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!)
Monday, 30 June 2008
After a bit of a miserable weekend, where he and I miscommunicated throughout, leaving me feeling needy (and then crap for FEELING needy etc. - oh how we love the spirals), I went to exchange some books. And while I was in the library, my bike was nicked from the rack at which it was tied.

Which means that's probably the shortest lived birthday present I've recieved since I was 10 as well. *sigh*

I can't afford another one - not even a stolen one - not for a long time.

Am absolutely, fucking gutted.

Update: on the plus side, I DO feel as though I'm now a Londoner. *sigh*


posted by Nomes @ Monday, June 30, 2008   1 comments
No Wonderbra
Sunday, 29 June 2008
So, i responded to a national call out requesting that women who feel good about their decolletes turn up on saturday morning to queue for hours around leicester square, and then go upstairs, have their hair and makeup done, be professionally fitted and get a 'model card' of themselves in a wonderbra, all to the sound of good beats from a dj, with free drinks.

In reality?

I stood in a queue for 2.5hrs, reading a book i had no intention of ever reading, periodically removing and replacing my jumper as the sun played peekaboo with us, tuning in and out to the mundane conversation of the would-be model and her boyfriend behind me.

I think this hurts so much because a small piece of me still wants to be discovered! Ha. Empty dreams now, i assure you.

So, finally, i get to the door and change my shoes into 'the shoes' - the high heeled teal satin slingback peeptoe platforms. They give me confidence and make my arse look pert. Well. More pert than normal, and it needs all the help it can get! A group of seven goes in, but their allowed to take groups of 8.

'anyone here on their own?' asks the door bitch.
I raise my hand in as much of a 'yes, and see how confident i am that i can come here alone?' kind of manner. This is hard to achieve but i have had much practice. I don't know that this is a good thing.

I enter behind the rest of my group. Yay. Already the lame gazelle. Er, ok. Lame bison! I totter purposefully behind them, skidding only a little on the black lino floor. We sign away the international rights to our chests, and are offered drinks while we overlook the leicester square skyline. We all accept and shyly introduce ourselves.

Our drinks come. Large tumblers of water. It's not exactly got the inhibition loosening qualities of cristal, i can assure you, even with 4 cubes of ice. It's still london tapwater, having been recycled through the bladders of several old women (that should keep the militant greens happy).

We smile and drink our drink, slightly cowed by our yellow t-shirted 'hostess'. Our forms filled in, we wait to be taken 'upstairs'.

Finally, the strains of a good house beat greet us. We've taken the stairs, rather than squish into an open sided lift. There are tables with 8 seats around them, maybe 5 of them. One makeup artist holds forth at each. We are shown to one presided over by a toddler. I take a seat. She looks me over, declares my makeup exceptional, exclaims over my amazing cheekbones, and clumsily applies some lip gloss. That's it. That's the extent of my 'hair and makeup'. I have 2 choices. I can either decide that this is because my natural beauty is sufficiently astonishing that they needn't work hard on me...or it's because i imagined correctly that they wanted 'cat eyes' and am currently ridiculously overmade for a saturday morning. I have a sneaky suspicion it's the latter.

I wait while the others are remade, and have their hair brushed (this is the extent of the hair 'styling' though i admit that SOME hairspray MAY have been used), then we go upstairs one more level. Away from the music. I'd be far more disappointed if that actually meant away from a dj, but since it's just ministry of sounds latest anthem cd playing out of large speakers, i'm less than dismayed.

We sit around yet another table. I supposed all this sitting was a good thing, as it meant that my feet weren't remotely phased by the 3inches. Then my entire group are shown to our fitting room.

Imagine, if you will, a curtained area the size of half a front room. Perhaps stretching to a cupboard. There are 5 matronly women in there, who ask us our sizes, hand us a bra that is our stated size, then do it up at the back for us. No tape measures were abused during the making of this photo.

Once 'fitted' we were given hooded terry cloth robes to cover our 'endowments'. I did wonder what my boxing anthem would be, eye of the tiger, or boots were made for walking? I stalked (well, pitched, i WAS still wearing the heels) to another cupboard. I threw off my robe and 'made love to the camera'. In a very unsexy, terribly self-conscious, but attempting to be nonchalant and attractive manner.

8 snaps and several 'that's perfect's' later, and i was released. Seemed little point in rerobing, so robeless, i returned to the matrons. They whipped the bra off me as though i had mentioned i liked it (i didn't) and hung it up without so much as a by-your-cup. I reclad.

Somewhat dejectedly, i returned downstairs to the 'aquabar' and waited for my print. Said prints were brought downstairs by another yellow tshirt (the hi-de-hi connotations were not lost upon me) and laid out on the bar for all to see.

Which means that there are a number of complete strangers who have seen a print of a lumbering heifer playing a coquette and failing miserably, complete with the uncertain expression you can imagine given the circumstance.

One of the questions they asked us was, 'what does wonderbra mean to you?'. At the onset, it meant fab breasts.

Now, it means behaving in a foolish manner. I'm sure mou all of us felt the same, but they've lost me as a potential customer. And i've lost my confidence as a would be lingerie model. It's lights off from now on. My boyfriend is most distressed.


posted by Nomes @ Sunday, June 29, 2008   0 comments
Tuesday, 24 June 2008

So, those of you who know me are probably wondering why I’ve been so quiet, and assuming (fair enough) that it’s because I was living la vida loca in swingin’ London. Especially those of you who haven’t been to London in the last 10 years and are blissfully ignorant of the current price of la vida loca, which seems to range from a ‘collapsed septum’ to a ‘cirrhotic liver’. There’s no easy life here – you either leap in, or you stand on the sidelines.

Those of you who know me (TOYWKM) may be surprised to know that the main reason I haven’t written, properly, in ages, is writers block. But not the normal writer’s block.

The man with whom I’m involved (and, TOYWKM, know to whom I refer) is still married. And, apparently, his wife occasionally pops by and has a bit of a read of my blog. (sound familiar, Anna!?!)

Now, if we were years down the track, and all grown up, with a jazzy little ditty playing in the soundtrack of our lives, possibly in a bigger studio set than any of our various home set-ups, then this would undoubtedly be fine. Hell, we may even be drinking glasses of Pinot Grigio and laughing little tinkling, dainty, ladylike laughs about it all.

TOYWKM know that the probability of me ever laughing a tinkling, dainty, ladylike laugh is almost like that of the buses in London running on time. HA!

Besides which, I can almost hear her mutter “over your dead body, bitch.”

With reason! I’ve been the recipient of, what I believe to be unnecessarily nasty e-mails (though, I’m not the scorned/wronged woman here, so fair dues) – even one threatening to come and show me what’s what. And really, who needs that sort of crap cluttering their inbox? I need room for my Viagra ads, damnit!

The thing is, I’m not writing this blog for her (despite her apparently thinking otherwise). Not to upset her, nor to placate her. I’m writing this blog, as always, for me. And because I know that she’s intruding on my personal thoughts – which I present here for most to see, not all, it’s affecting my writing.

So that now, I’m not writing for me; I’m “not writing” for her, and her son's relationship with his Dad.

Which is wrong. For me.

So saying, I’m moving the blog. I’ll be around, and those of you who know me are more than welcome to get in touch, and I’ll send you the new address immediately. However, this will be the last entry on this one. I know you’ll understand – and you’ll be DYING to read what I write in the next one, I can feel your hot, hungry breath on my shoulder as you pant ravenously to read what next I get up to (it’s London, I’m a civil servant – it REALLY isn’t that exciting!).

That’s all folks, ta-rah!

posted by Nomes @ Tuesday, June 24, 2008   2 comments
Things I love about 1
Sunday, 22 June 2008
Neighbours. Everybody needs good neighbours!

I live in a semi-detached house, divided into at least six flats, on the corner of an intersection. The intersection has four such corners, each with a house, just like mine.

Apparently, someone has dobbed in some 'odd' behaviour from 'one of the houses that face the intersection'.

CID (plainclothes) got in touch. Just to make sure they weren't going to be waking up the wrong people at 6am with guns and balaclavas.

Ahh...those friendly London Bobby's eh?

Turns out, that the price of coke is higher than the price of meth (it started to sound a little bit like the FTSE index, so I kinda turned off a bit here) which means that there aren't meth labs in London. Yet.

So I guess my house isn't going to explode in the next few days. Good to know.

I mentioned that I hadn't seen anything 'odd'.

(And by odd, I mean, similar to the activities going on in the house who's driveway I shared in Gillespies Line. They had an awful lot of 'short term' visitors. As in: minutes!!)

The lovely CID man said, "oh no. We're thinking MUCH higher up the chain than that. Shipments from other countries - that sort of thing."

So far, I've not seen any constipated donkeys walking up our street...


posted by Nomes @ Sunday, June 22, 2008   0 comments
Defence to the Raspberry
Monday, 2 June 2008
Circumstances often arise where a pithy response is required to parry a verbal thrust. On occasion, the neural cortex is insufficiently prepared for the ‘search, scan and send’ behaviour required to make a return joust. Behaviour drives us to make both an audio and visual ‘come back’ such that a ‘raspberry’ is blown. This is known as a “lame response”. In certain situations, the person on the receiving end of the raspberry wishes not to be covered in aerosolised saliva. We investigated possible defence mechanisms to the raspberry, and present the most useful – and also present a counter attack.

Two volunteers used the popular ‘facing’ position on a kitchen chair. Other positions were attempted, but this reasonably close embrace keeps the peoples heads and, ipso facto, mouths, in the same three-dimensional space. The volunteers improvised with a variety of techniques until a suitable defence was identified. Further improvisation led to the development of an appropriate counter attack.

The most effective method of ‘raspberry blocking’ is to immediately jam the tip of the tongue above that of the raspberry blowers, just tucking it under, preferentially, the upper lip, though tucking it above the lower lip also works. The greatest efficacy was measured when carried out as a ‘surprise’ as the raspberry blower tended to respond with googly eyes and an open mouth – thus blocking the path to the counter attack.

Said counter attack is for the raspberry blower to progress with the raspberry, regardless of the additional tongue between their lips. This has the effect of generally covering the muzzle of the raspberry blockers face with a mixture of their saliva – a suitable deterrent from blocking.

We believe that this piece of independent and unfunded research adds greatly to the arsenal already available for “the battle of the sexes”, especially in circumstances where two people are very well matched in terms of intelligence, sense of humour and sense of the ridiculous.
We noted that the technique, the “raspberry block” could be dangerous if carried out at high speeds, from considerably different 3D space, such that the raspberry blocker could knock out the raspberry blower, unintentionally giving them a “Glasgow kiss”.

Should this technique be widely used across the world, between couples sparring about ridiculous things, we believe it will lend to greater harmony and peace throughout. If not, then a lot of snorting and guffawing – which can’t be a bad thing.

The authors take no responsibility for any injury (physical or otherwise) obtained in replicating this experiment under different circumstances. They would like to thank their two eager volunteers for their tireless enthusiasm in making fools of themselves and each other.


posted by Nomes @ Monday, June 02, 2008   0 comments

Name: Nomes
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