Sandy speaks on matters of life and mirth.
Monkeys are seldom present.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

In A Bit Of An Odd Pickle...

So I thought my mistake was ridiculous.

Well, Roger has raised the bar in madness tonight, challenging me to reach new heights in idiocy.

We're staying in my flat in Edinburgh tonight, as we're flying out of Glasgow tomorrow. Roger has been in Edinburgh for the past couple of days, so he dropped his stuff off at my flat on Friday...or so he thought. It was at this point that everything started to go wrong.

Roger got the wrong flat. I told him we lived in Flat Three, which, logically, he assumed must be on the third floor. He went up to the third floor flat, which is actually number five. At this point, he probably would have realised that he had the wrong flat, and tried the one downstairs. Except that in Edinburgh, Flat 5 is also Flat 3f1, which was what was on the door. So Roger asked if he could leave a bag for Sandy.

At that point you would expect the woman who answered the door to say that she had never heard of Sandy...except that she's foreign, and she thought he said 'Andy', who does live upstairs.

So Roger left the bag upstairs. But that should have been fine, right? Because we could just go up and get it when I got here and we realised the mistake. Except that the people upstairs moved out today, before I got here. So now we have Roger's bag locked upstairs, and we're waiting for a man from Grant Management, who own the flat, to give us the authorisation to call a locksmith to break in.

All very silly. Here's hoping he calls soon.

I Am, Actually, An Idiot

I'm sure this will come as little surprise to most of you.

Quick check on Friday night:





"Other Visa"


"Plane Tickets."


Yes, that's right, folks, I have lost my plane tickets. How? I have no idea, but I've managed it. We've tipped the house upside down, but to no avail. I talked to a lovely lady at Camp America, who clearly really didn't want to deal with this. She said she would ring me back when she'd sorted it.

One day, I will go on holiday, and not lose something. Not this time, though.

UPDATE: Sorted out an e-ticket. I love Camp America.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

The Most Important Thing I Learned Today...

Freddie Ljunberg swears in English.

Monday, June 19, 2006

The Person Who Tells It Like It Really Is

"Terry, that sky is definitely blue."

"Yes John, that is an incontrovertible statement of fact. It is also somewhat overcast."

"That would suggest it may rain later on, John."

"Although it is not certain, Terry."

"No John, we would not want to give that impression. That would be most unprofessional."

'The Person Who Tells It Like It Really Is' - I mean, really- what kind of a stupid tagline is that?

Thursday, June 15, 2006

My Whole Country Has Gone Crazy... crazy!

Don't get me wrong, I love football, and I'm really enjoying the World Cup, (So much so that even as I type this, I'm watching Ecuador vs Costa Rica - a game which is proving suprisingly enjoyable), but something is seriously wrong with thee English people. I say English, because I haven't been in Scotland for a bit - I'll let you know if they're as insane after my brief trip up this weekend. Anyway, as I was saying, England has actually gone mad. I accept that some commercial involvement is inevitable - official sponsors, sportswear manufacturers, etc, but I saw this poster today:

Surely just a harmless piece of patriotism, right? Look closer at the right hand side of the image...

"Official England Supermarket"? What on Earth does an official England supermarket do? Do the players shop there? On second thoughts, they're in Germany right now, so that wouldn't work...unless they shop online, I guess.

The really amusing thing is the way the products are advertised. For instance, I just saw an advert for the special World Cup burger - itself an utterly ridiculous concept - in which the actual burger was onscreen for about three seconds of a thirty second ad spot. The rest of the advert was shots of football fans. nPower is another example. "We provide the Energy, you provide the Electricity." - what? The advert is all shots of celebrating football fans. If you didn't know it was an advert for nPower, you wouldn't have a clue what it was advertising. Madness.

In other news, I've been taking my first steps towards packing today. Clothes? Don't be ridiculous - I've been putting music onto my laptop. Clothes will be packed on the night before...or possibly on the morning of. Less than two weeks to go now...

UPDATE - I just finalised my travel plans. ARRRGGGHHH!

Friday, June 09, 2006

The Least Productive Five Hours of My Life

So today I went and got my Visa for going to America.

That sentence makes it all sound easy. Well, actually in fairness, it was pretty easy - in the sense that there was very little effort involved. Which, to put it simply, was the problem.

Let me explain. In order to stay in Ameriqua for longer than thirty days, you must have a visa. Simple enough, right? Except that, as far as I can tell, there seem to be about seventy six different kinds of visa. And those are just the ones I could be bothered to count. They seem to have every eventuality covered, so if you're a 19 year old Jamaican gardener, who's looking to increase his collection of porcelain dolls, they probably have a visa tailored just for you.

I could whinge about the huge numbers of forms you have to fill in, and the ridiculous questions they ask you, (for interest's sake, and to avoid inconvenient rumours, I answered 'No' to the question 'Were you involved with the genocide in Nazi Germany') as well as the bizarre decisions on which forms you have to fill out, (there is a special form that all men, and women from 'Axis of Evil' countries have to fill out, just to check you're not a terrorist. Clearly European women are biologically prevented from being terrorists.) but I'm not going to dwell on those. Instead I'm going to focus on something much more important. How mind-numbingly boring the whole thing is.

So I arrived at the embassy in London at One o' clock. PM. In the afternoon. I was greeted by the same happy security guard who's greeted me every time I've been. (Admittedly only three times, but spread over three years, and all on different days.) He's a stereotypical cheery Londoner, who's quite large, and loves taking the mick out of people's passport photos. I know this, because he does it to everybody. He softens the blow for girls, though, by adding 'you look lovely now' afterwards. I'm sure this would be nice...if you hadn't just heard it said to the eight people ahead of you. Last time I saw him, he was wearing a big puffy jacket that made him look like the Michelin man. I think I'll call him Larry. Next time I see him, I'll ask for his autograph. He probably has photos to sign. I'll tell him he looks lovely now.

Once you get into the embassy, through the requisite security checks, (which always manage to make me feel guilty...even if I've done nothing wrong) you get into the main hall, and are given a number. This number is to be treasured, because it becomes your identity for the next few hours. And by few, I mean many. After about ten minutes, you get called up to a window, where you hand over some forms, tell the nice man what kind of Visa you want, and then go and sit down.

Where you stay....for the next four hours.

The kicker is this, though. You have no idea how long it's going to take to process your application. A computer calls out the numbers, but it seems to be in a totally random order. Everyone's applying for a different kind of visa, as well, so some people take a lot longer to process than others. This means you have to be constantly on the lookout (hearout?) for your number being called. This isn't helped by the computer system displaying what looks like a queue of whose number is going to be called next, but is, in fact absolutely nothing to do with anything. The number 017 stayed at third in the queue for two hours. I know, because I counted.

So anyway, you have these breathless expectation thing going on. So there I was, trying to read my newly-purchased copy of V for Vendetta, (yet another comic I'm going to have to figure out how to pack - curse you Alan Moore!) but every time a number was called starting with 'four hundred and...' I would look up, suddenly hopeful, only to have my hopes dashed. The real depressing point is when they start calling the numbers sixty places after you before yours. That's just soul-destroying.

After about four hours of frantic nothing, you finally get called to your 'interview', which consists of a consular agent making mindless chit-chat while he stamps your forms. This takes about thirty seconds. And that's it. Thirty seconds. I was almost begging him to pull out the difficult questions, the real mind-benders, the ones that would make me die inside. But I didn't. Because I'm not stupid.

So after all that, (and a long wait to sort out delivery of my documents, during which I enjoyed hearing the woman at the desk complain for ten minutes about how she needed a cigarette. Well, I say enjoyed...) I got out of the embassy at half past six in the evening. Which was actually a pretty short visit.

Wow, that was a long post. Well, I'll finish off by saying that not only did I visit the American Embassy, I also ate lunch at Subway, and dinner at McDonalds. I could only be more American if I had a bagel for breakfast.

Actually, I think we might have some around here somewhere...

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Countdown to Evacuation

So I'm sitting here at my computer, thinking thoughts.

I'm thinking I should go to bed. That, however, would involve going upstairs, which is far too much like effort.

Yes, it's official folks - I am now too lazy to go to bed.

So I've been preparing to leave recently. For those of you who haven't quite figured it out, I'm off to Ameriqua in a matter of weeks. First to work at a camp for underpriviliged children from the Philidelphia area, and then onwards to Illinois to study for a year.

Am I prepared? What do you think?

I have done zero packing, zero planning, and about the closest I've come to preparing is making a list of things I'm regretting about going away.

Which is, to whit:

I can't fit all my comics in the one suitcase I can take with me.

This has created a major problem for me.

Do I choose Batman over Spiderman? Wolverine over Captain America? New Comics over Old Favourites?

One thing for sure, Watchmen is coming. (The movie, by the way - cancelled. :( ) (Hey, that kinda looks like a frog. Of course if this blog thing turns it into a picture, you'll never know what I meant. I'm sure that's a metaphor for life, or something.)

Anyway, back to comics. I tried limiting myself to one from each genre, but that didn't work. I have way too many X-Men comics for that. The next plan was to try and get a representative sample. That was too much math. It was at about that point that the little voice of sanity remarked that I didn't really need to take that many comics - it wasn't like I was going to have time to read them all.

Man, I hate that guy.

So anyway, if anyone has any ingenious ideas, I'd appreciate knowing them.

I wonder if I could scan in every page, and then save them to my computer...

So, I'm too lazy to go to bed, but I'm willing to scan in over a thousand pages of artwork.

Go figure.