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Dreadful Nonsense

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

28 June 2005
Last day working in Temp Job Number Two and I’m desperately trying to use my time constructively, particularly considering that the free internet access that I’ve been enjoying for the last two weeks will be cruelly taken from me at the end of today and probably won’t be available in any of my next few assignments.

But instead of being proactive, I’ve spent the day barely awake. Oh, sure, I googled the word “caffeine” so that I could do some research for my next biology essay, and printed out some stuff. I opened my books up and read some of the forum postings on the Open University site and started to take notes, but then remembered I hadn’t checked the headlines on the RTE site and then started listening to Gerry Ryan and while I did that read most of the Irish Times online and printed off the crossword and then checked all my email addresses and Chortle and all the blogs I regularly read and participated in two different five way email conversations that both for no good reason came to the conclusion that I’m a raging slag and all the while moving pieces of paper around my desk to make it look busy but approachable and then it was lunchtime and I went outside and did the crossword I had previously printed off and sat in the sun for a bit and now I’m listening to the Milk Run on the BBC radio site and I couldn’t be more bored if I tried.

I’m too sleepy and bored to do anything constructive that would stop me being sleepy and bored. I keep turning around to stare at my OU books that are sitting on the desk behind me on my left hand side, all ready and waiting for me to open them and go treasure hunting through them for the answers to the impossible questions I have to answer by the end of this weekend. At least while I’m chained (not literally of course) to a desk with full on internet access, then I’d be better off doing them now then tomorrow when I’m trapped in my house with endless DVD and telly access, shops down the road and a lot of pubs come to think of it and no internet for me to ask questions to. But instead, I do this. Nothing. All of this nothing.

Thankfully I haven’t heard back from the recruitment agency about how the interview went yesterday, so I’m assuming that I failed miserably and that they hated me forever and what’s more word is being circulated even as I type around the law firms in London Town that I am completely unemployable, and I will soon run out of money and food and will have to live in a tube station where a dog will sit beside me and I’ll start playing the tin whistle for money and office workers will pretend they can’t see me and I’ll have to get some weird looking greeny-blue prison tattoos in my arms and start taking heroins. I say “thankfully” at the beginning there, because that would at least mean that tomorrow I get to have a proper, decent day’s sleep, and won’t be as ratty or irresponsible or bored or listless as I am today.

27 June 2005
Job. Interview.

Two words that should never be put together in a sentence without being followed by some kind of primal howl of despair. I had my job interview today at lunchtime.

Clue number one that I wasn’t really taking it all very seriously: I sat in the foyer of the building teaching my mobile to swear again. Instead of sitting there going over my strengths, weaknesses, what I can bring to a team and what I look for in a job, I was sitting in the foyer with a message that read “fuck fuckers fucking cunt bastard wanker twat bitch shithead shit” before being rudely interrupted and ushered in to Meeting Room 4.

I was interviewed by the HR lady and a secretary from the department I’d be working for, which I think is a good sign, because it implies that they realise secretaries have working, functional brains, and not just a set of hands for typing and filing. They asked the usual bullshit questions, and I gave the usual bullshit answers, stopping only momentarily in my flow of bullshit to accidentally start answering a question honestly – the question was “what frustrates you?” – and completely lose my train of thought mid-sentence, so I ended up looking as eloquent as Tom Cruise when he’s stopped taking his Ritalin.

But I was all dressed up in disguise as a business lady cos Mrs Bishop made me buy a suit and a shirt and new shoes on Saturday, so they might have bought the unconvincing act. I’m not sure I want to work there – they were honest enough to say that one of the two partners I’d be working for gets a little “stressed” at times (which translates as turns in to a whining freak whenever work gets a little behind schedule) and that there’s “some filing” involved (meaning there’s a paper mountain the size of a family of goats already waiting for me). But it’s only for a six month contract, and it’s a very well air conditioned building which at this point is the most important thing in the world, and they seem to be willing to pay actual money rather than crusts or peanuts, so I’d have to say yes if I got offered it.

I don’t want to though. I want to spend my mornings sleeping, my afternoons reading books, shopping and decorating my room, my evenings drinking alcohol and my nights lying awake beside He Who Only… and prodding him every time it looks like he might be falling asleep (because that’s the best game ever invented by me, and I’ve invented some great games).

26 June 2005
This is a special retrospective post, written on Monday afternoon but attempting to channel the spirit of the Hangover (always spelt with a capital H, out of respect like) that invaded us all on Sunday.

Dear Lording Lord Almighty Lord. You know when you wake up from the night before, and you try to open your eyes but you can’t because you forgot to take off your makeup and they’re now glued together with old chunks of mascara?

And your bedroom floor is littered with clothes, more clothes than you were wearing which implies that for some reason when you got in the night before you took all the clothes out of your drawers and scattered them around your room?

And you bravely go to the bathroom, even though you’re so dehydrated you’re considering severing your own head just so you could completely soak it in some fluids because that seems quicker and more efficient than simply drinking?

And when you go back in to your bedroom, the room smells so strongly of alcohol-escaping-from-pores that you immediately want to throw up?

And you lie there unable to go back to sleep because the danger is, if you do, you might slip in to an alcohol coma that you’ll never wake up from?

And in your heart of hearts you’re hoping that will actually happen because that would mean being asleep again?

And then suddenly amid the fug of the Hangover there comes the tiniest glimmer of hope in the shape of a pang of hunger, for which there is only a two minute time limit, after which the nausea will return with friends and family to camp out in your stomach for the rest of the day, and you must run downstairs – RUN, RUN, FOR GOD’S SAKE RUN! – to make toast before the hunger disappears.

Yeah. That was just the first hour of Sunday morning. I lay in bed comparing notes with He Who Only… via the medium of text message about who was more destroyed through alcoholic ravages, and having an argument that was in danger of spilling over in to a serious falling out as to who should go to whose house to make tea. We compromised by meeting in a café up the road and sitting with our heads on the table, moving only to occasionally sip Fat Coke until the life saving sausage sandwiches arrived.

I’m never sure if it helps or hinders you if someone in your group has a worse hangover than you. I have NEVER seen anyone quite like Mrs Bishop on Sunday afternoon as I walked her to her train that would be leaving her at the airport to go back to Dublin. She had shakes, she had nausea, she had dizziness, she had weakness, she was basically ready to die at any moment. I swore then and there that I would never have a drop to drink ever again in my life ever.

Less than five hours later, I had a pint. Well, you know, what doesn’t kill you…

24 June 2005
Having been here for just over two weeks, and having worked for just over one of them, I am now beginning to understand why every open-spot hack on the London circuit starts off by telling jokes about the Tube. It's something that, if you have to travel by tube at any point during your day, starts to fascinate and freak you out in equal measure, particularly in this weather.

I like the hustle and bustle of it. I like people pushing past you on escalators because their need to get to work a millisecond ahead of you is so great. I like the tactical standing at certain points in the platform to either ensure that (a) you get a seat on the tube or (b) you get off nearest to the exit at your chosen station. I like that everyone very deliberately looks anywhere but at someone else, which means idiots like me who don't observe those rules can happily stare at all the freaks in the world to my heart's content. I like that all the girls in London seem to be wearing Berkinstock sandals this week. I like that you can see people's tattoos. I like that people stand on the platforms and take off layers of clothing before boarding the train at the moment. I like that some ladies have taken to carrying fans with them.

I don't like that the trains get stuck in tunnels and you nearly die even though you've brought water on with you. I don't like that sometimes it gets so hot it feels like you're in a sauna and your brain starts telling you that there's no escape. I don't like that - accidentally or on purpose, depending on the man - your boobs get touched up at least three times on your way to work. I don't like how dirty everything - your face, your hands, your lungs - feel when emerging from under the ground. I don't like that the central line keeps collapsing these last couple of days and I'm left wondering how the hell I get from A to B without a tube.

But over all the likes outweigh the dislikes and I'm starting to listen to Xfm in the morning not just for Christian and Chris but also for the travel updates. Next week, Lord alone knows where I'll be working, but hopefully it'll be a happy commute where I can read newspapers over people's shoulders and give tourists filthy looks for daring to be on a tube in rush hour and pause for a milisecond to check they're heading in the right direction. Long may this continue to be an enjoyable novelty, that's what I say.

23 June 2005
The Attack of the Recruitment Agents continues…

Yesterday, I went for a job interview in my lunch break, which turned out to be not so much a job interview and more of a computer skills test. Which was fine, but when you’ve spent all morning reading up on the best answers to “what qualities can you bring to the team?” and “why did you leave your last job?”, it’s a bit annoying to be left in a room on your own answering Word related questions when all you want to do is tell them what a team player you are, and how you’re also able to work on your own initiative, and prefer a active and hectic working environment.

Hello, my name is Shazzle, and I lie to busy professionals on a daily basis.

Anyway, when I got back to the office and got some feedback about my performance, apparently I’d done very well on the computer test – so well that they wanted to offer me a second interview (not that I’d had a first interview) – but that they were worried about my “scruffy” appearance, and wondered if I owned a suit or two?

I wouldn’t usually balk at being described as “scruffy” – scruffy is my fashion style of choice – but yesterday I’d gone to extra effort to look smart (or “suited and booted” as the recruitment agent kept repeatedly and hilariously saying down the phone) in spite of the sweltering London heat. Even though I wore a skirt in to work, I decided that wasn’t smart enough for an interview and dragged some trousers in with me as well. I also had a top which was hastily torn off me while on the tube for fear of dying and hastily re-applied outside the building where the interview took place with little regard to the heat (oh the heat!) of the day.

But apparently this wasn’t good enough for Mr Big Business City Law Firm, who have demanded (according to the recruitment agency) that I wear a suit in for the second interview. A suit. Sure. In over 30 degrees of heatwave? Certainly. Why the heck not. I’ve always found that fainting from heat exhaustion midway through an interview makes a good impression.

Oh, I’m so bored of all of this again. I hate sitting like an idiot grinning at people while we all lie to each other – me about how interested I am in working for whatever company I’m grinning at, and them about how interesting my job is, what potential there is and how easy going the department is. The job? Never interesting. The potential? None. Easy Going Department? Never, ever, ever.

So I know they’re lying, they know I’m lying, why must we do all this lying while dressed up all smart? I for one would find lying so much easier in some casual slacks and a more comfortable vest top in this kind of temperature.

The ridiculousness of my situation continues with the thought that this weekend I’m going to have to go in to town to buy a suit (which I can’t afford to buy because I don’t have a job) in order to get a job that I hate to which to wear the suit that I can’t afford.

Roll on September. I feel that September is going to be an easier month to cope with, don’t ask me why.

22 June 2005
I got a phone call at work yesterday that made me so cross and annoyed that the only thing I could do to keep myself from buying a gun and shooting everyone in the world in the head was to fire off emails to my nearest and dearest complaining about the phone call I had just received. My nearest, and indeed my dearest, were all just as enraged as me. The language used to respond to my initial email was pleasingly risqué and robust. My nearest and dearest swear like troopers, and I’m very proud.

The phone call was from the recruitment agency which placed me in this job, and the recruitment agency which abandoned me to my fate in Camden last Friday without once ringing to check to see if everything was going to plan. They had lied to me about last week’s job, and really I should have realised at that point that this recruitment agency couldn’t be trusted.

Mrs Evil Recruitment Agent rang me yesterday to say that she had some “bad news” – the job she had originally told me would be lasting four weeks will now only be running for five days in total, but she’d hope to get me another job for next week. She then started telling me about a permanent position in a big firm in the City, working in an area of law I’ve never worked before for a pittance of a wage. I told her that the job didn’t really appeal to me, so then she was kind enough to go on a massive rant about how I should really be grateful for any work that comes along, that I was asking for too much money, that my CV was very “erratic”, that I wasn’t in a position to pick and choose and that I had to be “realistic” about my prospects.

For about the first ten seconds of her rant, my blood pressure went through the roof, and I got so angry I nearly responded to what she was saying. But then, I remembered. She was an Evil Recruitment Agent, forced to walk this earth as a retarded lackey, trying to place people in unsuitable jobs and keep all of their wages for her own evil purposes, which include taunting ducks and making baby seals cry. So instead of continuing to get angry, I started to say “Yes” and “Okay” and “That’s fine” over and over again at the most inappropriate moments, which I could tell was rapidly starting to annoy her.

After I got off the phone, I rang my other agency, who we’ll call the Might-Not-Be-Evil, But Who Really Can Be Sure Recruitment Agency. The MNBEBWRCBSR Agency have set me up with an interview at lunch time today. In a job that pays £1,000 more than the salary Mrs Evil Recruitment Agent told me I could never get.

That’ll learn her to mess with me.

20 June 2005
The Summer. In London. Means Business, y’all. Not like the Summer at home, where it comes out when the Leaving Cert starts, hangs about for a couple of days and then forgets what it’s doing and wanders off, leaving a kind of no-mans-land in weather terms – it’s not hot, it’s not cold, and everyone asks everyone else if they think they need to bring a jacket out with them. Summer in London Means Business, and that Business is to burn the skin right off all of the white folk unwise enough to go a-wandering uncovered.

I had the disgusting pleasure of seeing the most sun burnt woman in the entire world on Saturday in a hotel swimming pool in Heathrow. Said woman had obviously taken her opportunity to a-wandering around London’s sights and sounds on that, the warmest day in history, with a lovely round necked top. And now said round necked top will be with her always in spirit, as its shadow is now indelibly seared in to her flesh thanks to the Business Meaning Summer of 2005. Every time she rose up from the water after a lap of the pool me and Mum flinched. I don’t think she realised quite how burnt up she was, but I’m sure the following morning her skin had some serious words with her before, presumably, peeling off her in one long sheet.

I was wise enough to stay out of said heat for the most part of Saturday and Sunday, although thanks to the unpleasant business with An Post, I did have to drag 2 stone worth of books across London, on the Circle and Central tube lines as well as on an overground train and finally across a ten minute hike to my house on the Hottest Day Ever yesterday. I then had the nicest shower I’ve had in my house thus far, standing entirely under the Red Tap, which dispensed completely ice cold water and made me the happiest freezing cold person in town.

17 June 2005
Today, I am Working. I am a Working Lady (not like that). I have a Job. My Job involves answering the phone at a law firm, and opening the post. I have been in the office since 8.30 this morning, and I only finished opening the post five minutes ago.

The very difficult thing about my job today is that it is quite similar to my old Job in Dublin. This means that when I say “Good morning/afternoon, [name of law firm]”, I want to say “Good morning/afternoon, [name of Irish law firm]” and so every time I press the button that says Answer Release I have to think for a moment before if I’m working for [name of law firm] or [name of Irish law firm] and make sure I say the right one. My Job is very difficult.

My Job is mainly telling people that there is nobody available. This is because there is nobody available. Everybody has gone out. Everybody. The entire firm are off on a firm-bonding trip. This means that whenever anybody rings asking for their solicitor, I have to tell them that they’re not available “at the moment” and put them through to voice mail. This does not make people happy. People are not happy to speak to machines. People want to speak to people.

A lady – just this very moment – got very cross with me because I told her there was no one available from the department she wanted to speak to. She used the word “bloody”, which is quite a cross word for a lady to use down the phone to a law firm. Some other people hung up the phone when I told them that there was no one available. Other people do deep sighs as if I’m telling them lies and there are in fact a lot of people in the firm right at this moment, but they’re all hiding underneath their desks with their fingers on their lips trying not to giggle at this great joke we are playing on our clients. When people can’t speak to their solicitors, they get cross. Today, my Job is answering the phone and making people cross.

16 June 2005
A Guide to Working the Shower in my New House (As I Understand It):

Step One: Make sure the taps are set to bath, rather than shower head. This is done by pushing down on the handle in between the hot and cold taps.
Step Two: Turn on the Hot Tap (this is the red one). This one produces the cold water.
Step Three: Get completely soaked in cold water as the handle in between the taps will have leapt up and made water come out of the shower head above you.
Step Four: Make it go back to bath.
Step Five: Keep running the cold water through the Hot Tap.
Step Six: Turn the Cold Tap (this is the blue one). This one produces the hot water. Turn it the smallest fraction possible.
Step Seven: Feel the temperature of the water. It will be at a pleasing, shower-friendly setting.
Step Eight: Pull up the handle in between the hot and cold taps. Water will come out of the shower head above you.
Step Nine: Enjoy the pleasing, shower-friendly water temperature for approximately 10 seconds.
Step Ten: Be suddenly scalded by the unexpected leap in temperature as the taps decide that they no longer know what cold water is.
Step Eleven: Pushing down the handle in between the hot and cold taps.
Step Twelve: Repeat steps four through to eleven until utterly despondent.

15 June 2005
Pull up a chair. This story, if told to you in person, would involve a lot of hand waving on my part. Many gestures. Some face pulling. Mild tears and a whole host of swear words and perhaps some hair pulling (mine, not yours) and finally one of those expressions that say “if you don’t laugh, you’ll cry” while simultaneously laughing and crying. Listen now, for this story is the story of my College Books and their travels through the UK and Ireland.

Packing to leave the country as I was, I was trying to bring as many useful things as possible. I consider a lot of my belongings to be useful, nay essential, for every day life, and so packing was becoming an increasingly difficult task, as I didn’t want to leave anything behind. My mother came up with the wonderful notion of posting my Open University books to England, as they weighed 2 stone when all sitting in a box together, and although that would cost me a lot to bring it on a plane as baggage, it wouldn’t cost me very much if I sent it through the post.

I paid the postage, I paid for insurance, I got a track and trace number and a suggested date of delivery, and all was well. Myself and He Who Only… took to checking the An Post website daily, using our Track and Trace number to Track and Trace the parcel. There it was, Dun Laoghaire to Dublin Central to Newcastle to… No, just to Newcastle. They’re in Newcastle, we’d tell each other every evening. Still in Newcastle. I wonder when they’re coming down to London?

They were still in Newcastle when I came home last week for Ben Folds. I checked the website the evening I got back from Ben Folds. They weren’t in Newcastle any more though. No. They’d be Tracked and Traced to Port Laoise.

Port Laoise?

That’s in Ireland. Not England, and certainly not London. Why the hecking fuck were they back in Ireland? I rang An Post the very next day – you’ll remember, the day after my dog died and I was in no fit state for company – and the lady on the phone told me that they’d attempted delivery, failed, left a card, held the books in London for five days and then sent them back to the sorting office in Port Laoise.

But you see, they hadn’t. I’d be in that house where they were addressed. I’d sat on my arse for vast quantities of the day in that house, and if any deliveries had been attempted, I’d’ve been right there at the door ready to receive. If they’d left in a card, I’d’ve been down that post office in a second, ready to get my university books back. No delivery was attempted, and I’m willing to swear to this on The Koran, on a Bible, on the complete scripts of Blackadder if you’d like me to.

The lady down the phone seemed non-plussed, until I burst in to tears. She then transferred me to a man called Eugene, who was a wonder.

Eugene assumed he was talking to a hysterical 16 year old, thanks to the tone that I was adopting of my entire world having fallen down around me thanks to college books being lost. He assured me that they’d do everything they could to get them back to Dublin. I pointed out I didn’t want the fuckers in Dublin. That’s why I’d posted them away from Dublin. So that they wouldn’t be in Dublin. Eugene saw the strength of my argument, and we decided that the best possible thing to do would be to get the package from Port Laoise, bring them to Dublin, then put them on a plane to London, and have them delivered. Eugene promised me with all his heart that he would do so, and what’s more that he’d keep me informed of everything that was going on.

Eugene duly rang me last Monday to tell me that my package had gone missing from Port Laoise. It wasn’t in Port Laoise and it wasn’t in Dublin. He didn’t know where my package was. He told me not to panic.

In the end, I phoned the Open University and explained to them what had happened, about the books and the moving and the misdirection and the losing and the me having been without them for two weeks already meaning that I was going to start missing essay deadlines. The Open University, after consulting with itself, came back to me and said they’d send me out all the books – these books, worth in excess of £500 – FREE OF CHARGE.

Eugene rang me yesterday to tell me that he’d found the books, and that they were being sent to my Mum. Mum rang me to tell me that my books were back in our hall way.

I have paid, between phone calls and insurance costs and postage and blood, sweat and tears, over €60 for my Open University books to be taken from Dublin to Newcastle to London to Port Laoise to Dublin. I’ve not had them for three weeks now. And the worst thing is, Eugene was so pleased with himself and his good work of finding a package that shouldn’t have been lost and sending it to the address that it originally came from and wasn’t supposed to be at that I couldn’t do anything but thank him profusely for all his work while seething so much I wanted to rip my own skin off in anger at the madness of the whole thing.

This morning, Carol called me to say the Open Unversity have sent out all the books. It took them two days to send out £500 worth of books for free, where An Post cost me €60 and a nervous breakdown to return my books to the last place I wanted them to be.

That is the end of my tale of woe. Let us never speak of it again.

14 June 2005
It's really difficult, trying to keep this updated without any actual internet access at home. One day this week, I'm going to sit down and write out entries long handed - all for you, dear reader - and then book some time in an easy everything and dedicate the entire hour to documenting things for the blog. Maybe even tomorrow. Maybe. Who knows? Not me.

I don't know. So there's no point in asking.

In short, my life as it stands at present:

- Moved house on Sunday, stressful day as the flatmates (1) weren't in; (2) hadn't moved out of my room; (3) left keys that didn't open the door; (4) when did move out, moved all furniture out of room. Me and Fantastic Boyfriend shoved a double bed and base up from the basement to the second floor of house, and I got spiders in my hair doing it.
- No job as yet, although recruitment agents, having totally ignored me all day yesterday, haven't stopped ringing today. I don't like recruitment agents and their false promises, so I'm chosing not to believe a single word they're telling me at present.
- My lip for no obvious reason is all swollen up today and I look like I've been punched in the face. There is no explanation for this. Have been to Boots, which is where you go for medical advice in the UK, and they gave me hay fever tablets, which haven't helped.
- My Open University books are still lost in the post by An Post who are evil and mean (longer post about this to follow) but fingers crossed will be here tomorrow, else I'll have an almighty hissy fit.
- I'm absolutely 100% thrilled to be here.

11 June 2005
Moving. To London. Again. Today. To do this once is mad. To do it twice is completely insane. This week has been the most stressful week I've ever had. I turned up at LittleSisterEdel's house last night, all ready for my last big night out in Whelans, and burst in to tears. I think being back in London is going to be more restful and less chaotic, and that's something I never thought would happen.

So yes. Moving. Again. No job, but have room in house share that I'll be moving in to tomorrow. Will spend week unpacking and panicking at a more leisurely pace at the choices I've made. This time I'm bring two huge suitcases, not one, bringing my suitcase total to three massive suitcases with all of my belongings. Mum's been kind enough to offer to bring a fourth smaller suitcase when she comes for a conference next week, and that one I've filled with CDs and DVDs. Hoorah.

Must go now. Have to catch flight to new world. Eek.


09 June 2005

This is my favourite picture of Honey, at least that I've got on disc. I've an even better one, taken on the beach in Galway, where she looks all wind swept and a bit Marilyn Monroe-esque. Although that might just be me. Anyway, this is a brilliant action shot. I should be a wild life photographer, or something.

Tomorrow, there will be no more talk of dogs. Promise.

When I got up yesterday morning, I was first greeted by my Mum's tear stained face, and then by the sound of a dog whimpering downstairs. Honey had tried to come in the back door, got stuck, and didn't have the strength left to pull herself forward on the floor, so she was half inside and half outside and not happy about it.

We've been talking for a while about having her put down, because as the vet kept telling us, it's about her quality and enjoyment of life, and she wasn't having very much of either these days. I kept arguing against it. I didn't want to live in a Honey free world. I didn't want to be cooking in the kitchen and not have her lying in the middle of the floor getting in everyone's way. I didn't want to be eating in the dining room and not have her swinging her entire body weight at your legs trying to get some food off you. I wanted to always have her lying on the red rug in the sitting room, rubbing her tummy and having her roar her disapproval if you stopped for too long. I wanted her sitting at Dad's feet, patiently waiting and drooling while he peeled his apple core, and she ate it like spaghetti as it came off the apple in one long curl. I wanted her expression when you asked her where her lead was, and she'd hurl herself up the steps and out the door. I wanted her deliberately walking in every puddle she could find on any walk, going out of her way to do it both on the way down and the way back. I wanted her suddenly and without reason becoming completely enraged that there were cats in the house, even though there are always cats in the house, and suddenly pulling herself up on her front legs and barking furiously as they sprinted away in terror.

But it's not about me, it's about her, and she wasn't happy any more. Bless her heart, she made the decision slightly easier for us when we got to the vet, because she when he came out to bring us in to the room, she went from lying on the floor to standing to veering on the floor, walked in to a wall, hit her head and fell over again. We couldn't help but laugh, even as we were bawling our eyes out.

It's only been a day and I miss my Hun Bun so much I've been crying the whole time I've been trying to write this.

08 June 2005

Can anyone hear me?

I seem to have been trapped underneath a malaysian school girl for the last week or so.

Is it all better now?

Updates, many many updates, to follow. Also a competition. Seriously. With prizes and everything. Honest. It'll all become clear later today.

Ah, it's good to be back.