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!)
You too....
Friday, 29 June 2007
...could become a Springfield citizen if you so desired. I'm SOOOO thinking of dyeing my hair pink. But that wouldn't exactly fit someone applying for the position of Regional Epidemiologist for Europe, now, would it?

No. Methought not either. Better not apply then, right?


posted by Nomes @ Friday, June 29, 2007   0 comments
OooootRAYgeous things seen of late
Thursday, 21 June 2007
The police here are a little odd. Quite often, of an evening, I stop in at the all-night-potraviny down the road (and up the hill) from where I live. This can be for a variety of reasons. Sometimes we have run out of tea. Other times I have a message urging me to pick up ice cream and milk on the way home (last night). Yet other times, I'm sufficiently organised to think about lunch and pick that up the night before (the most rare situation).

So it's always kind of off-putting when you see policemen, presumably on duty else why the hell would they wear that uniform?) doing their shopping too. I mean..."Officer? You eat!?!". One step away from Dunkin' Donuts.

Even worse still is when one of those officers has dressed in the dark that morning, and is wearing SWAT style gear (truncheons, bandoliers, epaulettes, black jumpsuit - it's a mess darling - TUCKED INTO boots) and purchases a Magnum. Not a .357 or a .44. A double chocolate Magnum. And he, all 6'4" suede-headed no necked bundle of muscles of steel, then procedes to eat said ice cream on the way out of the shop and down the street where he meets his buddies.

It just doesn't seem right. Who would YOU call if there was a riot at your house? I'm thinkin' Ghostbusters.

If you're a civilian (and 9, you're out of this category, I'm afraid), you're actually allowed to declare someone dead in the Netherlands (handy for insurance fraud). The one stipulation to your making the declaration, however, is that the head must be 1.5m from the body.


Because a mere separation of, say 0.5m means the person is still completely viable.

a) who carries a measuring tape with them?
b) who, knowing they're taller than 1.5m, would lie down betwixt head and body to see if the rule is met?
c) who would continue with CPR on a body of a headless person if the head was (only) separated by 0.5m - given to not do so may be considered gross negligence leading to death.

Answers in the comments box...

Note: photo is of policeman with a mohawk. WHAT!? AND! Other things I've seen: policeman with hole cut out of the top of his hat, so it's not so hot in summer! WTP???

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posted by Nomes @ Thursday, June 21, 2007   1 comments
Welcome commentators
Wednesday, 20 June 2007
For some reason, people have been 'liking' me a lot lately.


"Here's a thought I had [after reading your blog]. You're solid, and I'm proud of you." Schoolfriend in Canada. (X for when you finally swing by again)

"Not to be overly sensitive or anything but YOU'RE A TREASURE and I AM SO PROUD THAT I CAN BE A PART OF YOUR LIFE." Intunee in Prague (XXX girlfriend - good luck with the exam!)

"We were entirely confident of your abilities to conduct a wide range of tasks and deliver on the development of surveillance and related epidemiological work." Interviewer (course, they didn't take me on, but you know!)

"I love you. From top to toe." friend in UK.

"My position is seeing you as being amazing." and "So you keep sailing through like the goddess you are." - Nine - who wasn't being paid, but may have been being 'fished'!! :)

So...maybe those negative thoughts that keep me awake at night should just fuck right off.

NB: and yes, I realise my photos have taken a recent turn for the narcissistic, but with comments like these, can you blame me? D, I'm relying upon you to redress the balance...NOT with a counter-photo (you bastard) but with some snarky comment.


posted by Nomes @ Wednesday, June 20, 2007   1 comments
Letters to keep in your bedside drawer - 2
Monday, 18 June 2007
It’s been almost 5 years since we were last in touch. You told me you'd sold my engagement ring to buy a new one for the wife you married 7 months after I broke up with you. Class.

That ring; it was beautiful and I loved it. Now, I think on it and something in my lower belly recoils in horror. I imagine it on my hand, and can still feel that trapped sensation again. Especially the suffocating one which consumed me when you replaced the ring on my finger while I was in a coma, following one doped up statement made following surgery. Remember? After I’d already thrown it at you and called the whole thing off.

I doubted myself so much after that. Had I actually wanted it back? Did I want YOU back? Were we going to be okay?

You made me forget how to listen to my intuition.

Goldenboy. Everyone loved you. Including me (at the start, at least). You were comfortable in amongst my family. Silent, but no one expects anything else – it's MY family, after all. People would ask you if you wanted tea, leave the room, then return to ask me if I also wanted some. My grandmother would phone me across the world to see how you were in the jungle. "Good I think, and my PhD's going well too, thanks!".

So I kept your dirty little secret for you. On your behalf. I didn’t want to see them doubt themselves as much as I did. I didn’t want to have those who I believe in implicitly held up to the light before me and be found to be ‘only’ human after all. I kept it quiet.

I took years to bring myself to divulge that while I’d been sticking swabs up chickens bums in Hamilton (the glory of PhDship), you’d been partaking similarly of transvestite hookers. I didn’t even know there WERE any in the city in which we lived. I kept it quiet.

When you told me where they worked, I couldn’t drive down that street for a year. The new house I moved into, after I moved out of our one (with the vegetable garden I'd made (well, Leigh and Nigel contributed significantly too!), the jasmine (Mamma had purchased, I had wound around the pillars), the fucking swan plants bearing monarch caterpillars (that had to be 'culled' halfway through the season to keep the plants alive - I DID that caterpillar cull!)) was around the corner. The circuitous routes I had to take to avoid “that building”. I kept it quiet.

I never complained when Mamma decided she’d keep in touch with you. Never mentioned your proclivities when she was so disappointed that she you hadn't informed her of your impending nupitals. Hell, I let her entertain you in the house I was living in with my then boyfriend. (He took me to a movie (I think). Possibly not. Possibly we went and did all the glass recycling. It’s good therapy to hear that glass break.) I kept it all quiet.

I learnt things from you though, I'm not saying I didn't, and maybe there were lessons that the universe needed for me to learn. I learnt about rugby: the offside rule, "Pass it, don’t kick it. Kick it, don’t pass it" etc. I learnt about ex-girlfriends (whose car I was driving, whose boyfriend I was living with, whose stereo I played my music with and danced in the lounge to). I learnt about ex-wives (when you were – thankfully – sent packing by the beautiful one you ended up marrying). I learnt more about mother-in-laws than I ever needed to. I learnt about fidelity (my own, and others). I learnt how to carry a secret, even one that eats me up inside.

Things are improving inside my head. I think (either that, or I’m slowly killing off sufficient memory cells that my level of caring has dropped). I can once again consider going out on stage wearing a dress, sparkly high heels shoes (into which a bloke's foot would probably fit), false eyelashes and a feather boa – DESPITE the fact I know that my ‘ladyboy’ good looks are likely what attracted you in the first place (I wish I’d just gone as a Witch, instead, and saved myself the three years of heartache).

Unfortunately, the self-doubt still lingers, it still pervades every relationship that I’ve had since, to the point of self-sabotage – to make sure that all current and future beaus will go the same way.

Possibly not the whore house round the corner from where I live, but y’know, A-way.



posted by Nomes @ Monday, June 18, 2007   0 comments
Have you ever wondered?
Sunday, 17 June 2007
What happens to fruit when they're sent overseas*? Well, they ripen. Sometimes, the grower/pickers/exporters/buyers don't really want them to ripen so quickly. Which is why, they keep them in an atmosphere that has a high quantity of CO2, something to do with ethylene blah blah blah science fakt jo.

Right, so, science duly delivered (am good science communicator, no? Saying so in my interview next Monday anyway. *raspberry*): how do you think I felt when I went to a Czech spa for a weekend, and had a CO2 bath 'treatment'.

Where, they asked you to lie down in a large plastic bag, did up the 'neck' of the bag around yours - using bulldog clips that were a cross between those on jumper cables and those on government dossiers, and shoved a CO2 hose into the bag from (what appeared to be) a fire extinguisher.

You think I'm joking.

The bag filled up with CO2, which meant I was effectively lying in a 'cold' bubble for the 30min 'treatment', delaying the ripening process.

Nomes: export quality.

*note: this apple was the most exciting thing to happen to me all of last week. Seriously. See how it's a Braeburn? That's my favourite variety. See how it's green AND red? That's my favourite combination. See (hear) how it's crisp crunchiness meant that pieces broke off into my mouth when my teeth gnawed at it, thereby checking my Olympic Record of 'taking a complete side of an apple into my mouth in one go'? - okay, maybe you'll have trouble with that last part...but just imagine? Then imagine the foodgasm response. I. Was. In. Heaven. I thought all my Christmases had come at once. *longing sigh*


posted by Nomes @ Sunday, June 17, 2007   0 comments
Netherlands! Brussels! Drama! TMI!
Wednesday, 13 June 2007
I am in Die Nederlands (Das? Den? De? Could research, but no...much easier to prevaricate on your time).

There's all sorts of interesting stuff going on. People going for interviews for the same job (er, that'd be me and Lisa then) and one of us feeling slightly less confident (er, me) than the other deserves to (you know, on account of having had work in the last two years, etc.), other people getting offered dozens of jobs and having issues deciding which one to take (Den Haag/Gambia/Cambodia...does anyone have a three sided coin? D, nix on the coin edge comment), while others are stressing over finishing their two year experience with enough tickboxes met to be eligible for the diploma (er, that'd be me again actually). I don't think I will.

Which is why, when I'm feted (I MAY be exaggerating to make myself feel better: it's more going to be like - bumping into someone who's said they'll be here tomorrow and we could have an informal chat about a job in Rixensart (10 points to the first person who guesses for which company this could be) but you know, a girls' gotta glamorise. Then burst bubbles. *pop*) tomorrow evening at 'the great debate' (these Dutch - they've organised everything! Our formal dinner is preceded by canoeing down a canal. WTP!?!? WHAT SHOES DO I WEAR?!!) I'm going to have to be on top form.

Not bleeding, cramping and wolfing down painkillers (day 2).
Not stressing over other people's relationships.
Not worrying about friends considering abandoning me to Praguelife alone (again *sob*).
Not despairing over working in my native tongue, in a system that requires/demands/accepts/utilizes me.
Not scared we're going to lose the America's Cup Challenge.*

But. Hell. What would life be like if it weren't like this? One of my friends here said, laughingly "Nomes, I knew that with you it'd be drama.". Laughingly. As she stroked my hair in that "oh you!" kind of way. FFS!

Do I seek drama? Not intentionally. Really. I know no one believes that. But it's TRUUUUUE.
Do I revel in drama? Possibly. Ravel perhaps. With boleros and capes and shit. I do dig that.
Do I back the hell away from drama? Hell no. I get it drunk, I carouse with it, I sing on trams with it, and then I get fucked by it.

Is "drama" a pseudonym? NO.

*okay, I'm not THAT focussed on the great race. Not when we don't get our feet wet again for another few days and we're practising getting our speed up. But, y'know. I have to pretend it's not all about me. Once in a while. Apparently.

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posted by Nomes @ Wednesday, June 13, 2007   0 comments
My heart's got sails on it...
Thursday, 7 June 2007
...and perhaps a spinnaker!
Dean Barker, Helmsman, Emirates Team New Zealand, on winning the LVC Final:
“I’m just rapped! I can’t say enough about the guys on the boat - the whole team. It’s been a really tough journey the Round Robins didn’t start well, and the team has bounced back and grown as we have come through. The Semi Final was great on reflection we will look back and say that racing Desafio and dropping two races to them has actually made us a much stronger and better team. I don’t think anyone on the team ever dreamed or believed that we would get through the LVC Final against a team like Luna Rossa in the way we did - we never ever felt it was a comfortable series, it was always very tight and I think the first and last races showed exactly the type of racing we were geared up for.”
We won the Louis Vuitton cup! Which means that in 16 days, we face the current holders of the America's Cup - the Swiss syndicate Alinghi.

One thing though - why don't journalists know the word "rapt"?


posted by Nomes @ Thursday, June 07, 2007   1 comments
Sign this...
Tuesday, 5 June 2007

Because the idea that this is worth £400,000 is laughable (see the 'TM' on the right hand side, the weird pink and yellow (which I last used together when I was using felt-tips on a daily basis), the odd shapes of everythign (significance is que?) and the scribbled 'london' and last-minute olympic rings). Pricks .

To see some awesome alternatives, go here and/or here.

And yes, this matters. I might be in the damned city, if my public transport is going to be screwed up by thousands of tourists, I want to make damned sure that I like SOMETHING about it. Grrr.

Apart from hot tourists - natch.

P.S. Yes, this IS my third post today. I feel verbose.
P.P.S. Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL-92) are heading for 4-0 in the finals of the Louis Vuitton cup. Word is: they've just got a faster boat. Yeah, baby!


posted by Nomes @ Tuesday, June 05, 2007   2 comments
A rose by any other....
YOUR REAL NAME: (check your passport)
Naomi Samantha Boxall (as in: Bewitched. Or, I like to pretend. Apparently, more as in: a cat my mother once had. Awesome. I shall name my daughter Alexia.)

YOUR GANGSTA NAME: (first 4 letters of real name + izzle.)
yeah - like anyone's gonna pronounce THAT properly!

YOUR DETECTIVE NAME: (favorite color + favorite animal)
Silver Cheetah
Isn't that the car I'd prefer to drive?

YOUR SOAP OPERA NAME: (your middle name + street you live on)
Samantha Smilovskova.
She's a single nurse who works the night shift, because she has a bit of a thing for a coma patient, who's brother is ALSO quite hot, who comes to visit every evening, and she bends the visiting hours rule, in the vain hope that she'll be noticed...

YOUR PORN STAR NAME: (your first pet’s name + street you grew up on)
Max Bradgers-Hill
Upper class totty. Oh yeah.

YOUR STAR WARS NAME: (the first 3 letters of your last name + first 2 letters of your first name)
She morphs. I'm not quite sure FROM what TO what, but she morphs. She's silver.

YOUR SUPERHERO NAME: (second favorite color + favorite alcoholic drink)
Purple Cosmopolitan.
She can burn citric acid at a 1000 paces. She chills a martini glass with one withering stare. Limes mulch THEMSELVES when she points her finger. And no one, no one, suffers from UTI's.

YOUR WITNESS PROTECTION NAME: (your parents’ middle names)
Leslie George
Well, with a name like that, I'm only going to be found if someone's looking behind floral 70's style curtains.

YOUR GOTH NAME: (black + the name of your pet)
Black Memnoch. Or Black Mefitis. Or Black Lestat (RIP - now that's GOTTA be goth).
I haven't done a goth thing in ages, which makes a change from my once weekly ritual of overindulging in pretty eyeliner and glitter combinations. Yes. I was a pretty goth.

YOUR ARABIC NAME: (second letter of your first name + third letter of your last name + fourth letter of your middle name + second letter of your moms maiden name + third letter of you dad’s middle name + first letter of a siblings first name + last letter of your mom’s middle name - if you make it this far!!)
I sound like a poison. I can live with that.


posted by Nomes @ Tuesday, June 05, 2007   1 comments
Trams, interviews and ME!
This could so easily happen here. Of course, he would have slits cut into his trouser pockets, mobile phone, wallet and keys removed FIRST, but yeah.

Welcome to Prague

I know some of you want an update on the interview. Well, I ballsed up a rather large proportion of it. The bit about, you know, the disease I was applying to work on. Yeah - good one Nomes. BUT, to my defense, instead of bluffing my way through a crappy answer, I said something along the lines of,
"you know what? I'm not comfortable even attempting to answer that one, so could we move to the next question please?"

And answered the next one without a problem.

Either my honesty about my ignorance is rewarded with a job offer, or they think that they'd rather have one of the remaining 69 people who applied for the job - who might've done an internet search BEFORE the interview, rather than during.

Well, I did mention I needed interview practice...

Update: "I regret to inform you your appalication was not successful on this occasion." Just as well I've started looking so early: this could take some time!

P.S. I know, the picture has NO link to the words. Sod it, I figured it's about time you had a nice recent picture of me.

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posted by Nomes @ Tuesday, June 05, 2007   0 comments
Managing stress
Friday, 1 June 2007
So, here I am, awaiting The Call. I'm mildly stressed. Not even shoes can take my mind of this (although these did get a twice over). As in, considering taking up biting my nails. I phone interview REALLY poorly, which is odd, as I normally give good phone. I think I'm too busy trying to make sure that I don't sound like an 0900 number to focus on what they're saying.

"the difference between bias and precision, you ask? Oooh, I don't know, but I'm fairly biased about precisely where I'd like you to put your..." and so forth. For some reason.

Soooooo...think of me and wish me 'calm' and 'good luck' at 15:45 CEST.


posted by Nomes @ Friday, June 01, 2007   1 comments

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