28 février 2007

Books - or how to admit your shame in oh so many ways

Got this from Jen (and she didn't even tag me, how weird am I?), who got it from Krissa, who got it from... funny, uh, memes start much the same way as epidemics. Hmmm.

Right. Here it goes.

Italicized = books you want to read
Bold = books you've read
Strike = books you wouldn't touch with a ten foot pole or wish you hadn't
* = never heard of it
+ = on your shelf

+1. The Da Vinci Code (Dan Brown)
+2. Pride and Prejudice (Jane Austen)
+3. To Kill A Mockingbird (Harper Lee)
4. Gone With The Wind (Margaret Mitchell)
5. The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King (Tolkien)
+6. The Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring (Tolkien)
7. The Lord of the Rings: Two Towers (Tolkien)
8. Anne of Green Gables (L.M. Montgomery)
*9. Outlander (Diana Gabaldon)
*10. A Fine Balance (Rohinton Mistry)
+11. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (Rowling)
12. Angels and Demons (Dan Brown)
+13. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Rowling)
14. A Prayer for Owen Meany (John Irving)
15. Memoirs of a Geisha (Arthur Golden)
+16. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (Rowling)
*17. Fall on Your Knees (Ann-Marie MacDonald)
+18. The Stand (Stephen King)
+19. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban(Rowling)
+20. Jane Eyre (Charlotte Bronte)
+21. The Hobbit (Tolkien)
+22. The Catcher in the Rye (J.D. Salinger)
23. Little Women (Louisa May Alcott)
+24. The Lovely Bones (Alice Sebold)
25. Life of Pi (Yann Martel)
26. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (Douglas Adams)
+27. Wuthering Heights (Emily Bronte)
28. The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe (C. S. Lewis)
29. East of Eden (John Steinbeck)
30. Tuesdays with Morrie (Mitch Albom)
31. Dune (Frank Herbert)
32. The Notebook (Nicholas Sparks)
33. Atlas Shrugged (Ayn Rand)
34. 1984 (Orwell) [- I know.]
35. The Mists of Avalon (Marion Zimmer Bradley)
36. The Pillars of the Earth (Ken Follett)
*37. The Power of One (Bryce Courtenay)
38. I Know This Much is True (Wally Lamb)
*39. The Red Tent (Anita Diamant)
40. The Alchemist (Paulo Coelho)
*41. The Clan of the Cave Bear (Jean M. Auel)
*42. The Kite Runner (Khaled Hosseini)
43. Confessions of a Shopaholic (Sophie Kinsella)
+44. The Five People You Meet In Heaven (Mitch Albom) (yeah...)
+45. Bible
46. Anna Karenina (Tolstoy)
47. The Count of Monte Cristo (Alexandre Dumas)
+48. Angela’s Ashes (Frank McCourt)
49. The Grapes of Wrath (John Steinbeck)
*50. She’s Come Undone (Wally Lamb)
*51. The Poisonwood Bible (Barbara Kingsolver)
52. A Tale of Two Cities (Dickens)
*53. Ender’s Game (Orson Scott Card)
+54. Great Expectations (Dickens)
+55. The Great Gatsby (Fitzgerald)
*56. The Stone Angel (Margaret Laurence)
+57. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (Rowling)
58. The Thorn Birds (Colleen McCullough)
59. The Handmaid’s Tale (Margaret Atwood)
+60. The Time Traveller’s Wife (Audrew Niffenegger)
61. Crime and Punishment (Fyodor Dostoyevsky)
62. The Fountainhead (Ayn Rand)
63. War and Peace (Tolstoy)
64. Interview With The Vampire (Anne Rice)
*65. Fifth Business (Robertson Davis)
66. One Hundred Years Of Solitude (Gabriel Garcia Marquez)
*67. The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants (Ann Brashares)
+68. Catch-22 (Joseph Heller)
69. Les Miserables (Hugo)
+70. The Little Prince (Antoine de Saint-Exupery)
+71. Bridget Jones’ Diary (Fielding)
72. Love in the Time of Cholera (Marquez)
73. Shogun (James Clavell)
74. The English Patient (Michael Ondaatje)
*75. The Secret Garden (Frances Hodgson Burnett)
*76. The Summer Tree (Guy Gavriel Kay)
*77. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (Betty Smith)
78. The World According To Garp (John Irving)
*79. The Diviners (Margaret Laurence)
80. Charlotte’s Web (E.B. White)
*81. Not Wanted On The Voyage (Timothy Findley)
82. Of Mice And Men (Steinbeck)
83. Rebecca (Daphne DuMaurier)
*84. Wizard’s First Rule (Terry Goodkind)
85. Emma (Jane Austen)
86. Watership Down (Richard Adams)
87. Brave New World (Aldous Huxley)
*88. The Stone Diaries (Carol Shields)
*89. Blindness (Jose Saramago)
90. Kane and Abel (Jeffrey Archer)
91. In The Skin Of A Lion (Ondaatje)
+92. Lord of the Flies (Golding)
93. The Good Earth (Pearl S. Buck)
*94. The Secret Life of Bees (Sue Monk Kidd)
95. The Bourne Identity (Robert Ludlum)
96. The Outsiders (S.E. Hinton)
97. White Oleander (Janet Fitch)
98. A Woman of Substance (Barbara Taylor Bradford)
99. The Celestine Prophecy (James Redfield)
100. Ulysses (James Joyce)

Obviously I'm not going to tag anyone, but let me know if you're playing, because I love to rub my face in it.

Oh, and lest we forget... White rabbit, white rabbit, white rabbit.

27 février 2007


There it was - the ultimate proof that life had obviously chosen her as its personal scapegoat, the butt of all its practical jokes, its own life-size (no pun intended of course) punching bag.
For years Natalie had wondered what exactly her purpose was in this world. Fall guy, it seemed. And no Lee Majors around, either.
She'd thought the whole vicious cycle was over when she'd met Sean. Everything seemed to fall into place at that point. Truth be told, she'd been apprehensive at first - was she going to handle it? Would she not ruin it somehow? Would someone ruin it for her? When would lightning strike?
Then she'd loosened up and rushed into it. And it turned out, that whole couple thing, my, what bliss that was. Two months into it, and Natalie couldn't take a decision on her own anymore.
That wasn't even a slight exaggeration - working out the weekly shopping was a hair-splitting affair involving lengthy discussions over what kind of meal Sean would maybe like to eat three evenings from now, her friends hadn't seen her alone in ages, and her father, a terse, humorless man who would have made a pretty convincing case for the addition of coldness among child abuse practices, dearly missed his up-until-then weekly telephone guiltrip.
Oblivion being what it is, spring had been truly fantastic.
Summer was now here, and Natalie was really looking forward to their planned holiday. She'd be having none of her traditional pilgrimage up North this year, oh no. Sardinia it was, as a couple, per favore.
It really shouldn't have surprised her when she stumbled upon the foil packet in Sean's trouser pockets. She wasn't looking through his stuff, by the way, just packing their things for the trip.
She just stopped folding the pants, looking confused at first. She was vaguely aware that something was not right with the presence of a rubber among her lover's stuff, especially after they'd both tested for HIV and decided to have a go at it, but strangely, her thought process seemed to have been thrown completely out of whack.
When the enormity of what that meant hit her, she did the only thing she could do without having to think. She ran out of the flat to her best friend's place. That was what best friends were for, wasn't it? Comforting you in times of need, and saying horrible things about the cheating bastard you'd been dating for half a year, while plying you with tissues, alcohol and chocolate.
Natalie got there at the same time as a pizza delivery guy. She just stood there while he rang the bell, and when the door opened, Natalie's brain froze for the second time that day. What was Sean doing here with only a towel wrapped around him? Surely she hadn't packed all of his stuff yet?
The way his jaw dropped when he saw her helped her put two and two together. She turned around to go, paused, grabbed the pizza box and walked slowly down the stairs, while the delivery boy looked from her back to his towel.
Sean hadn't said a word.
- That'll be 10.95, mate. Sorry.

21 février 2007

I can make George Clooney out in the distance.

Or, I think I'm gonna make out with George Clooney in the not-too-distant future - not sure.

It's so typical - read so unbelievably annoying, yet so very flattering, while at the same time very unsettling, especially if you, like me, are utterly disorganized - judge for yourselves.
So I have the job. They'll be starting the visa process now.

See, I have been trying to escape France's legendary tax pressure, social benefits and mad politics for about 18 months now, and this, right now, is exactly the time when a test I'd taken in January for a job in a much less distant country, over the sea but accessible by train, decides to show positive results, which means I'll be sitting a phone interview today at noon. Well, not so much sitting as pacing the flat, raising my eyes, going for a cigarette and remembering that the puffing will be heard...

Considering both places and jobs (even though I don't technically have the second one...) are very alluring, for different reasons, if I do get an offer on that one too, it's going to be one tough choice.

Which is why I hope that George, in his infinite wisdom, will come to my rescue and propose.
On the condition that we stay in Paris, of course.

And just so you know, I will say yes.

14 février 2007

Happy... *choke* *splutter* *die*

Yeah. I really wanted to write something about Valentine's Day.
Mostly because I'd hate people to think that I'm
cynical and bitter without even giving them any proof of this.
And then I got up -- quite late, but I don't really mind that these days, considering I supposedly have a job lined up -- thought "funny, my prospective employers still haven't rung me back about my feeble attempt at negotiating, does that mean that by talking to the entire world about this, I've managed to jinx it yet again?" and money worries, compounded by a pervasive sense of doom, replaced all thought of love.
Or, you know, lack thereof. Love. And money really.
Oh my, what a bleak prospect I'm now beholding. It's Valentine's Day and I'm
unloved, single, penniless, jobless*, while all around me people, oblivious of the incredibly shitty weather, walk hand in hand with a spring in their step, and rub salt in my wounds, which I'm left to lick alone.
But I wouldn't want my own unhappiness, fears, maybe even depression, to get in the way of your love fest. Have a wonderfully romantic day, people.**

*Well, one can be in a couple and unloved, or single and stalked, one can be employed and poor, or unemployed and rich. It just so happens that I've scored the perfect four.
** Oh dear. I hope I haven't just ruined it for you, even if it is just a little...

09 février 2007

Note to self*

Do not, ever, ask when the good news will stop. It is bound to come to a screeching halt against (into?) a tree by the side of the road.
Things are still looking good (I think...) re my upcoming Mary Tyler Moore impersonation (we shall call it that from now on - let's all thank Alan), but everything else, oh. my. god.
That metro car squat I was mentioning the other day? It's looking increasingly likely. I'll also probably have to smuggle myself across in the trunk of a plane, by the look of it. Yes, I know it's not called a trunk, but to be perfectly honest with you, I can't be arsed looking it up.**
And oh yes, I know I've been telling people to try self-assertiveness seminars. Wow. Shouldn't I be attending one myself... That whole "everything is negotiable" gimmick? Unless by negotiable you mean "acceptable even though you don't really want to accept it but are too much of a WUSS to say no to", well, it clearly doesn't apply to me.
Also. Don't ever believe it when two out of three people in three different offices tell you that your move overseas may be sponsored by some unemployment subsidies. Unless you're moving somewhere within the European Union, it's not gonna happen. So yeah, not only do you feel bitterly rejected by the European Union because they never accepted one of your applications, but you also get your hopes of saving a not insignificant amount of money squashed up and trampled on by heartless, indifferent public servants who probably hung up the phone and cackled for a good ten minutes before dutifully reporting the good news to their boss, the DEVIL.

* I have been messing with "I" and "you" in this entry. It sounds pretty clear to me though. If, however, you have trouble understanding the perspective, put yourself in my brain. And then commiserate.
**Baggage hold. There. And you didn't even have to tower over me and growl threateningly "Look it up. Now." Wuss, I tell you.

06 février 2007

Oh look!

I'm two! Today!
And that makes two posts in two days!
Will the good news ever stop?!

04 février 2007

How long does it take for a stomach to regrow itself?

It's currently being eaten alive by a giant ulcer from out of space. Yeah, OK, not really. But that's certainly what it feels like anyway (like you didn't know that complaining about things blown completely out of proportion was my thing...)
Here's the news - and I'm going to just go and throw caution to the wind here. Apparently, one of my numerous applications has finally been accepted, and I'll be rowing my way across the ocean some time at the beginning of May to make a brand new start of it where Rachel and Monica amazingly never met Carrie, Samantha or Mac Taylor. Man, that's a cross-over I would have paid a lot to watch.
Of course, there's a lot to do till then - not least of all negotiate a contract that will enable me to live there (and not just, you know, work and crash in a abandoned metro car somewhere), trying very hard not to scare my still prospective employers away in the process, but I said I was throwing caution to the wind.
So yeah, be warned: I cannot vouch for user experience on these pages for the next three months. Any advice on herbal try-not-to-eat-your-innards-from-the-inside remedies will be much, much appreciated in the interval.