31 août 2005

So, what are your plans for the next two-three months (or maybe six)?

Because I'd be forever in your debt if you'd keep your fingers crossed for a while. This job-hunting thing is getting old already. You could take turns: arrange among yourselves...?

Also, as, frankly, I ain't got much to tell (plus I'm completely addicted to this now) but don't want to sound any more self-centered than you've gathered, I'll invite you to go over there, get a good read of all that's been posted so far and ask yourselves this: "could I maybe continue from there?"

That, my dears, is all for this first day of September. How's you?

30 août 2005

On irrational fears

It's one of these weird things where I'm scared to death, and beyond, of flooding my flat. It's not exactly like I haven't enough problems with the whole bloody building as it is.
My washing machine is making bizarre noises these days. And of course, it coincides perfectly with the time I decide to wash just about everything fabric in the flat. Clothes, curtains, rugs, couch throws and cushion covers... you name it, if it's made of interwoven threads, I wash it.
The thing is I've always been scared of my machine. The first one I had was over five years ago, and as I knew I wasn't going to stay long (I was going to Australia), I hadn't actually fixed the hosing, or whatever you call it, properly. So everytime I washed a load, I'd have to attach the hose to the basin tap so it could drain somewhere else than on the floor. Except that one day where I forgot. I was on the phone when the shit hit the fan. That's exactly what it felt like. It's a weird feeling when you're talking about this and that with a friend and suddenly you hear that sudden, loud, and repetitive noise, quickly followed by a no less loud swish/glug glug sound. I never hung up so quickly.
But that was OK to deal with. After all, it only took a dozen slaps in my own face for being so. incredibly. stupid! and a mop.
In my present flat, it's completely different, considering the configuration and general state of the pipes. Everytime I start a wash, I kind of pray that no noise is going to disrupt my peace and quiet, and well, everytime I slightly overload the beast, one does. AND, during the spin cycles, it moves. A lot. Again, that's when slightly overloaded. But still. The pipe that's directly behind it looks fragile to say the least. Hence the fear.
Plus, it's making bizarre gurgling sounds. And I know I should really look into it, but what if it decides to die on me in a freak flood incident, just because I decided to check the filter?
I mean, defrosting the deep freeze is one thing, but coping with a washing machine is a different kettle of fish altogether.
There. One fear done, 438 to go.

PS: Offspring's Why don't you get a job is playing right now. They're taking the mickey, right?

29 août 2005

A travesty of many things

This is turning into a diary. I'm swamped doing nothing, because there are so many trivial details that seem to demand my most urgent attention, and everything seems to take forever.
I go out all the time, so really I should have plenty to talk about and poke fun at, and nothing comes. And my printer's broken, and I can't get my modem to connect on my new computer, and everything I write on my notebook turns to self-pitying mush when I'm not even feeling that self-pitying to begin with. What is wrong with me???
Whew. Glad that's out of my system.

That interview yesterday was one big, intergalactic joke. I wasn't particularly stressed beforehand, except for the dressing part. I'm sartorially challenged, I've told you before, haven't I? Yeah, I have. Well, I am, I'm not kidding. (Ok, let me digress a bit. There's this song that's playing right now. I love singing, I really do, so I am singing along as I type (multi-talented), but there's one thing I really can't do, and it's go "ooh-ooh" or "hmm-hmm", and there's plenty of that in said song. Frustrating. Back to topic.) So I changed a few times before going, settling on something I would never wear on a first date. That was my source of balancing stress: the fact that I didn't want the job
didn't mean I wanted to seem cocky. I got there in plenty of time, and looked for a copy-shop because the sheet of paper my CV was printed on was a bit old (printer broken, yes?). If you find yourself in that area of the 8th arrondissement and need photocopying stuff, don't bother, there's none.
Oh, bit of background (completely irrelevant at this point, but hey, might as well say it when I think of it). I'm going for an interview at one of the major French publishing groups. Now, when I say publishing group, I don't mean literature or coffee-table books. We're talking dentist and hairdresser's waiting rooms. Rag mags. Everything I love. I jest. But you know, I thought, maybe they'll have something else they can offer... A column... I jest again. Anyway. I get there, listen in on the receptionist's phone talks (apparently, her boyfriend has cholesterol problems), and wait, refusing quite adamantly to pick up a magazine. I'm told after we're already ten minutes late that the lady I'm seeing will be about twenty minutes late. Compared to now or to the initial appointment time? I relent and pick up a magazine. She finally appears. Typical, now that I've just shown my principles mean in fact nothing to me.
Smile, smile, hello, hello, sorry to have kept you waiting, it's all right I don't want your job anyway, and once the niceties have been dealt with, we go up the elevator. I love elevator etiquette. We both know we'll be talking in her office, but god forbid we should start the conversation in the lift. And clearly, even eye contact is out of the question. We walk into her office, sit down, she asks for my CV (which the receptionist copied for me as an
exception) and says: "Right, well, it'll be easier if you do the talking", gets up again, goes to get some paper to write down all the fascinating stuff I'm about to disclose, comes back, sits down and, having apparently changed her mind, asks: "So, you're an assistant?" My dressing style is obviously begging to differ, and I reply very amicably that no, I'm in fact a translator. "Really?" No, I'm just saying that, in reality, I'm a neuro-surgeon. "But we're looking for an assistant." Yes. The job agency wasn't exactly gushing out the details when I talked to them... "That won't do at all." So we end up talking about what I want to do instead. She seemed to have a few minutes to kill.
At the end of our... chat, I venture a timid yet jocular (hmmm) "well, if you ever need a translator, you have my CV, ha ha" which she crushed with "I don't think we really need those...? Oh, hang on.", left, came back and handed me a copy of Geo and National Geographic magazines. They're good magazines. It's fine.
So much for interview practice, I guess.

28 août 2005

Wine, men, songs, and a disjointed post

Or food, wine, and songs.
Or food, more food, not a lot of sleep, songs (lots of them, very bad ones all of them. the best), and lots of alcohol. And then some.
It's a bit late, I haven't completely sobered up from the week-end's excesses, which were fantastic and mostly what the doctor had ordered. Excellent food, excellent wines, excellent digestifs, excellent children, very very drunk adults, wedding planned two weeks from now (how do you tell someone that sometimes "yeah, OK" doesn't actually mean "I do" when alcohol is still the main component of your bloodstream?), very long drive back...

This afternoon, I have an interview for a job which does not match what I'm looking for. At all. In no way. Whatsoever. Paris, PA, German the main targeted language... Use a job centre, they said. Hmmm. But I'm going for it anyway, if only because it's good practice. Wish me luck...? Or not.

25 août 2005

How on earth am I going to carry a bag and another bag and...

Going away for a friend's 30th birthday bash over the week-end. Taking the train in the morning. Late for packing, as usual.
I might be busy drinking myself into oblivion for two days - or not.
Hope your week-end will be fabulous: what do you plan on doing?

24 août 2005

The things I'd do for... The things I'd do.

It was going to be a "Dear Diary" entry, today, maybe because I didn't have any better idea. In the end, I decided against it, though. Not because I was worried that you wouldn't run fast enough to avoid getting sucked into the huge-mongous expanse of empty that is my life at the moment (there would have been a warning anyway) but because apparently Providence took pity on me (or you) and decided to come to my rescue by giving me stuff to write about. And just you wait to hear about the stuff, it's earth-shattering. No, silly, I haven't found a job, stop asking. I'll tell you when I strike lucky.
I was meeting friends for dinner (oh, don't go rolling your eyes saying "again!", it always, always, happens in threes, and then zilch for ever). Before I left my flat, I made sure I had my notebook with me (do you know when inspiration is going to come a-knocking at your door? Neither do I, and I'm not taking any chances) and, comforted by its presence in my bag, I set off. Midway to the metro, I stopped dead in my tracks, to the amazement of a few pedestrians, and started rummaging through my bag (no small feat, considering it is full to the brim of crap I probably don't ever use - but moving on.) and sure enough, my pen wasn't in there. One of my many pens, I should say. A bit like lighters, those. The more I have, the more I seem to forget them. No worries, thought I, I'll buy me one at the newsagent's in the metro station. That's when a drop of water hit me squarely in the middle of the forehead, splashing my glasses in the process. Proceeding
stubbornly, I blindly advanced (yes, plenty of crap, but not a tissue in that bag of mine) and finally got to the metro. The newsagent was closing when I got there but cunningly, I just pretended I didn't notice. I walked on to the counter with purpose and poise, grabbed a Bic Atlantis (which I don't recommend) and heard "Bend down on your way out". Come again? Oh. He was rolling the iron curtain thingy down. So I tried to exit with as much dignity as possible, failed, lost my change, launched a foot to try and stop the coins from rolling all over the station, and nearly knocked out a little baby in his pushchair.
See? Told you things had happened.

23 août 2005

Weirder things have happened, but this? Here?

Careful. You're about to boldly go where not many people have gone before. This post will be about nothing but good things. I know, I was flabbergasted too. Which is why I'm warning you.
I've just had a lovely evening. I was meeting two of my ex-colleagues - and friends - tonight. Actually, I was supposed to meet three of them, but the third one was a no-show. It's all right, she'd said she might not be with us. I'm holding a grudge, but as I said this was going to be about good things only, I'll keep my bile for a different piece. Mwahah.
So, after getting lost around the Bastille area for a bit (and just how do you get lost there after working in said area for nearly two years? Well, it takes practice), I finally got to my destination, the Café de l'Industrie. B (girl) and and Y (boy) were waiting for me there (got lost, remember?), champagne glass in hand (yes, one of us has found a job, and no, it wasn't me) and we started chatting about work (or lack thereof, but let's not go there today), friends, life, the universe, everything. All of this lively banter was irregularly but often (and we like irregular and often) interrupted by both of us girls conspicuously losing braincells at some of the guys who passed the window, opposite which we were conveniently sat. Much giggling and finger-wagging ensued each time, as we were 15 again and Y felt he was not getting the attention he deserved. He's married. Tough. As he was meeting other friends afterwards (and don't I love it when somebody reshuffles their plans just so they can at least have a drink with me?), he was kind of sad to leave us, considering the alcohol and general good humour, but alas, leave he did, and it was us two girls.
Sorry, we just got rudely interrupted by my washing-machine making a noise like something from War of the Worlds was landing in my kitchen. It's all fine. My neighbours might not be my best friends anytime soon though.
Where was I? Oh yes. So B and me were going to talk seriously, I'm sure, but we drank more, saw more good-looking men, and then we ate. Now, if you're going to find yourselves in the vicinity of Bastille soon, you might want to go to the Café de l'Industrie, and you would be right. It's a lovely place, with a great atmosphere, very lively, very French. Just don't go there for the food. Eat if you must, but don't expect to enjoy it. And if you do enjoy it, leave France. And don't come back.
Please don't think that the food spoiled the mood though. Oh no, it didn't. It was girl chat all the way, and because B has lived in New York, she explained it all to me. Or most of it, anyway. And she said that if I find a job there, she'll come with me and help me settle. Nice, eh? OK, in truth, she said she'd brief me. But still. And hearing her talk about it, I could picture myself in New York. New York will love me.
Not sure that I can take the roaches, but hey, I'm willing to try.

22 août 2005

A la folie, pas du tout

In the past 6 weeks, my CV (résumé to the US citizens) has been sent I don't know how many times to people in the UK, and triple that amount to people in the US - not that I'm picky, it's just that a lot more positions are advertised in the US. None for a translator though. Not that many in Canada or Ireland. None AT ALL from South Africa or Australia, people. None.
Yesterday, I sent my CV again, because I'm nothing if not persistent, as a "spontaneous" application this time. To someone in Paris, but hey, sometimes, a change of heart is advisable. Or justified. Not that I need to justify my very many changes of hearts, because you've all learned to take them with a grain of salt (a pinch would be a waste), plus it would take a longer time than I care to sacrifice. Not that I don't have plenty of time on my hands these days. But maybe you haven't.
To the point. This organisation that I'm sending it to might, in time, if they consider my application in the first place and actually decide to hire me in the second place, take me on to greater things. Or maybe not greater, but more to my liking. I could go on like this forever, trying to explain the words I choose to use or the words I'm using for lack of better ones, but really, who cares? Anyway. We'll see, eh?

Bizarre. I just (and I mean just, as in a zillionth of a second ago) had an idea for a post the likes of which you've seen plenty of but that I write so well (yes, I do, and I have the comments to prove it, shush), and zoom, just like that, I've lost it. The idea, not my mind. My mind, if you recall, was lost a good 31 years ago now. Yes, apparently, I wasn't born that way. Everybody thought I'd be unremarkable in many ways (and that's not self-deprecating, that's just saying that people wouldn't notice me, which I kind of miss, and that's negative - this, on second reading, is not very clear: I miss not being noticed, I don't miss being noticed, I am noticed. Not that I would mind not being noticed, but it just doesn't happen. Clearer, now, eh?), but lo and behold, here I am, mad as a cow (and aren't I proving it every friggin' second?) and not the most discreet being you were ever forced to set eyes upon. Oh well. So everybody had to give in to the evidence: I wasn't like everyone else. And there were plenty of evidence, like the time I broke up with my first boyfriend (I was 5 or 6) because he didn't believe in Father Christmas and I'd seen said Father Christmas barely two weeks before at a department store, so that story ended in tears (I had started by typing "two weeks ago", and that would have taken the cake, eh. Who in their right mind spots Father Christmas in August? Not many people, that's who). Of course the break-up didn't help my mental... situation. And then I had the biggest crush on a colleague of my dad's. The man had a huge moustache, for goodness sake. And I was 6 if I was a day. If that doesn't scream "mad! mad! mad!", I don't know what does.

Actually, were it not for the mood swings, I'd kind of like being mad.

21 août 2005


Apparently, bugger is my swearword. Ha. Ha ha ha, even. I've been known to use much worse, and even my niece can testify. Be that as it may, it is my swearword as this told me, courtesy of the insider.
Truth is I've been saying bugger a lot lately. How can I put this. Things are not going too well, but
even though it is tempting, I don't want to spend my time feeling sorry for myself here, as this isn't why I started this. Are you grateful? Are you grateful that I'm not dumping all the shit that's on my mind on you? Don't be, it's simply because I lack the necessary vocabulary in English.
To make matters worse, my cupboards are desperately lacking chocolate right now, and I've been craving it like a Mogwai craves water. Mind you, I have cocoa. If I added a little bit of water to it, made it into a paste, and left it in the fridge overnight, surely it will have turned to chocolate ersatz by tomorrow, right? Yeah, forget it, I'm no Willy Wonka and the shops will be open tomorrow. I'll get enough to last me a siege. And will have eaten it all by dusk.
Or I could watch An affair to remember and wallow at the fact that I'm never meeting Cary Grant on a boatcruise. Not to mention that I'm no Deborah Kerr. Or it could be Apocalypse now, and I could think of the benefits of napalm, as there are a few people I could use it on, to be sure.
I hate week-ends these days, that's the thing. Week-ends are for those who work. Plus my mum phones me on the week-ends. And asks questions. Preferably twice, like "so what else is new?". I'll answer "not much, you know" the first time, and five minutes later, it's "so what else is new?" again. And questions like "so, have you heard anything, work-wise?". Yeah, a circus has called to offer me a cannongirl position. It's in Uganda. They speak English there. I'm thinking of taking it.
Boy am I in a foul mood.

20 août 2005

The new me needs new shoes

One of my friend's friends' friends - can't believe I just pulled this off (or... did I?) - phoned on Friday morning. "I thought we could have a picnic, but considering the weather, I say we go to La Baraque. What do you say?" I said I didn't care, that we needed to see with everybody else, but really my stomach, or heart, or both, sank when I realised that La Baraque was a very trendy little night bar slash restaurant slash club thing. I don't deal well with trendy. It's true, I don't. I find trendy quite frightening, quite frankly.
We arranged to meet at 10:30 p.m. Because I'm such a terribly socially challenged person (yes, sartorial and social. And so much more, but all in good time), I was punctual. I have to learn not to be, apparently it screams needy. Me, honestly, I always thought it was common courtesy. Sheesh.
Anyway, when I arrived it was closed. Apparently, when club owners take their summer holidays, they take all their personnel with them.
That, my friends, is called a "plan lose" in French (a losing loser's plan, if you will, something you can never quite make good), and after half an hour of toing and froing between la Baraque and la Boca Chica, we ended up at Barrio Latino. Talk about a B series evening. Or something. Barrio Latino also is a restaurant/bar/club type place, and you won't be surprised when I tell you it's skewed towards salsa music.
I need new shoes. I need new, open-toed, highish-heeled sandals, or whatEVER you call those nice little shoes that real girls wear. This new me thing is getting a bit out of hand. I'm still looking for potential leads to potential employers, never mind trying to find an actual employment opportunity, and the only thing I can think of is I need this pair of shoes.
Then - because if I'm going to do nothing clever but be happy about it, why, I'm just going to go ahead and do it - I'll probably take a couple dance lessons. You know, something to get the hips swaying in rhythm.
To continue with the plan lose, the four of us were soon joined by another bloke, one of the two guys' friends, who swiftly started drinking, and swiftly sat by my side, and swiftly started some kind of interesting banter based on "where are you from", "I hate Paris" (at which point, I suddenly discovered I loved this city, because there's nothing I like less than agreeing with someone I don't want to agree with), and... when he found out that my dad used to be a pilot, "so, what do you think of the recent crashes then?". In the middle of an overcrowded and incredibly noisy salsa club. A rough diamond. I looked at him, switched my brains off, and uttered a "what kind of moronic question is that" kind of laugh-thing. He got the hint, and unfortunately for her, went to annoy my friend.
After a wee while, I asked her what she wanted to drink. She simply replied "I'm coming with you" in a "don't you dare say you'll be OK on your own" tone and matching look, and we ploughed our way through the writhing bodies on the dance floor. There is nothing rude in "writhing bodies on the floor", you filthy animals you. By now, the music was all bass boom booms and not salsa anymore. At the bar, a very nice man took matters in his own hands by ordering for me, because apparently I was never going to make it... He was really nice. He looked really lonely, too, which is a bit sad. Nice people shouldn't be lonely. (Now you're wondering if I ever switched my brains back on, aren't you? Well...)
We drank up and left.
To think we nearly went to Deauville. That would have been stylish, no?

18 août 2005

This new me thing? I so wasn't kidding.

Right. I don't even know where to start...
I was going to go on and on and on. And on. And on. And some more. As I do. About the fact, among other things, that my friend, with whom I went out last night (barely back and already reporting, dedicated, or wHat?) betrayed me. Yes, you did (she reads this, I'm not talking to myself). See, you be the judge (now I'm talking to whoever else reads this. Keep track, will you?). This party thing is called "WorkinZecity" (had I seen how they spelt it, I wouldn't have gone. I have principles). It's where people go on a Thursday to have a couple drinks - or ten - and pull. Let's not kid ourselves here. It's a meat market we're talking about. Anyway. That is so not the point. Yet. So why is it called "WorkinZecity (ugh)"?, I see your sweet little faces turned up in wonder to me and that makes me all warm inside. Because you supposedly go there straight from work, that's why. It starts at 7:00 p.m., after all. So when my friend told me about that thing, I did warn her that I was sartorially challenged and that it might be difficult for me to find a proper outfit. "No worries", was the little Judas' reply, "I'm going there in my work clothes, and it will be jeans and a shirt." Oh all right, then. So we met up at 8:30 for dinner, planning to go after some grub. Well. Let me just say that the day she shows up at work like that? I plan on being there. That's all I'm saying. Thank god or whoever, my toenails were painted, so my self-confidence level was way up. Way up.
Off we went, looking forward to the laughs, the drinks, the couple of twirls round the dancefloor, all that. To be honest, it is actually quite nice. To be completely honest, if it had been us two girls and most of the guys that were there, it would have been perfect. But then, there were the other girls. The other girls who read WorkinZecity (ugh) and understood Sex and the City. My self-confidence level went straight back down to my newly polished toes. And I don't like it when my self-confidence does that. And I think I finally understood the phrase "this guy is checking you out". See, after a while, I was ready to show my teeth for them to inspect. You can actually hear them appraising you in their minds, or with their friends. I'll need a lot more alcohol in me next time. Yeah, I'll be going back, I'm sure. I'm weak that way.
So although I was going to go on and on and on about that, thankfully, I won't. (That sigh of relief ? Heard it. It hurt.) But I checked my e-mail. And I'm in round 2 of the Voice of a city selection. So really, that and the fact that my nails are painted? Totally new me.

17 août 2005

Firemen galore!

I'm meeting her today. I really should paint my toenails. They would be more presentable than their natural bland look. Who on earth is so lazy that they can't be bothered painting their toenails?? There you have it. I am. I can do many things at the same time, talk and smoke, smoke and drink, talk and drink... But I try watching TV and painting my toenails and that's the end of me. Or maybe it's not laziness. Maybe it's... dread. It might be that I'm paralysed with the fear of underachieving. Yes. That's it. Well, just think, what would happen if one of my nails looked slightly less painted than the others? Would I be frowned upon? Would the toenail feel rejected by its four closest siblings? Would it feel scorned upon by its five cousins? Am I that bad that I'm ready to inflict such trauma on an unsuspecting toenail?
And in the evening I'm seeing a friend that I haven't seen for a while and she wants to drag me along to some party. There'll be alcohol Diet Coke, so there's that, I guess. And that's where the painting of the toenails is important again. Who would be willing to go to a party on a boat on the Seine with their nails UNPOLISHED? And would my friend accept to take me there in that state? And what if she changes her mind? Can I ever be sure that she did change her mind because she just didn't feel like it anymore, or will it really be because I couldn't be bothered painting my toenails? I'm not sure I can take that kind of pressure. I think I'll stay in. Safer. Safer. Safer. Safer.

Oh dear Lord. I snapped out of it not a minute too soon, didn't I? One more repeat of the same word and I was ready to star in a Martin Scorsese movie.
Quick, let's change the subject before I turn into Howard Hughes again. Hitchhiker's guide to the galaxy is just as good the second time around.I hiccuped at the same scene as the first time. Turns out, there are some instances where I do show consistency... The worrying thing is my friends might have been just the tiniest bit ashamed of being seen with me. And my toenails. They weren't painted yesterday either, obviously. Also... a guy (charming) went all the way down to the screen and sang Happy Birthday to me in front of the whole crowd (the room was almost empty at that point, I hasten to add), because he'd heard my friends greet me saying it. He was sitting one seat away from me, and I was kinda looking forward to watching the film with him not too far away, when, at the last minute, in came an oaf who plopped himself down on the seat in between. Oh well. And then of course, he waited a bit at the credits, but didn't watch them entirely, and that did it for me. Can't have someone who doesn't watch the end credits, can I?

Oh yeah, and firemen were all over town yesterday. Nice.

16 août 2005

6 months and 11 days

Right, it's after midnight, so supposedly, if I'm coherent (and hey, that's never been proved, so cut me some slack, all right), today's the first day of the rest of my life as my new me. Mentally speaking, anyway. Mentally. Heh.
Amazingly, this is also the 6-months-and-11-days anniversary of this here site AND the day I turn 32. Today. Ugh. I don't want "happy birthdays" and stuff, because I don't like birthdays. Mine anyway. But there is something I really wanted to say, and it's a big fat thank you (I would have written it in colour, but that would have been a bit heavy, eh?), for reading this, all this often disjointed stuff that pours out of this troubled mind of mine... Ever since I started this blogging affair, I haven't stopped marveling at the fact that people actually come over and read this. And, let's face it, I love the fact that I have a cult following. It flatters me in all the right places.
Shush. The fact that I don't want "happy birthdays" and all doesn't mean I can't be deluded and think that I have a cult following, 'kay? Plus, I'm changing my outlook on life as of today, so that means that starting Wednesday, 17 August 2005, the world is my oyster, the sky is the limit, and whatever else fits that wonderful description of life as I want it to be. So I have a cult following, and that's that.
I can hear the letters of offer pouring into my mailbox as I type, the phone lines are down due to the multitude of calls that are trying to connect for interview purposes, don't bother playing Loto tonight because I'm winning the lot, and Jeff Goldblum and George Clooney are fighting a fight to the death right now, the winner getting to write my name on a pre-nup. Guys. Guys! Try not to mess up those pretty faces of yours
too much, OK?
Oh how I love a good fight.

15 août 2005

The last two days of my life as I know it

Of course nothing is in the works and I am not planning a move (or rather I am planning on it, but planning it would be a bit quick off the mark) and nothing spectacular is going to happen (I don't think), it's just that I work much, much better under tight deadlines (as all my potential employers have been told) and two days, well, I suppose it does qualify as a tight deadline when the goal is to change your life around, doesn't it?
I was going to rant and repeat the same kind of lame-ass stuff I've been posting for a while, but even I got tired of it. Just so you get the jist if you've missed the previous 176 episodes: basically, I need change. I crave change. I want change.
If change doesn't happen, well then, I guess I'm going to have to pretend, aren't I? And anyway, after a while, it all becomes true, doesn't it?

One thing's not going to change, and that's a sure thing, much as I'm loath to admit it. I'll never be big on poetry.
I spent the afternoon and evening with friends today. Ooh, anybody here knows how to play belote? Because I KICK ASS at belote, and it's just immensely pleasurable to KICK ASS at something, even if it's just a card game that's
only played in France, and by a very select part of the population (read Southern pensioners). We started by watching Alfie while eating a mean strawberry pie. Or should I say we ate a mean strawberry pie while watching Alfie?
Anyway, the tarte aux fraises was really very good. Very tasty pâte sablée, very sweet (not sickening) crème pâtissière, and very ripe strawberries. Yum.
And man, that Jude Law is actually quite good-looking, isn't he? Not quite as irresistible as Jeff Goldblum (oh come on, if I hadn't mentioned him, you'd have thunk I was ill), but, you know, good-looking. But Sienna Miller? What's so special about her? Did her first producer just look at her and go "Hmmm, I'm thinking Elizabeth Hurley, I'm thinking blonde, I'm thinking English, I'm thinking younger and less mum than Elizabeth Hurley, I'm thinking money money money, here's your contract"? And no, I'm not jealous. She's nothing special, acting-wise, is she? Mind you, I like Sandra Bullock, so really, who am I to judge, huh?
Did I hear the word 'poetry' mentioned? Where was I? Oh yes. Alfie. Not a particularly good movie, is it? Of course, even without seeing the one starring Michael Caine, I know I preferred the original. But that's just because I don't understand the need to remake a Michael Caine movie. Now, I'm not saying it was particularly bad either, you understand.
Anne, focus.
So, if you've seen Alfie-the-unnecessary-but-OK-remake, d'you remember the time when said Alfie advises his boss to write a poem to woo his wife back? He asks for her name, which is Blossom, and tries to think of something that would rhyme with it?
That's what sprung to my mind.

Week-end wibble

About that title, now that I know what wibble means, I might as well use it, right?

"Hollywood doesn't want writers so much as secretaries with a flair for dialogue."
Peter McGowan (Kenneth Branagh) in
How to kill your neighbour's dog. That's all I have to say, I just like that quote.

My downstairs neighbour nearly prevented me from getting any sleep last night by playing Toni Braxton's Unbreak my heart yesterday. He was having a full-on 1994 revival party, and there were many cases of "ugh, not this song", but this one surely takes the cake. Especially as when it got air time (and did it get air time...), this is the song that would stay in my head for ever once I heard 4 seconds of it. It got to be so bad I was actually scared to hear it, for fear it would use up my brain entirely. And ever since then, and my goodness, that was 11 years ago, I've kind of been scared of the power of that song. Go on, it's a free download. Anyway, the music changed after a while, and went back in time to some decade when I wasn't yet born, and the last song I remember is Petula Clark's Downtown. Go. Go and read the commentaries.

The weather is shite these days. It's like the sky's sorry my niece has gone back home. One thing comforts me though, it's shite at my sister's place too. Ha. Nothing like a good "sorrier than thou" game to cheer me right up. I really am mad, aren't I.

Also, these are the last two days of my life as I know it. Because I say so.

14 août 2005


My visitors left yesterday.
I'm hesitating between very depressed that my niece didn't wake me up this morning by crawling into bed with me and whispering very loudly "Are you asleep?" and quite selfishly happy that the flat is back to its blissfully child-free state.

Depressed is winning just now.

12 août 2005

And that will be the end of my tourist week

Yesterday was a lovely day. I had the pleasure of spending the whole morning alone with my niece, and she was a little gem, all helpful, and sweet, and behaved. I could hardly recognise her. And then, of course, we played Uno, and she tried to cheat, but much in the same way that I'm her role-model for swearing, I suspect I could teach her a few things if she wants to cheat unnoticeably. So I caught her, and duly told her how bad it is to cheat, yadda yadda yadda. I don't think I was really convincing. Shame on me.
Then, sandwiches and sweaters and sunglasses and umbrella in backpacks, we set off for La Villette.
So much to see, so little vocabulary to tell it all.

Fantastic. Would require another visit, and then some.
Everything science is tackled, from mechanics to astronomy, sounds and images, the human body for children (farts and bogeys, no holds barred - except for pictures, not allowed)... my niece was all over the place, going here, there and everywhere, and really, if she could have been at several places at once, that would have suited her fine. To be honest, it would have suited us fine, too. Everything looks approachable and understandable, it's all studied under different angles, we're surrounded by sounds and illustrations, explanations and digressions... My brains are still whirling.
It's expensive though if you want to see it all, you have to pay for all the temporary exhibitions, and it can quickly add up to quite a bit. Except most of it's free for under 7s, and my niece turns 7 in two weeks. Lucky, eh?
The bus ride home from La Villette was a hoot. It was über-crowded, most Parisians being back at work now, and my niece was out of control, singing something about an âne (a donkey, but also sounding eerily like my name) and going "caaaaa-fééééééé" in an alien voice, because that's what I'd been saying when the two of us were having breakfast in the morning (I do have some kind of sick influence over her, she's been singing "Aussie Aussie Aussie Oy Oy Oy" since last year's Olympics, I am proud to say), and then the old lady from hell climbed in, and that sobered her right up. The old lady from hell was standing next to me, and my sister and niece got up and offered up their seat, which she declined, saying she'd be stepping down two stops from then. And then the blöde Kuh went on and sat down next to a little black boy, uttering racist clichés, which his mother, funnily enough, didn't appreciate but, understanding that not only was she an old lady from hell, she was also a mean old witch, gave up the fight after one minute, while the old bat went on. She stepped down the bus at our stop, talking to herself but hoping one of us would talk back to her. What I really wanted to do was slap her face, so I abstained from replying. And then, some
(white) cow in a car braked at the amber light, and SPED RIGHT UP. I went, jokingly, "No, darling, you have to choose, either you brake and stop, or you go right on, you can't do both". And that was the old bat's cue. "Yeah, well, can't expect much from them thieves, since they arrived in France..." I kind of screamed then.

Oh well

So apparently I'm a role model for my niece, as far as swearwords are concerned.
And I nearly forgot to take the cash I'd drawn at the ATM.
My sister and niece both found trousers that suited their needs, tastes, and bank accounts.
And we found a gorgeous gelato shop in Montmartre.
Sacré-Coeur does not allow you to take pictures.
And I forgot my Internet-banking password.
Oh well.

10 août 2005

Back to normal

Normal in the sense that my camera is working again (and there are many a picture of bridges to prove it). Thank you for the concern, I should have said it was only the batteries.
We did few things today, mainly went to the Jardin des plantes (where we admittedly stayed for hours. Hours and hours and hours. And there's only so much glorified zoo I can take. Although I definitely recommend the Grande galerie de l'évolution) and went back on the cruise thing. Where we just plopped our butts down, I snapped all the pictures I wanted to take yesterday (lots of bridges, then), and my sister thought of dinner. Oh and I made scoubidous with darling niece.
Still tired though. As proof, once darling niece was safely tucked in bed, we watched - in rapid succession - Without a trace, CSI, and some really crap real TV. Oh dear, I've just stumbled upon it, haven't I? The real meaning of "Real TV". Really crap. Grand for brain-resting, though.

I had a couple bad news on the job-hunting and jobless fronts today, and it's not helping my creativity, but I'm sure a good night's sleep will fix this and i'll be back to my braindeadly optimistic self in no time...

Montmartre, tomorrow. Caricature, anyone?

09 août 2005

My sister has taken over

Forget photographs, my camera died on me today. Again. I cannot believe that there is no advance warning on these things. You try to take a picture, and suddenly the evil red light from HELL flashes, and bam, it's dead.
That is dreadfully frustrating, especially on the first truly beautiful day we've had in a while.
Because, peeps, today was sunny. And warm. Yes! So we decided we'd go to the beach. Yes! In Paris. Yes!
Paris-Plage, mesdames-messieurs. One of the mayor's truly great initiatives, whatever the crankies might have to say.

And so we sprayed ourselves with the mist dispensers (because I don't know what they're called), we looked at kiddies learning to cavort on ropes, flimsy-looking bridges, nets, and climbing walls, we watched a kind of mime with a crystal ball, gawped at capoeira displays, all possibly very corny but oh so holiday-like. And people were lying on chaise-longues, in their swimming attire - or rather tanning attire, because there's obviously very little swimming involved.
And then we walked on, crossing the bridge to Ile de la Cité, with Notre-Dame as our target. Oh heaven. So many pictures screaming to be taken. I can still hear them inside my head.
We stopped at a café because darling niece had been promised a glace à l'italienne for the past two days and there was no delaying it any longer. She managed to chat up two waiters. She's seven years old! I suppose I should just learn her technique. From now on, it's Barbie clothes. Pink is the new cleavage.
Once she'd grown tired of her new fans, we started walking again along the banks of the Seine. And after some deliberation, we did the thing I had sworn I would never do. We went on a boat tour of Paris. Actually, it's like a bus tour. Get your day pass, and imagine you're a Sydneysider on their way to work in the City from their home in Balmain, or Manly, or what have you. Inhale deeply, and you can almost smell the sea. I'm rocking as I type. Or is pitching the actual word? Reeling? Swaying? All of this, probably.
And. It's really quite good, because you see a lot more than what you would have had you done it all by bus or metro, and some really good sightseeing spots are covered. So my advice to you, future tourists, is go on, get onto that boat. Don't be ashamed. Plus, if you're with somebody who knows Paris even less than you do, you're bound to improve your own knowledge of the capital, because don't kid yourself, questions will be asked. So what's this? And what's that? And that there? Every other minute. Now I know who my niece got her questioning disease from.
Our last boat stop for the day (we got a 2-day pass, because we're nothing if not spontaneous, and if you're throwing your principles to the recycling bin, you might as well make it worth the fleece you'll be getting*) was the Champs-Elysées, along which we duly walked, aiming at the Arc de Triomphe. Now, if you want to see all of Paris in one go, and can't really be bothered with visiting places, do that (or the Tour Montparnasse, but I haven't been, so I can't tell you about it). From La Défense to the Grande Bibliothèque, from the Eiffel Tower to the Sacré-Coeur, and everything in between, you can see it all from there. And if you hurry, you'll see an exhibition of Napoleon's campaign artefacts that, apart from the fact that it feels like we're worshipping the biggest, bloodthirstiest megalomaniac ever, is really interesting from a historical perspective. Somehow anyway.
Add some more walking, dinner and some more walking (again), and we were home after 11 tonight, all three of us completely and utterly exhausted, and we're supposed to meet some friends at 11 tomorrow morning.
Yeah right.

* Yes, they make fleeces from recycled plastic bottles. That's what I've been told, and I'm too weak and tired to have my beliefs shaken to the core, so go easy if you feel it's your duty to tell me the truth.

08 août 2005

Day 2 - some planning it takes

The weather has been kind of unfair, and that means we've had to rearrange scheduled visits to museums and parks to accommodate rain and shine. So today, because clouds were kind of vaguely threatening, we decided we'd walk to the Père-Lachaise, so we could make a hasty retreat to my flat if the heavens opened up and let pour a heavy summer rainfall. Or something. Somehow, visiting a cemetary makes me wax lyrical, when clearly I shouldn't do so in English.
Anyway, that was this afternoon. The morning was spent dallying about in the flat, grocery shopping and preparing lunch, while my niece was preparing a cunning goddaughter plan that involved going through my jewel box.
And there is nothing I can say about that, considering I have vivid (and shameful) memories of me going through my own godmother's rings and shiny things, saying "can I have them when you're dead?". Yes, people, it's time you knew the awful truth, I was Damien's best friend as a child.
But I never, and I mean never, pushed it so far as to use her, or anybody else for that matter, as a styling head. My niece did go that far. Thankfully, she did her mum's hair first, using my necklaces a hairjewel, and my hair clips as hair clips, granted, but in a way, I'm sure, that was never intended in the worst (or... best, depending on your outlook on this) torture textbooks. So she brushed and combed, and pinned and twisted, and looked at the result and went "oooh, mummy, you're so beautiful like that. Really, I think I really did well here." And she turned toward me.
That's when I ran away screaming. I don't remember much after that.
Once she was finished making her mum look like something... something
, and I'd regained consciousness, we went to the Père-Lachaise, as planned. Because, you see, we had a cunning scheme of our own. The cemetary is huge. Huge. Its hilly, cobbled avenues take up a fair part of the 20th arrondissement, and it's really beautiful. Plus, considering the number of historical figures (no, I'm not necessarily talking of Jim Morrisson here) that are buried there, there is quite a lot of information. And my niece is nothing if she's not hungry for information. She asked a lot of questions. She ran after the crows and the pigeons. She collected little pieces of gravel. She asked more questions. More importantly, she walked a lot. Combined with yesterday afternoon's exertions at the Louvre, that yielded the much-expected fruit of her, at home, tired out, all cuddly and obedient, having her tea without complaining or dragging it out to unbelievable lengths, and going to bed promptly at 9:00. After cheering Christine Arron on.
The perfect niece.

Voice of a city

If you live in Paris and want to be known the world over, they're looking:

Voice of a City will be a collection of online diaries from people
living in Paris (nightlife, culture etc.. and more importantly the
ongoing story of the contributors personal lives), written in English
- a site that might encourage you travel to Paris, feeling like you've
got the low-down from local friends.

Anyway, they're trying to recruit contributors - writing about their
daily lives, taking photos and having fun. This would initially be for
3 months and there'd be an ongoing financial incentive for them to
cover their expenses, and a free digital camera. See Voice of a city for more

07 août 2005

Day one - 6 to go

I'm knackered.
We walked all over the Louvre today, my niece was a little bundle of "ooh" this
and "aah" that, quickly resuming the proper 7-year-old behaviour with all the "carry my bag", "I'm tired", "I want a pain au chocolat" and "MORE walking????".
And then, she got her second wind. My sister and I were begging for mercy, and all she wanted was to see more, more, more, and for us to hold her hands while she tried to jump in the middle of the crowded Louvre, in the middle of the crowded metro stations, in the middle of the deserted pavement when we were dragging our own sorry feet back home. Needless to say, she was bitterly disappointed when we said no, again no, and lastly no.
But she took pictures with my camera, saw mummies of cats ("oh, this cat was huge!"), birds ("oh, such a small bird!" "oh, fish?!") and crocodile ("look, Anne, a crocodile, look, Anne, a crocodile, ANNE LOOK!"), sarcophaguses (i?) of real people ("why is this one more decorated than that one?" "why is it made of wood?" "why is it made of basalt?" "what is basalt?"), the Monna Lisa ("why is this painting famous?" "why does everybody think it's beautiful?" "well, I like it."), and many more things, all of which elicited a long series of questions.
And then, after dinner, we played Pictionary. This below is her last effort, before going to bed, so I could have a long-deserved cigarette.

I'm sorry about the poor quality of the picture, but that's the only one where you could actually see anything. Can you guess what it is? I'll help you like she did.
"OK, I can't really draw, because I'm bad at drawing, so I'll just make a circle. And... there."
We tried a few things, a turtle, an eye, Cindy Crawford when not airbrushed... "No." "No." "Uh? No."
"Well, you'll HAVE to guess, because I'm done drawing here."
Time's up. Phew. So? What is it?
"New York!"

06 août 2005

Busy day in world history today

It's one of my Australian friends' birthday, in Melbourne. You can wish him a joyeux anniversaire.
It's the 10-year bash of two other Australian friends in Sydney. And you can wish them a happy anniversary.
he Track & Field World Championships started in Helsinki. You could probably wish the athletes a great competition without them being necessarily doped up, but somehow I doubt they read this, or that they would listen.
It's another couple of (French) friends' wedding in Mulhouse. Go on, wish them things.
My sister and niece are arriving for a week's Parisian holiday. Wish me luck.

By the way, what do you cook for a not yet 7 year-old's dinner?

04 août 2005

Paris when it sizzles

That was a gratuitous reference to William Holden, just because I felt like it. Paris is nowhere near sizzling right now, but the sun does shine a little, so we'll take whatever comes our way, eh?
Yesterday was spent with a friend, doing the tourist thing in the Saint-Lazare, Opéra and Champs-Elysées area, and it was very cool, let me tell you. Very cool (a couple of pictures were posted on Flickr). Sometimes I do agree, Paris is a beautiful city.
I met S. for lunch. Yeah, we'll call her S. so I don't get confused with false names and stuff. She's a sports journalist and she still hasn't managed to get me a job in sports events organisation (you can start booing now). But it's OK, because she keeps me supplied with loads of gossip everytime I see her. Gossip that I can't let you know anything about, you understand, because I'm trustworthy, and hey, one day, she might - just might, mind, but I'll take whatever I can - refer me to someone helpful in the ways of finding a job in sports events organisation. Not that I'm a monomaniac or anything, but a girl's gotta be coherent in her sports events organisation love, right?
So we had lunch at a little restaurant in Saint-Lazare, and it's funny how a change of arrondissement will make for a change of people and views. Let's put it that way, the streets are a much more interesting sight there than they are where I live... First, there are so many more tourists. Which I suppose is understandable when you're talking about that specific area, with all the departments stores and designer boutiques..., but the Père-Lachaise cemetary is right around the corner from where I live, and that's gotta count for something, right?
Oh, hang on, I've just realised that this moaning sounds like I want more tourists in my neighbourhood. Let me correct this gross misunderstanding quickly: no no no no no, I don't. There.
I'm simply saying that my 'hood (heh) is just as attractive and interesting and sunny and warm as any other, thank you.
So anyway, back to the tourist path, Saint-Lazare and the nice restaurant, with very bizarre-looking people coming in and going out. Not bizarre as in trendy in a way I don't understand, just bizarre. Bizarre clothes, bizarre attitude. You know. Bizarre.
So after a very long lunch (not heavy, just long - chatting, catching up on us, catching up on all the celebs... it does take time), we decided we would walk about a bit. And as luck would have it, we stumbled upon this little ice-cream stall, outside a shop with a most promising name: La maison du chocolat. And... we gave in.
We went for a scoop of chocolate and lemon sorbet.
Yes, you may start drooling.
"Oh yum!" went my friend.
"Oh yum indeed" says me.
"That so is better than sex", she added.
See what girlie mags can do to people? Brainwashing, I call it.

It was all downhill from a long time ago

Woke up kind of early this morning, and I don't know what got into me but after listening to all about that travesty of sport that is the return of Zidane to les Bleus, I switched MTV on.
Yeah, really. I mean like would I lie to you, right?
So I switched MTV on and I was hypnotised. This bunch of scantily dressed girls were all humping the air - nothing quite out of the ordinary there, eh. God I feel old just typing this. But really it kills me. Anyway this girl was singing, and her friends were all dancing along, and doing all the stuff that maybe Salt'n Pepa started with more talent. By the way, anybody know what's happening with them?
OK, so I started thinking (yeah, I'm really slow in the mornings these days), I'll change the channel, this is insufferable, I will not tolerate this under my roof and all kinds of things you heard your parents tell you. And then - because you know, I was paying attention... ugh - I really heard it. And I thought, no way. Not in the morning. This cannot be bad both in video AND in lyrics - and of course I'm not even judging the music. I'll wait to see who this is so I'm sure never to say "mmm, they're good, aren't they?" one day, when I'm caught off-guard.
The pussycat dolls. That's where I just have to rest my case, right?

And then MTV redeemed itself in a nano-second by playing The Killers' video with Eric Roberts*. Eric Roberts. Oh, and who does the singer's way of singing remind me of, please?
And THEN. Oh my. Then, just like that, they played Madonna's Don't tell me. Not a big fan of hers, but that song. That song. Love it. Loveitloveitloveit.

This might turn out to be a good day, you never know.

For some reason, I can't watch the video via this link, so I hope it is the right one and not some zoophilic porn, or something.

03 août 2005


Somebody from the DOD was apparently on this here site yesterday.
Right when I was talking of marrying for citizenship, just my luck, eh.

Well, to make things a little bit clearer, I'm not looking to marry exclusively an American.
Australian, Canadian, New-Zealander, South African... They all work fine.

I wouldn't necessarily do it for citizenship, it's more so I can nick a job from under the nose of a national, so looking for someone who pines after a European passport means I can have a whatever residency, hence JOB. A sort of you-scratch-my-back-I'll-scratch-yours deal.

02 août 2005

Even Berkshire doesn't want me

2 August, 2005

Dear Melle,

Thank you for sending your CV to us.

Although you have some strong experience, unfortunately we have nothing suitable for your skill set and/or location at the moment. We will keep your details on our active database and will call you immediately when a more suitable position arises.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your interest and to wish you all the best in finding a new position.

Yours sincerely,


Senior Consultant
OK. I'm now officially depressed. Nothing suitable for my skill set? I replied to an ad, I know my skill set is suitable. It's just that I probably was a mean, promiscuous, conniving and manipulative slut in a previous life and I'm now paying.
Right, I'm off to string swearwords and hurl them very loudly over the périphérique now.

PS: I know I've asked already, but you don't happen to know anyone who would be willing to marry for citizenship, do you.