Monday, October 31, 2005

Roundabout Halloween

I have taken back the reins. No more witching and bitching. No more talk about work. No more restraint or responsibility either. Right now I am fairing the pont. What’s that look for? Do I hear a “What you talkin' bout Willis??” I guess I should put a tattoo on my forehead as warning. Professional Franglaiser: Don’t try this it at home kids. For those not fluent in Franglais, Franglais may take one of three forms. The first is where you mix the languages together, cognizantly or not... randomly throw a French word (not synonym) into your English sentence or vice versa. The second form is where you take an English word and try to make it sound like it is French or vice versa. And the third form, which I demonstrated above, is where you take an idiomatic expression of one language and shift it into the other language. So that fairing the pont, what the fuck was that all about?? Well here in France we have religious holidays, even though in theory the country is not religious. Go figure. And the 1st of November is one of those. Halloween started as All Hallows Eve, and the next day was All Saints. You know devils and angels, heaven and hell; all that good stuff. Nowadays it is about the Americans wishing Halloween meant something abroad so they could rock a party with a state provided holiday for the hangover, and locals doing things like placing flowers on the graves of loved ones (which could or could not include Jim Morrison or Oscar Wilde at Père Lachaise). I hear you, I hear you- “BITCH what’s all that got to do with a pont?? What the hell is a pont??” Well now we start talking idiomatic phrases. First of all Babelfish will tell you that the word pont is French for bridge and "faire le pont" means to make a bridge. I would like to make clear as Bablefish is not the baby jesus of translators… I am not building a bridge. No, no- the French have this lovely phrase “faire le pont.” Faire le pont is a concept where in you “bridge” a day or two to connect a weekend with a holiday. This year Toussaint is on a Tuesday which means I could have my weekend, go to work on Monday and then show back up on Wednesday. Or I could buy myself a day of sanity and have me one long weekend. Dog knows I have needed this long weekend for a while. I have been fighting life, a cold and working like a slave to get ready for another work transition... So me, I am fairing the pont. A weekend without ANYTHING to do with work. A weekend in town. A weekend of regeneration. A weekend of catching up. A weekend of reflection. A weekend of action (rollerblading the Seine with friends). It is a 4 day weekend where I can do whatever I want, including sleep an extra hour due to that time change crap (I was raised in Arizona, the superior beings there ruled that there will be none of this time change fucking around with the body clock. So Tink still don’t get that bullshit). I knit (more on that in the next post). I thoroughly enjoyed myself. And I recuperated a fair amount of necessary sleep (I am old, when I don’t sleep- seems I become crankier than normal :) I even celebrated Halloween. Which brings me to my experience living abroad. It is odd to see things from both sides of the looking glass. I often have to restrain myself from shouting FOLLOW THE WHITE RABBIT. The people that import American things DO NOT understand Halloween candy. They have brought over some bullshit version of Reeses Peanutbutter cups (which one CANNOT find here) much over priced caramel corn abounds and there are no Smarties or Candy Corn! It is a travesty… I KNOW!!! But fact stands that Halloween is on the decline in France. The French never really got the concept. I mean they show a Halloween special of a daily show (think Jeopardy type show)… on the 1st of November. According to TF1 statistics in 2000 it was at its height (70M euros) and this year it will be lucky to hit half that. Most adults have “come to the conclusion it is just a commercial holiday.” I guess it is, but to me it was always about the kids and candy (OH MY GOD WHAT I WOULDN’T DO FOR CANDY CORN!!!). I may be disappointed I am not dressing up for a Halloween party (my top three costumes of all time- a smurf, an oompa loompa, and following a trend I have done more than once as an adult… using a child’s costume and going as a sumo wrestler in the self-inflating suit) but beyond that I am thinking as an adult, it isn’t a bad trade off. Long holiday weekend, no Halloween. As a kid, I would have to say it sucks shit. I mean NO CANDY- the horrors!! Anyways- I am eating a rationed Reeses Peanutbutter Cup I had smuggled to Berlin for me. And I am wishing all of you a Happy Halloween. Bwahahahahaha

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Here a bit there bit

I am scattered right now and have to try and find the vodka under my desk so I can face my work. But damn if I can’t weave a story and some how get knitting in there! Oh yes I will, if you stay along for the ride. Currently I have no shreds of intellect left, I am editing a publication. To be exact, currently a chapter by a Nepalese "author" who should be bitchslapped by Shiva with all arms wound up, at once. I was initially entertained by the fact that in “creating tables” he applies the format “table” to his text and expects that the table MAGICALLY appears like… POUF. But that got old after the 8th table I had to construct. But it didn’t stop there. Serious boy needs to STEP AWAY FROM THE BULLET POINT NOW. Yes my friends if you are looking for me… the Nepalese have bullet pointed me to impaling myself on the dullest object on the face of the earth, repeatedly. Serious the Nepalese had 82 bullet points IN.A.ROW. Which for the record, tops the 47 numbered points the Bangladeshi thought were conclusions and the Vietnamese who needs to be introduced to the finer concepts of a paragraph... as in one sentence does not constitute a paragraph; even if you do it 12 times in a row on the same topic. MAKE THE ONE SENTENCE PARAGRAPHS STOP. Yes this is coming from me, an ardent lover of run on sentences (all bow down to the power of “stream of consciousness” writing) and in avoidance therapy over paragraphs... All this too, before we discuss the use of graphics and people who should not be allowed near a colouring book. My head is swimming, and I have to make this crap presentable as the publication will be for sale externally (and this must be done before I change posts). Oh yeah and this publication... it is 481 pages. I officially am DSM III Tourettes diagnosed. My ass is twitching and I have been caught shouting in the outside voice- DIE BULLETMAN DIE Where the fuck is my cabana boy and that margarita/bottle of tequila? I have a date with that worm! :) Another entertaining thing at work since I took the other post, you too may hold this against me. According to the admin officer for my division, because I didn’t know how to read her mind and follow up on work that not the person before me but the person before her did. That earthquake in Pakistan/Kashmir? My fault! I did not get a paper she did not ask for to her in time therefore Katrina and Wilma were sent to their destructive paths- by me. The guilt it is kind of getting to me too, because the tsunami?? Yeah seems I caused that too. My divination rod didn’t give me the right priority set or deadlines. And so you know her work that she has for me to do that takes 2 weeks (as I have to do her job and mine) didn’t get done in 3 days... go figure. Let's all swim!!!! Swim Timmy Swimmmmmmm All this begs the question of what can I do? Well I can do this thing with my thumb, I can do the splits, I can curse in 8 languages and I have a sincere aptitude for causing natural disasters. Oh yeah and since I can't beat the living shit out of these people I am editing or the admin officer... I am knitting with the big sticks instead of carrying them. See I told you people I would get to the knitting sooner or later cause I am doing it. I know you are astounded and shocked beyond words! This was once a knitblog, not just my insane ranting and ravings… like a phoenix from the ashes the knitting arises. The ever so lovely Helen wanted a sweater, and with the shit she has been going through recently, she DESERVES one. I like knitting for other people, especially generous, funny, witty, gorgeous and brilliant people like Helen. There is no one else better to have a date to dance in hell by the Margarita machine with. I promise. So after much prodding she finally took me up on my offer (you pick the pattern and get the yarn and I will turn it back around to you as a sweater- that I can make appear MAGICALLY like POUF). She went and got herself the yarn and the pattern and thank god the needles. I picked it up from her while visiting London. And promptly compressed it into the suitcase, for the trip back to France, where upon arrival I started knitting. This means I am currently putting all other projects on quasi hold (that includes getting the London and Clapotis posts up and done and attaching in photos, not to mention my well over due laundry tip and other cleaning things that ought be done) to get Beth from Rowan Ribbon Twist done and out to her. It is pretty simple and mindless knitting. It is almost all in stockinette (see Margene it is about the Zen :) It goes pretty fast, though this knitting on big needles doesn’t go as fast as I expected being that we are at a stitch and row gauge of almost 1 st per cm. Seems knitting with rollerpins isn’t exactly as easy to corral as knitting with pencils. The “stick a pointy stick in the crotch alla pit knitting” style seems to be the most efficace for those curious minds that have gone towards the gutter. I have however finished the sleeves (no visit to an island when a sleeve is done in a late night session) and am about one night away from the back being done. All this with minimal knitting time. I don’t think I will ever be a big gauge knitter for my average project. That said… this isn’t too bad :) I could see one such project every so often for myself. If Fall didn’t already have a lineup and we weren’t already staring down the rifle barrel at November I would probably make Roxie. I really liked Jen’s. But after Beth is done the next state of affairs deal is to get the rest of the goods “finished up”. “FOs” like Fern, Pretty Wrappy Top (I have the yarn now, collar here I come :), a pair of Natalya gauntlets I started last year, “Kitchener” closed some socks, wrap up a scarf, and… and… and we’ll talk once I have gotten there.

Friday, October 21, 2005

Shoulda Coulda Woulda

I should be writing up my update backlog blogs. I could be starting a sweater for the very deserving Helen with rolling pins for needles. Actually I would be dancing in the streets, but I am a nut case. Instead I have been in upheaval. AGAIN PEOPLE. Really what would this little corner of the internets be without my insane ramblings about international life or a dozen of my neuroses? For the record, this is no knitting blog- nope not anymore. In case you weren’t aware, this ride has been hijacked! And so has my brain; I am blaming the aliens. What this time? My old boss wanted me to have a permanent post. Seeing Tink on contract countdown meltdown does that to people. So he went to the stump for me. And while I went through the interview, I have a feeling that he laid on the charm. I was warmed up shit sundae in that interview and positive I TERRIFIED the Japanese official. He is oh so very reserved Japanese and me I am gregarious. Anyways, I am a bad judge of these things. I was just was offered a permanent contract. My response, was so incoherent as to make George Bush look like a Roman Orator. Why was I not immediately jumping up and down saying YES, YES, YES like Meg Ryan doing her orgasm impression? With me life is rarely ever that simple and when it is… I am scared of it. I can’t make logic of it, because there is none to be made. But there was inner turmoil for sure. Why??? This job gives me a 25 percent increase in take home, provides other extras like “home leave” and is GUARANTEED for at least 13 months, but in theory 24 months. What is there to say beyond that? Where be the turmoil? HAHAHA this is me… The turmoil comes from my principles. God damn principles fucking around with my inner peace. In simple terms: I work for a LOVELY boss (and I am loyal to people), I have a decent title, I get a chance to do some substantive work and I would have traveled for work- to China! That said the topic is less interesting and tensions within the team… they make me want to impale myself on a large dull object, regularly. Oh yeah…and the contract is only until December with no guarantees after that. Job I just got: it be permanent, a 25 percent increase in take home (which will all go to my student loans), topic is more interesting, and did I mention I don’t have to go through this shit again for 2 years? Negatives: well from what I gather (things were not clear in the interview) there will be no travel, I will be working for a timid Japanese man, and again the change and all that accompanies it. I found making decisions about this difficult. I am not used to this looking out for number one. I have gotten where I am by my merits, taking care of those around me and them in turn taking care of me. So up and leaving someone on these terms- doesn’t exactly sit well with me. But after they couldn’t or wouldn’t counter I had no other choice, I took the post. I don’t know what this is going to mean or do to me… but there you have it. Mama's got a new job and her is gonna buy some TBM yarn! After a nice lie in. And write up some of those backlogged posts :)

Thursday, October 20, 2005

London

Running away to Berlin was not enough. I have been muttering about needing to get away to an island for eons and eons. Now sure one of those sun filled islands with cabana boys and people waving palm leaves sounds nice. But I haven’t won the lottery this month so a quick trip to the Island of the Mother Tongue would have to do. Lucky me too, cause Mother Nature cooperated and made it sunny and gorgeous out the whole time I was there. And in reality… it more than sufficed; it was just what the doctor ordered. I had an absolutely lovely weekend with lovely people. People I wish I could have spent more time with and remembered to take pictures of, but it was 3 days of scrambling around. The following is a short run down of what I managed to do in the three days and a "photo commentary" on Ally Pally. Friday was a funny day. On Thursday I had the interview for the post I recently accepted. After being back out at my old building during my lunch on Thursday I turned it back around the next day. It felt odd when I left and it felt odd when I was back. There I was stuck in a training in my old building, a useless training- the best and usual kind non?? The best part, besides lunch with a dear colleague, was high tailing my ass out of there to catch a plane to London. Where the lovely people were waiting for me. I can't begin to describe how nice it is to stay at a proper home. Sure I have my flat, and I am trying to make it mine but it won't be a home in the same way. It won't be a home that has knitting magazines by the bedside for me to look through :) On Saturday I was sent scrambling round and round and round. I got my value out of that day travel card that is for sure! I had a friend’s graduation from Cambridge. After which we met up with Helen to do some irresponsible shopping (FCUK, go ahead rearrange the letters...) drinking on an empty stomach (a recurring theme for the weekend- one in which my Irish Alcoholic genetics do NOT help) and a trade of yarn 5helen gets a sweater). Then on to Tom's Vodka Jellies book signing/press party. All V. Bridget Jones. V. Bridget Jones to the point of including me rolling out of a car with motion sickness and “watering a plant” after hiding in the footwell of the 2 seater of my friend and her boyfriend to get a ride home. Amateur EAT before you DRINK!! On Sunday after a lovely and lounging morning I headed out to Ally Pally. Ally Pally is the first “fibre fest” I have been to. And really when Polly said it would be overwhelming I had no clue. I was ASTOUNDED by all that I saw. I thought it would be slower on Sunday. I was wrong, not the waves of retirees as predicted, but I do still believe I lowered the collective age. I first did a tour of the halls. In the first hall there are people who walk and knit with Big Sticks. I saw a VERY frightening “fashion show” complete with dancing models- who need to stop the side to side hip bouncing. And this... it is for Kristine- Who needs French lingerie?? In the second hall I saw all the artist knitting exhibits (that last one... me and my pure mind will leave you gutter waders to caption it). And in the last room I went through the yarn stalls. Some with too much acrylic, others with piles of bags of yarn for people to wade through and some of the very scary booths- Amelia has a photo of the bucktooth hair clip dolls place. She forgot to note that the lady running that booth. DRESSED LIKE HOLLY FREAKING HOBBY. People need help… (Debbie Bliss’ booth the place where I finally crashed down for the last hour, cause it was enough and the nice people were there). I hit all the “good” booths (I am too tired to search up all the links and I am not putting photos. Polly and others took better and me I was in overwhelm. Tink is all about the quirky Ally Pally photo parade)- Habu, Alchemy, Get Knitted, Rowan/Jaeger, Touch Me, Alchemy, Hipknits, Kaalund and Debbie Bliss. I saw the local specialty booths. I saw the specialty yarn booths (just say NO to that creation made of 15 novelty yarns). But by the end of Sunday and after the rounds… there wasn’t much left and there weren’t many deals to be had either. Ally Pally is not like those US fibre fests I hear of people getting insane deals at. So as lame as it sounds… I touched a lot of yarns I had only ever heard of by name and I returned with enough Lorna’s Laces in the Tuscany colourway to make a pair of socks (though later after seeing Amelia’s scarf - isn't she GORGEOUS??, I wish I’d splurged and gotten some Lion & Lamb. Amelia wishes she would have done an extra repeat). I ran from Ally Pally to meet up with Amelia on her way back from Lille and the DePalmas concert. We had a lovely chat and drank again on an empty stomach. Really twas a chat I didn't want to end. All of this lead to me RUNNING everywhere to get to the airport in time. Long story short, I didn’t make it. Well I did but it was Air France, and one never cuts corners with Air France. Seems Arthur the British God of Transport doesn’t like me either. I think the Gods of Transport have created a Union against those of us who run on Latina clocks... Therefore I headed back for an extra night at the most lovely of hosts. Arthur and local transport weren’t exactly friendly but I got there. I swear you couldn’t find a cuter, sweeter and kinder couple to stay with. I thought Arthur was going to let all hell rain on me after all that. I mean getting back to the lovely happy place was a game enough involving many types of transport. But luckily turns out that I wasn’t on his true shit list. I found an inexpensive roundtrtip ticket to go back on the Eurostar. AHHHH the joyous heavens of luck open up on me. "Barely" cost me anything, easier transport and I get something for it- a return trip! Bless Arthur. So for Monday, I called in a sickie. I slept in (I was wound a bit tight on Sunday night). I took a bath. (People I have a 2ft x 2ft shower. It has been over a year since I took a true bath. All hail the Lush bath bomb and the HUGE bathtub). I wandered through the Kew Gardens. I watched television in English. I had thoroughly forgotten the magnetic pull of CNN. It suctioned my ass into a comfy chair for hours. I made my way out in the afternoon and hopped the train back to Paris. I thought for a while Arthur was fucking with me as I had the world’s chattiest person sitting next to me. I was NOT interested in talking. He was some wacko American who lives in Paris (I know I am one to talk, but this guy was going on about Nixon… even I don’t go that far). He finally went to the food wagon. I flirted with the cute guy across the way and then took a nap. After landing I shuttled myself home and collapsed. I have to say that the weekend in London… was easily one of the better weekends I could have had in a very long time. EXACTLY what the Dr. ordered again! Lovely people. I can't begin to describe how lovely. And if I did I would just be going on and on and on. And even better there was yarn too :)

Thursday, October 13, 2005

BEEEEEEEEEP

The blogger you are trying to reach is not able to come to the blog. She has had her life explode on and then alternatively vomit in technicolor on her (note the ON HER part). She is riding around the whirly twirly where the time warp is more than a dance you do during the Rocky Horror Movie. And she has been invaded or abducted by aliens... we're not telling! HAHAHAHAHAHAHA But when we have finished possessing her whole and let the pepto-bismal take some affect she will have a clapotis post, a Berlin post, a London post and a post about her raging insanity. Same batshit time, same batshit channel, but no batshit mobile! Until then... Elvis has left the building :)

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Berlingo!

3 hours of sleep and groggy as all hell, not to mention many utterances of FUCK I got on a plane to Berlin. When you don’t want to face your life… run from it. How better to run than getting on a jet plane? I took my first day of vacation in over 9 months and tempted the friendly skies. No fucking around with Thor the Swedish God of Transport this time… I am flying to Berlin, on a major airline THANK YOU. Up yours Thor. Gratefully no Teutonic God of Transport is known to exist. Thus my trip went smoothly, well besides the ear-popping bit. As the dark started to lift I was sitting in the plane. Looking forward to gravity and propulsion pushing me back against my chair and taking me away from the chaos that my life has been over the past two weeks. Away from that raw shell and the slicing wounds that came from change and some bitch provoking my flaming insecurities- the ones that living abroad exacerbate on occasion. Cotton candy pouf-pouf clouds of insecurity are below me and that pink band on the horizon is my future. I am leaving the negativity that my life as a soap opera is, BEHIND. Berlin here I come! It has been a long time since I have been in a country where I don’t speak the language. Landing in an international airport, I expected signs pointing the way into town. Nein. After wandering around the airport I managed to find my way to the transfer location to catch transport into town. Woot, let’s go exhaust my 8 word German vocabulary. Gutentag sprekensie englishke? Berlin is an international capital; I am talking to a tourist official at an international airport. Am I unreasonable to think they might be able to understand English? YES. Sprekensie italianske? Nein. Sprekensie frankoischke? HAHAHAHAHAHA. Then they asked if I spoke Russian. Da of course… NOT, that is a negative ghostrider. Wilkommen til Berlin, let the language games begin. Somehow I managed to make my way into town and dropped my things off at the hostel. While Berlin has always been on my “to visit” list- it has never been the top. I was coming to Berlin to see a friend Mark. This is shorthand for Tink… having no tourist plan what so ever. Which meant walking all over with NO plan. Personally I wouldn’t go that route again in Berlin, particularly because of the feeling that Berlin inspired in me. I could be being harsh, Berlin could be the kind of place that grows on you, but to me it felt soul-less. And the history I hoped to feel was nearly non-existent. The weather however, was gorgeous. Initially I tried to find Fadensnel but instead? I found a Turkish apartment building and a döner stand. I continued on my way, I saw bunches of stuff and nothing all together. I wandered the gardens surrounding Schloss Charlottenburg. I went through Potsdamer Platz. I shopped the K’damm. The most interesting for me were the Bauhaus Archives. I wanted to save the huge sites for the few hours I would be able to pull Mark away from work so I put off the biggies. I walked myself to the point that I returned to the hostel at 9pm thinking I would change and get food before taking the night bus to see Berlin lit up. Within 15 minutes I was out cold. Yup in the town of the partying- I was out at 9:30pm on Saturday night. I am a party diva… Sunday morning I went out for a LOVELY brunch at Tomasa, and started seeing parts of town that felt a bit less soul-less. I wandered the Gendamenmarkt. Next thing I knew it was time to meet up with Mark. My dear JETLAGGED friend, I love him (he brought me Redvines!!). Anyways we trekked around: The Reichstag, Brandenburg Tör, the Jewish Museum, and Museum Island. And then Mark had to go to a horrible work dinner of really bad Bavarian food (nothing against Bavarian food but this was bad food, that unfortunately was Bavarian) Me I went to a restaurant in the hostel area. An Italian restaurant, where I spoke the Italian and they were sooooo nice!! And again after all the walking CRASHED. The next morning I woke up early to find the Wall gallery. Again the language games… even right at the wall when you say “wall” they have no clue what you are saying. Thanks to a very cute teen helping at his parents food stand, I luckily found my way, after buying me all of his marzipan rittersports. And I added one German word to my vocabulary- mauen. I walked a good length of the gallery. Then I ran “errands” which involved trying to find Birkenstocks (this is Germany it should NOT be so hard) and La Laine. La Laine was a lovely store. I got to touch all those Lana Grossa Yarns and am still wishing I hadn’t left some Red Debbie Bliss Maya behind (so much so such that I may call and see if they will let me order). I didn’t bring lots of yarn home. I bought a few balls to test out and play with and another set of Addis. I have to add to the one ball stash syndrome. And I didn’t really have the space or inclination to carry lots of yarn around while sightseeing with Mark. Mark and I ended up in front of the Ritz at Potsdammer Platz when Robbie Williams was leaving. Neither of us were impressed; me cause I don’t get Robbie (he creeps me the fuck out) and Mark cause he didn’t know who the fuck he was. We walked past the CDU headquarters and headed over to Checkpoint Charlie where we went through the museum. I have to say I think this was my favorite part of Berlin. I was with my buddy. I got a dose of history. But even better during grad school I had a professor who was awesome. Like we would go out and have beers and he would pay kind of awesome. Anyways Dieter was a military man who went VERY high in the German government. And when I say very high I mean that when there was a Wall he had a pass to go back and forth. Minister of a Government Department, Advisor to the Chancellor and President, VERY HIGH UP. And during class he would go off on tangents. These tangents often involved stories about this time in his life. And I couldn’t help but hear him telling us how it was amazing that people would fit under the trunk of a VW bug to cross the border (for my sake hear that being said with a GREAT German accent, because that is what makes one LOVE LOVE LOVE Dieter). I had to run from Checkpoint Charlie to the airport. And when I say run… I mean run. I ran to the UBahn station, I ran through the UBahn station making it only by seconds for my connections. I ran to the hostel to get my things and I ran back to the Ubahn. I ran from the Ubahn to the Bus station. And caught my bus getting me there with enough time to relax. And tell off the Air France lady who due to ONE HALF of a cm refused to let me take my carryon that I brought here as carryon on the plane. And then the bitch tried to play the whole, POOR US in Berlin enforcing the rules... Ticket in hand and said. Sorry as you have just added about an hour to my transit you will pardon me if I feel NO sympathy for your ridiculous and arbitrary Prussian tendancies. Her eyes bugged a bit and I went on my way home, to face another week.

Monday, October 03, 2005

Comment Spam

It seems that all that talk about the spam for my non-existent penis and the identity crisis it instigates, not to mention the talk about doctors... well it brings the crazies/spammers out of the woodwork. And before it really gets out of control, and before I can make the migration to the independant url, I enabled the captcha to attempt to put an end to it all (the spam, not you know life as we know it or anything :) I know, it is one more thing you have to type in and it is annoying. But for now it is all I can do to try and put a lid on any spam. Now to go and figure out how to delete spam. Cause the last thing I need is more info on penis enlargement. It is Monday morning and I am not about to start it hyperventilating over the fact that well each time I look in my pants I am confronted with the fact, a fact that I am perfectly ok with until someone else asks me if I want to enlarge it, that I have NO PENIS. (that sentence alone should get me some great googles...)