Thursday 28 May 2009

Crappy day

Ugh, one of those days. I had weird dreams last night and woke up feeling like I'd been run over by a truck. I took my bike in (again) to get worked on, then had general transport disaster on the way to work after that. Waited through 2 Tube trains that I couldn't get onto, then they announced that 'a passenger had taken ill' two stops ahead. So I walked the two miles to Liverpool Street, where I got a train that overshot Hackney by a stop. How people survive commuting in packed public transport every day I will never know. So, I thought I would be efficient and get my bike over lunch, as it doesn't normally take long to get to London Bridge. Big mistake. They weren't done with the bike, despite saying they would be and me giving them an extra half hour leeway. My lunch ended up taking 2.5 hours, as I was also stopped by the bridge going up on my way back. Lunch bled into when I was supposed to be having an appraisal meeting, and, unfortunately, Thomas is very Germanic about time, where I am very, I suppose, Mediterranean (ie. I couldn't give a crap), so I got a big talking to about time keeping and blah blah blah whatever don't care go away. Oh, and I had a playground fight yesterday with someone in another department b/c I said he was a liar, which he is. So it's been a crappy day all told - looking forward to getting out of here, and, hopefully, getting a good workout and getting to sleep on time for once.

Tuesday 26 May 2009

The cup holder on my computer doesn't work!

Had a slight blonde moment today… I’d been rummaging around under my desk, trying to move a cable. Sat back down and started to work, and my email crashed – said the server was unavailable. This has happened before, so I dutifully called the help desk and reported the problem. The guy there asked a few questions, then asked if my internet connection worked. It didn’t, though it had quite recently. Had I checked the cable? Why no, I had not, and voila, the cable was, in fact, unplugged. How embarrassing.

I had a lovely Bank Holiday weekend. David and I met up with Brian and Kathy (as well as Laurel and Heather) on Saturday evening. They also met Robin, briefly (and survived!). I tried to take them to an interesting pub for dinner, but, unfortunately, it had stopped serving food for the evening, so we ended up at a (very good) chain pub down the road. The highlight of that meal was definitely watching the woman sitting just next door climb up onto her man, straddle him, and start making out. Charming indeed – welcome to London! We wandered down after that to Leicester Square and had some very decadent ice cream. It’s always a slightly strange thing to see family outside of normal family habitat – it’s sort of like seeing one’s teacher outside the classroom. Who knew they had a life – that they even go to the supermarket?

I went for a bike ride on Sunday, 66 miles up to the north of London. It was slightly marred by my bike not shifting properly, which turned out to be a problem with the new waterbottle cage I’d put on. It took going to the bike store to figure this out – also slightly embarrassing. As the bugs were out in abundance, I ate as many as possible, and provided a sticky, sunblock coated landing pad for the remainder. I like to be helpful. My knee was misbehaving itself a bit, and my bike was making creaky noises, so, all and all, it wasn’t as good of a ride as it could have been.

And we had a bbq on the roof yesterday evening with 4 people over. We sat up on the patio furniture shooting the breeze and the weather dutifully cooperated and decided to rain at exactly the moment we started to eat. Fortunately, between the table umbrella, and four golf umbrellas, we managed to stay relatively dry. It wouldn’t be a British bbq without a little crappy weather. David is a remarkably good bbq’er, whereas when I bbq, it tends to more resemble a minor nuclear holocaust. We did, however, have one exciting moment when the bbq wouldn’t light. David and Robin kept prodding it with lit pieces of paper – and – well, it did light, and took most of the hair off of one of Robin’s hands. Mmm – extra tasty. I had one beer and one Coke – between them I stayed awake for hours last night. How sad.

Oh, and I almost forgot, I think I have figured out the secret to keeping female pedestrians from wandering out into the road. If one just stares them down, and, if they start to cross, shout out a warning, ‘Bad woman! Bad woman! No mascara!’ This usually works unless they are already in possession and use of said mascara, in which case one is just hosed. One must press on…

Friday 22 May 2009

Out amongst my people...

I suppose that, as I work for local government and all, I am supposed to have an enlightened attitude towards the denizens of the great London Borough of Hackney. As if. The one thing I really do like about Hackney, however, is that I can almost always be guaranteed to see something odd or unusual at lunchtime. Today there was a woman talking to herself and walking along, holding her left breast (clothed still), and a man wearing a bib and with bandaids stuck all over his face. I also, quite unintentionally, shamed a woman into picking up a potato chip bag she had just dropped. I saw something fall off the back of the stroller she was pushing and mentioned she had dropped something. She picked it up quite quickly, and it was only then that I noticed what it was. Guess wandering around with my work ID tag on is useful for something! Actually, what I tend to think, walking around at lunchtime, is that having children should not be a right, b/c my God, some of these people! The number of people wandering around who seem to have no idea how to behave in society, or just don't give a shit, is simply amazing. I spend a lot of time just thinking, 'Oh, please don't breed!'. But they do, and their horrid shitty children end up knifing each other or pushing people (like me!) off of bicycles for no reason. Not sure whether I am becoming bitter, or just pragmatic. I certainly seemed to have dropped any pretense of blue-sky-thinking idealism somewhere along the way - probably in Harlem. Most people are, unfortunately, just crap, and I suppose I was just priviledged to have grown up amongst people who cared about something.

Yeah, bitter I think.

Anyway, it's a beautiful spring afternoon and all the bosses have gone home and I think I might just be forced to leave early as well. Shocking indeed.

Thursday 21 May 2009

Knees are stupid

Well, I was correct in my thinking yesterday that I shouldn't have gotten out of bed. Coming home, walking up the stairs with my bike, my left knee (the one I hurt wrecking my car 12.5 years ago) did its stupid thing, and now it's super painful and a bit swollen. No running for a while. I have also accepted this time that I'm going to have to re-introduce leg exercises at the gym - that cycling only just doesn't cut it (and is probably contributing to the problem by leaving my legs unbalanced), and finally, I made an appointment with the GP so I can get a referral for sometime in 2015 to see a physiotherapist or knee person so he/she can tell me what I've been doing wrong all these years. Yay.

Thus, knees are stupid. I'm thinking of having my left knee replaced by a jacuzzi, or perhaps an Adirondack chair - I'm not sure yet.

I actually managed to do a little work today, in between feeling sorry for myself and grumpy about the world.

Stupid stupid grumble whine snivel.

Oh, I did want to mention that we're now in my fave time of the year, when twilight lasts for hours. For some reason I have yet to understand, in the summer, we don't really get a proper red sunset. I mean, yes, the sun sets and all (eventually), but once it does, the sky just gets very gradually darker and darker blue - a blue I don't think I've ever seen in CA, and that doesn't happen here in winter. Eventually, the sun moves around the northern horizon, as does the 'sunset', and, after a brief period of complete darkness, voila, there it is in the east again! I love summer nights here, and the northern sun glow (and yes, I understand why that is). I just don't get the funny sky color. Weird.

Wednesday 20 May 2009

Wardrobe malfunction

Today has been one of those days I probably should have not bothered to get up. I’ve been migrainey the past few days, which usually tends to mean my brain doesn’t work properly (like it ever does). I had my bike ride after work yesterday (as opposed to my usual before, b/c I didn’t get my butt out of bed), and found myself on a street, just for an instant, completely unsure of where I was. Very odd. I’d worry, except that seems to go along with my migraines, and then it passed. Anyway, I woke up, quite suddenly, at 5 this morning, and was all the way in the bathroom, with the lights on, starting to get ready for work, when it twigged that, hmm, maybe I don’t need to be up until 650. So, I went back to bed, and woke up feeling crappier than I had at 5. Figures. Got out of the house late and went for a bike ride – generally nice and uneventful. Apparently, I got to the shower just after Mr. Fat and Ugly, since the entire changing area was completely soaked. That, by the way, should be another capital crime. Maybe I should start a list. I manage to keep my clothes dry, and then discover, to my horror, that the zipper to my pants has broken, and is gaping wide open (I’ve had the pants for 3 years and have hated them the whole time). After a few minutes of increasingly frantic small-scale zipper surgery, I succeed in zipping the stupid pants. The problem is, each time I use the toilet, I have to keep the pants from unzipping completely, which is no mean feat. Of course, I chose today to have asparagus with my lunch, and of course I manage to dribble on myself quite severely (trying to hold zipper with one hand, underwear with the other, and, well, you know…). Gack! I’m covered with stinky pee in the company men’s room! I manage to dry the spots enough to get back to my desk and make some lame excuse about how the zipper finally gave and I have to change into my bike clothes. Pants go in the kitchen trash.

As they say – just try not to trip, fall, pee your pants or make the fire alarm go off and you will be fine.

Oh dear then – I will try to avoid drooling when I head to the gym.

Monday 18 May 2009

Yarfy Monday morning...

Ugh – evil migrainey Monday morning. The lights are too bright, the computer keyboards are too noisy, the phones are like jackhammers into my poor little delicate ears. I want everyone to die. Yep – fabulous morning. On my morning cycle, about 3.5 miles out, I start to think, ‘Hmm – my lock seems to be very comfortable around my waist this morning. Perhaps it is because I left it on the floor at home.’ So back home I had to go – really, I just wanted to experience the wonder and joy of the commute twice. Still, I did get to cut off this dickhead on a bike who thought he was going to sneak past me. But then he took a shortcut and I got caught in traffic. I hope he gets hemorrhoids and can’t sit on his seat.

I spent £120 getting my bike all prettied and tuned up on Thursday. So, what do I do on my way home? I run over a screw. A nice, pointy, 1.5 inch wood screw that screws happily through my nice, nearly new, puncture resistant rear tire. Great. This meant that I had the immense pleasure of walking the 2 miles home through Walworth, which is a bit like walking home through East Harlem, only less interesting. The funny thing is, when I’ve told people here that I got a flat tire running over a screw, because of the difference in accent, a number of people have thought I said I’d gotten a flat running over a squirrel. They were quite curious how a squirrel caused a flat tire (did it bite the tire?) – and most felt quite bad for the squirrel.

Anyway, I had a rather uneventful weekend. Lots of socializing and hanging out, no cycling (as I had to get a new tire, and then it rained). I did, however, get to see the new Star Trek movie on Friday night out at the O2 with David, Robin, Adrian and Michal. Movie was fab – I sat there rapt through the whole thing, and only remembered to share my big bucket of popcorn a few time. Saturday night I hung out with James, who subjected me to 2009 Eurovision, in its entirety. Rather scarily, I loved it – even the bad acts. Maybe I’m gay? Hmm.

Oh, and quite randomly, I’ve come up with a new capital crime – turning without signalling. The number of numbnuts who have nearly run me over at intersections… And it seems like there has been a rash of trucks crushing cyclists at traffic lights – usually when turning without signalling. I think this particular offense merits instant and painful death, unless there is some other overriding factor like, oh, I don’t know, elephantitis or fatal herpes. I think that’s quite lenient… Evil motorists beware once Doug becomes queen of the world…