to the coffee pot and two hours extra sleep in the morning. That every electrical item in the house has reset itself till it's about sixteen hours out from GMT. That I have to be at Gatwick Airport at six in the morning tomorrow. How wrong I am liable to get the time when I just guess.

I caved. The next day I caved. I kept trying to use the dying mobile, but I couldn't cope with adding and subtracting from a twenty four hour clock. I tried carrying my laptop round, but everyone takes it and plays with it, and starts laughing at their stupid videos of themselves. I can't see the time icon over their shoulders. So I did a tour of Pikey Jewellers in Lewisham.
I'm not sure if I've blogged my problems with watches. I tried to come it with another blogger a while back that I had dyscalculia, but she said I was just showing off, and I had to admit I was trying ot over glamourise basic stupidity on my part. I can't tell the time.
Well, that is to say, I can tell the time. I can tell the digital time. And through constant hourly practise (I'm not joking) with a dial face watch I can screw my face up and tell you the time within under a minute, if the dial has all the five minute markings, and at least four numbers, and really long clear hands.
Okay, you can stop laughing now. Or I'll pull the violin out and tell you how many bloody years it took me to learn to tie shoelaces. I'm as good as Elaine Showalter or FR Leavis if you want a spot of classic literature interpreted, but put me in a room full of monkeys and I'll give you one guess who will be asking who how many more minutes till the big hand hits the twelve?
So, anyway, every time I get a watch I try to make it a little bit harder to read, to keep my wits sharp and keep it difficult so I have to practise. (Another mere detail - if I don't tell the time for a week or two, I forget how to do it. Aaargh.)
Today I was so so so proud of myself. No numbers on the dial. I rejected four watches for lack of minute dots, or hands that were too long, or square faces (don't change the bloody geometric shape or you'll have me fitting and foaming at the mouth, for god's sake). The dial is one and a half centimetres in diameter. (That's small, for you imperial measuring imperialist oldies, right.)
I was so proud of my fearlessness, I showed it to Tybalt when she came to pick up the keys for tomorrow. Big mistake. She noticed that the time I'd given her, just a few minutes before (okay, okay, I don't know how many bloody minutes) was not exactly correct.
Only out by two hours, I was. Bah.

This page graced by sarsparilla at 10:23 PM GMT
Updated: Friday, 6 February 2004 10:28 PM GMT
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Tales of the Urban Burbs #5


Topic: Yidaho
Too knackered to blog.
Decided to go back up East and heft some furniture.
Realised I'd left a dripping wet duvet cover inside the washing machine.
Sat and watched it wash again.
Hefted two sideboards, two lamps, a mirror, and three rubbish bags full of clothes and shoes down three flights of stairs and into the car.
On the twelve mile way back, deeply wet, deeply difficult to see through overstuffed rear view mirrors I remembered there aren't really any big Tesco stores in Sarf East Lunnun (apart from Elmers End, which is the other side of Penge and Does Not Count).
So I stopped off at Charlton Asda (which is much the same thing, but with more nylon; think Walmart) and bought a cheapo #35 microwave.
I hurt my ankle moving stuff the night before, and my bedraggled, limping form cut such a pathetic dash that even hard done by Asda checkout operatives took pity, carried my stuff to my car, and spent twenty minutes trying to balance so it didn't fall from a height onto the gear stick when I cornered.

Got in real late, only to realise I had to now get it all, sideboards and all, into my flat without pissing off the neighbours.
With a limp.
I moved very very very slowly.
Stinking of sweat, my true love Malice ran me a mildly tepid bath.
I'm bloody knackered.
Again.

This page graced by sarsparilla at 10:11 PM GMT
Updated: Friday, 6 February 2004 10:29 PM GMT
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Wednesday, 4 February 2004

Tales of the Urban Burbs #4


Topic: Yidaho
I left the mobile phone charger back East in 1.67 Kilometre End. I have just about enough saltpetre left in it to listen to one more message before Friday. Better be choosy about whose message I play, eh? Sleep deprivation and constantly forgetting what I went to the shop for takes up most of my time right now. It doesn't help that I've never seen what my street looks like in daylight - just a tad disorienting, that.
My friends all know I'm crap with phones of any description - why do they all get tetchy if I don't hear their messages instantly? Instant availability of communication doesn't instantly obligate you to reply. Jings, if it's that important, train a pigeon.

So intermittent bursts of telephonic power allowed me to arrange for Tybalt to come stay with the mad ritalin deprived cats this weekend.
I'm flying to Belfast at some ungodly hour in the morning on Saturday, to meet most of the people in the first category of my blogroll for a jar. (It's totally coincidental that we all have blogs, honest, we're just lazy copycats. So I can give you the inside dirt on Tess, Vic, Yidaho, Nikki, Edna and Dee, because I'll be the only one sober. Hah! Dee doesn't have one yet, because she's too cool and uber-geek for it, but I can't see it holding out for much longer - she's every bit as attention- seeking as the rest of us.)
It's going to be somewhat anomalous, the idea of Tybalt's presence in my new Temporary Tybaltless Abode, with or without me being there; I almost decided against it -- but I suppose it's a measure of how incredibly the right thing this move was for me that I can even consider it. It'll prove I didn't steal all the teaspoons, too, no doubt.

Creeped by the silence, I bought a #35 DVD player from Savacentre. You can imagine how good the picture is. I realised why it was so cheap soon enough - you have to buy all the leads separately, adding on at least another tenner. By the time I got it sorted and settled down to watch Swimming With Sharks, it was midnight, further adding to my lost sleep tally. The director's commentary is comedy gold, though - ignore all the best shots, ignore the storyline, the detail, the cliff hangers, the carefully framed shots - just focus on how all your actors hated you, called you a stupid witless bastard, and constantly walked off set telling you they'd had it with your shit. "Of course it was very, deeply wrong of me to suggest to Kevin Spacey that a suit on a hanger could have acted the part better than he, and I had to do much apologising to persuade him to come back to act the final scene."

I think I forgot to attend the lesbian book club. I've never been to a book club of any orientation - was put off by tales of Duch's book club, where they actually take minutes. Dashtarnit. I read Brave New World for nothing.

This page graced by sarsparilla at 9:05 PM GMT
Updated: Thursday, 5 February 2004 6:21 PM GMT
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Tales of the Urban Burbs #3


Topic: Yidaho
The quiet got to me. It really really got to me. Pastel, torpid silence. Bare rooms, bare walls.
No phone, and my mobile dying without its battery (charger left the other side of the Thames).
I'd gotten into a routine of two cold baths a day, interspersed with massaging and pummeling of Malice's knobs and pipes. Inbetween getting to Crystal Palace to blog, begging for friends to house-sit during repairs or deliveries, and trying to assemble a flat-pack bed, things were becoming desperate.

Krystal came over while I was at work to let the bed delivery men plate up their parcel of joy for me.
Assembling the bed was a construction job of the utmost importance - I assembled the bed, slowly, carefully, remembering the sudden nocturnal crashes of the last one. I'd spent four years plummeting earthwards whenever a particular plank slipped out of joist. It was one of those occasions when I regimented not only the parts, but the washers, the nuts, the damn screws too, in a crazy jigsaw parody of what the frame was meant to become. Promised to reward myself with chip shop suppers.
Knackered from bed meccano antics, I fizzed onwards to put together the hi-fi. The complete silence afforded by Temporary New Abode has me flicking on teevee, radio, anything to hear a sound. I attached all the wires to the hifi while on the phone to Toulouse, who was making international calls from work. (gasp!) The hi-fi was a piece of piss - the next downside was that I've only brought one CD, but it's better than the silence pressing in. (All charity donations accepted; Maxinquaye is becoming old.)

After all that, tiredness was beginning to flake my brain into slivers, and I ran the car into a bollard I hadn't expected, just beyond my driveway. Yes, yes, yes, I know they're lit up with flashing harzard lights. Don't distract me from my whinge.
My fingers stank of grease and iron bolts. I nearly plunged down the stairs backwards while blogging too excitedly, and the consolation of more chips on the way home wasn't much enlivened by the metallic tang of iron filings.

But then two things went right.
In the morning, a welcome shock: Malice lurves me.
Malice offered up steaming boiling bubbling hot water. As hot as I can take it, she'll pump it. Hotter.
But she'll only do it at seven in the morning. (there goes my new lie in)
My other gift from the gods - the first, last and only time - I bought a Teddy. Starved of cuddles from psychologically damaged wayward felines, I was desperate. I bought Theodore Bear amid much cruel hilarity at my expense from the natives.
I cuddled him curled up on Pink Nasty for an hour, while watching Rotten in the Jungle. I took him to bed, too.
He has 2004 embroidered on his footpaw, to remind me I can only have him one year, then emotional maturity must become de rigeur. I'm to pass him on when the year is up. Being female, I can get away with this as if it's in any way psychologically normalistical. (Unless you actually know me, I suppose.)
Believe me, Theodore Bear has done serious sofa cuddle time for me already. Those cats should be nervous, because I woke up today still snuggling Theodore, to find jets of lovely hot water from Malice.

Things look up.

This page graced by sarsparilla at 8:52 PM GMT
Updated: Wednesday, 4 February 2004 9:41 PM GMT
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Blog Madness


Vote for me, or for that other person, whom I have to admit writes rather well, in Blog Madness ... please. 43 hours left to register your disappointment.

This page graced by sarsparilla at 10:12 AM GMT
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Tuesday, 3 February 2004

Tales of the Urban Burbs #2


Utterly wasted from hefting boxes, stinking like a navvy and unable to wash, all my carefully constructed stress-disguising routines disrupted, I didn't take the sleeping tablet.
Why? I was physically worn out, and had the complete joy of not having to leave my duvet nest on the floor until ninety minutes later than usual. For ten years my alarm had detonated at six o'clock. I'd planned the first morning in detail - a different luxury breakfast cereal each day for the first two weeks, two pots of coffee, leave the house five minutes beyond the latest time, just so HippyBoss doesn't become too comfortable with this irregular punctuality.
I reckoned without the wide-eyed sweaty pitch blankness that keeps you awake and counting all night long.
I reckoned without the unfamiliar dark windows, the different route to the doorway, the foreign distance to the bog, the different precautions you need to take when alone in a ground floor flat. Accustomed to whistling winds in a relaxing cold bedroom, now the only safe window is one cracked open *this* far, locked that way, an iron trellis padlocked across it. I need to burn it into my habitual memory to close curtains every day, not just once or twice a year, now.
And the murky shape at the window at the window at three in the morning is NervousCat, trying to balance on the ledge.
But most of all, I reckoned without disturbed, uprooted, stressed animals. SilentCat makes her disapproval known vocally. Very vocally. At three minute intervals. All night long.

I surrendered to the knowledge I wasn't going to sleep a good forty minutes before the morning alarm, to get stuck into the coffee and to try a new, sensitive technique with Malice, my wilful and capricious water tank. Suddenly, she purred responsively to my caress; reeking an animal stench, I began to entertain wistful, wild, ambitious hopes of bathing in her febrile, generous warmth. Malice responded with heightened sensitivity to my demands - began to rumble passionately, running her fevered, steamy gushes of love and piqued desire.
Confident in my mastery of her devotions, I brewed another pot. Ambled insouciantly back to Malice's moist embrace. Allowed myself a shiver while leaning to break the surface of the spite she'd seeped from her tenderest parts for me.

Granite coldness.
Like a grave.

What could I do?
I bathed in it. I'm sure it will be healthy for me. Malice only wants what's right for me, what I deserve. It's not her fault I annoy her, make her do these things. Provoke her.
Next week I'll buy her a new jacket, a fleece. Make it clear how I feel. Not think back to the flexible limbs of my combi boiler, or his pliable responsiveness.
Remain stoic. And cold. Very very very cold.

This page graced by sarsparilla at 8:47 PM GMT
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Monday, 2 February 2004

Tales of the Urban Burbs #1


To recap the tale I began way down in the comments...
I moved into my new, untelephonic Temporary Abode yesterday. The landlady had put in the most revolting sofa imaginable - now dubbed Pink Nasty - hideous to the degree even she had to admit it was so; she gave me permission to burn the thing, after shame made even she rip the pink frills off from it.
It's super quiet here in the Urban Burbs, there are no wires for the tv or hi fi, no phone, and nooooooooooo internet access. I hardly know what to do with myself. I've already pictured myself going quietly doolally in the pastelness of it all. I need to buy a really large, really violent dramatic looking blood red painting, and fast, or I will succumb.
I'm sat in an internet cafe in nearby Crystal Palace, clutching me a weekly pass to my undernourished bosom. I hope the cafe owner is rigged up to an invisible earpiece, because he doesn't stop giggling, except to sneeze. He seems to have African comedies feeding through his headphones. At least, the lack of clothing onscreen should indicate a temperate clime. In the absence of anything else to do with my time, you'll have to suffer two weeks of after-the-fact postings of my regrowth and adaptation in the foreign environment of downright Pengeitude here.

Despite the locale, the move went without incident, and the place still looks good (Pink Nasty aside).
In fact, the only blip in the entire place is the Great British water system. After a few years of the rare continental delights of a decent strong shower, I'm back at square one, trying to cajole the tempestuous attentions of a capricious and jealous immersion heater into giving up the love I need.
The shower attachment has an air of never having been taken seriously by anyone, and longs for a little attention and gallantry - bare untreated absorbent wooden shelves drilled into the wall directly beneath the rusted uncared for rose, an absent shower curtain vacantly gapes its protective lack, compounded by polished wood floors, lying defeated, expecting maltreatment beneath my ungrateful tread. Shyah, right, that's a power shower.
Last night I failed to communicate my needs to the hot water tank's H spot, hungry as it was for my ministrations. She retaliated sulkily, offering me an icy shoulder and a stream of lukewarm murk.
I relented to defeat and retired ignominiously to my half lit bedless nest: pillows, duvets and cushions arranged in a cocoon shape on the floor. I sprayed a familiar burst of an old perfume. Pulled out a sheepskin rug to lie upon.
Tomorrow.

This page graced by sarsparilla at 8:44 PM GMT
Updated: Monday, 2 February 2004 8:56 PM GMT
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Sunday, 1 February 2004

The Swiftocratic Oath


My name is Vanessa.
I am hereby taking the Swiftocratic Oath.
By swearing this oath, I am forever sealing my rights to sit at home, do nothing, or anything, that I choose to do.
I declare my freedom from the pressure of people who call themselves friends to socialize, not to be anti-social, but to be myself. I am a recluse.

It is my God-Given right to sit at home, and I'm choosing to take that oath.
I pay $1,131.75 per month for my home, and there's nothing better to do with my home but sit in it.
Signed

Vanessa


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Vanessa/Female/31-35. Lives in United Kingdom/London/East London/Bow, speaks English and German. Spends 40% of daytime online. Uses a Normal (56k) connection. And likes Literature / Movies/Food / Eating / Drinking.
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This page graced by sarsparilla at 9:56 AM GMT
Updated: Sunday, 1 February 2004 10:03 AM GMT
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Moving Day


Oooo oooo ooo000ooo000oo000oo

Bogus Landlady just rang me - she has keys to the new Temporary Abode that she was pretending is hers, she has a tenancy agreement written in jelly on rice paper, and she's waiting to let me in to get the keys, even though I was sure she'd run off to Hawaii on my deposit. She's real! The new Temporary Abode is real!

Oooo oooo ooo000ooo000oo000oo

"Our deepest fear is NOT that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, NOT our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, 'Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?'; Actually, who are you NOT to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world."
Nelson Mandela, 1994 Inaugural Address
This is way better than Christmas. I got all the furniture I wanted to have in the Division of Spoils, and I'm not too fussed that Tybalt gets about #2K more stuff than me, and she's promised to bring back the old VCR she'd sneaked out, as long as she gets the ritzy expensive one.
Loadsa things happened yesterday, but I've been banned from blogging every single one of them Hmmph.
How much have I packed? Cup of tea making facilities. Tooth brushing facilities. Hi fi. Assortment of lamps. Furry rug and teev.
Oh dear, I should really pack some clothes and bedding, too. I'll start with socks. One can never have enough socks....

Oooo oooo ooo000ooo000oo000oo

This page graced by sarsparilla at 9:15 AM GMT
Updated: Sunday, 1 February 2004 9:48 AM GMT
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Saturday, 31 January 2004

Antici......


......pation

It's been a bugger of a week, with fourteen hour days, and so my flat is in a right tip (which doesn't matter too much as I forgot to call the estate agent and settle the fee for selling/viewing/whatever it's called), and the phone got cut off because I left the bills at work instead of paying them. Not entirely sure why the ADSL line still works, but as I'm moving out tomorrow, it's academic.

I'm sitting around waiting for the faulty heating system to heat enough water for a shower. I got it together to scrub the kitchen a while ago, but this has to be the first time in my entire life I've been tempted to do some reports for work rather than sort out my home life. Procrastination in reverse!

Waiting about for Tybalt to make an appearance so we can divide the spoils and come to an agreement of who gets what stuff from the flat's contents. I should also be packing stuff up for moving house tomorrow - Schwester Snowflake is coming over to help get the stuff there, and Krystal will be there to give me cups of tea once I've unpacked, but it needs to actually be packed into boxes and shit before all that.
All of which is why I've packed - in toto - zip. So far. And I'm sitting blogging instead of getting on with it.
I'm bricking it, actually.

No web access except at work, from Monday, and I hate looking at blogs at work. I have a deal with myself that if I work hard as I can, every minute that I'm there - no breaks or lunch hours, then I can walk out at three o clock each day without guilt or work to take home. It doesn't exactly mean I'm up to date most of the time, but it is a better life than previous years, where I'd take work home and allow myself three nights off to socialise a week.
Dammit, need to stop wandering off into flights of rumination and just get on with stuff. The damn cats move faster than me at this point.

Okay, so yesterday I did my possibly last ever drive north through the Blackwall Tunnel. It was so utterly depressing that I videoed an eighth of the ultimate journey home.

Now I'll waste a good hour trying to get that link to work. Hah. Bet Tybalt's arrival coincides with me being reduced to toenail picking. Desperately trying to pretend today will not happen. Oh hurry up and come, tomorrow.

This page graced by sarsparilla at 1:06 PM GMT
Updated: Sunday, 1 February 2004 9:33 AM GMT
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Friday, 30 January 2004

Closeted


How many of your childhood loves were somewhat pink tinged, when you think about it?

Marge Simpson's sisters? Shyah, sure they're sisters.
Mister Magoo? Or just a confirmed bachelor?
Velma was a given, but the blond guy in Scooby Doo? You can't tell me that bouffant hair and ultra white tight shirt wasn't saying something.
One Smurfette for a whole gay village of Smurfs?
Mister Benn - yeah right, goes into a cubicle and discovers an exciting new world of fulfilment and red indian outfits.
Marmalade Atkins - boy did I have a baby-dyke crush on her.
There's something just a little too eager about the speed with which Bugs slips into a pink slip.
Tintin - Jimmy Somerville haircut and that poodle... pffft.

This page graced by sarsparilla at 7:19 AM GMT
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Thursday, 29 January 2004

Oooh it looks like 'Weather' here


It's a layer of ice on top of snow, on top of ice. Shall I drive, or shall I take the train?

I have a meeting somewhere I'm not sure of from six till seven. I'm supposed to be in a suit. Sod that. I'm in combats, boots and an oversized sweater that I've slept in.

If I get the train, traditionally, I try to arrive four hours late if it's snowing, so that the boss doesn't get too comfortable. It also means I'll have to walk - or rather, tentatively slip and slide to the address I'm not totally sure about - to the meeting. I'm willing to bet I'd be an hour late for that.

Hmmm. Train has coffee and croissants. Car has heater and black ice. Train has cancellation excuses. Car has traffic jam excuses. No gloves - Tybalt chucked em away. Croissants. Coffee. Train wins.

This page graced by sarsparilla at 7:04 AM GMT
Updated: Thursday, 29 January 2004 7:05 AM GMT
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Wednesday, 28 January 2004

Fustian Vapours


The Whitbread Book Award was announced today - another good book to read. If I were speaking to Duch, or to be precise by now, as I have done my answerphone - dialogue of grovelling to no effect, if Duch were speaking to me, I'd ring her now and rant about it. I'd rant this:

The Booker is shit. Shit books win. Shit books make the list. Good books rarely ever get nominated. The shortlist is always crappily done - they couldn't help but select DBC Pierre after leaving out any main heavyweight competitors this year.
You can tell which one's going to win, anyway, regardless of quality or readability - a Booker book is recognisably pompous and over egged, much like an Academy Best Picture is literary, epic, and has a panoply of A listers in it doing overly 'dramatic' turns.
The Whitbread should be shit. The Whitbread is patchy - a game of chance. Some years it's laughable, but increasingly, this oddly unequal popularity contest is turning out more winners than losers. I like the way children's books are left to thrash it out against adult books, poetry, anything. No boundaries. Its very inequality seems to be managing to turn out the books that *should* have won the other prizes - you know, the literary prizes not judged by a panel of bollock brained celebs.
I never notice The Pulitzer coming out, so I don't know that it's definitely shit, but I doubt it, because I've never read a Pulitzer fiction winner that wasn't life changingly good. Okay, it's restricted to American literature, but Americans have been the global artistic and intellectual masters of the novel form for the previous fifty years anyway, so there's no real loss there, surely? If you read some Nabokov instead of all that Heinlein, you'd know that.

Which all brings me back to The Big Sodding Read. I've ranted before about the dire intellectual state of a country that can only vote for children's books or Jane Thicko Austen in its list of all time favourites. But there's something more that has been bugging me. It's that even at the time, I failed to point out that The Lord of the Rings is shit.

I know I shall offend the geek nerd corner, but really - that is not decent writing. Nice picturesque films, blokes. But the writing? It's shit.

This page graced by sarsparilla at 6:17 PM GMT
Updated: Wednesday, 28 January 2004 6:39 PM GMT
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Plagued by Ice Gobbet Gremlins


The weather site says it's 'fair' but I just blew my car's fuses trying to use the windscreen wipers on great two inch gobbets of ice stuck to the screen. It might only be 2 degrees C, but I can't drive a car with no wipers legally - it's specially stupid in sludge, when black crap is going to get thrown up onto my windscreen on any of the big roads.
So, cheers, gunky gobbets of ice, for giving me a morning off where me and my too big ski jacket get to go to Barking, one of the four corners of the Eastern Empire. I'm sure my boss won't mind that I've had three times the normal amount of days off this year. Or that Tybalt threw all my reports away (I've been trying out the line 'I'm not doing them again', but I haven't yet pushed it.)
And the little extra touch when you made the hot water heater bust so I had to use a kettle to wash for the last three days was nice. I nearly jumped sleepily into the freezing shower every morning, which I'm sure had you in stitches. I'm not sure if you're behind the mouldy bread, the too old cauliflower stinking out my fridge, the boiling hot coffee pot exploding over me, or the milk running out, but I wouldn't swear you weren't.

This page graced by sarsparilla at 8:04 AM GMT
Updated: Wednesday, 28 January 2004 8:14 AM GMT
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Tuesday, 27 January 2004

Long Division


Right now, I'm vacillating between rushes of energy and relief that I'm moving away from here this week, bursts of paranoia that something will go wrong, and regret tinged with repentance that I'm leaving this home that I love.
After four days of my ringing her, Tybalt calmed down enough to speak to me again without screaming, and we've agreed to meet on Saturday to decide how to divide up the spoils of war (aka the furniture from our soon to be sold flat). She was nonplussed about why I or she would particularly want this or that useless over-large piece of furniture that costs yet more money to store than it originally cost, but I pointed out some problems.
I know from bitter experience many years ago that this sort of thing is what sticks with you when all the dust and recriminations subside. I've never forgiven Lanky Ex for dumping my green crockery set. Not that I particularly want a green crockery set. Pffft. But he took it, and he dumped it, and it was mine.
R eminds me of my favourite line from Shallow Grave: "we know the price of it, but we don't know yet what it cost". These things go deeper than what did it 'cost' you?

F'r instance, case in point: I have no teevee in my new Temporary Abode (or bed, or washing machine, come to that). I could take the big bastard swanky widescreen digital effort we have here, with its video and dvd player. But if I do that - especially given that I watch teevee about three times a year - I'm taking something that Tybalt is hugely more invested in, and staking a territorial claim on it.
Kinda: You want it? Come get it... sorta thing.
There's a medium sized portable teevee and video in a cupboard that's not being used. I could easily take that, and p'raps buy myself a cheap dvd player. (What? Mix and match with the other one? They're different colours for gawdssakes. I am gay, you know.)
But if I took the portable, I'm saying: I don't want the teevee I paid half of a thousand knicker for. You have it. I haven't given you enough ridiculously ostentatious gifts over the years to match the sanity you've already taken without thanks or forgiveness. Here, have some more.
That just wouldn't do.
Added to this who-gets-the-good-piece debate, there's other stuff too emotionally loaded to slice up, a la King Solomon - a stupidly expensive chest of drawers which took Tybalt forever to put together and is worth around #500. She did so over a weekend when I was defiantly out racing around and getting blotto with pals she didn't like and had 'forbidden' me to see. Yet she doesn't want it - it reminds her of the agonising irritation of painstakingly putting it together, on her own. I love the thing, even though I always felt it was assembled as some sort of reproach to me. Yes please, I'll take that one, thanks. The other, ugly, chest of drawers was #30 secondhand from a junk shop in Holloway Road. So what does Tybalt get that's worth as much moulah as the poncey drawers?
JatB suggested that rather than feeling aggrieved that I have to take the (goddamn bloody sodding blinking bloody) cats, we take one each. Now there's a lawyer's mind... Split them up? Not going to happen. Who'd have the naughty one? Who gets the puker? Some things can't be split fairly.

Without a bed in my new Temporary Abode, the problem of who gets what becomes more immediate for me. Inevitably I wondered - possessively - about the king size bed here that's too big (lack of snuggles - always a bad sign in a relationship), and has suddenly plunging midnight wooden slats which wake you up by tumbling you earthwards at innopportune moments. No way will the flat look like the yuppie show home we've been trying to simulate without a big bed in it.
I do also have two cheap single beds in the spare room which stack. Thought about taking the smaller one from underneath. The bedrooms here would still contain beds, but at least I wouldn't be sleeping on the floor in my new Temporary Abode. I'm going to feel dislocated enough without severe sleep deprivation on top.
However I was defeated somewhat by the prospect of lugging a mattress down six flights of stairs, across a freezing dank and dirty yard and fitting it into my fairly big (but not a bloody tardis) car. Unlikely.
Unlikely in a Del Boy Trotter shaking his head, clucking his tongue and sucking his breath in sharply impossible way.
My dad offered to come up and help move it. Blimey - I don't want to see my dad having a heart attack hefting bloody stupid mattresses up and down the stairs just because I was dumb enough to get dumped by Tybalt.
And there again, I'm five foot ten, this is a five foot eleven single bed. Given the heat seeking cat-missiles, as well as room for pillow leverage, I'd spend more of my time hanging off the edge of the too short mattress while the moggies enjoy the fruits of my duvet than I spent comfortably asleep.
Profligate that I am, I avoided the entire issue by purchasing a cheap as piss (but not as wet) double bed from Argos, deliverable next Monday afternoon (I'm going to sneak out of work and hope the bribes I'm preparing for the customers will shut them up about it). That means one night sleeping rough on the manky floor, and then I'll own five beds, total. Ag.
I suppose it will match the three hoovers. (Start running a hotel?)

Perhaps in a way arbitrary divisions would be as fair as anything else I considered?
See, I thought perhaps if I got the contents of both bedrooms, including computers, and Tybalt got the contents of the living room and kitchen, it might be roughly equal value. But even without a bed to sleep on, I can see there's fuck all point in having four beds.
Next avenue of enquiry had me dividing every room into North and South, with one person getting each room's southerly contents. The South side turned out to be vastly more wealthy than the North (you'd have thought a Lancastrian childhood would have prepared me for that...), so there's no way I'm even suggesting that one.

I want what I want, and I don't want to be mean, or to lose out on what I can't have. This week's question for me is: How do we do this? Especially how do we apportion ownership of the things from our lives together without it feeling like a C section?
How do we make this omelette with these here eggs?

This page graced by sarsparilla at 5:26 PM GMT
Updated: Tuesday, 27 January 2004 5:58 PM GMT
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Monday, 26 January 2004

Conspirators


Bad news for Legomen....

They've learnt how to operate a touchpad mouse. The velociraptor gene lives on in cats.

This page graced by sarsparilla at 7:10 AM GMT
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Sunday, 25 January 2004

Folk Knowledge


The Dancer Upstairs is a gorgeous film. Directed by John Malkovich, who is a prig, a pompous pseudo intellectual, and a fool (evidence: any dvd directors commentary involving this arsehole), it is accidentally a lovely slow story about a policeman tailing a terrorist for ten years in Peru, starring the beautifully arranged Javier Bardem.
My favourite line is Javier's strangely out of place comment: "they say that if you draw a map of everywhere you have ever been, you will see a picture of your face."

How lovely.
Yeah, that's right, I tried it.

So. My map is clearly a picture of a sphincter. Ah.

This page graced by sarsparilla at 11:43 AM GMT
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Saturday, 24 January 2004

Looking for Flies in the Ointment


Now Playing: Tricky - Maxinquaye

I paid a small fortune for my new Temporary Abode today, and five hours later, my paranoid fantasies have fixated on the key clue: the bogus landlord was too nice. We ended up down the pub, today, setting the world to rights. Nobody connects that quickly, and that comfortably with a stranger, surely? Patently, it's part of her conman's patter, was merely minding that flat for a friend, and is off to Hawaii on my savings right now. Laughing.

Fuelling my paranoiac mood swings are the omens of ill fortune, which are coming thick and fast:

Omen 1: no sleep. My lesbian neighbours have houseguests. Loud, raucous houseguests who take full advantage of London's nightlife, then find themselves locked out in the small hours. The logical solution is to lean drunkenly on Vanessa's doorbell for fifteen minutes solid when you're locked out of your house at four in the morning, isn't it? Two days in a row?
Omen 2: dirty corporate sneaking around. Harv asked me to spend today taking sneaky photos of promotional displays of Uncle Ben's rice in a variety of supermarkets, for a German marketing firm. Paranoia already twitching, I decided to wander round with the camera at waist level, idly scratching the button as I repeatedly stroll up and down the pasta aisles. Accidentally switch camera onto video record. Start checking what I've snapped in checkout queue of supermarket number 3, and find it's a swooping, tumbling, rollercoaster death ride of horror, only in a supermarket, and with pot noodle artillery bombardment. Video replay shows that the cleaning lady by the spatchcock chickens spotted my subterfuge early on. Still, I didn't get arrested.
Omen 3: stalker. About six years ago, I had an underage stalker - used to follow me around with a camera, bother me all the time, ineffectually, ring me up constantly, and tried to break into my house to see me. I told her to leave me be, and all went quiet. Walking into the supermarket near Temporary Abode, I ask a portly assistant where the cat food is. Cue lurid technicolour intro to Cape Fear playing behind my eyes, as stalker wearing a supermarket uniform turns round. I chat politely with stalker. "So, how's the stalking going? What've you been doing with yourself? Got much time for stalking these days?" She's been working here four years. Seems aggrieved at me about this. Fair enough, I'd rather stalk me than pack rows of tights onto shelves as well.
Omen 4: plunged helplessly back into a pre-telephonic era. BT telephoned me to demand overdue payment. I explained the by now familiar get out clause: "I know it seems unreasonable, but Tybalt packed it into one of several thousand boxes, and I can't find it unless she starts speaking to me again." It didn't work on the boss at work, but seems strangely hypnotic for BT guy, who sounds like Liam Neeson.
I start panicking because I've forgotten to stop paying for dial-up access, since getting a broadband account with a different company last July. Temporary Abode has no phone line, but does have cable. Will I be paying for three different internet connections by the end of the week?
Seems not: the minute I upload 400 blurry photographs of Dolmio / Uncle Ben's / Pot Noodle / my hip, my broadband modem breaks. Argh. Am forced to rely on chinese takeaway and pistachio kulfi for amusement until I remember I can still use the dial up.
Maybe they're bad omens. P'raps I'm just a cynic.


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Vanessa/Female/31-35. Lives in United Kingdom/London/East London/Bow, speaks English and German. Spends 40% of daytime online. Uses a Normal (56k) connection. And likes Literature / Movies/Food / Eating / Drinking.
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This page graced by sarsparilla at 11:03 PM GMT
Updated: Saturday, 24 January 2004 11:26 PM GMT
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