Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Howdy partner

Yeehah! I'm dragging the old man to Las Vegas on Thursday (well I say dragging, you probably couldn't see him for dust such is his penchant for the old ching ching of slot machines) and I can't wait! We went last year and my one overriding memory is that we only saw a tiny percentage of all there is to see, and I am determined to see it all this time. Hell, last time (due to jet lag or something weird related to wedding stress), we never went out at night. Oh actually, we did once, to see the Blue Man Group, but that was because we had already paid for the tickets. They were mental btw, and apparently in London, go see them! Anyway, we hardly drank either, despite booze being free (yes FREE) in casinos as long as you're sticking your quarters in a machine. Being typical Brits, we didn't like to ask, admittedly being asked for ID every 5 minutes might have put the waitresses off approaching us and offering us the demon nectar. I was 30 at the time, they thought we were under 21!! Flattering but not half annoying. It was probably because we clutched our $20 notes to our bosoms like they were million dollar notes, while groups of boys who really did look about 15 were throwing hundred dollar bills to the wind on the roulette tables. Would you ask someone their age if they were making you rich? We weren't making anyone rich with our measly gambling so they picked on us. Swines.

Anyway, my problem at the moment (life is hard sweetie) is what to drink. We were on Budweisers last time and I can't drink lots of beer. I tried a cocktail in a restaurant, a Manhattan I think, and it was horrible. I'm veering to the old mainstay of JD and coke, but as it's free I want to ask for something extravagant, something with an umbrella. That will make me strangely lucky on the Wheel of Fortune and not so drunk that I fight an old dear trying to get on the same machine. What would you have to do to get thrown out of a casino?

No. 11 in my Top 10 Things to Do with £100 Million Dollars? Well, I'd put a million on red...and buy that giant flashing cowboy that's in all the tour guides.

Friday, January 27, 2006


Hubbie has been driving me crazy for the past 2 weeks with his obsession with winning the Euromillions. He says I have no imagination as I can't get excited about what I'd spend the money on. My defence is that I am not bothered about money at all, and I'd rather write a novel that got published, or become a rock star. For arguments sake though, and to prove I can, here are the Ten Things I Would Spend My Millions On.

1) Lessons in how to walk in high heels without looking drunk or crazy.

2) An en-suite swimming pool (I saw one on Superhomes and it is a must for any millionaire)

3) My own library fashioned like one at Cambridge, with spiral staircases, sliding ladders, and those green reading lamps on the tables. And my own purple book stamp. And perhaps a benevolent ghost.

4) A beetle - purple soft top with those spinning silver hubcaps, and a holder for cups of tea. And a teasmaid in the boot for emergency tea situations.

5) A big jukebox that holds all my cds and plays them in proper random order (not like Lady L's mp3 player)

6) A disco of my very own, with a sprung dancefloor, my jukebox linked to the decks, a mirrorball, and a fully stocked bar. And another floor for roller-discos. And BIG sofas on the sidelines.

7) A big house to put it all in. Somewhere in the countryside but near enough to London to visit.

8) A little olde-worlde bookshop with a cafe next door that me & my friends can run, I wouldn't want to give up work altogether, and I'd like to save them from their lives of 9-5 drudgery. But imagine all those libraries that would be bereft of librarians!

9) A Frothy Coffee maker. No! Make that an island! With a castle and eerie caves. Think the Famous Five.

10) My own beach.

Dead ringers

I know there is something wrong with my head, but 2 news articles this week have stuck themselves together in my subconscious for their startling similarity against all odds. No. 1: The poor old whale that died in the Thames after getting lost (or perhaps she was trying to speak to Tony Blair as she was spotted near Parliament). No. 2: The death of Chris Penn, funnyman actor most famous for Reservoir Dogs. They have absolutely nothing in common, except that inquests into their deaths were "inconclusive". And I suppose that reports say that Chris Penn was 21 stone when they found him. Who would have thought that he would be linked to a dead whale when he died? Not me. But maybe I'm just a sick bunny...

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Stalkers alert!

I was reminded recently of my stalker incident. I had managed to blot this from my memory for a good few years, but I suppose as I still have the evidence it ain't quite gone. It wasn't all that threatening really, indeed I have had a few drinks out of the story, but it's time to out it.

I was stalked by a librarian.

It was my very first library job, back when I was young, enthusiastic, and, as it turned out, extremely naive. Just moved to the big smoke from the World's Tiniest Village (tm), boyfriend who was miles away, and I landed a job in a great little library with lovely friendly librarians who took me under their wing. I spend most lunchtimes in the pub and most afternoons on the floor. We had so much fun, the students even used to come and show us rude pictures they had found in the medical textbooks. Then one colleague who shall remain nameless, who I got on with brilliantly (maybe too well as it turned out), started being weird about my weekend visits from the boyfriend. Then stalker boy bought a flat and needed to rent out his spare room. We thought it was ideal, he wanted less rent than I paid for a bedsit slightly bigger than my belongings, and we could continue the work fun into the wee hours! Marvellous. Until he announced that boyfriend couldn't stay over. Alarm bells started ringing then, and I started to distance myself from him. But what with it being such a small library and all it wasn't hard to see he was going nuts.

Then came the letter. In my in-tray one afternoon. Seriously, it was 8 pages of tiny writing on A4 paper. 8 pages!! A4 paper!! Turns out I was leading him on, and he felt obliged to follow me round at the weekends to see the evidence that I was cheating on him. Oh-righty. And to top it all off I had apparently been flirting with all my other male colleagues too, and the students. Hell, any man who came near me. And he was going to write to my boyfriend and tell him. I actually felt sorry for him and tried to talk to him about it (I was 21, he was 34 btw). Didn't help, I had to transfer to another library in the end. I thought I saw him the other day on the street and it was really weird. I ducked into a shop just in case! He was a freak.

I've still got the letter. Just in case he does it again and actually kills the poor girl he fixates on. But then I doubt he would. Stalker librarians are tortured souls, driven by imagined slights and random events which are given bizarre significance. When they finally lose it, they just write it all down (or on their blogs, ahem...). Most people didn't even realise they were crazy stalkers. Then they retreat to their offices and sulk.

To hell with the Luddites.

"The good news is that libraries are getting £80m of lottery money. The bad news is that they can't spend it on books ".

This story came up today. Apparently they are sacrificing books for "community learning centres" - that will be internet cafes then surely? Apparently the "underprivileged" don't need books to learn from, they just need t'internet and DVD loans. Libraries don't tend to loan porn mags I suppose. They are closing loads of already established libraries that could benefit from £80m of lottery money - for arguments sake, let's say they wouldn't have to close - and couldn't they just stick a few more pcs in them instead of closing them and building new ones? And order 50 Barbara Taylor Bradfords for the shelves.

Honestly. When I win the Euromillions on Friday (yes it's still £100 mill., I wouldn't bother buying a ticket if I were you, I'm winning it), I'll open a new library. And only let people called Barbara use it. It will be a Community Centre for severely underused names. There you go. And I'll call it the "BB Centre for the Nominally Challenged".

Oh to be cultured...

Today the topics of oysters came up at the Enquiry Desk. I have no idea why. Anyway, my colleague announced to the world that she didn't like oysters. Why perchance?

"It is like drinking someone else's phlegm straight from the fridge"

Ahem. I dread to think what she makes of caviar.

Monday, January 23, 2006

Is it just me?

Do you ever get the feeling that things are not meant to be? I'm trying to register with a doctor, finally decided to be sensible instead of just blindly trusting in being healthy and not needing a doctor. So I phoned them up last week, and was told to go and collect a new patients' form. So last Wednesday afternoon I have the afternoon off and trek down to the surgery. My first lesson was that it was bloody miles away. And it was only closed for an ad hoc staff training afternoon. Damn. Then tonight they are open until 7. "Good-o", I thought, "I finish at 5, by the time we get home we should have plenty of time to nip into the doctors". I must be cursed. We were stuck in a complete random traffic gridlock for an hour and a half and got back for 7 on the dot. Just in time to miss the doctors again. Even the traffic news on the radio didn't know what had happened to cause the tailbacks. I am going to try once more, short of falling meteors, dropping down dead, or winning the Euromillions on Friday (£100 million this week, I will hire my own surgery - oh sod it, make that hospital - then) I am getting that form. Oh yes.

The lights are on but nobody's home...

Today has been very trying. I turned up to work to discover we had no lights. Our library has no natural light, what with all the lovely stained glass, but it makes it a bit like a cave. Despite health and safety concerns, the big cheese had us open as usual (I have yet to encounter a situation where we would not open as usual, including sitting in the dark with no power at all for a week). As we speak, now it is dark outside, we have a few nominal lights up and running after 7 hours of work by the sparkies. Queue a day of extremely stupid yet obvious questions from most of the people who have been in today. I have compiled a League of Stupidity.

No. 1: one bloke came up to the desk at 2.30 pm and said "is it possible you can turn the lights on as I can't see to read"

No. 2: "haven't you paid the electricity bills this month?" (ho ho) or "haven't you put 50p in the meter?" (double ho ho)

No. 3: (after wandering around looking puzzled for a while) "Is there a problem with the lights?"

No. 4: "When are the lights coming back on?" - I did consult the psychic person who lives in my head, but still had no idea. I hazarded a guess at "maybe an hour?" - standard response to any sort of failure!

How do you respond to these people without being rude?! I have given up trying to be polite, I just look at them for a while and then say "yes we have a problem with the lights". These people are supposed to be educated!!

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Somebody shoot me

Angelina is having Brad's baby. So, does this mean they are going out?

January blues

Is it just me or is January just plain crap. It should be banned. I have been so bloody tired, unmotivated and looking like shit (due to the unmotivated bit) all month. December I was full of the joys of Christmas. Now it's all: get up in the dark, go home in the dark, go to bed, get up go to work. Infinity. AAGGHHH!! They should pass a law that lets people stay in bed in January if they want to. No excuses needed.

But it isn't like I haven't got anything to look forward to. In 2 weeks time I will be in Viva Las Vegas! Whoo!! Gambling my quarters away like a mad'un, going "oohh" at all the mad themed hotels, taking photos of everything that moves. Last time I was there I won $100 on a roulette table, it's not like I've got to beat it or anything, but...

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Hurray I'm a girl!

Feminine. Congratulations! You scored 8! You are more Feminine than Masculine in your tastes, habits, and style. You can be sentimental at times, and you seem to be more in touch with your feelings than others. You appreciate order and balance, and you know what you like and where you are headed.

Now that's a relief, it actually seems quite realistic! Try it yourself...

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Library or mental asylum?

Now I come to think about it, I haven't blogged about libraries for a good while. So to make amends I am going to tell you about our latest nutter, let's call him Crazy Eddie for anonymity's sake. Crazy Eddie first surfaced last year as a student. He stood out from the usual students immediately as law students normally wear suits, or twin sets, and all to a man/lady carry laptops and fancy briefcases. Crazy Eddie looked like a Psychology student who had entered the wrong room. Some of his other nuances?

1. Complaining. About people typing/breathing/walking too loudly in the Library. Now I certainly applaud stamping on noisy behaviour in a Library, but he takes it to extremes and makes us do his dirty work. And having to tell a Barrister that he is breathing loudly and annoying other users does not go down well. Crazy Eddie don't work well with noise. And on another entertaining occasion, he was refused access to the Library mistakenly by an evening function. The fuss was amazing, persecution complex anyone? Though it could only have happened to him.

2. Being over familiar with the Librarians. This is not a good sign. He made a point of asking us all individually what one of the other staff member's name was, and then dropped it into conversation with the unsuspecting Librarian at random moments. This led to a hilarious team "how does he know our names??" hushed conversation leading to the revelations that the sneaky bugger conned the lot of us. We had to resort to almost superhuman subterfuge to find his name out, yet, to this day, we are too scared to use it.

3. He paces alot. Sighing and huffing (this really takes the biscuit when seen with Point 1), and generally seeming at his wits' end.

4. Random chatty conversation. This is interspaced with Point 3's "do not disturb me, I am a very busy individual" persona. His last chat with me: "hello, your fella works here doesn't he?". Me: "Erm, yes" (as stalker alert goes into amber...)

5. Being a topic over lunch. Crazy Eddie is infamous and everyone knows him, mainly as he has driven them mad with stupid questions. The head honcho quite happily told us all at lunch that Crazy Eddie nearly didn't get accepted, "what with being a reformed drug addict and alcoholic". Too much information surely?! Now I have no problem with any past addictions, in fact it's nice to see someone who hasn't just got where they are coz of Daddy's money and influence around the joint. But he is also just weird.

6. Breaking everything he touches. The number of times Crazy Eddie has come up to the desk saying the computer/printer/photocopier has mysteriously broken is beyond me. He either has the mystic powers of Uri Geller with machines, or he is a jinx.

7. No life. Crazy Eddie is in the Library from morn till night. When we close he goes to another Library that opens till dawn. All weekends too. It can't be healthy, and surely no law course could set so much work?!

Now Crazy Eddie does make the place more interesting in a weird kind of way, but I think there is a very fine line between becoming a genius who astounds the legal world and plain insanity. And given the time he spends in the Library, if it's the latter then we're in line for being held ransom for weeks while he demands airlifts and pizzas and talks us all to death. Or kills us all with mice and printer attachments...

What has the world come to?

The Daily Star (don't look if you don't want to), erstwhile intellectual reading material for builders and schoolboys who look old enough, is trying to attract a young female audience. Sorry? Which bit of the Page 3 ladeez, random boob shots (celebs if possible, anyone who will get them out if not) and football news do they think we'll be flocking to buy? Heat fills the random celeb gossip of the week slot quite happily thankyou very much. Stick to what you're good at, that's what I say!

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Oh if only I was a student again...

I've been on an enforced watching daytime tv break over the past few days and there has been some cracking tv on! For example, yesterday's lunchtime news:

[Cut to studio from clip]

Newslady: "I like chimps!"
Newsman: "I like them too. But chimps are a bit rude sometimes aren't they?"
Newslady: "Yes, they are like us aren't they?"
Newsman (looking flustered): "Ahem...erm...yes...ahem...they are like people...ahem...not like us particularly...ahem..."
Newslady (giggling and a bit red): "Oh yes! They're like PEOPLE!"

[Editor in headphones: "Move on for god's sake, move on! This is supposed to be an intellectual show!!!"]

Now for the life of me I can't remember what the clip was about, it was some kind of animal I'm sure but it definitely wasn't a chimp!

And on This Morning, they had 2 women jogging on treadmills in their bras, for an alleged health article on the dangers of running in non-sports bras. I took this to mean running in general, because apparently even running for the bus is bad for you (and I would definitely miss the bus if I had to duck into some bushes to put my sports bra on first). So girls say NO to running! Marvellous.

And Joe Mangel is back in Neighbours!! Who said going to work was a good thing?!

Friday, January 13, 2006

Adapting books for tv ain't gonna please everyone...

Billie Piper is apparently in the lead role of Sally Lockhart in a new adaptation of Philip Pullman's the Ruby in the Smoke. This is a really good book, one of a series set in London about Sally fighting nasty gangsters. It's a bit Nancy Drew, and I read them after the Northern Lights trilogy following a recommendation of a friend. Said friend, on hearing who was playing Sally on the tv said: "she's a bit seedy and raddled" to play her.

Poor Billie. She's not even 25 yet and is already being described that way! She does always look like she needs to wash her hair, maybe that would improve matters!

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Conservatives R us

We have a Residents Association round here which publishes a Newsletter every month. I normally skim through it as it's quite amusing but this month they have excelled themselves! It is hysterical and it makes me proud I moved here! For example:

Fighting councillors.
"Both Councillors who were involved in the fisticuffs in the Town Hall have at last been demoted."

NO to Sheep!
"In September Councillors on the Planning Committee found an application concerning a rare-breed sheep farm very funny, made baa-ing noises throughout the application itself (reducing the applicant to tears) and then refused permission."

"We are concerned that the Council is pressing for eight regional casinos in the area. Presumably to being ruin within reach of the poorest."

RUIN! Ruin?! How dramatic!

Whoever writes this newsletter has the funniest turn of phrase, and the thought of a load of Councillors baa-ing at a poor old sheep farmer made me laugh so much it reduced me to tears. It is a monthly rant at noisy teenagers, bad drivers, people not mowing their lawns enough - you name it, they complain about it. You can subscribe to be a member for £1 a year - or £10 for life! For the sheer entertainment value I'm subscribing rightaway. Anyone with me?

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Bye bye poor Mr Snowman...

Every year I buy a different version of the Magic Tree for Christmas. This little fella was this year's one and he only lasted 2 days once his snow had grown. They claimed on the box he would last for 30 days, but any kind of draught and he's had it. His clothes all fell off (they were a bit wonky anyway) and he had to be sent to Snowman Land. I don't think I've ever managed to keep these magic things unscathed for more than a day or so. Why do I bother?! I'm sure I'll get another one next year (ooh THIS year - scary!) though.