The Adventure Continues...

Rants, raves and random observations from an itinerant epidemiologist.

100 in 1000
  1. Spend a week up a mountain learning to ski
  2. Visit Karoline's place in Moravia
  3. Hold a conversation in Czech (only)
  4. Drink 500ml of each of the following beers:
    1. Pilsner
    2. Staroprammen
    3. Budvar
    4. Velke Popovice
    5. U Fleku
    6. Gambrinus
    7. Krusovice
  5. Respond to at least one GOARN request (WHO and MSF are also acceptable)
  6. Travel across the Atlantic
  7. Return to South America
  8. Read a book to, or with, an impressionably aged child
  9. Participate in one NanoWriMo Challenge and come within at least 10,000 words of the goal length
  10. Have my nose pierced
  11. Have my next tattoo drawn
  12. Purchase the perfect jeans (x 2 pairs)
  13. Attend a spin class 3 times a week for 8 consecutive weeks
  14. Bake Viv's cheesecake
  15. Make David's casserole
  16. Make David's Chicken Cashew-nut Stirfry
  17. Invite 4 people who don't know one another too well to dinner
  18. Ride from Vienna to Venice on a motorbike (pillion acceptable, those less desirable)
  19. Attend a book group for at least two books
  20. Go on a choir weekend (learn and perform difficult piece in two/three days)
  21. Visit Madame Tussaud's (in London)
  22. Take an architecture appreciation course
  23. Join an all-girl group and sing a solo
  24. Publish in a scientific journal (top two authors)
  25. Cook a duck or other 'waterfowl'.
  26. Locate the Al-Timimi's from Doha Veterinary Practise
  27. Have a pedicure
  28. Maintain a Brazilian (ouch) for three months.
  29. Find a trustworthy Czech hairdresser
  30. Treat my inner-6-year-old twice a week (at least)
  31. Do the liver-cleansing diet properly (12 weeks)
  32. Don't eat out for one month
  33. Find a flat and flatmate
  34. Purchase one Joseph sweater
  35. Purchase one of the following pairs of designer shoes (they MUST also be COMFORTABLE, and be able to be worn with 4 different outfits and 2 types of occasion): Jimmy Choos, Manolo Blahniks, Christian Louboutin (Ebay or 2nd hand are acceptable)
  36. Send 5 books to the booksphere and track them.
  37. Go hanggliding
  38. Read 10 'classic' books (from 1001 Books to Read before you Die)
    1. Moll Flanders
    2. Everything is illuminated
    3. Madam Bovary
    4. Zen & the Art of Motorcycle Maintainance
    5. Catch-22
    6. Odysseus
    7. On the Road
  1. Run (non-stop!) for 5kms outside (preferably in a street race thingy)
  2. Send Christmas Cards on time
  3. Make a collage/mural out of street lights on my wall
  4. Buy a bed, build it, and sleep soundly in it
  5. Go to Africa
  6. Host an 'event' (classified as and when)
  7. Organise a 30th Birthday Party
  8. Wear a costume
  9. Sing on stage
  10. Buy a painting that evokes memories of Prague (cannot involve queues!)
  11. Learn a god-damned card game that stays in my memory (other than fish/snap)
  12. See sunrise. Be sober. Have woken for it. Excludes months Nov-Mar
  13. Take a walk and flip coins at each intersection
  14. Win something
  15. Draft a will
  16. Take a roadtrip
  17. Go to Italy already
  18. Sea Kayak around Abel Tasman Park (NZ)
  19. Get plants
  20. Take a train to another Eastern European Destination (accession countries are acceptable) alone preferably.
  21. Get UK to give me a provisional motorcyclists license and simultaneously get a 'card' license.
  22. Go SCUBA diving again - at least two dives lasting 30mins each.
  23. Go to a dentist. *sigh*
  24. Do a Czech Wine Trail. And live to tell the tale
  25. Make an 'outbreak emergency kit'.
  26. Go to bed prior to 11pm every night (inc weekends) for four consecutive weeks.
  27. Marvel over lack of tiredness
  28. Dine at a Gordon Ramsey restaurant (or Nobu)- preferably for free.
  29. Bet on the nags
  30. Do something for charity (applying and getting a 'red card' will count)
  31. Walk along the Champs Elysee
  32. Do 100 sit ups in a row
  33. Do 50 pressups (arms in tight)
  34. Make branston pickle (or nearest substitute)
  35. Cook something 'new' and 'adventurous' at least once a month
  36. Find a mentor
  37. Be a mentor
  38. Learn what mentoring is all about
  39. Meet an online person in real life
  40. Resist the flirt. Once. Just one night. It's okay if people don't immediately succumb to my natural charm. Really it is.
  41. Spend time at a spa (spa towns in the CR don't count)
  42. Send a care package to someone
  43. Get a Tata Bojs CD
  45. Order new contact lenses.
  46. Make a list of things I take with me when I pack for different occasions
  47. Eat lobster. Prepared by someone else.
  48. Back up the blog
  49. Put everything onto an external hard drive
  50. Find a DDR mat and console and 'dance, I say dance!'�
  51. Go to the beach and lie on the warm sand. For an hour. (with sunscreen on, natch)
  52. Take and complete a course in either: Tango, Salsa or Flamenco
  53. Join the Municipal Library of Prague
  54. Move to another country
  55. Go to a live concert of a band I actually like
  56. Pay off debts (student loan excl.)
  57. Send thank you cards for every gift I receive (other than the gift of happiness, blah blah blah).
  58. Get an agent (literary or theatre)
  59. Go to a sports bar without cringing, by personal choice
  60. Ride a rollercoaster
  61. Hold a snake
  62. Spend a day wandering around a museum (not art gallery!)
Does anyone want to break my nose?
Friday, 25 November 2005
I’m not unhappy with the Boxall/Hilder combination nose that I managed to develop in utero: it’s straight, mostly pert, and has a small bulb at the end (I AM a cross between Groucho and Rudolph?) and is generally ‘fine’, complementing my other facial features in a way sufficiently aesthetically pleasing that I’ve not had to resort to wearing a paper bag to prevent small children from crying. HOWEVER, I’ve been giving some thought to this whole ‘weather’ thing. Seems that if you have rhinoplasty performed, then you have to wear bandages over your new shnoz for about two weeks to a) hold it in place and b) collect your life force as it drips out of your stapled face.

Bandages are warm. And would collect the condensation like drips that threaten to hang from the tip of my nose when it’s this cold. Everyone wins.

Today I realised I’m living in a song by the Bangles (oh, okay, you bloody music purists – Simon and Garfunkel, since you insist!): Hazy Shade of Winter. It snowed while I was walking to the metro, this morning, but by the time I’d gotten to the University, the snow had stopped and the sun had returned. This meant that by the time we were released from our three hours of hell (ie. two Czech lessons), there were indeed ‘patch[es] of snow on the ground’. I’ve never really understood this expression until today (life is SUCH a learning experience for me!) as I always thought snow had to be about 10cm deep. But no, these patches I speak of (sing of, the song is part of the Intunition repertoire) are mere snowflakes thick, and yet can cover a reasonably large area. Fascinating stuff. Especially when they cover cobblestones which are uneven. The combination is almost as good as moss on a wet rock (ooh…I think I’ve invented a name for a new cocktail containing green chartreuse) for stability. Just as well the earmuffs have already destroyed my ‘street cred’ as the windmilling arms certainly buried whatever ‘cool’ I had remaining this morning.

But…old town square is now getting ready for Christmas. There are a dozen little midget huts (well, they’re not really, but they’re really dinky and cute looking) which I reckon would freak Joseph out completely. Apparently, this is collectively referred to as the ‘craft market’. I deem it ‘crafty’ indeed – who ISN’T going to buy roasted chestnuts when the temperature is -4oC? Alas, said stalls aren’t open…so thankfully, my tongue hasn’t been scorched by overhasty consumption of ‘hot nuts’. Yet…

There’s also a giant Christmas tree that I’m glad I don’t have to decorate. Having said that, the decorations are lame, so I’m a little upset that I wasn’t able to perform my yearly ‘but I decorate the tree’ tantrum which turns me into Christmas Tree Nazi. Yet…

Thankfully – I haven’t heard even one rendition of ‘silver bells’ or ‘rudolph’ or ‘I saw Mummy…’ which is very good news indeed. It means that small children running amok may get to keep their tenuous hold on life for just a fraction longer in time, since I’m not feeling homicidal. Yet…

I’d like to share with you a brief insight into the positives of the Czech language, remember my ‘I don’t eat breakfast’ comment? Well, here’s some more ways in which a synthetic language (as, apparently, Czech is) can be so groovy: the word for castle is hrad. “Za” can mean, “behind”. What is behind the castle? A garden. So Zahrada is garden. “Pre” can mean “before”. What is in front of your castle? A moat. So Přehrada means water reservoir. Ain’t that just the cutest?

I’d also like you to visualise my writing progress. Naturally, this has been checked by moje ucitelka (my female teacher) who returned it almost covered in red, so you’re getting the ‘corrected’ version, but I want to impress you all anyway. Gold stars in the comments section please!

Milá Liorah,

Jak se máš, moje nejlepší přítelkyně? Já se mám fajn, ale někdy jsem smutna. Praha je moc daleko od Wellingtonu! Taký jsem často unavena, protože moje české lekce jsou těžké! Ale je mi akorát, o pravdu, nedělej si starosti! Také, neříkej nic tvojí mamince, jestli vaři cheesecake pro mě samozřejmě. Beztak…

Na fotografii je dům Moje pokoj je moc malý, ale mám tam dvě polohovací válendy a všechno prádlo. A práce není daleko, jenom pět minut pěšky! Moje program je plný: dopoledne jsem na universitě a studuju čestinu. Učím se pomalu! Odpoledne pracuju v státním zdravotním ústavu., je to česky „ESR“. Znáš Prahu, protože jsi navstivíla Prahu minulý rok, ale je pořad krásna. Ale někdy počasí špatné, protože zima se blíží.

Jak se mají kočky? Ještě tlusté?! A Midge? Tvoje rodiče? A malý Justin, kolik dni už je ve škole? Těším se na příště měsíc, když tvoje sestra bude na návštěvě tady.

Tak můj milý, je už pozdě, už jdu spát, aby se mi něco zdát.

Zatím, čau! Nomes. XXX
Which translates into (or rather, was translated from) the rather slanderous...

Dear Liorah,

How are you, my best friend? I am fine, but sometimes I’m sad. Prague is very far from Wellington! Also, I’m often tired, because my Czech lessons are hard. But I’m okay, really, don’t worry. And don’t say anything to your Mum, unless she’ll make cheesecake for me. Anyway…

The photographs of my house are on My room is very small, but I have two fold out beds with all their bedlinen. And work isn’t far, it takes 5 minutes by foot! My schedule is full: in the morning I go to university to study Czech. I learn slowly*! In the afternoon I work at the Statni Zdravotni Ustav, it is the Czech “ESR”. You know Prague, because you visited last year, but it’s still pretty. But sometimes the weather is crap, because winter is coming.

How are your cats? Still fat#?! And Midge? Your parents? And little Justin, how many days has he been at school? I look forward to next month, when your sister will visit also.

Okay my dear, it’s late, I must sleep, maybe I’ll dream.**

For now, ciao! Nomes. XXX.

*a compliment gathering exercise I'm afraid: my Czech teacher wrote "to neni pravda!" which means "that's not true!" which was reassuring.

**the closest I'm gonna get to translated Shakespeare without hanging around the English Literature department! I'm certainly not going to start behaving like THAT! :)

# apologies sweety, I don't know the meaning for 'slightly portly' yet! And since there are so many other lies in this letter - no one need ever know that they're not the svelte killing machines they are in their own mind. Well, one of them at least...

Now, believe it or not, I actually recorded that into my phone. And as you'll soon witness, I managed to convert it into a rather muddy sounding wav if you want to hear me mangle another language...then drop me a comment! :)

Did I once complain that I wasn’t given enough to do at work? Well…thank goodness it’s always Friday in my office (as in, Friday 11am, not Friday 4.58pm when the emergency happens) because Vlad and I have just spent the last two hours sending bits and pieces between our phones and computers. Complete file transfer went along these lines.

Vlad’s phone to Nomes’s computer – infrared – voice message.
Nomes’s computer to Vlad’s computer – LAN – voice message .
Nomes’s downloads free program .amr <-> mp3…slight glee at possiblities
(listened to voice message – decided it was too quiet)
Vlad’s voice to Vlad’s phone – receiver etc – voice message
Vlad’s phone to Nomes’s computer – infrared – voice message
(listened to message – eureka – it was fine)
Nomes converts small file to .amr
Doesn’t work.
Nomes downloads another program to convert m4a – mp3. Is too scared to install.

Nomes’ computer – Vlad’s computer – line in - Jerry Goldsmith’s Badge of Honour
Vlad collects Badge of Honour as mp3 using AudioGrabber
Vlad’s computer to Nomes’s computer – LAN – Badge of Honour
Nomes converts BoH.mp3 – BoH.amr
Nomes’s computer to Nomes’s phone – infrared – Badge of Honour
(listen to BoH – change alarm to BoH and hope it wakes me up to get to Budapest tomorrow).

The possibilities are endless. And Lira, apologies for this piece of music overriding your horn solo as my wakeup call…please record and send me another one if you can! My neighbours REALLY loved hearing it (when I’d gotten into the shower before the alarm went off and the volume keeps increasing until someone/thing intervenes!).

And now, I’m off to pack for Budapest, before changing into comfy shoes (no more walking home in my socks in -7oC weather…stupidity – thy name is Caipirinha) and heading out to the velvet roped off area of the Stereo MC’s concert. FOR FREE! Guest list baby, guest list!! I guess hanging out with some expats who know other expats can come in tremendously handy….see ya après- or if you’re lucky midi-Budapest!!
posted by Nomes @ Friday, November 25, 2005  
  • At 12:01 pm, November 27, 2005, Blogger Mums said…

    Thought I'd be in first to respond to your blog. However, it being Sunday evening, and a knackering quotient having to be added into the mix, I'm bu****ed if I can remember what it was I was going to say. Senility galloping in - never mind the creeping stuff.
    We've had a tiring day, satrting off by swimming a kilometre, then having cooked breakfast at home, so that we could have the champers with it. Then out into the yard, completing tasks.
    We now have all the hosepipes on reels on the fence - no need for them in the garden at the moment as we're having glorious storms - you know the ones that are in picture books with the lightening coming down to the ground.
    We've also attached the top box (extra luggage space that goes on the roof of the tiny car) on to the fence. As well as two of the four ladders (doesn't everyone??) we have. Poor fence, it probably won't get blown away in any cyclone, but it may fall down with the weight upon it.
    We've got the coloured lights up under the patio roof - they're strings of coloured lamps a la Doha Corniche tree decorations, but ours are multicoloured. Look good, and reminiscent. We're going to purchase a netting that will enclose the patio, so that I can sit there of an evening without supplying the meal for all the critters that love my blood.
    Have just demolished a dry martini, of the huge variety, so now I must go devour the asparagus rolls with my pot of tea.
    Have fun in BP. Much love, Mums

  • At 4:54 am, November 28, 2005, Blogger Dad said…

    Apparently your Pa tried to add a comment, but it didn't attach - mainly because he has no Blogger name. Hopefully this will attach as if it were from him. Love Mums

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