Tuesday, April 30, 2002
Friday, April 26, 2002
Where are The Weather Prophets when you need them?
OFF WALKING (or possibly just looking round stately homes/potteries) - BACK MONDAY. If I find an internet cafe, I'll blog, but I heard my cell phone won't even work in the Peak District National Park, so I wouldn't hold out much hope.
Thursday, April 25, 2002
Prizes for strangeness go to Marshal Software whose whole booth was done up like the Wild West (it's dangerous out there, get our security), and made their sales guys wear WILD WEST COSTUMES. With guns. Yee hah. The other prize goes to Symantec who had four cool black dudes in bright yellow suits "securing" their stand. It was like going to a slightly uncool up-yer-own-arse club in Croydon. And I can imagine them ringing up the agency; "can we have, er, four BLACK guys, please?" "Why black?" "They gotta look good in a bright yellow suit."
Wednesday, April 24, 2002
The judge says two pretty amazing things:
"Lord McEwan, at the Court of Session in Edinburgh, added that the failed marriage was a case of ancient Eastern cultural and religious ethics clashing "with the spirit of 21st-century children" and Western ideas."
"Lord McEwan added: "At the time of these events they were both very young, especially Miss Sohrab. I am certain that each was wholly dominated by his or her respective parents, especially the mothers."These mothers were of a different generation and were both themselves in arranged marriages. No doubt they thought they were doing the best for their children.""
David Blunkett had a view on this recently. I think there's a world of difference between an arranged marriage and a forced marriage.
Just talked to my friend X, who self-describes as "terminally single and gay" (as opposed to terminally gay and single) who said he would welcome a more formal structure for meeting people. Mmm
Tuesday, April 23, 2002
People often say that to me, but I never believe them. But then stuff happens. Sunday night I went to the movies with O and J, and O's sister C was coming, with her husband R. R turned out to be from Manchester, and his grandmother (who is 96) lived in the same nursing home as my grandma. C&R brough their friends A&H; I grew up with H. On the way in, we bumped into H&M (not the shop) who I'd bizarrely ran into at a friends on Saturday, having not seen them for years.
Today, my back was hurting, and my friend T called and recommended his physio M. Turns out she is someone I was friendly with when I was 15.
Does this all mean anything? No fucking idea.
Monday, April 22, 2002
Lisa Daily, the author, calls herself a Dating Coach. Through the wonder of google, I discovered that there are loads of dating coaches out there, in all shades (gay, christian, whatever). Check out the pics... do any of these (largely) guys looks happy and in love? I think not.
There's coaches for everything now. I'm going to start marketing myself as a Retail Therapy Coach (short lunch hour? shopping objectives to acheive but hard to prioritise? We have just the service you need). Or a Resume (CV) Coach (too lazy to write your own resume? Pay me to do it). A whole new service-culture career beckons.
The article is a combination of what is probably a press release from Bernie Wooder (aka themovietherapist.com), and the seemingly obvious premise that "films provide a shortcut to getting in touch with inner feelings". Like, duh. Isn't that what makes a good movie? Identification with one of the key themes/personal struggles?
Anyway, they list the Top Ten Movies That Change Your Life here. Not sure I agree completely (5/10 isn't bad)... that's one of the joys of eclectic therapy, though... I would include:
2 The Wizard of Oz
3 When Harry Met Sally
4 Groundhog Day
5 Like Water for Chocolate
6 Sliding Doors (badly done, but good self-esteem-style moral)
7 The Prince of Tides
mmmm... still thinking. Any suggestions?
Interestingly, she starts the piece talking about a hoax email apparently doing the rounds in January about Coincidence Design (which I blogged a few weeks ago, and possibly naively thought was real). Got me to looking into a whole lot of privacy stuff and pretexting, as its apparently known. Led me to a scary article about Liam Youens who cyberstalked and killed a former classmate.
The moral of this story? Never give someone your NI/social security number. Don't talk to strangers, children. In fact, stay home. Oh, and get more meaninful endings for any article you write... more meaningful than "I complained to the website but wasn't taken seriously."
Sunday, April 21, 2002
Strange continuity moment: In a chinese restaurant Hugh/Will wittily comments on the strange chinese name of the wine, and then, over his bowl of noodles, munches a PIECE OF BREAD to signify the end of the gag. A whole new carbohydrate-heavy cuisine awaits you; can I have some bread with my rice and noodles?
Other stuff: Toni Collete plays a great veggie-hippie Mom, and looks suitably wan, so don't expect her to look too special. I can't believe she made Muriel's Wedding in 1994. Nicolas Hoult, who plays The Boy, has already been in Casualty and the Bill (whereas I have merely watched them). Talk about things people acheived when they were like eleven.
Friday, April 19, 2002
Me: Do you have any white chocolate Kit-Kats? (the craving overtook me)
Him: Nah love, they were a limited edition. (I thought that only worked for works of art and stuff)
Me: Oh, I liked them.
Him: Yeah, that's marketing now. They give yer something, then they take it away.
Is that, indeed, what They do? And who, in fact, are They?
In other news; my boiler is, miraculously, fixed. You never really value heat and hot water until they are randomly taken away from you. I do now.
Thursday, April 18, 2002
And I finally realised that my life has turned into a very long episode of Thirtysomething. Only without the music. At the time, Hope and MIchael were truly aspirational; grown up, real jobs, proper house, knew their place in the world. Melissa was the loser (we would say slacker, now, I guess). Now I look round and realise that my friends all do the adult things my parents did when I was a kid. How did I stay at (inner) age 17? No fucking idea.
This is starting to sound a little morose. Not sure I have specific regrets, just the end of a very long day. A few days ago I resolved not to get into the customer service thang (and it's not a dance, believe me), but I am compelled.
YOU CAN STOP READING NOW IF YOU WANT.
Sunday night, our heating and hot water randomly stopped working. In the old, low-tech days, I could relight the pilot light on my boiler, but now it's just a bunch of circuit boards probably made by people in Korea paid a dollar an hour, so I can't fix it. I call British Gas on my (utterly pointless) Three Star Service Contract. They say they'll come between 12 and 6 Monday. I pretend to have a job to go to, but they won't budge. Martin turns up and 2pm and fixes it by turning to on and off again. I ask him why that didn't work when I did it. He implies that he can do the special British Gas Laying On of Hands. He leaves. Thirty minutes later, no hot water. I call the Call Centre again, tell them my whole life history, and ask them to send Martin back. They get him on the other line, and he says it's clearly my circuit boards, and he'll order more and be back tomorrow. We book another 12 till 6 appointment. They concede an hour and say 1 till 6.
2pm Tuesday, Graham arrives. He's lovely, but doesn't have the part. He knows nothing about it. He says it needs a new circuit board and he doesn't have one. I imprison him in my house whilst I call the Call Centre again, and they say we never had the conversation yesterday, and there's no part on order, they'll order it and come back tomorrow. I'm angry. I ask to speak to a supervisor, and am told that they will call me back in 90 minutes. (Doesn't 90 minutes make it sound like a football game, or a first round finance period for a dot-com?). Graham tells me the engineers can only order the parts if the Call Centre sends the job back to them, so they can't have done. I ask him if he can do any kind of temporary fix, and he says no, impossible.
I'm so angry that I call the MD's office at British Gas and talk to Adrian. I ask him to get someone to my house, with the part, before 6pm. It's 2.30. He calls back 10 minutes later, and charmingly tells me my wish is his command, and they will be here by 6. Also, a cheque is in the post for £50. I am impressed and my faith in British Gas is restored. Penny, the supervisor, calls me back from the Call Centre and I tell here everything is under control. She tells me it's the engineer's responsibility to re-open the job and order the parts.
At ten to 5, I think I'll just call Adrian, and get a reference from him, as I'm sure he'll close his office at 5. He says he'll check and call me back in five minutes, although there' s no need:if they get instructions from the MD's office they do them. I say I'm just not feeling very trusting. At 5.30, I chase him up, and the number is unobtainable (department closed, but no message). I chase around the remaining employees still there, track him down, and he tells me there is a problem. The Call Centre has mysteriously cancelled my job. I am angrier than the angriest person I know, with high blood pressure thrown in. Adrian tells me he'll get someone there to do a temporary fix. I say they couldn't do that at 2pm, why should they do it now? He says he's not an engineer. I say their service is shit (only not in so many words.) He says the part will come between 8 and 10 tomorrow, and he'll call me to check it's OK. I ask him what time the engineer will come that evening (Tuesday) and he says he has no idea. I ask if I should cancel my evening's arrangements. He doesn't think it's funny.
Jim arrives at 7pm, turns my boiler on and off again and it works. He is the area's Chief Tech Person. "It's clearly an intermittent fault", he diagnoses. He confirms that the Call Centre needed to send the job back to Graham, and apologises, but refuses to give me his mobile number. I say he is the only person in British Gas I trust. He still refuses. I suspect he is a wise man.
Wednesday morning, Graham comes back, with part, changes it. It works. I'm happy. It's over. I'm so happy I don't notice that Adrian from the MD's office didn't call to check I was OK.
8ish, my flatmate J gets home, and and has a celebratory shower. Ten minutes later, I hear her squeal. The hot water just stopped. I turn the boiler on and off, just like the engineer. No change. I call the Call Centre, speak to Amar, who promises me a supervisor will call me back in 90 minutes. As I'm going round to M's house, I put my phone on vibrate, and stick it down my cleavage (an old hunting trick). But no one calls. When I get home at 11.30, I call and speak to Penny (different Penny) who says someone will call back in ten minutes.
It's an hour later, now. I'm beyond angry, just want a shower in my own house, and have met four British Gas engineers and have been waiting in since Monday.
There is one good thing about this story. I've gone to the gym every morning to get a shower, and then felt embarassed about going straight to the shower. So I've done an aerobics class every day this week. I actually did two on Tuesday. My lactic acid build-up has never been better. I suspect British Gas are subsidising a Get Britain Healthy Campaign.
OK, rant over. Boy, do I feel better :)
Wednesday, April 17, 2002
M always signs her emails "one day at a time" or "this too shall pass" or some other hug-enabled sop. Ooooh, stop me. Then I got to researching the Recovery Movement, as it's known, and discovered the Rational Recovery (aka anti-recovery) Movement. And also, that the original AA was based on the work of Frank Buchman and the Oxford Movement of the 1930s, later known as Moral Re-Armament.
Why did this pop into my head? Search me. Like I said, there's some kind of fatal attraction thing going on between me and any kind of cultish sub-group. What's next... selling Amway? Maybe I can get help for that too?
"She wants people to be fined for frowning and to wear special hats when they're caught being unhappy."
Like, yay. That's really gonna cheer me up. I'm already in a bad mood, and then they make me wear a HAT. This post-modern management shtick has gone too far. If you don't stop now, you'll go to bed with no supper.
Tuesday, April 16, 2002
But, for me, Bend it Like Beckham had a first-draft quality. First, the phrase "bend it like Beckham" occurs twice in the movie, giving the dialogue an extrutiatingly laboured feel. Whilst there are great gags (dressmaker: "I can make those little mosquito bites look like ripe melons"), lots of the humour seems caricatured. I can't help feeling that if I was sikh/asian I'd be cringing as much as when I see Maureen Lipman as Beatie in the old BT ads. Cosmo Landesman said "the acting's bad, the football's worse", and I'm inclined to agree with him.
Know what I hate about the cinema nowadays? The trailers are often better produced than the movies, and they generally have all the best bits in them. So The Royal Tenenbaums was a huge disappointment to me, becuase the trailer was a fast paced comedy, but the actual film wasn't. But enough ranting. Final rating: MISSABLE. WAIT FOR VIDEO.
IMDB Ephemera: Didn't realise till I IMDB'd, that director Chadha's last (UK released) movie, What's Cooking was him. No comparison; fabulously drawn characters, great plot, excellent third act and story tension to die for. Apparently he directed Are You Experienced, based on the William Sutcliffe book in 2001, but no sign of it in the UK.
Monday, April 15, 2002
What's bizarre about this is that I personally KNOW the people who live in three of the four houses mentioned. The world's a village, right.
Age: young enough to still care, old enough to know better
Lived: all over the place
Spiritual home: Cheadle, Cheshire
(random) facts about me
1. I’m a closet geek
2. actually, I come from a long line (on my father’s side) of proto-geeks. Sometimes, I think that if my grandpa was here (he built his own stereo system in 1970) he would love the web
3. I’m not a natural redhead but lots of people think I am
4. I’ve lived in fifteen countries. I think. You know what they say: it’s Monday it must be Malaysia. If they do, indeed say that kind of thing. Whoever they are. Mostly South East Asia and continental Europe
5. I’ve been on a diet for as long as I can remember
6. I’ve only been in love once
7. I grew up in Cheshire, and am still friendly with people I grew up with
8. I like The Colour Purple. As in colour and book.
9. I’m particularly well read when it comes to black literature. For some reason.
10. I’ve seen every Woody Allen and Spike Lee movie
11. I thought the brat pack were real people. Where are they now? I hear you cry
12. I’m a vegetarian, but I’m not ethical about it
13. I’m writing a novel. It’s entirely fictional, about a 32 year old woman who’s a headhunter, living in London, originally from the north, searching for love and meaning
14. I used to be a headhunter. Not for very long – corporate is not my middle name. But ideally placed to headhunt myself a new job: unfortunately the dot.com magazine I joined in 2000 folded spectacularly six months later
15. I ought to have learned from my mistakes by now
16. I love Art Deco stuff. Even if it’s out of fashion.
17. If my house was burning, I would save in this order: the CDR of my novel, all my books (boxes and boxes of them), my grandma’s nineteen twenties dresses
18. I wish I was more tidy
19. I used to do stand-up, but now I put all my gags in the novel
20. I’ve realised since I haven’t had A Real Job that it unnerves people: how do I answer the What Do You Do? Question
21. I have two nephews, a niece and one on the way
22. I love everything to do with words...
How this conversation got started: last weekend, I took my friend K to A&D's party... they always throw great parties, and when we arrived, I saw the back of someone who looked like he was wearing a baco-foil sari, with red lipstick patterns on his one uncovered arm. I said to A; I didn't know it was a fancy dress party. A said it wasn't. Philip Salon apparently always dresses like that (true: he was dressed similarly when I met him in '93, when he told me "I had a wonderful ashkenazi face" - whatever THAT means.) Anyway, Philip had a couple of girls in tow, you know the types; uber-skinny/boob jobs/Jagger-in-drag-lips.Now I'm not thin - how do I know? my Mother told me - but at least everything I've got is real. They looked... alien in some way. And permanently surprised.
Back to the botox. First thing is... how to pronounce it: is it bow-tox (as in bow-tie), which sounds cutesy, upmarket and probably enjoyable, or boh-tox (as in bottom) which has a more, er, earthy ring to it, and frankly sounds like someone sticking something up your bottom. Though some people like that.
Like I've said before, I'm a strong believer in living with what you've got - physically speaking - and more to the point, botox, BOTULINUM is a poison. It's a strange world when fashion dictates that women with money/time on their hands/fading looks/all three, should inject themselves with a substance that in other circumstances would kill them. And isn't it a little strange to live in a society where paralysis of your facial muscles is considered more attractive than your actual expression.
If only I could do comments, I could find out what you think.
Sunday, April 14, 2002
Who knows what's next? The Dramatist - a six part TV drama about eight TV executives try to come up with a good dramatic idea? The write up for The Book Group opined: "A little education can be a dangerous thing." Seemingly so.
Saturday, April 13, 2002
Wouldn't it be better if there was just one generic tale of failed customer service in our post millennial times? It would be replete with word-plays on SERVICE, a fair amount of being on hold, and the list of all the customer service operatives you talked to, together with their inside leg measurements.
In my family folklore, David was famous for one thing; I apparently sat on his head when he was six months old. Doesn't seem to have done him any harm.
Friday, April 12, 2002
But enough of the psychobabble; here's what I'm thinking. The recommended diet says approximately 70g of fat daily. [btw, when you google on "healthy diet" you get loads of LOSE 12lb in HALF AN HOUR sites. mmmm]. So let's say you decide on 40g daily. I guess about 5g of that might be butter/margarine. Let's say I buy a 500g tub of margarine today - it's supposed to last 100 days. That means, i should still have it in my fridge at the end of July. Now, there's an experiment.
Whilst we're talking about buses: I never understand those buses that bear the legend SORRY NOT IN SERVICE on their route indicator. [When I googled on this phrase, surprisingly, there's very little out there apart from trainspotter-style stuff] This is what I don't understand - if the bus is going along the route you expect, why isn't it in service? Why can't it just collect passengers along the way? As if it was, in fact, in service? And what's with the comma? They can't be bothered to collect passengers, but they can punctuate?
Count 'em. They're out there. A nation of Londoners demand the right to get on a bus going to their destination. Ken should be quavering in his glass-plated office. [If only I could get comments to work I could find out what other people think. Mail me?]
Thursday, April 11, 2002
It's that whole internet-connectivity-informationsuperhighway-IMing with best friend in Palo Alto thing. And just think; my Mother still thinks the video will only record if the TV is switched on. During Monicagate she asked me to print out the internet as it apparently had some juicy details.
Like the man said, "the customer is not a moron - she's your wife"
I worked with one IT Director who called all his servers after an ocean. D mentioned that he had just seen a server called Constanza. I figure it was an IT bloke naming the servers after all the women he'd ever slept with.I can just imagine this guy clubbing like crazy when the company expands, trying to keep his sex life at the same speed as corporate expansion.
I think I might have been designed for blogging... my mind is a constant stream of random thoughts and ideas, and it's been my life's dream - OK, I exaggerate - to systemetise them in some way, or at least get them down on paper. This is some kinda start. Although my friend Dan said that my desire and commitment in doing this is a sign that I have too much time on my hands. Quite. And he felt that the links should be random, in some kind of post-modern way. Also, he reads very slowly, so doesn't have time to read my braindump on a regular basis; he tells me it correlates to high intelligence. And I think my hi-speed reading and inability to remember a single thing is a sign that I am a superior life-form.
Continuity ephemera: no-one drank bottled water in 1983. Believe me, I was there; no-one. Yates Bar on Corporation Street didn't exist. The entrance to Picadilly Station was radically altered in the late nineties. I know, I know, none of these things matter.
Cute ephemera: Watch out for the real Tony Wilson playing a TV director in the third act. Dave Gorman is John the postman. John Thomson (from Cold Feet) plays a fab TV producer cameo, and looks stunningly, beleivably eighties.
Wednesday, April 10, 2002
Are you Addicted to the Internet?
The Are you Addicted to the Internet? Quiz at Stvlive.com!
Yesterday I tried to buy new washing machine consumables, and was overcome with choice inertia. Couldn't make a fucking decision. Do I want biological or non-biological? Do i want whiter washes? Enzyme free? Organic? I had no fucking idea, so I did what I usually find helpful in these situations: nothing.
Tuesday, April 09, 2002
Cute ephemera: Ed Burns, the writer/director, also stars as one of the cooler men, and is now engaged to Christy Turlington, after dating Heather Graham (who stars brilliantly as Annie Matthews).
And so to bed. I should open a shop, right?
Obesity is correlated with poverty and associated with downward mobility. 'Being thin is a kind of inconspicuous consumption
that distinguishes the rich at a time when most poor people can more easily afford to be fat than thin,' observes Millman."
—Connie Cutter, "I'm O.K. -- You're Fat," Sojourner: The Women's Forum, April 30, 1980
That link, btw, is nothing to do with inconspicuous consumption, it's more about off-the-wall consumerisms... I was expecting to find more downshifting, going-plural voluntary simplicity stuff. oh well.
And this is how I'll treat myself if I get the job:
1 a fab entirely rose-covered hat I saw Sunday in Columbia Road Market
2 a subscription to the economist
3 a subscription to Time Out
I know what this says about me - 60% fashionista/babe, 40% stay-at-home nerd time. For sure.
In the job hunting vein, you might want to check this out:
I think my mixed (read skills-transferable, honest) background as a headhunter and researcher makes me an ideal Coincidence Designer. Don't you?
Wonder if these guys sound slightly scary... private investigators with money/attitude who don't work for women.
Found a fab wordy-uppinghood place. (showing my age/Talking Heads obsession, i know)...
particularly taken with the following words today....
e-skiving (which, frankly, is what I do like, ALL DAY, right now)
and the current word count? 76,000. tragic, I know. I keep pretending to myself it's longer/better/cooler.