take one woman with low self esteem, but quite good hair
add one moronic illness
stir in some medication which causes hair to fall out
mix it all up and this is what you get...

Thursday, February 28, 2008

"Hey, Dr. Jones, no time for blog" 

It appears to be that time of the year again. In my case, of course, it can happen at any time of the year, but that it happens is an inevitable truth.

Once again, it's time to stop this nonsense. For how long, we just don't know. A couple of days (if a suitably bloggable event arises), a couple of months, maybe even forever, though if past experience is anything to go by, that option seems unlikely.

I'll keep it brief.

My new job is making me use my brain. This is, of course, A Good Thing (to use the title case which seems de rigueur in such situations). This means that, when I get home from work, there is not much brain left.

Although I could probably continue to churn out the odd snippet once a week, I just don't have time to read blogs. And to me, writing without reading in the world of Blog is... well, it's just not right. It might be okay for those famous bloggers, whose fascination with their fabulous selves leaves no time to consider the mundane lives of anyone else, but for blogging pondlife such as myself, it's Just Not On.

And so, I shall retreat into the shadows,leaving only my Facebook friends to discover my fate...

Good evening to you, one and all.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Special Agent:Amber A.k.a:"Bam-Bam"
Appearance:Small, fluffy, tortoiseshell, large white feet
Special Abilities: Jumping into boxes, hiding under beds, endearing self to human subjects.

Cover Story: Your owner has gone on an extended holiday. You must be temporarily housed with other humans for your own welfare.

Mission Summary: Study the humans in their home environment, collect data and submit report of lifestyle, behaviours, food and hygiene.

Your duties have two main purposes. Firstly, to engage the humans in order to gain their trust and admiration. Humans are generally weak-minded and will inevitably respond to your charms. Secondly, to collect data on their habitat and behaviours. Duties include, but are not restricted to, the following:
I wish you luck on your mission, Special Agent Amber. Do not let us down.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

About a hundred years ago...* 

... the lovely Miss Tickle tagged me.

I am to come up with Six Random Things About Me, apparently. Now, having been blogging for nearly five years, there's probably not a lot you long-term readers don't know about me, but I'll see what I can do...
  1. I am quite simply incapable of sitting at a chair with my feet flat on the floor, as recommended by Health and Safety advisors the world over. I have a quite curious need to hoist one of my legs at an unlikely angle so that its ankle is resting on the other thigh. Sometimes I will go so far as to rest my foot on the desk top. I did this once without thinking, in a no-doubt vitally important "business meeting", much to the disbelief of my fellow attendees.

    These contortions inevitably end in pins and needles and an inability to walk until the feeling returns, but it is quite simply beyond my control.

    I am quite comfortable sitting cross-legged, even though I do precisely no yoga. My friend winces when she witnesses this. To wind her up, I show her how close I am to getting my leg right over my head. A useful skill, I think you'll agree.

  2. I played steel drums at school.

    We used to play "At The Sign of the Swinging Cymbal", which many Brits will know from the legendary Alan Freeman's "Pick of the Pops" radio show. If you put a "ping-pong" (tenor) steel drum in front of me today, some twenty years later, I could probably still play it, though I remember the movements required to make the tune more than the sequence of notes.

    I remember becoming emotional as I played, and I still get a shiver down my spine today when I hear "Wonderful Life" by Black - the only song I know with a (probably synthesised) steel drum rhythm section. I always focus my listening on the steel drums and imagine how easy it would be to play... Man, give me a steel drum!

  3. I am curiously drawn to singing harmonies, as opposed to the melody.

    When listening to my iPod in the car, I often find myself singing along, but virtually always with the harmony - sometimes making a harmony line up if it doesn't exist.

    I was once a member of a barbershop quintet. When I say a barbershop quintet, I mean that me and four friends used to get together and sing in a barbershop style. We never performed, but we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.

    As I've mentioned before, I *love* singing.

  4. I am extraordinarily heavy.

    Before you click away with disgust at the sheer tediousness of this statement, this is not your typical "I'm too fat, I hate myself" rants (although I am, of course, too fat and hate myself).

    It is a simple fact that I am much, much heavier than anyone ever imagines. When I was in hospital, I noted several nurses checking the calibration of the scales in disbelief. Even when I was at my slimmest and running twenty odd miles per week, I was still a good couple of stone heavier than I looked. Most people would be horrified to be as heavy as I am, even considering my above-average height. I think I am living proof that there really is such a thing as "being big boned".

    This is one of the reasons that I try not to weigh myself. My measure is the relative snugness of the trouser.

  5. At the age of twelve, I was chosen from my school to attend "Mathematics Masterclasses" at the Royal Institution of Great Britain.

  6. I simply cannot walk in high heels. The end.

* give or take... um... about a hundred years.

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Friends like these... 

I doubt you noticed. It seems to me that, these days, you rarely notice anything outside a five metre radius of your own navel. Our friendship, if we can really call it that, started with a kind of kinship, a shared reaction to a similar experience, a mutual, gentle admiration. You, living the life that, at one time, I thought I might live. There was some envy from me, there always is, though not for everything. Not for the failing relationship, the child, the crushing routine. Just aspects of that life - the life I thought I'd live.

In those early days, I was one of the chosen ones and I was pathetically grateful. Too pathetically grateful. I am ashamed to say that I sometimes joined in with the gushing admiration which, when I witness it now, fills me with bitterness and exasperation.

Things started to turn around for you, in a big way. You moved on, were part of something wholly different now - I fell by the wayside, like many others. You paid lip service to our friendship on rare occasions, but there was more and more smugness and aloofness about your changed fortunes and you became part of a clique: a clique which was not open to me. Too ordinary, too mediocre to be on that list.

Mediocre and ordinary, I may be, but my friendship must still be earned and I'm sorry to say, you haven't worked hard enough. And so, for the first time, I used the "Remove from friends" button in Facebook. On you.

I doubt you noticed.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Yes, but is it relevant? 

I have noticed a phenomenon.

This is not unusual for me. I often notice phenomena whilst going about my daily business. Many of the phenomena I notice are things which annoy me, and the one I'm about to relate to you, oh faithful reader, is no exception.

I've always been a bit "funny" about email signatures. Not funny "ha-ha", but funny "peculiar".

I can see the general function of them. Yes, of course you could put your name and position within the company, especially if it's the first time you are contacting me and I might wonder "Who, in God's name, is this person, sending me an email?". Yes, by all means, put your office number and even your fax number (if you think anyone's going to use it).

But do I need your full postal address? I can see that I might need it for very specific circumstances, but do I need it every time you send me an email? Especially if you work in the same building as me, for the same company as me - hell, in the same office area as me!

Do I need your email address? You've just sent me an email and guess what! There's this amazing facility known as "reply" which allows me to send an email back again! Also, depending on what email client I'm using (and naturally, Lotus Notes is the most useless at doing this), I can (usually) easily see what your email address is by using the power of my eyes.

In my last, fascinating temporary job (I finished on Friday, to allow me to take up my new, permanent, eminently more lucrative but probably only slightly less soul-destroying position), I noted that there were some extra nuggets of information that people seemed keen to include in their email signature.

Firstly, a crappy picture of a ship, made out of various punctuation marks and symbols (the job had "something to do" with ships, although I am not at liberty to reveal any more than this). Ha, aren't they amusingly light-hearted, with their jaunty ship pictures. Not.

Secondly, a worrying trend was the inclusion of letters after the name.

Don't get me wrong - letters after the name are sometimes relevant, if the letters relate directly to the business that the sender is engaged in whilst sending the email. A doctor, perhaps, or an accountant.

But when I receive an email from, say, a "PA to a really important person" (yeah, whatever), where the sender signs off with "Simpering Twit, BA (Hons)", I do wonder what the world is coming to. The fact that you have a degree in, I dunno, "Media Studies", is, I'm afraid, sadly not relevant to your ability to take a pair of trousers to the dry cleaners, do some filing or be treated like a common skivvy by a "very important" executive, now is it?

I am all too aware that my degree in French is basically of no import to my day-to-day existence as a computer programmer so the very idea of shoe-horning my irrelevant qualifications into an email signature on that subject is just plain laughable.

And so I laugh.

Status Anxiety, BA (Hons), DipTransIoLET
Purveyor of Mediocre Blog Posts
02380 xxx xxx*

A sad little corner of the Interweb
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*yes, I know. It was deliberate.