Friday, July 28, 2006

My pants are on fire!

We had a staff meeting today at work. It was the first one we've had since I started, and my manager promised "an exciting agenda including the next thrilling fire safety video!" (The manager is great - he cracks me up!). It was, as most of these corporate videos are, absolute rubbish and had been filmed in the 80's.

However, it did point out, once again, that the British are obsessed with fire. They've ruined beautiful old buildings and destroyed historical property by putting up 'Fire Door' signs. Every building has hundreds of fire extinguishers, all of them for different things. Because when I've just set my couch on fire, and I have to decide between saving my dog and my boyfriend before the house burns down around us, what I need to be doing is attempting to decipher the symbols to figure out which one will kill the fire and which one will simply make it explode. I think it comes from making your roof out of straw.

So we sat there and discussed whether or not we should have a signing in book for the staff (all 12 of us), and what we should do if someone is in the loo, and what we should do under different sets of circumstances. Finally, I zoned out enough that when someone asked me a question I responded with 'Yes?' and now I get to go on a training course to become a fire marshall for the office. Fun orange vests for me!

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Willoughby Street

We have a flat! Or rather, we found a flat to let! It's a rather good sized (well, compared to some of the other ones that we saw) studio, with a seperate kitchen, and best of all...a bit of outdoor patio type space that's big enough for a table and chairs and some plants in pots. We're hopefully moving in this weekend, which will involve packing all our stuff back into our travelling backpacks and taking the tube halfway across the city. Neither Matt nor I have very much stuff up here right now, since we've been living in someone-else's-room-in-Matt's-friend's-flat-while-the-
friend-of-Matt's-friend-is-touring-with-the-play-he-is-in. So there isn't really much to move except for clothes. And I might steal the PS2, since I'm in the middle of a game and I don't think I'm going to have time to finish it before we leave this weekend.

The best bit about the new place, besides the rarity of being able to afford a bit of space outdoors in our price range, is that it's literally opposite the British Museam. You can't see it from the flat, of course, because that would be astronomically expensive, but walk the 10 feet to the end of our street and there it is. We're right in the centre of London, 15 minutes walk from my work and 30 from Matt's, jumping distance to Soho and Leicester Square. It's fantastic! Roll on Friday...

Monday, July 24, 2006

Beware the monkeys of doom

Two things, well, really only one thing but they're kind of two things at the same time. I'm considering going back to school, for another degree. Except that this time it would be a BS in Computer Science. Please pick your jaws up off the floor.

It might just be another one of my random, three month obsessions. I am aware that I have never been the most math inclined person. And that I tend to be intensely interested in something for a short period, then become interested in something completely different. But I've been thinking about it, and there are several reasons that I think I'd be good at it.

So yeah. Just a thought. If I do decided to do another degree, it'll only be able to be part time so it would take me a while. And I wouldn't be able to start until the 2007 school year, because with moving into a flat in London eating up all the cash I couldn't afford the tuition. But I think I might contact the uni offering the degree, and ask what qualifications I'd need coming from an arts background (because, let's face it, I'll need some) and possibly see if I can do those. But most of all? I don't want to have a crappy receptionist job, no matter how nice it is, for the rest of my life.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Hot town/ summer in the city/ back of my neck/ getting dirt and gritty

Taking the tube home from work the other day, I was reading the Metro (free newspaper picked up in Tube stations for something to do besides attempting to avoid making eye contact with fellow passengers) and came across an article talking about how hot it was. Pavements are apparently melting across the nation, and children are becoming stuck in the quick-sand like bogs of tar. Commuters on the Tube in London are being transported at temperatures that are considered inhumane for the transportation of livestock. Riveting reading, I assure you.

So I'm sat on my vaguely sticky seat, which is right next to one of the doors, and so has that plastic bit on one side, when this guy gets on at King's Cross. He's wearing wrinkled khaki trousers, and a wrinkled damp top, and his tie is sort of dangling out of his pocket, and he smells like he's showered in beer. There's nowhere to sit, so he grabs the overhead hand rail and sort of leans into it, feet spread apart, and lurches back and forth as the tube jolts along. Somehow, he is sort of leaning over me around the plastic thing, which shows real talent.

A few stops later, the seat next to me opens up and he manages to fall into it before anyone else does. At this point, the reek of this guy is so overpowering that you can watch people in the carriage try to live without breathing. He then procedes to fall asleep, and as he's doing this he starts to fall over onto me. Now, I really don't want this guy to touch me, so I'm trying to make my self as small as possible in my seat. This doesn't really work at 5'10", but hey, I'm trying. It finally gets to the point where I'm sitting almost sideways, and trying to vend him off with the back of my book. The guy sat across from me keeps glancing up, and I can tell that he's trying not to laugh. Finally, the beer soaked guy's arm slips and his head absolutely cracks down onto the arm rest. His head shoots up like he's just discovered why that guy wanted him to bend over in the shower earlier, he blearily looks around, and staggers off at the next station to the relief of everyone on the carriage because now they can breathe again. Yes, oh yes, London is fantastic.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

I should have put deoderant on my balls.

It's so hot in London right now that the papers are running stories about how commuters on the tube are being transported at a temperature that would be considered inhumane for cattle. Cheery, neh?

I've also just watched a guy who's attending a seminar at my office wander around the lobby for several minutes with a bit of tissue looking for a bin. He finally wandered up to one of those ceramic containers that people put office plants in.

'Is this a bin?' he asked, peering into the ceramic container uncertainly.

'Um. No.' I replied as I attempted to erase from my computer desktop all evidence of the fact that all I do all day is read webcomics. 'But that behind me is,' I said, pointing to the giant red thing behind me with "Bin" practically written on the side.

'Ah! Great!' He throws the wadded up tissue in the bin. Grinning, he continues 'I just needed to dry my armpits off before they film me.' I blink uncertainly. 'I might even put on a tie.'

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Free tea and biscuits...what more could a girl want?

So, I started my new job last Monday. It's fantastic. All I do is drink tea all day, and look at web comics. But I'm slowly starting to run out of comics to read, so if anyone has suggestions for fun websites, please let me know!

Being in London is great. It's busy and hectic and crazy and packed with people, and I love it. I'm sure that the glow will wear off in a bit and I'll start to be bitter like everyone else that lives here (and, of course, start wearing unrelieved black all the time), but right now it's summer and it's beautiful.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

4th of July

Happy 4th everyone! I have done a fat lot of...nothing today. Well, not really nothing, but nothing festive. It's been over 30' the last week or so, which means that everyone is walking around looking like all they really want to do is hide in their freezer. I can't say I blame them; When you're used to coolor summers and don't have air conditioning anywhere, it can get a bit grim.

But yeah. Hope all you back in the good ole' USA have wonderful barbeques and beer, and see some lovely fireworks. Wish I was there!

Saturday, July 01, 2006


Sometimes life seems little down in the gutter, and a bit crap and pointless, and then something wonderful happens. Like when you have three job interviews in a day, and even though you got lost on the way to the last one and ended up being an hour late... Every Single One Offered You A Job.

As those of you who have been subjected to my ceaseless whinging about being a call-centre monkey know, I abhor my current job. So, as Matt's pretty much moved up to London in the week for his job up there, I decided to apply for some things and see what happened. I was nervous, as all the things I was applying for were considerably better paid than what I'm currently earning, as well as being office-y positions - something that I don't really have much experience with. So I got a beautiful skirt, somehow convinced myself that I was supremely confident, and went off to my interviews and hoped no one would notice the slightly desperate look in my eye. One position was offered to me on the spot, accompanied by a "I've never actually said this before but..." A second one would have been stupid not to offer me a second interview, as the other person who interviewed with me didn't speak english enough to say more than 'Yes!' (I feel sorry for the guy, actually. He did look somewhat forlorn in his suit and tie afterward.) And the third one told me they might not be able to get back to me until the middle of next week, and then called me later that evening to tell me that they wanted me, and that they wanted to give me more money than they'd offered to begin with. So that's the one I took.

It helped that when I went for my interview, they made me laugh. I walked in to the office, after being stuck attempting to operate their elevator for about 10 minutes, and sat down to prepare to convince them that they Needed To Hire Me. These two lovely gentlemen came over, introduced themselves, and took me to the interview room. One went through the door first, as there were several doors and not much space. The second took a step towards the door, and then you could see on his face that his brain had gone 'Wait...she's got boobs. She's a she. She's supposed to go through the door first.' So he stepped back, blinked a few times, and said rather uncertainly "After you?" Absolutely priceless.

So one more week to go of monkey hell, and then I will be in the great city of Londinium, with a salary half as much again as my current one, Matt, and a hell of a lot of free stuff happening in the summer. What more could a girl ask for?