Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Treat or Trick

It's Halloween. Halloween is my mother's birthday. In honor of my mother's birthday, I decided to buy myself a present. I remembered that the new Girls Aloud album was released, yesterday. I hoped they had it at Tesco. I stopped at the Tesco superstore (they call it Tesco Extra...extra what?), between Camberley and Sandhurst, as I needed frozen sweetcorn. I didn't want to take the chance that the smaller Tesco, near my home, would be out again. The first thing I did inside was look for the CDs. I had trouble finding them, cause they are not where they used to be. They are moving stuff around in this Tesco. Why do stores do that? Just when you want to grab a few items, quickly, they play "hide the salami."
Following a hunch, I finally found the CD aisle. The big question is, "would they have the new Girls Aloud album, "Sounds of the Girls Aloud?" Yes! The price was descent, too...£9.77. Well, descent for the UK. I picked up a copy and headed towards the reduced to clear, sections. I could hardly wait to play my new CD, in the car, but it's always worth checking "reduced to clear." The first one I check, in this store, is the fruit and vegetable "reduced to clear." Where it's normally located, I found a wooden, temporary wall, with some sign on it about a new dairy section under construction. Where did they move the fruit and vegetable "reduced to clear?" I didn't have time to mess around, looking, Girls Aloud were waiting. I headed to the second "reduced to clear," in the refridgerated section.
There was noting in the refridgerated, "reduced to clear," appealing to me, so I swung around and into the frozen foods area. Plenty of sweetcorn was available, so I picked up a bag and kept rolling. I got a bottle of still water, for my car. Yes, my car drinks bottled, still water. I thought I would check to see if Orville Redenbacher microwave popcorn was still on sale, as Tesco sometimes runs their sales for a couple of weeks. The good news was the sale was still on. The bad news was that there was none on the shelf. Screw this, I set off to checkout.
I always go to the checkouts nearest the end of the store opposite from where the entrance is. That's because, at this Tesco, there is an exit at the opposite end from the entrance and that exit is nearest to where I park. Also, I start my shopping near the entrance, then go back and forth, up and down the aisle, moving down the store. That way, I finish shopping nearest to the exit. See how organized I am? Today, I started scanning the checkouts for a satisfactory one to use (i.e., good looking, female cashier and not too long a queue). I couldn't find the Nepalese cuttie who works this store. As I was looking for alternatives, I saw, further up, a cashier wearing a witch's hat. Oh, I had to have some of's Halloween! As I walked toward that checkout counter, that cashier, who was pretty good looking, was replaced by one who looked awful. At least the replacement was wearing a witch's hat, too. It suited her, cause she looked like a witch.
Speaking ofwitchess, when I was a little boy (yes, I was a little boy, once...I wasn't born the way I am now, for Pete's sake!), my mother used to tell me that because she was born on Halloween, she was a witch. Obviously, my mother was the sensitive, caring type. Imagine telling a little kid his mother is a witch. I could have been in therapy for years, because of that. So, as it's my mother's birthday, should I call her? The last time I spoke to her, which was months ago, she got all weird on me and told me not to call her anymore. So far, I have done as she told me, but it's her birthday and the card I mailed yesterday won't get there for a couple of more days, yet. Okay, I will call her now. No answer. It's very hard to get her to answer the phone. It's still early evening there, so maybe she's out. Anyway...
Back to the cashier. There were two people in front of me, both women. The first one had quite a bit of stuff on the belt. I picked up my Girls Aloud CD and started looking at the back cover. This must be the slowest cashier in Britain. It seemed to take forever for her to ring up the woman's purchases. The cashier looked very old. Maybe she had been young and hot, when she started working that day, but she took so long to ring up purchases, she aged while working. Hurry up, I want to play Girls Aloud! Finally, it was the woman in front of me's turn. Some goofy guy with a little kid, or two, had joined the queue, behind me. He put his shopping on the belt, but left a gap so large you could land a plane in it, between my shopping and his. How weird is he? I noticed he didn't have a Girls Aloud CD. Then I looked at the woman's shopping, in front of me. She didn't have Girls Aloud, either. Why aren't these people buying Girls Aloud? Well, maybe they bought theirs yesterday. What I did notice is that she had several items of "reduced to clear," fruit and vegetables. How come she could find it? Then I noticed that she was wearing a Tesco uniform, under her coat. Ah-ha! Do they hide the items in some corner, so they can buy them for themselves? Is that it? The scanner was having difficulty picking up the new barcodes on these "reduced to clear" items, so that was what was slowing down the cashier. She had to enter them manually.
Then it was my turn. She picked up my Girls Aloud CD, but instead of removing it from its plastic security holder, she started reading the back. "It's Girls Aloud's new CD," I said.
"Yes, I was just seeing what is on there. I like them," she said.
"Haven't you bought it, yet? It was released, yesterday. It has all their hits, plus their new single," I said. This morning, at work, when the Sous Chef was putting on an MP3 player, after breakfast, I had asked him, "have you gotten the new Girls Aloud album, yet?" He hadn't. He was so amused that I asked him that he asked the temp chef. See? Word of mouth. Girls Aloud really owe me. I must be responsible for 30-40% of their album sales, don't you think? They should show their appreciation by setting me up on a date with Nicola Roberts, the ginger one. I think she's sweet. Well, or at least a pair of tickets to one of their gigs. I will return the favor. They can have free tickets to see me at the Wib Wob.
The cashier said she would probably buy the CD and resumed her work. "I came to this till especially, because you were wearing that hat," I said. She found that amusing. Then I added, "well, actually, it was the woman before, but she swapped with you and I was already committed. Why isn't everyone wearing a witch's hat?" (in other words, why isn't someone prettier and closer to the exit wearing a hat?) As far as I could see, only this cashier was wearing a hat.
"They're party poopers," she replied. "I think the girls at the tobacco counter are wearing theirs," she added. Big deal, I don't smoke.
I had trouble getting the plastic shopping bag open, so I could pack my purchases. Some of the cashiers pre-open some bags for the customers, but this witch was too busy reading the backs of customers' CDs to bother. I got so annoyed with it, I paid with the wrong card. I used my Debit card, when I had planned on using my credit card. Oh well. "I am glad you guys had thegirlss Aloud album, because this way, I didn't have to go to more than one store," I informed the witch. Outside, I rushed over to my car. I placed my bag on the back seat, behind the driver's seat, as usual, then I fished Girls Aloud out of the bag. I opened the boot (trunk, in American), then took the changer chassie out of my six-stack, CD changer. Which disc to remove to make room for GA? What's this one? Emma Bunton? No, that must stay. Wrong end. NWA? Yes, that can come out. Girls in, chassie back in changer, close trunk (boot, they say boot, here). I started the engine, then hit the power button for my car stereo. The display said, "checking CDs." Hurry up! I started backing out of my space. Then, just as I was on my way towards the exit, the intro to "Sounds of the Underground" came wafting from the car's speakers. All was right with the world.
Happy Halloween!

Monday, October 30, 2006

A Day of Deals

Last week, I received a letter from an agency that specializes in extras and walk-ons for films and TV, inviting me to register with them, for 2007. After getting advice from London radio DJ and TV presenter, Opal Bonfante, and from talk radio presenter and thespian, Bill Buckley, I decided to accept the invitation. The agency limited the time of day when they took calls to accept, to between 10AM and Noon. I have a tea break at work, at 10AM. I planned on calling during my tea break, but forgot. Just before Noon, I remembered. I whent to the changing room and dug out my mobile. Calling, I was given an appointment for the last week in November.
Nando, my Italian, ex-housemate, was supposed to let me know, today, if he wants the room that is becoming vacant in this house. He sent me a text during the day, although as I keep my mobile off at work, I didn't read it toll late afternoon. He wanted the room! I sent the landlord a text letting him know that Nando wanted to meet him this evening. As I drove home, the landlord called me back. He agreed to meet Nando at my house, at 8PM. I then sent a text to Nando letting HIM know. Nando agreed to meet at 8PM.
Nando arrived early, at about7:40PM. We watched the music video channels, while waiting for the landlord. The landlord arrived at just going 8PM. I introduced them and let them do their deal, while I watched "Eastenders." They agreed in due course. Before he left, I let the landlord know that the sink in the bathroom is running slowly. The landlord fixed that, this evening. I am feeling like a facilitator. Nando is moving into this house, at the beginning of December. Result!

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Child Battleground

My soon to be departing housemate, S1, is going to court tomorrow. No, he's not a defendant. His ex-girlfriend, the mother of his child, has gone to Australia, taking his son with her. It's unclear whether she's moved there, or is only visiting. Her family claim she is just visiting, but S1 seems to think that she has moved there, permanently. She has custody of the child and has been the boy's primary carer. S1 is gleefully looking forward to using the British legal system to punish the woman for not asking him first, before she went to Australia with her son.
I wonder at the wisdom behind the step he's about to undertake. He admits that his ex has done a good job of raising the boy, so far. S1 says that, if she had asked him first, he'd probably have agreed to her taking him there. He is not seeking custody and admits there are factors about his situation which would prevent him gaining custody. He seems to expect that his son will be put into care as a result of his legal action. What I don't understand is why he'd want that outcome? Why take the boy away from his mother, when she's doing a good job raising him? Why would he want his son in foster care, just to enable him to vindictively score some point with his ex-girlfriend?
Sadly, he's been out most of the weekend and I don't feel close enough with him to have such a sensitive discussion with him. From what he has told me about it, I think it's a big mistake initiating this legal action. He seems completely focused on "teaching her a lesson" and not on what is best for his son. The boy is only about two, now. I would certainly prefer any son of mine be raised by his biological mother, if, as is the case with S1, I was happy about the way she is raising him, than that he be given to foster carers to raise. I wonder if S1's pride is getting in the way of doing the best thing.

Artist of the Week: M-Theory

This week, my Artist of the Week is M-Theory. M-Theory is a studio based, side project of a vocalist and guitarist, KNL, based in Liverpool, England. The style of the music is electronica/drum and base. Unsigned with any record label, M-Theory sells his music via the internet. I discovered M-Theory on Myspace and loved the sound. You can check out M-Theory's Myspace page at:
Musical influences include Prodigy and the Chemical Brothers. Check out M-Theory, add him and buy the music, if you like it. Tell him I sent you.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

The End of An Era: The Lucas Story Part 4

After my first fiancee, Kelly Lucas, moved out, I wanted to reconcile with her. I went on the trip to Syracuse that we had planned, without her, but we spoke on the phone while I was there. At that time, I got the impression that neither of us really wanted to end things. Little did I know that mine wasn't the only input into the mix that she was considering.
Several months after Kelly moved in, a childhood friend of mine, Dave, told me that his mother had thrown him out of her house. He had been in the Navy for awhile, but had no place to stay. I thought I had an opportunity to help him out and replace the income from when Kelley Bohland had been renting a room. I offered to rent him a room and he moved in. After Lucas moved out, Dave remained. I confided in him that I missed Kelly and wanted to patch things up. He kept advising me to forget about her and find someone else. He suggested that we go out and have some fun. As he didn't have a car, I suspected he wanted me to go, so he could get out and about. He claimed he wanted to meet a woman. We went out a few times and I ended up having a one night stand with some gal I met on one of these occasions. Low and behold, in a subsequent conversation with Lucas, she questioned me about this one night stand. I admitted it to her, pointing out that we were no longer a couple. When Lucas and I had started dating, she told me she had a "rule," that once she has sex with someone else, she never goes back to having sex with a former lover. Now that I had admitted to having a one night stand, she informed me she was applying this rule to me. Because I had sex with someone else, she would never get back together with me. Hang on, the "rule" was supposed to apply to her. She never said anything about applying it to her partners.
Dave moved out, suddenly. I went a couple of months without seeing Lucas, but a check came to the house addressed to her. She wanted me to bring it to her where she was living, back at her parent's. Lucas liked beards on men, so I came up with this scheme to grow a beard, hoping that when she saw me, she would like it. I grew a full beard and when I went to see her, it was mid February. I took her a Valentine's Day card. When I saw her, it soon became clear that she only was interested in getting the check from me. After less than half an hour, she made excuses for me to leave. I went home and shaved off my beard. It hadn't made any difference and it itched like hell.
For a while, I kept calling Kelly on the phone to talk to her. During one of these conversations, she revealed how she knew about my one night stand. It turns out that my friend, Dave, had wanted Lucas for himself. When she was moving out, while I was away in Syracuse, he had asked her to run away with him. She declined, but let him help her move. He started writing and calling her. He told her about the one night stand, deliberately. He also made some stuff up about me. When she asked me about the one night stand in the phone conversation at the time and I had admitted it, she assumed everything he said about me was true. She thought he was a creep for stabbing me in the back like that and never considered running away with him, so all he accomplished was to sabotage my efforts at getting back together with her and ruining his own chances. This demonstrates what can happen when one tries to orchestrate the demise of the relationship of a woman, so one can have her oneself. It never works. It's experiences like these that lead me not to inform the Exotic Flower about M1's infidelity. Eventually, she asked me why I kept calling. She made it pretty clear that she wouldn't consider getting back together with me. I finally stopped calling.
A year later, when I had started a relationship with the Great Michelle, I called Lucas and managed to work into the conversation that I had a girlfriend who was a model, from Britain. Yes, it was just silly spitefulness on my part, but I was still under thirty, back then. Later, I realized that a cassette of me as a child, talking with my great aunt, who had died in 1980, was in Kelly's stereo when she moved out. I wrote her a letter, in 1988, asking her to send me the cassette, as it was the only recording of my aunt's voice. I offered never to contact her again, if she would just return the cassette. The cassette arrived in the mail, one day and I have kept my word, never contacting her again.
In 1993, while petitioning to get on the ballot as a candidate for Mayor of New York, I ran into one of Lucas' cousins and her aunt. Her aunt informed me that she still remained unmarried. I wondered if Kelly would contact me, after hearing about what I was doing, from her Aunt, but she never did. This winter is the 20th anniversary of the ending of our relationship. I still think about her, from time to time. I can still remember the sound off her voice, the look of her slender, artist's fingers, and the smell of her hair on my pillow. The name Kelly will always be special to me.

The Flower Smells Fishy

When I went downstairs to cook dinner, I found the Exotic Flower and M1 on their favorite settee, watching TV. "You're dressed fancy," I said to the Flower. She explained that they were going to a party, tonight. Next to her, M1 was dressed in jeans and a hoodie. "What about him?"
"He hasn't gotten dressed, yet," she explained. The party they were going to was themed, something along the lines of, "guys and dolls," or some sort of 1920s to 1950s style. The Flower wasn't too clear on the nature of the theme.
As I puttered around in the kitchen, I looked through the hatch to the lounge and asked her, "isn't your skirt a bit short for that era?" She stood up and pulled it down. It turned out to be just below the knee, tight and black. "I was wrong," I said, "I didn't realize it had ridden up." She sat back down, causing the hem to rise again, revealing more leg. Besides the black skirt, she was wearing a red and white, low cut top, a red bra and a wide white belt. I know her bra was red, because the top of the cups showed, peeking out from her top. Her shoes were pinkish pearl pumps. She looked hot enough to cook with.
I put rice into my rice cooker and sat down to watch TV with them. They had "X Factor" on. In due course, M1 did get dressed. He came downstairs in a black, pinstripe suit and a pink shirt. He brought several ties with him and tried to select a tie. The Flower said, "If you're going to wear a tie, wear the black one." M1 was leaning toward a pink tie. I suggested a black and pink one, but when he tried it on, the striping made it look to school boyish. The Flower decided he looked better without a tie. M1 kept trying ties, and insisted he wanted to wear one. They started bickering. They seem to bicker a lot.
After my rice was ready, I microwaved some frozen sweetcorn, then microwaved a nice piece of fish which I had brought home from work, yesterday. When my fish (haddock, actually), was ready, M1 yelled in from the lounge to open the kitchen door, because of the smell of fish. "You're joking," I replied. Then the Flower then, saying that she is allergic to fish and can't stand the smell of it. Oh for Pete's sake! How can someone be allergic to all fish? I have heard of being allergic to shellfish, but to all fish? The smell of the fish was minimal, as it was cooked in the restaurant and I was just re-heating it. What would they do if I was frying fish? Then the smell permeates the whole house.
The way they usually sit, the Flower sits closest to me. I sat in the lounge with my dinner. Half way through my meal, the flower dashes upstairs to the toilet. I listened to hear if she was throwing up, as I suspected this was induced by the smell of my dinner, as I was right next to her. I couldn't hear anything that sounded like she was blowing chunks. My girlfriend right before I started dating the Black Queen, Paula, was allergic to nuts. She was so sensitive to it that if I ate peanuts, she could feel nauseous simply from the smell of the peanuts on my breath. The Flower returned, looking composed. She returned to her seat, next to me. When I had finished about three quarters of my meal, she suddenly stood up and moved past M1, to sit closest to the window, which they had opened while I was cooking. She lit a cigarette. I suspected this was her trying to avoid the smell of my dinner. Sure enough, as soon as I had finished eating, she moved back to sit next to me. To her credit, she didn't complain, once.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Where's a Racist When You Need One?

While hanging out with M1 and the Exotic Flower, on Thursday, they told me that my other housemate, S1, is moving out. This is great news, as my Italian ex-housemate, Nando, the racist, told me he is unhappy where he's living now and would like to move. Originally, Nando said he'd like to move by the end of October. The last time I spoke with him was several weeks ago. M1 and the Flower claimed that S1 is moving on the 2nd November. I urgently tried to call Nando. I would love to have him move into this house. He and I lived together in another house, for three years. Nando said I had become more than just a housemate and that he considers me a friend.
Nando may be a racist, but other than that, he's a very nice guy. He never uses your stuff without asking. He always helps pay for Sky and takes his turn buying toilet paper, without being asked. He's also older than M1 and S1 and acts accordingly. After calling his mobile number several times, it just rang and rang. He neither answered, nor did his voicemail come on. I hope he's not away, in Italy, visiting his family. I hoped he hadn't found another place to live. Nando would probably only be interested in the room S1 is in, which is the second largest. I know M1 is interested in it, as well, but he's struggling to pay his rent as it is and if he moved into the larger room, his rent would be even more.
On Friday evening, the landlord called me, to let me know S1 was moving out. "I know, the boy told me," I said. The landlord said S1 was moving out December 2nd, not November 2nd, as M1 and the Flower had said. This is good, as it gives Nando a chance to give a month's notice to his current landlord. The landlord asked me if Nando would still be interested. When Nando told me he wanted to move, I told the landlord and asked him to let me know the instant either S1, or M1, gave notice of moving. I told the landlord that I have already tried calling Nando and I would keep trying and let him now ASAP. He hung up and I got back to watching TV.
Later, I tried calling Nando again. This time, he answered. He said he'd seen my number on his phone, as a missed call. The reason he hadn't answered on Thursday evening is that he'd accidentally left his mobile at work. He hasn't moved yet. However, he has been offered another place by a friend of his. The good news is, his friend has asked for much higher rent than my landlord wants and Nando isn't willing to pay that much. Nando says that if his friend doesn't lower the rent he's asking, Nando will probably take the room, here. He also said he'd come over later today, to see the room. Hopefully, this will work out. Finally, something going my way.

A Girl With No Name

Yesterday, when I got home from Tesco, I noticed that I had forgotten to buy potatoes. I could also do with some Caribbean hot sauce. Because it is Friday, I needed to stop by the temp agency's office, to drop off my timesheet. I decided to go to the smaller Tesco, nearest where I live. The good thing about that Tesco is that it's quiet. The larger Tesco and Sainsbury's would be very busy on a Friday afternoon/evening. The bad thing is, this smaller store doesn't seem to stock everything.
Once inside, I picked up a bag of Tesco Value potatoes, 2.5 kilogram size. I checked the "reduced to clear" section, but there was nothing there which I liked. Caribbean hot sauce was on sale, eight Pence off. I noticed that American style, yellow, hot dog mustard was on sale, too, thirty Pence off, so I grabbed a bottle. I can always use mustard. I thought I would get some frozen sweetcorn, but they were out of the regular and I am not going to pay the higher price of organic. I decided to pick up another couple of boxes of Orville Redenbacher microwave popcorn, but this store didn't stock it.
I walked to the end of the aisle, by the checkout counters. I looked for the Filipino woman who had rung up my shopping the last time I was here, but I didn't see her. I stood still a few moments, thinking. Suddenly, a woman in a Tesco uniform, wearing a headset, came up to me and spoke. "If you use one of the two tills on the end, that should be quicker," she said, indicating the opposite end of the store. She had a uniform jacket on, so she must be a supervisor or manager, or something.
When I am out on my own, I don't like to be disturbed, unless absolutely necessary. My New York, automatic, sarcastic defense system kicked in. "I don't like the people at those tills," I said.
"You don't like the people at those tills?" Was she deaf? That's what I said, innit? This felt like a useless conversation. Why can't people just leave me alone? I reconfirmed for her. "Then you can use the customer service counter," she replied. The customer service is also at the opposite end of the store. Why is this pushy woman trying to get me to walk down to the opposite end of the store?
When I was younger, I would have said something like, " why don't you take your headset and go land some planes?" Instead, I said, "can't I use this one," pointing to the till closest to me. This was the till the Filipino was operating last time, but this time, she wasn't there.
"It's up to you. I am just trying to make sure people get checked out as quickly as possible," she said. What? The store is half empty. She needs to find something productive to do, like getting the store to stock a full range of products. Thankfully, she walked off. I felt uneasy, after having my privacy disturbed. My evil ex-wife, the Black Queen, never could understand that I don't like being disturbed by strange people. And yet, she didn't like cities. She seemed to lack empathy. I realized that I hadn't even finished shopping yet. I walked to the sweets aisle and picked up a package of Tesco Nutty nougat caramel bars. They are sort of like Snickers, but almost half the price.
I decided I was finished shopping and started walking toward the end of the store that the pushy woman had been trying to send me. This resulted in me passing every cashier. I looked each one over and checked how long each queue was. When I reached the second to last cashier, I discovered it was the Filipino. She had her hair down, this time, and didn't have her glasses on. Previously, she had her hair tied back. Oh, she has such lovely long, dark hair. I joined her queue. There was one woman ahead of me, with a kid. This woman looked up at me with a frightened look. What's she scared of? I am not interested in her, I am here for the checkout girl. This woman did have a lot of stuff on the belt, but I was happy to wait. Her child was standing up in the shopping trolley and gleefully making noise. It was hard to tell if it was a boy or a girl, but I suspect it is a boy. The little lad seemed happier than his mum. I noticed that, periodically, the cashier would slap her hand down on the belt, three times in rapid succession. I started imitating her. Every time she would hit the belt, slap, slap, slap, I would immediately follow suit, slap, slap, slap. I hoped she would notice, but she gave no indication that she did.
Eventually it was my turn. I checked her uniform for a name tag, but as last time, she didn't have one. Maybe she doesn't have a name. Suddenly, a song came to my mind. (read the following with the tune of "Horse With No Name," by America, in mind) "I've been through the checkout with a girl with no name, it felt good to be out of the rain. At the checkout, you can remember your name, for there ain't no one for to give you no pain." I smiled at her and said, "you don't have your glasses on, today."
"I don't like to wear them," she said, smiling, but coyishly not making eye contact. That's what she said, last time. I happen to find glasses attractive on women. I scanned her fingers, as she rung up my shopping. She had several rings on a variety of fingers. On the left hand, she had a small ring that might have been an engagement ring, although it was very small. As I had so few items, all to quickly she had finished. I tried to think of a way to prolong the encounter. Cashback! I asked her for cashback, as I was paying with a card. I almost never do this, but it was payday and I could use a little more cash in my pocket. She asked me how much I wanted. Oh, there's a question.
"Ten quid?" I asked gingerly. "Does that sound like a good amount?" She gave me a shrug and I stated that, indeed, I wanted £10. By now, there were a couple of people in the queue, behind me. I didn't feel comfortable holding up the line any further. I entered my pin as requested. She expertly handed me my receipt and a ten Pound note. "Ooooh, money back," I exclaimed. I said goodbye and walked to the exit. She really looked rather pretty, today. Ironically, she was at one of the two tills that the pushy woman had been trying to get me to use, but I found her on my own.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Iain Lee vs the Exotic Flower

On my way home from work, today, via Tesco, I was listening to "the 3 and 1/2 Hour, 3 to 6:30, Iain Lee Afternoon Wireless Show, on LBC 97.3, London (Sky 0177 or via the net at: ), as I usually do every weekday afternoon, if I am not working during those hours. I happen to think Iain Lee is the funniest person on UK radio. After parking my car in front of the house, I sat in it for a few minutes, waiting for Iain to go to a break, so I could go inside without missing any. I noticed M1's car parked outside. It's unusual for him to be home that early.
Iain went to a break, so I tried to scurry in with my groceries, attempting to shield the toilet paper, so M1 wouldn't notice it, if he looked out of his window. As I entered the house, I was surprised to find both him and the Exotic Flower laying on one of the settees in the lounge, watching Sky again. He looked asleep, but she was definitely awake. I used my body to hide the toilet paper from her view, then maneuvered into the kitchen, to put my groceries away. I called out, "hello," through the hatch between the kitchen and the lounge. M1 looked up, turning out to be awake after all. I asked the Exotic Flower what they were watching, She told me, "My Super Sweet 16." After putting away my groceries, I went upstairs, hiding the toilet paper in my room.
I changed out of my work clothes, then took a much needed visit to the water closet (WC). I had found a copy of today's' "Daily Mail," in the restaurant, so I took it with me, to play sudoku during my visit to the WC. I noticed someone had put out one roll of toilet paper. Once enthroned, I started thumbing through the paper, looking for the sudoku. I scanned through the paper, front to back, then back to front, several times, but I couldn't find the sudoku. Finally, I found a panel that indicated the sudoku was on pages 51 and 52. I turned to page 51. No, I didn't! After page 50, the next page was...55! Some twat had removed the sudoku pages from the paper. Arrrgh! I settled for reading some of the stories in the paper, instead.
Once my time in the WC had come to an end, I had a decision to make. No, not whether to wash my hands. I always wash my hands. Should I go to my room and listen to the rest of Iain Lee's show, or go downstairs and watch TV with the Exotic Flower ...and what's his name? I hope Iain will forgive me...I chose the Flower! By the time I got back downstairs, "My Super Sweet 16" had ended. M1 put on "Futurama." From the makers of "The Simpsons," "Futurama" is animated and has a female cyclops. Why is there something sexy about a woman with a single eye in the middle of her face? Well, it's different. The flower didn't want to watch "Futurama."
We careened through late afternoon/early evening television, as M1 and the Flower bickered over what to watch and who would control the remote. At one point, she said to him, "go fuck a waitress." That was interesting, given the recent rumors that M1 was fooling around with a waitress at the restaurant where he works. "I don't want a waitress," he said, "I only want you." How creepy.
The bickering finally ended at 7:30PM, when "Eastenders" came on. At least M1 and I can agree on something: it's a great show. After "Eastenders" finished, they went upstairs to get ready to go out. They were going to go see, "Step Up," at the cinema. When they came back down, the Flower was dressed in white trousers, and a black top. with a silver and black belt. M1 just had on casual jeans and a jumper. "You dress nicely for the cinema," I said to the Flower. M1 chimed in that it was wasted, when they were just going to sit in a dark room. "Just be glad you have a beautiful girlfriend," I said to him. The Flower thanked me for the compliment. Out they went, into the night.

Tesco Checkout Hopscotch

When I left the house, this morning, we were out of toilet paper. I have one emergency roll, but I didn't put it out, cause I wanted to see if M1 would break down and actually by some. Because I don't trust him, I decided to stop at Tesco and purchase some...just in case. Besides, last night, when I visited my friend who closes a restaurant, he had no meat left over for me. All I was able to get was three servings of cole slaw. I figured I could use some food to last through the weekend. I was also out of potato salad and had limited amounts of crisps left.
I stopped at the Tesco Superstore, between Camberley and Sandhurst. I picked up some Tesco Value potato salad, then found Creamy Tesco cole slaw marked down, because of being at its sell by date. I grabbed two 600 gram containers. I also got two bags of Tesco stir fried vegetable mix, marked down. I picked out the lowest priced twelve pack of toilet paper rolls, carrying the large package under my arm. Then I found Tesco hot dog buns on sale, buy one pack get one free. Two of those. After picking up a 12 pack of Tesco Value crisps, I decided to check the price of the microwave popcorn. It's a good thing I did, as Orville Redenbacher was on sale, buy one, get one free. Two of those.
As I headed for the checkout counters, I noticed the store seemed very busy, considering it was a Thursday afternoon, before 5PM. Who are all these people? I started looking for the Nepalese woman I have seen working here, a couple of times before. Walking along the checkout counters, I didn't see her, so I looked for a back up choice. I spied a woman with a relatively short queue. Although she was older, she was decent looking, so I joined her queue. Before I could put any of my shopping on the belt, another woman at the till next to the one I was at, called out to me and said I should join her queue. She, too, was older and not quite as good looking as the woman at the checkout I was in queue for. Also, although the woman who called out to me had less people in her queue, with only one couple, that couple had a lot of food. In my expert shopper's opinion, the odds looked better that I would get through faster on the queue I was already on. Was this woman getting ready to close, or something? I grimaced and moved from one queue to the other, as requested. After I changed queues, the one I had left definitely seemed to be moving quicker. The woman at the new till was named Anne. She glanced at the other queue, with a concerned look on her face. It dawned on her that I was better off where I had originally been.
As if she was trying the help Anne out, the cashier at the original queue started going very slow. By the time it was my turn, the queues were even. Anne apologized for pulling me away from the quicker queue. She had the look of an old school teacher, or of someone's mother. I told her not to worry, as he co-worker had slowed down to make her Anne look good. "I wondered why you were so determined to lure me to your queue," I said.
Anne peered up at me, from behind a delicate pair of glasses. "It was your magnetic personality," she said.
"I think that's actually the metal plate in my head," I responded, dismissively. Anne mentioned having a son, in his thirties. "Is that even legal?" I enquired, feigning shock.
"Yes, everying was proper. I was married," she said.
"But people got married at, like, 12, back then...didn't they?" She just chuckled.
I told you that you have a magnetic personality," she said, continuing to smile. I said goodbye and walked out into the late October, afternoon sunshine, with my toilet paper stuck under one arm.

Reality to Nightmare: the Lucas Story Part 3

After Kelly Lucas got me to evict Kelley Bohland, I asked Lucas to move in with me. She agreed. At the time, I shared a house with my grandmother and mother. I had inherited two thirds ownership in the property in 1980 and moved back there in 1982. I had the whole top floor, my mother occupied the middle floor and my Grandmother had a room on the ground floor. For me, having Lucas there, with me, was living the dream. My family, however, were decidedly unfriendly towards her. While I would expect this from my mother, I was surprised to find my grandmother acting so cold and unfriendly. We all shared common areas, like the kitchen. They started a campaign of ostricizing Lucas.
When I moved back there, in 1982, my mother started cooking for me. Well, not just for me, she also cooked for my grandmother, so she basically just started making larger amounts, so there was enough for me, as well. The first thing she did was cut the amount of food she was cooking so that there wouldn't be enough for me and Lucas. She would leave a little for me, but not so much so that Kelly and I could share. I am not sure what that was supposed to accomplish, as both Kelly and I were able to cook. The result was that Lucas and I started cooking our own dinners and we left the other two to eat their stuff themselves.
The next tactic was that my grandmother would leave the dining room, where she used to hang out, as soon as Lucas came home, and go to her room. My mother already was in the habit of hiding when anyone other than me and my grandmother were around, but for my grandmother, this was a behavior I had never seen before. I felt sad about this, because Lucas was my fiancee and due to become one of the family. So far, her family had been pretty warm to me, at least her mother, step-father, and two sisters. She had a couple of cousins and an aunt who were a little cool toward me, but at least they spoke. Years later, I found out from my mother what the problem was. She had convinced herself that Lucas had only started being receptive to me after I had inherited two thirds ownership of the house. My mother and grandmother convinced themselves that Lucas was after the house and only pretending to love me to achieve that end. Of course they ignored the fact that the dates didn't match. I inherited in 1980 and Lucas re-established contact in 1985. Besides, after she got back in touch, I was the one doing the pursuing.
My mother refused to meet Lucas and hid whenever she was in the house. In fairness, my mother did this with every one of my girlfriends and only met Kelley Bohland accidentally. Once my mother met Kelley, she went completely the other way and became overly friendly with the girl. That was another thing my mother had against Lucas, blaming her for pressuring me to evict Kelley. My mother is a bit eccentric and one of her habits was to put the radio, or television, on at high volume, so she could hear it in several rooms, as she moved around. One day, Lucas came home and, of course, found no one around. When my mother heard Lucas' key in the lock, she would have hidden. Unfortunately, my mother left the TV turned up loudly. Lucas walked in, heard the TV blaring and saw no one watching it, so she turned it down. This set my mother off and she ran over and started shouting at the poor girl. Meanwhile, I am upstairs, on the top floor. Suddenly, I heard shouting downstairs. I ran down to investigate and found my mother shouting at Lucas. I instantly jumped in between them and told my mother, "don't speak to my fiancee that way!" At this, my mother went away, back into hiding. Lucas and I went upstairs. She said she was surprised I took her side. I explained to her that she's my fiancee and I will defend her against any attacker, even my own family.
Kelly Lucas is the second woman I have lived with. The first, Kelley Bohland, was very easy going and basically did whatever I said. Lucas, alternatively, had all sorts of "rules" and policies that she expected to be complied with. One of the main ones was that all chores had to be shared, fifty-fifty. I remember this being particularly unpleasant when it came to doing the laundry. We didn't have a working washing machine in the house, so we had to use a laundromat. Under Lucas' policy, the laundry would only get done when both of us could attend the laundromat, together. I had taken a job in nuclear security, as I wasn't making enough from teaching flying, and reduced my teaching to only part time. I worked afternoon and evenings and on weekends. My days off were during the week. Meanwhile, Lucas was still working as an art director at a big, New York ad agency. She worked Monday through Friday and was off weekends. Because of our work schedules, the only time we could find that we could do laundry together was early Sunday morning, before I left for work. I found this frustrating, as it was time we could have been having fun together. To me, we should just take turns and whomever was available do it while the other is at work. It's funny how a little thing can eat away at you. Later on, one of my professors from university suggested a simple solution. We could pay for a service wash. It's a pity that neither Lucas, nor I, thought of this. For years, after Lucas and I split up, I paid for service washes, thus avoiding the hassle of sitting in a laundromat. At the time I was living with Lucas, the frustration led to some arguments She had this habit of threatening to move back to her parents, when we would argue. Several times, I left for work on a weekend while her bag was packed, sitting on the floor at the end of the bed. I would end up working an entire shift not knowing if she would be there when I got home. However, every time I came home, she was still there.
Around this time, People Express, one of America's first no-frills airlines, started offering some really cheap airfares. I suggested that Lucas and I take advantage of them. We flew to San Francisco and visited my friend, Mike. Lucas' jealousy and insecurity started to really show, when she made a fuss over Mike and I eyeing a woman crossing a street. We flew to Houston and visited one of her cousins, who wanted to see if I was suitable for her. We flew to Atlanta and drove to Alabama, to visit some distant cousins of mine. When we returned from that trip, we discovered that Lucas' grandmother had died, while we were away. This upset Kelly very much and she blamed me for taking her away, saying she had missed seeing her grandmother one last time, before she died, because she was away with me. Because of this, she refused to go with me to Florida, so I went on my own.
While in Florida, I reflected on all the conflicts Lucas and I were having. Over the years since I first fell for Lucas, she hadn't changed. The problem was, I had. I kept growing and evolving, over the seven years. When I first met her, at university, I tried to behave in a way that she would like. By the time we got engaged, I had developed my own, strong personality and no longer wanted to behave to please someone else. I wanted to live to please myself. I decided to push back our wedding date another year, to give us time to settle our frictions. After I returned, while visiting her parents, her step-father started an argument with me. I noticed that Lucas didn't come to my defense, the way I did when my mother was shouting at her.
Kelly and I were due to take another trip, together, to Syracuse one weekend, where we had originally met. We had been invited to visit a friend of hers and I wanted to attend an event at Syracuse University. We were due to fly from Newark airport, on People Express, on Saturday. Saturday morning, while getting ready to leave for the airport, Kelly announced she isn't going. This led to yet another argument. I was very pissed off that she pulled this right when we were supposed to be going to the airport. In the course of arguing, she repeated her habitual threat to move back to her parent's. I was frustrated and said something that was to have profound repercussions. I said to her, "then why don't you actually go instead of just threatening to?" Her eyes widened in shock, then she said she would. I went on the trip alone and she moved out, while I was away.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Six Degrees of Bracknell

"Six Degrees of Separation" is a play that explores the notion that everyone in the world is connected to everyone else by a chain of no more than six acquaintances. I wanted to see the play in New York, but never got around to it. It was made into a film, released in 1993. That, I did see and if you haven't, it's probably worth it just to see Will Smith play a gay guy. Here in this corner of the Royal County of Berkshire, England (they call it the Royal County, because the Queen has a residence, here...Windsor Castle, innit? It's kind of cool that I live so close to the Queen. But my evil ex-wife, the Black Queen's parents live in the town of Windsor, too. Someone better warn the Queen, cause they're dodgy.), the connections can be a lot closer.
Back in June, I was being considered for a job as an Assistant Manager of a pub/restaurant (see "Fox in the Henhouse?" blog article, in June archives [July on Blogspot] ). I ended up being one of two finalists, but didn't get the job, after I was sandbagged by a lesbian Assistant Manager, who spread false stories about me to get the Manager not to hire me. One of the junior chefs, where I am currently working, used to work at the same restaurant I had applied to. He's friends with another chef who still works there. That's how I found out about the lesbian and her sabotage of my chances. Recently, my youngest housemate, M1, got a job there, as a bartender. To make it all cozy, my other housemate, S1, used to work for the same company that owns this restaurant, working at one of their pubs. I told the chef I am working with about M1 starting to work at the restaurant. M1 got the job not knowing that I had actually done some trial shifts there, in June. This chef being the type of guy he is, asked his friend there about M1. Today, he reported back to me
According to his source, M1 is having a relationship with one of the waitresses and she isn't the Exotic Flower, who is his girlfriend that stays here, weekends. I wonder if the Flower knows? Okay, for a split second, the thought crossed my mind to tell her...ha, ha, ha...but guys don't do that sort of thing. It's not the done thing. A guy doesn't tell on another guy, when he's playing away. Not directly, anyway. Now, if there was a way to orchestrate her finding out, without actually telling her, that's different. Hmmm...can't think of any way. It wouldn't really benefit me, anyway. It's not like she would turn to me, would she? Who says life isn't like British uber soap opera, "Eastenders?"

Monday, October 23, 2006

Filipinos Surrounding Me?

I ran out of cole slaw, last night, so I planned to stop at Tesco on the way home from work. Hassel, the Malawain who's been car pooling with me, asked me to drop him off at the temp agency's office. I had intended to head on to the larger Tesco, on the other side of town, after dropping him off, but I forgot and started driving home. I received a message from my mobile phone's voicemail that I had messages. I checked my phone credit and it had completely run out. Then I remembered. Well, I could buy a top up at Tesco, as well as cole slaw, but I didn't want to double back and waste the petrol. What to do? I decided to go to the smaller Tesco, nearer to where I was.
The one advantage to this smaller Tesco is that it's easy to find parking. Not finding anything I wanted in the "reduced to clear" section, I picked up two 250 gram Tesco Value cole slaws, as they don't stock the 500 gram size, there. I added a package of Tesco Value batteries...AA my basket, for the Sky remote control, which has been giving a low battery warning over the past few days. I then looked over the checkout counters, to select the one I would use. In front of me was one with a male cashier. Pass. To my right, the nearest open till was so far away, I couldn't make out what was at the register. To my left was the extra wide checkout aisle, with an innocent looking oriental woman, with glasses, manning the register. She had absolutely no customers, so I headed for her.
"What's going on, here?" I smiled at her and continued, "you have no customers. Have you scared them all off?"
She smiled shyly and said, "maybe they are scared of me."
"Do you charge extra, or something?" I enquired. "I bet you charge extra. I will have to keep my eye on you. Where are you from?"
"The Philippines," she said, grinning, but not meeting my eyes.
"I know someone who works at the other Tesco, on the other side of town, who's also from the Philippines. Do you know anyone who works there and is from the Philippines?" She shook her head in the negative. "Her name is Corazon." She indicated that she didn't know Corrie. Then she told me my total was £1.03. I had my debit card in my hand, to pay, but that seemed too small an amount to use a card. Hang on, it should have been more than that. I had forgotten to ask her for the Vodaphone top up.
"Wait! I want something else," I said. I dug around in my wallet for my Vodaphone electronic top up card. When I looked up, she had removed her glasses. I asked for a £5 top up, then said,"hey! What happened to your glasses?"
"I don't like to wear them." She was wearing them when I first came to the till. She kept grinning, coyly.
"They look good on you," I told her. I tend to find women in glasses attractive. She had no name tag on. She had some sort of ring, which could be a wedding ring, but if I didn't know better, I would have said she'd taken her glasses off to improve her looks in front of me. Some sour looking person was waiting to pay, so I took my leave. Maybe I should come back to this Tesco again.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Watching TV With the Exotic Flower

At 9PM tonight, I went downstairs to watch a film on Sky and have dinner. As I walked down the stairs, I heard noise coming from the lounge and the lights were on. Downstairs, I discovered M1 and his exotic flower of a girlfriend watching Sky. They had "The X Factor" on. I felt very annoyed about this, because to date, M1 hasn't paid any money towards the Sky bill, despite agreeing that he would, when he moved in. I decided I didn't want to cause a scene in front of his lovely girlfriend, so I would wait till we are alone to confront him over it. Either he starts paying, or I will start removing the viewing card, when I am not watching it.
Earlier, I had asked M1 to remove his clothes from the indoor clothes line, in our utility room. He'd done wash yesterday and they would be dry now. Because it's rained all weekend, I can't hang my laundry outside, as I usually do. He claimed the clothes weren't dry yet, but I felt some of the shirts and they were dry. I told him that if he'd remove the ones that are dry, that would make enough room for me to use. As I hadn't done my wash yet, I told him he could do it in a couple of hours. Even the heaviest items should be dry by then, as they have been hung up for 24 hours. Now, several hours later, I go in the utility room and he's not removed any of the clothes. I feel them and they are all dry. I moved most of them and hung them on the door handles.
After hanging up my wash, I started cooking dinner. I decided to make the Marks and Spencer scampi and chips, which I got free, ten days ago. "The X Factor" ended, and I heard M1 and the Exotic Flower flipping through music video channels. After putting my dinner in the oven, I went into the lounge and asked them if I could watch a program, if they weren't watching anything in particular. They handed me the remote. I checked the film I wanted to watch, hoping that it would be on "multi-start," so I might catch it from the beginning, but it wasn't. I flipped through the channels, but didn't see anything I particularly wanted to watch. I chucked them the remote and told them to watch whatever they wanted. My film plans for the night were ruined.
The Exotic Flower started talking to me, as is her habit. As I headed back into the kitchen to put the rest of my dinner in the oven, I called out to her, "I don't even know your name." She told it to me. Well, I'm not telling YOU, to protect her privacy. I made a joke about her I am sure she's heard a million times before. I thought that if I sat down in the lounge with them, to eat my dinner, maybe they would go upstairs. I sat in my usual seat and began eating my dinner. They stayed. M1 had "Hogan Knows Best," on. From her comments, it seemed that her taste in TV and his don't match. The Exotic Flower started flipping through the music video channels again. She came across "Black Hole Sun," by Soundgarden and I asked her to leave it on, as I like that song. M1 complained that he didn't like it. It seems he only likes gangsta rap and hip hop. The Flower ridiculed him for not liking rock. These two are so mismatched, it's sickening. She complained she was hot, as M1 was laying on her. She undid the tie to this little robe-like top she was wearing. Don't worry, she had a pajama top on, underneath. She complained that M1's head was heavy. Of course it is, he's got a big, hard head. She shifted his head so that it wasn't crushing her left breast.
M1 wanted to watch "Pimp My Ride," at 10PM. The Flower wanted to watch some "Sweet 16" show. She walked to the toilet, attired in pajamas and slippers. Based on her visible panty line and the panties I saw her in yesterday, she doesn't seem to wear thongs. That's cool. I don't like thongs that much, anyway. After she and I endured M1's "Pimp My Ride," she took the remote again and switched to the channel showing "Sweet 16," but it was ending as well. She complained that M1 had made her miss her program. She then began surfing the music channels again. I asked her if she had heard the new Girls Aloud song, "Something Kinda Ooooh." She said no, so we hoped to see the video. The Flower then complained that no Pussycat Dolls videos had been shown, this evening. She said Nicole from PCD was beautiful. I pointed out that Nicole was too thin. M1 began complaining that various pop singers had boob jobs. He then let slip that the flower wanted a boob job. I asked her why she would want to mess with her breasts. She said that she kept seeing so many porn stars with big breasts. "What are you doing looking at porn stars?" I asked. The Flower informed me that she likes porn. I pointed out that my evil ex-wife, the Black Queen, didn't like porn. The Flower laughed at my pet name for my ex-wife and asked me about what went wrong in our marriage. I explained that BQ had betrayed me and broken her wedding vows. She asked me if the BQ had cheated. I told her, "no." The flower then stated that in most marriage break ups, infidelity is involved and it's more often the woman than the man. Where does she get her information? M1 chirped in, "will you cheat on me?"
"You mean when we get married?" Oh no, surely she won't marry this git. "It depends on the guy," she explained. I noticed that he kept making uncomplimentary comments about her. At one point he referred to her as stupid. Why does she put up with this crap? In response to one comment by him, she said, "no sex for you, tonight." When he didn't seem bothered, she asked, "have you not recovered from what I did to you, earlier?" Can't he even keep up with this little sexual dynamo? "Even though he's older than me, I am the older person in the relationship," she informed me. Of course you are, he's a boy.
"They say girls mature faster than boys," I replied. M1 started moaning that he was tired and had to go to work Noon. "Noon? That's thirteen hours from now. I need to be at work by 7:30AM, for Pete's sake," I chided. What a lightweight. M1 got up and announced he was going to bed. Would the Flower stay and watch TV alone with me?
After a moment of hesitation, she got up and said, "I'm being forced to go to bed."
As I watched her walk to the stairs, I called after her, "you've made your bed, now you have to lay in it."

Making Supermodels Without Me

The woman from "Make Me a Supermodel: Extra," who called me on Friday, called back, today. Her name is Natasha. Despite the fact that I told her Friday that I had only heard part of her message, she asked me again if I got her message. I clarified that I only heard the beginning, up to when the voicemail cut her off. She finally got on to what she wanted. She said that because they have such a small studio and they end up turning people away every show, they'd like me not to come for the next couple of weeks, but come back at the end of the series. She seemed to think that me being seen to be at every show would be "unfair" to the people who get turned away. I pointed out that Steve, the original person from the show who had spoken to me about attending the show, had said that I could attend every show in the series. I committed to attend every show and they sent me tickets to every show. Is it fair for them to go back on that agreement?
I am one peron. Is it going to make that much of a difference if one person doesn't attend? So they can admit one other person. Most of the people attending are in groups of two or more, so how is having one extra seat going to matter? On Friday, two people walked out part way through, during an ad break, so they had to sit two staff members in their places to fill the gap. I told her that if I wasn't going to attend all of the shows, I wouldn't bother attending any more of them. She tried to make amends by saying I would be welcome to come back, later in the series. I repeated to her that I didn't see the point. If I am not doing the entire series, then the heck with it. I have been to four already. It was costing me money in traveling, anyway. If they think losing the publicity from me writing about the show is worth it, just so some twat doesn't realize that the same guy has attended all the shows, then so be it. Personally, I would think that the new channel, Five Life, could use all the publicity they can get.
So, don't bother tuning in to "Make Me a Supermodel: Extra," anymore, as I won't be on it. Frankly, you aren't missing much, as you can still watch the main show on Channel Five. The "Extra" show wasn't living up to its potential, anyway. They failed to take advantage of my attendance, by having me talk with the presenters. On Thursday, when they claimed they wanted me to talk, they changed their minds and used others. One of the people they used froze up when he was asked a question by the presenter, Anthony. That's just what you want on a live broadcast.

Artist of the Week: Girls Aloud

This week, it was easy for me to pick my Artist of the Week, Girls Aloud. A couple of days ago, I was driving into London to attend "Make Me a Supermodel: Extra," when I heard a song on the radio that I had never heard before. I wasn't even sure who it was by, just that it was a girl group. Then, yesterday, I saw the video for the first time and discovered that the song, "Something Kinda Ooooh," is the new single by Girls Aloud. The video premiered on UK music video channels only yesterday and the single is due to be released tomorrow. It's from a new album by the Girls, "the Sounds of Girls Aloud," which is due out at the end of this month. The album is a greatest hits collection, with a couple of new tracks, one of which is, "Something Kinda Oooooh." It is one of those songs that grabbed me the instant I heard it. Unlike some of their recent songs, which are more sedate, like "Whole Lotta History," "Ooooh" is fast and danceable. I think it is the best song they have recorded, so far, and it's my profile song for the week.
I can't imagine anyone doesn't know who Girls Aloud are, already. They were created on the reality TV show, "Pop Stars: The Rivals," in 2002. To date, all twelve of their previous singles have reached the top 10 in the UK charts, something no other girl group has achieved. That tops the old Spice Girls record of ten singles in the top 10. "Something Kinda Ooooh" is their 13th single and I predict it will be in the top 10, as well. Ironically, 13 is my favorite number. When they first hit the music scene, some people made fun of them, but they have defied their early critics to become one of the most successful reality TV acts ever. The group is comprised of Nadine Coyle, Cheryl Tweedy (now Cheryl Cole), Nicola Roberts, Kimberley Walsh, and Sarah Harding, all beauties. You can view their Myspace profile at: . If you don't have them as "friends" already, add them and tell them I sent you. Buy the single, tomorrow. I am going to buy the album and so should you.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Layabout in Lace

Yesterday, on my way home from work, I stopped in Sainsbury's. I haven't been there for some time, as I have been doing most of my shopping at Tesco, recently. I have been buying petrol from Sainsbury's, because they have the lowest price around and they have a special offer of triple Nectar points until the end of October. I was in Tesco on Thursday night, picking up some cole slaw, when I started to pick up some other products I need. I stopped myself realizing that I had enough Nectar points to get money off at Sainsbury's. I decided to purchase these items at Sainsbury's instead, where I could redeem my points and get money off. Aren't I a clever shopper?
Friday, at Sainsbury's, I discovered that microwave popcorn was on sale, so I picked up two boxes. I also purchased a couple of items that were marked down because they reached their sell by date. I also decided to pick up a birthday card for my mother. Her birthday is Halloween. When I was a kid, she used to tell me she was a witch, because she was born on Halloween. Obviously, my mother was one of those nurturing, carer types. My shopping bill came to £9 something. I redeemed two rewards and received £5 off, so I didn't have to pay even £5 for shopping.
When I got home from "Make Me a Supermodel: Extra," I was so tired, I went to bed, after a late dinner. Out of the habit of getting up early all week, I awoke at 6:45 this morning. I decided to sign on to the internet, doing internet stuff till around 10AM. Feeling tired again, I went back to bed for a nap. I ended up sleeping till just past 3PM. I missed the Chris Hawkins radio show on LBC 97.3, London. Back onto the internet, I managed to entertain myself till past 5PM. It suddenly occurred to me that I hadn't had a meal all day. This morning, I had eaten some peanuts that I had by my computer, but had no proper breakfast, nor lunch. Deciding it was time I eat a meal, I went out to go downstairs. Pausing at the top of the stairs, I heard the sound of a television coming from my youngest housemate, M1's room. I also heard the TV downstairs. M1's exotic beauty of a girlfriend had stayed the night, as she often does on weekends. The door to his room was wide open, so I moved over to his doorway, prepared to say hello. The sight that greeted me stunned me to silence. The exotic flower, herself, was laying on the bed, wearing only black lace panties and a shirt. Fortunately, she had her back to me and hadn't noticed me standing there. I quickly moved back to the head of the stairs and went down.
Downstairs, I discovered M1 in the lounge, with the downstairs TV on and doing some ironing. True to form, he was watching skateboarding on TV. What's wrong with this picture? I am reminded of the old story of Nero fiddling while Rome burns. He's downstairs ironing while the hottie is laying about on his bed in her underwear. I asked him if his girlfriend watched "Make Me a Supermodel: Extra?" He didn't know. How clued in he is. I wonder if he knows her name. He finished ironing and headed back upstairs, leaving me free to turn on something interesting on TV. I prepared an early dinner and planned my evening's TV watching. When dinner was ready, I lost myself in chicken, potato, sweetcorn, carrot cauliflower, and broccoli, trying to get the image of the exotic flower curvaceous, black lace attired rear out of my head. Why would she lay about like that, with the room door open, when she knows I am home? Didn't she hear the noise of me opening my door and venturing out?
M1 and exotic flower came downstairs, later, on their way out somewhere. I looked up from watching TV and shouted hello. Exotic flower paused and turned around, saying hello back. I asked her if she watched the "Supermodel: Extra" show. She said she did, so I told her I have been attending every episode. I walked over to the doorway to talk with her. From my conversation, I determined that she is a bit confused between the main show, "Make me a Supermodel," and the "Extra" show. I suspect she has been watching the main show, but not the "Extra" show. Now that I have told her I am in the studio audience, maybe she will tune in. There was no sign from her that she realized that I had seen her, earlier, in her underwear. Maybe she can watch me on TV, while M1 irons.

Is All Well At the Supermodel House?

I almost missed the "Make Me a Supermodel: Extra" show, last night. When they were discussing my attending the series, they emailed me a list of dates for the live show. It seems that list is incomplete. The list didn't have a show on Friday, this week. So, I took my time coming home from work. It's a good thing I double checked the tickets they sent me. I had a ticket for a Friday, 20 October show! So much for a relaxing evening at home. I quickly showered and got dressed, then headed off.
I managed to get away from home at about the same amount of time in advance as I had Thursday. After listening to the traffic report, I got stuck in traffic on the M25 that was not mentioned in the report. I abandoned the motorway and took the same A road as I did Thursday. While I was driving, some woman from the show called my mobile and left a voicemail. She rambled on so long, the voicemail cut her off before she said what she wanted. She had withheld her number, which is why I didn't answer. Bill collectors often do that, so I usually don't answer calls from withheld numbers. Anyone with legitimate business will leave a message. I hadn't counted on this woman, who didn't manage to leave a number to call back on, or a complete message. Judging from the rambling bit I did hear, it almost sounded like she was going to tell me not to come. She prattled on about the show being busy, but that they do want me to come back. Once she realized she had been cut off by the voicemail, surely she would call back. She didn't. Until now, the day before every show, someone has called me to verify that I am still coming. No one did Thursday, but then I was at the show Thursday anyway.
The A road seemed to be moving faster, last night and I didn't fall behind. For once, I arrived about 20 minutes early. There was already a queue, even though the show airs later on Fridays (10PM). I joined the queue, behind a Chinese couple. Okay, so only the guy was Chinese, the woman was only part Chinese, she said, like that makes a difference. They ended up taking photos with me. I know, Chinese with a camera sounds a bit cliched, right? They promised to email me the photos, so I could show you, and I promised to write about them. So far, they haven't lived up to their end of the bargain, so I can't mention them anymore, till they do. The woman with the clipboard finally started talking to us. When she got to me, my name wasn't on her guestlist. That's strange. Every other time, it's been on. She said not to worry and wrote it in. As Harrison Ford would say, in "Star Wars," "I've got a bad feeling about this."
People in front and behind us (me and the unmentionable Chinese couple...OK, one and a half Chinese) were let in, while we waited for over an hour. The clipboard woman told us not to worry, that the show wasn't over subscribed that night, so we would get in. If that was the case, what the heck did the woman want who phoned me? Anyway, we were the only ones left outside (cue "Left Outside Alone," by Anastacia). Eventually, they let us in. There was still beer left. I started drinking from a small bottle of Stella, hoping to manage another one before we went up to the studio. I ended up having three. Result!
One and half Chinese and I were the last people taken into the studio. I was sat in the back row...again. It was an eviction night, with two of the would-be models, one boy and one girl, given the chop. The freshly evicted joined us in the studio, for their first post-eviction interview. Co-presenter, Jasmine, was looking particularly ravishing, in a wine red outfit. After the show, as we were leaving, a woman from the show's staff came up to me and, said, "did you get my message?" I informed her that I only got the beginning, until the voicemail cut her off. She still didn't indicate what it was about, but said she would call me "tomorrow." The mystery continues.
You can chck out "Make Me a Supermodel: Extra" at: There is an omnibus show on Sunday, so maybe I will get to see myself. How many of these things do I have to go to, before I am a "fashionista?"

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Extra Early

Tonight, I planned on leaving extra early for "Make Me a Supermodel: Extra" and I did. I left forty minutes earlier than I did on Tuesday. The result? I arrived three minutes later than I did, Tuesday. London traffic does my head in. When I arrived, I showed the guard my invitation. He politely told me to wait in a short queue (line). This had never happened before. I heard voices coming from inside. I was only five minutes late. Don't tell me they already let so many people in that I was locked out. Above me, I noticed a sign which read, "General Audience Queue." There was another queue on the opposite side of the entrance, with a sign that read, "Priority Audience Queue." Now, there were only two people ahead of me in the general queue and there were two people in the priority queue, so there weren't a lot of people ahead of me, but who knows how many were inside already?
The two from the priority queue were let in. I was thinking, "if I have come all this way and they don't let me in, I will feel very angry. You wouldn't like me when I'm angry." It would be cool if I could do a whole Hulk thing and turn into a behemoth when I am pissed off. I bet they'd let me in then. Three more people turned up and mentioned something about being guests of Jasmine, to the guard. He checked inside and then they were let in. Finally, the gate opened and out walked a man and a woman, both of whom I had seen before. The woman had a clipboard and asked the two women in front of me for their names. Then, the man starts to give them wristbands, like we had Tuesday. The woman asked my name, next. I told her and she checked her clipboard. "you're priority," she said, and moved me to the other queue. As she I took my place, alone in the priority queue, the guard apologized to me for keeping me waiting. This was more like it!
The audience warm up guy peeked out. He recognized me and we talked for a bit. Then I am ushered inside and directed to the drinks table. I grabbed another small bottle of Stella Artois beer. Standing with other people waiting, I tried to drink the beer as fast as possible so I might acquire another one. Just as I finished the beer, another woman with a clipboard comes over and calls out my name and another man's name. After we responded, she asked us to follow her and leads us inside. When we get into the studio, there are only two other audience members inside already. Instead of being in danger of not getting in, I am one of the first few.
I am directed to sit in a specific chair. The production assistant tells me I will be asked question by one of the presenters I am placed in the second row on the side of the studio. I should get a lot of air time, here, plus I would get to talk on camera. That's exactly what I wanted. I sit there, watching other people being led in. All of a sudden, yet another woman with a clipboard turned up. She explained that, since I have been there before, she would like to swap where I am sitting to another place. OOooohhhh! But I didn't get to speak, before! She leads me right back to the same row I was in on Tuesday. What a stitch up! Doesn't she realize? I'm a priority!
You can tune into "Make Me A Supermodel: Extra," three times per week, on Five Life.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Dark Matter

I have a friend who works at a restaurant and on the nights he works till closing, he saves some of the leftover food for me. The only bad thing about it is that I have to go there after the manager leaves, which means I meet him there after midnight. I needed to go, tonight, because I had used up the last of what he gave me, last week. The problem is, I didn't feel up to going out.
Earlier, I watched "Donnie Darko," finally. For years, people have been telling me to watch this film. Well, people other than Tom, the Injured Cyclist ( ). I was visiting Tom a few months ago, when he asked if I wanted to watch a DVD. Then the task was selecting one he had that I wanted to watch. Ironically, before he asked me, I had scanned his DVD library, to see what he had. I saw "Donnie Darko" in his collection and thought I might have the chance to finally see it. When he asked what I wanted to watch, I suggested "Donnie Darko." Tom didn't like that choice. He gave me that less than happy look he gets, sometimes. He suggested some foreign film, instead. I do like foreign films, but I wasn't in the mood for one, that night. I repeated that I would like to see "Donnie Darko." He suggested another foreign film. He didn't seem fond of "Darko." To date, Tom is the only person I have met who has watched "Donnie Darko" and not urged me to watch it. We debated it back and forth. The two foreign films, versus "Donnie Darko." You can tell where this is going, can't you? We ended up watching none of them. Tom put on some video of Al Murray doing standup. I only laughed one time during the entire DVD.
So tonight, when I saw that "Donnie Darko" was being shown on BBC Three, I was keen to watch it. One drawback: it was starting at 10PM. I was somewhat tired, working early everyday this week. While I was watching the film, my eyes started feeling heavy, or as the Black Queen used to say, "head too heavy." I kept fighting to stay awake. I was surprised to find that Drew Barrymore and Patrick Swayze were in the film. Although I may have shut my eyes a couple of times, I managed to rouse myself and make it to then end. Now nearing midnight, It was almost time to go to the restaurant. I didn't feel like getting dressed and going out. I decided to call British TV and radio presenter, Opal Bonfante. Of course, Opal started pushing me to write my blog article. She likes to read my blog everyday.
While I was talking to the lovely one, herself, the younger of my two housemates, M1, came home. I can hear him coming, because his car has one of those loud, boy racer exhausts on it. It's the noisiest car on our street. I tend to keep most of the lights in the house off. M1 is the opposite. I ventured downstairs to get some water. He had the hallway light on, upstairs, the entrance light on, and the lounge light on. I found him in my seat, in the lounge, watching Sky...the Sky he has yet to contribute and money towards. "Do you have enough lights on," I asked, sarcastically. The sarcasm was lost on him. True to his chavish nature he was watching "Pimp My Ride." I asked him where the exotic beauty of a girlfriend of his was. He mumbled some response that was unintelligible to me. Just as well, as the thought of that exquisite, Ferrari of a woman with the chavish boy racer disturbs my tranquility. I contemplated turning off the entrance and upstairs hallway lights off, but decided to leave it as it was. I went upstairs to get my jacket, for the trip to the restaurant.
I thought how much my attitude toward the dark has changed, since I was a little kid. I used to be afraid of the dark. I insisted that my mother leave a light on in my room, when I went to bed. Mother tried to wean me off it, by putting a nightlight in my room. It was a horrible, Donald Duck thing, that plugged into the socket. Obviously, it had a bulb inside that gave off a dimmed light. I didn't like the nightlight. I was never much into Disney and it seemed too dim. My mother got me to graduate to having the hall light on and leaving my door ajar. At some point in my life, I switched to loving the darkness. Not the band, the lack of light I am talking about. When I was married to the Black Queen, I remember her youngest, my step-son, being afraid of the dark. I talked to him about it, just like my mother didn't with me. "The darkness is our friend," I used to tell him. It hides us from our enemies. I think most kids are afraid of the dark because they are afraid of what might be out in it, unseen. They imagine all sorts of monsters. I reasoned with him that if he's lit, any monsters could then see him easily. In the darkness, he's hidden from them. Does all of this relate, in some way, to "Donnie Darko?" It's a film about a teenager who sees a giant, talking rabbit. What do you think?

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

I Moved Up a Row

Tonight, I attended the second episode of "Make Me a Supermodel: Extra." I wanted to get there early, so I would have a chance to sit in the front row, hoping to get more camera time and even get to talk to the hosts, either Anthony (ho-hum), or Jasmine(YEAH! She's hot. Hot but thin). My plans received a double stumbling block. First, there was a traffic jam coming home from work, so I got home much later than I planned on. Instead of leaving very early, I just left on time. The second stumbling block was another traffic jam going out of Bracknell, to the M3. All in all, I ended up just getting there on time, rather than early. At least I wasn't late.
I was the ninth person to sign in. There were free drinks, so I grabbed a bottle of Stella Artois, my favorite beer to drink in Europe. A very small bottle. For American readers who have never heard of Stella Artois, it's Belgian. My evil ex-wife, the Black Queen, started me drinking it, when we were dating. I miss her, but please don't tell her, as she's conceited enough, already. There were a bumch of people waiting to go in. I looked over the various people. An attractive "Black" woman, in her early thirties, made eye contact with me. She asked me if I was okay, so I tried to engage her in conversation. She had also been at Sunday's show. She wanted to know if I was working for the production. When I said no, she seemed to lose interest and turned away
Turning around, I spied a young blond with a woman in her forties. The older woman had very light-brown hair. I suspected she was the blond's mother. "Are you two related?"
"Yes," the older one replied.
"Are you sisters?" Cheezy, I know.
The older one, laughed and said, "I'm her Mum." Gee, I would have never guessed.
"I thought the minimum age to see the show was 16?"
"She's 20," Mum said, enjoying my cheezy flattery. Mum told me that daughter was auditioning to be in a girl band, next weekend. She asked if I was press.
"Not really," I admitted. "I write a blog, but it isn't big enough, yet, to get the attention of mainstream media."
"Maybe it is," Mum said. She indicated that I had a wristband. She and daughter didn't. Mum figured that people with wristbands were guaranteed entry, while people holding numbers, like her and daughter, were standing by for spare seats. Daughter asked if I was "American." When I said yes, she said I had a lovely accent. Daughter introduced herself as "Diane," and shook hands with me. I smiled and shook back. Diane then asked, "what did you say your name was, again?"
"Again? I neve told it to you in the first place," I observed. She confessed that she had made up the part about again. I told her my name. I kept them entertained, making witty comments while we waited. Then Mum mentioned that she had a "partner." I lost interest in Mum. Diane was 20, which might be a stretch.
I noticed that other people were being taken in to be seated in the studio. It turned out that the presenters had reserved spaces for friends. As more and more people went in, I was worried that I wasn't going to get in, even though I had a wristband. Then I worried that the staff might think Diane and her Mum were with me, thinking we needed three seats. I told one of the staff that I wasn't "with" them. Another staff member said he thought the three of us would be the last ones in. I hoped Mum and Diane also got in, as they were good company.
Finally, a crew member came out and said they needed one person. "I'm on my own," I said. Sorry girls. I was taken inside. They seated me one row in front of the back. I had moved up one row from Sunday. I had hoped that Diane and her mother would be let in, eventually, but they weren't. Next time, I must get there early.
You can email the show, at:
Email them and say you want to see more of me, on camera.

Monday, October 16, 2006

British Police Seem Obsessed with Road Closing

Yesterday, there was a fatal motorcycle accident on the A3. The accident occurred at 2:30PM and two people were killed. The police closed the road, which caused havoc on all other major routes into London from the west and southwest. At 6PM, I was making my way into London, to attend the first episode of "Make Me a Supermodel: Extra." I live southwest of London. My preferred route to the location would have been via the A3. I heard that it was closed on a radio traffic report. I planned to take the alternate, western route in, via the M4 and A4. As I approached the M25 on the M3, A traffic sign informed that the M4 was congested. So, I decided to stay with the M3, which runs into the A316 and go in that way, via Richmond.
Not long after the M3 ends, the traffic on the A316 was bumper to bumper and crawling. I eventually abandoned that road, following a sign for a local road to Clapham Junction, where I picked up the A3 past the closure point. I ended up arriving an hour and 15 minutes late. My journey took twice as long as it should have. Listening to the radio on the way in, I heard the news that the police expected the A3 to remain closed until at least 10PM. The accident occurred at 2:30PM. That would mean the road was closed at least seven and a half hours. It's unfortunate that two people died, but how long does a road need to be closed? Seven and a half hours is ridiculous. How long does it take to scrape a couple of bodies off the roadway?
I don't remember roads being closed that long in America, for simple accidents. The police, here, seem to have no regard for the traveling public. All of Western London was disrupted for hours, yesterday. Causing such jams increases the amount of air pollution and greenhouse gases put into the atmosphere (green arguments are so in fashion, these days). My car was running twice as long as it should have been. How long does it take to draw some chalk lines around a body and take a few photographs? The police, here, should start watching "CSI: Las Vegas." The whole show only lasts an hour and they figure out murders.
Because I was so late, I ended up sat right in the back of the audience. Because of that, I got little, if any screen time. Tomorrow, I will be attending the next episode of "Make Me a Supermodel: Extra," which airs at 9PM on the new digital channel, Five Life. I expect to be there early, this time and will try to sit in front, so look for me. Anyone riding or driving in London, tomorrow, don't crash. It ruins your whole day and makes me late. And police, when dealing with traffic accidents, get your grove on and clear the road, ASAP.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Why Doesn't Madonna Adopt Me?

Madonna is in the process of adopting a child from Malawi. Malawi's High Court issued an interim order allowing the adoption. This doesn't sit well with Malawi's leading child rights group, Eye of the Child. On Friday, the group announced that they would seek an injunction to stop the adoption. The group claim to be "safeguarding the future of a human being who, because of age, cannot express an opinion." What? Sounds like the meddling bunch of pinheads is messing up the future of the child. The one year old child has spent most of his life in an orphanage, after his mother died. His father, too poor to care for the boy, sent him to the orphanage. The father is happy for the adoption to proceed, the staff at the orphanage are happy for the adoption to proceed, the High Court are happy for the adoption to proceed, but this group of numpties aren't happy. What's it go to do with them? If I discovered that some idiot stopped me from living a life of luxury, as the adopted child of a super-rich, megastar, I would skin him alive. What child would say, "I'd rather stay in a life of poverty, than have a great life with a rich family?"
Some farsighted persons passed a law making it illegal for foreigners to adopt children in Malawi. The High Court, there, has agreed to let Madonna circumvent that law. Good for them! If Madonna ends up not being able to complete this adoption, someone should let her know that she can adopt me. I would be quite happy to move into her home and call her "mommy." And guys, change that ridiculous law.

Artist of the Week: Rogue Traders

This week, my Artist of the Week is the band, Rogue Traders. They are an Australian band, who released their debut album, "We Know What You're Up To," in 2003. I had never heard of them until this summer, possibly because their debut album didn't receive airplay in the UK. In 2005, their second album, "Here Come the Drums," was released in Australia and marked a new direction for the band. They signed a new contract, with SonyBMG and added the singing talents of Natalie Bassingthwaighte, an actress from Australian soap opera, "Neighbors." They take their name from the film, "Rogue Trader."
It wasn't till July of 2006 that they released "Here Come the Drums" in the UK. Described as electro-punk and pop, it seems to also maintain the band's roots in dance music. The first single, "Voodoo Child," started getting airplay six weeks before it's official release and they finally came to my attention. The week before it's official release, "Voodoo Child" debuted in the UK charts at 18, based solely on downloads. After the single's release, it moved up to number 3. So far, it is my favorite song by the band and is the one I selected for my profile, this week. You can listen to some of the band's other songs at their Myspace page: . If you like what you hear, add them as friends and tell them I sent you. I don't know if they are being played in America, but perhaps one of my American readers can comment and let me know. In any case, if you are not familiar with them, check them out.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Another MP3 of Me!

Pauly in the Morden has produced another MP3 version of an article from this blog. It's funny, so check it out on his Myspace page:
It's called "Why Does She Talk to Me?" While there, if you haven't listened to his other two of me, you can hear them as well. There are others to listen to, about other people. You might want to add him as a friend, too. Currently, his profile picture is of me and him at the Wibbley Wobbley, taken this past Wednesday.

More Luck?

On the way home from Slough, yesterday, I stopped at Tesco. I didn't need much, because of all the free stuff I had gotten, care of Marks and Spencer, but I wanted some cole slaw, potato salad, hot sauce, crisps, toothpaste, salad dressing, and microwave popcorn. I decided to buy some Tesco Value toothpaste. It was a fraction of the price of the name brand toothpastes I usually buy. Why not give it a try? I just end up spitting it out, anyway. When I went to pick up the cole slaw and potato salad, I found a real prize. Instead of the Tesco Value brand I usually buy, I saw a large container of Tesco Potato salad, marked down to 30 Pence. I usually buy a 250 gram Tesco Value container, for 29 Pence. This was 600 grams of the full quality, Creamy Tesco potato salad, for only 1 Pence more. It was marked down because it had reached its sell by date. Sadly, there was only one container. I would have bought two, at that price.
Then, I looked down for the cole slaw. There was a 600 gram Tesco Creamy cole slaw for 27 Pence! I usually get 500 grams of Tesco Value cole slaw for 38 Pence. And there were several containers! I took two. Oh, what a great Friday the 13th it was. I looked for Corazon at the checkout tills, but she was nowhere to be seen. I ended up selecting a till manned by a very dark, pretty woman, with a Caribbean accent. I had never seen her before. I asked her if she lived in Bracknell. She said she did and asked me if I did, too. "Yes, I do," I said. "It's not exactly a place you are going to commute to, to go shopping." I kept staring at her hair, which seemed unnaturally straight. Was she wearing a wig? She seemed very friendly. Could it be because I had purchased some Caribbean style hot sauce?

A Marks and Spencer Christmas

This past Tuesday and Wednesday, the temp agency assigned me to work at Ascot racetrack. Marks and Spencer was holding a big show, there, to premier their Christmas products to their store managers. For American readers, Marks and Spencer is a national department store chain, in the UK, similar to Macy's. To house this event, a huge temporary structure was erected. The facilities included a temporary kitchen, larger than any restaurant kitchen I have seen, so far. For the banquet on Wednesday night, an army of chefs were on duty. Me being who I am, I started wondering why they would hold this event in a temporary structure on the grounds of a race track, rather than use the banquet facilities of a large hotel?
Along the corridor from the front entrance to the event rooms, there was a mock-up of a Marks and Spencer Christmas window display. To me, it looked a bit tacky. While I like M & S as a store, their displays never seem to be as good as the department store windows I remember, in New York. This one seemed to be themed in purple. Purple isn't exactly a Christmas color, is it? The corridor was lined with purple, fake Christmas trees. There was a fashion show, with models wearing clothes that will be offered in the stores. I caught a glimpse of the clothes on hangers, in the models' dressing room. I was underwhelmed by them, but maybe they looked better when draped on a live body.
There was a "crew" break room, for all of the staff working the show. inside it was a refridgerator filled with Marks and Spencer sandwiches and salads for us to eat, free of charge. Besides tea and coffee, which I shun, there were disposable cartons of Marks and Spencer juices. Those I didn't shun, choosing cranberry. The show wound down on Wednesday afternoon. Those of us in catering packed up all the rented plates, cutlery, glasses, and baking trays, so they could be returned. Suddenly, the management told those of us working in the kitchen that we could take any of the unused food and products that were going to be thrown away. We started picking over things, like a swarm of locusts. The head chef seemed bothered by this. Why, I don't know, as he wasn't paying for it. He told us we could only take one of each thing. This seemed stupid, as there was way more than enough for everyone. It was only going into a garbage skip, outside, if we didn't take it. Then the catering manager overruled the head chef and urged us to take all we wanted. The last of our inhibitions melted away and we resumed our swarming. I got a plastic garbage bag to put all my booty in. A fellow temp, named Hassel, who I was giving a ride home to, mimicked me. The other temps tried to make do with smaller, shopping bags. To top this all off, when we were ready to leave, the catering manager gave us each four unopened bottles of wine, left from the show. Hassel and I added the wine to our bags of swag. They now weighed a lot, especially with four bottles of wine inside. We decided to put each bag inside a second bag, to prevent the bags from splitting open.
Hassel and I struggled to carry these black, plastic sacks full of stuff, to my car. We looked like two, demented, reverse Santa Clauses, with these sacks slung over our shoulders. Instead of dispensing presents, we were taking them. Besides the four bottles of wine, I managed to acquire two packages of microwaveable nachos and cheese, six bottles of dish washing liquid, two packages of scrubbers, one package of scampi and chips, three bags of salad, a container of couscous, a large avocado, bacon, and spinach salad, a ready to bake ham, six jars of English mustard, and a box of Belgian chocolates. I would have taken more if I had a way to carry it. This was not just food, this was M & S food. It felt like Christmas had come early, this year.

Friday, October 13, 2006

My Lucky Day!

Happy Friday the 13th. I would like to preface this article by saying that I do not advocate, nor endorse, luck, tarrot readings, charms, superstitions, voodoo, santaria, obia, root working, ju-ju, curses, possession, exorcism, magic, clairvoyance, devil worship, druidism, or divorce. I had an appointment, today, at the Job Centre Plus, in Slough, regarding straightening out a problem with my National Insurance Number. I made the appointment about a month ago. I asked for the latest appointment in the day, as I was hoping I wouldn't need to take off an entire day from work. The latest time they could give me was 3PM.
I had previously arranged to leave work early, today, at 2:30PM, giving me half an hour to drive to Slough. Yesterday, when I got home from work, there was a message from the Slough Job Centre Plus, saying that they couldn't honor my appointment and directing me to come earlier in the day. I called back and explained that it wasn't possible for me to come earlier. I didn't think it was fair to phone me the day before, so that there was no time for me to make any other arrangements at work. Reluctantly, the woman on the phone agreed to honor my original appointment, but only if I was there on time.
At work, today, I tried to impress upon the supervisory personnel left in charge that I must leave promptly at 2:30. Of course, that didn't happen. They refused to sign my time sheet ahead of time, so I could leave immediately. Instead, I had to wait till 2:30PM, then get it signed. Then, the supervisor kept me working till 2:34PM, so I wasn't on the road till 2:38. Of course, I encountered a lot of slow traffic, on the roads. Many people out in the middle of the day seem to drive leisurely, like they aren't in a hurry to go anywhere. When I reached the outskirts of Slough, traffic slowed to bumper to bumper.
I accidentally ended up in a right turn only lane, when I wanted to go straight. The traffic was so heavy to the left, that I wasn't able to get out of the lane before the right turn arrow lit up. So, I made the right turn, then made the first left I could, hoping to parallel the road I was previously on. Unfortunately, I ended up on a dead end road. As an aside, when I drove down this dead end road, it looked like I had taken a wrong turn and ended up in Pakistan. Every person I could see seemed to be dressed in traditional Pakistani clothes. I had heard that there were a lot of "Asian" people in Slough, but I had never been to this part of the town before and have never seen anything like this. Were so many on the street because it's Ramadan and Friday, the Muslim Sabbath? I happen to find a lot of Pakistani women very attractive, but there were head scarves everywhere I looked. By then, it was well past 3PM. The woman on the phone had said she would only see me if I showed up on time. Should I continue, or just give up and head home? I decided to press on.
After extricating myself from the dead end and circling around to avoid stopped traffic, I decided to parallel my original route, via a main road, this time. This got me past the traffic jam and I finally found my destination. Where to park? It took me another five minutes to find a parking place, then five minutes to walk to the Job Centre from there. By the time I walked in, it was about 3:28PM. I fully expected to be told I wouldn't be seen, as I was seriously late. The guard told me to have a seat, while he went and spoke to someone. Then an attractive Asian woman walked over with my appoitment letter in her hand. How do you tell an Indian woman from a Pakistani woman? This isn't a joke, I would really like to know. She informed me I was late. This I knew already. She then asked me why I was late. What's the point of this? I was tired and frustrated. I said, "what difference does it make? It took me longer to get here than I anticipated. You'll either see me, or you won't."
To my surprise, she said that given that I had come so far and was here already, she would see me. Now, I don't believe in luck and I am fond of saying that if I had any luck at all, it would be bad luck. I also say 13 is my favorite number, as it's considered unlucky by so many. I like flying in the face of superstition. In any case, things had worked out for me, this time. I followed her to her desk and sat down. I started feeling a little bad for being so impatient with her, earlier. I thanked her profusely for seeing me, despite my lateness. She said I was "lucky," as any of the other staff would have turned me away, but she's a part-timer and hates seeing people sent away when they have traveled so far.
I started being a bit flirtsy and humorous, to make up for earlier. Data acquisition algorithms were in full effect. I spied what looked like a possible wedding band on the left hand. I also saw that she had what looked like drawings all over her hands, both the palms and the backs. I had seen this before, on the Nepalese gal at work, whom I refer to as "the Princess." I asked the woman what they were. She said "we" do it when fasting for the benefit of our husbands. Huh? We who? She then told me it was a Hindu thing. The writing was in henna and was temporary. I had confirmed that she does have a husband. Oh well, at least I got to get my business there done. She seemed to have the best attitude of anyone I have had to deal with, so far, in any Job Centre office. She told me the reason for their attempt to get me to come early. They were short staffed. As many schools are breaking up, today, for the October School half-term holiday, I suspect that many of the staff were starting their weekend early. That's not my problem. This gal had stayed later than she was scheduled to try and get things done. She is the only one of these Job Centre types to actually think about the customer, for a change. When we were finished, I thanked her again, wished her well, and left for Beautiful Bracknell.