Saturday, September 30, 2006

Solidarity, people.

We are not powerless.

It's easy to despair, to think 'there's nothing I can do about it.' But we are not powerless, we are not helpess, and we are not alone.

This is the stuff they don't teach you in history class, how an army was defeated by poor, working-class familes, fighting with rubbish and old mattresses. How an army was brought to it's knees by schoolchildren. with marbles. This is the history they don't teach you in school.

Friday, September 29, 2006

Mission Accomplished

(i feel i should be standing in front of a giant banner depicting that headline.)

House of Frasier, 40 quid.

Good god, i never thought i'd pay 40 pounds for a bra and knickers!!!

I am now properly prepared to receive His Swashbucklingness The Pirate when he returns from Exploits Extraordinary. Too bad that won't be for another 2 months at least. *sighs mournfully*

Thursday, September 28, 2006


Why can't I buy sexy lingerie that's tasteful and isn't made for a 6-year-old? Why is this so difficult? Everything is all either neon pink plastic hollywood trashy crap that i wouldn't let my daughter wear even if she was a hooker, and the rest had fucking Disney characters on it! (well, not Disney characters engaged in the act of fornication, but you know what i mean.)

Why is it all either this:

or this: (someone needs to explain to me how a grown woman dressing up in pastel-flowered cartoon character underwear is sexy. that Whinnie the Pooh bra just takes paedophilia to a whole new level as far as i'm concerned. making grown women look like pre-pubescent children is just creepy. like shaving your crotch.)

Why is there nothing in between!?!?!?!? mumph.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Becoming an Ex-Pat

For those of you who've been reading my blog from the beginning or nearly-so (Herebe, Sal, etc.), you know the story line of my life has unfolded roughly like this:
Chick is lonely
Chick whinges a lot
Chick wants to return to England.
Chick returns to England.
Chick finds man and falls in love.
Chick is in England and no longer lonely.

So what does that leave? There needs be a new adventure, a new saga, that you, my readers, may follow with eagerness and anticipation. It should be dramatic, frustrating, heart-felt, and personal. It should be...

The Pangs of Becoming a British Citizen!

And believe me, there are pangs. This will be a long (5 years or more) and arduous (have you seen the Home Office website?) labor of love. And it begins now. Stay tuned.

Monday, September 25, 2006


I'm feeling terribly English just now. Today was a remarkable day.

1. I used my HSBC bank card for the first time. My very own British bank account. I'm earning and spending my money in pounds. Whee!

2. Some local yokel actually thought I was English. My accent, it seems, is coming along. He asked me where in England I was from, probably because I've picked up a smattering of inflections from people all over the island. I must sound like a right mutt. But at least I don't sound American!


The move is complete. Thanks for all your patience. I'm lovin' my new digs!

I'm on the 7th floor, which is great because there's no one who can see in my windows. I don't have to close the drapes ever! Whoo-hoo!

Here is my mamoth window sill. 2 feet deep and runs the span of the room. Space for loads of plants. Double 'Whoo-hoo'!

*blogging starkers*

Here we have my cozy sleeping corning. Note the green wall. Yep, that shit was pink a couple days ago. NO LONGER. Fuck my contract, I don't DO pink walls. Period.

You can see here my bookshelf in the corner, covered with all sorts of crap. If you're the observant type, you will figure out that I put the captions in with the intention of sending this to The Pirate, who is at present off on a great adventure, sailing the Seven Seas, drinking rum, buggering cabin boys, and gathering booty like a dragon with a metal detector. Damn I miss his booty. *snort*

Sunday, September 24, 2006

'God's Rottweiller' In The Doghouse

(over the wrong issue)

There's been loads and loads of press coverage lately about Ratzinger, er, Pope Benedict the whatever. Ugh, I can't even bring myself to say it. He'll always be Ratzinger to me.

Mostly he's been taking flak for insulting pretty much everyone on earth, espeically the muslims. Well, to be fair his insult of the Jews was actually a lot worse to my mind (stood in the middle of Auschwitz and told them that the real victim of the Holocaust was Christianity), but he's been getting press for pissing off the Muslims because the Muslims are reacting more. It's the cartoon fiasco all over again. Someone does something thoughtless and insensitive, the world Muslim community responds by:
a) rioting
b) calling for blood
c) burning churches
d) all of the above
If you guessed "d", you're a winner! Give yourself a gold star, genius.

Now, I have a hard time getting too riled up over this because the way I see it, people on both sides are being selfish fuckwits. I really have no sympathy for either of them, the Pope or the Muslims. One's an asshole (again), the others are over-reacting. Again. Lose-lose situation. Moving on.

The one that's really got me is the whole Intelligent Design thing. Ratzinger is about to bring the Catholic church into it. The Church has never mandated a literal interpretation of the Old Testament. Not for a few centuries, anyway. Because of this, it doesn't have big problem with the idea of evolution. Pope JPII was fairly progressive in terms of scientific achievement. He recognized the accomplishments of Darwin, didn't have issue with evolution or natural selection. Heck, he even apologized to Galileo and his descendants for the Churche's big fuck-up over the whole solar system thang.

Ratzinger is about to undo all that. (Well, maybe not the solar system thing, but given enough time, who knows?) If the Church reverses its position on evolution and goes over to the side of the narrow-minded fundamentalist idiots known in America as the Religious Right (known in my mind as the Religious Wrong), it will be a major doctrinal shift that will have ramifications for Catholic education all over the world. Catholic schools will no longer be able to teach evolutionary biology. And what of all the Catholic universities? Highly respected institutions like Loyola University and Notre Dame will have serious propblems on their hands. Will they eject their biology departments, or risk excommunication? (I got $1000 says the Jesuits over at Loyola take excommunication before they sacrifice the qualitiy of their education. Any takers?)

In an age where technology is developing at an exponential pace, education is more critical than ever. It is no longer enough to know the three Rs to survive in society. One must be scientifically and technolgically literate as well. The difference between the Knows and the Know Nots is rapidly becoming as significant as the difference between the Haves and the Have Nots. It is into this 21st century setting that the Pope is seriously handicapping all his followers, attempting to force them back into an age of blindness and ignorance. In his role as shepherd, Ratzinger is not leading with the hand of compassion and understanding. In his narrow judgment and condemnation of human behavior, he is not doing his flock any favors.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

I'm a crappy blogger

and now i've just got even crappier.

After periods of long absence while i was on hols in the states, and then another long period of absence while i was just too busy/lazy, i am going to inflict on you yet another long absence.

I am moving today, and it will take a little while to get my 'puter back online in the new place. Theoretically it shouldn't take too long, but in reality these things are always a huge nuissance.

I promise to write up the nice, big, ranting piece I've been composing in my head for the last two weeks as soon as I get my hook-up back. It's titled "God's Rotweiller in the Doghouse." You'll love it.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

The Famed British Diplomacy:

"Kind greetings from the British. There are concerns to speak about. We declare war on you."

They don't beat around the bush, gotta give 'em that...

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Academic climax for the Bitch

If my academic research on the language of Geoffrey Chaucer is tantamount to being spanked by the dude from 600 years in the past (which is exaclty the comparison I draw with my web ID), than this is the orgasm at the end of the session. While still reeling from the shock that I bear a 70% resemblance to Collin Farrel, I received this email:

"We are pleased to inform you that your proposed paper, entitled "Chaucer’s Intensifiers: Continuing Tradition or Linguistic Innovation," has been selected for inclusion in the session entitled "Chaucer and Words II" at the 42nd International Congress on Medieval Studies at Kalamazoo, Michigan, May 10-13, 2007. The session is sponsored by The Chaucer Review."

yay! I'm giving a paper next spring at the world's largest annual conference on medieval studies. moreover, i'm presenting at a session sponsored by the Chaucer Review, the preeminent journal of all things Chaucerian.* It's a great foot in the door. I think there's a very good chance that after they hear the paper I can get it published in the journal, which would be great as it's compeltely original research, and not co-authored by anyone. It's ALL ME, people! Woot!

In slightly more disappointing news, the TEAMS series edition of John Gower's Confessio Amantis, edited by Russel Peck (capital fellow, Peck; met him at last year's conference), is apparently out of print. Shit. The search for the second-hand copy takes off in earnest.**

*Yes, that really is a word.

**Poor Earnest. must be dead uncomfortable for him.

I have no dignity left

MyHeritage - find your celebrity doppelganger

Friday, September 15, 2006

Yet another stolen meme

(Stole this one from First Nations)

Things I fear:
1. fundamentalism/superstition/stray dogs (i'm lumping these together because they're effectively the same)
2. losing the people I love
3. being ordinary

People who make me laugh.
1. Ardal O'Hanlon
2. The Pirate
3. my brother

Things I hate most.
1. fundamentalists/hypocrites/willfull ignorance (ditto)
2. beer-and-curry flavored morning mouth (can we say "breath of a thousand corpses? sure, i knew you could.")
3. quitters

Things I don't understand.
1. How so many people can be so goddamned DUMB.
2. The Krebbs citric acid cycle
3. Why we pay atheltes millions of dollars a year, and teachers not enough to feed themselves

Things I'm doing right now (besides blogging, which is the obvious, assinine answer)
1. cleaning the flat
2. wondering how i'm going to pay my expenses this year
3. re-reading book 1 of John Gower's Confessio Amantis

Things I want to do before I die.
1. Olympic gold medal
2. PhD/publish books/career academic scheme
3. that whole marraige/house/kids thang

Things I can do.
1. cook/bake real food from scratch
2. act like an idiot in public and not care
3. row like a demon

Ways to describe my personality.
1. passionate/enthusiastic
2. attention span of tick on speed
3. domineering

Things I can't do.
1. remember anything
2. drive a manual transmission
3. make someone love me

Things I think you should listen to.
1. international news media
2. your animal spirit guide
3. music by Simon and Garfunkel

Things you should never listen to.
1. religious leaders/televangelists/anyone selling god
2. Fox news
3. Anyone presently working in the White House

Things I'd like to learn.
1. the piano
2. Old English
3. the driving force behind the Great Vowel Shift

Favorite foods.
1. strawberry milkshakes (American stlye, with ice cream.)
2. kielbasa
3. garden salad, made with fresh veg that i've grown myself and picked just seconds ago

Beverages I drink regularly.
1. tea
2. fruit squash (diluted artificial fruit juice product, for the Yanks reading this who aren't familiar with the phenomenon that is fruit squash)
3. Dioralyte (rehydration fluid during intense training)

Shows I watched as a kid.
1. The A-Team
2. Murphy Brown
3. reruns of Rowan and Martin's Laugh In

(whee! the Pirate just phoned from his current location in Places Exotic. So good to hear his voice.)

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Of Confidence

and of Irony.

This post is inspired by The Great She Elephant, who is unbefuckinglievably beautiful. Seriously. I would.

I went for 9 solid years without a single date. For ages and ages I didn't know why. I didn't think I was especially ugly. I'm no Catherine Zeta Jones by any means, but I've seen far uglier women get asked out. I just didn't understand. I despaired. By the time i was 25 i absolutely believed i would alone forever. No one in my life had ever fallen in love with me, and no one ever would.

Sure, there were people I had been close to in that time, people I had cared about tremendously, people I had been attracted to, and even managed to fall in love with a couple of them. But none of them ever came close to returning my feelings. I declared myself the Queen of Unrequited Affection, and reveled in my misery. I consumed it like dark chocolate mousse, and it returned the favor.

I came to Bristol with bright, new hopes of salvation. I thought, "This is it. This time, something will happen." Of course, I thought that about Manchester, too, and thought I didn't find the love of my life, I did make one wonderful, intimate, enduring friendship, so it wasn't a total loss.*

Maybe my expectations were too high, but by Christmas I was totally depressed again. Every single one of my flatmates was in a relationship. One of them had even managed 2 boyfriends in that space of time. I thought "How does she do it? How does she meet people? and WHY THE FUCK CAN'T I????" I had no answers, and I was miserable.

Que the New Year, and my birthday. Aforementioned flatmate and I went out, ate food, drank alcohol, and danced. I met the Hot Scot. I snogged for the first time in my life. It was my 27th birthday. And I got a taste (rather literally) of what I'd been missing.

That was when I decided to take, erm, matters into my own hands. I couldn't bear to sit idly and wait any longer. No, i didn't buy a rampant rabbit. (yet, anyway). I joined an internet dating service. My brother met his wife on eHarmony, so i figured I'd give it a go. I also joined Dating Direct, 'cuz it looked good, and I didn't necessarily want to meet men who were hard-core wife shopping. (Sorry this is going on so long. There really is a point to all this. I'll get to it eventually.)

And that was when I met the Hairy Man on Dating Direct. It wasn't love at first sight, it wasn't uncontrollable animal magnatism, but it was a good time. I really liked him (still do and miss him like hell), and eventually I, he, well, yeeeeeah.

And a strange thing happened (I'm getting to the point now. Yay!): people started to treat me differently. Men, specifically. When I walked into a shop, someone would open the door. Walking down the street, men would smile at me. I got asked out to dinner by no less than 3 chuggers, on separate occasions. I declined them all, as I was happy with His Hairiness, but it did exaperate me. I thought Why the hell didn't these sorts of things happen when I was single? They say men are like busses: you can wait for ever for one to come along, and eventually they all show up at the same time.

I reckon there's a lot of truth in that. Flatmate B has a theory, and the more I think about, the more I'm convinced it's right. The thing people find most attractive, regardless of appearance, is confidence. It's why women have swooned over James Bond for over half a century: he's the epitome of confidence. It's why we often fall for assholes and bastards (there's a fine line between confidence and arrogance). I didn't think I changed all that much after I started dating the Hairy One, but maybe I did.

I think the confidence I gained from that relationship changed the way every single person I encountered saw me. For the first time in my life, I felt attractive. And that made me attractive to other people for the first time. Somehow I'd been subconsciously conveying my insecurity and lack of self-worth in my mannerisms and everyday actions, and that is the biggest turn-off of them all.

So, GSE, I feel your pain. I completely understand what you're going through. I've been there, rather recently. You are a smart, clever, loving, beautiful woman who any man would be lucky be with. And the minute you start believing that, really believing it, the men will too. I promise. Go get 'em, tiger.

And the reason this is ironic? I broke the Hairy Man's heart when i met the Pirate, but if it hadn't been for my relationship with the Hairy Man, I would not have had that inner confidence, and the Pirate probably never would have found me at all attractive. It's a mad mad mad mad world.

*and a Master's degree, but who really cares about such trifles?

Penis Post

A new drug for premature ejaculation is available, reports this week's issue of New Scientist. In a clinical trial of 2000 men, all of whom typically ejaculated less than 1 minute after penetration, the time to ejaculation was:
1.8 mins for men on placebo
2.8 mins for men on 30 mg dose, and
3.3 mins for men on 60 mg dose.

This struck me as lovely news, until i read the following:
"Marcel Waldinger, a neuropsychiatrist at Leyenburg Hospital in The Hague... is concerned that phaymaceutical compaines may be trying to 'pathologise' a condition... that belongs to normal sexual performance." In his 2005 study among the world's males' time taken to ejaculate, the average man lasted only 5.4 mins. (yes, that really is a decimal point.) In Turkey, the average was only 3.7.

5.4 mins!?!? really? um, wow.

Here's what this says to me. This says to me that popular culture has led us to have unhealty, unnatural, unrealistic expectations of men's staying power. We've seen this effect before, in our obsessive desires to have microwaists, DDboobs, and perfect tans all year round. At the same time that we've been bombarded with unrealistic expectations of our bodies, we've also been bombarded with equally unrealistic expectations of sexual performance. Egad. I actually feel sorry for men. (and Turkish women).

In related penis news: Bluto is defiantely a boy.

There was considerable doubt as to the authenticity of the little guy's true gender, as it's rather difficult to tell with hamsters. But this morning as I took him out of his cage so i could clean it, i was rubbing his belly and i accidently encountered, his, um, all right i'll just say it: i rubbed my hamter's cock. Not deliberatley, mind, but apparently he likes having his belly scratched a little too much.

I feel like i need a shower.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Moving on

Can we please get over 9/11? Pretty please? To look at the news in America yesterday you would have thought that there was nothing else happening on the entire planet except 9/11 tributes. In New York they had a ceremony at "Ground Zero" where they read the name of every single victim. It took over 3 hours. And thousands of people stood in the streets for this!

Yes it changed the world, but more because of the effect it had on American foreign policy than anything else, and American foreign policy always has major global repercussions, because we're really really really big and we make policy mistakes proportionate to our girth.

It's time to get over it, people. It's time to stop looking backwards, time to stop with the mourning and the waterworks, the jingoism, commercialism, and all the other isms. It's time to stop allowing marketing gurus and CEOs to profit from the tragedy with all the movies, TV specials (and accompanying advertising), t-shirts, car flags, pins, posters, cards, and plastic crap. 9/11 has become one of the biggest money-making schemes in American history! I havn't seen numbers, but I would bet the farm that merchandising in the aftermath of 9/11 has generated more revenue than the last American Olympic Games. Why? Because the Olympics only lasts a few weeks, but we've managed to keep this shit going for FIVE FUCKING YEARS, PEOPLE.

Why do TV networks run all those memorial specials? Do they care about the families of the deceased? Fuck no. One word: RATINGS. And ratings means ad revenue. Every time you watch one of those morbid and morose tribute programs you're putting money into the pockets of people who are exploiting the dead. Stop it.

Stop looking backwards. Stop living in 2001. I beg you all, right now, join the rest of the world in 2006, carefully examine the most dangerous threats facing the WORLD today, not just America. Realize that while 3000 people dying in a bomb blast sucks...
  • Malaria kills 1.5 MILLION people globally every year
  • in 2003 in the US there were 16,907 deaths attributed to gun violence
  • in 2005 an estimated 2.8 million people died of AIDS, leaving 12 million children orphaned in Africa alone
  • Since the US invaded Iraq, somewhere between 41,000 and 46,000 Iraqis have been killed. (We don't know exactly because, as General Tommy Franks said, "We don't do body counts.")
  • If we don't do something drastic about global warming right now, all six billion of us are FUCKED.
So get over it, and get on with addressing the real issues.

Monday, September 11, 2006

A Farewell to Arms

...and hands and shoulders, to hard thighs, bristly cheeks, and gentle lips. Farewell to laughter, hugs, late-night chats, stimulating conversations, romantic dinners, and fantastic sex. Farewell to happiness: The Pirate is gone.

Just moments ago he set sail for distant lands of exotic climes. He will, perhaps, return in a couple months' time, but all is uncertainty. As it stands, by the current plan he will return at the end of November. But pirates change their plans more often than their knickers, so who knows.

What a send-off, though. He arrived here Friday night, and after a meal of my preparation we drove to his house, where the showers are hotter and the beds are more spacious. And then we spent the entire weekend together, talking about world events and laughing at our own idiocies and others'.

We went to the zoo on Saturday afternoon. I had hoped to spy one of the monkeys doing something that would inspire the parents to shield their children's eyes. Instead i got a whole zoofull of monkey engaged in such activities. FanTAStic. I love monkeys. That evening we went for an uber romantic dinner at a hotel near his house. It was the kind of place where the waiter puts the napkin on your lap for you. We gazed at each other through the glow of the candles and talked about our future plans.

Sunday morning we went to Church. The Vicar spied a new, young coupe in the congregation and immediately, like all good clergymen, smelled blood in the water. He cornered us (very cordially) on the way out, welcomed us, asked if we were married and, upon hearing our reply ("No"), suggested we tie the knot right there at St. Bart's.

We left the church and spent the afternoon up at Ashton Court, lazing around in the tall grass of the meadows, lying in the sun, dozing, talking, and flicking spiders off one another. A more lazy and enjoyable day I have never had. Sunday evening we came back to mine and sat around watching Jeeves and Wooster.

And this morning he was gone.

Funny thing is, I don't feel empty or alone or morose at all. Though it is disappointing to know that it will be some months before my eyes again enjoy the delight of his smile, I know that he keeps me in his heart, and that ultimately our relationship is based on far more than geography, and so this temporary geographical inconvenience is of little concern.

You will, of course, be the first to know when he gets back. Meanwhile, you'll have to put up with months and months worth of whiney, sexless posts. Ta!

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Road Trip!

Hey all. I'm off on the road again. Not for long, mind - just a weekend. Marley and Mrs. Happy just bought their first home,* so the 'rents and I (along with the aged and incontinent aunties) are off to Wisconsin for the house-warming party. Wee. Will update when I get back on Monday.

*argh scary grown-up things!