Thursday, November 30, 2006

Yet another 'Casino Royale' review

It was a good movie, it just wasn't a Bond movie.

The film was gripping, fast-paced, gritty, and was in general a good action flick. It just wasn't Bond. Blue-eyes over there plays a very hard man. This is a character with a lot of anger, bitterness, a chip on his shoulder, and who at various points in the film seriously doubts whether or not he will succeed in his mission. It is an interesting character with emotional depth, which is why it's not the Bond we know and love.

James Bond is characterized by a swaggar brought on by his impossible confidence in his own ability: he never, ever doubts himself. He is smug, arrogant, and saunters through car chases, run-downs, and gun fights without breaking a sweat or letting his shirt come untucked. He has saviore-faire to spare and a relaxed demeanor that allows him to practically saunter through the films.

The character brought to us by whats-his-face was more complicated, more psychologically plausible, complete, and human; a man who had to fight tooth and nail for every inch he gained on his enemies. A good character, an interesting character, but not 007.

The point of the movie was to be a prequel of sorts, see the earliest days of Bond, how he gains his '00' status, that sort of thing. But it fails as a prequel becuase the man we see at the end of the film bears little resemblance to the character we know he becomes, in the performances of Sean Connery. It's almost impossible to reconcile the two.

I had hoped that the prequel concept would mean more of a return to the camp and swaggar of the Connery days, but instead this was darker, dirtier, and much more modern than any other Bond film in the series.

That's the big picture, as it were. I'm not going to go through a list of little details that annoyed me, but I do feel compelled to mention 1: the utter, utter lack of good car chase. If you count the seconds during the film, you will notice that we actually spend more time watching the Aston Martin DBS rolling than we do watching it driving. The wreck scene lasted longer than the chase! For fuck's sake! I knew it was going to hurt watching that car be destroyed, which is why I was doubly annoyed that I got to spend so little time admiring it before it got trashed. Shame on them.

My other problem (ok, i'll mention 2) was with the audience. When Bond is being tortured the audience laughed. WTF? Yes, there was comic relief in the scene, but it only served to highlight the agony of what was taking place on the screen. How can you watch a man being tortured and laugh? I dunno, I guess I could ask the US troops staffing Abu Gahrib prison.

Still, for all that, it's worth seeing. Blue-eyes isn't that hot (honestly, when he put on the tux and adjusted his cuffs, I thought about how gorgeous the Pirate looked at the ball last Saturday, and I leaned over to him and said "eh. I've seen better." Poor lad turned absolutely purple. it was too cute), and the Bond Babe is a frigid bitch with brains (wtf? and Bond Bimbo with brains? that ain't allowed), but overall it was still an entertaining film. Just don't buy your candy at the theatre. Smuggle it in under your coat. I've never before spent $20 on two small bags of gummy candy and 1 bottle of pop.

Hey, that gives me an idea! The next Bond flick needs to feature a cinema-franchise owner as the villain! I think that's someone we can all agree is evil as sin and enjoy watching being blown up.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Feeling better

Hi guys. sorry about that. i promise that's the last time i will ever post about my bowel misfortunes. this blog is supposed to be about mental excrement, not actual excrement.

the ol' GI tract settled down for a while last night, and i thought things were on the mend, but when i woke up this morning The Troubles started anew. Which meant that I had to cancel my tutorial session, which really pissed me off. (Though i'm sure my students are thrilled.)

At the mo i'm beginning to feel more stable, and i hope it stays that way. for one thing, I'M FUCKING HUNGRY! I really really really really want to eat something. I've been keeping on top of the hydration, though, so that's ok anyway.

Anonymous had an interesting comment on the last post. The fact that anyone bothered to comment at all about my upset stomach does indeed suggest more interest than a passing glance at my blog. I think once you've been reading someone's blonk for a while (sorry, Annie, had to steal the lingo -- I want to be cool like you) you begin to see them, perhaps not as a real person, but as a real personality.

My blog buddies are incredibly important to me, because I know that they're the friends to whom I will never have to say "goodbye." I move around a LOT. While I was filling out my CRB disclosure form (so I can be cleared to coach under-18s from a local school), I realized that I've lived at 5 different addresses in the last 5 years. (They're going to love me.) Ever since I moved away from home to go to uni when I was 18 I've lived an incredibly transient life. As a result I've left behind friends in numerous cities, several states, and even a couple continents. I hate saying "goodbye." But even in the darkest hours of my life, wherever I am, as long as there's electricity and a phone line, I can feel connected to my Imaginary Friends on the interweb. And you can't imagine the amount of comfort and reassurance that brings. Or perhaps you can?

So I want to thank everyone for being so wonderful and helpful and concerned about me, whether I've had a broken heart, a broken back, a paucity of porn, or a case of firehose-force squirts. I know you guys are there for me. And I'm here for you.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006


I've had a stomach ache for two days now. It's not menstrual cramps, and it's not something I ate. I don't know what it is, but I've never before had a stomach ache that a good night's sleep wouldn't fix. I've been sucking down chamomile and peppermint tea like it's going out of style, but to no avail. Eating neither helps nor makes it worse.

Any one got any suggestions?

Monday, November 27, 2006


by the way, this is what a friend of mine had to say re the posts about my back injury.** She did it in an email instead of in the comments, but it was so sweet and funny I had to share it (hope you don't mind, hon.):

"Question: Are you Ratty?

Answer: NO!!!! You are The American Pie.....not Ratty. You are more like Mr Bloody Toad. Rowing, KNOWING that you were injured. Grrrrrrrrrrrrrr. I love you, you daft Chaucer-loving bitch! DO NOT DO THAT AGAIN!!!!!!!!!

OK, rant over. I have read the three relevant entires in your blog and oh my fucking GAWD.......jesus, it was pure chick-lit and not the bad stuff that comes free with Cosmopolitan was pure gold!!!!!!!!! Brief encounter? Yes, I think so. I like Handsome Doctor. I like him becasuse he rescued you and left again. This is Frodo-destroying-the-ring-and
-leaving-Middle-Earth stuff.

How is the back??????????? talk to me, or are you too busy being boarded by pirates?"

I love this note because I can hear her voice in my head when I read it. And though I hadn't thought of it in those terms, her comparison between Frodo and HD is rather apt. I love you too, Darling. Kisses from the northern hemisphere: MUAH! xxxxxxxx

**Personal to... You know who you are

Proper Drama, ER-style

ER Drama, part II

The State of the Reunion

Now I get to tell all of you about the wondeful marvelous weekend, as well as update you on the state of my back.

The Pirate came over on Friday evening. O Captain My Captain was, in the great tradition of my boat club, hosting a spaghetti dinner at her house for the women's squad the night before the head race. P was invited to come along. (I think they all just wanted to see what I'd been making such a fuss about for so long. The time had come for me to deliver up the goods, as it were.)

We had a nice evening. If the Pirate was bored being stucking in a room with a bunch of 20 year-old chicks babbling on about rowing, he didn't show it. Coach brough his laptop and plugged it in to OCMC's housemate's overhead projector and gave us a Powerpoint presentation on How To Be A Champion Athlete. The presentation was serious, but the whole concept of the evening was sheer comedy.

Saturday morning was the day of the big head race sponsored by my boat club and taking place on our home river, in front of our boathouse. It's a big deal.

I had offered to show up and lend a hand in whatever capacity I could, but Coach told me to sleep in and keep resting my back. I figured that would probably be the last ever time my coach told me to sleep in, so I acquiesced obediently. He winked at the Pirate. (I love my coach.)

So we slept in. I fixed french toast for breakfast. We got dressed and made it to the boathouse about noon. The river was dangerously flooded. I'd never seen it so high, and the stream was insanely fast. The senior mens 8 had beat the river record by 26 seconds, completing the 4k course in just over 10 minutes!!! The novice divisions had, very wisely, been cancelled. The conditions were not safe for inexperienced crews.

There was nothing else scheduled until 2 pm, so we wandered downriver to the pub and had lunch. Or more accurately, the Pirate had lunch and I watched him eat, my stomach still being full of french toast. You know those thighs like oak timbers of his I'm always going on about? I think one of them is hollow, and constains several extra stomachs.

The weather was lovely: cool and sunny and calm. We decided to walk along the riverbank up to the start and cheer on the crews from there. It's a beautiful walk along the Avon, just trees and fields and pastures. There is no development anywhere on that stretch of river. So we followed the path along the bank, carefully navigating the sticky mud, me revelling in the first real exercise* I've had since i did my back, and talking quietly.

How nice it was to have him back! This is what I missed most: just being with one another, chatting about the events of the big wide world, or insignificant things like what variety of tit is that hiding in the hawthorne tree? We walked and held hands, breathed deeply the fresh air, and felt the love shining on our faces.

*when a slow, 4k walk on level ground is "real exercise" you know you're in trouble.

We got up to the start of the race, where there is another pub. I took a seat on a comfortable, wooden, straight-backed bench outside and the P went in to get us a pot of tea. We sat there for ages, drinking our tea and enjoying life, when we finally started to wonder where the fuck all the boats were. We should have been seeing crews coming past us to start the race ages ago. I looked at my watch: it was half two, 30 minutes past when the race was meant to start. I got out my phone and rang up Coach.

"Coach! What the fuck's going on down there?"

"Cancelled. Too much debris in the river, logs and crap. Hazard to the equipment."

So we drank our tea and walked back. The sun was low on the hills, all was quiet and well with the world. Honestly, it was the most idyllic afternoon I've ever spent.

We got back to my flat about half 4, and I was exhausted. It was the first day since the injuy I hadn't had a nap or lay down to rest my back, and it was time. I crawled into bed, and the P amused himself at my computer while i dozed for an hour. When I woke up it was time to start getting ready for the evening's festivities: the Head Race Ball.

As I showered and got dressed I couldn't help but notice the contrast between that evening and the evening we got dressed for the Summer Ball, way back in July, our first date. Then, we hardly knew each other, having only met once before at a party. We were at his house, and got dressed in separate rooms. It wasn't supposed to be a romantic evening, just a fun night out between friends. This time, at my place, we were different people. We showered and dressed together, talking, laughing, and flirting in total comfort. I stood in my bra and stockings in front of the mirror while I fixed my hair and makeup, and he manoevered around me to shave. He sat at my desk and polished his shoes, then helped me into my dress and kissed the back of my neck when he zipped me up. And it all felt so wonderfully, marvelously normal.

I didn't take any photos, but if I can get some from my friends I'll put them up here later. That said, we looked good.

He took my arm and escorted me out the door.

The ball was nice. The food was lousy, but who really gives a shit. Everyone was friendly and open and pleasant and in a good mood. Fortunately there was a bloke there whom the P knows from work, so at least there was someone there for him to talk to besides me. Everyone was very concerened about me and how I was doing, enquired kindly about my back, and said how impressed they were with my dedication to carry on when i knew I was injured. I told them I was fucking fool and don't ever follow my example. I think they thought I was just being polite, but I meant it.

We mingled and had a good time, but my midnight it was time to go. My back was getting rather sore by that point (and my shoes only had 2" heels), but the chairs in the ballroom were terrible and offered no respite. Aslo by that time the music was too loud for the P and I to be able to carry on a conversation, and everyone else in the room was too drunk to carry on a conversation, even if it had been physically possible over the music. But we'd had a lovely evening.

Sunday I had to be at the gym to coach some novice girls from a local boarding school at 10 am. Conveniently, Sunday Services at the cathedral are also at 10 am. So the P went to church and i went to the gym, which basically is my church. After I thought he would want to go home and take care of things that needed doing there, but he said, "I can stay a little longer if you want." Then Genghis rang up and said "I want a proper Sunday dinner. Let's go out to eat." Ghengis and the P are old chums from uni, so the three of us went to lunch together. After that the P and i decided to see Casino Royal at the cinema. (I will post my review of that tomorrow.)

Show times and transit being what they were, it was almost 8 pm when he dropped me back at my flat. "I'm glad you're back," i told him, for the thousandth time that weekend. "Thank you for everything." He put his hand on the side of my face, lightly holding my chin in his palm, and gently, so gently, touched my mouth with his lips. "Goodnight," he said.

...and now for the medical update, in case anyone was wondering:

every day is an improvement, but it's going to be a slower crawl uphill than i'd originally hoped. yesterday was the first day i was able to go about my daily business without having to lie down at intervals. that may not sound incredible, but it makes a big difference in how i can function during the day. i'm not taking any more pain killers, havn't for a few days now. I saw one of the university's GPs on friday evening at the nagging of the Pirate and flatmate B, who have been conspiring against me for days. As predicted, she was useless. She repeated everything Handsome Doctor told me last Saturday, informed me that a scan wasn't necessary since i didn't have any "red flag" symptoms, confirmed that the meds i'd been given were appropriate (which i never doubted), and told me to take it easy. The big question on my mind, how do i know when it's safe for me to begin training?, she wouldn't answer. She said she wasn't qualified to advise me on sports training, and that I would need to see a physio at the fitness centre. All well and good, but they charge money and i'm flat broke. I figure after I've had a few days completely pain-free I'll being doing the stretches and core stability stuff my coach gave me. I want to be up and running at full speed by training camp, which is the second week in January.

Friday, November 24, 2006


It's Wally! and mother, Vi. (click to enlarge so you can appreciate the fullness of the glory that is his stubby little tongue sticking out.)

God, she's so beautiful I damn near weep every time I look at this photo. And how cute is that kid??? *sigh*

Wally was born last July, making me an (honorary) auntie for the first time. I got to spend a week with him in August, and i've gone completely gaga.

I want a baby. Specifically, that one.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Ow! *rubs head where pinecone hit*

Been tagged by First Nations with this. Which is just as well, because I steal all her memes whether she tags me or not. This one I couldn't steal (even though I thought about nabbing it from Dave) because it's just so unbelievably self-centered. And also kind of redundant, because hell, a blog is unbelievable self-centered anyway. At least mine is. Anyway, here is a true meMe.

5 Things About Me:

1. My feet are always cold. I have to sleep wearing fuzzy socks, otherwise my feet freeze off to the point of pain and then numbness, even on warm nights, and I can't fall asleep when my feet are numb. Once I was at a friend's for the night, and I didn't pack any socks, and I didn't fall asleep all night because my feet were too cold. So I always sleep wearing warm, fuzzy socks. It's very sexxxy.

2. I read abysmally slowly. It takes me for sodding ever to get through a book. Even "light" reading, novels and such, take me weeks to read. I read at the pace I speak, because I hear every syllable in my head as though someone were reading it to me. This is a problem for someone in my profession. (PhD in English lit!!!) Over the years I've taken speed-reading courses and done all sorts of things to attempt to increase my reading speed, but to no avail.

3. I potty-trained myself. One day, when I was still young enough to sleep in a crib, I said to my mother "no more diapers." I had never gone through the night dry, and I was sill rather young, so my mother was naturally skeptical. She told me that I could wear big girl underwear to bed that night, but if I wet the bed I would have to wear diapers from then on. I never wore another diaper after that, for any reason. And in the whole of my childhood, I've never once wet the bed. Ha.

4. I can't stand the writings of John Gower. Don't tell anyone.

5. The worst day of my entire life was the day I was deported from England. I thought my life was over, and everything I had worked for was being taken away. It is the only time I have ever contemplated suicide.

Tagging: Timorous Beastie, Herebe Monsters, Michael, Mitts and Rosa, and the Great She Elephant

Happy Turkey Day!

(Disturbing, no?)

Oh my god what a week.

On tuesday evening (is today Thursday already? good grief) I was sitting at my 'puter, still sniffling softly over a sad email, a heartfelt "goodbye" from our mysterious dashing* doctor, when the doorbell buzzed. I went to the door, opened it...

blinked a few times...

then sucked all the air from the corridor as my brain caught up with my eyes and i realized who was standing in front of me. The Pirate grinned.

I threw my arms around him, shaking and crying while he held me in a vice grip, and time stood still.

We've hardly been apart since. He surprised me by coming home a day early, so I had nothing ready. We ended up getting pizza for dinner. Yesterday we had the feast that I'd planned, dined by candlelight, remembered how good it was to be with one another. We talked for hours, and when we went to bed, he spooned up against me with his forearm against my back for support, and held me all night, cradling me, keeping me warm.

We ate leftover apple pie for breakfast (oh yeah, i've been baking, my bitches) and played video games: a perfect holiday.

Today is Thanksgiving. This year I have more to be thankful for than ever. I am thankful for love. Thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you. (And for that rediculous turkey photo. I'm thankful for that, too.)

*that's a clever pun, that is. He's dashing in the sense of handsome, yes, but he's also been dashing in and out of my life a lot in the last two weeks. See how that works?

Tuesday, November 21, 2006


Ahhhh! He's HERE! The Pirate suprised me and showed up a day early! YAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The bathroom was filthy, the carpet needed to be hoovered, and we wound up getting a pizza because I didn't have anything prepared for dins, but who gives a shit. YAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

(Poor thing has collapsed in a heap on my floor and fallen asleep. I wore the poor bloke out already. Bless.)

The Final Countdown

1 day, people!

[in Ethel Merman voice] Thuuuuh sun'll come ooooout, two-mah-roh!

I want to run around and clean and cook and make everything sparkling and perfect and wonderful. I was going to bake an apple pie and everything, but I can't fucking bend over!!!! It's intollerable. (Would someone please come clean my bathroom for me? I knew I should have done that last week.)

Monday, November 20, 2006

ER drama, part II

(If you havn't read "Proper drama, ER-style" yet, scroll down and read it first. Put the kettle on. It's not short.)

"Let me in," read the text.

"B!" I hollered to my flatmate. "He's downstairs, can you let him in please?!"

From where I lay on my bed I heard the door to the flat slam as B willingly trundled downstairs to let the good doctor in. I had managed to take a shower (had to remove the aroma of the tideway before Doc arrived), and had collapsed rigidly on my bed. Lying on my back with a pillow under my knees I listened to the painfully beautiful operatic soprano of 15th century Christmas music and wept quietly. A moment later I heard a familiar voice.


In walked... an angel. 6 feet tall, sandy hair on the verge of going salt-and-pepper, athletic physique. It's no exageration to say that the doctor who stood beside me makes George Clooney look like a wet dishrag. Real life is so much better than TV drama. (You're reading this, I know you are. Are you embarassed? Don't be. I'm trying not to gush too much, but it's difficult.)

He sat down on the side of the bed and began asking me all the necessary questions: where, when, how, etc. I told the story for the umpteenth time already that day. He made me stand and bend over (which hurt like a bitch), and then did all the touchy feely pressy things on my spine while I lay on my stomach (which hurt even more).

The diagnosis? (Correct me if I get this wrong; i probably will.) I've got a tiny rupture in one of the disks in my spine, and a small amount of fluid burst out. I think that's it. He said something about a jelly-egg and a fried donut, but it's all a bit hazy at this point. What I do remember (and this is the important bit anyway) was that he said the injury wasn't all tha serious but the symptoms were exaggerated becuase I had to go and be "a goddamn hero" and row on it. But there was no reason to think that it would be a career-stopping injury, which was my worst nightmare. I cried a little from sheer relief.

He'd brought with him a handful of drugs to numb the pain and keep the surrounding muscles from going in to spasms, powerful opiates that made my head swim. When I'd taken one of the tablets the doctoring bit was concluded. Having done all he could for the "minor discomfort" (as the medical profession calls it), he proceeded to adress my emotional needs. He laid down on the bed next to me and took me in his arms, holding me gingerly while stroking my hair and telling me everything would be fine. How I needed to hear that! I snuggled my face against his hard chest and let my mind go. I didn't think about the questionable ethics of the situation, I didn't think about rowing, about the Pirate; I didn't think about anything. I felt safe and protected and cared-for, and that was all that mattered. Honestly, that brief snuggle did me more good than all the drugs and pain-killers.

After a few minutes he got up, turned off the light, picked up his case, and left. He was a man, take him for all in all; I shall not look upon his like again.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Proper drama, ER-style

I'm sure you've all gotten bored by now with the serial romances and political diatribes. I think we need something new around here, wouldn't you agree? How about a medical drama? They're pretty popular on TV. Why don't I write you an ER-style med drama, complete with a dash of George Clooney-esqe romance thrown in for good measure? Would you like that?

Every word that follows is the gods-honest truth.

London. The Tideway. A beautiful day, which is rare. The water was bit bouncier than we were used to (the Avon never gets so much as a ripple, even in gale-force winds), but it was as calm as anyone had ever seen it. The sun was shining; it was cold but not freezing; altogether as perfect a day as could have been ordred up for the occasion. The occasion? Fours Head, of course! 4 miles of muscle-heaving, blade-bashing, leg-driving, agonizing glory.

We launched our coxed 4 by Putney bridge and set off up the Thames to Chiswick, where the racecourse begins. It was scrappy at first, but as our nerves settled so did our rhythm and we fell into a strong, steady cadence, periodically giving a burst for 10 strokes at higher-than-race pace and settling down again. 1 mile past, 2 miles, 3 miles. We reached the marshalling area and slotted in with our division. The stream was strong, and every few seconds we took a few strokes to keep from drifting. Slowly we worked our way up the mile-long queue to the start.

Our coxwain asked us to take a few strokes to hold our position. My hands moved forward, level above the saxboard, followed by my body lean as I pivoted from my hips. I felt the gentle tug in my hamstring and let my knees break, bringing my butt gracefully up the slide toward my heels. I squared my blade with a flick of my left wrist, raised my hands to the catch, felt the resistance grab hold of my blade, locked in my lower back, and... *pop*!


yes, *pop!*

that's not right. there's supposed to be a smooth drive there, not a *pop*.

well, we're *popping.* deal with it.

um, ok then.

I finished the stroke, but something had gone terribly, terribly wrong. I took another stroke. Red hot pain stabbed at my lower back. I took another stroke, same thing. Clearly this was not a fluke, and it wasn't going to just go away.

My cox called "easy oars."

"Um, guys?" I said. "I've just done something to my back. I don't know what, but it's bad."

"How bad?"


"Do you want to race?"

"Yes, I want to race, the question is whether that's a good idea."

I met my stroke-woman's eyes. I could see her thoughts. Don't you fucking tell me we've come all this way for nothing. You are NOT going to sit on the start line and tell me you're not racing, you fuking cunt.

I pondered the options. Paddle home and lose whatever respect my team mates might have had for me, or race and risk fucking my back up beyond repair. I was thinking about a former team mate of mine who injured her back in a similar fasion and was never able to row again. I was terrified of suffering her fate.

On the other hand, there was no guarantee that would happen, but it was a garauntee that if I said I wasn't going to race my team mates would justifiably hate me forever. I would lose a lot of standing in the club. I would be seen as a liablity, unreliable. It would forever be even more difficult to convicne my coaches that I belonged in the top boat.

Besides, we were 4 miles from where we needed to be, and there was only one way back: row. So it was a question of slowly or row fast. I figured if I row fast at least I get there sooner.

"Cox: If you hear me scream bloody murder during the race, you stop the boat instantly, do you understand?"

"If I hear you scream I'll drop out bow pair instantly and have stern pair paddle us off the course so we don't cause a crash."

And off we went.

There are 2 kinds of pain in this world: good pain and bad pain. Good pain is productive; it's the measure of progress, of effort, and achievement. It's the pain of your legs burning with lactic acid, the pain of your chest heaving as you try desperately to get more air in your lungs, the pain of the blisters on your hands bursting mid-stroke. Good pain is the pain you suffer gladly in order to win.

That is not the pain I was feeling yesterday. I was feeling bad pain, unproductive pain, worthless, miserable, unnecessary pain: the pain of sprained ankles, broken hearts, and, in my case, a ruptured disk. And that is how I rowed Fours Head: with an injured back that made every stroke (30 strokes a minute for approx 25 minutes -- you do the math) agony. Every time I engaged my blade and suspended my body weight from the handle it felt as though I was being stabbed with a knife in the small of my back.

I prayed for Hammersmith Bridge. When we passed Hammersmith I prayed for the black barge. I heard my coach shouting at us from the bank. I prayed for the finish.

Have you ever read Beowulf? No? Go read it. Yes? You know the part where Beowulf rips Grendel's arm from his body, and Grendel lets lose with the most baleful, inhuman howl imaginable? That's the sound I made when we crossed the finish. I didn't even wait for my cox to give the call; I just stopped rowing and shook with pain, trying to catch my breath while crying. Not an easy thing to do.

Our stern pair paddled us toward the bank. I didn't get out. I was waiting for someone to arrive and hand me my wellies. My bow woman had flip flops with her, so she hopped out of the boat and bounced through the cold water and up onto dry land. She forgot to keep hold of the end of her oar. The bow of the boat was pointed into the stream. When she neglected to grab her oar, the bow got caught in the current and was pushed out away from the bank, so the boat was suddenly perpendicular to the bank and being carred rapidly downstream into the path of dozens of oncoming crews. Moreover, with no one holding the bow blade, we were in serious danger of capsizing.

"Number 2! Hold the bow's blade!" someone yelled from the bank. I reached behind me to grab the handle. The twisting motion wrenched at my back, and I howled again.

"Number 2! Tap the boat on with your own blade, try to bring us around!" called my cox. I tried to tap my own blade with my left hand while holding the bow blade behind me with my right. I managed a few feeble strokes, but it had no effect and the effort was agonizing.

"Number 2! Stop panicking!" called someone from on shore.

"She's not panicking -- she's injured!" yelled back the woman sat at 3.

That changed everything. My coach arrived and saw my face contorted in pain. Fully clothed and seeing we were in nearly unrecoverable danger, he ran out into the water, grabbed the bow blade, and pulled us toward shore. He then bent over, lifted me from the boat, and carried me to an ambulance that was parked nearby for just such purposes. My knight in shining spandex!

Inside the ambulance the three paramedics were fussing over a rower who was having an asthma attack and suffering mild hypothermia. She was obviously in need of more immediate attention, so I just sat there gingerly and waited my turn. After about 20 minutes, during which time my wet kit had begun to chill me and my teeth were chattering loudly, a medic finally asked me what was wrong. Briefly, I told him.

His response was to give me one tablet of paracetamol and tell me not to train for a while.

Really? No shit! Thank god for that super-human medical advice, because that never would have dawned on me, i can tell you.

I took the paracetamol and 3 ibuprophen as well. (I have arthritis. I always carry ibuprophen in my bag as a rule. It lives there permanently next to a dry pair of knickers and a rigger-jigger.) After changing (with much difficulty) into some dry kit in the bathroom of a Thames-side boat house chosen at random by me, I stuffed myself into the front seat of my team mate's 3 door subcompact hatchback and braced myself for the 2 1/2 hour drive back to Brizzle.

My mum rang my mobile, and I gave her the grim details.

"Can you stand?" she asked.


"Can you sit?"

"Bolt upright, but yes."

"Can you lie flat on your back?"

"Don't know, havn't tried that yet."

"Well, as long as you can lie on your back by Wednesday, I reckon you'll be fine. In fact, you'll probably want to spend the whole week flat on your back."

Seriously, I didn't need to hear that from my mom. I repeated this bit of the conversation for my mates in the car, who declared my mom "a lege."

They dropped me at my flat and I took the lift upstairs. My flatmate greeted me and said "I heard you had a rough day. I'd hug you but it's probably not a good idea with a slipped disk." (One of his friends is dating a guy on in the boat club, and word apparently spreads fast. News of my injury got home before I did.)

Now I was faced with a dilemma. I had a friend who also happened to be a highly-skilled A&E doctor. Have a friend? Had? This is the bloke who vanished, unkissed. I knew that if I called him he could and would help me, but I also knew he wanted to be left alone, to make a clean break of our brief connection. Do I disturb his peace for purely selfish reasons? What kind of a friend would I be if I took advantage of his position?

But I was hurting, physically and mentally. The paramedics said it might be a slipped disk. My thoughts kept flicking back to O Captain My Captain and how she did her back in exactly the same way, and was never able to row again. I was in pain and I was terrified. I needed a friend as badly as I needed a doctor, and I knew if I waited Iwouldn't be able to see a university doctor until Monday. The paracetamol and ibuprophen were not going to get me through the weekend. I made a decision, turned on my computer, and opened gmail.

And just like *that* he was standing in front of me. As abruptly as he vanished from my life only a few days before, he walked back in again -- in a wimper and an email.

To be continued...

(Sitting at the computer is bothering my back. I need to go lie down. Sorry.)

Friday, November 17, 2006


Well, I did it. I took the plunge. I switched over to Beta Blogger. Let me know if you have any problems, and I will do my best* to sort them out.

I've also updated my sidebar, so if you've been feeling neglected because you are a regular reader, vistor, commentor, or supporter, and you weren't included amongst my imaginary friends, it's not because I didn't like you. It's just that i've been soo fucking busy to make the updates.

I've also added a couple more fun things to the procrastination tools. I especially recommend reading Easy to be Hard. EZ and T-bear are a middle-aged American couple who have been in a long-distance -ship for 6 years, and only see each other a few times a year when they fly off to exotic destinations for a week or just a weekend of hot hot lovin'. These posts are wonderful and sensual and heartwarming and full of laughter and real life and love and frustration. So fix a cup of tea and take a few hours to read through the archives. You won't regret it.

Technical question: Can anyone out there (Babs?) tell me how to use the strikeout feature in my posts? I would like to learn how to do that.

Oh, fuck. It's hailing outside. I really hope this clears up by tomorrow.

*Given that I don't know shit from shinola when it comes to computers this will likely consist of me jumping up and down on my floor and cursing the creators of Blogger and their progeny with all the filth, fervor, and animosity my mouth can spew forth, but hey, that could be fun too.

Cultural Priorities

I've just come from Boots, where I purchased exactly two items: dental floss, and lubricant. I was astonished to discover that the cheapest dental floss available at Boots (their own "Smile" brand) cost MORE than the Boots brand lube.

Let me say that again: dental floss is more expensive than sex lube. Thus, lube is more accessible to the general populace.

Could this be why Britain has the highest teen pregnancy rate and worst oral hygeine in western Europe? I think we need to re-evaluate our cultural priorities.


Seems like there's a lot to anticipate lately: the return of the Pirate (there's a movie title if ever I wrote one), Christmas (when the Pirate comes home to meet my family!), and foremost on my mind at the mo, Fours Head. London. Tomorrow. the Tideway, second-shittiest stretch of water in the realm. I will be victorious or die trying. I wish the latter of those two options wasn't the more likely one.

Stay tuned...

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Personal to... you know who you are.

And just like *that* he was gone. As abruptly as he came into my life he vanished -- in a whisper and an email.

Every so often, maybe a few times in our small lives, we meet someone whose presence changes us forever. I do not yet know in exactly what capacity I am altered, but I know I will never be the same again.

I'm not good at 'goodbyes,' though lord knows I've had enough practice at them -- far too much practice, really -- so I will let Walt Whitman do it for me:

Now, dearest comrade, lift me to your face;
We must separate a while -- here, take from my lips this kiss.
Whoever you are, I give it especially to you.
So long! -- and I hope we shall meet again...

(Calm down; i'm not talking about the Pirate. All is well on that front.)

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Two beefs

First, (cuz we all know where my priorities lie): porn.

Why the fuck is it that if you go googling for some new porn, it doesn't matter what you type in, all you get is a bunch of pages that are lists of links, most of them to pages that are still more lists of links, and so on and so forth. Where is the actual porn???

So I'm taking suggestions. If you know of a particularly good porn site, tell me what it is please. Here's what I like:
1. Lots of sounds, moaning, breathing, etc.
2. Camera shots of faces, not just dicks and pussy
3. (and this is the biggie) Lots of free sample videos. (I can't actually afford to subscribe to anything.)
Sexual orientation matters not. I'll take straight, gay, lesbo, group, whatever. On you mark, get set, GO!

Second beef: BETA blogger. I havn't switched over yet. I've been nervous about what it will do to my blog and my commentators (that's you lot). I've noticed lately that on certain blogs (such as Timorous Beastie) when I go to leave a comment it doesn't recognize me as Chaucer's Bitch, but as my real-world meat space name. This seriously pisses me off. What the fuck is it doing bandying about my real name??? If I wanted to use my real name I wouldn't have created a webID in the first place. If I switch to BETA blogger, will it make all of you use your real names? Or am I doing something wrong? Why is it doing this?

Would those of you who have made the switch share with me your observations of the new system?

And is anyone else having difficulty with the system showing their comments by their real names instead of their webIDs?

Friday, November 10, 2006

Running gag

It's become a bit of a running gag. It started with my backpack. I knew before I came to Brizzle that I would be doing a lot of cycling after dark, owing to the fact that I can't afford a car and in the winter it gets dark here at like, 1:30 in the afternoon. I have one of those reflective crossing-guard stripe thingys (the kind that go around your waist and over one shoulder), but it always bothered me that when I have a backpack on the reflector is covered up. So I bought a lime green, hi-vis backpack with a super reflective stripe on the back and... (can you believe this?)... bright green blinking lights on it. I love it.

Then I needed a new fleece gilet/vest/waistcoat (depending on your country of origin), and at the time of my purchase the only colors available were black, which is boring, baby ass pink, which is unacceptable, and lime green. So i got the green.

Next came the shoes. (are you frightened yet?) Rubber, breathable, mesh sneakers that i can slip on and off easily when getting in and out of the boat, and since they're rubber mesh they dry out in 5 seconds if they get wet and they won't disintigrate. Color options: yellow, orange, green. So of course I got the green. By this point i was figuring 'what the hell,' you know?

Long story short (too late!), 2 years on half my kit is lime green. It's not that I'm a huge fan of the color, but it's become a bit of a running gag, particularly down at the club. It's useful, too, because a) no one EVER steals it (no one wants it and if they tried everyone else would instantly know where they got it), and b) if i lose stuff it always gets returned (for reasons mentioned above).

So when I decided i needed a new pair of leg warmers (by now you surely must know where this is going), is it any surprise that I just purchesed these:

Thursday, November 09, 2006


One branch down, two to go...

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

You know you've been spending too much money on houseplants when

...the woman who owns the flower shop on the corner
a) recognizes your face
b) remembers your name
c) greets you when you walk in by saying "Ah, my favourite customer! How's the dissertation coming on? What exciting things have you discovered about Chaucer this week?"
d) all of the above

Tuesday, November 07, 2006


THE PIRATE IS COMING HOME!!!! Normal communications have been resumed, all is well, and the original scheduled return date of 22 November has been restored, with the footnote that there's a 50/50 chance that he could be home as early as NEXT MONDAY!!! 6 DAYS!!! But if he's not home next monday, it will be 22 November at the latest, and that's only 2 weeks. I can live with that.

The drawback to all this is that I'll probably have to shave my armpits. Havn't bothered since he left. I look like I'm smuggling hamsters.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Dry spell and footwear angst

First of all I'd like to aplogize to all the foot fetishists out there who arrived at this post because of a Google search. I'm afraid you're in for a disppointment.

Dry Spell. My first ever. Since that first night with the Hairy Man way back in March, I never had to go more than a couple days without. Certainly never longer than Monday morning to Friday night, and the 3 to 4 times a weekend was more than enough to compensate for that. And of course I jumped right out of the Hairy arms and into the Pirate's, so the spell was never broken until he set sail in the beginning of September. I remember thinking after that night with Hairy, "Ah! So this is how the rest of the world lives! I could get used to this..." And I did.

27 years of involuntary chastity, 6 months of regular, hot, wild, slippery, skin-slapping action, and now a 3-month drought. It really is all or nothing with me, isn't it?

I've heard people whinge about "dry spells" before, but now I find myself thinking, "oh, so this is how the rest of the world lives."

and the other thing that's pissing me off right now:


Look, I've got huge legs. I admit it. (No point in denying it - I couldn't hide them behind a refridgerator.) I tried to buy a pair of wellies last winter, and I'm not shitting, I couldn't get WELLIES over my giant calves. Wellies, for fuck's sake! Had to buy the men's ones.

Women's shoes come in variable widths: narrow, average, wide, etc. Surely women's calves vary in circumference as much as feet vary in width! So why the fuck don't they make tall, sexy, brown leather boots with extra-wide calves? Why God, WHY?

If anyone out there (HC? You're the shoe expert around here...) knows where I can buy a pair of affordable boots with a (brace yourself for this one) 44-centimeter calf circumference, PLEASE let me know.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Chicken soup diet

Got an email from His Pirateness this a.m. Yay! He's still alive. Don't know when he'll be back yet, but he's still alive. So that's good.

In less good news, I'm sick. Yesterday I had a sore throat. Today I am fucked. Time for the chicken soup diet.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

The Pirate informed me this week that The Powers That Be have given him a new job. His original return date of 22 Nov has been chucked out the window. He does not know when he will be home. To make matters worse, he normally emails me every day. Since receiving this news (in a brief, 2-sentence email) I've not heard a peep from him.

I know not what this portends, but I am left to imagine the worst. I am very worried.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

For Michael

Here you go, dude. With your weekly meat and pie you've given me so much eye candy to enjoy, it's about time I return the favor. Behold: The Most Kissable Lips Evah!

There. Now you never need to resort to Andy Rooney wank fantasies again. You poor soul!

Wednesday, November 01, 2006


I give you....


*Also known as How I Won the Pumpkin-Carving Contest in my building.