Blog Links Just some of the great blogs I keep stumbling on. Go for an explore, and if you see any really good ones, let me know...
- the hottest blogger I know. - I hate knitting. However, I love this blog. Who'd have thought? - If you ask me, it's perpetual brilliance! - 'nuff said. Inspired - inspiring.
- ...into light. Xenouveau - Her from Sadisticland. All Geek To Me - Fun from Scout Finch.
Elven Sarah - Witty and weird, a bit like me (but witty). Sedgefield - A nice blog, which may have died from meme deficiency... - A great lady had a great blog. Hopefully it returns...
superphase - A stick hero for the masses...
Sadly, we have been given the cold Shoulder. - a great blog from the continent, nice and warm there. - Not indulgent any more.
She Speaks - The star-crossed lover is now silent.
Organic Feminism - A tremendous blog. Even though she calls me Scoots *shudder*
You can no longer get your soup fix from souplover.
You know that feeling when you've just missed a train. It's similar to the feeling you get when you make a perfect cuppa, and then spill it all over yourself. It takes the shine off the brew, and the train journey for that matter.
So I trudge onto the platform, taking in the sights. There's usually an array of attractive women for me to embarrass myself by gawping at, and this time is no different. In particular there's a lovely looking brunette, pink top, denim skirt, bare midrif, hauling a flight bag. I gawp as she passes, oblivious, and drag myself back to the matter at hand - finding out when the next train is due. As I wait for the information I glance up the platform. This vision is sitting on a bench up at the end of the platform.
Well, I'm feeling uncharacteristically confident, so I decide to sit by her, perhaps even break the habit of a lifetime and actually speak!
I discover that the next train, due in 30 minutes, will be ten minutes late. Oh well, I console myself, I can chat to this girl. I head for the bench, just to see her heading in the other direction. Cursing silently under my breath, I pass her and sit at the bench, singing to myself while I watch her disappear into the station.
I've been trying to learn the words for this particular song, so I get carried away. Singing quietly to myself, I don't notice until she sits back down. Make or break time. I need to talk. I can't. I keep singing softly, and give up on the crazy idea.
"Excuse me, do you know what time the train is?"
I'm startled out of my croon, and look at her. She is very pretty; slim, fresh-faced, lightly freckled. I'd place her in her early twenties, if I could concentrate on more than her smile.
I impart the information; she thanks me. And then something strange happens.
"Are you off on holiday?" I ask.
And we talk. We talk at length, about her current circumstances, about mine, about our aspirations, plans and hopes. We board the train together, still talking, standing in the vestibule, a collective curio amidst the silently suited businessmen. At the next station there's more room, so we find a couple of seats next to each other. We are alighting at the same station, and she hasn't been to that platform before, so I guide her to the taxi rank. We make our farewells and part.
I'm buoyed up by altogether wonderful experience.
So Kirsty, thanks for sharing your time. I hope the move to Portugal went smoothly, and your boyfriend problems are over.
Just when you thought it was safe to get on a train...
I had it all sorted out.
I catch the bus at 5:40, arrive at the bus depot at 5:50, catch the next bus at 6, arrive at the railway station at 6:45, hop on the train, arrive at my destination at 7:20, and wander into work at 7:45, nice and early all relaxed.
Today I arrived at the station to find that the much-threatened line works had already started. So I hopped on the coach, which took me on a whirlwind tour of the outlying regions before depositing me at the next station along, 20 minutes later. Only then could I hop on the original train. Of course, it arrived 20 minutes later than usual.
Fair enough, I still (just about) made it into work on time. But now I have a quandry.
My monthly rail pas is about to expire. I understand that the works are due to last for 2 weeks, but of course these things have a tendency to overrun.
So, do I buy another monthly train ticket, or find an alternative bus-only conduit...
I left early from work, and made an earlier train. Busy, as usual. I found 3 empty seats around a moustachioed gentleman. Two were taken, so I cajoled my way into the third. I offered moustache some maltesers, but there was something amiss with the packet, or more likely, the shop where I bought em. They were all white and bulging. They didn't taste too bad though.
As the train pulled off, the other two occupants returned. I offered them some of the dubious maltesers, and in returned they offered me some Jack. It sounded like a pretty good deal to me!
My sister picked me up from the bus station to drive to our parents' house. I slept for a few hours, and then stayed up for a couple. I slept for about 11 hours in total on Friday. I suppose this 5 hours sleep a day lifestyle catches up with you eventually.
The day of the interview. I woke up at 10, got ready, had breakfast, and my dad drove me to the computer logistics centre. I have a faulty network card, and the easiest method of returning it was to deliver it directly. Or so I thought. It appears that although people work there on a weekend, none of them work in reception, which was shut tighter than a drum. After ten minutes of frustration and knocking, I retreated with bruised knuckles, and we headed on to the interview. But wait, the head office was across the road, so I posted it there. With luck they'll have people walking back and forth, so my faulty part won't disappear forever...
And so to the interview. I headed into the college refectory and beamed at the greeter. "Hello there!" I said, dapper in my black single breasted suit, purple shirt and tie, pierre cardin shoes and styled hair. "I've come for my interview at 2pm."
"Oh," said the greeter. "She was going to leave at 1pm. I talked her out of it. We don't have anything down for her today."
I gulped. Needlessly, as it turned out. It seems she had forgotten, but the upshot was that I had an hour long interview that finshed an hour early.
I had my interview, it whirled by. I don't know how it went, but I'm cynically hopefull.
I slept again all afternoon, and again later.
I woke up late, played a bit of guitar, videotaped my parents hacking away at the back garden, helped a little myself, and then my sister returned us home.
Spartacus was not in. He hadn't been seen since Friday morning, and I was starting to fret. We mounted a search party, to no avail, and my glum disposition extended to a full melancholia.
And then I heard a noise, just on the edge of my hearing. I was mid -iron, so I called to sis; "quick! the door!"
In he comes, with £250 in cash, and a tattoo of a devil. He received an inordinate amount of affection, I can tell you...
I've written this for my interview tomorrow, I needed a review or something about a film. I watched Leon (The Professional), since it's one of my all time favourite films. I'd like some comments on this, in case I need to completely rewrite it this evening or tomorrow morning...
Léon, also known as The Professional, was released in 1994. Directed by Luc Besson, and starring Jean Reno, it also starred Gary Oldman, fresh from the success of Bram Stoker’s Dracula, and featured Natalie Portman in her first major film role. A hit man (Reno) rescues 12 year-old Mathilda (Portman) from the murder of her family by corrupt DEA officers, led by Stansfield (Oldman). She persuades him to teach her the assassin’s craft, so that she may avenge her brother’s murder by killing Stansfield. Before long, Léon’s life becomes inextricably linked with Mathilda’s and Stansfield’s, until events reach their bloody conclusion.
On the surface, Léon is a tale of revenge, but there are underlying themes of justice, family, and belonging throughout.
From the outset, we see Léon in a position of power. He is remorseless, invulnerable. Even in the hotel room he occupies, he has a rigid routine: the care of his plant, the two quarts of milk per day, the catnapping with a pistol to hand.
Contrasted with Léon’s lifestyle is that of Mathilda; her father is a violent drug dealer and her stepfamily is animalistic and hostile. It is only her younger brother who shows any affection, and Mathilda cherishes this. She dangles over the stairwell, and teeters on the edge of this doomed family. It is only through her friendship with Léon that she escapes their fate.
As they begin to warm to each other, their routines change, approaching an unorthodox, yet happy, domestic scene. Mathilda craves this harmony, and grows to love Léon. She tells him, and he chokes. Here Besson has made a joke of the inevitable comparisons to Lolita (Stanley Kubrick - 1962), for it is a father/daughter relationship. Mathilda lies on the bed, arms outstretched, in a pose of divine rapture, and to show that her feelings are reciprocated, Léon mirrors this pose when he finally wreaks Mathilda’s revenge on Stansfield.
Léon and Mathilda spend the whole film on the move. They are nomadic, without roots, like Léon’s aglaonema. From one hotel to another, they have no home. It is only after Léon’s death that both of his charges, his plant and Mathilda, find some permanence.
Léon prophesises the changes to his life and his own demise right from the outset. He wrestles with his conscience over whether to answer the door to Mathilda, whether to allow himself to get involved. Besson makes effective use of lighting in this scene, bathing Mathilda in white light as Léon opens the door, as though from an angel. Later Léon decides to kill her, but he cannot; he already realises that he is doomed. Once he has become her father figure, he cares more for her than himself. This is demonstrated when he awakes suddenly in bed, unarmed. We know now that his life as an assassin is over. Like Hamlet, Léon is a tragedy in the classical sense. Those who have killed are destined to die themselves, to maintain a sense of fair play and justice. So Léon must kill Stansfield and his subordinates, and yet die himself so that Mathilda, the true innocent, may survive.
No, I didn't drive into it, on a scooter or bike. I just found myself peering over the adjacent peaks, wondering why I can't see anything.
My laptop is more belligerent than ever. The unwelcome insertion of a wireless card has caused it to throw up its metaphorical hands in frustration and keel over far too many times for me to put up with it any more. I shall be sending back the aforementioned wireless PC suppository, and try my luck on a more expensive one...
Just watched The Substitute, starring Tom Berenger as an inept mercenary who gets a job at a school for drugdealers. It was difficult to turn my head away from the trainwreck of a film. Now I have one day to write my movie review for my movie degree interview.
My sister has arranged for a lodger to inspect my room on Tuesday. When she leaves for Mexico, I will have her room, and the lodger will get my room. Thus the room must be impeccable for this visit. Already I have raised the bed by 2 inches cramming stuff under it!
I was walking from the station to the bus stop on thursday, when a woman promoting chewing gum handed my about 30 free samples. It's nice, but leaves a metallic taste. She was nice too, as it happens...
We all have an epiphany, every now and then.
A sudden, overwhelming realisation; that cathartic moment when a nagging thought becomes an all-consuming emotion that threatens to choke the very life out of you.
I've had more than my fair share recently.
When I was 5, I had one at school. Standing in the playground, cheeks hot with tears, cruel jibes stinging my ears. I couldn't articulate it at the time, even to myself, but somehow I knew with a spirit-crushing futility that I did not fit in. That I was the kid who would be "gang initiation" or "moving target" for the rest of my school life. And boy, did it hurt.
Then there was the one when I knew that I would be splitting up with Kate. That one was a relief, despite the anticipated difficulties. I knew I had to end it, or be miserable indefinitely.
I just had another one, and not a good one at that.
You know the feeling when you walk through an art gallery, and you see Haywain by John Constable. You're transfixed, and you resolve to have that fine piece of work. So you wait for the auction, and join the bidding. You reach £3,000,000, the very limit of your funds, and then wham! Some american businessman tops your bid. At that moment, you realise that the space in your heart reserved for the Constable will never be filled; that the very best you can hope for is a facsimile, a mere likeness of the original, and someone else's eyes will gaze upon the beauty of the Haywain for as long as you continue to draw breath.
Of course, you're still left 3 million in a suitcase, so it's not all bad...
So much to tell you about this life-changing event, and I've forgotten it all...
My Dad hired a van for the day. This isn't totally true. My dad hired the largest van I have ever seen for the day. A transit could have parked in the back.
It was a beast. Not only was it vast, but it looked as though it had recently been squeezed through a gap about an inch smaller all round.
This was a blessing in disguise. Every junction, every passing place, this van had right of way, as drivers practically swerved off the road to give us more room.
I was working on the Friday; I moved on the Saturday. There was so much to move, and so little spare time, that I ended up moving stuff for most of Sunday too.
Spartacus stayed behind on Saturday night. I felt bad about leaving him in a (nearly) empty house, but we were taking most of my crap to my folks' to sling in the garage, and I thought it was best to let him stay in familiar surroundings until he could move permanently. He was fine on Sunday morning, enjoying the extra space for a game of Championship Crisp Packet Football...
It's always the last bits you forget to pack that take the longest to move...
I started to fall out with my dad. We were rushing round like maniacs, and there were a lot of things we had to lift jointly, such as the washing machine (now in my sister's shed), the fridge-freezer (now in my parents' shed), the wardrobe, the double mattress, and so on. Working as a team is fine with my pop provided he is in charge! Once we'd finished, everything went better.
I was feeling pretty down afterwards, having to pare my life down to one bedroom's worth of stuff. Spartacus was feeling pretty down, having to (temporarily) share the house with a dog.
I won't mention the lack of broadband, which left me twiddling my thumbs for two weeks, or the teary farewell between Kate and I, or even the events of a few days later when I had to go back to get the stuff I forgot, but things are much better now.
Well, I should really tell you all about my adventures over the last few weeks, the tribulations of moving and so on, but first, I'll tell you about my sister's new vacuum cleaner.
Dateline: The weekend before the move.
My sister is getting a little nervous about my impending move. It's not my scruffy presence that worries her, but that of Spartacus.
It's time to come clean. I live with a gladiator. Now forget the talk of snails and oysters, this is a fearsome warrior in feline form. He's 9 years old (that's "Up yours, human!" in cat years), and he spends his entire life indulging in one of theses activities:
Being scared by pieces of fluff
Being completely unfazed by earthquakes, plane crashes and the like.
Picking at his food
Demanding cat milk (lactose-free)
Demanding to be let out
Most of these are resolvable, and all part of the process of being a cat's slave...owner, but the shedding seems to be the one she has the most trouble with. Despite the fact that the house has only two carpets (master bedroom, landing/stairs), the threading of cat hairs through the carpet fibres can reduce her to a quivering wreck. Her current hoover (not a vac by hoover, just what we call 'em over here) is my old one, and sucks as hard as an asthmatic budgie.
So, we paid a visit to several different showrooms, looking for hoovers. She wanted a bagless one, but not an accursed Dyson.
High and low we searched, until finally we came across a nice hoover.
We got it home, and she proceeded to clean the house, declaring it a minor miracle.
Dateline: Wednesday night
I had a call from my sis, who's staying at the folks' this week. "Don't forget to hoover," she told me.
My mum called from Tenerife, a smalll island in the Atlantic, just off the coast of Africa. "Don't forget to hoover," she said.
I think my family considers me forgetful.
So, 11pm, having forgotten to do it earlier, I decided to tackle the vacuuming. Oh my goodness, what a beast! It's only small, but it has a voracious appetite. It gobbled up all the animal hairs, dust, and optimistically attempted the following:
A bin bag full of clothes
my jeans (worn)
I was drained at the end, it was stronger than me!
After the events of today I must write this letter. I am so incensed that my hands are shaking as I write, and setting it down is the best way to assuage my murderous feelings.
Firstly, I would like to make one thing crystal clear. If you are driving a car, you are not automatically granted right of way. Nor are you personally blessed as such by some divine figure.
I cannot stress this strongly enough.
Perhaps if you had learnt this lesson, my day might not have been ruined. I can only hope that you learn it soon, although I suspect it would take the crushing of your car by an articulated lorry to teach you.
It therefore follows that a cyclist turning right from a main road to a side road should not be forced to swerve by a car heading the same way from a side road.
Secondly, if you cause the cyclist to swerve by almost hitting him, and then honk your horn at him, don't be too surprised if he makes a less than courteous gesture by return.
Furthermore, it is highly inadvisible to let your passenger wind down his window and spit at the aggrieved cyclist as you drive past. This is deeply insulting at the best of times, and the sort of behaviour that undoubtedly leads to road rage murders.
Granted, the cyclist should probably not then make another disrespectful gesture, but again, acting in the manner described is not respect-generating.
If you follow this behaviour by slamming on your brakes in front of the cyclist, you truly are a cocksucker of the first order, and can look forward to a glittering career as every world leader will clamour for you to suck their cocks. I recommend that you take this profession up full time, as four men driving around in a car at a time of day normally reserved for working, you must be too stupid to do anything else for a living.
I realise as I write that you won't have the higher brain functions necessary to read this, as it uses big words, but it has been quite cathartic, and I feel much better.
(I wrote this yesterday on the train, and I had to post it. Thankfully, today is my last day using the bike, as I'll be moving to my sister's tomorrow and taking the bus from then on.)