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!)
High Flying, Adored
Monday, 12 June 2006
I’ve finally learned three jokes (thanks to Nis, Mark and Vlad). To understand Vlad’s contribution, you have to first know that there are elections in Slovakia next fortnight. The two candidates are Durzinda (in place now) and Rusko. Anyway:

Putin, Bush and Durzinda are invited to heaven to meet God. God informs them (after the appropriate greetings and formalities) that the earth will cease to exist in a week’s time. The three politicians head home and give statements to the press about their trip.
Bush says, “The good news is; there is a God”.
Putin says, “The bad news is; there is a God”.
Durzinda says, “There is good news, and more good news. First, there is a God, and second, Rusko will not win the elections in two weeks time.”

Well, I thought it was funny.

So I went to Baku briefly again on Thursday. And I was very very very fortunate to get business class tickets. Thus, it was with great disappointment that I met my ‘seatmate’ on the way there. Now, I’m not svelte. I’m not, and I know it. And the outside edges of my thighs both contact the arm rests in Economy class seats – but that’s usually where the buck (flesh?) stops. I don’t believe I encroach on my seatmates personal space (Lira?) overly (maybe I do…you who can judge are not strangers, and therefore more likely to be encroached upon!). But I violently object to someone sitting next to me in business and STILL swimming into MY seat, damnit, especially when you consider the breadth of the dividers between the seats in business class.

At one point, we had both ‘reclined’ (there’s something very freaky about sleeping almost horizontally next to a complete stranger with whom you’ve exchanged fewer than 10 words – or are my morals FINALLY kicking in!?). Unfortunately, although I’d turned away from my seat mate to face the window, he had followed suit, and had EVEN anchored his bulk in that axis by placing his hand on the INSIDE of my armrest. I attempted the polite “Er, excuse me,” British thing, but when that elicited no response, I ‘accidentally’ ground my elbow into the top of his hand instead, apologising profusely when he retracted his hand with an agonised groan. Well! *affronted*

Of course, had it been the gorgeous tennis player a few seats ahead who’d had his hand inappropriately in my seat-space, I’m sure my reaction wouldn’t have been quite so, um, ingenious. But I never promised I wouldn’t have double standards (they’re called ‘standards’, I think you’ll find).

I now know, thanks to my large German flight buddy, that smooth arms on a guy freak me out. In conjunction with gold rings (yes, plural) and gold bracelets, it’s positively heeby-jeeby-esque. For some reason, more swarthy (read: hairy and tanned) skin can carry it off. Must be the pirate connection (similar to rainbow connection: “Why are there so many songs about pirates and what does the parrot mean? Pirates are sailors, have no disillusions, and pirates have nothing to hide.”)…

Frankfurt airport is ridiculous. It’s the only airport I’ve ever visited, that seems specifically designed to induce feelings of ‘rat in a maze’ in passengers. If you don’t believe me, check out the floor plan. You may think that B10 and B50 would be in the same ‘rough’ area, probably about 10mins walk from one another; but no. Oh no. In fact, you may also think that being one of the largest hub airports in the WORLD, they’d have information stands and televisions everywhere. Also no. Oh no. In the end, while travelling down one concourse, I asked some airport staff (not air LINE staff, air PORT staff) where such beasts existed. The pair of them literally conversed for a full 5mins, uhming and ahing, before eventually walking me to their own work stations and looking up which gate my flight would depart from. ARGH! There were trains to be taken, lifts to locate, world cup fans to avoid: pandemonium. Despite having 2 hours between flights, I ended up with about 15 minutes in the most tired airport lounge I’ve ever seen before having to walk the remaining 2 kms to the gate. Grr. (on the plus side, the tired lounge DID have Braeburn apples, so I munch-munch-munch-munch-munched one of them (“then I ATE the apple…”) and put two in my bag…

I’ve just finished reading Smoke & Mirrors, a book of short stories by Neil Gaiman. There was one story that sprang to mind while flying and I wish I knew which one it was (I am NOT flipping through the entire book to find one sentence). It was one in which he describes the world as perceived by the angels (in particular the Angel of Vengeance). And he talks about clouds forming a fluffy carpet, and how dangerous it is for mortals to see that. I agree: the clouds on Thursday as I flew to Baku were of perfect consistency to hide the earth from view yet had ‘fluffy’ tops. They appeared SOOO inviting (see previous description of fear of heights) I had to shut my eyes and think of ‘plummeting, Nomes; plummeting!’. I think THAT (dancing on clouds) would be the best thing about flying.

Do you suppose birds ENJOY flying? Or do you think they’re always in search of the next meal/nest/predator and haven’t the opportunity to enjoy it – always calculating thermals and uplift instead of going “yippeeeee, Bob, oi, Bob, check THIS out…” and doing aerial tricks?

I really must organise a hang gliding thing.

I think I picked up a football hooligan gene from somewhere!! (Dad??) World Cup fever has hit the football-playing Europe, so there are plans afoot to boycott the last few hours of work, reshuffle english lessons, hijack trams etc all in order to get to the 'beer garden du jour' in time for kick off. Insanity. And - I'm a fully subscribed member of this set of imbeciles. Not ONLY such silly behaviour, but it does occur to me that perhaps the reason I'm attending the Czech/USA game this afternoon is not to watch the ball play on the screen at all, but to mock friends supporting the USA. And that, ladies and gennelmen, is hooliganism. Especially if you take into account my bucket of ballistics...

This morning I arrived at work to find out that a friend and colleague has died in a car accident in Turkey. This is more and more bizarre, this whole ‘death’ thing. I haven’t really had any experience with it in the past. People who’ve died have either not been terribly close to me (even if I had a crush on them years previous to their final demise), or old relatives of whom one tends to expect it (even if not so sudden). I haven’t had many friends die suddenly and it’s weird.

I suspect that as I age, more and more of my address book entries will have a cross beside their names (actually, I'm not sure HOW I’m going to record these events) because they age at a similar rate, and as we age, we are putting ourselves in more risky situations. Isn’t it supposed to be the other way around though? Or is it just that our total hours-at-risk-lived are so high that serious events are more likely. I’d hate to be so clinical as to perform a risk analysis for death (when the P(death)=1 anyway!), but it does spark off that certain ‘hmm’ feeling.

So now I’m wondering what to write for a condolence message. I’m crap at this sort of thing – much better (apparently) at the self-deprecating wit which is hardly the biscuit required here.

I remember M was looking desperately for a job in his home: Italy. He loved life there. Although he didn’t rate himself as much of a dancer, he was always up on the dancefloor with the rest of us, boogying until late in the night. Unless he had to present the following morning, in which case he’d always sensibly take himself home. He had a great mind, was three steps ahead when it came to my questions re analysis or data structure. He touched my arm when I spoke to him, and always looked me directly in the eye (which I'm not good at doing, so I have heap-big respect for those who can). He loved a drop of wine (or two, I have a great photo of him pouring wine from two jugs into his mouth simultaneously) though I never saw him lose control (typical drinking behaviour of the Mediterranean European, I guess!). He had a very infectious giggle, and I'll miss that.

Ciao Max (complete with kisses to either cheek).

Oh god, I have to delete his phone number from my phone.
posted by Nomes @ Monday, June 12, 2006  
  • At 11:20 pm, June 12, 2006, Blogger Mums said…

    Hi GNomes,

    If you want to know what to send as condolences just send your last paragraph. It gave me such a vision of Max, that I'm sure the recipient will be glad to know he touched your heart so. For some unknown reason we rarely tell people how much they mean to us, so it would be good for the people Max left behind to know how much he meant to a "stranger".

    Death is a weird thing. It feels more like a slight disconnection rather than an ending. Especially when you still talk about the person, as I do about my Father, especially with Mother. And even though he died 42 years ago his memory is still very fresh. So every time you think of him, just whisper Max's name, and he's alive again, even if it is only ephemerally.

    Love to you, Mums

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