Monday, November 24, 2008

BUY FLAT-SCREEN TELEVISIONS ON CREDIT THIS CHRISTMAS TO ARTIFICIALLY BOOST THE ECONOMY Does the world we live in make sense to anyone else? It very often makes me want to buy LOADS of jaffa cakes and stay in bed indefinitely.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Don't trust people who can touch-type

And NEVER tell them to write down everything you say.
Right, where is my folder? Oh man, I didn’t know I’d have to stand up. According to Scotland a new history - oh it was this book. What do you know about the history before this, the Jacobites and all that stuff? Where’s my list? Oh I guess we’ve got the history that dude gave us, the '45 that’s important, all about Bonnie Prince Charlie. In Waverley, that’s all about that. You have all of this in this essay. Do you want to put that onto my bibliography. We’re going to have lots of books, I don’t think we have to hand in our bibliography, not for weeks. Come on man. Stop it, I wish everyone would leave my computer alone. Come on. Fuck. Oh I’ve got Microsoft Office speech recognition. OK let’s do this again. Ah. It actually says the specific things that Walter Scott made to change Scottish identity. And it’s called the World Burns Club, the Robert Burns World Foundation. Ok I think I’ve got names for all your slides, shall we start with that. So there’s a title page, right.
With thanks to my secretary, Sarah

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Most awesome Post-Office Press Statement ever

Problems at Queen Elizabeth's coronation upon decision that she should also be called Queen Elizabeth II in Scotland, (unlike James I and VI) even though there had never been a Queen Elizabeth I in Scotland. When the first post-boxes with the royal cipher EIIR were unveiled in Scotland, some were vandalised and several blown up with 'crude home-made bombs'. The director of the Post Office in Edinburgh said:
The matter is so trivial that we are letting it take its normal course.
Kind of sums up the Post Office's answer to any problem- pay debates, lost parcels etc.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Nothing Toulouse

It was cold and raining in Tours, and we were feeling miserable, and we'd already been to see James Bond and there was nothing else, not even at the art-house cinema. At seven we came in from cycling across town soaked to the bone, and neither of us could stop whinging for long enough to listen to the other one, which is a frustrating state of affairs. 'Sarah,' I suddenly said. 'Go and pack an overnight bag. We're getting out of here.' We dropped the keys at a friend's so he could feed the cat and by eight o'clock we were at Tours station. 'N'importe-ou... vers le sud... vers le soleil.' The lovely woman offered us Marseille, but it meant changing at Paris. We chose Bordeaux instead- Paris was not going to cheer us up- and hopped on the next TGV. The beers I bought on the train cost more than the ticket. Bordeaux has every thing you could ask from a 'European city break'- a tramway, a cheap hotel with an expensive continental breakfast, a massive river with beautiful stone quays, cafés and sunlight and a glorious cathedral (St. André). I lingered in a tiny second-hand shop selling everything from authentic aquitaine lace caps to fur boots to bright plastic telephones while Sarah had her hair cut. Tired from the Museum of Aquitaine History, we sat on a wall in the autumn sunlight and watched old men playing petanque. I surreptitiously sketched them as the gold plane leaves drifted down around us. Then on the Friday night it clouded over a bit- clearly we hadn't gone far enough South. We thought longingly of Barcelona. Back to the station with the same criteria. This time the man was a Southerner himself. 'Oh, if you want sunshine,' he assured us. 'Don't worry about Perpignan, just get down to Toulouse.' Moment of worry about being stranded in Toulouse with class on Monday morning. 'How much will it cost us to get back to Tours on Sunday evening?' The answer was... ridiculously cheap. So back on the train- this time I remembered to get my beers from the corner shop before we left. We got to Toulouse just before midnight. The area around the station was charmingly big-city, rather like King's Cross before they got the Eurostar in St. Pancras. I had a bath in the hotel- our bath in Tours was not made for someone of a reasonable height such as myself. Sarah Wikipedia'd Jean Jaures for me- maybe we're morons but we had seen so many roads and squares named after him in our travels we thought we should find out who he was. Was gratified by this nugget in the entry:
In the 1976 film Maîtresse (English title: Mistress), a character looking at a Parisian map laments, "There are too many avenues named after Jean Jaurès."
The next day we fell in love with Toulouse, with its grandiose red brick buildings, threaded through by the gorgeous Canal du Midi and the wide Garonne. I reckon it's the perfect size for a city, the fourth largest in France, with around a million people, and the one of those sweet underground systems with only three lines. And it was awfully Occitan, with the street names written in two languages and people talking with a twang in their accents. They do love their red brick!- even the churches- even the twelfth-century churches- everything. It looks lovely in the bright southern sun. I went to a wicked modern art gallery in an old -red brick- abattoir and saw some great drawings by Antonio Saura. Especially loved the illustrations for Don Quixote. (I have been thinking, and if I actually HAD to pick the greatest novel ever, it might well be Don Quixote. Picking Ulysses, which is what everyone always seems to do, is like picking Jaffa Cakes as the greatest biscuit ever.) In the evening we went to the oldest wine bar in Toulouse and sipped posh-arse wine out of playmobil-sized glasses. Then something amazing happened- we found a restaurant that sold Real Curry! Like you get in Britain! Awesome. I practically kissed the waitress when she brought the bill over. Do you know how long its been? Of course we did a little shopping, and saw the fruit markets and the brocantes on the Sunday morning, and the botanical gardens at great speed, and as we raced to the station on our last day we remembered a little bottle of wine for the guy who fed our cat. I had been pissed enough on the Saturday night that I happily slept all the way back to St Pierre des Couilles, the annoying suburban station that serves Tours. (Our main station is not big enough to take all the trains it needs, so they run a shuttle made out of recycled cans back and forth.) There is a moral to this story, children, and it is one of my mottos, so listen carefully:
Fed up? Raining? Don't like your life? Run away!

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

This is my Translation teacher's marking code. Really! It's roughly in descending order of how serious the mistake is... bar- barbarisme ns- nonsense cnvr- ca ne veut rien dire GR- grande faute grammaticale gr- petite faute grammaticale tps- faut de temps cs- contresens cp- on ne comprends pas la phrase synt- syntaxe acc- faute d'accord fs- faux sens const/struc- phrase mal construite/ structurée clq- calque (on copie les mots un par un) md- mal dit +md- tres mal dit impr- impropriete o/- orthographe x- il manque un mot inex- inexacte conj- conjugaison reg- registre asp- aspect How awesome is that! 22 different codes! I think I love her!

Monday, November 03, 2008


1. My whole flat smells funny. It's spreading down the stairs. 2. 'I kissed a girl and I liked it, hope my boyfriend don't mind it,' Both the action described in the song and the song itself are cheaper, less titillating pornography than Mills and Boon.. Everyone who wants to try kissing a girl has tried it by the time they are seventeen, and everybody else couldn't give a fuck. 3. My friend mended my PC and in doing so got rid of all the programmes I never use. Including Paint! I need Paint! I use it all the time! Spent ages looking for it until I thought to ask him. He got rid of Minesweeper as well, but I was too ashamed to suggest I needed it back. 4. Now I'll never beat my dad's high score. 5. The US elections make me itch with either bored fury or furious boredom. 'Because democracy is not a spectator sport.' ~ US presidential election slogan, Democrats (2004) What? 'Course it is, especially in America! Its being covered by seemingly 'serious' news sources as though it were celebrity Big Brother! 6. I didn't move 400 miles south of London to have it SNOW in OCTOBER. 7. I accidentally watched most of the Sexism and the City movie before I was rescued by uncontrollable vomiting. Contrary to most evil back-back-back-lash brainwashing, this film is not a good argument for the feminist movement. It is an argument for a crazed killing spree against all the men in the world and most of the women in New York. This film's definition of 'love', the thing every successful, financially stable, expensively shod career women is allegedly desperately searching for, makes me want to never leave my flat again, but instead spend the rest of my life leaning out of the window spitting on passer-bys' heads. And shouting 'Fuck You' when they look up. The subplot with the plump black assistant who finds love where she least expects it! (SATC broadening the brainwashing- its not just thin white women who need a man's love) Think what a horrific message the TV show sent out then multiply by a thousand, then take off some for the message being somewhat dimmed by the boring boring boring zzzzzzz... And the clothes aren't all that either. But my fault for watching it. Please DON'T watch it, so that I can tell myself I did some good by sharing the 'love'. 8. I bid for something on ebay- I actually won it, by some lucky chance, but I don't think I want to participate in an auction ever again. Felt wracked with guilty anxiety- what if I lost but had pushed up the price by like £50 for someone else? Then they would be paying £50 for the dubious honour of being crapper than money than me. (I also have this paranoid fantasy that there's all these unemployed financial traders out there at the moment with nothing to do but stare at the internet, and what better mindless facebook replacement for a redundant stockbroker than to surf ebay wantonly pushing up the prices on other people's stuff that they don't want just for kicks while doing coke off their tropical fish mousemats?) Clearly online auctions are for people who can stomach competing markets. I can't. 9. Got a job interview for a teaching job. The interview takes place in an office. I have to bring- Passeport original + 2 copie(s) recto/verso. - Carte d'étudiant original + 1 copie(s) recto/verso. - Dernier diplôme obtenu original + 1 copie(s) recto/verso. - Curriculum Vitae - Pièce indiquant le n° de sécurité sociale original + 1 copie(s) recto/verso. - RIB Does this office not have photocopying or scanning facilities? I might not get the job! It's like a test- only if I am dedicated enough to make 11 copies of obscure documentation will I prove that I have the mettle for the job. That's like 1Euro 60!