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
  44. Take a French/German/Dutch course and SPEAK THE DAMNED LANGUAGE WHEN I HAVE THE OPPORTUNITY EVEN THOUGH IT MAKES ME SOUND LIKE AN IDIOT!
  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!)
New friends, old hair
Tuesday, 25 July 2006
I’ve found a new best blog-friend. You know, the woman whose blog you read when you’ve got nothing to do, knowing damned well that you’ll end up with tears of hilarity smarting in your eyes at work. The one who’s got the same life as you, but tells it in a funnier, more witticism-containing manner. Welcome to the dating tragedies of another spinster . This one recognises her quest (in comparison to my ostrich-like state of denial). The only reason the tears sting so much is because they’re so apt.

That aside, I know you’re wondering whether I made it to Jim’s last night, or whether I was hastily bundled out of the door – much in the same manner I bundled ‘misinformed snogee-wannabe #1’ (we DO think that TWO misinformed snogee-wannabees in one week is just a bit much, but now it’s one of those items I can now tick off my ‘to obtain’ list…hoorah!) out the door – kind of ‘gentle-yet-firm hand to the sternum accompanied with a push, then a quick gathering up of limbs followed by a slightly MORE firm shove and a smile “cheerio then!”’. Ugh!

That circular block motion finally came in handy: cheers Brenden.

Anyway: yes. I made it. I spent the entire day twisting my knickers in fear of how to ask for my key back from the gym. I wasn’t even sure I’d left it there (though it was the only logical venue…see: aforementioned ostrich-like denial) or whether anyone in this town had the decency to hand it in (I’d have been tempted to give it to a mate, myself) but I managed it. I whispered the phrase to myself over and over again on the walk (and she wonders why that good-looking stranger gives her a wide-eyed stare of horror on the tram), and slowly, shyly approached the front desk. I waited patiently until most people had asked their questions or signed in, so fewer people would witness my mortification.

„Dobrý den,“ I said, „moje češtinu je špatný, ale budu zkusít.“ I paused for effect, a friendly body language clue and a deep breath. The minidress’d girl behind the counter smiled and nodded. So far so good. I persevered „Minuly tyden, jsem zapomenala moje klič, ‚chip‘. Sem, v šatny. Máte to?“
„Jmeno?“ she asked my name.
„Naomi.“ I responded, providing the Czech pronunciation.
Off she wandered to a drawer. I wondered whether I’d done the right thing, said the right words. She was rifling through keys though – so my ‘life as a movie’ continuity expert was not waving her arms or suggesting I back away slowly. Then she found one, held it up (it has a distinctive keyring) and brought it to me, standing there nodding enthusiastically.
„Je tady!“ she finished, ripping off the name tag with a flourish, and handed it back.

In my experience here to date, this is not merely a successful customer service event. This is a customer service TRIUMPH.

Mum has asked whether I want a haircut when I’m in UK. Though it has been months, I think it more important to visit a gynaecologist who speaks English and can prescribe me the drugs I want. Also, am growing my hair long again. So that when I shave it off (it’s a self-imposed dare…) in November (approximately) it’ll have the most impact. Albeit somewhat lessened by this pre-announcement.
posted by Nomes @ Tuesday, July 25, 2006   3 comments
Just another manic...
Monday, 24 July 2006
Despite feeling like a deflated souffle at the moment due to the incomparable heat and exhausting lack of air circulation, I know how much my darling readers (most especially those who leave comments *mwah*) miss my ramblings: so you’re treated to another Monday special.

Mondays: the days when you’ve forgotten where you live because the liberal application of a weekend’s worth of alcohol and ‘good times’ has cauterised the nerves that fray and frazzle during a week of bureaucratic and administrative exchanges.

There’s a supermarket chain here called Albert. It’s colours are blue and yellow: deceptively alluring. I go to one of the local Alberts (there are two near Flora, approximately 500m apart from each other - no monopoly HERE then) en route to work on Monday, to acquire a weeks worth of tuna and yoghurt (staples in any single girl’s diet, I dare you to contradict). If I’m lucky, I even find cans of tuna with ring pulls, otherwise I’m left gnawing on a tin for lunch. Less nutritious, far more entertaining. For some.

Now, you know my love of queues. Well, Albert is even MORE special than anywhere else in the CR (okay, anywhere else in the small sample size of places I’ve been to). The queues are populated by professionals. There are queuing competitions run in local Alberts. People go along and don’t even BUY anything, they just join in a random queue. Actually, not so random. Albert usually has over 5 checkouts, but only 1 or perhaps 2 will be operating at once.

Albert also pays incredibly poorly. Consequently, the [stage whisper] intellectually challenged employees are not the fastest off the starting block. I think they’ve all overindulged in Botox as well (possibly natural infection – looking into where they’re getting such cheap, powerful drugs from) because they’re stoically expressionless in the face of, well, in the SEVERAL faces of the persons queueing.

Queue strategy (for those of who you know it) is pointless here. One’s aura hasn’t the stamina for the longeivity required to sustain your queue position. There’s a reason why everyone seen exiting an Albert is elderly.

This morning, having FILLED my trolley (all baskets mysteriously absent, despite lack of baskets in use within the supermarket) with 5 bananas, 5 yoghurts, 3 tins of tuna and 2 packets of soup (variety being the spice of life), I saw it. The elusive, holy grail of all pantry crusades: the short queue.

A choir of angels sang while trumpets heralded a sunbeam thread sky.

There was a short old lady with three items in her trolley in front of me. I was a little concerned that she may actually topple INTO the trolley when she reached to the back of it for one item (a rohlik) to the point where I put my hand on her trolley handle to steady things if all went awry. That’s called: “risking incurring the wrath of a short old Czech lady for one’s peace of mind”. In front of her, was an old man buying beer and toffee. That’s called “eww”.

Angels continued to sing. The trumpet fanfare became deafening. I was blinded by the sunbeams.

Then the man requested something of the check out girl. I couldn't hear exactly what he asked because I was listening to my 'keep calm' whale and birdsong music - mixed for the express (ha ha) purpose of maintaining a semblance of calm in Albert queues (seriously, it's on miPod as the 'Albert' playlist. The checkout girl smiled (!!!!!) in response, and then took his toffees for a walk to the back of the counter (I was at what would be considered the 'express lane' in some countries).

Some of the angels were a bit flat on the high note. Some of them made it, but the rest of the choir were decidedly perturbed by the disturbance in the force and there was an unscheduled decrescendo (things went a bit pp). A trumpeteer fainted from use of improper breath control. An impenetrably thick black cloud skudded in the way of the sunbeams.

She thereupon reached under the counter, and pulled up a roll of paper. To this she added a roll of 'ribbon' and went in search of a pair of scissors. Having found those, she began searching for the end of the sellotape...and GIFTWRAPPING the TOFFEES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The angel tenors accused the sopranos of having smoked too much the previous night and therefore selfishly rendered themselves incapable of hitting the high notes: a brawl broke out despite the altos insistence that the sopranos had been with them all evening and we all know the goody goody altos don’t smoke. The first trumpeteer fired the third trumpeteer (the one who fainted) and the remainder of the fanfare staged a walk-out in protest. Thunder struck and lightning flashed across the sky, the sunbeams were a figment of the imagination.

And then the batteries ran out on miPod.

Welcome to Monday mornings in the Czech Republic. Favourite Monday stories in the comments section please darlings. I need sustaining entertainment following the exhaustive process of meditating for serenity in the queue following the sudden cessation of the whale/birdsong mix.

P.S. This evening, it should get even more exciting. On Friday I left my gym key (chip) AT the gym. No one speaks English there. They charge 300Kc for a replacement (10E). This customer service exchange promises to be hiAAAARRRRious. Stay tuned…
posted by Nomes @ Monday, July 24, 2006   4 comments
Pozor! Špatně obličeny vpřed!!!
Thursday, 20 July 2006
Read from another expat-in-the-Czech-Republic’s blog re: lack of physical courtesy shown by Czech men:
“i mean, you’ll get ten of them surrounding you on the sidewalk and all they
want is that you’ll go for a drink with them. you laugh and say no and you walk
away. they are only frightening in terms of their fashion sense”.

I laughed. It’s so true. Okay, so I live in one of the less upwardly mobile areas of town. To say it’s a “bit of a dive” is unfair to the Herna Bar downstairs which is dive-personified (barified?). For the darling father who had to approach a neighbourhood street (good little street) from one direction only so as to avoid the scenes of student living and panelbeating (hmmm, they DO seem to often go hand in hand though…), it must be difficult to know that your daughter is living over the equivalent of a crack den, between a gay bar reputed to be the most hedonistic and potentially life-threatening in all of Prague (now THAT’S infamy) and a church (see, it’s a GRADIENT of evil). However, she’s loving it. Some of the boys are awfully pretty to see hanging out (even if the nearest I’d get to them is 10’, with a barge pole and a tub of bleach) but Tuckova’s completely correct.

Three guys, standing almost in a line (a very flat triangle) across my street the other day, as I walked home from the tram stop in the dark (therefore, later than 10pm). No words of warning flashed against my mind’s eye (it’s hungover, again!). No instant ‘check’ for freedom of movement, no hastily completed search process for the words for “hey dude, I’m just walking” or even for the word “fire” in case I DO have to yell for help (note to self: learn word for fire). NOTHING.

Except, “those pants are dreadful”, “shame about his skin”, “those are the bluest eyes I ever did see” and “I wonder if their girlfriends know”.

Apologies to Father and Brenden, both of whom have attempted to instill me with some means of recognising (and staying away from/getting out of) danger. Vogue seem to have done a more thorough job…
posted by Nomes @ Thursday, July 20, 2006   3 comments
Where have I been to, your lovely...
Wednesday, 19 July 2006
Hanging on EBay, reading bloody awful English errors ("you could have it two!!", "there dresses are the best, or so I here!" and "must pair down my wardrobe..." etc.). I have decided not to even bother attempting to find a dress suitable for a friends wedding (in Slovenia - mid August) in the shops here. Why? Because most of them appear to sell slapperwear (tight, white, polyester - ideal for wearing in 36oC heat, especially the pants) in sizes WAY too small for these ample statistics.

Consequently: I've turned (once more) to the internet. Internet, you're my friend! So far, I've found one designer piece, and one high street piece - each for less than £20. Both are currently winging their way to me, in order that I can try them on, curse and swear at the curves (fashionable in the 40's/50's - less than useless now!), howl at my rapidly disappearing self-esteem and then re-sell. No one ever said it wasn't fun being mě!

That, the heat, the ongoing czech lessons, the upcoming visitation of my mother (argh! PANIC!!!!!!!), the wedding/80th party/trip to Amsterdam/friends getting engaged/cooking for the boys/attending spin classes and working so hard my thighs hurt when I sit down....

....it's all keeping me out of two too much mischief.

You know you've got SOMEthing bad when you've actually started writing poetry. Have no fear; I'll spare you. Suffice it to say this is the first time in my life I've been struck illiterate by poorly constructed half-finished sentances racing around in my head. It's crap even to me, and isn't made any better for the putting to paper. It DOES, however, mean I can return to thinking in full (slightly more) coherent sentences!

On the offchance that anyone feels like sending me something: here’s my amazon wishlist. It’s hectic and a bit of a scrabble of books (technique = “oooh, this looks interesting” combined with “hmm, I should probably read this one too”. However, if you have a spare tenner, and are thinking fondly of me, I'll have you know I’d delight in receiving a book. English language books are hard (and expensive) to come by here.

Okay, there ARE a few shops (for all those Prazdan readers going, “They’re not THAT bad Nomes”) but the books are hideously overpriced, and I’m getting tired of the vacuous-ness of magazines, and I NEED SOMETHING TO READ OVER MY BREAKFAST!

So, to this end, I call to arms all those of you who have read more widely than myself (who is so thinly read, she verges on the anorexic…hoorah!!): send me lists of all books that you found mind-blowing, life-altering, endearingly entertaining etc. Maybe I’ll read them, maybe I won’t. But I’ll love you dearly for spending the time on it.

Tell me, would YOU purchase an air conditioning unit from a company called "coolhousing.net" when you see that their showroom has the windows FLUNG as far open as their little aluminium hinges will flap, due to not having AC?

And would you, my dear male readers, still fancy the delightful looking girl (long-limbed, brown, cascades of gently wavy hair, a genuinely beautiful face and smile) if you noticed (as did I) that the back of her white blouse had the outline of a sweat stain (not just 'dampness' but 'discolouration') on it?
posted by Nomes @ Wednesday, July 19, 2006   2 comments
Friday Meme, 'specially for you Dad!
Friday, 14 July 2006

Here to post your own answers for this meme.

I miss somebody right now. (Too many people, in fact (though if they were all in my office, I'd be somewhat distra...oohh...look...the nature...)) I don't watch much TV these days. (They have moving people in a box???) × I own lots of books. (Sadly, not anymore. Am acquiring. Or enroute to acquiring. Okay, I want more.)
I wear glasses or contact lenses. (Am not blind without them, but there's a possibility my judgement is blurred. Or is that the vodka?) × I love to play video games. (Moving people in a box that I can control?!?!?!) I've tried marijuana. (What? (paranoia...))
I've watched porn movies. (I had to see what all the fuss was about. I've even watched them with my mother, for heaven's sake.) × I have been the psycho-ex in a past relationship. (Nah...I'm the love 'em and leave 'em type.) I believe honesty is usually the best policy. (Emphasis on USUALLY.)
I curse sometimes. (Piss, piss and bollocks being the most usual...) × I have changed a lot mentally over the last year. (Doubt it.) × I carry my knife/razor everywhere with me. (Um...)
* * * * *
× I have broken someone's bones. I have a secret that I am ashamed to reveal. (Don't we all?) × I hate the rain. (I love being inside on a rainy day, hearing the rain outside, snuggled up under my duvet with a book, a big mug of hot chocolate, a cat (perhaps two) and a man. *sigh*)
I'm paranoid at times. (Who's asking?) I would get plastic surgery if it were 100% safe, free of cost, and scar-free. I need/want money right now. (More want than need. For holiday. Or plastic surgery!!)
I love sushi. (I just don't eat it here.) I talk really, really fast. (Depending upon who's listening, and whom I'm with.) × I have fresh breath in the morning. (Who the hell does?)
× I have long hair. (Not yet...) I have lost money in Las Vegas. (A quarter. In a slot machine. As a 15 year old...ooooh....) I have at least one sibling. (Rowls is a truhlař in Czech.)
I was born in a country outside of the U.S. I have worn fake hair/fingernails/eyelashes in the past. (All of the above? And I wondered why the man I picked up turned out to be a tranny-shagger. Hmmm.) × I couldn't survive without Caller I.D.
I like the way that I look. (Sometimes.) × I have lied to a good friend in the last 6 months. I am usually pessimistic. (About things that will happen to me. About others, I'm all puppies and kittens optimism.)
I have a lot of mood swings. (Apparently. And see-saws too.) I think prostitution should be legalized. (So that we can keep track of STI spread. It's a health thing people!) I slept with a roommate. (I was living with my boyfriend. It's the same thing right?)
× I have a hidden talent. (I have none, therefore whatever goes for talent that I do have is readily on display. Ergo...) × I'm always hyper no matter how much sugar I have. I have a lot of friends. (I think I do.)
I have pecked someone of the same sex. (Pccked??? Of course! My mother used to give me a kiss when I went to bed! I kiss my friends when I see them (gender-regardless). What sort of silly question is this?) × I enjoy talking on the phone. (I hate it. I'll txt when possible. I can't judge tone of voice on the phone like I used to (as a 13 year old) and am monumentally less likely to be happy sitting on the phone not saying anything (unlike back then).) × I practically live in sweatpants or PJ pants.
I love to shop and/or window shop. (*shame*) I'm obsessed with my Xanga or Livejournal. (I'm gonna include blogger in this. You've no idea how often I check back to see who's written notes. *sigh*) × I'm completely embarrassed to be seen with my mother.
I have a mobile phone. (And I know how to use it....) I have passed out drunk in the past 6 months. (I live in the Czech Republic for goodness sakes.) I've rejected someone before. (It's never nice to have to do, I promise.)
I currently like/love someone. (I try to have an crush on some hapless subject at all times. It's good for the imagination/heartrate/gym resolutions.) × I have no idea what I want to do for the rest of my life. I want to have children in the future. (Maybe. I dunno. Am not sure. Probably not. *sigh*)
I have changed a diaper before. × I've called the cops on a friend before. × I'm not allergic to anything.
I have a lot to learn. I am shy around the opposite sex. (Yes, yes, yes, "we don't believe you, N". Sod off, you don't know how tongue twisted and shy I am, you just see the benefit of years of facade development.) × I'm online 24/7, even as an away message.
× I have at least 5 away messages saved. I have tried alcohol or drugs before. (Tried and succeeded.) × I have made a move on a friend's significant other or crush in the past. (Ouch! I hope no one thinks that I have.)
× I own the "South Park" movie. × I have avoided assignments at work/school to be on Xanga or Livejournal. × I enjoy some country music.
× I would die for my best friends. (Hmmm....not sure about the circumstances (hostage situation?) nor the logistics (too far apart for hostage to do much...). So no. Sorry hon.) I'm obsessive, and often a perfectionist. (At least the first. Sometimes the second.) × I have used my sexuality to advance my career.
I think Halloween is awesome because you get free candy. (I think I should get free candy just by virtue of being scary all the time!) × I have dated a close friend's ex. I am happy at this moment. (I'm at my computer, I've had a good lunch, I'm off to Jim's. I'm content.)
× I'm obsessed with guys. × Democrat. × Republican.
I don't even know what I am. (Not with regards to American Politics. Stand-offish I think.) × I am punk rockish. × I go for older guys/girls, not younger.
× I study for tests most of the time. × I tie my shoelaces differently from anyone I've ever met. × I can work on a car. (Can. Choose not to.)
I love my job(s). (Sometimes.) I am comfortable with who I am right now. (For the most part.) I have more than just my ears pierced.
× I walk barefoot wherever I can. (I HATE walking barefoot (unless it's that really springy, soft grass with no prickles).) × I have jumped off a bridge. × I love sea turtles. (Talk about random questions!)
I spend ridiculous amounts of money on makeup. (It's true. *shame*) I plan on achieving a major goal/dream. × I am proficient on a musical instrument.
× I hate office jobs. I went to college out of state. I am adopted. (And one day, my real parents are gonna come and collect me *raspberry*. Not really. I love my parents.)
× I am a pyro. I have thrown up from crying too much. I have been intentionally hurt by people that I loved.
I fall for the worst people. I adore bright colours. × I usually like covers better than originals.
× I hate chain theme restaurants like Applebees and TGIFridays. I can pick up things with my toes. × I can't whistle.
I have ridden/owned a horse. × I still have every journal I've ever written in. × I talk in my sleep.
× I've often thought that I was born in the wrong century. I try to forget things by drowning them out with loads of distractions. × I wear a toe ring.
I have a tattoo. × I can't stand at LEAST one person that I work with. × I am a caffeine junkie.
× I am completely tree-huggy spiritual, and I'm not ashamed at all. × If I knew I would get away with it, I would commit at least one murder. × I will collect anything, and the more nonsensical, the better.
I enjoy a nice glass of wine with dinner. (At present, I fancy a glass of Sauvingnon Blanc. Am going to dinner with Mol & Adam, so I might even get one.) × I'm an artist. × I am ambidextrous.
× I sleep with so many stuffed animals, I can hardly fit on my bed. × If it weren't for having to see other people naked, I'd live in a nudist colony. × I have terrible teeth.
× I hate my toes. (I hate feet in general, but think mine are quite pretty.) I did this meme even though I wasn't tagged by the person who took it before me. × I have more friends on the internet than in real life.
I have lived in either three different states or countries. × I am extremely flexible. × I love hugs more than kisses.
× I want to own my own business. × I smoke. × I spend way too much time on the computer than on anything else.
Nobody has ever said I'm normal. (Thank heaven's.) Sad movies, games, and the like can cause a trickle of tears every now and then. (Old men *sob*.) × I am proficient in the use of many types of firearms and combat weapons.
× I like the way women look in stylized men's suits. (What? What a weird question.) I don't like it when people are unpleased or seem unpleased with me. (I hate it, in fact. I go all "what? What did I do...!?" (because, natch, it IS all about me!!)) I have been described as a dreamer or likely to have my head up in the clouds.
I have played strip poker with someone else before. I have had emotional problems for which I have sought professional help. × I believe in ghosts and the paranormal.
× I can't stand being alone. × I have at least one obsession at any given time. × I weigh myself, pee/poo, and then weigh myself again.
× I consistently spend way too much money on obsessions-of-the-moment. × I'm a judgmental asshole. I'm a HUGE drama-queen. (Apparently. Though I don't think so. Not one bit.)
I have travelled on more than one continent. × I sometimes wish my father would just disappear. (Hell no, I worry that one day he will!!!) I need people to tell me I'm good at something in order to feel that I am. (Pathetic, no?)
× I am a Libertarian. I can speak more than one language. (Ha ha ha ha. I'm passable (occasionally) in French. Can utter a few words of Spanish (along the lines of 'er, I don't speak spanish) and can follow a slow Czech. With more vodka, I'll even reply in slow Czech too!) I can fall asleep even if the whole room is as noisy as it can be. (If I'm that tired, I can fall asleep anywhere.)
I would rather read than watch TV. × I like reading fact more than fiction. I have pulled an all-nighter on an assignment I was given a month to do. (Er, what assignment back then DIDN'T receieve an all-nighter?)
× I have no piercings. × I have spent the night in a train station or other public place. × I have been so upset over my physical gender that I cried.
× I once spent Christmas completely alone because there was a miscommunication on which parent was supposed to have me that night. There have been times when I have wondered "Why was I born?" and may/may not have cried over it. (I was 10. It happens.) × I like most animals better than most people.
× I own a collection of retro games consoles. × The thought of physical exercise makes me shiver. I have hit someone with a dead fish. (I haven't. But I SOOO wanted to tick this one!!)
× I am compulsively honest. × I was born with a congenital birth defect that has never been repaired. × I have danced topless in front of dozens of complete strangers.
× I have gone from wishing I was a girl to revelling in being a boy to feeling like a girl again in the span of five minutes, and not cared a whit for my actual sex. × I am unashamedly bisexual, and have different motivations for my desires for different genders. × I sometimes won't sleep a whole night or eat a whole day because I forget to.
× I find it impossible to get to sleep without some kind of music on. × I dislike milk. (Generally. Don't drink it much, but have super-skimmed milk (so called 'white water' on cereal and in coffee/tea).) × I obsessively wash my hands.
I always carry something significant around with me. Sometimes I'd rather wear a wig in day-to-day life than use my own hair. (Gads yes.) I've pushed myself to become more self-aware and thereby more aware of others. (But that slipped into self-obssessed...and I haven't quite gotten out of that yet...)
Even though I live on my own I still cry sometimes because I miss my mother. (Well, my parents!) × I hand wrote all the HTML tags in this document. × I've liked something which a majority of people claimed was either bad or weird.
× I have been clinically dead for a brief period of time. × Instead of feeling sympathy/empathy with people and their problems, I simply become annoyed. I participate/have participated in auto drag races and won. (Does it count if you were the passenger who was navigating for gaps in the traffic?)
× I do not 'get' most comedy acts. I don't think strippers are money-greedy or slutty for dancing. × I don't like to chew gum.
× I am obsessed with history/historical things and can't wait for someone to build a time machine so I can be the first to use it. × I can never remember for the life of me where I parked the car. × I had the TEEN ANGST thing going for at least 2-3 years.
I wish people would be more empathic and honest with each other. × I play Dungeons and Dragons weekly. I love to sing. (Come sing for johohohohohohohohoy....)
× I want to live in my mother's basement when I grow up. I have a custom-built computer. (I have had. I don't now.) × I want to create a certain someone's babies, even though there's a 0% possiblity of ever achieving it.
× I would be in a relationship with one of my pets if they were human. I've gone skinny-dipping. I've performed in three plays.
× I enjoy burritos. × I'm Irish and loving it. × I have a thing for redheads. (Their skin smells different! (no offense to any redheads reading this))
× I am a twin! × Most of the times, I'd rather do something intellectual instead of doing something generically 'fun'. × Once I set out to finish something, I always stay at it until it is completed before I move on to something else.
× I wish there were a way to erase past mistakes. I sleep more than 12 hours a day. (I would. Until Zos returns with iron tablets (hoorah!).) I wish I could be prouder of what I've accomplished, but it's never enough. (*sigh*)
I need more time to myself. × I wish I was more open-minded. × I hope that I go really prematurely grey.
I download songs from the internet. × I've just reenacted chapter 58 of Death Note with my best friend. × I say random things to freak people out.
× I'm still a little mad about the ending of Death Note. I love playing Truth or Dare. (Although a 12 day stint of it got a little exhausting...) × I love listening to slow music, but I hate singing to it.
× Music helps me remember that I am not alone. Playing my favorite sport makes me temporarily forget my problems. (That's the best reason for doing it.) I think this survey is particularly long.
× I prefer my LJ friends to my real-life ones. × I can only hate someone that I love. × I've ordered an extra two shots of espresso to an Americano at Starbucks.

posted by Nomes @ Friday, July 14, 2006   1 comments
Allez allez allez (thanks to stringy spinning boy)!
Wednesday, 12 July 2006
Adam returned last night (yippeeee!), with a large jar of Bovril (hoorah!), a bag of Minstrels (I only had three!), laundry detergent (as you do...) and a pyrex measuring jug (YAY!!!).

Včera večer, měla nerandý rande. (last night, I had a nondate date – for all those learning Czech – though I’m not 100% sure about the ‘nondate’ bit…).

And it was perfect. Z and I met up for a wine (icy cold Lambrusco – the temperature here was in the 30’s, I think it’s perfectly forgivable to drink glorified grape juice) an hour before the concert started. We talked continuously. At one point, he mentioned his previous relationship which had been with a Polish/French girl in Prague.

I’m sorry; what?

That’s right folks, he said girl. I checked this several times (in case a just-about-perfect English speaking Macedonian could have a similar issue with gender identifying pronouns as the Azeri’s do) using ‘she’ and ‘her’ in the conversation that followed and wasn’t corrected. Turns out his partner prior to that had a feminine name too, AND long hair, shaved legs, a menstrual cycle etc. (all the usual entrapments of the fairer sex).

STILL not convinced (hell, YOU have my history and be convinced of the sexuality of someone wearing twill pants (in SUMMER?! Are you INSANE!?), a short sleeved white t-shirt under a black waistcoat with a yellow & black tie!), we went to the concert. Much giggling and enjoyable conversation (talked through entire intermission without so much as leaving our seats) about literature (him: “Some books I read in French, some in English.” Me [thinking]: “someone kill me now, or at least smote me with a few more languages please!”) then we disappeared up the posh street for Gelato (yes Mum, will take you!) which was to be my ‘taste of Italy in Prague’. (All Europeans I’ve spoken to in Europe are HORRIFIED I’ve yet to visit 'the boot'. It’s not MY fault I’ve been at the other end of the world for the last 10 years!!)

We walked; we talked. We stopped and looked at the silk shift dress in the window of Hugo Boss (wedding to attend – I have NOTHING to wear!) which had magenta roses all over it. He exclaimed “But it’s last season - irrespective of the cost!” to which I asked, “Are you SURE you’re not gay?!!!!” and was followed with, “I was wondering how long it’d take you to ask. No I’m not. Thought about it, but it didn’t work…”

One moment please.

He’s not gay. He’s not gay. He’s not gay. He’s not gay. He’s not gay. He’s not gay. He’s not gay. He’s not gay. He’s not gay. He’s not gay. He’s not gay. He’s not gay. He’s not gay. He’s not gay. He’s not gay. He’s not gay. He’s not gay. He’s not gay. He’s not gay. He’s not gay. He’s not gay. (This is by no means intended to offend my gay readers – I just thought there WERE no straight, intelligent, attractive, young, hip’n’groovy, English-speaking, friendly men living in Prague.)

Thank you. Moment over.

He IS: smart, well read (better read than myself – but isn’t everyone?), intelligent, thoughtful, a bit moody, a flautist (8 years!!!), a singer (sort of), tenacious (a PhD in Computational Mathematics - I think that’s what it was called), gorgeous (in a skinny weasel manner, yes Lira!), a better dresser than I (despite the crap description, it worked!), a fabulous dancer and…did I mention this? STRAIGHT!

Oh, and Clive Owen would play him in the movie of his life, while I’ll be portrayed brilliantly by Rachel Weisz thanks very much. I STILL don’t get the Natalie Portman thing – apparently it’s her vulnerability that men lap up like small yappy type dogs – which would possibly explain WHY I don’t get it.

Welcome to my (new) crush.

However, let it be mentioned now (and therefore, I’m obliged to live up to what’s written on le blog) that I’m not doing the chasing this time.

Having an ex tell me “you’re scary” and an admirer suggesting I “play a subtle form of "not that interested, but thanks awfully"” are the foundations for today’s resolution – if you two have lead me astray, I’ll kill yas both!

He is off for three weeks (out of country) and so we won’t see each other till after then. However, with our goodbye kiss (at the tramstop – I’m sooooo Prague), he said “Listen, I’m neither proud nor stupid. I will call you.” (Books open now, odds set at 10-1 he won’t).
posted by Nomes @ Wednesday, July 12, 2006   5 comments
Advice:
Tuesday, 11 July 2006
  1. Careful where you sit.
    If you sit in the breeziest part of the room for spin class (by the window) you will be watched by people at the tram stop outside. Wave. Smile. Be friendly. Sing out ‘The Final Countdown’ at appropriate moments (ie. when your voice can be drowned out by the music and you aren’t wasting precious air). Just don’t, whatever you do, expect a positive reaction from the stoic tram-goers. You’d be lucky to get a blink, let alone a smile in response.

  2. Don’t take a locker in the 60’s.
    This is in a ‘small bench’ section. And yesterday was populated by no fewer than 5 females in various states of Jim-visiting undress. And no, gentlemen readers, though we conferred as to whether to douse one another with baby oil and cold water (hmmm…terribly immiscible, I think you’ll find) we decided that there was no point without you and your video camera capturing all…

  3. Choose your toiletries with care.
    Take a ‘mint’ flavoured (scented? Infused?) shower gel to Jim’s when you visit. It’s surprisingly *ahem* refreshing after a spin class. Another advantage is the slight tigerbalmesque tingle on sore muscles. It helps you identify muslces that you may have worked. When you can't find any...

  4. Lose your commonwealth inhibitions and qualms about nudity.
    All the girls were friendly (not THAT friendly) and said good bye as they left the small area we’d been studiously avoiding skin-to-skin contact in. There’s nothing quite as disarming as someone looking you in the eye and smiling good bye at you while you’re standing in your knickers, applying body lotion.

  5. Ignore the radio.
    When a mainstream radio plays Fat Boy Slim’s “Fucking in Heaven” at high volume until someone at the radio station realises what’s being broadcast in Children’s Corners throughout the nation, and pushes a syllable-squelching button every 8 beats for the rest of the song (“ph------ in heaven”) do not giggle to yourself. People around you won’t know why you’re laughing and will think you crazy. This, however, has positive repercussions in the ‘avoiding contact’ stakes…
posted by Nomes @ Tuesday, July 11, 2006   0 comments
Au revoir, les bleus!
Monday, 10 July 2006
So the French lost, despite having more opportunities at goal than the Italians in the second half. Ah well, now life can return to normal. Though I’m a touch concerned that my ruse for attending the beer garden no longer exists. Now I’ll actually have to say, “fancy a drink at the beer garden” as opposed to using the game. But big ups to TLR, AmBen, Lauren & Frank for the most amazing view. The seats were excellent guys, I’m so glad you managed the hardship of being at the Zahradka for 4hours prior to the big show.

The holidays were good. A hike, a day in, a day out, Jim’s (yes, twice!!), movies and stuff like that. All good fun. Photos already up.

This blog entry redirect is specially for Mums (why the plural, have you multiple personalities?! ). Nevermind…!Good to chat on Saturday. We likeses having a landline. Now to figure out the intermebobby…

It’s always interesting googling one’s own name. I have a new publication here (JCM!!!) to add to my CV that I didn’t even know about. Well done to all those first authors who actually GOT the publication, I’m now going to ride your coat tails (of course, since that’s what science is all about).

Now, how about this: Friday night, I went to Radost’s gay night (as you do – when in Prague etc.). Despite promising to send phone photos of twinks to the lovely Joe, I kept them all for myself – mwahahahah! I am an eeevil giraffe.

There was a bloke dancing away to my left. And so I started dancing close by him (again, as you do…) and we continued to dance for a while. After some broken Czech conversation (on both our behalves) I asked what he did (I’m not sure what the ‘question sequence’ is for the non-expats in the CR so am trying out a variegated (read: shotgun) approach which has me sounding like a deranged BBC reporter at some points!) and found out that he was a mathematician.

“Fascinating! Me? I’m an epidemiologist.”
Sudden cessation of previous dance movements and jaw-drop.
“REALLY?”
“Er, yes. You know it has nothing to do with skin, right?” I ask, slightly concerned that the amazement is because he’s considering himself lucky to have a skin doctor to drag to the toilets to examine that rash… (as you do…)
“I know that!” somewhat aghast that I should think he didn’t, “I’ve been modelling diseases in a scale free network.”
“Oh. My. God!” and other exuberant exclamations that can only come of meeting a HOT (probably gay) mathematician dancing to house on a basement dance floor in Prague.

So…having swapped serviettes (to mop up sweat), saliva (straws/tonsils et al – um, Hi Dad!), names (Zoran – yes, really!), upcoming travel itineraries and conferences (Macedonia, UK, Slovakia for him; UK, Slovenia, Netherlands and Estonia for me – I win!) and eventually phone numbers (“they’re permutationally close” he says – mwahahahahah!), we’re off to see one of the Pragueproms concerts on Tuesday.

This, could be the start of a beautiful friendship. (and I can’t wait to introduce him to Adam, Andreas – and other gay friends who’s names begin with “A”).
posted by Nomes @ Monday, July 10, 2006   1 comments
Angel
Monday, 3 July 2006
Berlin was amazing. Incredible. For a city a mere 4hours (6 when you take into account the stops for food, bladder emptying and about-turns!) away by one fast (doppler effect included: AUTOBAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHNNNNNNNNN!!!!!) car journey, it's a WORLD away by standards. The city streets are clean. The buildings almost squeak with cleanliness when you rub against them. The avenues are wide and tree lined (if only just beyond sapling stage). The city-dwellers are cosmopolitan, chic, varied, energetic, enthusiastic and most are (dare I say it) hot to boot. The clubs don't start till after 12, the bars serve a variety of alcoholic beverages, AND non alcoholic ones, the metro doesn't smell (despite the U2 being swelteringly hot), breakfast is done as brunch (complete with newspapers) - despite only costing 3E and motorcycles are EVERYWHERE. Hell, I even found clothes (not tents) that I could fit into (ON SALE!!! *heraldic fanfare*). Didn't buy them as ran out of time, but the hope exists, people, as do the garments themselves!

What on EARTH isn't to like?

Yeah, I love Berlin. If I could just figure out a way to get someone to employ a non-German speaker there in the field of epidemiology, I'd have a city to canvas (read: bombard) with my presence as often as possible.

However, I'm back in Prague, and determined to make a silk purse (as it were - spires are nice to look at, but don't enjoy being crocheted!!). Yes, I know, I have my good days and bad weeks. This one's already on a downward spiral after the high of the weekend.

See: on my way to work this morning, I thought I'd stop at the train station (having had to go to town to drop off the rental car - it was bliss to be behind the wheel again!) to get a monthly transport ticket. I queued for Africa (AND Asia) and approached the counter. I asked for a thirty day ticket. The woman looked at me, sighed, handed me a questionnaire and took some money. I was dismissed. Um....

I took the questionnaire to the side, realised it had ID cislo (guess, go on, I bet you'd get it right!) written on it, and took it back to the counter (pushing in to the front of the queue, which now stretched to Austria, i have learnt SOMEthing since arriving here) and shrugged, pointing at my British passport and saying, I'm not a resident. The woman yelled at me. I'm not sure whether it was because she had to communicate through glass, or whether she was conveying her wrath and hatred for me and my descendents (direct and indirect) but I didn't really want to push too much further. I wrote "30 dni" on an available square of the questionnaire, and held it up. She yelled even louder, included some gesticulation, and slammed my money back on the counter.

Given the lack of enthusiasm for displays of emotion of any description (I hardly consider 'blank' an emotion. Emotional state, perhaps...) witnessed in my time here to date, I was astonished. Not to say a little put out at starting my Monday (8:30am) with some random woman yelling at me.

I took my money and changed train stations - thinking that the 'nice woman' (as described by the Molster - not to be confused with the MolEstOr) there may actually be nice. En route, I decided to call the boss to see if he could give me a list of 'things I need to take with me' for obtaining the holy grail of Monday mourning accessories: the ticket. He reckoned I'd need a photo and a passport.

Thankfully, not all of my makeup had slid to my decolletage in the heat (my eyeshadow hovered valiantly on my cheekbones) and so I wasn't too horrified at the thought of a sliver of my soul being stolen by the 'photomatic' booth. Frankly, I was far more concerned that the curtains may touch me...while I sat, innocent and untarried by disgusting orangey-brown brylon material.

Photos obtained (why don’t those machines also cut the damned things – no one ever needs four on one sheet!?), I queued once more. This time, the queue ONLY extended to Karlovy Vary, so I wasn’t too distressed. One hour (I kid you not, darling readers, I kid you not!) later, I was at the window/hatch. I explained (or so I thought) what I wanted. There was minimal movement behind the desk as a response. I thought perhaps the woman may have been dead. I looked around for a defibrillator, chided myself on forgetting my whereabouts, and commenced a search for some aluminium foil and a lemon.

Finding none, I decided I’d re-ask my question in English. Adrenalised into action, the woman in the booth did the laminator shuffle having first checked to see if I exist (at least, I think that’s why I handed my passport to her) and checked where I’d been for the last few years (she flicked through all the pages). She then issued me a ‘without evidence’ ticket (which seemed a little harsh, I mean, I WAS standing there…if that’s not evidence enough…) and a small piece of paper which I was to sign. Said piece of paper was squished and heated, trimmed then pushed towards my eager paw.

Finally, an hour and a half after leaving the house, I was outside my house again. And eventually I could go to work.

The exhaustion obviously brought out the paternal best of the security guards (none of whom are younger than 50 – and not at Mr Miyagi kind of 50 either, more a Marlon Brando kind of 50) because when I arrived this morning with a ‘less-than-cheerful-but-striving-not-to-take-it-out-on-an-uninvolved-person’ dobrý den, I was greeted in return with,
“Dobrý den, anděl!”. Which, in English, would freak me out. Unless I could pick which Angel I was being.

You can call me Nammah.
posted by Nomes @ Monday, July 03, 2006   2 comments

Name: Nomes
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