28 February 2006

The Great Duck Experiment Part 2

If you haven't read The Great Duck Experiment Part 1, I suggest you skip to that first, and pick up here, where the story continues.

Back to the duck drama. So this is the duck at the halfway point. You can't see all the fat in the pan I'm about to suck out, but you will in a moment.
This is how you get the fat out of the pan. Please note the proper use of a baster. It's not for the various dirty things I've been accused of!
Here you can see how much fat I've taken out of the pan, and my duck is ready to go back in the oven!This duck is done. I forgot to take a picture when I'd started to chop into the leg, so it's already on it's way to being decimated.Result! While I finished the cooking and steaming of the pancakes, flatmate D chopped the onions and cucumbers as good as I've seen in any restaurant. The only disappointment was the crappy plum sauce I got. It was so not the right sauce and really couldn't hold it's own, but it had to suffice.Mmmmmm duck! I ate the duck. The duck was good. I liked the duck. Mmmmmm duck!Now, D and I only ate just under half a duck. But in order to clean up, I shredded the rest to put in the fridge. This is the duck carcass. Such a far cry from that perfect looking duck above.In conclusion, the duck was very good. A bit to salty and could have used more spice, less salt. But tender, and tasty. The plum sauce was also off, which would have assisted with the saltiness, had it been the right sort. But that's me being picky. The pancakes were great, the duck was really good, the onions and cucumbers were perfect and I have enough left over for dinner tomorrow!!! Conclusion to the Great Duck Experiment, positive with room for improvement. I guess I'll have to try it again!

The Great Duck Experiment Part 1

I thought I would document my duck adventure here, since my favorite guinea pig is not available and flatmate D is also not around to admire my duck-work. I think if you click on the pictures you can see them bigger or something, but don't hold me to that. Anyway, onto the blow by blow so you can experience all the joy right there with me. First, I wanted to share my inspiration for this experiment. Notice it's just words there. That's the recipe. Just read along and vaguely do what it says.....Here is my duck. It is longer than a chicken, longer and then seems narrower. Duck isn't particularly cheap, but the cost of this duck is around the same cost as 1/4 crispy duck at a restaurant. So... not terrible. If it works. Because the duck is so long, I needed to make sure it fit in a pan. Of course I have more cooking equipment than most people in this country so it was very likely that I would have a pan that would fit the duck. What I didn't really have was a grill layer to keep the duck off the bottom and let the fat drip. There goes one of my three cooling racks. As a matter of fact, I am pretty sure I used it for this before.Okay, it's time to get down and dirty and roll up the sleeves!First thing to notice, a duck is REALLY not like a chicken. It does not smell like a chicken, it seems to have a lot more bones and things than a chicken, and there was a very long flap of skin which I assume was neck skin that is definitely not on a chicken.Hehehehehehehehehehehe. Hahahahahahahahahah. *snort* *chortle* I am so easily amused.Here is my duck all seasoned. Notice the small piece of ginger tucked in it's ass. There are two more shoved inside. There's a really funny joke there about ginger and butts, but you'd have to have more information about figging to truly understand.Of course the best part of getting a whole bird is the giblets. Look, it's liver! I love liver. Just grill that puppy down with a whole load of salt. Very, very bad for you. And very, very good.And there it is all done. My duck has been in one hour now. I think it needs to go for two. But I need to go scoop out some fat so it crisps up. I hate taking large hot things out of the oven. I'm always terrified that I'm going to drop it and burn myself.So I've had my mid-cooking snack, and it's time to keep going. Stay tuned for the uber exciting great duck experiment part, deux.

Various Streams

Here are the things on my mind today:
- How much I dislike adults who love Disney,
- Pondering why older men have always been attracted to me,
- Dreaming of the now built-up duck experiment,
- Wondering when I'm ever going to have sex again,
- Being very annoyed at HvR,
- Trying to figure out what I'm going to have for lunch.

What is not particularly on my mind is the work that I should be doing, or the studying I need to do when I get home, or the laundry that has recently reached epic proportions. So lets just stick to the existing list shall we?

I don't know why but recently I was reading some other blog that happened to mention listening to Disney tunes. I cannot possibly describe the amount of revulsion that entered my system at this. No adult should love Disney. Now don't get me wrong, I enjoy Disney, and certainly enjoy going to see new Disney productions (it's been a while now, hasn't it?). But I don't buy the video and watch it over and over. I certainly don't buy the CD and listen to the tunes. I don't like things decorated with Disney characters for anyone over twelve. When I meet these people (and there are many, many, many of them populating the planet) then I am instantly wary of them and do not trust them. Blech.

Recently I have also been pondering how many older men, at various points in my life have shown interest in me. I can't count how many times before I turned 30 that some older man, a friend of my parents, someone I met through work, etc. said to me something very much along the lines of, "How come you don't have a boyfriend? You are fantastic. If I was a younger man I'd snap you up in a second." They may or may not go onto suggest at this point that I was 'real marriage material' whatever that meant. This happened again most recently to me this past Friday. I suppose at some point I'm going to be an older woman and then maybe some older man may feel a little less skeevy hitting on me (only a few of the previous older men alluded to actually propositioned me, though it did happen). Of course, I'd really much rather have some sort of partner before I'm old and wrinkly.

I'm going to Sainsburys at lunch. I am going to buy plum sauce. I am going to buy a cucumber. I am going to cook this duck tonight! God damn it.

I want sex. Enough said.

HvR can kiss my mother fucking ass. No, he's really not good enough to kiss my ass. He can lick my shoe while I use my other free foot to kick him in the nuts. Fucking cuntard will NOT steal my projects, will NOT dump his garbage on my desk, and will NOT just do whatever the fuck he wants at work because he doesn't like it. If he keeps up this behavior, a major beat down will be in order.

Since tlsd is ill and I have to go to Sainsburys, I'm not at all sure what I want to have for lunch. Nobody is around to go have lunch with in particular, and even if they were, they wouldn't want to go to Sainsburys with me. I suppose I could have Indian or Carribean, but both require coming back to the office to eat which I generally dislike doing. If I wanted to completely erase the benefits of going to the gym this morning I could have KFC or McDonalds, but I'm not really in the mood for fastjunk food. Only thirty minutes to go, and I'm starving!

You do not deserve sex if you are wearing these:

26 February 2006

Ikea, D, and a Sandwich

Today tlsd and I went off to Ikea with the express purpose for her to get a big fluffly down duvet and for me to get a pot for my plant and a replacement filter for my stove air handler. Of course tlsd was a bit under the weather, and we had to wait thirty minutes for our train out in the cold, but we did make it and got down to the serious business of shopping at Ikea.

It's always tricky, because you know before you go that you will be sorely tempted by a million inexpensive and colorful products that are guaranteed to make you think you can carry just that little bit more home. This trip was no exception. I did manage to get a pot for my plant that I really like, but they told me I couldn't get the filter for my vent, that I had to get it from Whirlpool which seems idiotic. Then I managed to get a whole host of other little odds and ends that I didn't really need, but made me happy. Tlsd was the same.

With so much stuff, we opted to split a minicab back to our neck of the woods, which allowed us to go get another bag of goodies from the food area right past checkout. The cab was alright, though I don't know how much it ended up costing as I was the first drop-off. Stupid traffic has been a wreck with all the local roadworks and crazy people causing a fuss in the middle of the streets.

At home I managed to get a couple things done, but being tired decided to zone out instead, which I will pay for shortly as I do really need to get some things done before tomorrow. Then flatmate D and his girlfriend V came home and D says to me "K, we wanted to talk to you." which just freaks my shit out. I don't like anyone saying that "they need to talk to me" because it makes me instantly feel like I'm going to hear something I don't want to hear. But it turned out to be all cute and fine because they were really concerned that with V coming over almost every weekend it seems, that they were 'imposing' on my space. But not really because they spend all their time holed up in D's room anyway and I never even see them when she's over. And a couple nights a week is reasonable I think, for a girlfriend- it's when it becomes three, four, or five nights a week consistently that I think it's a bigger problem. It's nice that they asked though. So cute.

Now, I am preparing to eat a sandwich that I made before I decided to sit down and write this blog. On a croissant I have put some honey, some mustard, some thin sliced honey-roast turkey, some brie, and some green apples. It's a reconstruction of a sandwich I used to eat in college all the time from this popular sandwich shop on 'the corner'. I'm rather looking forward to it, but not, to going to work tomorrow.

25 February 2006

There's Gonna Be Some Cooking Going On

I have the ingredients to do two cooking experiments. The first I will be cooking this evening, and tlsd will be my lucky guinnea pig. Tonight the plan is to make a smoked trout and new potoato salad from Jamie Oliver's 'Jamie's Dinners' cookbook. So far, everything I've made from this cookbook has turned out really well, so I'm hoping this particular entry will be no exception.

Of course, I only had half the trout I needed, so I'm going to half the recipe. This will probably be okay, as every other time I cook food, there is always way too much of it anyway. And more importantly, I need to clear the fridge and make room for my cooking experiment tomorrow which is to make my very own crispy duck.

Now, crispy duck is not something that I ever had in the states. There is always Peking Duck in most restaurants, but it's not at all the same as Crispy Duck. But my intent is not to deep fry a duck. Instead, I am again taking a page from Jamie's Dinners and am going to try to make my own baked crispy duck. I bought the pancakes and am all ready, it's just the duck that's a bit of a mystery. I bought it today. It's large. I've never cooked a duck before, this should be interesting. My guess is flatmate D and tlsd will probably share in this experiment as well.

So. Broadway Market? Check. Studying? No. Cleaning? No. Laundry? No. TV watching? Check. Interent surfing? Check. Gym attendance? No. Work that I brought home from the office? No. Well. I can see how this weekend is going.

24 February 2006

Something Else

As in, "It's time to talk about...". I'm getting bored with myself. Which is not to say that these matters aren't still pressing, just that I'd rather stop talking about them now, and I'm sure none of you mind.

This morning DMG, our IT guy came by my house before work to help me fix my wireless network. Obsessive readers will remember me saying how pleased I was to set it up a few months back, of course, what I perhaps did not report is that it all went to shit soon after and had to work via cables. Or really, that should say 'one cable' which sort of defeats the purpose of a wireless network so that flatmate DM and I can both be working on our computers, via the internet, anywhere in the flat, at the same time. Well, it looked promising when we left my house to go to work, we'll see what the situation is when DM gets home tonight. At the very least he should be able to work via cable and I should be able to go wireless if we can't get his connection working right. Stupid computers.

In the meantime, I stayed at work really late trying to get a drawing from Illustrator, which was massively big into a smaller more friendly format. My computer was grinding on the conversion for close to an hour, though it did eventually work, on my screen, and when I went to save it, it crashed and lost the hour-long conversion. So I set it up a little differently and tried it again, only to have it happen again, so I just went home, now a full day behind in my work for the week. This morning I've managed to get it to work better, so now I'm waiting for my InDesign document to turn into a pdf which is going to take another fucking hour or so. Which leaves me plenty of time to write a long rambling blog on company time. Woo hee!

Tonight I'm intending to swing by the London Munch. A munch being the standard name for bdsm social gatherings. I usually don't go to munches. Not to be mean, but they are often populated with people very unlike myself. I obviously like bdsm oriented sex, but it doesn't mean I am a goth, or into lots of tattoos and body piercings, or even like to wear black- all of which is regularly unfortunately associated with bdsm. It's not that everyone is like that (clearly), but the most outspoken people, and those who are the most involved, tend to predominantly be that way. So generally I don't feel like I fit in at a munch. Sure, these people share one particular interest of the many in my life. That doesn't mean we have very much else in common. However, a couple people I am friendly with are going tonight and have asked if I was going, and since I don't regularly go, I thought I'd go tonight and get myself off the hook for another bunch of months.

My weekend plans involve not much really. Broadway Market, general grocery shopping, laundry, rotating my mattress, and a possible trip to Ikea. Studying, will obviously feature largely. And I may end up taking work home at this rate. And there will go my weekend. But that's alright. I don't think I mind.

I always find in times of dissatisfaction with life, I am dissatisfied with everything. At the moment I am wondering why I'm not someone else, doing something else with my life. Continual jealousy of those who I see as having the things I want. Often not spouses or money- most frequently the contentment of doing a job that I think is amazing. I should be writing porn or making things or have my own upscale sex shop (with SH of course, since that's been our ten year vision, too bad CCK beat us to it!!). Son of a bitch.

23 February 2006

How To Fuck Up Your Children

What the fuck is going on in this picture? Who the fuck thought this would be a good idea? And what the fuck is that little girl doing? Seriously? No, I mean, SERIOUSLY.

When I came across this via we make money not art, I just had to reproduce it.

I'm sure you can see why.


It's not really that I'm complaining when I say I am now very, very busy. I'm not really, it's more a statement of fact. In answer to the question, "How are you doing?", the only answer available to me is, "I am fucking busy!". Because it's true.

At the moment, work has exploded. I have too much to do, and not enough time to do it in. The only way to get it done is to stay late, a dangerous and slippery slope in this profession. But it's just not humanly possible to do everything that I need to do in the time allotted.

Of course when I get home at the end of the long day, what is it I have to look forward to? Studying. It would be hard for this all to be worse.

Oh wait, but it can get worse because I am having pangs in my lower back and hip. Pangs that once upon a time I would have attributed to simple 'lower back pain' but I'm disturbed and frightened it's another fucking kidney stone. Of course if it is, I blame myself for falling off the obsessive water drinking bandwagon.

Oh, and while I was writing this, I got an email from Mr.Aloof who has basically let me go. I should remember my own advice sometimes, it can always be worse.

22 February 2006

Every Pop Song on the Radio

What is it about song lyrics? What is it about the mixture of music and words that can so succinctly tap into an emotion, a feeling, a moment? It isn't usually the whole song. Usually it's a word, a phrase, a chorus, a stanza.

Sleepwalking through the all-night drugstore

Baptized in fluorescent light
I found religion in the greeting card aisle
Now I know hallmark was right
And every pop song on the radio
Is suddenly speaking to me
Yeah, art may imitate life
But life imitates t.v.
'Cuz you've been gone exactly two weeks
Two weeks and three days
And let's just say that things look different now
Different in so many ways

Perhaps it's just the idea of connection. Mostly when people are down, they simultaneously feel alone. That moment of connection with the voice coming through the speakers or the headphones lets you feel for a moment that you are not alone. That someone understands. Better, some stranger understands. Not just friends who will tell you things to make you feel better (not that my friends can accuse me of that in particular normally).

I used to be a superhero

No one could touch me
Not even myself
You are like a phone booth
I somehow stumbled into
And now look at me
I am just like everybody else

I find myself searching for certain songs, certain sentiments. It's like what I feel, but stronger. Expressed better. Hell, everything is more attractive and powerful when set to music! Why else would people go to operas?

If I was dressed in my best defenses

Would you agree to meet me for coffee
If I did my tricks with smoke and mirrors
Would you still know which one was me
If I was naked and screaming
On your front lawn
Would you turn on the light and come down
Screaming, there's the asshole
Who did this to me
Stripped me of my power
Stripped me down

Usually I find I revert to what an acquaintance of mine once called 'crampon rock'. Angry women music. Ani DiFranco, Dar Williams, Martha Wainwright, Indigo Girls, Lisa Loeb, and Liz Phair- just to name a few. I tend to find it suits my moods particularly well. Perhaps with some REM, toad the wet sprocket, Depeche Mode, and Travis thrown in on top. Shit. Probably showing my age there.

I used to be a superhero

No one could touch me

Not even myself

You are like a phone booth

I somehow stumbled into
And now look at me

I am just like everybody else

Well what else is there to do but listen to music to pass the time? To drown out the errant thoughts in my head? I suppose it's a good thing that I've gotten very busy at work. And that I'm getting into my studying. And I've even been to the gym twice this week- so that's good. Sometimes it seems to me that life is about doing all of these things that you call life, when you really want to be doing something else. Most of the time something you can't have. That's depressing.

Yeah you've been gone exactly two weeks

Two weeks and three days

And now I'm a different person

Different in so many ways
Tell me what did you like about me

Don't say my strength and daring

'Cuz now I think I'm at your mercy

And it's my first time for this kind of thing

Oh well. I'm old enough to know I'll get over it. I think I'd just like to reach a point where I don't have to keep going through the same things again and again. On the other hand, if I ever reach a point where music stops speaking to me, I might as well just be dead inside. I guess I'd just prefer it if it was the cheesy happy sappy music that I felt a kinship with for a change.

I used to be a superhero

I would swoop down and save me from myself

You are like a phone booth

That I somehow stumbled into

And now look at me

I am just like everybody else

I am worse than everybody else

20 February 2006

Slap Me When I'm Down

Though not you tlsd, you'd like it too much.

Last night I packed a bag of what I would need to get dressed for the conference tomorrow. So that I could get up and go to work and not have to worry about it. I picked all my clothes and make-up and everything. Packed the blue bag, and off I went, merrily whistling my pornalong tune.

I took the pictures of the site I went to visit in south London. I walked around. I went to a bookstore. I ended up at the Slug and Lettuce having a hot chocolate and studying.

One hour passed.

Another hour passed.

I had sent a text to Mr.Aloof around five asking what time he'd be done with his meetings and telling him where I was. Earlier, Friday, the weekend, he'd said he probably wouldn't be free until 8/8:30. That was cool. I could sit and drink, and study.

Around 7:00, I got a text saying I should go home because his meeting would be running late and he didn't know when he'd be free. That he'd come by later, or another night, and that he'd call.

He's so not going to call.

Please feel free to add your commentary telling me what I already know.

19 February 2006

Sunday is Always a Letdown

As evidenced by my last posting, I've been laying in bed for over an hour and finally decided it was pointless to just lay there away, and so I've gotten up. Another load of laundry in. Hope it doesn't wake or bother D whose bedroom is right above the kitchen. What I really want to do is drag the vacuum out but that would obviously be too much noise.

I managed to study more last night. My new book is more user-friendly, and can therefore moderately hold my attention while I read it. I did learn however, that it can't hold my attention quite enough to read it in front of the television.

I'm sad to report my new sex book wasn't all that entertaining. Oh, it was okay entertaining but a bit serious and short on 'good bits'. I'll read it some other time when I'm in the mood to read a more serious and thoughtful look on the topic. But for now, I feel gipped.

One of the things I really miss about the states is the lack of good television programming on Sunday Mornings. One of my most favorite shows in the states is, in fact, called 'Sunday Morning'. Which I used to watch every Sunday Morning, religiously. I call it NPR for television. Though you have to be familiar with both in order to understand the analogy (sorry Brits). How I miss it.

Sundays are always a bit crappy. I may do something with SA in the afternoon, not that he's gotten back in touch with me since Friday. Originally we were supposed to go for this late lunch thing today, but that got cancelled, so I said to him we could still meet up and do something, but he went radio silent. Oh well.

I could go to yoga in the afternoon, which I generally adore. Though I haven't been going to yoga, and I'm sore from yesterdays return to the gym. So it would be better not to push it I think, until my muscles love me a little bit more. Coming down the stairs this morning my calf muscle tightened into that almost spasm, only averted by flexing my foot to its maximum capacity. I used to get those all the time when I was swimming. Hate that.

So yeah, today will be lazy and uneventful and then it's back to work tomorrow. Of course work tomorrow is a half day and I'm supposed to see Mr.Aloof and I've got this conference all day on Tuesday, so at least the week is a little more exciting. At least a couple days to keep my mind of CS being gone from my little corner. It's going to be a rough two weeks with her gone. Leaving me with all the boring men-folk.

In more exciting news, I think B&C have finally popped! Looking forward to the update. I think I'll go straighten (read, throw out random junk that is cluttering my floor in) my room. Not that it'll make much of a dent.

18 February 2006

Being a Morning Person

Sometimes it feels to me that I spend my life wondering why I wasn't put together like everyone else. Why I don't have the same urges, the same thoughts, the same feelings. I have spent many years of my existence feeling like an outsider for some reason or another. I think this general notion depressed me for many years, particular the teenage ones and right on into my early twenties. But then some things happened somewhere in there, and I figured out that I generally liked who I was, even if I wasn't like most people I know.

Morning has broken, like the first morning
Blackbird has spoken, like the first bird

Praise for the singing, praise for the morning

Praise for the springing fresh from the world

It has been a rarity in my life that I have met another morning person. I do not need coffee or tea or a shower first thing in the morning to 'wake me up'. Generally when I decide it is time to get up, I am not only awake, but hyper-awake. I have the most energy, the most enthusiasm, the most stamina in the morning. Of course, the downside to this is twofold. Firstly, I am not a night person, and find it hard to stay out late and party all night and be enthused as the day drags on. My energy levels inversely plummet the more hours I have been awake. And secondly, because I don't know other morning people, it is often that these times when I am the most full of promise to get out and do things, I find I am often alone.

Sweet the rain's new fall, sunlit from heaven
Like the first dewfall, on the first grass
Praise for the sweetness of the wet garden

Sprung in completeness where his feet pass

See, it's a quarter to four right now and I was just considering how I want to curl up and go to bed. And how really, my enthusiasm for doing much of anything today has completely disappeared. But this is not to say that I've not done anything today. I went to the gym this morning, I went to the market. I read my new Scarlet magazine (only to amusingly find a story close to this one, edited by SemiKim), I've put a load of laundry in. I did a small bit (not enough to make a difference really) of straightening in my room. But now, in the middle of the afternoon I find I am like a balloon deflated. All my energy and good intentions are drowned in lethargy.

Mine is the sunlight, mine is the morning
Born of the one light, eden saw play

Praise with elation, praise every morning

God's recreation of the new day

If only it were morning again.

17 February 2006

I Would Spooge Myself...

...If I ever came across one of these in real life. So fucking cool. Courtesy of boing boing.

Kicking Off

I find I am quite busy all of the sudden. I may need to start staying later at work just to keep up. I should stay late today. Ask and ye shall receive I guess. Where once I had not much on my plate at work, I am now up to my eyeballs with everything needing to be done all at the same time. It's a shame CS is away because one of the projects I was just given would be a good one for her I think. But she's gone home for a much needed vacation, even if she is introducing the live-in boyfriend to the parents for the first time.

Finally it is actually Friday, though I've thought that since Tuesday. Which means the weekend is upon us. Tlsd and I are supposed to go to Ikea, I need to seriously sit down to some studying, and I really want to go to both the Market and the gym. I also have lots of laundry still to do.

I know it's probably because it's the morning, and also because I just had chocolate, but I feel like I'm boiling over with energy to get things done. Of course, this always bites me in the ass, because I won't get hardly anything done and then I'll be mad at myself for not accomplishing all the things that seemed so easy and achievable now.

At least next week it looks like I'm out of the office Monday afternoon and all day Tuesday. And there is some tentative discussion about seeing Mr.Aloof Monday night for a pornalong style adventure. I could really use a pornalong style adventure about now.

16 February 2006

Things Could Be Worse

And no, I'm not being glib. Although I can get into moods, I am always somewhat buffeted by the notion that things could always be worse, and in truth, things are not all that bad. Don't get me wrong, I'm still in a pretty foul mood, but it's tempered (this is because I'm a 9 on the enneagram really, but that's a digression). I think about people in places like Afghanistan or Iraq or North Korea. Normal people who had normal lives who now live in a shithole if they're even alive at all. I am solidly middle class, and while I've struggled in my life, I've never really struggled that much. I've never honestly not known how I was going to eat next or pay my rent. I am lucky that this has never been my lot in life. What has me down? Relationships, professional achievement, family obligations, personal appearance. Pretty trifling things frankly. I understand that they take up a lot of my mental time and energy, but it's because the rest of my life is so bang on track and good that I even have the capacity to spend so much time brooding over such things. I should spend more time thinking about when B&C are finally going to pop out their rugrat who seems to be taking forever (at least, far longer than I would have put money on), about a conference I managed to wrangle out of my office that I'm going to next week, about how I have passed three exams already and have almost two months to study and I am actually intelligent and will learn this stuff if it kills me and then I'll be 5/9 an architect as opposed to 1/3. I should think about how I'm lucky to have bought a place and each month I pay my mortgage and get rent from D is improving my long-term goals. And I should be happy that I've had all the experiences that I have had in my life and not take them all for granted so much because although I've worked for the things I've achieved, I've been lucky enough to have been in a starting position to work for them to begin with.

This is my general format for getting myself out of bad moods.

Mental Strain

The studying is doing me in. I am finding it so difficult for this particular subject matter. Difficult to concentrate. Difficult to remember anything of use. I look at the diagrams and something in my brain just clouds over and a million little voices start to cry and wail, "Why?! Why are you doing this to us?!". Son of a bitch.

Except I need to get on top of it. Every night I have sat down to study and every night the same thing has occurred. I've changed times, location, material and nothing is working. But there is no option to go onto something else because there isn't fucking anything else. I must take these exams and I have scheduled and paid for them and there is no backing out of it, and really, I don't want to back out of it either. I want to finish my exams and finally, after oh so many years, be a real honest to god architect and be able to close that particular chapter in life. Even though of course, I'll never probably use that qualification for anything except getting more pay and potentially more respect. Son of a bitch.

I'm sure it doesn't help matters that ever since Tuesday I have woken up every morning thinking it should be Friday and then have been crushed do determine that it wasn't. Son of a bitch.

It also doesn't help matters that even though I met with Mr.Aloof last week and he said he would make plans for this week that he hasn't. And that I have put one of my profiles on the site I frequent less on active 'just to see what comes of it'. And I am toying with putting my main profile back on active. Except I'm not sure I'm ready to entertain new people at the moment, but I can't stay where I am either. Son of a bitch.

Well, that's the theme of this post then isn't it. Not liking where you are, and knowing you have no choice but to move on, even if that doesn't seem any more pleasant or easy. Son of a bitch.

Maybe I should start a progressive plan of gym attendance to bust out some of this inert aggression I'm feeling. On the one hand,that's probably a good idea, but on the other, it's just me procrastinating and avoiding what I should be focused on by focusing on something else. Son of a bitch.
(Look it's even fucking with my humor. I've gone crazy. You get it right? SON OF A BITCH!!! *blargh*)

15 February 2006

Dubious Wednesday

It's not even 10 when I'm starting this but I'm having rather suspicious feelings about today. It fooled me initially by being sunny and bright, and that D was up this morning and we had good conversation before I merrily went on my way to work. But then I remembered by the time I was walking to the bus stop that I'd forgotten to grab a box that I wanted to throw away. And then I remembered I also forgot to grab my checkbook so I could send myself some money back to my US account so I could pay for silly things like my student loan payments and stuff.

"Huh." I thought to myself, "Today is not being the best day so far." This was after last night when I went to study and managed to fall asleep with my face in my book after only thirty minutes and before I got on the bus that finally arrived after over ten busses that I could not take came and went only to get onto the most godawful urine stinkiest bus ever. I guess I was looking around rather alarmedly trying to find the source of the inhuman (and yet oh so disgustingly human) odor when a woman, seeing my distress said that the offensive gentleman got off on the stop I got on at. At least the odor dissipated (slowly) after that.

I got into work and found I had no power to my desk. Checked all the wires and cables, but no power was coming, and here I was, actually thinking I wanted to sit down and do some work, which is a rarity, I assure you. Well, after thirty minutes of me and AJ crawling around on the floor moving wires here and there and making CS turn off her computer so plugs could be moved and the like I finally have power.

And did I mention I got part of my Amazon order also this morning, the most entertaining and enjoyable "The Architect's Studio Companion" which tells you very exciting things like how to choose the most appropriate structural system and what are the physical properties of each. I should mention of course that since I was making such a dreary Amazon.com purchase, I included more fun things like a new CD for me and a dirty book. But did those come? No. Fuckers.

Goddamn it, all I can smell is urine. Like it's seeped into my pores or something. And I feel dirty from crawling under my desk and I took a half-hour shower this morning and put on completely clean clothes and sexy matching underwear just because I wanted to and goddamn it!

This day better get better or I may have to go off myself.

13 February 2006

Bad Valentines Luck

So another Valentines Day is upon us and another Valentines Day that I am bereft of a Valentine. It's always been that way. February is just a bad time for me. I always seem to be just before something or just after. I suppose it's saved on cheesy Valentines crap over the years and helped to mold me into the bitter and sarcastic person I am today. Frankly, I don't really like the idea of a holiday that forces one to proclaim their love. They should do it every day and when not instructed to. That is far better than ponying up when you're told. So why is it, since I haven't had a V-Day card from anyone aside my family since we were forced to bring them in to grade school, did I get slap silly pleased by being named X's internet valentine? In honor of said event, and the first amusing image from Portugal, here's an advertisement that I don't think would make the UK or USA cut. I find her pinky finger just a bit too close for comfort..... but dude, I would SO hit that (but not the goo target, I'm afraid I just don't have that ability). Happy V-Day all, whatever your love-life status.

Barf Gag Vomit

Warning: When I say 'disgusting', I mean DISGUSTING. Please follow disgusting links at your own risk.

So far, I have kept my more disgusting internet browsing habits mostly out of this blog. Why sully my pristine and saint-like image? But it's likely that some of my devilish habits have probably peeped through from time to time. The most disgusting things I usually forward on to CJC. He has this secret blog you see, of the most disgusting things that he has come across on the internet, either by chance or because someone sent him something disgusting. And I understood that compulsion immediately, because I tend to come across some pretty foul things and then pass them off to the friends who I think can take it. Which honestly, sometimes, is not that many friends of mine. Of course CJC's secret blog has provided a tremendous amount of internet horrors. But he doesn't post to it very often anymore, and I don't have friends who are as sick and disgusting as I can be, so I don't often view new and disgusting things as often as I once did. So imagine my surprise when I viewed something just yesterday that was fully up there with some of the more disgusting things I've seen in a while. I'm talking right up there with goatse (not disgusting- but follow the links at the end, and get disgusting) and all the vomit porn and the Japanese live eel and live octopus porn. No, this I came across from this article (not disgusting) from this site (not disgusting) which although occasionally has some unusual things, has never posted something quite so vomit worthy. Could you see the link in that article that would go to something potentially offensive? If you missed it, it was the link to the fetus eating guy. This link (disgusting! gag, barf, vomit), perhaps through the simple mental offensiveness- maybe those pictures are photoshopped and maybe they are monkeys or maybe it IS a fake as pointed out here (a little disgusting), but no, seriously, that was fucking disgusting. Well okay, if it was a joke, maybe not quite as disgusting as this (disgusting), because this, as far as I know, is real.

12 February 2006

A Head Question

Oh, I bet you thought I was going to talk about something sexual. WRONG! Inspired by this news article, I began to wonder, when exactly does a head become a skull? And when is it okay to handle someone's head? I mean, in fairness, you could boil all the meat and other stringy things off a recently detached head and render it a skull, and if a body was buried in the dessert it could be thousands of years old and still have bits of skin and hair and bone attached and be a head. Is it the recently deceased aspect of a head that makes it taboo or is it the resemblance remaining to the person it once was? In either case, to be safe, I think the moral of this story is clear- just stay away from handling heads.

Final Update- Back To Regular Scheduling

Well, there is only one update left to make really. Perhaps one I've been avoiding as I've been trying to avoid it in my head as well. Those who read all the comments as well as posts will have sussed it by tlsd's nagging comment in response to my delightful and picturesque Portugal posts. Anyway, I saw Mr.Aloof on Wednesday which was one day shy of six weeks and happened to also be the one year anniversary of the first time we met.

Probably a week before I left for Portugal I sent him an email saying that if he couldn't get around to meeting me, that I insisted he meet with me on the 8th- that it was enough advance warning for him to adjust his schedule and I would be extremely cross if he didn't make it. As days passed that 'he wanted to see me' but never did and when the emails came to confirm this I would respond with a reminder about the 8th. Then at some point I just got annoyed. Well no, I was already annoyed. At some point I just got fed up. There isn't anyone I know that I have to literally beg to see me, or speak to me even. How is that reasonable? At that moment I didn't even care if I saw him on the 8th and in fact was even annoyed that he was saying he would because it seemed to me it was only because I made him do it anyway. So I didn't write him anything of note at all and I went away to Portugal.

In Portugal I gained a little bit of perspective. It always seems that everyone wants a partner that does the perfect things. But sometimes you do have to ask for what you want. And sometimes, it may not be something the other person would otherwise do. If they do it, it may be 'doing it just for you' but it also equally shows that by doing something for you that they wouldn't otherwise do that they are willing to make some sort of sacrifice for you, even if it may not be the one you originally wanted, and it isn't anything to complain about. So I was more calm about seeing him, if he showed, but then, not calm at all. After all, it was going to be six weeks.

So I get back and wait. No email, no confirmation, no nothing. Sunday, Monday, Tuesday. It might have been Monday or perhaps it was Tuesday when I got a short text saying he was alive and how was Portugal. Nothing else. Wednesday I was prepared for the idea that he wasn't going to show. But the emotion or effort left to pitch a fit about it was just gone. I sent a text as though we were still meeting, what was the plan, north or south, a drink a meal? And sometime after lunch I got a reply that he would come north to Angel and meet me at 7.

I think I was a bit startled. In a way, if he'd missed it, it would have been abundantly clear to me that there was nothing left. But what was this all about? And I didn't want to go and be a bitch or be nasty, in truth that urge was long gone. All I felt was empty and unsure. And so I went. And true to form, he was late (though he sent a text saying he was going to be late I was already on the bus so it didn't do me any good). But he showed. And there he was. Looking much the same as ever.

And it was strange. Perhaps awkward even. No kiss or hug hello. Not that I initiated any, but fuck that because I'd been dissed for six weeks and it was hard enough to insist he come meet me when he wouldn't have otherwise and that was all the effort I was willing to put into it. And so we were there together, awkwardly. And I dragged us off to the Islington Tap. First because being slightly off the main drag, it's always slightly quieter and calmer and it's also not a small place which means we would probably get a table even though it was now closer to 8 and lastly, they have okay food and I was hungry. Oh, and it's also the place we had our first meeting, but that was just me being sentimental and stupid, but I do tend to like synchronicity as a theory.

And so we talked. About what we'd been up to. About things that were going on. But not about us. Never about us. What did I possibly have left to say? I can't want things from someone who seems to have no interest in giving them to me. I'm not so pathetic as to continually put in the position of asking someone for things they will never give to me. I'm just done with it. I asked him to meet me and he did and then... and then there was nothing left in me. It's not that I like him less, it's not that I don't want to see him, but I won't put myself in that position. And so for me, there was nothing to talk about with us. Well, there was one thing, the matter of my stuff. Which I'd mentioned in a couple of emails over the last month and a half. And at some point well into us sitting and talking of unimportant things and of very important things but not of each other he says that he brought my things.

I did think it was strange that he was carrying a bag, though I'd seen lots of bags at his place with papers and various things in them, I'd never seen him carry a bag, though I assumed he did. So when he arrived and I saw the bag, I noted it and then ignored it, not considering it could be for me. Or maybe I did consider it but when he didn't give it to me right away I thought it wasn't. I don't know. His introduction of the topic threw me and I wasn't expecting it and I instantly felt sad. Even though I wanted my things. Even though he'd brought them without my asking for them, because he knew I wanted them from way back previous emails. It felt somehow final to me, that there was nothing left. I put my head into my arms on the table and turned my face slightly away from him (we were sitting side by side) and I asked him if he was going to disappear now. He said he wasn't. I didn't believe him. Like a stupid girl I got a bit teary. He noticed when I went to wipe one off my nose.

"Hey," he said, turning my face to look at him and tracing a finger along a tear path on my cheek, "I'm not going to disappear. I'm not.". And maybe I shrugged. And maybe a part of me wished he would because it would be easier. And part of me didn't want him to.

He didn't come over. He went back south. It wasn't even that late. Maybe we'd spent two hours together. We walked back to the main road holding hands, where he had to go right to the tube and I had to go left to the bus. He gave me the bag. I indicated I had to go the other way and we stood there on the corner. And we kissed some, and then I went my way and he went his.

I had some contact with him on Thursday but nothing since then. Only one thing was missing from the bag, a bar-gag that wasn't particularly expensive or impressive to begin with (ie, although something I like and something useful, something I wouldn't mind losing and replacing with an upgraded model). And that's where things stand. And I wake up this morning and it's raining and grey and I have my first indication that the woman's curse may be visiting me this week and I find I just don't want to think about much of anything at all.

I need to do more laundry but I have no place left to hang it up really. I need to change the sheets on my bed, I need to clean up my room. I need to put clean laundry away. I need to vacuum. And I need to start studying, seriously. Like a bunch of hours today, no joke. I've fallen half a month behind and February is a short month anyway. Fuck.

11 February 2006

A Monkey Update

At the moment I am waiting for my dinner to finish cooking so I thought I'd do another installment which continues my attempt to catch up my blog with all the things that have happened in this past week. However, before we get to that, my daily update so that I don't continue to fall behind.

Today I went to Broadway Market with tlsd, again. I'm so glad I've gotten back into this. I had stopped towards the end of the year for no apparent reason and how I have missed the market! And I'm also getting back into cooking. Even though I didn't buy much at the market, I did end up buying a bunch of stuff at Somerfield since my food stocks were a bit low since going away for a week. At the moment I have a lovely herbs de Provence seasoned lamb waiting for me and some chestnut mushrooms and saffron rice. Damnit, I'm hungry!

So, this week was an interesting one given how I had left things at work before going away for a week. I thought all had gone well with the meeting before I left, but I came back to a couple of ugly surprises. First, a new project that I knew was coming into the office and is in typology very similar to one that I worked on with the now gone T and would have been a sensible way for me to build upon what I had learned and my experiences to date has gone to H. It's a big project that won't involve so much design as much as coordination and lots of travel to and from Sheffield. So it's not that I was so angry about this, but no, fuck it, I was angry about this because it was a stupid decision that didn't make sense. And I wasn't in the mood for H to be all smug like he was being.

On top of this, C informs me that the week I was away she spoke with H about her unhappiness with work distribution and was asking him why he was getting all the projects and his response to her was, "I am T, that's what they told me, that's what they want me to be." Now, hello- when I had my meeting with M and G the directors, they told me there was no fucking hierarchy. So who the fuck has been telling H that he is above me and C? I was plunged back into pissed off monkey mode.

So on Wednesday I sent an email to M and G asking if there had been any discussion since our meeting and expressing concern that things seemed to be steam rolling in the direction they had been before I left. G came up to me right away to say, "What project was it that I promised you?". And I had to point out to him that he didn't 'promise' me a project, they said they'd give me one but then shut down the talk and said they needed to speak privately. So he suggests that this one big project is coming back online and that I would have it. The only problem with this is that H worked on the first phase of the design, so even if I get put on it and even if it's a new design, you just KNOW he's going to want to 'supervise' my work because he already feels ownership for the project. So I still wasn't pleased with this response, even though it was quick.

On Thursday, G calls me and asks me to grab C and come down to one of the meeting rooms. As it turns out, C had a conversation with P the day before and P spoke with G, and G already knew that I was not happy, so he took action. Highly unusual for my office. But it looks like I will be getting his project, and he stressed again that there is no hierarchy. And also that it would be my sole project and that H had no authority over me. We discussed that me or C would be able to come speak to him if we felt things were not moving in a good direction and I guess we'll just have to see how it all goes. He was going to speak with H separately, wish I could be a fly on the wall for that.

So, in summary, early in the week, angry monkey, by the end of the week, calm monkey.

10 February 2006

Cockblock, Part Two

So even though we were pretty exhausted early in the week, SH was leaving Wednesday morning and there was no way we weren't going to go out and enjoy her last two evenings, particularly as I was working during the day.

Before we left for Portugal, we had stopped by tlsd's house for something or other and had met and chatted with her two flatmates and one of her flatmates friends. SH thought tlsd's male flatmate P was sort of cute and so we hatched a plot to get them all out drinking upon our return to London for shits and giggles.

As it turned out, Monday night this all came together. Me and SA discussed meeting up around Broadway Market for a place to drink and eat and so we settled on the Dove. Tlsd came along and of course there was me and SH and so a small group was forming. SH met me and tlsd at work and we walked to Broadway Market and started our evening of drinking. A couple rounds later, SA showed up and the comedy continued. In the meantime, tlsd had texted P, inviting him to come along and he said he'd show up for one drink as he was meeting people later. So we're all settled into the Dove when P arrives. Conveniently, he sits next to SH and drinks a soda. Three glasses of wine later, and after the bell for last orders we leave SA and the four of us head to their flat. On the way, it's suggested we have a drink at theirs and so P runs to the shop and picks up four bottles of tonic. This was after running to the shop to buy peanut m&m's. Can anyone say eager? Anyone?

At their flat, the drinking continued, though myself and SH begged off a little as it was gin and tonic and it really wasn't my favorite. Meanwhile, P had probably five and the conversation of course turned vaguely sexual, in fact, when was it not sexual all evening probably? But I digress. By the end, we were surrounded by Scarlet magazines and were watching some extremely dodgy porn that belonged to tlsd. I mean, it was so not hot. It was almost bad enough to just put one off sex, as if! But it was getting quite late now and I needed to go home and go to bed. So I start making as if to go and tlsd goes upstairs to her room and SH and P are left alone in the lounge.

And then it was a bit confusing. Do I leave her there? What do I do? What does she want to do? What's going on in there anyway? Tlsd and I putter around for a bit and it seems like SH is going to go with me, but she gives P her number and tells him that she's free the next day while I'm at work and he says he's free the next day and so they plan to meet up.

Of course, the next day, SH shaves her leg and puts on some of her nice new sexy underwear and waits for a text. That never came. Why? Because in his inebriated state, P forgot to put her name in. So when he checked his phone in the morning for her number, he thought perhaps he'd dreamed it up. And SH knew she'd given it to him, so wasn't going to text him if he wasn't texting her. And that was her last day and then she was back to Chicago.

It's sad, isn't it? Cocblocked by gin. I'm sure there's a moral in here somewhere.

Cockblock, Part One

So when we got the super late train back to Liverpool Street Saturday night/Sunday morning, it was so late we had to get the night bus back to my house. Unfortunately, this meant taking the longer bus that goes straight through Hoxton to Dalston and it was just pub-closing time. So there we are with suitcases and bags and all these horrible drunk people clambering on to the bus and pushing and shoving and also offering me some bread, though I declined.

Finally we manage to get to my flat, it seems dark, so I figure flatmate D is asleep. Being my house, I unlock the door and move inside so SH can come in after me only to be momentarily stunned by small tea candles placed strategically on every other step of the staircase.

Then I hear a rustle and giggle from the lounge where I see more dim flickering light and start to hear some soft music playing as I move forward to allow SH to come in behind me and shut the door. "Oh shit!" I hissed at her, "D has a girl in there!!".

Now this was bad on two counts. First, after the snoring debacle, I wasn't interested in being in a similar position and had anticipated SH staying downstairs on the comfy fold out sofa. And second, we were cockblocking my flatmate!! So we backtrack as best we can and just put things down in the kitchen where the remains of some complicated home-cooked meal was revealed making everything even worse. Unsure of what to do exactly, D spoke up from the lounge, "So how was Portugal?".

At which point we came into the lounge and chatted for a while before lugging up the suitcase bags to my room since SH was obviously sleeping with me again and getting ourselves ready for bed at 2:30am or so. It was such an awkward situation, and we felt really bad about interrupting anyone's specially planned booty-call. We got up Sunday morning and left the house, noting that the girls shoes and jacket were still downstairs and the door to D's room still firmly shut. So maybe not so terrible after all.

The Final Leg

In order to wrap things up and get back to my regular blogging information which is being held up by my stubborn and systematic ways, AND because my boss and H are away for a project that didn't go to me, not to mention the fact that it's Friday, I'm just going to go blog-happy.

So we arrived in Porto. And really, in truth, there is not too much to say about Porto except that it was good fun and lots of port was drunk and squid eaten and so on and so forth. With the hiccup behind us and 22% alcohol as part of our daily routine, it was a good way to wind things up. Porto was dirtier than Lisbon and in some ways not as pretty and in other ways more pretty. Everything was still pretty dirt cheap. We got separate rooms at the hotel which seemed to work fine, and a good time was had by all.

I think it was good to ditch the car at the hotel garage and be back on foot. Clearly this made SH much happier and calmer, and there was just so much to see. We bought lots of port as well, but hey, it was cheap and it was damn good so no one can fault us for that. And we managed to pretty much do everything on our short list of 'things we want to do in Porto in two days'.

And so with bags completely packed full and port bottles padded, we got ourselves to the airport no problem and back to London where our flight was delayed, the people at passport control felt the need to harass us, and we just got the last Stanstead express by like, 4 minutes. Which brings me to some more updated and amusing stories of this week, but I think I'll just make another post for that.

Portugal. I recommend it.

07 February 2006

The Story Continues...

So I got us to where we were leaving Lisbon and went to get the car. This was the hiccup part of the trip really. Now, I drive- but to be fair, I have not driven in three years. Not an inch since moving to the UK, not even when I go home. So while I can drive I would suggest that my driving skills are a little rusty. SH drives, and even owns a car, but SH does not know how to drive anything other than an automatic. So somehow we decided that we would get an automatic and SH would do all the driving. In principle, this was not a bad plan.

In actuality however, it just came down to it that SH got very stressed driving on unknown roads in a foreign country. And so at this point, tension began building. We left Lisbon late in the day and headed off into the unknown.

Originally we had planned on stopping in the town of Tomar on the way to the hotel, but since we left Lisbon so late, there really wasn't time to stop. We plowed on to Lousa, lights dimming, roads winding, signposts non-existent. To me, this would have been a great adventure, but SH was clearly stressed by the experience. However, with only a three minute backtrack, we made it no problem, and arrived at the most amazing hotel. I mean, so amazing, I would go back, even though it's sort of in the middle of nowhere. We had a lovely dinner and went to bed.

The next day SH wanted to go back to Tomar which was an hours backtrack. I said that if it was going to be stressful, not to do it. But SH was adamant she wanted to go to Tomar so in the car we got and proceeded to get a bit lost, this time spending an extra hour on the roads, by which time SH was in a pretty foul mood. Luckily, Tomar was pretty and interesting and fun, except for the nasty sandwich SH got by mistake.

I need to explain the true horror of this sandwich and sadly, we didn't take a picture of it, so it is only burned in our respective memories. But SH ordered a 'steak sandwich with chips'. Now, that doesn't seem like a dangerous thing to order does it? But when she got it, the first indication something may be wrong, was that it came in a bowl. In the bowl was one piece of white bread, upon which some steak-like meat had been placed, on top of which some ham of some sort had been placed which was glued together with an unidentifiable cheese. Another slice of white bread was pressed on top, with a fried egg to finish the stack. Now, so far, not so bad perhaps, but I hear you asking yourself, why does this require a bowl? Well, this entire sandwich was then drowned in a bowl of quivering gelatinous reddish-brown colored thick 'gravy'. In fact, only the top slice of bread was remotely visible (and the egg of course). The rest was only discovered upon dissection of the soggy mess.

Anyway, Tomar was good and then we drove back to Lousa, the right way this time- so it was only half the time. Of course we got stuck in a traffic jam due to a fatal accident that happened up ahead of us. Finally getting back to the hotel, we hit the town for dinner, then called it a night and went to bed.

This was the only glitch in the trip. See, I snore. Everyone who knows me knows that, SH being no exception. And she brought earplugs just to compensate for it. So imagine my surprise when I was awoke for the first time in the night by a rather evil and nasty "Stop it K!". I was somewhat taken aback but was only half awake, so I rolled over and settled back into sleep. Then, I was woken again a second time, a third, a fourth, and then the ever popular fifth, "GOD DAMNIT!!!!". Now, I don't know about you, but I don't really enjoy being woken up by being yelled at. It made me rather tense and miserable and at around five, my sleep for the night ended as I was too keyed up. I don't care if you are having trouble sleeping, but don't take it out on me for something I can't control, and there are certainly nicer ways to wake someone up!

In the morning there was just stony silence that culminated in a full on argument at breakfast where SH insisted she was going to call RyanAir and United and get her flights switched so she could go back to the states. Well, two can play that game, I was like, 'Fine, if you're leaving, I will leave you here with the car and get on the train and continue my vacation on my own.'. After many harsh words and expletives and moving the argument from the breakfast room back to the regular room, I left her there to catch a couple hours sleep while I went to look at this castle just outside of the town. And also vent on the phone to tlsd, because I was so honked off, I had to talk to someone, and she seemed just the right person to do so with(thank goodness she had her phone handy!!).

By the time I got back to the room, SH was subdued, though still stony silent, and we got in the car to head to Conimbriga and then onto Porto. A little bit of a car adventure to begin with, she was actually much more pleasant to drive with when she was being stony silent as opposed to being tense and snappish. By the time we got to Conimbriga, things seemed mostly well and conversation was creeping back to flowing, and by the time we couldn't get the car started in the parking lot to leave, it all seemed back on pace. We did get the car started and made it to Porto with generally no problems aside from a really nasty pork sandwich I had along the way that almost made me vomit when I gagged on a crunchy cartilage piece. Mmmmmmmmmmm.
The calming and quiet presence of the hermitage and castle at Lousa.

06 February 2006

Where To Begin?

So much to write about, I am not at all sure where to begin. I suppose I will go chronologically- so off to Portugal I went. We had to catch the butt-early Stanstead Express from Liverpool Station. Thought we were being all good by calling the minicab for a 4am pickup. The guy came to get us and is like, 'Oh, you can't drive to the station, the road is closed' and then tries to charge us crazy money to drive us to Stanstead. SH starts freaking out but I was like, 'Dude, how close can you get us then, we can walk.' So he ended up dropping us off at the road that leads to Spittlefields. Not that far a walk, and way too much headache and panic at 4am. But we got our tickets and we were off to the plane.

At Stanstead, SH got pulled out of line because her bag was too heavy to be a carry-on and they made her check it. This pissed her off no end so after crazy cabby, the day was developing in an unfortunate fashion. Then, every Portuguese and their twelve children seemed to be on our flight. I don't blame them seeing as how it only cost £3.15 before tax (have I mentioned that our roudtrip airfare to and from Porto was only £38 each including taxes?). So we were in the second RyanAir boarding group. SH gets agitated that we won't get good seats but I say we can rush the next group and skip a bunch of people. And as it turned out, our seats were fine.

The flight was generally uneventful. I panicked a little bit, but SH talked to me and it was only two hours and then over. We pick up her bag no problem (mine was okay as a carry-on) and try to find information so we can figure out how to get to the train to Lisbon. Eventually we find someone who says the best way is a taxi, so we tell him the train station we want, and off we go. We ended up at a train station that seemed as though it was in the middle of no-where, and an extremely unhelpful woman who only spoke Portuguese and didn't seem at all interested in finding out what exactly we wanted. We finally managed to get her attention enough to book our tickets and after a less than thrilling snack, we were on the train and headed to Lisbon. It was over a three hour train ride, but the seats were generally comfortable. Of course our spirits sank as we passed through areas of snow. The Portuguese didn't know what to make of the snow and were exclaiming excitedly and snapping pictures on their camara phones. Meanwhile we were less than thrilled, having expected the weather to be warmer than London, not fucking snowing!!

We got into Lisbon and got a taxi to our hotel which was pretty much a pit. Feeling somewhat disgruntled with the travel and stress and weather, we decided to go to the tile museum. Which was good. And then we looked at a couple of churches, which turned out okay. And then we had a fantastic dinner around the corner from our hotel, so all in all, the trip may have started rocky, but was on it's way up.

The next day the sun was shining and we were all over Lisbon like chocolate pudding on a toddler. Highlights of our trip started to form. Continual infatuation and amusement that Portuguese sounds an awful lot like some Eastern European backwater language led to us coming up with every Russian word we could think of and saying 'Da' all the time. And secondly, our ongoing fascination with 'dropping the brown kids off at the pool' or the lack of our ability to drop any brown kids off at the pool became a common topic of discussion.

That night, I had one of the top five meals of my life at this restaurant called Oliviers. It was so amazing I could bore you to tears by describing each one of the ten courses, but I won't. Suffice to say, if anyone ever goes to Lisbon and doesn't eat at Oliviers, then you have simply wasted your entire trip.

So Lisbon was good. And then we picked up the car. But that will have to be the next installment. For now I leave you with a picture from the Elevador something or other towards the Castello, in Lisbon.