Tuesday, 31 July 2007

My daemon

I don't like this thing, WillowZ faffed at it and changed me into a furry sideburned cat thing and I was NOT happy, I like my snow leopard. Retribution was mine, however, as somebody has made hers into a ladybird.

So the rest of you now have 12 days to click buttons and make me miserable. If you make it anything but a snow leopard, I suggest you back away slowly -.-

In other animal-related news, there's a fox basking in the sun in my back garden. I have named him Neville, he is very cute, I opened my curtain to see him properly and he made an annoyed face and bit a flower.

Monday, 30 July 2007

Group who? Group me?

See that bloke there to the left, looking all talented and cool and professional? He is! How do I know? Well aside from being prepared to testify that he makes the best ever spicy meatball, gives the warmest hugs in London and - as mentioned before - has a steal-worthy CD collection, I am also now his groupie.


This is Best Mate's boyfriend, for all the nans in the room: it is a strictly musically appreciative sentiment.

I spent this evening holed up in a little venue in Kingston called The Fighting Cocks, waiting for the marvellous Trickswitch to take the stage. Their support act was The Addons, a delicious old school indie band who gave me happy tummy feelings.

As for Trickswitch: consider every preconception I ever had poked with sticks onto a bonfire with elves and goblins celebrating their demise. 'My mate's band' - that's meant to mean a half-arsed attempt you turn up to because everyone else is going and then ignore, but clap dutifully at the end, surely?

Trickswitch are something truly special, and this from Fussy McMusicalFusspot. They have every ingredient to make it big, in spades - except recognition. And possibly confidence, I don't think they know how good they are - they've never been on our end to see how forcefully their energy hits you. And they don't have a clue how hard it makes your heart beat.

So go have a listen and see, because they're incredible, and as amazing live as any signed band I've ever seen.

Sunday, 22 July 2007

The most beautiful song I've ever heard

I loved this song so much I wrote to him on myspace to ask where I could buy his EPs and he very graciously pointed me in the right direction (www.beardmuseum.com for the first one and Amazon for the new one, Pilotlights). He will also be playing in Soho on August 2nd - I've roped in Clone Emma and Best Mate, any other takers?

A little bit tiddly and full of chicken

Advance warning: if at any time during the reading of this post you wonder why I'm making no sense, please be assured it's not you. I'm a little bit merry and a muchbit amused after a night on the town with the fabulous Jo.

We've been promising to have a catch-up since we had a meeting about a magazine she helped me develop and ended up nattering for a very long time. Such was the situation this evening - we talked at speed for hours and there's so much left to say that I'm just going to need to make her come out for a repeat performance. Not a shame!

The highlight of our tour of Twickenham was the boozy ending, which of course involved guzzling junk food and loud laughing. KFC's late-night staff were rather taken with Jo, whose flirty attempts to get some extra mayonnaise earned her an amorous takeaway admirer.

As we chomped in a ladylike manner on our burgers, a bunch of revolting chavs wandered in and treated us to the insightful drunken commentary that only the drunk and chavvy can achieve. "You've got burgers," (yes, yes we have), "Can I have a chip?" (no, no you can't) and "Are you lesbians?" (presumably because they consider KFC an appropriate choice for date night).

As the chav who treated us to the final question cackled and ran off out the door, Jo uttered an immortal line: "Bring him back a minute *dramatic pause*....and I'll tell him about his face". Perfect delivery, perfect timing.

Saturday, 21 July 2007

Oh what a beautiful day

Today I shopped and drank beer. Is that not a beautiful phrase, women everywhere?

It was my last chance to prance about town with Canimal before she goes back home to Israel, so Sneaky Sneakerson here left work at 2pm and spent the afternoon introducing her to the shopping heaven that is Oxford Street. I'm utterly inept at breaking rules, but a) this was a very special occasion and b) what are they gonna do, sack me?!

Now I don't really like shopping for myself, because I can't be doing with changing rooms, but I do love scouring the rails for someone else, especially someone who looks good in everything you put them in. We found any number of cute new tops for her and a pair of flipflops (poor thing turned up soaked from a sudden rainstorm and unable to enjoy a thing until we replaced her sodden footwear). I somehow managed to come home with a new wallet, shoes and umbrella, too.

And for anyone doubting Cani was put through her London paces: not only did she bear up perfectly under the strain of a rush hour Tube journey (giggling fit notwithstanding) and deal with numerous snotty sales clerks with aplomb, she also tucked into a steak pie and mashed potato for lunch and felt much improved for the experience.

As far as the beer part goes: after resting my poor feet for a couple of hours and losing to all and sundry at facebook scrabble, I spent a happy evening in the pub with Best Mate and her man, Anton (of CD thievery fame). Life right now is filled with exciting new people and places and experiences and the love and comfort of those I care about most. I have little to complain about, all in all <3

Tuesday, 17 July 2007


Almost every Monday I am taken in by WHSmith's kind and useful half price book offer (except when they try to sneak in tat), but never again! Oh no, not after the nice checkout lady handed me this, the literary equivalent of poo in a bag.

I'm so annoyed, I really am SO annoyed by this book. I have not words to explain my contempt. To the point that I feel obliged to issue this warning to Second Life residents everywhere: for FUCK'S sake don't buy this book.

You see, the author comes with great credentials: judging by the jacket description, which pretty much credits him with single-handedly brokering the 2003 Geneva Accords, there's nobody more qualified to write a mystery novel about peace negotiations in the Holy Land.

So why, WHY, for the love of all things wordy, did he decide to include Second Life into his plot? WHY? He's quite clearly never been near the thing, I don't want to sound like some sort of metaverse protection agency because I'm not in the slightest bit bothered about misrepresentations. Publicity is publicity, innit? It's nice, in a way, that a mainstream writer is including our 'weird' little hobby in his lovely blockbusting romp. But why did he have to go and balls it up so badly?

Not one single thing his character 'does' during her entirely shoehorned-into-the-plot wander about the grid could actually be done. One does not left click another avatar to stroke them, one does NOT log in stark naked and wait for the pixel fairies to clothe one and one can certainly not be reduced to pixel goo by another avatar. Not without clicking 'ok', anyway. Oh and his main character appears to be able to open SL from absolutely anywhere, at speed, without any pesky 30mb downloads or 'with this graphics card? you'll be lucky' error messages.

So I am now in a position where I am utterly unable to appreciate what ought to be a fascinating insight into the Middle East because the author is a) so keen to be the next Dan Brown he's elbowing the plot aside to shove in 'clever' twists - involving, of all things, a virtual world and b) obviously so blasé about his research that he can't even be bothered to splash out on a free download and spend 3 minutes experiencing what he's writing about.


Saturday, 14 July 2007

Cheesy beans and candy

I am ashamed to report that poor Canimal's impression of England will be dominated by a preoccupation with soft cheese and a vomit-flavoured jellybean.

Canimal Zephyr, uber-famous SL fashion designer and one of Style Disorder's head honchos, is over from Israel on holiday, so it was up to WillowZ, Kris Ritter and myself to entertain her for the day.

We started out (once we'd actually managed to find each other) in CyberCandy, a fantabulous store that imports chocolate and sweets from all over the world. They have all the stuff you see them eating in movies but have never seen in real life, like Tootsie Rolls and Twinkies and Oreo cereal. I squished my Twinkie :( But it still tasted good :D

We went to various pubs and eateries, drank beer and cocktails and sampled a couple of our purchases. Firstly a chocolate bar from New Zealand that looked like a normal Dairy Milk but had a different surprise centre in every square. I ate a piece that tasted (and looked) like pureed skin and Cani discovered that she does not, in fact, like turkish delight.

We then tried the Bertie Bott's Every Flavour Beans, based on the Harry Potter books. Now these weren't the meek and pointless version they put on sale over here, these were bona fide evilness in a box. Between us we tried earthworm, booger, soap and earwax flavours and I bravely accepted the challenge of eating a vomit bean. It was not an experience I will be repeating. We left some on the tip tray, which probably means we're banned from the Zoo Bar.

The mystery of the information WillowZ found on the internet was solved: they do have cream cheese in Israel after all, they just don't have Brie. Cani was grilled (like a piece of cheese, in fact) for dairy-related information and it's safe to say there's now little I don't know about Israeli cheese.

So here's the question we couldn't answer: if you were to give a tourist one item to take home that truly represents England, what would it be? And WillowZ, if you say "a pigeon" one more time... -.-

Thursday, 12 July 2007

Today we are mostly listening to...

...Anton's entire CD collection. Anton, I would like to make a public apology for the sheer length of time they've been festering on my shelf.

Scrat here is attempting to convey my deep and heartfelt shame.

All billion of your albums will be returned to you shortly and I may very well buy you a pint, should I judge you to not yet be suitably placated.

P.S. This picture is not of a captured spy squirrel.


Apparently, the Iranian police have arrested 14 squirrels on suspicion of spying. They were found on the border equipped with eavesdropping devices.

Now squirrels are my favourite animals precisely because of their talent with covert operations, but even I hadn't cottoned on to their potential.

I wonder if they were disappointed to have been spotted. What a self-esteem blow for the poor little mites.

P.S. This picture is not of a captured spy squirrel.

Monday, 9 July 2007

Old Person Strawberries

Riding the wave of controversy my beaner post inspired (ahem), I thought I would follow it up today by submitting a view shared by myself, sis and Laura for your consideration, which is as follows:

The best strawberries are old person strawberries.

We believe the most succulent, juiciest, yummiest little beasts come from the loving care lavished on strawberry patches by their OAP owners. If you have nans or grans or nandads who indulge in fruit farming, you will know this to be true.

Not to mention the jam, nothing beats a good bit of strawberry jam.

I should like to propose also that everyone book themselves a trip to the pick-your-owns this next couple of weeks, if only to have the chance to repeatedly use the word 'punnet'.

Sunday, 8 July 2007

An ode to beaners

OK you can blame Laura for this post, which I am aware will take my blog on a dizzy ride into the heady heights of weirdness.

I wish to spread the word about beaners, you see. Laura, like myself, enjoys the odd runner bean - my granddad used to grow them and her mum does the same. But she isn't eating them properly, for she does not have a beaner!

The beaner: ancient invention of vegetable goodness. Lop the end of your beans off with the sharp bit at the top and then thread them through the round bit, which is filled with a grid of sharp bastards that cut your runners into spaghetti-like strands.

Note that the beaner has a built-in adjustment lever, such that no bean is too big or too small. It also has handy little side blades that remove the stringy outer layer.

Coming next week: sprouts, myth or menace?

Viewing greed - says Who?

I am astounded. No, really, I am. I've never forgiven Billie Piper for the tripe she subjected England to as a 'solo artist' and so couldn't quite convince myself to torment my senses with Doctor Who when it relaunched. Also I managed to forget about it once a week for over a year. Impressed? I was.

Oh what a fool, I managed to bypass the most brilliant piece of UK television in years. I'm not surprised it started out with Christopher Eccleston, for of all the talent we've managed to belch out over here, he's among the very best. In fact, I highly recommend the miniseries The Second Coming for Eccleston fans, it's genius - I bought the dvd, I loved it so much.

David Tennant is clearly the best Doctor yet, of course, for anyone who was wondering. My best mate's been in love with the man for years and I would just like to say: kudos, dude, you were right :P

But I just saw the last episode featuring Rose (the Piper wench) and I'm a soggy mess of tears :( Why, why did she leave, why? UGH to painful separations, UGH. Piper, this time it's war -.-

And if anyone's reading this wondering wtf I'm on about, you can watch it all for yourself here. Hours of scientific, yet fictional, entertainment.

And in related news, for Doctor Who fans: my new favourite word is OOD.


YAY! My first actual, proper commission as a freelancer!

I met up with Editor Jenni on Friday in Oxygen, Leicester Square (my very favourite bar). I've not seen her since we moved to our Baker Street offices two years ago - the last round of redundancies, when we went from a company of about 50 to, well, 10. It was great catching up, we discovered some mutual loathings we'd not known about and swapped some gossip, old and new.

She'd previously written up for me a list of contacts who might be open to a cheeky speculative cv submission, so I dutifully emailed them all and hoped for the best - and one of them has come back and asked me to write three articles!

The deadline is the 16th, so I will actually be finished before I even leave work, but that just means money coming in quicker, which is never a bad thing. Oh happy day!

Friday, 6 July 2007

Such lies!

Lies! It says I've only used the words bastard (twice) and shoot, but I specifically remember mentioning the bucket of fuckers. And I'm sure there are a good number of bollocks, considering.

Oh I stole this off sis's blog, by the way.

My first crush...seriously

I've developed a bit of an inclination (it's not reached obsession stage yet) with the new Battlestar Galactica, which reminded me of the embarrassing fact that Apollo from the original series was my very first crush.

Look at him, all coiffed and handsome in his brown brown suede. What a happy little bastard he seems.

Now I ought to point out I can only have been about five at the time, but he really is a pretty specimen of 70s manhood, don't you think?

As for the new series: loving it. It's been three posts now so I can safely mention that it was Graham who loaned me the box set (ah box sets, beauteous invention) and I am cursing him, for this is not helping my job hunting.

The only thing I don't like about it is that blasted blonde cylon. Ima belt the woman if she doesn't stop talking like someone glued her bottom lip to her teeth.

Now, I ought to sign off by pointing out that the years have not been kind.

From this...
To this....


We're in business, folks!

So there I was, panicking that this freelancing gig wasn't going to go anywhere and I was 3 weeks away from the breadline, crossing my fingers they do ciabatta, when all of a sudden it started to come together - hurrah for patience!

OK that's a lie, patient is not a word I'd use to describe me. I cannot, for example, watch a TV series week by week any more, I am forced to procure box sets.

But yes, there I was, impatiently awaiting my ciabatta, when the phone rang with a sub-editor freelance offer, two emails came in offering editing work and another asking if I'd like to commission their books for them. Yeah go on then! Plus I went on a meet-and-greet with a lovely lovely lady at another publisher's yesterday and I might be taking responsibility for covering county news and events for their website, which would be very cool.

I'm so relieved I cannot tell you - after Wednesday's debacle at the magazine place, I really thought I was gonna be lucky to get a commission, let alone enough to pay the bills. I can't wait to get started!

Thursday, 5 July 2007

God-almighty great cock-up

Well, I had an interview for a rather cushy editorial role with one of the world's best-selling magazines yesterday and what a tits-up job I did of it.

I was perfectly calm and collected until 11am, when my agent emailed to say "Oh by the way, I told you that you'd need to write an article for them, right?" No! No she did not tell me! Nor did she tell me I needed to take some example work, which fair enough anyone organised would already have thought of, but I am not organised.

Second cock-up was when my Tube train got stuck in the tunnel for half an hour, which put me right on the edge of my allocated cock-up time and also got my hackles well and truly up because I was stuck with an entire carriage-load of school children on a trip. And what do carriage-loads of school children on a trip do? They make an almighty great carriage-load of a racket.

So finally I reach Canary Wharf and, brow furrowed, beetle off in search of the building. In the wrong direction. Thank you, Mr Security Guard, karma will be a'knocking shortly -.-

All of which nonsense put me in quite the wrong frame of mind for being questioned about the relative merits of pick-up articles vs editorial washes. So, ladies and gents, I will not be holding my breath for a phone call any time soon.

Wednesday, 4 July 2007