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Dreadful Nonsense

"I've read your blog. it's really funny. you should write a column." - Jon Ronson

27 September 2003
There it is. I only had 2 minutes to wait.

Her whole Audrey Hepburn routine is based on two fucking lines from Breakfast At Tiffanys. God, Ancona is fucking annoying.

I know, I should turn it off.

Irritatingly, the Guardian's Michael Billington has written a front page story (slow news day?) about Blaine's stunt that is less than completely damning. The longer this is going on, the more irritating it's becoming to me, for absolutely no reason whatsoever. I mean, it's not like it's really taking up a lot of media coverage - if I do go looking for information about how the whole thing is progressing, that's exactly what I have to do to find out - go looking. So really I've only got myself to blame every time I read about this ridiculous human being sitting festering in a smelly perspex box over a smelly river, slowly starving himself on purpose but for no real point. It's up to him, and totally avoidable if I want it to be. I think it's like picking at a scab for me. I just can't keep away.

I've spent the day quite successfully avoiding the last essay on my OU course, the one essay out of the seven we have that is essential to submit, the one essay that you must pass in order to pass the entire course. And the most boring one, really. It's so non-specific, deliberately encompassing the course themes, so that you have to cover all the topics we've looked at since February. And by God, I'm bored. I've read The Guardian cover to cover, all the supplements, listened to all three hours of Jonathon Ross's show (despite the fact that the guests were all quite boring), and watched The Hours on DVD. And Fame Academy, even though I truly do. not. care. who. wins.

And with all that, I've got half of the essay written. It's neither inspired nor inspiring. I'm ticking off boxes. It's dull.

But not as dull as Ronni Ancona, who is at this moment being interviewed by the least talented, over hyped interviewer in the history of British television since Des O'Connor. She's on with Michael Parkinson, and has just run through five of her "impressions", and they're all exactly the same.

I'm very tetchy today.

I'm just waiting for her to do her Audrey Hepburn.

26 September 2003
Post number 1 in a continuing series of "probably just this one, really", the theme of which being: I wish I had the internet at work.

I'm still not linked to the net here. The new computers are still sitting in boxes in the hall way downstairs. I am instead using someone else's computer, cos there's not much else to do round these parts.

And I've done a little hunt around, as you do, for brilliant David Blaine links. Early this morning someone threw pink paint at him. And rightly so.

Blaine links:
- Wake David: "It's not big, its not clever, it's a grown man in a plastic box" - hints and tips on how to keep Blaine awake for 44 days and 44 nights.
- Blaine Appeal: "The Shame Blaine charity appeal campaign asks anyone who wants to see some real public benefit from Blaine's stunt to pledge just a single pound - or more if they can afford it - to a legitimate charity, before Midnight on Monday the 13th of October. If Blaine comes out of his box on the 14th of October then all amounts collected on pledges will be donated to charity. If however, Blaine continues in pursuit of his goal of 44 days then, the money pledged will steadily decrease until it will reach zero on Blaine's 44th day of incarceration. His success will mark the loss of a significant charitable donation for worthwhile causes." WHAT? WHAT? I'm sure he knows nothing about this. Why will the money decrease? Where will it go? Just plain odd, this.
- Channel 4 official site: rarely updated, but with lots of ads on how to get the broadband coverage.
- Dress Up David: a rubbish dressing up game
- Blaine Game: I can see no reason for this at all.

I should go home now.

24 September 2003
Somebody sent me this today, with the words "You'll like this, Sharon". He was right. It's the David Blaine Assasination Game.

Some computers arrived in boxes at work today, but they remained in boxes throughout the day. They were still in boxes when I left this evening. They may remain in boxes for the next 12 working days - the amount of time I've got left in the office. Or someone might pull their finger out and actually set it up for me, so I can do something other than playing Bantumi on my mobile phone to distract myself. I'm getting bloody good at that game though. Even with 5 beans in each bowl.

Today at work, some men came in and unblocked the chimney in our room, seemingly by pushing something down it until everything blocking it up fell down the shaft into the basement. There was a lot of rumbling, then some crashing, then some billowing of soot out across our office, and then the sound of coughing. The men seemed to be happy with that.

They then left for half an hour and returned with a big bundle of pink fluff which was apparently for lagging the chimney. The man in the blue overalls shoved that up the chimney, stuck his head in, looked up, and decided that was the chimney lagged sufficiently.

Then two more men came in and stuck some tape around the chimney place, and they all decided that was the chimney sealed sufficiently. Someone else connected a piece of silver piping to a very old looking gas heater, and they declared the whole event triumphant. They left behind a thin layer of dirt covering every single thing in our office.

And a gas leak.

We didn't notice the gas leak for half an hour, because none of us left the room, and no one else came in. When Kerri left and came back, though, she was slightly concerned by the whiff. Me and Pam couldn't smell anything, but that's because we both smoke and therefore have no sense of taste, smell or responsibility. But when I went out and came back in, there was a definite whiff.

We all decided that heat was more important than breathing fresh air - we're in Scotland for goodness sake, it gets chilly here - and didn't say anything, but people began to notice. And we also began to get a little giddy with the fumes.

So windows have been opened, the door has been propped, and another man is coming tomorrow to look at everything. Fingers crossed not any one of the same group that came today. Although I think they may well be busy rounding up cattle tomorrow, if you know what I mean. And I think you do.

22 September 2003
Hey! I quit! Dance and celebrate!

I went straight up the stairs in to work and quit almost immediately, telling a complicated story about hospitals, operations and the fact that none of my siblings are capable of looking after sick parents. I also told the senior partner that my Dad had broken his neck when he was younger which was why he needed a hand from me to look after my Mum when she's ill.

What I didn't tell them, or at least the gaps I didn't fill in for them, were the facts that my Mum isn't going in to hospital until March, that the operation has been in the pipeline for about two years, that my Dad did break his neck, but it doesn't affect him now, that I volunteered for the lovely job of looking after my Mummy (and at the same time getting to stay off work and watch lots of programmes with Gaby Roslin in them).

I am eating New York Super Fudge Chunk icecream now. There is no fudge in it.

20 September 2003
Isn't it funny how virtually the only time I ever post pictures up here is when I've bought a new pair of shoes?

I bought a new pair of shoes. Well, I bought them a few days ago. And then I tried wearing them around the house, but they were far too tight and sore on my feet, so this morning I rang my Mum to see what could be done about these beautiful and childish shoes, because I really wanted them, but they made my feet ache. She told me to go back to the shop and buy a bigger size, and wear two pairs of socks within. What a wise lady she is. Thank God I'm returning home for her closer guidance.

These are my new shoes -

They make me tall. I used to have a pair like these, but in blue, but I broke them through wearing them too much.

I also got a hair cut today - she scalped me, as usual. I shall be wearing a hat for about two weeks until it grows back in to look like I am not in actual fact just recovering from a dose of chemotherapy.

And, because I've an essay to write, I've rented 4 DVDs for the price of two, thanks to a card from the video store that was pushed through my door. I got Adaptation and Punch Drunk Love as the DVDs I had to pay for, and Ocean's Eleven and Billy Elliot as the ones I got for free. So far I've watched Ocean's Eleven. It's a silly nonsense of a film, and great with it.

Now I'm wandering around the flat with my fancy, new, not-hurting-my-feet, quite pink shoes. Woo hoo.

17 September 2003
The most excellent Emma Williams-Kennedy has started a feature on her website called Ultimate CDs where everyone gets to send in their ultimate compilation album, encompassing 12 tracks that don't necessarily have anything to do with each other. This is mine, thrown together as songs occur to me. I'll be changing it tomorrow.

1. Joni Mitchell - All I Want
This is the best feel-good song I know, the only thing that is guaranteed to shake me out of a bad mood. I leap about the house singing it really loudly and annoying the neighbours. It reminds me of my strongest, longest running friendships and makes me feel warm, fuzzy and secure.

2. REM - Swan Swan Hummingbird
I was listening to my cassette copy of this album - my favourite REM album of all time - on a beach in Galway while on holiday with my family, and my walkman fell in to the sea and got destroyed, along with the tape. I cried because I loved it so much, so my Dad bought me another copy. A long time after giving out to me for throwing a proper teenage sulk.

3. Mundy - July
Reminds me of Dublin, Whelans, my sister Edel, Edinburgh, my cousin Olivia, my family, the month of July... plus as an added bonus you can play this incredibly loudly and it just improves the sound. Mundy is genius.

4. Ben and Jason - Best Imitation
This is a B-side from one of their singles, and a cover of a Ben Folds song, and it's just damn brilliant. It reminds me of a time when I was falling out of love with someone and it was really difficult to take, but also reminds me that things happen for a reason, and happen for the best.

5. Bonzo Dog Band - Humanoid Boogie
Someone from the internet once completely uninvited sent me a compilation tape, and this song was one of them. It reminds me that people can be really nice for no good reason at all.

6. David Gray - Late Night Radio / Faster Sooner Now
Has to be the live version, where they splice these two songs together and play it really fast and loud.

7. Dandy Warhols - Bohemian Like You
When this song was out I had two simultaneous, really big crushes on two people, and listening to it still makes me feel high and bouncy and great.

8. Doug Anthony All Stars - Throw Your Arms Around Me
9. The Frames - Lay Me Down
All of my friends, family, people who meet me at bus stops etc are sworn to eternally remember that both of these songs are to played at my funeral. The DAAS song is beautiful and haunting, and should simultaneously make people cry and make my close friends laugh to remember that it's from the same album as the song I F**k Dogs.

10. Mic Christopher - hey day
My sister told me that Mic Christopher had died over the phone. The Frames played this song at New Years Eve that year, with the backdrop showing video footage that best friends Mic and Glen had shot of each other, and a big bunch of us - friends and strangers - put our arms around each other and cried and yelled the song out at the top of our voices.

11. The Bluetones - Bluetonic
In first year in university I played this album over and over until the CD refused to play any more and I had to buy another copy. I didn't know you could do that to CDs. A group of us once walked through Dublin city centre looking for a cab at about 3 in the morning, screaming this song at the top of our lungs.

12. REM - Its The End of the World As We Know It
One summer when I was 16, I sat in my bedroom and listened to this song over and over and over and over until I knew it off by heart to impress a boy. I learnt it all in one day, displaying the sort of commitment I didn't dedicate to my schooling. The only other person who I've ever seen that knows all the words to this song is Ross Noble, who once screamed it at Late N Live in Edinburgh back when it used to be good. I was suitably impressed.

16 September 2003
I just got 12 bottles of beer delivered to my door.

My shopping from Tescos was supposed to be arriving between 9pm and 11pm, and instead arrived at 8.30pm, but I suppose that they assume anyone who gets their shopping delived between 9pm and 11pm on a Tuesday night will probably be home at 8.30pm. And they were right. Although the bloke on my street who was also supposed to be having his shopping delivered between 9pm and 11pm didn't seem to be home. He'll be kicking himself now that he didn't factor in that complication.

Alongside most of the things that I asked for, except for my icecream and my quorn sausages, they also put in some microwave chips. I didn't ask for them, I yelled at the kitchen while throwing them in the freezer. I don't want them, I muttered to the hallway on my way to check the order list. They're not on here, I mumbled walking back to the kitchen to open a beer. Free chips! I celebrated, sitting back down to blog this wonderous occasion.

Such are the small things in life that make you happy.

Back to New Job after a long weekend, and I had decided over the weekend that I'd be nice to the recruitment people at New Job Corp and give them a full three weeks notice of my departure. Which would mean telling them at the end of this week that I'm leaving. Which would be odd, considering I'm still very much New Girl, despite the fact that someone else started today.

The New New Girl is in fact a New Woman, in that she's a solicitor. She's actually the same age as me, but I'm very much New Girl while she's definitely New Woman. She turned around to one of the secretaries today and said the words "And you are..?", which of course is her way of establishing herself as Woman over Girl, even though the secretary she was addressing was certainly 10 years her senior. That's the hierarchy of the office, and one of the ten thousand reasons I want to leave the office world.

I'm currently watching At Home With The Eubanks (mainly because the tv controls are the other side of the room, and I don't even know how the telly got turned to Channel 5) and I have to say, far from the freakshow 5 were obviously hoping for, it's really just turning out to be a lesson in good parenting. They are bloody good parents. They make their kids stand to attention when they're being given out to. They make them repeat mantras from Spiderman as life lessons. They continually remind them that their last name is Eubank. And they don't have constant shouting matches or unresolved arguments. I bow.

A new feature has just come on to the new blogger - or at least one I've not noticed until now. You can change the time and dates of your posts. I think that's cheating, personally. Don't do it, kids.

And finally. Someone tried to cut off Blaine's water supply today. That's both big and clever. Well done Stephen Charles Field, 38. Keep it up, and he'll be down within the fortnight, blaming the Great British Public for ruining his fun.

12 September 2003
Really? It's been over a week? Oops. Time flies when you've got too many things to do and not enough energy to be arsed even beginning the first thing, and you instead spend the week watching the entire first series of M*A*S*H that you bought on DVD that you really can't afford.

I wrote some entries during the week at New Job, but since I still don't have internet access or email they all went by the by. New Job is getting better, really, after the great debacle of last Friday lunchtime.

Last Friday lunchtime me and everyone else that works at New Job (that's a total of 19 people - it's quite a small firm) went out for a lunch in a Chinese restaurant, all paid for by the nice Head Partner. It all started horribly, and well slightly down hill from there. The thing was, everyone at the table found that impersonating the accents of the waiters and waitresses - while they were still standing there taking our orders - was the funniest thing they could think of. I really wanted to crawl under the table, and while under there, apologise to the poor men and women that had to keep coming back to our table. As it was, I went bright red and stared in to the middle distance. And then I burnt my mouth on a particularly hot peice of random vegetable.

But this week has been bearable. I've learnt everything there is to know about writs and how to serve them, no matter who you are serving them upon. And obviously the more observant of you will note that the count down to Dublin has moved ahead in leaps and bounds, due to the fact that we've moved the date forward by 10 days. Hoorah. That, you'll all already have guessed, means 10 days less at New Job. Today, I counted. I've got 20 days left in New Job. In 20 working days, New Job will be Ex-Job.

Now all I have to do is tell everyone at New Job. I've decided to be nice and give them 2 weeks notice rather than the 1 week I'm contractually bound to give. Aren't I good?

04 September 2003
Walking to my OU class tonight with my walkman on, I had to keep stopping and staring intently in to shop windows because I was afraid everyone would think I was odd. Although thinking about it, staring intently in to the window of a bookies - and every third shop on Leith Walk is a bookies - or gazing in to an empty branch of the Abbey National probably isn't taken as particularly rational behaviour.

The reason for my problem was that I was listening to That Mitchell And Webb Sound on Radio 4, and it's downright one of the best things that's been on that station for blinking ages. Radio comedy very rarely makes me laugh - Radio 4 comedy particularly usually only raises a wry smile and sideways tilt of the head - but TMAWS had me bursting out rather loudly than I was expecting. It's really really really great.

So I'm doing you a favour. Sit back and listen to this for half an hour. It really is that good.

We buried Junior outside the window of my front room, underneath the hedgegrow. We buried him with a flower from a friend's wedding, and with a newspaper cutting that says fish are very clever. Right now, there's a candle burning in the window to help guide him on his way. It was actually quite lovely. Much more civilised than flushing him down the loo, really. We'll be having a proper Irish wake for him on Saturday.

God bless Junior.

03 September 2003
"Is it possible for a man to give birth to a monkey?"
No, David Blaine, it freaking well isn't. Stop asking stupid questions on my television and go starve yourself to death already.

Sad news, people. It is with great, great sadness that I announce the death of my cousin's goldfish Junior. You will all remember the fabulous job I did when Olivia moved flats and I was in charge of looking after little Junior, and I didn't spill much any water. Well, she called last night, and apparently he was floating sideways at the top of the bowl and not really breathing. I've had no more updates since then, but I'm guessing that he's not long for this world. So possibly announcing his death to the world is a little premature, but she's coming over tonight so we can bury him somewhere in the field outside my house. What? We're Irish. We can't just flush him down the toilet (which is illegal in Scotland anyway, I think). So I'm thinking he'll probably be dead if we do that.

And, it's important to note once more, I didn't kill him.

Third day of New Job. I'm learning all sorts of new skills, like how to fill in Summary Cause Summons forms over and over again, how to serve Writs on people over and over again, and how many different forms it takes to serve a Writ (three if the defender is an individual, four if it's a limited company). And I got to fill in the E200 form. Fifteen. Times. Today. New Job is exciting fun.

I started taking phone calls yesterday afternoon, because they felt that I was ready for the challenge. The thing that worries me the most is the amount of times people checked to see if the callers were being polite and not rude at all. Four different people checked. And the partner I'm working for gave me a little speech yesterday about the fact that it's okay to hang up on people if they're swearing at you.

Like I said. Worrying.

01 September 2003
Hey! Check me! Officially, I rock!

Must go do some study now. Must study... must study ah.

David Blaine apparently accidentally cuts part of his ear off in his press conference, there is apparently a scuffle between photographers to get a good shot, and I can't find a single photo on the net. Although I'm not looking too hard. It's just what he wants me to do.

Day One of new job. This morning at about 10.30am I was considering walking out, and explaining as I ran through the door (yes, through) that some sort of horrible mistake had been made, that it was never supposed to be like this, and that I was really destined for better things. By 12.30pm, I thought maybe I could probably last through to the end of the day, but no more. Now, I think I might risk going back for one more day, just to make sure.

It's the horror of experiencing the same old same old. That same kinds of cases, the same paper pushing, the same weird office staff, but wrapped up in a horror of an unintelligible filing system and a computer dating back to the early 1970s. Contributing to a feeling of nausea this morning (initially brought on by the fact that I was awake before 12pm, and was neither drunk nor in bed) was the vision of my new work station, sitting in all it's glory, facing out across the entirety of the little office, so that everyone could see my monitor. This was soon complicated by the news that I didn't have a phone, or any email or internet facilities - although apparently this will shortly be rectified.

As it goes, I got a phone in the afternoon, and am promised a brand new computer (please god with at least email) some time soon. Although the girls there didn't put much faith in the "soon" part of any promise. At least there's tea and coffee on tap. Although there's no water.

They are all quite nice, really. And since they still haven't given me a contract, I don't know how much notice I have to give them before skipping the country.