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!)
Nomes's mind dwellings
Sunday, 20 November 2005
Thirty minutes and one zeleněný čaj (gulped to the mantra of "this stuff HAS to calm me down!") later, and I’ve finally managed to open IE6 on my computer which is apparently connected to the wifi server at this cafe. This is the first time I've tried to hook up using this new-fandangled (that one's for you Mum) technology - and of course, I have to go at it from a bloody different language. One where the word připojení means "connection" and the words nastavení mistní sítě are the ones you need to click onto to get the computer to detect proxies automatically. Who knew? Not me, and not the people behind the counter either. Thankfully, my stores of 'self-containment' have been recently stocked, and I didn't burst into tears.

No link…no apologies either.

The night tram drivers are less likely to be of the Schumacker-personality type. Why? Well, it seems they've read the QRA that informed them that the more hectically they threw their trams around the tracks, the more partially digested food and alcohol will be disgorged onto their floors. However, it's with interest (not to mention morbid fascination) that I note the most puddle-forming liquid to be found on a night tram is saliva...the most mucoid (bleeeeeeeeeeeee!) of bodily liquids. This being because one side of the tram is jammed with hormone fuelled and semi-undressed (in THIS weather? God damn it people...haven’t you heard about hypothermia?) couples, not-so-furtively attempting to stroke each others tonsils (or more worryingly, oesophagi) with their tongues. The slurping is enough to make one wish for one's ipod. The other side of the tram is also covered in lolling bodies which are also showing the effects of overindulgence in alcohol...the people themselves have temporarily checked out. But their mucus membranes continue to produce saliva...which hangs/drops/dribbles from their open maws in a VERY horrific manner. You know it's bad when you're disinclined to disembark at your own stop because you NEED to know how long it'll be before that strand hits the's SOOOO close....

Sadly, the morning tram drivers aren't the night tram drivers, so when you get onto one of the first trams in the morning they hurl you around the corners again. Hurl. Bleh.

But what was I doing on the night/day tram? Well, it was a public holiday here on Thursday so I went out. Karoline (one of the other singers in Intunition) and I went to an expats dinner. It was fairly predictable, but thanks to years spent in Qatar, I found resources of diplomacy and feigned interest that I never realised I possessed. Parents, we weren’t so ponderously patriotic were we? Did we really make horribly judgemental comments about our newly-borrowed host countries? Am I like THEM? I’m sure I remember some fierce slagging sessions in the kitchen with Mum, but I don’t recall making ‘impolite’ small talk at parties. Or perhaps that’s my notoriously selective memory helping out again. Whatever, never have I had the (dis)pleasure to meet some really awful people. *sigh*
There was a nice Scotsman though, who has offered me the use of his washing machine, and is currently cooking me haggis (as you do) as a pre-entire-series-of-House-on-DVD dinner. The expat lads really know how to woo here - television series’ and English-language fiction! And there was an Australian woman from Sydney who is ‘into hiking’ (oh, please!) who tried to coerce me into coming on a trip next weekend. Er…hello…does NOONE look at the weather forecast? Other than that, the highlight (highperson) was Patrike, an adorable Frenchman (yes, they DO exist) who is a music producer. Although Parisian himself, he was unenchanted with Paris on his last stay there so came to the “Paris of the East” instead. CD’s available soon…

Oh – and with the exception of the two dears we met outside Diablos’ on our last diabolic attempt at ‘going out’ in Palmeston North, please tell me I’m not intellectually condescending? I met a mathematician at this dinner thing too…and oh my goodness. After telling me that I ‘probably wouldn’t understand’ his field (Logic) and then nearly boring me to tears (I stifled three yawns - yes, I was counting) for the next 15 minutes telling me about how he ended up in Prague (it’s one of the first ‘opening’ questions for goodness sake’s, I was just being ‘charming’) I finally responded to his very arrogant question of, “And you teach English, I suppose?” with a grin, and “Actually, no. I’m a field epidemiologist on a European Fellowship, posted to Prague for two years.” before returning my attention to Patrike. Little did I know that his interest would be piqued such that I now have the unenviable task of putting him off a dinner date. ARGH! I thought snogging the lovely ice-hockey player (“HELLO forearms!”) that we met at the nightclub later on would have dissuaded him…but alas. L

Anyway, after the nightclub, we went out to a morning club called “The Clan”. Vaguely disturbing? No more so than the fact I’m sitting in Kava Kava Kava – colloquially known as KKK!!! Anyway, what I valued the most about the place (other than it’s cheap mojitos) were the toilets. No longer do you have to precariously perch on the loo to cut your lines on a sloped surface, you can actually use a mirror shelf stuck to the wall seemingly for that very purpose. Thank you VERY much. (I would like to remind you all, at this juncture, that I do not condone the abuse of drugs (use them properly folks!) – I’m just appreciative of those who know the underbelly of society well enough to consider it when designing bathroom fittings!)

And on other bodily functions; is ovulation supposed to make you more fond of humanity? The only reason I wonder is because I woke yesterday at about 9am to the sound of children playing and did not feel homicidal. I remained prone, however, and managed to tune them out eventually, to drift back into the land of snooze. When I DID finally get out of bed, and swootched (well, you don't 'draw' venetians do you? And to switch indicates a 180 turnaround...whereas I only opened them entirely...) the blinds...everything was covered in bees.

Okay, not bees: snow.

It is just so gorgeous…the boughs of trees were all lightly sprinkled. I felt as though I was on top of a café dessert (you know, the ones they sprinkle indulgently with icing sugar?). So the first thing I did was go out. Of course. And I jumped on the snow on my garden. And I sunk a little bit. I’m always so amazed how much of snow is actually air…it condenses so much when under pressure. And I LOVE the crunchy noise of it. And I love how it collects on my eyelashes. Very Sound of Music indeed. But…I also learnt something.

See, all those years of designing snowflakes – either the ones cut out of paper or the virtual snowflakes on that site we all logged onto in the middle of NZ summer last yeat – I thought that the only reason we all ‘knew’ they had six sides was because someone had arduously collected and studied them under the microscope. I didn’t actually know (or couldn’t remember) that you could SEE them. They’re sooooo beautiful.

So another 30mins was spent hanging over my heater (under the window – thanks for the energy efficiency lecture from Rowls) with my head out the wide open window watching the snow fall and examining the flakes that ended up on my sill. I saw loads of different shapes. *sigh* It’s sooooo cool.

I can actually HEAR the slightly knowing and patronising grin on all the faces of those who regularly live in snow. Okay, it’s a novelty now (you’re all thinking) but wait until you’ve put up with it for 3 months. I know, I know. So, instead of just sitting there (now) shaking your heads, how about posting a few comments with your ‘most handy tips’ for dealing with it in time to come. What’s the best waterproofing spray for my suede boots (that being the most important thing to sort out) and is ‘having snow on your car’ really as accurate a socioeconomic distinction as it appears to be?

That and more questions – answered (or posed) next time. Love to all. Or rather, love to all those I know well enough to have your number in my phone…hugs to others, and a firm-wristed handshake to those strangers who browse on by…
posted by Nomes @ Sunday, November 20, 2005  
  • At 11:06 pm, November 20, 2005, Blogger Unkie Brett said…

    Dearest Nomes- Welcome to your new blog site! Pity the other folks were so rude as to cash in on their enterprise and head to the far reaches of the globe to enjoy retirement at age 23 (as happens to most .com enteprenurial types..or so we were lead to believe a decade ago). Being one of those who has lived in the northern aspects of the USA, the first snow of the year DOES always seem delicate, magic, and evocative. I wonder..are you far north enough to see the Aurora Borealis? 3M makes an excellent waterproofing spray, but I am not sure of the availability in Prague. A piece of advice: Be aware of slushy ice near street curbs. It may appear solid, but at least ONCE during the year you will put your trusting foot into what is really 12 inches of cold, offensive street-flavored slurpee. (Usually on the day when you have elected NOT to wear your boots).

    Sending warm Oceania summer thoughts you way!


  • At 1:44 am, November 21, 2005, Blogger Mums said…

    Hi GNomes,
    I made it to your new site. I'm able to read it well enough, thanks for worrying bout me, but unfortunately it comes as a six inch column. A tad annoying since we've just bought this 19 inch screen.
    This is the second comment I'm writing - the first one got caught in the ether somewhere, so I'm going to make it very short just to make sure it gets attached to your blog.
    Thanks for your email, btw, and I will reply, but we are deep into settlement details on Oriental Parade, going to solicitor this arvo. Scary stuff, especially if we don't get it rented or sold pronto. Anyone you know want to buy a two bed appartement, going cheap at 3/4m NZ$?
    Love you heaps, Mums

  • At 12:20 am, November 24, 2005, Blogger Mums said…

    Hi GNomes,
    I've just given your blog site to Mother, for whom John has printed the whole thing. It seems that the comments on the earlier stuff didn't translate when you moved site. Ah well.... all those pithy remarks are lost to the ether - probably just as well in some cases.
    What's the meaning of not updating your blog since Sunday? Don't you realise there are those who hang on your every word???
    Seriously though, I'm glad you are obviously busy enough on "real" things, not to live in the quasi world of blog writing. But don't leave it too long - your faithful readers may desert you.
    If you don't get to write before the weekend, have a lovely and successful trip to BudaPest. Knew I should have sent you the ancient notes we have, though by now they probably use Euro too.
    Love to you, Mums

  • At 9:46 am, November 28, 2005, Blogger mx said…

    Dear Nomes - my first post to your new blog! I've been reading it chronologically and just caught up to this post. My tip for snow - umbrellas (when it isn't windy). I recall my holiday in Vienna and thinking, being the Pacific child I am, how weird a concept to use a brolley when it wasn't raining - until I stepped inside my centrally-heated apartment and the "pretty" snow on my coat melted over me and froze my ass off... Back to reading your blog! mx

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