Between wearing a dress and having a nipple pierced... The dress is *way* scarier.
And now for some scenes from my first month in the UK...
Scene 1a: Going Postal
When i first opened my UK bank account, they said they'd send me my PIN. Of course, I never got it. I assumed that when I moved I could just — you know — go into a branch and get a new one. Nope. But you can call this number and they'll send it to your house. Right.
I ordered a new one. They assured it me it would be here by last Thursday. Ya, of course it would. I have now requested it a third time. I'm not holding my breath.
Scene 1b: Never Get into a Battle of Wits with an Unarmed Man
When I got my paycheque I went into the bank to withdraw cash and to pay my rent. The first teller I spoke to told me I couldn't pay rent until I completed this handy little form they had which contained all the same crap as the sheet I'd brought in. And then go to the back of the queue...
I got halfway through the form when I discovered she had given me the wrong form. Of course...
The next time I had to go into the bank the same teller told me that I could not withdraw cash unless I had my chequebook with me. I'm not sure what I'd want a chequebook for, but I haven't got one. It's probably in the same netherworld as my PIN. I think she expected me to turn around and leave at that point. No such luck, sweetie. She repeated that it couldn't be done. I assured her it could. No, not possible.
I did? She actually pointed at herself.
I laughed and told her I'd wait for the competent one to finish what she was doing.
How is it that somebody so stupid manages to stay employed? Oh right, she's pretty. Gah!
Scene 2: Quality Control
I take my travel mug everywhere. It does seem to be less common here, but people generally give me a weird look and then put my coffee in my mug like I ask. Except the people at the little café kiosk in Waitrose near work. I ordered a latte and handed the woman my mug. Poor thing, she looked so confused. You [pause] want me [pause] to put the latte [pause] in here?Yes. Please.
She decided she needed permission from her manager before she could do such a thing. The manager came over and very sweetly and patiently explained that — over here — when you order coffee in comes in one of these. She practised her product modelling techniques with a helpful, expressive gesture over the paper cup she held aloft. It comes free with the coffee.
Wow, really? Where I come from if you don't bring your own mug, they have to pour the coffee straight into your mouth. We haven't invented paper yet.
Right. Can I please have my mug back? I'm going to go somewhere else.
Hey! There's no need to get like that. I'm just explaining to you that we take our product quality very seriously. If we put our coffee into your mug, we obviously can't control the quality of the product.
That's what she said.
The cashier jumped in with a brilliantly helpful suggestion. I know! What if we make the coffee in the usual take away cup, and then we give it to her? She can put it into her own mug then if she wants.Wow. That completely defeats the point of trying to create less waste. Now can I please have my mug back?
Scene 3: Slice of Life
I ran out of dishwasher powder, so I got this brilliant idea into my head to wash some dishes by hand. Of course, this led to a very deep, painful and bloody slice on my right index finger just where one might wear a ring. Brilliant. I'm awesome. Hey, you know what might be even better? Burning the exact same spot a few days later just as the cut started to heal. Ya, a blister on top of a slice.
Have I mentioned that I'm awesome?
And now for some pictures of my dogs...
A few days ago, I called my car insurance company to cancel my policy. You know how at the end of every customer service call they are always required to ask you if there's anything else they can help you with, regardless of how obvious it is? This one ended on a slightly different note. She ended the call with: Thank you. Is there anything else you need to help us with today?
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Today's quote comes from Winston Churchill. It's nice to know I'm not the only one who thinks this way.
The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter.
Today's post title comes from the one we call the God of Biscuits, sometimes known as Ford and other times known as BAAAAAAAAAAAD POLITICS.
With the state of the world's economy, I've been worrying a lot about money. Thankfully, I no longer have any cause for concern.
I received an e-mail tonight from Mike Smith. I know it's really because my spam filters wouldn't have let it through otherwise.
I want to bring to your knowledge of a very lucrative Business Opportunity that I have. Well I work as an agent that accompanies contractors funds to be paid to them I have this deal and I won’t mind you in it if you promise to keep optimum confidentiality.
The consignment consists of two boxes, the boxes contains about $10million all in $100.00 bills this money was accompanied by me to U.S.A and was handed over to a diplomat .The name of the Diplomat will be given to you as soon as you indicate your interest.
You will call the diplomat yourself and tell him that you are calling on behalf of Mr. MIKE SMITH that handed the consignment to him, Also ask him how much it will cost to clear out this consignments, bear in mind that he is not aware of the content of the boxes, it was registered as CONFIDENTIAL DIPLOMATIC DOCUMENTS, you know that this consignment has been there for the past 2 month where I am looking for a trust worthy person to get it out. This money was meant for the contractors that executed their contracts bear in mind that I am ready to release 30% of the total money to you for your help; each of the boxes contains $5,000,000.00. I will be expecting your reply today and you can also give me a call on+ 4427024016010 and please send to me your full name, phone and fax number if you are interested. Your fax number is need to send you all the Documents you need to know about.
Mr. Mike Smith
I'm so glad Mike Smith thought of me for this lucrative venture. Soon I will have my $3 million. What a wonderful man Mike Smith is. And such good grammar, too. I wonder if he's single.
Went to see the new Batman the other day. The movie theatre was packed as we took our seats. An ENORMOUS man wearing a headband in front of us said he was going to go grab some popcorn before the movie started. He asked his friend to save his seat. He stood up, turned around and quite loudly announced, and if anybody challenges you on it, you tell them you've got a 280-pound faggot who's not going to like it!
Clearly you are all far too young to know what I'm on aboot.
Yes, I said aboot. Em read nanother Christopher Brookmyre book, an it makes me wanna type fineticly semtimes, aright?
'Cept it looks much better when he does it, which might have something to do with the fact that a Glaswegian accent trumps a Tranna one any day.
I got on the bus after work and took a seat. A couple got in and sat down near me, carrying on their conversation. The woman had an unusual accent, which always makes me listen harder to try to place the accent.
We have a nice place. It's really big. The cats like it, even the schizophrenic one. He has six fingers. He's called Freddy. You know, Six-Fingered Freddy... But I call him Frederic. To be more respectful. We communicate telepathically. Even though I'm straight, which is weird, right? One time I got home and the place was on fire and the firemen were there and I couldn't find Frederic. So I spoke to him through my third eye...
That's when I got off the bus. I'll never know what became of the six-fingered, schizophrenic, telepathic cat called Frederic and his purple-haired, heterosexual, possibly Dutch human companion.
I'm back from my trip. I love London. I'm ready to go back again now.
In no particular order...
Thinking of visiting the Tate Modern? Don't waste your time. See that crack in the floor? Not only is that their idea of art, it's their most interesting piece. I'd rather eat my own socks.
What all the cool Zombies are drinking nowadays.
This is Anne. You only wish your hair was as fantastic as hers is here.
It's true; I do.
EasyJet's hotel chain, which is inventively called EasyHotel, once received an award of some sort for having the most gratuitously orange hotel rooms. Also, if you've ever secretly desired to shower and wash your hands all while sitting on the toilet, this is definitely the place to do it.
The British Museum currently has the Terracotta Army on display. These are not them.
Santa Claus is feeling a bit under the weather this year. You may experience a slight delay before he arrives at your house; however, staff are working hard to ensure normal service resumes shortly.
Excuse me. Do you know where we could find a toilet?
I'll bet you can't even see me standing on The Spot, can you?
I'm sorry, but I'm not at liberty to tell you why this amuses me so much.
Really. Who doesn't love London and harbour secret desires to have its babies?
It seems there are no toilets in Cardiff.
You know how there are no garbage bins in London? I mean, there are, but they're few and far between and not clearly labelled. Toilets are like that in Cardiff. Although when I did eventually find one (in a pub) it had a beer holder and a pretty little iece of graffitti that said 'have a nice poo'.
I've been watching Green Wing a lot lately.
The reason I keep watching the same episodes over and over is quite simple: I'm hoping it will influence my writing in the thing I'm working on that you don't know about unless of course you do know about it. It's got nothing to do with the fact that Guy is seriously hot. Almost nothing. Okay, maybe.
One of the best lines of the show comes from Martin Dear. When asked if he's got a hoodie, he replies actually, I've been circumsized.
And yes, I do want to write the office equivalent of Green Wing, but I just haven't got the heart to make one of my characters have sex with his own mother. His own mother, no. His fiancee's mother, though, that's a fair game.
Oh, also, what's the most completely ridiculous, pointless, meaningless, totally embarrassing way to die that you can think of?
You want to hear about my weekend, don't you?
Ya, well, mostly it consisted of working on my house. But on Sunday morning I went to church. I'll tell you about that later. Afterwards I decided to go for a walk.
As I walked down Spadina, I saw an old woman sitting on a park bench with her face turned away from me. As I approached, but before I actually passed her, she dropped her loaf of garlic bread on the ground. Honestly, though, it looked more like she threw it. But, for the sake of argument, let's just assume it really was an accident.
She jumped up and screamed that I had done this to her. YOU HAD NO RIGHT TO DO THIS TO ME, she screamed. ALL YOU HAD TO DO WAS WALK BY, AND LOOK WHAT YOU CAUSED. YOU BITCH! YOU'RE GOING TO BURN IN HELL FOR THIS. And blah blah screaming blah.
She threw the remnants of her food at me. I kept walking. She chased after me and hit me squarely in the middle of the back. I kept walking.
But then I began to think. Maybe it was the impact of the sermon I'd just heard. Maybe it was my own inherent tendencies to try to solve every problem. Maybe I'm just as crazy as she is. Who knows...
At any rate, I decided that just because she was crazy didn't mean she shouldn't be allowed to have lunch. And she probably couldn't afford to replace it. It wasn't my fault that she lost her lunch, but there was something I could do about it. By strange coincidence, I had just received a loaf of garlic bread as part of a promotion of some sort when I bought a bunch of baked goods from a nearby bakery.
I turned around and went back to her. She was still screaming and hollering about what a bitch I was and how if she ever saw me again, she'd kill me. OH, IT'S YOU. DON'T COME NEAR ME! DON'T TAKE ONE STEP CLOSER. YOU HAVE NO RIGHT, NOT AFTER WHAT YOU DID. And blah blah crazy blah. I held out the loaf towards her. She pulled out her can of — I don't know — iced tea or orange pop or whatever it was, and emptied its contents at me, drenching my face, neck, chest, and arms.
I set the loaf down on the bench, and continued walking back to my car.
I was parked on a one-way street, which terminated in a forced right turn. This mean that I had no choice but to drive by the scene again a minute later. The crone was gone. The 'ruined' lunch was gone from the ground. The fresh, gourmet garlic loaf from the expensive bakery sat peacefully on the park bench.
In addition to my church-shopping activities this past weekend, it was also my extreme pleasure to go bra shopping. Oh boy!
Anyways... The purpose of this trip was to replace my 'bra wardrobe' (to quote a newspaper article I read recently). It turns out, there was no mistake: I really am a B. This is astonishing! I mean, this has been a life-long goal of mine. For real. And just like that, without even noticing, I seem to have accomplished it in my sleep a few months ago.
Well, okay, I think I'm sort of in between a 34A and a 34B, but the B comes closer to fitting than the A does. And don't even think about suggesting I try a 32B. It won't do up and the cups are in the wrong spot.
So, ya... New bras were in order. Desperately so.
First I went to a little independent shop owned by a former friend of a former friend. Ya, nice place. Great service. Too many screaming children for my liking. Plus, the cheapest bra in the place was $40. In my world, that constitutes an expensive bra. Mostly, their stuff started at about $65. No thanks.
But whatever, I figured. I'm here. May as well check it out, I thought. I was surprised to find they had cute, reasonably priced, non-cotton bras. Really, what good is a cotton bra? Why not paper shoes or windows made of cake? Anyways, I grabbed some cute bras and went to the change room area. The attendant was mildly unpleasant, but whatever.
Um... Wait. Remember the bit where I said I was between a 34A and a 34B? Ya, um, not at La Senza, where they apparently specialise in lingerie for over-sexed children. At La Senza, I can barely get the things closed and I'm spilling out — way out — of the cups (and not in the centre), making me look like some kind of freak alien with four tiny boobs.
Well, that was a waste of my time.
From there I went to Sherway Gardens. That's right: a mall. I hate malls. Also, at this point, my complete lack of success had me in a less than ideal mood.
First up, Jacob Lingerie. All I can say about Jacob is: [shrug] meh.
Then I moved on to La Vie en Rose. I spent several minutes wandering the store, collecting a pile of things to try on, while the changing room attendant stared at me vacantly without saying anything. When I had all I wanted, I approached her. I guess she must be activated by some sort of proximity alert, because she finally acknowledged me to tell me the changing room was closed.
I'm sorry? As in, what the hell are you on about? She told me it was quarter to five and the store would be closing in 15 minutes, so the changing rooms were closed. Oh, well, just so you know... It's not yet 15 minutes from now, I said.
It probably would have been more impactful if I hadn't turned around and walked into a pole.
It's possible that I may have inadvertently messed up some of the displays on my way out.
On my way back to the car, I discovered a Calvin Klein lingerie shop. The sales girl was really nice. She helped me pick stuff out and find my size. I took seven to the changing room, which was conveniently not closed. I tried them on and chose three. I paid for them and left the shop at one minute to five.
I ended up spending more than I would have at La Vie en Rose. But I'm pleased.