30 décembre 2005

Aren't you lucky...

Activity's been a bit slack around these parts, hasn't it? I know. Food, drink, and not-so-good movies do that to me (The Family Stone? Not so good, is it?).
So, anyway, quick, quick, moving on... in the spirit of the finishing year (that is a spirit, in my head, shut up), I've decided against yet another rant. Nice, eh? (Oh, don't rejoice too soon. You're getting the rant at some point.)
Instead... I give you... my new... "life project"!
(Apparently, you're better hearing this with a "let's get ready to rumble" kind of tone - well, that's what the keyboard says, and is the keyboard ever wrong? I thought so.).
To give you a bit of context... Nah, it's fine, you don't need context.
It dawned on me last evening that most American TV shows are titled with the location they're supposedly set in. So this is it - after a very perfunctory brainstorm with a friend (food, drink, and not-so-good movie, yes?), we decided I was going to tour the US, stopping only at those places that were graced with a TV show title. So far, we have:
- "L.A. Law"
- "The Streets of San Francisco"
- "Santa Barbara"
- "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air"
- "The O.C."
- "NYPD Blue" (that's stretching it a bit, but I really want to go to New York)
- "Dallas"
- "Providence"
I wish I could do the whole "Little House on the Prairie" thing. Can I just go for "Midwest" and say it's an homage?
And "Deadwood". Does it still exist?
Oh, and just so you know, I'm avoiding "Silk Stalkings" by this much, because it uses 'Palm Springs' in the French title. This much.

28 décembre 2005


I'm working from home
In subpolar temperatures
I just thought I'd share.

27 décembre 2005

Conversation with my niece

We're in the car, she's given my dad a CD to listen to on the way. I'm slightly apprehensive of the music that's about to hit my ears.
It's a... surprising... mix for a 7-year-old. With soul, R&B, rap, and French "variété" (crap, basically).
She goes:
- Oh I looooove the next song - I mean I love it a lot more than the first one, that I already really really liked - but you don't have to ask Papy to turn the volume up, it's fine. I really love it, but it's fine.
- OK. I won't then.
Cue some really nasty piece of music.
- We're going to have to work on those musical tastes of yours, aren't we?
- What language is it in?
- That's English.
- Well then. Shouldn't you love it too?
Hmmm. Her teenage years should be interesting.

23 décembre 2005

Crunch time, isn't it.

Joyeux Noël à tous.
Party hard, eat plenty, drink all you can, and don't be sick on your parents' couch.

21 décembre 2005

Things I hate - Part the nth

Two days before Christmas, and wouldn't you know it.
Old people and pram pushers. Indiscriminately.

Well. When they behave like the world is their oyster, the shell of which is completely disregardable. That, not to put too fine a point to it, shits me.
I am fed up to the back teeth of being shoved front and back in the shops, because Saturday afternoon is the only moment that all of Paris' 75-year-old grans could spare for last-bloody-minute Christmas shopping, of being mumbled at because my standing self is taking up too much necessary space on the overcrowded bus that one of our friends the grans' older sister just had to take then, at rush hour, because her very urgent appointment at the hairdresser's for yet another blue rinse couldn't wait, could it, of hearing lengthy lectures about respect, how it was in the good old days when the youths knew to respect their elders, and BLAH.
I am very respectful of my elders. (Yes I am. Hey. Be on my side here.) Just stop shoving your age in my face like it earns you every goddam right on the face of the planet. It makes me mix my metaphors, and it's not good.
Similarly, the mother who steps up her pace, using her pram as a shield, because I might otherwise beat her to the boulangerie counter, or wants, nay, demands, oh forget it, grabs priority on the sidewalk because she has a pram, and actually uses said pram as a tank, just awakens all my killing, jungle-survival instincts and I instantly mutate into a blackened-faced, knife-between-teethed, combat-wearing, Rambo-like figure shouting "Don't push it or I'll give you a war you won't believe!"
So yeah. I'm now toying with the idea of setting up a non-profit, just-for-kicks association that would answer to the same basic principle as
Death Race 2000. The more you hit, the more points you get. Who's with me?

20 décembre 2005

Oh... er... Hmmm.

How odd. Apparently the Christmas spirit loves a good bashing.
And just what makes me come to this dubiously hasty conclusion? Well... Tonight I received an email with something very close to a job offer in it.
Granted, it's completely contingent on both a translation test and a job interview, but let me keep my optimism for a little while and think that maybe, just maybe, I've had something akin to a Christmas miracle.

Oi! You up there! Big fat bloke in red! There's a couple more I need! Don't you dare consider your job done just because I got an email! Plus it's in Canada, which means that that couple more miracles are non negotiable, you slob. Get cracking on the rest of them.

Hey, cut me some slack here, OK. Apparently nagging's the only way I'll get some stuff done around this place. So I'm not done being unpleasant just yet. Just so you know.
Oh, and also. Don't jinx me. Please.

I'm exceptionally brilliant and fantastic

Go on, contradict me. If you dare.

Yeah, I know.
But it's Christmas. I need to believe in something. So I've decided I would believe in me, myself, and all my other personalities. And you've all come to realize I am a miracle in and of myself, haven't you?
Don't worry, I've checked. 'Miracle' doesn't necessarily imply 'good', it can simply mean supernatural in origin.

But. As it happens, I have also had completely supernatural-in-origin moments where I was briefly kind, good-hearted, generous, funny, and totally, totally unrecognized. I completely qualify.

On this note, let me warn my family. Who hasn't read any of this in a long time (and who can blame them?), but hey, whoever looked for coherence and rationality on this site has got a worse sense of direction than I do, and that's saying a lot. So let me warn my family, I say. Your presents this year? Me. All of us. Aren't you lucky? Yeah, I think so too.

18 décembre 2005

Weekend homework

Carl, over at Stainless Steel Droppings, has tagged me, the little devil. And why would he want to tag me? To know how weird I am, no less. Like you didn't know how weird I am already... After all, most of the memes I've been hit with had sumpin' to do with weirdness, idisyncrasies, quirks... Plus, let's face it, even without the memes, you had some inkling of the weirdness, didn't you, you perceptive little monkeys?

The first player of this game starts with the topic "five weird habits of yourself", and people who get tagged need to write an entry about their five weird habits as well as state this rule clearly. In the end, you need to choose the next five people to be tagged and link to their web journals. Don’t forget to leave a comment in their blog or journal that says "You are tagged" (assuming they take comments) and tell them to read yours.]

- I'm a compulsive shampoo buyer. I realized the other day that there are 5 bottles of different shampoo on my bathtub shelf thingy. That's five bottles of different shampoo. There'd be ten if I didn't think that would make me qualify as a fetishist of my own hair. Which I'm not. Honest.
Oops I did it again. Six bottles now.
- My memory is so good I've decided it's a handicap. There are so many things I remember that it's scary, mostly to people who forget that I do. If the conversation allows (contextwise obviously, I'm not totally bonkers... Or... am I?), I can quote back something that someone said to me in passing six days, six months or six years ago. If I push the concept, it means some of the stuff I wish I could forget... well, I don't.
Of course, I do lapse every now and again, and have been known to forget my current credit card PIN (but I do remember the PIN for the bank card I had in Scotland. Ten years ago.) or door code. 'Cause life would be no fun otherwise, would it.
- Although I have two left hands and ten thumbs and can't DIY to save my life, I am very good with connecting and generally sussing out electrical/electronical devices. That means that all cables are apparent at my flat. That's a lot of cables. If you'll punch holes in my walls and fix shelves and hide the cables for me, I'll come and fix your VCR or DVD writer's f#@&ing preset that is so complicated to work out that you haven't been able to tape "The Young and the Restless" for two whole months now, and I'll throw in some limited computer hotlining. Does that make me an idiot savant? No, don't answer that.
- Because my mind can hop from one idea to ten others through various associations in barely half a millisecond, I am the undisputed champion of non sequiturs. Or gaffes. Or both. Like, "ooh, talking of trowel-applied make-up, your skin looks much better these days". None of which even remotely reflects what I actually meant at the time, obviously. Oh the laughs.
- "Robinson Crusoe" was the most boring book I've ever read, and I hated Mary Shelley's writing in "Frankenstein". Don't know if that's weird, but I needed it off my chest.

There are a few people I'd love to tag with this, but I ain't gonna. What can I say, I'm weird.

15 décembre 2005

Oh sod.

A pounding headache is not the most pleasant thing to wake up to.

14 décembre 2005

Some people are just bored silly

Emphasis on silly.

The phone just rang.
"Hey, how are you?" went the guy.
The sound of the most annoying ringtones you could ever imagine - 'Crazy Frog'
(no, I'm not talking about myself) and 'Ode to Joy' leading - started going off in my head all at the same time. That's my cue for "alert! alert!".
Half a second's blank on my side to allow for the alarm bells to quieten down.
I needed another sentence to work out if I knew him - and simply didn't recognise his voice - or not.
"Am I interrupting anything?"
I don't know why I didn't hang up then.
"Oh, working, what is it you do?"
"Working. Bye."
Now the hanging-up on my part.

I hope to god he was random-dialling and doesn't actually have my phone number stored somewhere. What if he knows where I live?
That would certainly make for some lively blogging.

To be completely honest, and although I wish I could say I was heroic and one-upped John McClane in the live-action one-liner department, he didn't sound threatening, just extremely, extremely irritating, with a voice, and matching tone, that says 'I'm irresistible, so why resist?', and makes me want to kick.

But the last time I had an anonymous caller was something like 12 years ago, the guy would press 'redial' all the time, and it was a bit scary.
Ooh. Maybe he found me again. I'm a sucker for reunions.

12 décembre 2005

Things I hate - part the third

Aren't I on a roll with this? I'm going to get rid of all my aggressiveness and obnoxiousness and other words finishing in -ness and denoting general unpleasant(all together now)ness, and my family might even get to enjoy Christmas this year.

On with the programme then.
Working from home. I mean I don't hate it, because I actually enjoy it, but I hate it. Am I being clear? Do you understand how not completely mad I'm being, but just nuanced? I hate having to get up (ooh, talking of getting up, I had a nightmare last night, and for the first time in my life, I woke up screaming. Should I make a wish? Or if we tie this in with pretty much the whole content of this blog and this post specifically, should I just get myself committed? Hmmm. Decisions, decisions.)
having to get up, out from under the blankets in my polar flat (hey, you go back a couple lines, you'll find the beginning of that sentence, give me a break. Think of it as optical training. Keeps your eyes fit. We keep forgetting about our eyes. A couple of lines higher now. Go on! Move that lazy fat eye! It's important to push one's limits every once in a while.)
in my polar flat, because winter is here
—oh yes, we don't know whether Christmas will be white, but let's not kid ourselves here, people, winter is hereand knowing that not only will I be freezing my butt off, I will also have to get to work in these inhuman(e) temperatures. And like, straight away. Barely time for a cup of (gag) instant coffee. I say gag, but hey, it's warm.
And there's so much daytime TV to watch. So yeah, all about decisions, priorities, choices. Or not.
Also, now that I have agreed to translate what is, in essence, a pop quiz, and that I'm basically stuck with it for a whole week, I realize
—always too late, always too lateit's actually a lot of work. And I mean a lot of work. This is a British game we're talking about. Well, believe it, or believe it, but they didn't even pretend they were making an effort. It's all about British culture. Come on, now, game developers, get a little creative, why don't you? Next time you wake up not screaming and think "ooh I'm gonna develop myself a little game, rightee-o", just think a little bit further down the support line, of all those translators you're bound to stick in a bit of a puddle by asking questions about Blue Peter and Farmer George. OK? OK.
So yeah, working from home. Cool, and yet, not so cool.

11 décembre 2005

Things I hate - part the second

Let's have a quick etiquette/politeness/simple manners rundown here. You meet someone, you say hello; you receive something, you say thank you; you cough, you cover your mouth.
Simple. Basic. Easy.
See, when I'm in the metro - not a mood-positive to begin with - and someone coughs right in my face without covering their bloody mouth ("bloody" being an unfortunate figure of speech at this juncture, but what the hey, I'll leave it in, it ties in well with what's to follow, consider yourself warned), it makes me want to charitably reach down their throat and rip out their lungs to get them rid of whatever it is that is obviously hindering their breathing so badly that they don't even have the strength to lift their hand to their mouth. Desperate times call for their desperate measures, what can I say.

09 décembre 2005

Things I hate - part the first

The cold water that pours out first from the shower head.

Honestly, I do hate that with a good many fibers of my body. Quite literally.
I reckon that this cold water
sneaking down on you is single-handedly responsible for people hating The Morning. Even when I'm in a good mood when I get up (and yes, that happens, shut up), the couple of seconds it takes for the pouring water to be warm are enough to make me extremely grumpy in the sub-polar temperatures we've been experiencing lately in the wee hours. And don't. Tell me it's not that cold. Just don't.
And I know the simple way would be to hold the shower head down for the first couple of seconds. But let's face it, I'm barely awake enough to remember my own name when I step into the shower, I doubt I'd think of unhooking the thing and holding it away from me.
Then again, maybe subconsciously I love the thermal shock.
I've already thought of a solution, that would potentially solve a few of my problems. I could go out in the buff and run around the block a couple of times before my shower, all the while chanting to the moon and the stars: that would probably make the pouring water seem boiling hot by comparison; the chanting might work towards either bringing about that seasonal miracle I've been ranting on for ever or making my upstairs neighbours move out - which might also count as a miracle, let's not be fussy; or I might catch pneumonia and die, and well, that'd pretty much solve all of it, wouldn't it?

Yes, it's Friday and I'm a drama queen.

08 décembre 2005

Just. Bloody. Typical.

A couple of weeks ago, on Craigslist, there was an ad for a Czech translator/proofreader in NYC. I say Czech, but it was probably Spanish. I could have picked any language that I can't speak except to order beer, and there's a few of those. Languages, not beer, you cheeky monkeys.
I drafted a response anyway, thinking that if they needed a Turkmen one then, they might need a French one soon, and that when they needed the French one, I'd be one step ahead.
Am I smart, or am I smart?
Go for "or". It's your safest bet. To wit.
A couple of days ago, in a fit of draft cleaning because my gmail was getting out of control (and honestly, "2.6 MB and counting"? 1. they're counting slow, 2. just not good enough), I deleted all the drafts that I was never going to finish, send or... finish or send. There really are only two options for draft emails, aren't there? I mean, an actual letter I could also feed to the sharks, make a plane out of, tear to shreds in a manic fit, etc. but for an email?
Anyway. So I "moved to trash", with gusto, for a while, and my draft box is now blissfully empty. And feeling good.
(I know what you're thinking. Of course I empty the trash every once in a while.)
Ah, the satisfaction fate must be feeling when it knows it's coming back to bite someone right where it hurts. Or stings at the very least.
This morning, Bloglines was telling me that people had gone berserk with updates during the night. Nosily eager to hear what half the world had been up to, I went to check, saw 7 new items in "jobsearch" (I am nothing if not a creative labeller), opened that, and bam. French Proofreader, NYC. I have now been trying for 45 minutes to rewrite that letter, and nothing - application letters are now coming out my nose, ears, and eyes I'm so fed up with them.
All I want to do is attach my résumé and say "pick me! pick me!". Literally. Reckon they'd go for that?

07 décembre 2005


Is today only Wednesday? I thought time flew when you were having fun, and yet (Terri did say I was blessed yesterday), time seems to have slowed down to a crawl so I can enjoy more of it. All. Of it. How thoughtful.
Still, I can't seem to have enough of it so I can do everything I want to do. How unpractical.
I need to: do some grocery shopping, do some girl shopping (lots of that - ojala), sleep off the alcohol we had last night (am I turning into an alcoholic? Ojala.)
Oh dear. Almost forgot. I need to work.
That's only the tip of the iceberg, people! And that's only today!

05 décembre 2005

A Christmas story

Horrible things have been uttered about the metro and the bus on this here site. Forgive me, reader, for I obviously knew not what I was saying.
This evening, my daily metro ride home was made much, much longer by a technical incident about which we were not given any details - but I can feel a rant coming on when I really don't want to sound anything but grateful, and filled with awe.
After all, it only took the driver four or five unexplained 5-minute stops to tell us that indeed some breakdown had occurred further down the line; sometimes they don't even bother to explain, so I should be grateful for that.
Plus that was her cue for a woman to start rambling on an on. and on. and then some, about the unreliability of metro lines in Paris, which I thought was very entertaining of her, especially as she managed to speak over my music, so I could hear her fine. Again, I thought it rather unusual, albeit in a thoughtful way, of RATP (the Paris metro authority), to provide their passengers with some quality
distraction while we were stuck in there. Kept the annoyance degree to a minimum, if you ask me.
But wait, there's more! There's better! In keeping with the Christmas spirit that has been washing over all of us lately, they announced at one point that the train would not go any further, but that the next one was right behind us. Now you think I'm being sarcastic mentioning the Christmas spirit. Well, no I'm not. And here's why. We all stepped out onto the platform, while the rambling woman kept up her routine, and boy was she hilarious. I'm still smiling now just thinking of her. We waited for the next metro with her act on in the very very near background. My jaws hurt I'm smiling so much. And then the metro arrived.
And that's where the real Christmas miracle happened. It was full, you see. RATP had actually thought of all us lonely people, who hardly manage to stand upright during December, burdened as we are by bitterness, and reckoned some human warmth would be a comfort. Good thinking, I say, especially in winter. Now, if you think that's the miracle, think again. That's only part of it. The real thing is this:
you think not one more person is going to fit in that tiny, cramped, and full to the brim space that is the metro car? That's forgetting about the miracle of rush-hour Christmas, buddy!
RATP have made h
uman bodies infinitely compressible. Is that a miracle, or what?

04 décembre 2005

Untitled but long - Part 2

First part here. I'm stuck. And hoping that something good will emerge at some point. In the meantime, I have to make do with the following.

The light inside was glaring, after the dark cushion of the outside, and the buzzing of the overhead lights made her feel like she had tinnitus. She'd never noticed it before, covered as it usually was by the chatter and general hubbub of people in stores, and it dawned on her that she was the only one there, apart from the clerk, a middle-aged man who strangely looked like he didn't belong here and seemed bored out of his head.
"Hi", she said with a smile. He smiled back, apparently numbed out by the lack of customers and lacking the strength or willpower to utter a simple "hi".
Hello, kindred spirit. You're bored, I'm angry and scared; shall we use the cover of darkness to share a little humanity?
She went straight to the healthcare aisle, grabbed a box of Maalox, browsed the magazine rack to buy herself a little time, and walked to the counter to pay.
"Not exactly a busy night, eh?" Small talk. Focus on the small talk.
"Um, no. It's been real quiet tonight. In fact, you're my first customer in over an hour. And there's nothing on TV either. That'll be 2.99 please. Apart from the usual reruns, I mean. And I've seen those so often I can play them in my head without the use of the screen. I'm bored silly, really." He chuckled quietly.
My, my. You want to talk, after all. OK, let's. She pushed some change on the counter.
"Oh don't I know what you mean. Hate those. Even if I did like the show to begin with, there is such a thing as overdoing the reruns. Someone should tell the networks."
"Ha, I know. On quiet nights, I usually think I should just write an angry-viewer letter, sign a different name each time, and send it on. Maybe after a while, they'd get the hint. No harm in dreaming, right?"
"No harm indeed. You should do it. Also, you've got a wide choice of gossip rags there, reading them might prove entertaining while you wait for their reply", she said in a joking tone. Could she be any duller?
"God no. No offence, but I hate those. I'd rather gnaw my right arm off than read them."
"None taken, I don't read them. Not at the doctor's, not at the hairdresser's. I'm that much of a poser that I bring a book with me."
"Hear hear. I do that too. It's great being a poser."
He flashed a smile that made her feel grateful she'd stopped here—the kind of smile that spoke volumes.
She laughed. And oh how good it felt. She caught herself looking at him not in the eyes, but at their underside. It looked so smooth it seemed to belie his age. She wanted to touch her thumb very lightly to the skin there, to see if it was as soft as it looked.
"I'll refer some people to you, shall I? You tell 'em. Been given hell about that for years."
"With pleasure."
"Thank you, sir. I hope the rest of the night passes quickly."
"It certainly will now. Drive safely."
"Well... Bye then."
"Bye. And come back soon!" That last was said with both heavy irony—as if anyone in their right mind would want to come back soon— and what she decided was genuine hope. Wishing she knew him, she looked back.
"I will. You take care."

She was humming 'Sitting on the Dock of the Bay' as she got behind the wheel. Had she really left the flat in a huff to end all huffs a mere half-hour ago?
It took her a while to start the car. The old heap was nearing the end of its useful life. Stephen’s argument for keeping it was its sentimental value—yeah, whatever, if you asked her.
Stephen. She was ready to talk to him now. This chasing after her own tail was not cutting it anymore; he deserved her trust, however much that cost her. And more than trust, he deserved to decide if he wanted to spend his life, or a moment, with her, once she'd let him know a bit more of her story.
Funny how things happened, how decisions were made, how lives could be changed. Sometimes it felt like chance encounters made free will redundant. The clerk had looked like a good man, but a sad man. She didn't want to be good-but-sad. She wanted to be happy. Serenely, selfishly so. Surely that also happened to good people.

01 décembre 2005


It's been a long week. A looooong week.

Blonde bimbos in helmets

There is something extremely frustrating about being in a bad mood, at home, with a knot at the pit of your stomach for wanting to scream - that's how much of a bad mood you're in - and not even being able to play some good, relaxing music like Metallica or Iron Maiden or Dean Martin because your neighbour has decided to play Die Walküre loud enough that you can definitely hear it above your own music, and low enough that it doesn't constitute much more than an annoying background noise.
So that wasn't relaxing.
And then I heard that the building-that-won't-die will in fact so not die that it'll cost me a literal arm and a literal leg to pay for the works that have just been voted on. Literally. Well, I'm going to have to sell something to pay for those, and I really want to keep my retinas. And to add insult to injury, the um-ing and er-ing neighbour has offered to see me for a debrief (because I was stuck in the office at the time of the meeting when all of this was decided. That was my excuse anyway.). Selling my retinas won't even be an option after that, I'll have clawed my own eyes out.
So... I'd say life is good, but the Christmas spirit hasn't reached me yet.
Oh yeah, cause Christmas is officially upon us,
now that December has just started (white rabbit, white rabbit, white rabbit, of course). Bleargh. When are we allowed to eat the advent choccies? I mean, come on. Christmas gotta have some positive aspects...