Wednesday, November 16, 2005

I am Prince Philip

I took the Are You A Chaveller? Quiz today on the Guardian website. I didn't really expect to be told I was a 'chaveller,' whom budget airlines have apparently set free on the world (by 'world' I mean Greek resorts where you start your mornings with a full English and end the night drinking Stella, or the Costa del Sol): for me the combination of being a bit spoiled, a total snob (while I am aware, I am not sure it makes it any better), and not having a many opportunities to travel as I would like (which would ALL THE TIME, by the way) has made me terrifically (self?-) conscious about making sure my holiday time is as efficiently culturally-enlightening as possible. Granted, I have managed to convince myself that 'culture' consists only of the things I like best: food, art, books that are tangentially related to the destination's history (preferrably in romance-novel format disguised as that smuttiest of genres: the historical novel), and most of all, booze.

What I also didn't expect was this:
Are you a chaveller?
Au contraire! You are either Prince Philip or someone very like him - possibly the offspring of two cousins. Travelling for you is a bit like padding around the estate and checking all is well with the vassals. The world is, alas, no longer entirely yours alone, but you still own enough of it to retreat somewhere nice when less suitable travellers threaten to spoil the view.

I honestly laughed to so hard that I almost choked on my baked potato (not with beans, you pleb. With home-made horseradish-creme fraiche-apple sauce and a watercress salad-- I have a reputation to keep up, it seems).

The hyperlink is still MIA, but you can take the quiz, too:,9037,495455,00.html?Q_21102=216201&Q_21104=216204&Q_21106=216207&Q_21108=216171&Q_21110=216216&Q_21112=216173&Q_21114=216177&Q_21116=216210&Q_21118=216189&Q_21120=216213

Oooh. That's a long one. Maybe just go straight to and click on the nice, red 'Travel' button in the centre...

Monday, November 07, 2005

My Street Cred = Zero

This weekend was another one in which I celebrated my escape from the Saundersons by actually going out like a real human being. On Friday we went to a fairly awesome ceilidh (which I am never sure I have spelled right), and because I quite like dancing foolishly and I had bought a new skirt for the occasion I was a little over exuberant, and now I have a series of golf-ball sized bruises all down my arm. I think this is kind of like when my legs were itchy earlier this year, so I decided what a rational person would do would be to scratch them until they bled. It seems I am not only very fond of dogs, but sometimes I actually descend to that level. I need a plastic cone around my head or something, except that wouldn't help, and it would keep me from blow-drying my hair, which is at times is the only thing that seperates me from my Mom's cocker spaniel.

Saturday accidentally turned out to be less civilised-- a couple ass-hats showed up at Katie's lovely party and starting acting up, and for some reason I decided I am that useless chick from the A Team who wears pastel colours and sometimes drives the van, and I was going to assist in helping them to leave. I am not sure what the logic in this was, since I am small, weak, and am not a ninja or an expert at negotiating with drugged-up scum (though I wouldlike to be. A ninja, that is. I have absolutely no interest in ever dealing with anyone on drugs again). In my favour, I was at least reasonably sober at that point (though later I poured like a whole glass of red wine down my pretty light green top. Updates on the stain situation will come in later entries), but still. Dev, you are NOT a superhero. Stop trying. Anyway, I joined the actual Batman and Robin duo of Jeff and Keith to try to sort one of these dudes out, but ended up as helpful as Alicia Silverstone (though sans fat belly and upperlip hair-- or so I tell myself); I have since learned that logic and reason and nice compliments intended to distract them from chemically induced rage mean nothing to angry dudes on drugs. Apparently, if you are nice and you have boobs (me), they decide to proposition you; if you are nice and you don't have boobs (Keith) they try to kick your ass for absolutely no reason. Lucky for us they lose both battles.

The really unfortunate thing is this: Keith and Jeff were both very brave and skillful, and ended up with some sore hands, and some badass scratches (especially as the dude tried to bite Keith, which-- come ON. So not in the rules). I ended up on the receiving end of a not very skillful and extremely light-weight smack that was intended for Keith, but I fear I was a total drama queen about it afterwards and bragging about how well I comported myself in my first brawl or something (so tough, I am), and so while Jeff and Keith actually are a bit wounded, I got a series of phonecalls on Sunday to make sure I was okay. Honestly, I think my cat has hit me harder than that guy did, but apparently my PR skills are awesome. Really embarrassing.

And that is, I hope, the last of my selection of entries that come on the tail of some research that has found that Scotland has the highest rate of violent crime in the western world, as well as more than our fair share of peeps who piss in the street. Honestly, I never noticed it before, and I don't plan on noticing it again. Oh well. If you want to read more about brawling you can go see Keith, at Otherwise, kids, stay off the drugs, please.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

In case you were wondering...

It is unlikely that I am ever, ever going to sound like Hunter S. Thompson on this blog. Or anywhere else.

This is in response to Josh's comment, and I just wanted to clarify this for you. If you came here looking to hear about some party where I was tripping and I totally was being attacked by bats that were sponsored by a tabacco company and then I had an existential crisis? I am terribly sorry, but you are in the wrong place. Any tripping I discuss will almost always be traced back to wearing very high shoes, bats will only be mentioned because I like the stuffed ones they have in John Lewis right now, tobacco companies probably won't come up much, though I am not a fan. But I don't blame them. I blame smokers, because its called supply and demand, bitches. If you want to suck on a cancer stick, someone is going to sell it to you. And if I actually was having any proper crisis I probably wouldn't write about it on the internet. That's why you get to hear about hangovers, my annoyance at other people for making poor under-garment choices, and pie.

Embrace the pie. Go elsewhere for the self-consciously cool shit, because that just isn't my bag.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Hallowe'en Weekend Roundup

So, you'll be surprised to hear that I have been terribly uninspired about my blog recently, and therefore not written anything. This is because I have been trying to sort of out my life for the last couple months, and therefore a) not done very much, and b) not been hugely interested in writing about anything I have done. Truthfully, I am not terribly up for writing now, but I think I must get myself back into the swing, or a good 10% of my entries will be at least partly about pee. That seems wrong. Plus, I have an hour until my dinner will be cooked, and I have really not worked up the energy to start the tutorial plan for tomorrow's 'Hey History Undergrads! Let's learn to write in sentences!' class, which is necessary (for my sanity when I am next called on to mark their essays), but will probably be boring, and inspire all my students to sleep through class. Whatever. That's why I give handouts.

I was going to write about the last month-ish, but I am getting bored already, so I'll just talk about the weekend, which was the first proper one I have had in ages. By proper weekend I mean one in which the evenings were spent in drink and merriment, and the days were spent without doing a lick of work (mostly napping). The occasion was, of course, Hallowe'en, which (if you have ever come within a hundred yards of me you will be able to guess this) is my very favourite holiday. The other part of the occasion was that I turned in the final corrections on my thesis last week, meaning that (except for next week's conference, my pathetic hopes to get an article published sometime early next year, and a possible exhibition opening in the spring) I don't really ever have to think about the Saundersons again. In a forced, beat me to death, acacdemic sense. Truthfully, I have grown very attached to them, so I will probably think of them often. But now no one can FORCE me to think of them. Anyway, said weekend was good: a couple of Jeff's friends were up visiting from London, which actually inspired me to clean my house (sort of-- I didn't actually wash any dishes; I just cleaned everything else and turned off the kitchen light), making for far greater pleasantness all around. Friday Jeff cooked dinner* for everybody, and then we had a few quiet drinks in the Star Bar. This was then unfortunately followed by a bit of an effort to finish off the contents of my carefully collected liquor cabinet until 4 in the morning. Luckily, Jeff was working the hardest on this, and he decided that the Chinese Mystery Booze that smells like rubbing alcohol tastes like apples, so there was very little harm done...

Because I wasn't interested in the contents of my liquor cabinet (being terribly sensible, for once in my life-- it may be the burden of my recent quarter century) I felt quite well on Saturday morning, and managed to make breakfast for everybody, and then spend a few hours sewing gold beads onto my Cleopatra wig. Nothing proves the lack of a hangover like hours of staring intently at tiny, rolly, shiny things. Later, in celebration of not doing any work, I took a nap. It was very celebratory, and enabled me to be human enough to trot over to Katie's in the early evening to play sous-chef for the preparations for a lovely dinner. Then off to the party, where Jez tried (not very hard, I must say) to kill a sleeping cat with his plastic pirate sword. The cat could not have cared less. It was an interesting party: they had carved upwards of two-dozen pumpkins, which I found shockingly impressive, and some of the costumes were great (some of them were too good, and actually passed the line into truly frightening). The bits I didn't like were when Jeff and I went upstairs to check out the dancing only to find some dude up to his ears in a girl dressed like a cop in a low-budget porno, and the weird fellow who drank an entire bottle of Whyte & MacKay and then latched on to us. I have doubts about anyone who will drink Whyte & MacKay (even a glassful), and I have doubts about someone who will drink any entire bottle of spirits in a couple hours, and the combination thereof? Well, you can draw your own conclusions. I will just say that when the mini-cops (Environmental Health Patrol?) showed up shortly thereafter and we decided to go home I was not sad.

Sunday was more napping (hooray!), and then an excellent dinner by the French girls of haggis and ketchup, which is the fabulous updated-version of corned beef hash and ketchup, the choice meal of my childhood. (Yes, we were kind of poor, and maybe we were kind of trashy. You want to brawl over it?) I don't know why I don't eat haggis more often-- it is cheap and easy and delicious, and whenever I am reminded of its goodness I think that even if everything else about Scotland sucked I might just stay for the haggis. Mmmm. Eyes taste nice.

It was good that I slept all day Sunday, because on Monday my visa ran out, so I had to reapply. This made it possibly the most annoying day of my life, which was of course compounded by the fact that it was Hallowe'en, which I would like to spend carving pumpkins and making costumes for other people's children, and whatnot, not battling Home Office bureaucracy. But, whatever. The application is done, and in the evening I made Slime Soup and we went to see Corpse Bride, which was good, but I think less than the sum of its parts, somehow: the idea was great, and the animation was awesome, and the cast was fab, and perhaps my expectations were too high, I guess.

And that is that. I have managed to boil a pretty decent weekend down into a terrifically boring blog entry. Sweet.

* What I usually mean by 'Jeff cooked dinner' is that Jeff went to Tesco to get the ingredients for dinner, and that either I cooked dinner, or that I cooked dinner with Jeff's assistance. In this case, I cooked the dinner. This has nothing to do with the reason why I won't let other people wash the dishes (namely, that I am controlling and I think they will do it wrong), because everything Jeff has cooked for me has been very tasty. It has everything to do with the fact that I love to cook and Jeff's hates it. So it works out better this way-- I cook, he entertains. It keeps him from getting stressed out over the stove and allows me enough time to suck down some booze so I don't get stressed out like I do when I have to talk to people without a social crutch.