chaletian: (buffy british summer)
Ugh. I am so utterly depressed by every single thing at the moment. I am currently swearing off Twitter and the actual news because everything about this fucking referendum has got me so angry and sad and helpless that I can hardly breathe from it, which is both a massive overreaction and extremely unproductive. So, no more news, at least until next week. And maybe the week after that! Instead, I have come to vomit my feelings all over LJ (ah, old times!) and am reading instead Alain de Botton's The News, in an attempt to gain some perspective!

I am also quite stressed because payroll spent two months underpaying me, then massively overpaid me, then finally figured it out, but despite my - well, not best, but fairly well-intentioned! - efforts, I am very poor this month, which is mostly OK and I can not spend money (just about), but still. Also work is very stressful, not least because work is now very stressful and I'm not getting paid any more than when the only stress was that my manager was crazypants. So, attempts at professionalism aside, that rather makes me feel that I am very literally not getting paid enough for this shit. But now is not the time for new jobs. (I mean, I'm looking, don't get me wrong. And wondering if it's finally time to get out of the NHS?) Sadly I looked at how much I would earn if I got a slightly more junior job in the NHS, and I'm not sure I can take that sort of pay cut at this point! Heigh ho. One must stumble onwards. At least I am fortunate enough that my field of employment won't be directly impacted by the EU situation (though who knows in the long term).

Anyway, I need to stop focusing on the things that are making me crazy. So far this year, I have been to both St Petersburg and NYC, and they were both such great holidays, I had an amazing time! They were two places I've wanted to go for my whole adult life (and longer), so it was great to finally go. (I mean, the non-materialising pay rise means I now owe my mother a small fortune, but details, details!) And in August I'm going to loll around in France for a bit, so that will be nice - looking forward to it already! Also, I have seen lots of ballet, and am off to Sadler's Wells tonight to see Natalia Osipova's new programme. AND the RB's doing MacMillan's Anastasia (Anastasia!!!) in the autumn and our Nellie's taking me to see it as a present, so I am super looking forward to that! Ditto the Australian Ballet's Swan Lake and Cinderella next month!

I have continued with my Russian classes, which have been brilliant fun (and I have actually learnt some Russian) - tomorrow is the last class of term, so I will have done two whole years! Sadly this year I have not been quite as good a student as I was last year - I missed quite a lot of classes, and haven't been particularly diligent about doing work between class, but heigh ho. I've still mostly kept up, so. I would like to do it next year but a) it's quite expensive and b) the class times will change and be a bit annoying. I don't know, we'll see.

We went to see Harry Potter and the Cursed Child which was jolly good fun - it was funny, it's not really a straight play, but I'm not sure it's quite a show either - or maybe it is? I don't know. But I enjoyed it, even its ridiculousness, plus JAMIE PARKER and you know how I feel about that. What else have I seen? (checks calendar) SUNSET BOULEVARD! That was great! I saw the RB's The Winter's Tale again about fifty times and still love it. Saw Kenneth Branagh's The Winter's Tale and loved that; ditto Harlequinade; not so fussed about the Romeo and Juliet. Loved Wayne McGregor's new thing for the RB (Obsidian Tear?). Loved Les Blancs at the NT; also enjoyed Threepenny Opera (love Rory, always).

Final bits of news: cut off most of my hair. Grandma has accepted an offer on her beautiful house and is eyeing a hilariously enormous bungalow in Derby as a replacement. My parents are still resident in Qatar; my father retires soon and they are currently planning to retire to Thailand. I have read very little fiction of late. Actually, I have read very little anything of late, mostly just fic. TBH my brain is probably crumbling. NEVER MIND THERE IS STILL BLUE SKY OCCASIONALLY AND ALSO ICE CREAM AND BEAUTIFUL THINGS.
chaletian: (spock fucking serious)
Jizzy fucking Chrizzy, will someone please just shoot Osborne. He’s such a fucking tosspot. Please explain to me, Georgie, what the fuck is the point of forcing a whole load of people to go to a Jobcentre every single day. Oh no, wait, there is no point, plus I find it hard to imagine that Jobcentres these days are actually staffed to be able to cope with that level of activity. Just a stupid way of punishing people who can’t get a job. Vile. This Government’s obsession with vilifying the unemployed and in fact anyone who needs any kind of benefit (despite the cold, hard fact that the countless number of people on minimum wage are not in fact making a living wage) is revolting, and the way the majority of the media seem to be playing along with it is doubly so.

In other, more localised news, I had precisely zero 3G this morning (not exactly a surprise) and a similar level of mobile service. So, thanks Orange/EE. Shit as ever. I spent half my way into work trying to text Katie to ask her to take some chicken out of the freezer; will now have to revisit dinner plans. Vexing, vexing. I am so fed up with the lack of service in London. FFS, it’s London. I really don’t understand. I was opposite the Hs of P on Friday afternoon, and there was just no service at all. Honestly, you’d think our noble parliamentarians would have got pissed off to the point of getting it fixed by now. Or probably they have a bubble of wifi and are thus unconcerned by the problems the rest of us face*.

Anyway, in happier news, as previously advertised, went to see the National’s Edward II on Friday. Oh, that was good! I can see why it would be polarising, but I really enjoyed it; their choices really worked for me. The staging was fantastic – loved the shack-of-plotting where baronial whispering went on (set in the middle of the stage, you couldn’t really see inside, but the scenes were projected onto screens – I thought it was a brilliant way of representing all the secret conspiring that went on, and the implicit danger of those meetings). Also there was a comedy portacabin of terror which tickled our fancy. I thought the characterisation of Isabella was fascinating – she seemed simultaneously to have agency and yet to be dependent on the man in power, whether that man be her husband, her lover, or her son (and that final scene with Edward III was mesmerising). That one line, “All live to die, and rise to fall,” I think perfectly captures the mood of the whole play and that medieval view of the progression (or cycle) of life: the wheel of fortune, indeed. All in all, fabulous.

Saturday, as planned, we went to Ham House, where it was fortuitously open cabinet day! Open cabinet day is the best day. An update on Ham House (as I am sure you have been eagerly awaiting): the Duchess’s bathroom smelt very vinegary; the paintings on the staircase have been taken away for cleaning or summat; they’d left the door to the lumber room off the beer cellar unlocked so I had a little look round (it’s full of lumber); we discovered where they must have barred the kitchen door to the outside world; the library was, alas, locked, so we couldn’t go in and instead peered longingly through the window; they’ve got a new second-hand bookshop (thumbs up).

Didn’t do anything on Sunday except roll around the sofa like a would-be potentate whilst Katie brought me a bacon sandwich for lunch and squash & blue cheese riz for dinner. TV watched over the course of the weekend included Agents of SHIELD and, natch, Downton. My feelings on Downton:

1. I’m sorry, I’m not happy about Edith’s fella. Very concerned he’s going to turn into a Nazi. Back to the drawing board there.

2. Well. At least Matthew left a letter with testamentary effect, but I still find it massively a) out of character and b) fundamentally unlikely, given his profession and state in life, that he did not just make a fricking will. And, in fact, he says he never has made a will. Not when he became Robert’s heir. Not when he inherited Ginger Lavinia’s dad’s fortune. Not when he got married. Not when he bought half of Downton. Really? Really? DO NOT BELIEVE.

3. FFS. Cora’s credulity and Robert’s blind bullheadedness are really giving me the pip. I harbour a longstanding fondness for Robert, but he is being a complete dick.

4. Bates should not look twinkly-eyed; it is extremely disconcerting.

5. There is not permitted to be any conspiracy against Anna. Unacceptable.

6. There is an unwavering truth about Downton that has been apparent from the very first: the Dowager is the best thing.

7. The new lady’s maid. No. Must go. Cannot bear all the petty plotting and mean-spiritedness.

8. Rose is annoying, but that chap she danced with was A+ adorable.

9. The footmen are also annoying. Daisy, you deserve better and one day your prince will come.

10. Molesley. Oh, Molesley. No words, really.

Also watched Atlantis, which I have to say I thought was a bit shit, so I probably won’t bother with it again.

* Huh. It’s like a little allegory, right there.
chaletian: (buffy british summer)
What ho, chaps! Summer, I can now report, is definitely icumen in: the first Pimms of 2010 has been spotted at Fangirl Towers. Naturally, being England, this will be the brief eye in the drizzly, grey-skied really-not-even-one-interesting-storm that is the British summer, but tant pis. For now, I will enjoy the (mild) sunshine. Actually, for the past couple of days, I have been enjoying it OUTSIDE. Yes, visitors to Fangirl Towers may not have noticed that we have balcony (unless you're Kathye and have used as a prime smoking location), as we never remember it ourselves. However, the balcony door has been open recently, and - STAND BACK, PLEASE - there have been some idle attempts at GARDENING. Yes, you did hear me aright. Actual gardening, with compost and, I'm not too proud to admit, various purchases from Poundland. (Fucking Poundland, I love you.)

So, over the weekend I planted rosemary, thyme, sage and mint (the mint in a separate pot, natch), and today I planted some fresia bulbs (I love fresias) and a gooseberry bush (in a pot that is possibly a touch too small, but we will see). In the coming months, I will be doing strawberry plants into our hanging basket (slightly limp and aged, but I am confident it is up to the ask), although I don't have particularly high hopes of them actually providing any fruit, and a tomato plant into the big tub thing my parents bought us for daffodils.

All these things are very likely to die.

I don't want anyone to be under any illusions. No tears when the news comes that the gooseberries died about six months ago and we didn't notice. No wails of despair when I excitedly announce that the cracked earth in the plastic pot once appeared to home some sort of plant, its desiccated leaves now giving no clue as to its identity. Please face the truth now, and accept it into your life: this attempt at bringing joy and happiness to our balcony is doomed to epic failure.

Speaking of death, funeral went as well as these things do. My father did the eulogy, and jolly well he did it too. Not easy, given his slightly rocky relationship with Grandpa, but I think he did them both justice and I was very proud of him. Nice to see the old family again, albeit fleetingly. Thankfully, the next family shindig should be Chris' wedding next year, which should be somewhat cheerier.

The prog man has decided on early retirement. Calloo callay etc.

I cleaned the windows in my room and the spare room (they look out onto the balcony). Ruined three dishcloths in the process, though will attempt to return them to some semblance of white with some Vanish. The windows, I suspect HAVE NEVER BEEN WASHED BEFORE. They were filthy, and are still a bit streaky due to me not getting around to rinsing them, but good grief, one can actually see through them. A miracle.

A thought: I do not think a hung parliament will lead to the apocalypse. Just my two penn'orth.

I am re-reading Eva Ibbotson's Magic Flutes. I love her books.


Apr. 23rd, 2010 10:43 pm
chaletian: (darwin)
"In an interview with Jeremy Paxman tonight, David Cameron indicated that a Conservative government would target the north-east of England and Northern Ireland for public spending cuts." [source]

Yes. God damn those people in the north east. What with their thriving industries and the massive socio-economic advantage they have over poor southerners, they would definitely be my first choice when it comes to cutting government spending. I'll say it again: David Cameron, what a twat.

Also twattish: Labour (as exemplified by Miliband), whining that the public has punished them enough over Iraq. Diddums. Piss off.
chaletian: (daily mail)
So, I am back in sunny Barlborough for the second time in a week (ah, the M1, my dear old chum), this time for Grandpa's funeral (he died at the beginning of last week). It feels a bit weird to have gone from having all my grandparents less than two years ago, to having just one clinging still to the vine. Anyway, another outing of the funeral dress for me.

In other news, I was simultaneously amused and dismayed by the Daily Mail's headline today: "Clegg in Nazi slur on Britain". Fucking hell, DM, really? Here is the article in question: Don't mention the war. Grow up, which seems perfectly reasonable to me, and relates to #6 of my previous post.

Our programme manager is due back today, having been off two weeks for stress. Having started in February, she's approaching the point where she's been off more than she's been in. I have demanded of Amanda that she text me the minute there is news of whether she has returned or not.

I am currently reading another new Stephanie Laurens. Seriously, why am I doing this to myself? I know that she's gone a bit shit, but like some mindless sheep, I keep trundling towards the slaughter gate of the sub-par trashy romance. In happier reading, I'd like to recommend Beswitched by Kate Saunders, about a girl who gets sent off to boarding school by her parents and ends up in a girls' school in 1935. It's actually vg, and I loved it.
chaletian: (Default)
1. I want a government that is not beholden to trade unions, businesses or the press (see data on party donations:

2. I want a government that will do something about our massively undemocratic FPTP voting system.

3. I want a government that sees the logic in taxing the rich over the poor and middling (Conservatives, what the fuck are you on wanting to give tax breaks to rich people? Fuck right off!).

4. I want a government that will acknowledge the recent depradations to our civil liberties and act to reverse them.

5. I want a government that takes a sensible, evidence-based approach to its drug policy.

6. I want a government that will accept we no longer rule the globe; that we must work in cooperation with our neighbours; that we are relatively unlikely ever to really need to launch a nuclear attack on anyone (and when it comes to nuclear deterrent, can't we just pretend?).

7. I want a government that thinks name-blind application forms to reduce sex and race discrimination is a good idea, because having seen that, I think it is too. Having helped shortlist applicants for jobs, you do notice that and you do build preconceptions. Unfair, perhaps, but inevitable.

8. I want a government that thinks having sixty million CRB checks is ridic and you should be able to have a single check which can be used be different organisations.

9. On a different note, I want a government that actually has to negotiate with the rest of Parliament, making decisions that largely benefit the whole country, rather than a government that doesn't have to care what Parliament thinks because they've got a strong whip and an unbeatable majority.

It is for these reasons, and because yellow is cheerful and reminds me of sunshine and fluffy chickens, that I will be voting Liberal Democrat.

The Lib Dem Manifesto
chaletian: (darwin)
Oh, David Cameron, you mentalist: "I think the Conservative party is quite anti establishment..." [source]
chaletian: (daily mail)
Fuck you, Nick Griffin. Fuck you, and your ideas, and the horse you came in on.

"That was not a genuine Question Time; that was a lynch mob," [Nick Griffin] told Sky News.

The programme ought to have been filmed somewhere other than London because the capital was "not my country any more", he said.

He went on: "That audience was taken from a city that is no longer British ... That was not my country any more. Why not come down and do it in Thurrock, do it in Stoke, do it in Burnley?

"Do it somewhere where there are still significant numbers of English and British people [living], and they haven't been ethnically cleansed from their own country."

He added: "There is not much support for me there [in London], because the place is dominated by ethnic minorities. There is an ethnic minority that supports me: the English. But there's not many of them left." (source)

What a wankpot. Apart from anything else, he might want to rein in the hyperbole and check his statistics.

ETA: I mean, Jesus fuck, who actually, actually says things like There is an ethnic minority that supports me: the English outside a drunken rant? Who says things like that and expects to be taken seriously when it's clearly a load of old wank? English people are not an ethnic minority in England. I can't believe we're in a position where that has to be pointed out to an elected politician. Also, if the BNP actually wins any seats in the Commons at the next election, I may have to shoot someone.
chaletian: (darwin)
(No. No, they didn't.)

So, I'm not going to have a giant thing over Nick Griffin's appearance on PMQT (except to say I think the debate over whether BBC should have invited him is a bit stupid, as I posted before. It's not the BBC giving him validity, it's the British electorate - if you want a democratic country, you've got to accept that you're not always going to like what people decide), but I'd just like to say:

WTF is with the concept of "indigenous" as relating to Britain? That word displays such a breathtaking ignorance of this island's history that it's almost flabbergasting.

Firstly, of course, current research tends to favour the idea of human life having originated in Africa and then emigrating outwards to populate the rest of the world. Which means that Britain and, in fact, the rest of the world, doesn't have an indigenous population.

Secondly, get a fucking clue. Almost every country in northern Europe has invaded Britain, settled there, and influenced its genetic stock. The fucking Romans invaded Britain. And after the military invasions finished, there has still been wave after wave of immigration into this country, and I'm not just talking about the West Indies in the 50s, for example, but, say, Huguenots in the C17th.

Talking about "indigenous" Britons is bullshit. And Nick Griffin is an educated man, so I suspect he knows it's bullshit, which makes him a fucking demagogue, and a racist one to boot. But it's not like any of this is news.

ETA: Yes, in the course of this post I have used a fairly narrow definition of "indigenous".
chaletian: (daily mail)
You know what? You'd think people would get tired of having such asinine headlines. But no.

A clueless BBC is giving the BNP the legitimacy it craves* (source)

No. Just no. I think you'll find, regrettably, that it is the British electorate that is giving the BNP the legitimacy it craves by, y'know, electing them to stuff. Yes, they're shit. Yes, their political viewpoint is repellant. Yes, giving them any kind of public voice goes against the grain. But maybe, instead of politicos wringing their hands and writing vituperative articles, they should address the issues that are leading people to vote for the BNP in the first place. Then, maybe, they could slink back to the edges of the political landscape.

* Please note: I am commenting merely on the headline, not the content of the article.
chaletian: (st awesome jim)
So, in light of this meme, let's hear it for me talking about things I don't usually talk about.

It was a short list.

1. Lightbulbs ([ profile] kathrynw)

I do, in fact, have an opinion on lightbulbs. I am all for energy-saving lightbulbs. Energy saving is a good thing. It helps save the planet (I know, I know: what, at this juncture, does that expression even mean any more? Well, actually, in this instance, they use far less electricity to run, which means less energy has to be produced which means burning fewer fossil fuels (a) which are not a renewable source and therefore likely to run out at some stage and (b) the burning of which produces by-products that have a detrimental effect on the environment - I assume everyone knows that; I don't even know why I even bothered to type it out) and also save us money on our electricity bill. Woo. Everyone wins. However, sadly, energy lightbulbs also suck. They take forever to turn on properly and they aren't as bright even then. Also, the design is ugly. I love the old standard lightbulbs - there's something so iconic about them. I have a standard lightbulb in the lamp on my bedside table, mostly because I'm not sure energy ones would fit with the lampshade without making it look like the lampshade was giving birth to plastic intestines.

2. The Future ([ profile] megaleena)

The future. Oh, the future. That's a pretty wide remit to ask someone to LJ about, Mog. In terms of the general future, mostly I think it's going to pobble along much as it has already. Maybe in a few years there'll be another massive leap forward in technology and we'll have flying cars, but to be completely frank with you, I don't think Britain's transport structure is up to the challenge (Britain: the country that didn't bother rebuilding and expanding on its Roman roads until the eighteenth century), so I don't really see that happening. Ditto also living on Mars; living in underwater towns; shuttle services to the moon for £37.99 (+ booking fees) with easyShuttle; Vulcans deciding we're technologically advanced enough to contact; Vogons deciding to destroy the planet to build a new hyperspace bypass; world peace. I do worry that this country is becoming increasingly authoritarian (though welcome the news that ID cards are off the agenda for the time being), but mostly I trust that the political pendulum will swing back the other way.

Alternatively, of course, we will have an actual apocalypse (likely causes: massive climate change [cf The Day After Tomorrow]; alien invasion (OK, that's less likely); massive collapse of financial systems; meteorite hitting the earth and Bruce Willis not being available to DRILL INTO ITS CORE to save us; zombies), in which I will soon die due to frequently mentioned inability to fight to the death for scattered remnants of Waitrose inventory.

For my own personal future: who knows? As Anne said, the future is a bend in the road up ahead. Maybe Captain Kirk will come through a time vortex, fall in love with me, and give me an alien STD. Maybe not. Maybe Chris will win the lottery and Katie and I will have a bookshop-cum-tearoom. Maybe I will die tragically young and everyone will weep at my funeral. Maybe I will stumble across the path of a stockbroker or doctor or Waterstones employee or IT advisor or something and get married and have generally neglected children. Maybe I will just chug along as I do now and have my little jobs and Katie and I will indeed end up as old women with scanty pensions and ceramic cats. Who knows? Or dares to dream? /Percy voice.

3. The Great Cooking Challenge 2009 ([ profile] katherinea)

Shut up, Katherine! Actually, I've done a recipe or two that I haven't LJed about, but I can't remember them now! Maybe I will try again through the Autumn...

4. Are there really things I don't LJ about? ([ profile] ungratefulwench)

Actually, I don't think this counts as a topic under the meaning of the act but I DON'T CARE; I will treat it as such. No, there aren't really things I don't LJ about. Basically, as everyone has doubtless noticed by now, I like the sound of my own voice (or the look of my own words - whatevs). I have lots of thoughts and they are, naturally, all AWESOME, and I like to share them, whether they're on religion or politics or books or TV or my hair or Jim Kirk and his tiny broken psyche or Spock and his emo life now that I've left him. Actually, you know what I don't LJ about? Other people. I should probably stop being so self-centred, but what is the diary concept about if not being self-centred? Answers on a postcard...
chaletian: (st awesome jim)
I write this sitting on the sofa. Which is less interesting, I grant you, than some other literary openings. Anyway, so much has happened for me to tell you all about, that I'm bound to leave everything interesting out. However, I will try my best, sadly hampered by the fact that I'm about to explode from an excess of chicken korma (mmm, chicken korma).

1. I can't remember whom I have previously button-holed on the subject of chicken korma. If it was you, I apologise. As PG Wodehouse so perspicaciously pointed out once, it is so difficult to know how to pitch your tale, when there is the possibility that bod A may know more of the story than bod B. Anyway, I have never really cooked a curry or anything like it, so it was with some trepidation that I embarked upon a recipe for c.k. that Emma gave me, but it turned out OK and I have now cooked it approximately fourteen times in the last week. Next stop: thai chicken curry, which I love but which I have, again, never cooked.

2. Do any more northerly folk know what's going on at the Tesco-roundabout-end of the Chesterfield bypass? They demolished the glassworks there ages ago, but apparently they're now building a giant (new) Tesco there, and there are rumours that there's going to be a bit of football stadium action on the remaining land - that's going to bugger up the traffic nicely come match days.

3. In re release of Lockerbie bomber as what is dying fairly imminently, WTF FBI man? Scotland's case, Scotland's jurisdiction, Scotland's decision. Fuck off out of it.

4. I'll stop waffling now and get to the nub of LIFE and the only topic about which anyone will have any interest. I'm sure you will all be delighted to hear that my hair has faded quite a lot, and although it is still massively, stupidly red, I no longer look like Jane Goldman, so yay. Also, Helen cut me a bob, which is ACE and also AWESOME (even though Pim's bathroom was apparently covered in my hair for quite some time EVEN THOUGH I totally tidied up after myself).

5. So, ja, the other weekend, I went to Helen's, and we hung out being ineffectual together, and then we went to Pimly's, where she cooked us Mexican lasagna (always a treat, and who knew Nellie Dean could even cook?! I thought she lived on scraps...) and we watched St Trinian's and Mamma Mia - frankly, what could be more glorious? What indeed? I hear you say. And, as mentioned, Helen cut my hair, which was a TRIUMPH because she is unexpectedly skilled in that arena. &Helen;

6. Subsequently, Pim and I went out to dinner at that gourmet institution that is Pizza Express. I had - no, wait for it - chicken caesar salad! I know! *makes I-know face* Who saw that coming? Service was fairly rubbish, as per, but we had a nice meal and chatted and bitched, and then wandered down the South Bank (which may well be MY FAVOURITE PLACE IN THE WHOLE WORLD) to the National, where we sat on the giant grass furniture and met Katherine and brushed our hair like land-locked mermaids and had ice lollies and chatted. All vee nice. We were, however, saddened by the absence of Kathryn, who blew us off for COLLEAGUES SHE PRESUMABLY SEES ALL THE TIME. Pah.

7. The day after that was Thursday (an accurate timeline is crucial), which was my last day at work that week. Now, we have a thing at work where, when it's someone's birthday, we bring in food AS A SECRET and have a little lunch party. However, Emma and I are the only ones who have ever arranged this, and as Emma's last day had been the Wednesday, I was not expecting lunch. We continued our hilarious file purge in the morning, and then I was called into the office in a tiny emergency TO FIND THEY'D DONE ME LUNCH ANYWAY! Woo! It was so exciting! Also, Cath had bought me a bottle of No 6 Pimm's (a sort of Pimm's No 1/vodka hybrid which turns out to be DELISH). All in all, a good day.

8. On Friday, after getting up ridiculously early to pack and blow dry my hair and such like, I bopped to Victoria to meet Katherine and Pim and wend our way up to Chesterfield, where the CBB Summer Frolick was - well, actually not scheduled to take place. It was to take place in Barlborough, the village where my parents live. The mater (eventually) picked us up and we went to Sainsbury's where Katherine shopped for Frolick food and Pim and I wandered around and bought clothes and stuff. Went home and then OHNOES! TRAGEDY! Katie was cutting short her holiday to come up to the old borough of Barl, and had booked her ticket from Cornwall to Sheffield, but tragedy had struck! Fearful traffic along the byways of the west country! No train catching! No movement of any kind! EPIC SADFACES ACROSS THE LAND. In the end, she had to give up the Sheffield plan and buy a ticket back to London. I will not lie. There was a tiny crystalline single emo tear*. Anyway, as luck and the script would have it, I managed to find a relatively decent ticket for London-Doncaster on the Saturday morning, and, with a bit of (FRANKLY GENIUS) jiggery-pokery, I booked it for her. \o/

9. On Friday evening, we had savoury pancakes and my parents were ridic. I love them. They're awesome. Also, on a similar note, Pim and I suspect that our mothers may actually be THE SAME WOMAN. Have you ever seen them in a hospital together? Have you? I didn't think so. I mean, we always knew there was the daughters-of-NHS-managery-women bond between us, but even so...

10. Saturday! Frolick! Tiny plastic Jesus watched over us all, and the Frolick went according to plan (except for the bit where I kept leaving out bits of activity, but that happens with the most well-regulated frolicks). Katie arrived sans problem. The Little School even had a cake stand for all Katherine's cupcakes (lemon cakes = delicious beyond measure). I made quiches.


12. Saturday PM: back to the homestead, and time to open presents! Woo! I was in receipt of a tea towel (a present classic), a giant Cornwall pencil, a thing to make Virgin Mary toast, two pairs of Holy Socks AND PIM KNITTED ME A SHATNER!FACE! YES! YOU HEARD ME RIGHT! AN ACTUAL, HONEST-TO-GOD SHATNER!FACE, LIKE SHE SWORE SHE WOULDN'T! (Yeah, she's weak. Exploit her, people.) IT'S SO BEAUTIFUL I DIDN'T EVEN HAVE WORDS! I LOVE YOU, NELLIE!! Also, Katie made me a birthday card that had me and Jim sailing down an Amsterdam canal, while Spock watched us go, his left eyebrow a picture of emo woe. Fucking beautiful. I love my friends. Then Daddy made us his chicken curry thing, which is always yum, and Katie and I tidied the kitchen and went to bed. A smashing day.

13. Right. Sunday. Got up, had some orange juice and a tea cake. Had a shower. Faffed. Katie and I went to the station with Katherine and Pim and bid them adieu, then Mummy took us on to Grandma's, where I had more presents, and enjoyed Grandma being as ridiculous as ever. Then Chris turned up and there was a bit of chatting, and then we went down the road to see Grandpa, who was much as ever, though he'd managed to bash himself up a bit falling down the drive. Went in the garden to admire decking and fish - all vee nice, actually. We went home and had some lunch, then Mummy took us to Sheffield to catch the old coach back to London. We had a surprisingly smooth, un-awful journey. Had a bit of tea (God's honest pork pie, some tomatoes, some Babybel, some pickled onion Monster Munch, and an apple). Got home not too late, all in all. So, that was my weekend.

Anyway, that's about it. Not much else to report.

In Conclusion

Item: I am in possession of one (1) tiny plastic Jim Kirk and one (1) knitted Shatner!face.
Item: I have new short hair.
Item: I have, this very moment, been outbid on the chest of drawers I want. Damn you, eBay, damn you!
Item: Chicken korma rocks.

Addendum: My little brother, who works for Accenture, has just had a promotion and a 25% pay increase! I am very proud of him, and also very envious! Still, he's been working ridiculous hours, so I think I'd rather have my poorer paying much less working job!

* This is, in fact, a lie.
chaletian: (blackadder news)
OK, I need to stop reading the crap that some right wing lunatics in America are saying about the NHS because I want to set fire to them. Actually, no. I want to make them unemployed and broke and uninsured and *then* set fire to them, and let them fight their way through their own health system. Fuckers. The NHS has its flaws, but the guiding principle of healthcare free at the point of delivery, paid for by taxes, is the true sign of a civilised society. Je pense.

(Also - Nazi-ish? Orwellian? Death panels? Are they fucking high? Who believes this crap?)
chaletian: (darwin)
My Yahoo!Mail homepage is set up to show me Entertainment News, which is usually hilariously unnewsworthy (except for that time Eminem got back from the MTV awards after being HUMILIATED NIGH UNTO DEATH OMG WOE WOE by Sacha Baron Cohen, to find his hotel room had been burgled), but last night, apparently, one of the headlines was about Demi Moore and Ashton Kutcher supporting the Iranians protesting against the election result.

And I was thinking thusly: Yay. I too support them. Down on corrupt elections. And then I started thinking about the protests in Iran, and how those people are doing their best to ensure Iran has a fair and free election, which leads to the question, how far do you get to go in pursuit of that?

It is a faded truism to say that one man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter, but I think it poses an interesting question nonetheless. How far can you go in pursuit of a political aim before you reach the stage where the end no longer justifies the means. A protest is OK, right? But what happens if someone’s hurt, or killed? Or what about doing the hurting or killing yourself? That’s too far, isn’t it? But if you live in a country where there are few political freedoms, how else do you get your voice heard, in that country and in the world? Is it acceptable for a few innocent people to die if it means the end of a regime that’s murdered tens or hundreds or more? On a personal level, you’d say no, but looking at the bigger picture, well, maybe?

I don’t know. But it’s interesting to think about things like this.
chaletian: (b5 psi corps poster)
When backed into a corner, I will concede that London's public transport system is actually pretty damn good. I mean, the Jubilee Line is more addicted to "signal failure" than I am to my hair, and South West Trains WILL ONE DAY BURN IN A HELL OF THEIR OWN MAKING, and I am still unclear on why it's going to take THREE YEARS to refurbish Blackfriars station, and the reason for the Hammersmith & Shitty Line always having to wait at Edgware Road station for about half an hour remains one of life's great mysteries, but other than that, it's not too bad.

Except, of course, when the RMT decides to strike. Because from now till Friday morning, London is going to be like some hellish medieval Hieronymus Bosch nightmare with people clawing at bus doors, desperate to get on, while City men hurl their own mothers out of taxis, twenty-three cyclists are mown down out of sheer jealousy over their independent transport, and the traffic grinds to a sullen and depressing halt.

I don't really know how I feel about "the unions" generally: I am too young to have been aware of their heyday. In history lessons, they always seem like a fairly good idea: protecting the voiceless workers from the capitalist scum breaking their backs in return for a few shillings. A few years ago, I seem to recall there was a strike on the Victoria Line over safety concerns. I can understand that. That, I said to myself at the time, with a philosophical shrug, is fair enough.

In the current instance, RMT is asking for (according to BBC News) a 5% salary rise and a guarantee of no forced redundancies. FUCK RIGHT OFF, RMT! NO-ONE'S GOT THAT! JUST BECAUSE YOU HAVE THE POWER TO FREEZE THE BACKBONE OF OUR TRANSPORT SYSTEM DOESN'T MEAN YOU SHOULD FUCKING GET WHAT YOU WANT! YOU SUCK!

Also, I bought tickets for the Bad Film Club at the Barbican tomorrow, entirely forgetting that it means we have to get right across London in the middle of the night with no tube. Rah.
chaletian: (p+p lizzy murder)
WTF Yorkshire? Seriously, WTF? Land of me, land of my forebears, what were you thinking? Oh, BNP & all those who voted for you, you tiny cocks.

♥ In other trag news, remember that time when I was outraged that darling Jade had never heard of the Shat? This is much worse. I was sharing with my office (natch) the wonders of the story wherein I dump Spock, and the new temp HAD NEVER EVEN HEARD OF SPOCK!!! 0.o I don't even know how this is possible! How is this possible, flist? How does someone get to be so insulated from the icons of popular culture? I am agog, I am aghast...

♥ My computer at work has the RAM of a SQUIRREL. I tried to UNDERLINE a cell in Excel, and in attempting to undertake that arduous task, THE ENTIRE MACHINE CRASHED. My life has been very difficult today, as you may have noticed. However, I have done the stats Richard wanted, and finally, finally managed to install a trial of MapPoint on Joy's computer, so I could do the dinky map to go with them. Yay me.

♥ I watched Kingdom last night. I had forgotten how amusing it was. Oh, Sir Stephen, how do I love thee?

♥ And to end, a bit of a meme off [ profile] katie__pillar:

01. Anyone who looks at this entry has to post this meme and their current wallpaper at their LiveJournal.
02. Explain in five sentences why you're using that wallpaper!
03. Don't change your wallpaper before doing this! The point is to see what you had on!

Why I chose this: I'm not a huge Ruby fan or anything, but I just adore the colour and textures of this - it's so beautiful! (Made by [ profile] nargynargy.)

chaletian: (darwin)
Woo, in the end I exercised my right to vote, entirely due to my darling, my darling, my light and my life (or [ profile] katie__pillar, as she is more commonly known), who pointed out that I could, in fact, just fill out my postal form now and take it to the polling station (an agonising two minute walk away).

I love voting. I love having the power to do it. I love the action, of going to a polling station and seeing other people and knowing that, one way or another, we have, to some degree, the power to alter the course of our government. Powerful stuff, that. And shame on me on being shit and nearly missing the opportunity.
chaletian: (buffy british summer)
Mreugh. I keep thinking of random things to LJ about, because I haven’t posted properly in absolutely ages, and then they all fall out of my head and it’s vee trag. I will try and remember some of them. Stand by your beds, as my boss would say.

♥ I got [ profile] crack_vanned again – woo! \o/ I’m sure it’s not de rigueur to make a song and dance about it, but fuck that, this is me. I have now been recced there for NCIS, Life on Mars, and New!Trek. Also, my NCIS story Requiem (following the season 6 finale) has been nominated for an award (I would link, but I um, can’t find the site). All in all, what with that and the absolutely ridiculous amount of Trek fic I’m writing at the moment (also on the go: a second ST/Spaced crossover, and an outsider!POV on Kirk), I am quite feeling the writing joy (to which [ profile] katie__pillar can most definitely attest!).

♥ I have watched so much OTH lately, my head might actually explode, even though I skipped most of season 2 once I learnt that Naley was decidedly non est. My God. I love that show so much. It’s amazingly, awesomely ridiculous. Luke was SO UNBELIEVABLY ANGST-RIDDEN about going back to basketball after Keith’s death that it quite made my evening.

♥ Oh em gee, G. Brown, just call a general election. You’re going to lose anyway, and better to do it now before the Labour Party makes more of a tit of itself. Further to that: please allow me to announce my shame in re EU elections. I received my postal vote but have failed to send it off. I am a political failure and deserve to be shunned.

♥ Entertainingly, I learn from the ever-erudite Yahoo! Entertainment News that whilst he was at the MTV awards, someone burgled Eminem’s hotel room. He just wasn’t having a good night…

♥ Speaking of entertainment “news”, how ridiculously out-of-hand is this Susan Boyle thing getting? I just want to slap everyone who’s felt their professional life is incomplete without making an official comment on the subject. Fuck you all.

♥ As I am sure everyone has gathered, “Staycation” 2009 went stunningly well. I had a very restful week, and bopped around doing the following:
i. seeing dinosaurs, birds, mammals, marsupials and prehistoric marine creatures etc etc etc;
ii. seeing three nuns photographing a diplodocus skeleton;
iii. watching season one of OTH;
iv. lunching with Katherine and Helen (on separate days);
v. dining with K, H, and Katie (on the same day);
vi. dining with Emma and Ben;
vii. watching Much Ado with Xanthe in Regents Park;
viii. going to see Cobra Starship (awesome);
ix. picnicking by Barnes pond;
x. shopping in Kingston with Katie and Helen.

♥ I love Sheldon so much.

Sheldon: I see no large upcoming expenditures, unless they develop an affordable technology to fuse my skeleton with Adamantium like Wolverine.
Penny: Are people really working on that?
Sheldon: I sincerely hope so.

chaletian: (life dani)

♥ So, other than a brief cri de coeur over OTH, I have lots of update-y things. Well, not lots. A number of update-y things. Starting with Grandad’s funeral. Don’t worry: I exhausted my descriptive powers by going on at length on the subject to both Katie and Emma, so they have basically taken the bullet for you. Suffice it to say, it was actually as lovely a day as it could have been. The weather was beautiful, which I think put everyone in a nice mood. Grandma coped OK with the whole thing – as did we all, in fact. I read my pome without a hitch. The chapel was absolutely crammed – standing room only, in fact – and it was really nice to see so many people turn out for Grandad, including a load of care workers and district nurses etc, which Grandma was very touched by. Chris and I weren’t that taken with the padre, but Grandma, Mummy and Rosie really liked him, which was the main thing. And Alan Gildersleve (an old pal and medical colleague) did the eulogy thing which was funny and sweet and just right for Grandad. So it was all quite nice, actually. And then the parentals took me out to Ashford in the Water for a rather spiffing pub dinner, so all in all, a good day. Thank you to everyone who sent sympathy and good wishes etc – it was very much appreciated.

♥ I invented another new meal last night, which I am calling Pesto Primavera. Onion, leek, broccoli, spinach and peas cooked in a ricotta/mascarpone and pesto sauce. Vee spring-like and delicious (I thought). The other night I made savoury pancakes with chicken and leek, which was so-so (needed more flavour, I think).

♥ There have been various annoying things in the press recently, about which I have got quite irate, but I can’t remember them now, so you are spared a tiny rant.

♥ I am wearing my Spock t-shirt today. Not right now, of course. No, I’m currently wearing one of my mauve monstrosities. But out of hours – bring it on. “You Are Sooooooo Illogical” – present genius, Katie, my darling!

♥ I still haven’t finished Gossip Girl 1899 vol 2 – I am so slow with reading at the moment! I have loads of stuff to read and am just not getting round to it. I have a week off soon, though, so I might catch up then.

♥ Oh, yes, I remember now. Was reading the Daily Telegraph’s letters page over someone’s shoulder this morning. The first letter was someone frothing with rage over the latest parliamentary scandal, and they did that FUCK ANNOYING THING of being “ooh and our unelected Prime Minister…” OMG WILL THESE PEOPLE PLEASE GET A GRIP AND DEVELOP SOME AWARENESS OF THE BRITISH CONSTITUTION!! Rawr.
chaletian: (blackadder news)
Tragically, I had to remove my beautiful red nail varnish this morning. I was going to take it off anyway, because it was just starting to chip and I do not wish to look like a TRAMP, but I did the washing up last night, and it pretty much stripped half of it off, so it was a bit of an imperative. This is, of course, merely an excuse to let people know that I DID WASHING UP last night! I know! It’s a miracle! Take that, universe! I have function as well as form…

Anyway, I am vee tired this morning, on account of many late nights doing random crap (watching Lewis… drawing Proust dressed as an X-Man… faffing generally…), and I yearn for the weekend. Yesterday evening was pleasantly creative, however. Chris couldn’t make it after all, due to the exigencies of work, but I went ahead with my pesto chicken anyway, and it was very nice. Basically tagliatelle with chicken in a pesto sauce which I concocted out of onion, ricotta, mascarpone, pesto, stock and cream. So, delicious, but not particularly healthy!! After that, I worked on my SGA comic which was entertaining though long-winded, because I drew all the elements separately, scanned them, and then constructed the whole thing, which took ages, but I am reasonably pleased with the results.

So, the budget, eh? I remember posting a few years ago about the absurdity of having reached the stage of life where one pays attention to such things as the budget. Actually, since I don’t drink, smoke, drive or buy property, it’s only of limited practical impact, but I diligently check income tax and national insurance contribution rates, and make sure there aren’t any weird surprises, like a 70% tax on books or the internet. According to the BBC’s budget calculator, I will be approximately £118 richer in the coming year, due, I presume, to the personal allowance having gone up. What amuses me, though, is the massive furore leading to such headlines as CREDIT CRUNCH: 50% TAX HORROR.

FFS. Really. I hate shock reporting. So, next year, tax on earnings over £150,000 will rise to 50%. You know what? I’m fine with that. I’m fairly confident that people earning that much will be able to cope. In fact, given that Labour is supposed to be a left-leaning government (don’t all laugh), it’s a shame they didn’t do it years ago and, I dunno, fund some services or something, instead of encouraging the financial irresponsibility that led to them needing to do it now in order to attempt to pay back massive national debt.

Also, did my eyes deceive me, or did I read in the papers a few days ago about some minister/civil service bod insisting that all his offices display the St George flag. Really? Are we living in a fascist state now? When government officials have to force displays of patriotism, that’s when you know something’s gone a bit awry.

And since my mind has gone, quite naturally, to dystopic future fiction, I have to say I fear the apocalypse. I mean, it’s not like it’s keeping me awake at night, it’s just that, as entertaining as it would be, I’m not sure I’d be one of the plucky survivors who makes it to the final act. I struggle at getting on a busy tube: when it comes to fighting to the death for a lone remaining carton of UHT milk in an otherwise deserted Waitrose, I fear I would be at a disadvantage. Whilst I am multi-talented and can invent exciting pesto recipes and draw Proust dressed as an X-Man and own four and a half aprons, I fear these factors would not be useful in a post-apocalyptic society. I suppose the only thing to do is hope that I get killed in the first wave. *sighs*

June 2016

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