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07 March 2010 @ 09:16 am
The vast majority of the good stuff here is friends only. This is because it consists of all the best in scandalous gossip from the classical music industry, which would totally get me fired if it were in the public domain. Add me and I'll probably add you back...
06 April 2008 @ 04:44 pm

Mary Cherry absolutely frickin' rocks. And Harrison (at around 4.17 in the first video) was just about the most heartbreakingly gorgeous man ever to appear on TV... I just never got over the untimely death of Popular... *sob*...

My favourite Mary Cherry quotes ever:

"Y'all, do I have to do the splits? I'm a Christian."
"We're gonna die, y'all!"
Nicole: "You carry a vial of e-coli in your purse???"
Mary Cherry: "A girl never knows when she's gonna have to drop 20lbs!"
06 November 2007 @ 11:53 am
I know exactly what I'm going to hell for: gluttony.

As I type this, it is 11am and I am already tucking into the sandwiches I brought for lunch (really strong vintage cheddar with avocado, cherry tomatoes and spinach and just a dash of mayonnaise on granary bread). Yesterday I was overjoyed to discover that Pret have already started doing those yummy Christmas sandwiches they do with turkey and cranberry and stuff. The thing that I am most going to miss about being in warmer climes for Christmas this year is missing out on a bit phat roast dinner and tucking into all the chocolates my mum's students give her every year. The first thing that I am likely to do on arrival in Mexico is to sample some local delicacies. Stephen and I are talking about going on a long weekend to Segovia next spring, partly for the glorious architecture and to practise our language skills, but mostly to stuff our faces with cochinillo and chorizo al vino and to go to Dia to buy a suitcase full of jamon de serrano and chorizo and olive oil - all those delicious things that cost a fortune in England. I have started a facebook group entitled, "The Chip Butty Appreciation Society". When I was a small child, my parents used to bribe me to do things I didn't want to do with jaffa cakes. I have been known to hallucinate about sushi.

What are you going to hell for?
04 November 2007 @ 08:43 pm
I have a confession to make. I spend a lot of time with my feminist hat on, ranting about how we shouldn't worry nearly so much about our looks, which are given completely disproportionate importance by our disgusting patriarchal society, and which are just one of our many and varied attributes. But I'm a complete hypocrite. It's true that I would like to see women in general worry less about their looks, but my own appearance causes me considerable distress.

Most of the time, I look in the mirror and think I look ok. Occasionally I think I look good. But I look absolutely bloody fucking awful in photos, and of course the camera never lies. I am ugly. Sometimes I bypass ugly and just look mediocre, which to a perfectionist is just as bad.

I can't see how anyone would ever love me or find me attractive. I can't even see how anyone would fuck me without wishing they were fucking someone else. I have no other attributes that sufficiently compensate for my mediocre looks. I am worthless.

Sometimes I feel like killing myself because I'm not beautiful. Today is one of those days.
24 October 2007 @ 01:43 pm
I have just returned from a dark and dangerous expedition. I have, for the first time in over five years, bought condoms. I didn't really set out with such a mission in mind, but I was in Boots buying first aid type stuff for my travels, walked past the family planning section and stopped and thought, hang on, I suppose I might get lucky...

Stop laughing, it's not totally inconceivable!

So anyway, I discovered that it's impossible to buy normal condoms these days. By which I mean, condoms that aren't ribbed, lubed, flavoured, flimsy or industrially reinforced. There are no bog standard vanilla condoms on the market. All I want is something that's going to allow me to get some action without getting gonorrhea - is that too much to ask? Apparently so. A brief summary of what's available:

  • Ribbed "Enhanced for her pleasure". The last (and only) time I used one of these, it was like having sex with a cheese grater.

  • Flavoured Nothing wrong with it per se, but they look ridiculous. The last time I used flavoured condoms, I couldn't stop laughing because my partner's bright red strawberry-flavoured penis reminded me of Satan in the South Park movie. Highly amusing, but not really conducive to great sex.

  • Performance enhancing Really, really scary, these ones. Like normal condoms, but with this stuff on the inside that actually numbs the penis and delays ejaculation. Yikes! I suppose it might help chronic premature ejaculators, but frankly, I'd rather anyone I slept with enjoyed it as much as I did.

  • Heavy duty Reinforced for really rough anal sex. Since I'm NOT going to be taking it up the arse, this extra reinforcement is unnecessary and likely to detract from my partner's pleasure.

  • Featherweight I'm a bit suspicious of these. The idea is, they're as thin as possible for the most natural feel. But surely they break more easily?

    I went for the featherweight ones in the end (12 pack, baby! I'm feeling optimistic), reasoning that they can't be that flimsy or they wouldn't meet safety standards, and since I have a contraceptive implant, a split condom isn't the end of the world.

    What's interesting is that when the cashier ran the condoms through the till, they just came up as "Chemist goods". How twee and unnecessary. But then, I suppose that might make it easier for teenagers to buy them and not have to worry about their parents seeing the receipt. Likewise people having affairs not wanting their partners to find out about the 24-pack of extra-large, extra-reinforced, deviant S&M ones they'd just bought.

    The condoms I have just bought expire in July 2011. Surely I will get laid before then. SURELY.
    19 October 2007 @ 02:38 pm
    I am currently eating the shittest lunch ever.

    There is a little Thai buffet place near the office that I'd never tried before, so having neglected to pack sandwiches today, I went there for a take out box. Imagine my horror when, already having paid £4 for said box, I discovered that it was fucking VEGAN!

    I now have greasy, salty, shitty, rubbery chicken substitute, bouncy tofu, minging curried noodles, and even the vegetables are salty, greasy and undercooked.

    The place is called Tai Buffet and it's near the British Museum on New Oxford Street. DO NOT go there unless you actually like soggy, salty tofu. Sod animal rights and the environment, I want some proper food. WANKERS.
    15 October 2007 @ 03:00 pm
    This is just too funny not to share. I particularly love the 'alternative' usage of the square root sign on the paper 5 from the bottom. Oh, and the description of the graph. And the stick man terrorist!

    Actually, it reminds me of a legendary incident at my mum's school. My mum teaches Year 2 kids and one of her more thankless tasks is getting them to do well on their SATs exams. The maths papers used to be set out in a manner whereby they'd give you a problem, ask you for the answer and then ask you for an explanation of how you arrived at that answer. So, a kid in my mum's class a couple of years ago wrote down the answer to the problem correctly, but then got a bit confused about what the examiners were looking for. In response to the question, "How did you get that answer?" he wrote, "I used my brain" and illustrated it with a great picture of a disembodied brain. He received no marks, which I thought was an absolute travesty seeing as he'd clearly answered the question correctly.
    01 October 2007 @ 11:56 am
    Yesterday I had my first taekwondo tournament in ages. I hadn't competed for over a year for two reasons - firstly because my asthma always happens to have been quite bad when tournaments have come round, and secondly because I have been feeling less and less confident about my ninja skillz. However, there really wasn't an excuse not to do yesterday's. I was in good health, and seeing as it was a friendly inter-club tournament it was the perfect way to ease myself back into competing and give me some confidence.

    On Saturday, my instructor (the young one) spent an hour with me going over my patterns and taking me through a few sparring drills, before insisting on buying me my first ever Krispy Kreme doughnut (the day before a tournament!) which was really yummy but actually gave me a sugar-overload headache - pretty impressive for one doughnut. Definitely something to enjoy occasionally as part of a balanced diet :s

    So anyway, the day of the tournament dawned, I got up at an unfeasibly stupid hour, packed my bag with huge quantities of water and Lucozade (1st rule of tournaments: however much water you take with you, you always need more) and set off for Dunstable. The kids were doing really well when I got there and we all cheered them on for a bit before heading off to the weigh-in. Normally there are three weight categories, but in this tournament there were only two, meaning that I wasn't the only lightweight and didn't end up having to fight people considerably bigger than me.

    Patterns was a strange experience. Normally patterns is very much my thing. I've come first in all but one of the tournaments I've ever entered and have never lost to anyone who wasn't a higher grade than me. I did a great first round, but in the second I was up against a girl of the same belt as me, who was doing the same pattern. The fact that we were doing the same pattern freaked me out a bit for some reason and I didn't do so well. The judges' decision was split right down the middle, but seeing as the head umpire had voted for her she won that round. I ended up coming third overall. It was kind of a controversial decision though - loads of people not just from my club were bitching about how much better my kicks and jumps had been, and I'm thinking perhaps I actually went properly wrong at some point - a wrong stance or something - some major technical error that perhaps nobody who hadn't been sitting on the umpires' table would have noticed.

    Sparring was better, at least in terms of what I had expected of myself and what I actually achieved. I had a particularly vicious bout with a girl from my club, who I think is probably a future world champion. She's only sixteen but she is virtually unbeatable. I did manage to score a few points though, and was happy with that. We both ended up injuring each other at some point though, and mine was quite amusing. She was punching me in the face and ended up accidentally poking me in the eye. The referee called time out.

    "It's ok, she just poked me in the eye, I just need a minute..."
    "You don't wear contact lenses do you?"
    "Is it still in there?"
    "Yeah I think so"
    "No it's not, it's on your cheek"
    "Oh no!"

    He picked it off my cheek and handed it to me. I don't have uber-bad eyesight so was fine to continue with only one, but I was kind of at a loss as to what to do with the one that had fallen out. The referee told me to go and hand it to my instructor (the old one) who was standing at the side. So I deposited it in his hand saying, "It's a disposable one, just get rid of it, thanks!" He looked so disgusted!

    Then a minute later I landed a great kick to the stomach, totally winding her. It was my turn to kneel on the floor facing in the opposite direction and get bollocked by our instructor whilst she recovered. Fortunately we were saved by the bell a few seconds after she recovered, and I think we were both quite relieved. I think the referee was highly amused by us more than anything else.

    Point stop sparring was quite embarrassing for me. For those not in the know, point stop sparring does exactly what it says on the tin: you stop each time someone scores a point and start again once it's been verified by the corner umpires. There is such a massive advantage to be had in height for point stop (Kelly, our future world champion, weighs the same as me but is 4 inches taller with very long limbs) that it was an average of only about 5 seconds in each time that she scored a point against me. I scored one against her though. ONE!

    Then it was onto tag team sparring. Tag team sparring works like this: You have a team of three containing at least one lightweight and at least one colour belt. There are two people in the ring at any one time, but your teammates are standing at the side and can tag you out at any time. Normally what happens is as soon as one team puts in their lightweight, the other team puts in their biggest girl who then wipes the floor with you. But as it happens, the heaviest girl there was only just over 60kg so we all had to rely on skill. I was definitely prouder of my performance in this than anything else. The other team's scariest sparrer was giving my teammate a hard time, so I did what I had to do and tagged her out. I was terrified both for my personal safety and for my pride - I didn't want to make a tit of myself and let my team down. But I actually did really well. I scored us a lot of points until the unfortunate moment when she attempted to raise her leg at high speed for an axe kick, but my groin got in the way. She should have been docked a point for kicking below the belt, but I honestly don't know if she was because I was in far too much pain to notice anything about my surroundings. My teammate went back in and finished her off. At the end of the match, it was the referee's second time to laugh at me that day as I bowed to my opponents with my legs crossed and tears in my eyes.

    It was clearly an accident, but I was really annoyed that the girl in question didn't apologise to me. She had ample opportunity to do so after the match but she didn't. Grrrr.

    After that, and a quick trip to the toilet to get changed and inspect the state of my ladyparts (blue and purple, but fortunately no bleeding) it was time for the men's sparring, when I got my first taste of umpiring. Umpiring works like this: you have a head referee in the middle standing with the sparrers, bossing them around and making decisions. You have someone at a table at the front keeping time and telling everyone who they're fighting and when. And you have four other umpires, one at each corner, keeping scores. This is what I was doing. You have a red clicker and a blue clicker, and one opponent wears either a red or a blue bib so that you can see who's who. Unfortunately the bib had gone missing, but fortunately one of the clubs involved had a uniform involving red stripes, so it was easy to see who was who in most matches. In others, the referee told us which was red and which was blue. In the last match however, he forgot to do this. We had one man in a red striped dobok wearing a blue belt, one man in a plain white dobok wearing a red belt, and none of us knew which was which. Luckily it was pretty much a draw anyway! There were two bloody noses in the mens sparring, one of them inflicted by an absolutely spectacular jumping reverse hooking kick by our star sparrer. He was docked a point for excessive contact, but by God it was worth it, especially since the other guy was ok in the end.

    I'm really glad I went in the end. I might be slightly concussed and having to apply an ice pack to my ladyparts at regular intervals, but I now have three massive trophies (and one little one for the patterns) and a bit more confidence in my sparring ability. A more pressing issue though is that I have sore back muscles and am very much in need of a good massage. Where's Fit American Boy when you need him?
    28 September 2007 @ 10:22 am
    Anybody who's ever worked in an office will be familiar with franking label salespeople. Someone will call the office and parrot a script along the lines of, "Hi, this is so-and-so from such-and-such a company, can you tell me how many franking labels you've got at the moment? Do you need any more?" This is designed to sound like a friendly courtesy call from the company that your company always uses for their franking label needs and to trick the person on the end of the phone into ordering labels from the wrong people. One of my colleagues fell for it yesterday afternoon - he took a call, put someone on hold, asked how we were all doing for franking labels and we all said, "No, no, get rid of them, it's a total con!"

    But how to get rid of them? How to get rid of them in the most fun way possible? Well, we came up with some ideas...

    Conduct the above without actually putting them on hold
    "What are you wearing?"
    Heavy breathing
    "Franking labels get me so HOT"
    "We don't have a franking machine - we use carrier pigeons instead"
    "I'm afraid this is a very bad time. One of our directors died in a horrific franking machine-related accident yesterday"
    "I like to put franking labels down my pants because I love the sticky sensation"
    "Can I interest you in advertising in Classical Music magazine?"
    "Sorry, our franking machine is being exorcised today"
    "I'm terribly sorry, I've just come"
    "Are they from sustainable forests?"

    Any further suggestions?
    17 September 2007 @ 02:23 pm
    A geeky site that I frequent has started a bit of a competition: somebody has set up a scoreboard on hotornot.com so that we can see who's hottest.

    I was one of the first to jump on the bandwagon, and started off on a fairly respectable 8.7, putting me in 2nd place. 30 votes later and I was languishing at 7.0.

    "Aha!" I thought. "Lots of jealous women have been giving me low scores in order to beef up their own rankings!" Yes, I am officially an arrogant bitch, this really is the first thing that popped into my head. I was right though. A cursory glance at my histogram tells me that A LOT of people have given me 1s and 2s.

    So anyway, this is my hotornot photo, and if you think I'm worth more than the 7.6 that I currently have, please vote! If you don't, then don't bother... ;-)