Friday, November 26, 2004

"On the day, all five bands played amazingly, but there could only be one winner and after all the judges had voted we were pleased to announce..."
...that mine and Planet Halder's favourite to win did NOT win the Xfm Christian O'Connell's Rock School Competition 2004. Bastards.

The feeling of dismay and disbelief is close to what I felt for the American elections - there was clearly a better candidate but the better candidate did NOT win. Outl4w clearly rocked harder than any of the others and should be there opening the Winter Wonderland gig next month - I demand a rematch! I only hope they don't go back to school and fuck up their GCSEs and end up flunking out of some local polytechnic, resoting to trying to make it as "food and hygiene technicians" for Starbucks, branded and scarred forever by this loss.

They should have won. They'll never have this power or passion again. Never. Their voices will break next week. And then when their balls drop - well, the world will have lost the chance to know true rawkk greatness.

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

"While money can't buy happiness, it certainly lets you choose your own form of misery." - Anonymous
Last Saturday: We played Monopoly in the ICA until we were the last people in the bar and argued about the game all the way home. Making board games available in the bar on weekends has made our membership very, very, very worthwhile. The game is evil, by the way. I had to do a corporate merge with Taxloss in order to keep it all going against the unexpectedly successful property magnate Boatie Flatmate. And this was after he won Cluedo. Bah.

Speaking of Cluedo, I'm devising a formula that will win the game in up to 8 moves. I was quite good at probability at school (despite the best attempts of the bonkers-mad and loony maths teachers to annihilate all mathematical ability out of us) - and I reckon it is possible to win by calculating the following:
- count number of cards in each category
- count how many cards of each category YOU hold
- calculate the average number of each category cards the other players hold
- keep note of who shows a card per accusation and for what accusations and make deductions from patterns formed
- make the final accusation before any other players have even begun to guess and be the envy of the table when you win

I'll write out the proper mathemathical formula once I've figured out the correct mathematical figures. And it will only cost you £49.99 to have it emailed to your personal email address!

In other news, I almost choked to death on a particularly jagged shard of muesli this morning. I think it brought home to me and the rest of the office the fact that health food is bad for you. Still, at least I managed to make everyone smile with my rendition of the "Fuck, I think I'm dying - painfully" coughing song.

Question: what would be the ultimate home-made Christmas present for you? For me - a range of savoury pies and traditional cakes and tarts (including things made with coconut) and permission to keep the tins after I've eaten them. Also books - home-made, self-penned books which I have received from Former Flatmate A for the last two years: nothing can beat unwrapping your very own Harry Potter - Mary Sue story in which you play an important part. Answers on a postcard pinned cunningly to the inside of the comments section please.

Thursday, November 18, 2004

My name is: Frosty Christmas Stockings.

Great. A new cuddly way of calling me frigid. Cheers.
- It wasn't a great thing to discover about myself when I first got into the office and checked my emails.
What is your secret Santa's Little helper name?

Strangely compelling little distraction... some of the names are far from pleasant and twinkly and are verging on disturbing and distasteful... and accurate?

Prandial – Licky Monster

Devukha – Cutie Brandy Butter

Planet Halder - Happy Brandy butter-Elf

Taxloss - Scrummy Horny-Snowdrop (aargh!)

Sir Humphrey - Wriggly Nose-Pie

Lawyer Buddy - Lovable Chocolate Toes!

Baglady - Tumbleflump Dancing-Hippoface.

Boatie Flatmate - Wriggly Brandy butter-Fairy

God – Smiley Bum

Former Flatmate A - Tumbleflump Dancing-Tinsel

Former Flatmate B - Tumbleflump Horny-Noodles

McReadie – Cutie Cracker

Fizzwhizz – Cutie Dancing-Elf

Sundried – Fuzzy Christmas-Helper

Reviewing the list, I'm not sure what is more amusing, the pseudonyms I've assigned various friends and fellow bloggers or their sickly Christmas names.

Monday, November 15, 2004

"Most Chinese in China do not see traditional Chinese medicine and Western medicine as being in conflict. In cases of emergency and crisis situations, there is generally no reluctance in using conventional Western medicine. At the same time, belief in Chinese medicine remains strong in the area of maintaining health and wellness. To put it simply, you see a Western doctor if you have acute appendicitis, but you take Chinese medicines to make your body healthy enough to prevent appendicitis, or you recover quickly from the surgery." - from, "Definition of Traditional Chinese Medicine"
I meant to post this yesterday when it had some sort of relevance but, as evidence of just how very spaced out I was feeling, I completely failed to post it and only saved it as a draft. I also skipped my dance class as I had, by 5.30pm, lost the ability to differentiate between left and right, so met Taxloss and Boatie Flatmate in the pub. We sat and stared into space a lot and the Beloved managed to drop a pound coin and it completely disappeared. The three of us had a comedy quarter of an hour looking for it but it had definitely, completely and utterly vanished. Then we had one last look and I found it in the turn-up of my trousers. How we laughed. I hate Mondays.

Had a nice weekend relaxing at home and playing Cluedo in the ICA with Taxloss and Boatie Flatmate. Perhaps I hadn’t been quite aware of how much I needed to rest during and after my attack of the lurgie but this weekend, I prioritised shutting down and spending time on my own and just chilling out. I started thinking idly this morning about supplements and guides-to relaxing and how Chinese medicine has been incorporated into a lot of the stuff I see in cosmetics and food and Western medicine. It’s quite risky stuff and I speak from experience as one who has grown up with both Chinese and Western medicine; I once went to a Buddhist ceremony in Chinatown and everyone attending was given a cup of tea made of some sort of dried root - lots of tourists had been attending for the colours and the chanting and had been given this tea as well. I went home on the tube and was almost sick – my heart was racing and I was dry-mouthed, panicking, giddy and nauseous. I wondered how many other people had drank the tea and how many of them were feeling the same way. It is not easy to predict what effect certain stuff will have on certain people and also, who is regulating the potency of things like ginseng added to vitamin pills? Who decides what is a good dose – a Chinese doctor or a Western one?

This isn’t a subject I’m pursuing in a ferocious, investigative reporter-type way – it’s just something my mind has drifted to this morning. Something about the weather and the state of my head today brought back a memory that includes ginseng and so, I suppose, that’s why I’m writing about it…

In the pursuit of relaxation and unwinding during exam time at university, I once went through the mysterious Dried Things my mother had given me along with a rice cooker, some TUC biscuits, a very small frying pan and a very big spatula, instant noodles and a bottle of port. I found a bag of dried and flaked ginseng root and spent a good five minutes weighing the pros and cons of drinking an infusion of the stuff in my moment of need. Pro – it would definitely relax me, in fact, I could spend the rest of the day feeling stoned and mellow. Con – I would inevitably suffer a migraine and perhaps even heart palpitations. I chose not to drink any ginseng tea.

However, when Former Flatmate A approached me in her simultaneous hunt for relaxation, I gave her the ginseng and she had a large cup of the stuff. I warned her about the possibility of a migraine / headache but she risked it and when I popped in to see her an hour later, she was serene and mellow. Very mellow. Very. There had been a half hour of headache but after that… just airy lightness and calm. This stuff was the good shit, clearly. She got less work done after the ginseng than when she was experiencing full-scale stress but at least she was mellow.

I would like to take this opportunity to recommend some herbal hippy-tea which I picked up from the local hippy-health food shop this weekend: Heath and Heather Night Time Tea. It’s so good, I’m still half asleep now and feeling seriously mellow and slightly stoned. I checked the ingredients a hundred times before I bought it and then again before I drank it, in case there was any ginseng lurking in there but was satisfied that there was none. Now I’m wondering, in my floaty-mental state, what was in there that wasn’t ginseng but has the same effect without the unpleasant migraine the G-stuff triggers.

Laa-laaa-laaa. I’m off to smell the flowers and have a chat with the trees. Wooooooooooo.

Edit: Jesus, I was fucking stoned, wasn't I?

Monday, November 01, 2004

"Never be ill in your own time.
- Human Resources"
Sage advice I completely ignored this weekend. I succumbed to a throat infection on Thursday afternoon and on the dot of me putting on my coat to leave the office on Friday afternoon, I sneezed and realised that I was actually quite (very) ill. Parked myself on the sofa the second I got in to the flat and stayed there until Sunday evening, hacking, coughing, sneezing and blowing my nose and wiping my streaming eyes. I was truly miserable. And I still am, though operating without the chills in my bones or the roaring ear infection - still "sleeping" sitting up to avoid choking but on the mend, I think.

What doesn't help is how angry being ill makes me - when I'm enfeebled and weak, I get very annoyed with myself and have long, pointless internal monologues along the lines of "...what do you mean you can't breathe through that nostril? That's fucking useless, that is... and so is that aching hip joint, it shouldn't be hurting, it has nothing to do with your cold! Pathetic! Why do you have to make so much mucus in your lungs and in your nose anyway? You don't need that much, and look what trouble it causes when you drop your guard and allow in a could you let your immune system get into such a state? Why weren't you taking better care of yourself - you knew there were people in the office with colds...etc etc" At least I managed to keep myself entertained as I lay, catatonic, under my blanket in front of the TV.

As I was ill and therefore incapable of anything else, I managed to watch three and a half films this weekend, two of them films I have been wanting to watch but never had time to until Disease offered me the opportunity: The Hours and Belleville Rendezvous, plus The Day After Tomorrow and half All the President's Men before I passed out and snored, fast asleep, through the rest of it.

The Hours is a tremendous film, very very very deep and subtle and has the added bonus of a Philip Glass score which binds together the three stories in the film very cohesively and comprehensively. The DVD had a very good interview with Glass who described the score as a character in the film who was present in every scene and contributed something without being seen to do it - and it's quite amazing how much his music adds to a film that could easily have split the three stories very distinctly and could well have unfolded as a chirpy, female-orientated Shortcuts or Magnolia. Instead, The Hours is fluid, bold and doesn't waste any time on charming the audience or trying to win our sympathy - these women are all trapped in their own unhappiness and seek ways to escape it, to be free of it on their own terms. Performances are strong and again, not seeking sympathy but cry out for empathy - and I loved this film, I felt like I was watching something very special, very true.

Belleville Rendezvous
was a refreshing jolly film to watch after the emotional wringer of The Hours and was delightful, witty, completely lovable without the knowing comedy of other animated films like Shrek and Toystory. I think that's what was so charming about it; there was barely any dialogue and no sarcasm or spite in it whatsoever. It wasn't as uplifting or breathtaking as Spirited Away but doesn't really warrant comparison with such a fantastical film; this was much more down to earth and besides, was very French and therefore a completely different kettle of fish. A good choice for a Sunday afternoon, I thought.

The Day After Tomorrow
was highly recommended by Mr Election Frenzy Taxloss and we watched it together, scoffing at all the bad science and gasping awe regardless at all the dramatic bad weather - and the weather is bad. A good diversion. Had to drape the blanket closer around me throughout.

So I watched films, finished reading Cold Comfort Farm (great book! Thanks Boatie Flatmate, I loved it! I can see why so many people have been recommending it to me for so long... like a female Evelyn Waugh writing Decline and Fall - fantastic fun...) had to buy more toilet roll for my nose, missed a Halloween party, guzzled Anadin, Lemsip, honey and lemon, oranges, pie, stew and Maltesers, crept around the flat surreptitiously sniffing bottles of hand cream and perfume and socks and jars of horseradish trying to gauge how much of my sense of smell I had recovered (none, after all that experimenting) and had The Beloved worryingly wipe my fevered brow a few times.

I was going to end this entry by saying emphatically that I really, really, really hate being ill. But having written up this quick summary on how my weekend with a cold has been... I don't think it would be entirely true to say so.

How have you been?