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!)
Thursday, 12 January 2006
Yay you guys for a record number of comments.

A) I'll be in Belgium for the wedding to O'Lette Nine. You realise that this means your name will be L. O'Lette?! And your initials LOL? I think we need a conference. Do you need me to do the Elaine scene from The Graduate?
B) LB - you know that that was all David's handywork don't you, even the comment supposedly from ‘nomes’? That wasn’t me! I especially like the way he's broadcast the name of the tranny-shagging ex...don't you? Glad you're still on board (I've known you were lurking for some time though). Miss you heaps. Give Mac a tummy rub for me. Oh - and why not one for N as well...!:)
C) David - haven't you got some highly strung, 20year old blond soprano to prevent from slitting her wrists? Do you really think you have time for this self-aggrandisement? Not that I wasn't amused to almost peeing my pants though.

And who knew – the Nomes are provinces in Egypt! I accidentally searched for Nomes while mistyping my blog address (you’d think I’d’ve (?) learnt by now wouldn’t you) and that was the most interesting thing that came up. You can do your own search for the boring things should you so desire.
The term nome is actually of Greek origin (nomos) used to refer to the forty two traditional provinces of ancient Egypt. The actual ancient Egyptian term for these governmental divisions was sepat. Nomes, together with their ruling nomarch, played an important role in ancient Egypt.

Nomarch! *fits of hysterical giggles*

It’s crazy how the boys want shorter entries while the girls want longer ones. What does THAT tell you?!!!! *snort* Ooops. Water through nose. Not good. Feel as though drowning…*gurgle*

Do you remember the Berlin Wall coming down? Where were you? (answers in comments please) I can remember Dad calling me into the lounge to watch it on the news *yawn* telling me something along the lines of ‘This is important!’. Said importance was definitely lost upon this particular 12 year old, but there you go – I saw it on telly. I’ll go along and have a look at it though while I’m in Berlin. And THAT, ladies and gentlemen, is weird. Going and seeing something that you’ve seen as part of a momentous occasion on television. Kind of like, being the person who ‘detailed’ the car after JFK’s assassination. Kind of. Are there any places you’d particularly like this virtual tourist to go see while I’m in Berlin? Do let me know…

Last night, at rehearsal, a young lady auditioned for us. As the most recent member of intunition to go through this, I know how scary it is. See, up on a stage, I can audition reasonably well now, even in front of a director I know. I’ve prepared, I’ve warmed up, I WANT the part etc. However, in front of a bunch of cool girls who I’ve only just met – yet who all seem to get along like a burning house – the thought of sitting on the couch and singing out loud is enough to turn your mouth into a sponge and your vocal chords into barbed wire. I had real troubles sqwawking out Son of a Preacher Man (and we all know how much I like that song) – and when the girls chimed in with their parts (I didn’t expect it) it threw me so far off that I couldn’t do the key change and needed help. How embarrassing. And they STILL let me in (shows our desperation a little, no?). So…when this chick auditioned, she was really quavery. And so I suggested we all sing for a bit together – a warm up, maybe go through some songs we know, give her a part and see if she can pick it out etc, she blew us away completely. She sight sang Java Jive having played it through once (she did need a little help for the rhythm, but that’s understandable) and then sight read the four parts on the keyboard. Er…hello newest member of the group! I still haven’t had much in the way of sheet music from you guys…help me out here. If you’re next in a music shop (or passing buy) think of a cool song (i.e. Respect/Never Gonna Get It/Raining Men/Java Jive/In the Mood/Dream a little Dream etc) that you know, and grab the sheet music for the acapella arrangement. We’re running out of music…Brett – there’s gotta be something in your library???

Anyway, after a mindblowing audition, we went (ran – ouch! – air with a 45oC differential to that in your body hurts when sucked into your lungs) for a bus into town: to go to a drag show. It was in Czech. And the compere (who compered entirely in Czech) looked IDENTICAL to Eddie Izzard. I checked his website – apparently it’s not one of his languages – and this chick was a little taller and skinnier perhaps – but what a similarity. Oh – and I realised why John must have found me attractive: I found myself admiring the shoes/skirts/ensembles on some occasions wondering where the girls shopped. One of them did a scarily convincing rendition of Madonna in her new video. Scary I tell ya. That and a medley from Sister Act were the only English songs. Yet it was just as entertaining (even if I was ABSOLUTELY terrified that I’d be asked a question – there was significant ‘audience participation’) as it would have been in English, I’m sure.

Below a certain temperature, air loses it’s ability to retain water vapour. This means, that since it’s been amazingly clear (but hovering around -5 to -10oC) over the last few days, when I woke up this morning to an overcast sky, I knew to pack an umbrella and not bother with tights beneath my trousers. That, ladies and gentlemen, is the sole nod that I give to winter here. Apart from that (oh – and a singlet under my top) is the ‘more clothes’ that I wear in comparison to a Wellington Winter. Add to that the fact that I can, indeed, USE my umbrella to keep dry, and you’ve got one happy kiwi/brit girl residing in Prague during winter. Amazing how weather changes your view of the world though: winter here so far is no hardship (I did buy two pairs of winter boots, this may have biased my opinion). Although we’re only supposed to be getting 2 hours (average) of sunlight per day, I’d say we were closer to 6. And since I’m off to see Jim at lunchtime these days, I get 30mins exposure to real sun. So why wouldn’t I be fine? I’ve gone weeks in NZ without exposure to the same – in summer no less. So while my bestest friend is rollerblading along Wellington’s Oriental Parade (am jealous of that…more later), and my parents are sweltering in 38oC of steamy Australian heat, I’m snug as the proverbial bug (sans rug) in Prague. And I have reason to tell people, ‘today, it warmed up; so it snowed!’.

Did you know that it’s healthy to walk barefoot? Oh yes, apparently everyone is now following the great kiwi tradition of forgetting one’s shoes. How do they do it without getting stones/prickles/glass and vomit in their feet – that’s all I want to know. I’m not even going to go into the hot tarmac issues during summer – or the freezing blocks of ice at the ends of your legs in winter. Still, according to all evidence to date, I’ll be fine just where I am. Cobblestones are sufficiently treacherous challenging to have the same effect on one’s wellbeing. So that’ll explain the good mood then.

Today’s been vastly chatty. First: L was online for the first time when I got to work this morning. Obviously not her first time online (oh no, not she) but the first time we’ve coexisted in cyberspace (sounds v. kinky, no?). Then, while chatting to her, Mum rang and we spoke (IRL!!) for over an hour. THEN followed up by testing skype (it works, but I need a headset – and maybe a webcam too…donations to: me!) which worked with parents, but not with L. The best thing about being on Skype with the parents was definitely hearing their voices together. I love talking to Mum, we have a good old gossip about you all, but I miss ‘my parents’ (amalgamated as a block entity) as well. You guys aren’t allowed to divorce. I still couldn’t handle it (even at this vast age).

Speaking of which – happy b’day to L for Sunday. May the lampshade be a great hat (I knew she’d love it Nis…), may the dress develop a lycra rash and may the geegees run like the wind for you (or, all the other ones go lame – but recover immediately afterwards therefore not require a bullet or anything nasty like that!).

And if anyone points out that I missed their birthday’s then they’re gonna have to work on their art of shameless self-promotion aren’t they?

So…after talking all morning, I then had to pretend to be a bilingual (perfectly so) person in a multinational teleconference (States, England, CR) in order to ‘harmonise’ a questionnaire. How did I do this? Well, speakerphone on, Vlad at my right elbow with the Czech version, me with the backtranslations in front of me (English) and a lot of ‘sentence by sentence’ reading (PAINFUL – agonisingly so) and then muted (literally, I pushed the button, as, like most guys, Vlad can’t whisper!) conversations to ensure that the Czech made sense and then reassuring the others that ‘indeed, that fits the Czech idiom’. What a con. An hour and a half to do 5 pages – which were mostly blank space. Then, to top it off, I had to make the changes to the Czech document and forward them on to everyone else (which, of course, was impossible, Vlad did it).

Then, who should come online but Umit. So spent an hour or so chatting away to him too. I’ve read about three paragraphs of stuff about adverse reactions to the BCG vaccination – so if anyone out there knows much about it – please fill me in!
So…last night a Czech drag show, and tonight, going to pay Jim a quick visit before heading into Andel (for those with tourist maps – it’s at the lower left hand corner – on the west side of the river) to a karaoke/bowling bar. Of course. Attractive combination. As Umit said, “you have an ecclectic taste in afterhours”. I’m not sure whether you’re supposed to sing ‘strike’ or whether you’re supposed to bowl and sing “rolling, rolling, rolling…”. But, intrepid Prazdan explorer that I am, I shall, undoubtedly, fill you in.
posted by Nomes @ Thursday, January 12, 2006  
  • At 6:31 am, January 13, 2006, Blogger Mums said…

    Hi GNomes,
    Now I know why I include the G in your name - CANNOT have you filling your head with further ides of grandeur, like having your own nomarchy - yes I saw that little note tucked away so that no one would notice your delusions coming on strong.....
    It's all very well congratulating us on mega comments, but when you consider that tw of them were mine, and David added his three or was it four it kind of deflates the bubble - sorry'bout that, realist that I am (ok so only occasionally).
    I had further chats, with Mother this morning (2 hours) and txt chats at 2am and 3 am or at least they were talking to me. Definitely putting the cell phne in another room tonight. Can't afford to lose ANY beauty sleep. Apparently Rowls is going to see her tomorrow before she jets off to India for three weeks.
    Off to the Sailing Club for dinner this evening as it's Friday 13th. Glad you said something as it prompted Pa to make booking.
    As for us getting divorced ever - YOU HAVE TO BE JOKING. The idea of training a new one is just too hard to contemplate. After 32 years (in July which given our longevity is just around the corner), there is no way that I want to change the devil I pretty much know. And as this is not SHE magazine it's unlikely that I've painted the devil on the wall.
    For those of you reading who do not understand you'll have to ask GNomes for an explanation of the vagaries of SHE articles.
    Off to collect your Pa from work in a mo, so had better close now. So glad our txt works now.
    Love you heaps, Mums

  • At 2:30 am, January 14, 2006, Blogger Mums said…

    Hi GNomes,
    having finished my book am just starting to read the Prague Guide Book I gave your Pa for Christmas. Though you might find this comment apposite.
    "In the end, only a handful of cities in the world seem to be more than just bricks and mortar, streets and squares. These few cities - and Prague is certainly one of them - seem to breath, to watch, to live a life of their own. Like Prague, these cities have a soul - and sometimes, it can seem, a will of their own. Kafka wrote about Prague: 'This little Mother has claws'. The city pulls you in, wraps you in her embrace and then refuses to let you go. Even those here for a short time are likely to meet at least one person who says he came to Prague for a few days....several years ago."
    No wonder you are happy there. It's got all the history you craved whilst living in the New World, so don't be surprised when it gets under you skin.
    Love you muchli, Mums

  • At 12:33 pm, January 14, 2006, Blogger mx said…

    Dear Nomes

    Yay - just set aside the rest of the evening to read through your postings (since December!! How slack am I??) and I'm now up to date, huzzah! It's so charming and cool to follow your comings and goings in Europe.

    Re the Jan posts you're totally right, I should've promoted my birthday a little more ;) Still, I had a great day (30 Dec) all the same, and the rest of the summer hols were warm and pretty cruisy, with several sessions of walking barefoot on the sandy beaches of Nelson (sigh).

    Speaking of beaches, who is the Oriental Bay blader..? Don't tell me there's more than one bay Blader in your life, *sob*. Actually ever since you left my blades have been making lonely whimpering noises, so I've signed up for a term of lessons at Kilbirnie (starting Feb). If I remember I'll send you pix once I'm up and running (as opposed to windmilling and screaming in an embarassingly girly fashion).

    Things in my life of late: completed first week of my 12mth secondment as a process analyst on an organisational improvement team. Lovely team, interesting work, am trying not to get too excited, but its pretty bloody exciting!! Other news - am auditioning for Mikado Feb/Mar (nostalgic surge); and should know by Aug (*aeons* away) whether M and I will be in the states for 3-6 mths (!!!!). On Fri DB's HP shouted some of us to see Beauty and the Beast featuring Les Mis crew Ruth-Ann, curly-haired Matt (as a spoon, hee hee), and Shane as keeper of the lunatic asylum (you can just see it, can't you?). Spectacular scenery, lighting, costumes, singing etc. Just astonishing.

    Anywho, I'd best sign-off before Mark finishes building the Eiffel Tower (literally - out of Meccano). Take care, outrageously big hugs and heterosexual cheek kisses ;) mx

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