Friday, March 18, 2005

career suicide is painless
Me in e-mail to big European-wide exec vice president boss lady:
"The only thing I’d query is the change from indefinite to definite article. Everyone can be 'a Champion' the title says, but switching to ‘the’ in the list of qualities suggests that, as Christopher Lambert in that immortal (boom, boom) film, Highlander, so memorably said: there can be only one. Is that the impression you wanted to give?"
For years and years I had forgotten my obsession with every girl's favourite chronically short-sighted French actor, but a couple of weeks ago TA brought Highlander home on DVD and my passion was reawakened. Although to be honest I think his "bonny Heather" is the most attractive cast member. Incidentally, as Ronnie Corbett might say, until I Googled it and found out I was wrong I was convinced that the actor that played the Kurgen was now playing Ray's brother in Everybody Loves Raymond.
there's no business like it
I so wanted to write a post called 'meet the ockers', but sadly the joke would have fallen super flat, since most readers won't understand the slang and, more importantly, the Aussie contingent that I am on the verge of moving in with are not in the least ocker-like. Not to mention I began drafting tiny sketches of each of the prospective housemates and failed miserably to be witty. Still, it could have been a good headline.
Equally, it comes to me now that I might have used 'audition' to great effect by infering the prospectiveness of housemate status and theatre roles, unfortunately though to me that word conjures the image of a severed and bloody foot sliding down a window (if you're not a fan of outre Japanese horror - and funnily enough after seeing that film I can assure you that I'm not - the reference might well be lost on you, sorry). Incidentally, as evidence that bad movies can ruin a person's sensibilities forever (and against their will), can I please give you a sample of dialogue from the film Highlander: "A man's disbembered body ly-ing on the floor next to his own severed head, a head that of this time has no name." [beat] " I. KNOW. HISSSS. NAME." That's what immediately played in my head when I read of the tragic murder of a man in London and the trigger? The use of the phrase 'nearly severed'.
What I'm trying to explain - despite the inappropriate digressions - is that I'm feeling rather upstaged by the new cast members. I fear that the UB, and more importantly my real life, will suddenly morph into some kind of sycophantic backstage tale, living in the limelight, but only by proxy.
I wasn't kidding in yesterday's post, Housemate J (who happens to be my sister in law) really does have star wattage. You know those tiny post-production sparkles that appear with a 'ting' on teeth in terrible 1950s pastiches? Well, Housemate J is the only person I've ever met with real ones in her eyes. Imagine living in close proximity to that level of dazzle - how will my extraordinarily fragile ego survive? My friend from way back, ex-beauty therapist E, has something of the same glamour, but in many respects it's like comparing a finale firework with the unknowing brightness of summer sunshine.
Anyway, let's just get on with it and break the news: Housemate J could soon be going supernova. Today she heard from a bigshot casting director for a West End musical the magic words: please audition for us. The call galvanised the room, it was an electric moment. Housemate J went from flat to sharp, Housemate D (her boyfriend, wake up at the back!) went from supine ("yeah, I have a paying gig lined up that will pay the rent") to at attention ("what was the casting director's name? I'll type up my CV now"). I felt pride and pleasure mixed.
I am shallow and somewhat dim, pride and pleasure were mixed with despair and self-doubt: you're not funny, you're not clever (witness failure at BSc and crappy/second-rate grades at A-level and degree), you're not pretty and you're not charismatic, you're not even going to ever return to that novel you thought of years and years ago, in fact you can't even manage to write a fabulous blog post - even though you truly want to and even when you manage to think of a half-decent title! Why are you still bothering to breathe?
I think, should TA's plan of all moving in together go ahead - and it looks like it will, the UB will change dramatically.

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

a free man in badger mansions
Blog sitting is one thing but last night we went one better: Tim joined TA and me for dinner. It was wonderful - imagine the high-octane star spangledness of that episode of Friends where the ER doctors turned up, well this was better than that. For instance, we got to eat quality cheese, whereas Friends was merely cheesy. Also, this episode of Badger Mansions saw the fleeting introduction of special guest star Housemate J, whose star wattage surely beats that of Noah Wiley?

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

a change of plan
I'm in need of two noms de blog for the new personalities now resident at Badger Mansions: TA's sister and her boyfriend. Would it give the game away to christen them Housemate J and Housemate D, respectively? Also, in a month or so when we leave Badger Mansions, I'll most likely need to introduce Housemate M (I toyed with calling her Bonnie, as in Bonnie Langford, but mustn't be that cruel). Have you guessed yet? Yes, TA wants us to find a house to rent together in zone one. A Fame house full of all-singing, all-dancing Antipodean residents.
I sense that the world of the UB is about to change quite dramatically, if you'll pardon the pun.

Monday, March 14, 2005

badge of dishonour
I don't know how to write this, where to start - do I start at the present and work back or explain the import before I explain the betrayal? My father is giving a talk to the local history society. He has called it 'the three guides' and is gleeful about the little joke he's going to play on the audience. The talk will be about three tourist guides to the Isle of Wight written at different times and the interesting differences between them, but dad is going to lead the audience on by opening the talk with a story of when he was young he was a scout and went to camp and in the field next door were some Guides on camp... You get the idea. To improve this wheeze he has got my Guide blanket out of storage. This is the blanket that I used to take to camp - it has all my Brownie and Guide badges sewn on it as well as various fun patches and badges. It has a slit in it so that you can wear it as a poncho. I feel really horrible about this. I tried to explain to dad that I wasn't comfortable with him using my blanket, but he thought I was winding him up. He said, "I look really great in it." And I wanted to retch, that he's already worn it. Can you understand? The thought of him parading this relic of my chilhood makes me feel physically sick. As if he'd decided to wear one of my old party dresses for some smutty purpose. I know I'm overreacting and that it's only a blanket, but it's my blanket and when I was a Guide that blanket meant ever such a lot to me, I was so proud of my badges and the careful stitching. I imagined, even then, that one day I would pass it on to my daughter. Somehow I feel violated. TA asked if he should call home to explain on my behalf, but no dad would be mortified and I don't think he'd ever understand. To him its just a prop but to me its improper.

Thursday, March 10, 2005

oh, for crying out loud!
Vendor is holding out for the asking price. I ask you! Honestly, for goodness sake [should goodness have a posessive apostrophe?] what an unreasonable vendor. The agent tells me that we're not the only ones to put in a lower-than-asking-price offer and that the vendor is getting desperate so we shouldn't give up hope. But, really, when are we going to start making real progress? It's enough to make me feel like really swearing, only I can't. TA has told me that he thinks I'm partially to blame for his inability to stop swearing at work. He has instigated a no swearing rule at home. I'm not altogether sure that this is fair since even though I, apparently, swear like a trooper at home, I very rarely swear at work. Although, on days like this I'd really, truly like to.

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

she dreams of badgers
I was walking along a wooded lane, a sign told me it was badger lane. Something made me crouch down and look under the hedgerow. Nestled in the undergrowth was a tiny badger. I cradled it in my palm. Then the alarm went off.
The offer is still in the offing, after the first refusal we are currently 'negotiating'. However, if this is not accepted there will be no more negotiating from us and we shall continue looking instead. Come on Mr Vendor, don't you know that it's my birthday?

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

brickbats and bouquets
Due to a variety of factors, most birthdays tend to be more brickbat than bouquet...but so far this one has been rather good. For starters I actually have a huge bouquet, from work no less! Still no news on the offer we made yesterday. Gift opening will commence when I get home from work - this is the first time I've ever had enough self control to wait - I thought opening them this morning would be too rushed and then the surprise and excitement would be over before I had time to enjoy it. TA was not impressed by my decision and kept trying to persuade me to open "just one - go on".

Monday, March 07, 2005

What is it about Mondays? TA and I were like naughty kids last night staying up long past our bedtime and putting off the inevitable end of the weekend for as long as possible. I'm so tired today.
Tomorrow is International Women's Day it is also my birthday - a coincidence that has always pleased me. Perhaps the offer we have made on the flat we saw on Saturday will be accepted, perhaps this time we'll get past first base. What a nice present that would be.

Thursday, March 03, 2005

negative positive discrimination
I spent most of this morning creating a template in Word for a prestigious, not-for-profit new business pitch. I asked for a design brief but since none was forthcoming - except, make it multicultural - I ended up muddling through as best I could. The theme was young people and technology. I trawled the image libraries, it's not as easy as you'd think to find pictures of various different types of people using computers - especially when you need them to have a similar composition. By using five different pictures I managed a demographic spread across Afro-Carribean, Asian and Caucasian of both genders. The feedback? "Why include Asians they aren’t really among the most under-privileged groups in the UK – in fact they are doing pretty well. Could we have an Afro-Caribbean and a Caucasian?" Now, ignoring the fact that we did indeed have the three races represented, isn't it wrong that under-privileged should be so rigidly defined by race? I'm never usually instructed to make sure images are multicultural so in this person's mind, underprivileged equals non-white, specifically black. It's enough to make my blood boil.

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

analogies galore
Me to TA: I'm dejected, I'm tired, I'm lost and I'm desperate. This house hunting business is like being a teenage boy. I mean meet a girl, we go on a date, it goes well, we kiss, I make a play for her and she leaves. When on earth am I going to find a girlfriend who'll go beyond first base? All this messing about - it's enough to do me lasting physical damage.
Later, after some chat.
TA: We just have to keep trying. I mean if we throw enough hoops one of them will end up over the pole, bound to.
Me: Is that the approach you used when you were a teenage boy?
back to the drawing board
The seller has decided to take the property off the market due to "tax issues" the estate agent sounded even more annoyed than me. Lucky escape? The lady who owns TA's favourite fish and chip shop says repossessions are the way forward, we'll see.

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Unfortunately, TA and I are not merrily jiggling under a pole; instead we are doing precisely nothing – just waiting to hear whether or not our how-low-can-you-go offer has been accepted. Meanwhile, my mind and stomach are competing in the somersault and revolt event (a strange hybrid sport involving much acid reflux and freefall). TA finds this most amusing, saying RELAX goddammit! But when have you ever known me to do that? My thoughts have galloped ahead of actual progress and I am already costing the redecoration and renovation works.
So, house experts, I have a list of questions for you that I can’t find the answers to:

  • Buy new or use reclaimed/salvaged materials, which is best?

  • Just how tricky is it to: lay a wooden floor; fit a bath, sink, toilet; fit a kitchen – units, sink, electric oven etc; tile (wall and floor)?

  • How difficult is it to knock down a wall and how do I find out if it is load bearing before I take a sledgehammer to it?

  • If I get all the materials in advance how long will it take a conscientious builder to fit a bathroom and/or kitchen?

  • How does one find a conscientious builder?

  • Are builders snobby/reluctant to use reclaimed/salvaged materials?

  • My head says that we want to do things cheaply, quickly (to prevent getting disheartened) and easily - a one-stop trip to Ikea or MFI to get everything in one go (hopefully with some kind of discount) and preferably with a fitting service included. My heart and ethics say that we should take our time, source reclaimed and salvaged materials and do as much work as possible. Without talking to TA about what he wants I have already started dreaming about a Bristol sink in the kitchen, a cute corner sink in the bathroom; possibly a leather sofa in the living room. Where will it end? Probably in tears. As always, you'll be nearly the first to know.