Thursday, 28 May 2009

I Love The Tinternet

i bet they'd look better if i knew who they were

I am not cool.

I am so not cool.

I find out about cool things several years behind everybody else.

(Arctic Monkeys?

Arctic what?)

So forgive me if you've seen this already - last month, last year, last century - but My Favourite Palindrome showed me it today and I loved it so much I wanted to post it.

(NB: because I am not cool I cannot work out how to get it to display here).

BK also sent me an email today containing an assortment of photos gathered from the web with the heading 'Why Pets Bite People'.

I am sure like the video it has also probably done the rounds in a thousand million offices a thousand million times already, and I apologise if the photo I selected to post here because it made me laugh the loudest is old hat to your trendy and happening eyes, but the photo's brilliant; I had to post it; that is all.




Wednesday, 27 May 2009

Why I Am Not Going To Be A Very Good Journalist

"go away, I'm busy"

Friday afternoon, the tutor with the handsome trousers sprang a little surprise on us.

"Class, I have a little surprise for you," he said.

"Two stories for Monday please, one about government and/or economy, and one about whatever you like. When you all go off to work experience next month you'll be expected to do three or four stories a day, so don't look at me like that. The usual three o'clock deadline for Monday, thanks. Now off you go."

This would be fine except I am having trouble producing one story a week. I am having trouble producing one story a week because I am having trouble thinking of interesting things to write about, and also because I am having trouble forcing myself to contact people to ask them questions: I hate bothering people.

After devoting almost the entire weekend to research, I walked into class on Monday morning with one and a half story ideas.

My fabulous classmates didn't let me down: most of them only had one and a half story ideas too. Some had fewer. How much do I love my classmates? I love my classmates a lot.

We battled on through the day, united by quiet desperation, held together by caffeine.

About two o'clock, I showed Tutor Smartypants the rough draft of the story I had cobbled together and the supporting information.

"You might want to check whether this is accurate," he said. "I don't know how to phrase this delicately but 3 News aren't famous for getting things right."

'This' was just the whole thing I'd based my story on. I'd spent the day tracking down primary school principals, people at the council, victims of dog attacks, the Kennel Club; gathering comments, trying to make it all exciting and newsworthy. I'd even emailed the MP who started the campaign, and received a sweet and charming reply.

"Ring Bill English," Herr Tutor said.

"Pardon?" I said. Bill English is not only the Finance Minister, he is also the Deputy Prime Minister.

"Yeah, give him a ring, see if it's true. I've got his mobile number somewhere... Here. See what he says."

I blinked. To argue with Herr Tutor is unthinkable. Herr Tutor has no time for pathetic excuses. Herr Tutor is a real deal, hard-nosed, been-there-done-that journalist, and to say you can't possibly ring the Deputy Prime Minister is to invite a soul-piercing glare from those gimlet eyes and a scything 'Why not?'.

In these circumstances, a 'because I'm scared' will just not cut it.

I made my fingers dial the number before my brain had time to object, then wondered how best to introduce myself.

'Ahem, oh, hi, this is One Fine Weasel, I'm a student journalist at a polytechnic of little regard and I'd just like to interrupt your preparation for this week's Budget and your general running of the country to ask you...'

I forced myself to let it ring ten times before I hung up.

Speaking to an anonymous civil servant in Bill's parliamentary office was a doddle after that.

I got the story in, four hours after deadline.

The other story?

I'm still wondering what to write about.



Sunday, 24 May 2009

Happy Birthday Newbie



Only two days late! I am improving.


I Am About To Be Hacked To Death In My Room

send reinforcements

Up until now he has only ever stared at me in silence, but tonight Weird Guy started a conversation.

This is what he said:

WG: "So, I never caught your name."

OFW: "It's Weasel."

WG: "And you're from England?"

OFW: "Yes. Sorry. But I've been here about ten years."

WG: "Ten years, right. You got a boyfriend?"

OFW: "Um, yes, back in the UK."

WG: "You been away from your boyfriend for ten years?"

OFW: "No, I met him the other year when I was over there."

WG: "So why isn't he over here?"

OFW: "He's got some debt to pay off."

WG: "You at polytech?"

OFW: "Yes."

WG: "What course you doing?"

OFW: "Journalism."

WG: "How long's that for?"

OFW: "It runs til November."

WG: "So what you doing after that?"

OFW: "Probably shooting off back to the UK."

WG: "To see your boyfriend."

OFW: "Right."

WG: "Do you have a boyfriend over here?"

OFW: "No."

WG: "Do you want one?"

Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeek.


Wednesday, 20 May 2009

Famous Dudes





Here is a quiz for you.

What do all these famous dudes have in common?

That's right!

They are all people who have been seen by me with my own eyes.

Inspired by this blog here, and also of course by Newbie who works at the National Theatre in London and therefore has to shake famous dudes out of her shoes and brush them from her hair each day before she leaves work, I decided to compile a list of all the famous dudes I have observed in the wild.

The 'in the wild' bit is important. You don't get points for seeing famous dudes prancing about on a stage, or by hanging around the backs of theatres or outside red carpet events, or even by loitering in broom cupboards in restaurants where Boris Becker is dining. You get points only for seeing them in a public place when you are not expecting to see them.

Here is my list, in no particular order:

Jimmy Savile: I was about 10 and in London with my mum, meeting My Lovely Sister (who was then a young and fragrant secretary) for lunch. We were walking past a hotel in Knightsbridge when a turquoise tracksuit-clad vision stepped out of a limo, clanking with jewellery and self-importance. Sir James did not stop to explain why he consistently ignored my letters asking him to Fix It for me. Nevertheless, a good sighting: five points.

Robbie Coltrane: spotted striding up Shaftesbury Avenue one evening in the mid-1990s looking menacing and hungover in a dark trenchcoat. Five points.

Roger Cook: investigative journalist and (alleged) belligerent wanker; probably not that famous really. Seen at a works party when I used to work as an administrative officer for (shhh) the Metropolitan Police at Scotland Yard. Two points.

Sylvester Stallone: another work-related sighting. He came in one day to have a look round the Black Museum. He was about three and a half feet tall, and four feet across. Six points (minus one for being a midget; plus two because he is a fillum star).

Princess Diana: see above. She was very tall though. My friend Tina used to see her in Kensington Marks & Sparks all the time. Eight points (two points deducted because she shagged the England rugby team) (allegedly).

Roy Castle: A bunch of us Met Police administrative officers once spent a day collecting for Children In Need or Red Nose Day or somesuch. We were dressed, I seem to remember, as the Blues Brothers. In the evening a staff car was found and we were driven to the BBC to hand over the takings. At the studio a BBC person thanked us for our hard work and lined us up for a photo. When we got sent the photo a few weeks later, there in the background was the fragrant Roy doing everything he could to steal the shot apart from make bunny ears with his fingers behind our heads. I think but am not sure that it was before he died. Even though it wasn't a proper sighting due to not even knowing he was there, he still gets three points for what was potentially a paranormal appearance.

Various Liverpool FC footballers: a long, long time ago I was a kept woman and I lived in a beautiful waterfront luxury apartment in downtown Liverpool with as much Baileys as I could drink. In the evenings my then-beloved (a handsomely paid computer geek) and I used to saunter down to Albert Dock to dine where the posh people dined, in that Italian restaurant I cannot remember the name of because I was usually drunk by the time I got there. Inside, we used to rub garlic bread with the likes of Jamie Redknapp, Steve McManaman, Paul Ince, Jason McAteer, and the other one they used to hang out with whose name I can't remember.

Also in Liverpool, I once witnessed a girl of about seven shout "Wanker!" at David James as he drove through the gates of the Liverpool FC training ground. This was the crowning moment of my time in Merseyside. (NB I was hanging around outside the gates of the training ground because I am a weird stalker type).

Total: four points. And four points only, because all the time I was stalking the Liverpool players I didn't once see my beloved, Robbie Fowler.

Matt Lucas: in the days when he was plain old George Dawes, sighted on his way to a fireworks display in London. He looked big and scary. Three points.

Virginia Wade/Monica Seles/Boris Becker et al: ok, so I was at Wimbledon so it doesn't count.

All the McGann brothers all in the same place, including Paul: As a fresh-faced and starry-eyed seventeen year old pup, I had a crush on the Young Vic theatre. I virtually lived there. It was wonderful. I went to see a play I can't remember purely because Joe McGann was in it and I thought maybe some of his siblings might turn out to support him. Waiting for the play to start with my mate Yvonne, I glanced over my shoulder and almost fainted when I saw the entire McGann tribe (apart from the one who was in the play, obviously) sitting two rows behind me. Six million trillion points, and a very sore neck from all the not so surreptitious perving.

Margaret Thatcher: sort of. I was late back from my lunchbreak in St James's Park one day because all the roads were blocked off because her ministerial helicopter was due to land in a nearby barracks. I wouldn't have minded but I was on flexi-time. Bitch. Nil points.

Some bloke from Rufus Wainwright's band: At Rufus's Eden Project gig, a random man in a hat wandered up to BK and asked him for directions to the bar. It was one of the band, apparently. BK took the opportunity to schmooze while I looked on disdainfully. One point.

Some bird I have never heard of: Another one of BK's sightings - an over-tanned trollop shopping in Mayfair. Half a point.

The guys who played Frodo and Sam in Lord of the Rings: Elijah Wood and, er, you know, the blond one. My sighting of these two superduperstars is testament to the tinyness of Wellington - you couldn't get away from the buggers when LOTR was filming there. Elijah Woods is small but perfectly formed. Three points.

My brother also worked in hotels many years ago and got me Rex Harrison's and Charlton Heston's autographs.

So there you go, I truly do rub shoulders with the rich and the mighty.

Beat that, suckers.





Update: Due to complaints about the anglocentric nature of the above famous dudes I have added some links to assist any young Kiwi readers who may have wondered who the hell I was banging on about. Happy now, Kad?


Weasel Has A Moment

discǿ feet

The music students put on a rock concert today.

The show formed part of their degree assessment. Primary school and pre-school kids were bussed in to provide an appreciative audience.

I slipped in too.

It was a pleasant way to spend an hour when you should've been working, as I'm sure the teachers would agree. The music ranged from Kings of Leon to The Wiggles and was mostly great.

There were some serious standout performers too: in future, look out for a guitarist guy who wears a hat. He is going to be HUGE.

(Remember - you saw it here first).

"Does anybody here like Abba?" asked one of the singers, leading cunningly into the next song.

The audience erupted.

In the dark, surrounded by screaming, flailing anklebiters air-guitaring to 'Super Trooper' and 'Mamma Mia', I was struck by something possibly profound but most likely just hugely sentimental.

When I was their age, I loved Abba too.

I had the posters, the annuals; I knew all the songs. I had a secret girl-crush on Anni-Frid on account of her teeth, and Benny on account of his smiley face and beard, but mostly Anni-Frid. I went with my friend Nicola to see 'Abba - The Movie' at the cinema in Sittingbourne on a cold dark Saturday afternoon (I remember this because my parents had bought me a pair of highly fashionable toe socks that day, and I was determined to wear them even though they made my toes feel strange and left me unable to do up my green flash trainers. I sat through the whole film aware of my feet).

That was... um... 1970-something, and now there I was thirty years later surrounded by this new batch of kids going wild for the might of Andersson and Ulvaeus, and the thought of that just made me go all weird and tingly.

It was something to do with mortality, or immortality, I can't decide which.

I never wore the socks again.


Monday, 18 May 2009

Titter Ye Not

biscuits are good for you

Feeling much happier today after vowing to feed myself only wholesome, nutritious food, do exercise, and give myself a break from stressing about course work.

The exercise thing came about because last week I found a mini step machine (similar to, but not as flash as, the one pictured above) for $20 in the local hospice shop.

Spent twelve whole minutes on it today, before collapsing in a heap on my bed (fortuitously next to a packet of biscuits). Spent twelve whole minutes on it yesterday too. The machine makes a terrible noise, halfway between a clack and a death rattle, but I think we will be friends.

The wholesome nutritious food thing was catered for tonight by a bout of vigorous pumpkin soup-making, which is always enough to cheer up the bluest of Weasels, and the purchase of some broccoli and a beetroot. Just having broccoli and beetroot in the fridge makes me feel better.

(Re the biscuits - everybody knows that calories leach out of broken biscuits and technically they're vegetables anyway).

Harbouring zero guilt about the coursework was harder, but today I forced myself, and I really rather liked it.

I bought a present for Flatmate too; it's practical yet stylish, just like him.

I walk past a sign every day on my way to school and it always makes me titter in a puerile, juvenile manner, even though I know it refers to a leading brand of domestic kitchen applicances and not to a thick, cheeselike, sebaceous secretion that collects beneath the foreskin.

Today I unveil it to the Bloggod in the hope that he forgives me for the weekend's misery:


Awesome.

As I type, the sky is flinging hailstones horizontally past my window. God bless Invercargill.



Friday, 15 May 2009

Chasing Something

click for sad

There I was, struggling along with the course, struggling to stay on top of the mountain of assignments, the intensity of it all keeping me awake at nights, permanently wired and haunted with the worry 'am I doing this right; should I be trying harder?'; chewing on bread and hunks of chocolate for sustenance because I'm too focussed to stop and cook, keeping going, keeping going, because I'm not going to fail at this, because to think about anything other than the course would trip me up, make me remember where I am, make me lose this tenuous momentum that's been so hard to find; and then my MP3 spits out a song that floors me.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

A warm night. August. Cardiff.

The Albany, The Claude, Milgi. As usual.

Too much beer, too many cocktails. A great evening, again.

We’ll do it all
Everything
On our own

Talking, laughter, talking, talking.

Holding hands. Kisses, smiles. More talking.

We don’t need
Anything
Or anyone

Time’s running out. Soon I’ll be gone.

Sit closer. Come here. Touch me.

I don’t quite know
How to say
How I feel

Walking home, our usual route. Entwined.

Silent streets, stars. Talking, talking.

Those three words
Are said too much
They’re not enough

Cool sheets. Warm flesh. Soft sighs.

Stay close. I need to be holding you.

Let’s waste time
Chasing cars
Round our heads

Talk to me. Stay awake. Let's listen to music.

One earpiece each, body to body. Don't let this night end.

I need your grace
To remind me
To find my own

You fall asleep. I lie very still and listen to your breathing.

I stare and stare at your beauty.

All that I am
All that I ever was
Is here in your perfect eyes
They’re all I can see

Why am I leaving you? All my life I have been waiting to feel like this.

Please, let it work out, somehow.

I softly kiss your face.

I don’t know where
Confused about how as well
Just know that things
Will never change for us at all

You stir. You nestle closer.

You pull my arms tighter around you with a deep sigh of contentment.

You softly kiss my face.

If I lay here
If I just lay here
Would you lie with me
and just forget the world?

“Yes, I’ll lie with you,” you murmur from somewhere else entirely.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

A cold night in May in Invercargill.

I hear that song, down here at the bottom of the world; the same song through the same earphones.

I cry, just a little.

I want to go home.



Friday, 8 May 2009

My Thumbs Have Gone Weird

i mean to have you, even if it must be burglary

Last night I had a disconcerting experience.

While waiting for my order in the fish & chip shop (one battered hoki, one sausage, four mussels, one corn on the cob, half a scoop of chips - I was hungry, ok?) I noticed that one of the other people waiting for their chow looked exactly like Paul McGann.

I have had an immense girly crush on Paul McGann since the moment I first set eyes on him in Give Us A Break, aired on the BBC in 1983 which is before a lot of people were even born.

When The Monocled Mutineer came along in 1986, it was confirmed: this WAS the sexiest man I'd ever seen. And believe me I'd seen a few:


(Adam Ant; Jimmy Baio; the drummer from Madness; Michael Jackson (when he was black). Ah, a girl can dream)

Imagine the happiness when Withnail & I burst forth. Not only the best film in the whole world EVER, containing the best quote known to man - "Monty, you terrible cunt!" - it also had a shot of Paul McGann in the bath, shaving, in exquisite profile.

Drool.

Seeing a McGann lookalike in a fish & chip shop in one of the drearier suburbs of a town at the bottom of the world made me determined to track down the shaving image on the interweb.

I looked here. I looked here. I looked here. No luck, but it was heartening to know there are an awful lot of Paul McGann admirers out there. Special mention must go to Pink Soprano who has compiled a collection of photos of Mr McGann in varying states of undress for the furtherance of science.

Then I found it here. Not the greatest picture but who cares. I have shamelessly stolen it and stuck it up the top of this post so that it is forever in my clutches. Some things are worth the copyright infringement.

And speaking of copyright infringement, please do share the Withnail love.

Girly crushes are awesome. By the way, the reason seeing the person in the chip shop who looked exactly like Paul McGann was disconcerting was because... she was a girl.


Wednesday, 6 May 2009

All Egged

you say what?

This week I have been mostly revising for my media law assessment, compiling a comparative analysis on how Maori are portrayed in the media, revising for the weekly current events test, struggling to comprehend a shorthand system that gets more bizarre by the day, and being pressured to write a thousand million publishable stories by the tutor with the great trousers.

Being a person who can only do One Thing At A Time, I am finding this difficult.

Studying my law books, I came across the startling revelation that the phrase 'sub judice' is actually pronounced 'sub joodikay'.

It was one of those things I'd only ever seen written down so I'd assumed it was pronounced 'sub joo-diss'.

It reminded me of the time an ex-boyfriend urged me to go with him to "Surrey Kwaze" shopping centre in South East London.

I gently pointed out (while screaming with derisive laughter) that it was actually 'Surrey Quays'.

But I am a fine one to talk. I remember when I thought 'Pilates' was Pilates, as in Pontius.

And, in my head, 'paradigm' was pronounced 'paradiggum', until I heard someone say it on some learned and erudite TV programme (possibly Top Gear?).

Yesterday I overheard a classmate talking about 'ar-Chives'.

It's good to know you're not alone.

If you have a favourite mispronounced word watch this and feel less of an alley arse.


Sunday, 3 May 2009

Weird Guy

hello and welcome

We have a new cast of characters living at Chateau Weasel.

As mentioned before, Kad from my course took the room N vacated.

Last weekend when I was puking it up in Queenstown, the three Indian guys moved out, taking with them the Brazilian guy and all the 2am Skype-shouting and accumulated filth and flooding in the kitchen and bathrooms and refusal to take any kind of responsibility for the state of the place and everything. Yay!

Leaving just me, Kad, the Indian girl who's never here, and D the quiet bloke.

A happy state of affairs.

Then Weird Guy arrives.

Thursday, I am on the phone which is right next to the front door. Someone is outside, struggling with the lock. I open the door and see a pallid young man dressed in the Invercargill uniform of camouflage print hoodie, baseball cap, baggy pants and skate shoes. I am struck by his eyes - he has the vacant, staring eyes of a serial killer. You know the eyes I mean. He picks up a small bag and a guitar and walks in, past me and towards the bedrooms, without saying a word.

"Hi," I say to his retreating back, "I'm Weasel; are you moving in?"

"Yuh," he says, and is gone.

Later, I go to the kitchen to make a cup of tea. He is at the table eating his way through a twelve-pack of white bread rolls. There is also a box of Weetbix on the table, and some soy milk, and an avocado. He looks round to see who's come in.

"Hello!" I say.

Nothing.

I mull over other conversational gambits. 'So, what's your name?' seems overly ambitious given the circumstances. 'Just moved in then?' is clearly pushing it if 'Hello' was too demanding. Forcing a comment on the weather just doesn't feel right. I also dismiss 'What interesting tattoos'.

I remain silent. So does he. I wish I hadn't put so much water in the kettle. The wait is excrutiating. Finally it boils.

I escape.

Friday, I put a question to my classmate.

"Who moves into a place with just one small bag and a guitar?"

"Somebody just out of prison?" he hazards.

"Just what I was thinking," I concur.

I tell him about the vacant, staring eyes.

"Oh shit," he says.

I ask Kad what he thinks.

"The guy's a freak," he says. "I was having a few drinks last night with some mates in the lounge and Weird Guy walks in, sits down, helps himself to our booze and just sits there staring at everybody in turn and not saying anything. The only thing he said the whole time was 'Pass me another beer'".

"Right," I say.

"He is seriously creepy. He just stares at you if you try to speak to him and doesn't reply. He drank half our bottle of vodka. Either he's a psychopath or he's permanently as high as a kite. Either way, he's brain fried."

"Yes," I say.

I mention all this only in case I am found inexplicably hacked to death in my room one day.

The point is, though, the kitchen's still tidy.

If he washes his dishes after he's used them, he can't be all bad.

Right?


Saturday, 2 May 2009

Join Us

i'm in: they have great shoes


Oh, hold on, not that club, this club.

Laura Prebble asked in The Queen Geek Social Club (which, according to one reviewer, is 'the perfect high school fantasy novel'), "If you're a misfit within a group of misfits, does that mean you're actually popular and normal?"

But of course.

Let's hear it for earnest, anxious, thinky people.

If you want in, go see Blueskies.

Don't be shy now.


Friday, 1 May 2009

Friends

click the pic

Shorthand... comparative analysis on the portrayal of Maori in New Zealand media... revision for Media Law assessment... ideas for stories related to our newsrounds... revision for weekly current events test... more shorthand.

Meh.

Sunny outside.

Not in mood.

Tuesday, still wobbly from the tummy bug, I overslept. Hugely, not hearing four phone alarms or the clock-radio. Waking finally at 11.11am (the Uri Geller hour) it was far too late to go into school (oh yes it was) so I picked up a book and convalesced like a good'un. An hour later I got a text from the classmate who keeps trying to lure me to the pub (often successfully), telling me she was on her way over.

This classmate - My Favourite Palindrome - arrived with two shopping bags full of healthy recuperative treats for me, and chocolate, so I thanked her with free run of the beer fridge and grapes hand-picked from the vines that cover my Queenstown friends' house. We yarned in the sun for a few hours, and my faith in the good things in life was restored.

Homework?

Nah. Still feeling peaky.

Wednesday, I managed to drag my arse into school on time and (shorthand aside, because shorthand equals instant brain-death) had an enjoyable day with my fabulous classmates.

We are a disparate bunch but we get along enormously well, united mainly by twisted good humour but also a shared determination never to work as crappy old newspaper reporters: we remain, at this early stage of our training, high-minded idealists, fearing the soul-selling and unscrupulous dirt-digging which will surely follow.

(One of my classmates - the magnificent Kad, aged 18 and immortal - has moved into one of the spare rooms at Chateau Weasel. Every night he bounds up the corridor in his skull-motif pyjamas to pound at my door, eager for entertaining company:

Kad - Hey! Wanna hang?
Weasel - I'm 42. Go away.

Bless him. More on Kad later as he keeps telling me he deserves a post all to himself).

Thursday was a repeat of Wednesday only with the tutor with the tidy arse (homework? maybe not, I'm plum tuckered after all that perving) and Friday was My Favourite Palindrome's 32nd birthday.

The resulting post-school drunkenness caused me, the sober observer (no booze: stomach's still not right) to fall even more in love with my classmates as I watched them disintegrate into warm fuzzy JD-meltdowns around MFP's kitchen table.

After delivering He Who Could Barely Stand Up safely home to his girlfriend, I drove back through Invercargill's wide streets and was startled to find myself thinking: 'I love this place'.

We've arranged a party for next week.

You have no idea how good that 'we' feels.

Shorthand... comparative analysis on the portrayal of Maori in New Zealand media... revision for Media Law assessment... ideas for stories related to our newsrounds... revision for weekly current events test... more shorthand.

Homework?

Whatever.

This week, The Learning is not why I'm here.