Monday, October 31, 2005

You Know What's Really Annoying?

When you move into a flat, and it's got these great high ceilings, and you're all like "Oooooh, this is so fabulous! Look at these great high ceilings! And the super huge windows! How fabulous!".

And the flat is great, because even though it's small, the super high ceilings make you feel like it's got more space than it has, and when you're living in a room that holds your bed, your fabulous £10 chair, a chest of drawers, a desk and that's about it.

But then, one day, just after you get home from work, your overhead lightbulb burns out.

"No problem", you think to yourself. "I'll just get the step stool and change it. Isn't it clever of me to have a spare lightbulb in the flat?"

But oooooooh, no. It's not going to be that easy.

Because when you stand on that stool, and reach as high as you possibly can and stand on your very tippy-toes, you're still about a foot short of being able to even touch the lightbulb, let alone change it.

Did I mention that your bedside table lamp is also burned out? Because it is.

You attempt to pull the bed into the middle of the room and put the step stool onto the bed, but after taking one step, realize that this is a horribly bad idea, since it's about the farthest thing from steady it could be.

Stupid high ceilings. Not so fabulous now, are they?

Stupid lack of light in my flat.

Where the hell am I going to get a ladder?

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Oooh, it's a new look!

I've decided to shake things up around here. I've got a bit of a new look for the Dark Place. What do y'all think?

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Things You Learn On The Night Bus

I took the night bus home from east London last night, which is something I rarely do, as I try to avoid east London. (I'm a London snob and I won't be ashamed of it. Hey, I'm moving to south London. There's only so much I can do.)

But anyway. I was on the 253 heading towards Camden, and for the majority of the journey, I was sitting beside these two girls. Now, this is past midnight on a Saturday night, so I'll leave it to your judgement to decide whether they were drunk or not. (Hint: they were.) Normally, I'm not such a nosy eavesdropper, but my book was boring, and they were far more entertaining.

In the lengthy journey back to where sensible people live, I learned an awful lot about these two girls. It started out fairly innocuously. Girl One (let's call her Angie) was talking about how she was worried about Girl Two's (and let's call her Trish) cold lingering for so long. Trish pointed out that such is the life someone who works with kids, and she'd probably get better on the half term break.

Then things took a turn. Apparently, Angie is constantly worried about pregnancy. She's currently worried that she may be pregnant, but she just had her period, so she won't be able to know if she's late for another month. That means that she's got a month of imagining that she's pregnant and stressing about it.

Trish pointed out that she could probably do something to prevent the possible pregnancies by practicing some form of birth control. Angie didn't seem to think this would work for her.

Angie then mentioned that she has spent the last two or three years in a constant state of worry about whether or not she was pregnant, and if she was, how she would find the £250 to take care of things, because she'd rather go on holiday.

(It's here I should mention that these were not supremely tacky teenagers with absolutely no sense, but seemingly normal looking girls in their mid to late twenties.)

Trish then horrified Angie by mentioning that if she got pregnant, she wouldn't consider it to be the worst thing in the world. Angie was disgusted and kept saying "but why?" in a mystified tone of voice. Trish pointed out that, unlike Angie and her current habit of sluttiness, she was in a relationship in which they planned on getting married and having children, and so it would just be a bit earlier than planned.

Angie was all "but, ew! You couldn't go on holiday if you had babies" or something stupid like that. She then said she wouldn't go on the pill, even though she had a prescription and had the pills at home, because it had affected Trish badly when she took it.

It was then that I began to feel badly for Trish, because she seemed like a rational and sensible girl, but she was afflicted by the tragedy of having a deeply, deeply stupid friend.

I had to physically restrain myself from leaning over to this girl and saying "Excuse me, but are you insane? You're admitttedly slutty, which is fine if it works for you, but you seem to live in some dream world in which hoping that you won't get pregnant is an effective form of birth control. And never mind pregnancy, what about all the other things that can happen when you practice unprotected sex? What about diseases? Is hope also an effective preventative measure for that? And who are these guys that are all okay with sleeping with you without protection? Do you lie to them, and tell them you're on the pill? You know what? Carry a condom in your bag. If you're old enough to have sex, (and you definitely are, as you're nearing thirty) you're old enough to have some sense. God, grow up."

Obviously, I said nothing, but I thought it very hard and I have some hope that my psychic ability sent some of the thoughts her way. I had to get off the bus before I heard the end of the conversation though.

I can imagine it going down the line of Angie being all "but if I am pregnant, a baby would be such a cute accessory!" Which is probably good that I missed, because I would have had to slap her then and I probably would have been kicked off the bus and it would have been a whole big thing.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

People, there is exciting news!

So, remember how I'm house searching?

And how I was putting an offer in on a flat? Well, there is fabulous news! The offer has been accepted! And, baby, those orange velour floor length curtains are ALL MINE!

Woo hoo!!

Well, it's not finalized yet. It's very complicated, buying property in this country. But my offer was accepted, my mortgage has been approved, I have a solicitor, and the ball, she is rolling.

It's a delightful ex-council flat in Balham, which is a lovely area in south London. It's a two bedroom flat, with a garden. It's not in the nicest condition right now, but I'm all excited for getting new flooring and painting and all the fun stuff.

This is what the living room looks right now.

I will be making it look prettier.

And this is the kitchen.

You'll not the ample counter space, and unattractive wall units. I haven't decided what exactly to do here, but I'm pretty sure I'll leave it as is, and just paint the doors. I think the appliances are in okay shape, but I may have to replace them. The kitchen's also big enough for a table. Delightful!

There is also a garden, and I have full plans to be an amazing gardener and make it fabulous. (The sound you hear right now is my mother's hysterical laughter.) It isn't in good condition right now, but this is the garden of another flat in the same estate I looked at.

Isn't that cute? I could totally make a garden look that delightful. After I buy a bunch of "Gardening for Dummies Who Are Also Plant Killer" type books. Those must exist, right?

I'm very excited about the whole thing, as you can imagine. And, I'm getting a pull out couch for the living room, and you know what that means. All guests will be welcome at Casa Alice!


I've got tons and tons of paint samples, and gardening catalogues and all sorts of things. I'm working on a colour scheme and styles and all kinds of things.

I've still got to get the survey done and hopefully they'll only have good things to say about the structure of the flat.

Fingers crossed.

Also, yay!

Friday, October 14, 2005

The shame!

So, the most embarrassing thing happened to me the other day.

Imagine if you will - you’re on a very stressful rally doing some filming for British TV.

You're in Telluride, Colorado, which has an elevation of around 9500 feet.

To blow off a bit of steam, you have a beer or five at the bar with the crew.

Said beers affect you a bit more than they usually would, because of the altitude.

You take a school bus back to the hotel, along with the rest of the rally entrants. You manage to remain standing for the whole twisty turny scarily fast journey.

You will soon find this ironic.

You're one of the last people off the bus.

It's a rainy day, the stairs are a bit muddy, and you're wearing flip flops.

You wipe out in the most spectacular fashion, with your legs flying right out from under you and you crashing hard onto the steps in a sitting position.

Your ass gets bruised.

Fortunately, everyone has forgotten about your silly gaff the next morning, and you are quite confident it will go unremembered.


Your boss comes into your office one day and says "Alice, you've got to take a look at this" and wanders back into the edit suite.

You are immediately suspicious.

Your co-workers smell the fear in the air and race into the edit suite.

You follow them in.

You glimpse the school bus, and, upon seeing a school bus and a rainy night, are horribly aware of what you’re about to see.

You run back to your office, shut the door and hide under your desk.

Hysterical laughter is heard from the edit suite.

(Did I mention you were wearing a skirt? Because you were.)

For the rest of the day, anytime any of your co-workers see you, they make a joke about either
a) being drunk on the job or
b) falling down on the stairs.

On the plus side, your legs look good in the shot.

Will you ever live this down? Only time will tell.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Adventures of the house hunt

Some of you may know that I've been on the lookout for a flat in London lately. Oh, that's right. I'm going to be a property owner. Well, to be perfectly honest, I'm going to own a tiny fraction of a flat and the parents and grandparents are going to own the majority of them. I'll be repaying a teensy tiny mortgage and paying them rent. Along with the person who will be renting the other room (hi Heather!).

So, I've been doing searches for properties, and figuring out what things cost and having a look. This will likely surprise many of you, but I'm looking at south London. That's right, Alice Never-ever-crosses-the-river-ever is going to move south. It's a wild and crazy time, I tell you. Wild and crazy.

I've seen quite a few flats, and I have to tell you - it's pretty depressing. I've learned quite a few things in my flat hunting time.

1. People have horrible taste. I would fashion avenge them, but it's far far far too depressing. One of the flats I looked at yesterday had orange velour curtains. In 2005. Floor length orange velour curtains. Sweet Jesus, why?

2. It turns out I'm very specific in what I'm looking for. Who knew I'd be so fussy? (Shut up.) It turns out that I'm quite particular and I want a garden. Not that I'm a gardener, mind you. I'm what's known as a "Plant Killer" in the horticultural sphere.

3. I have virtually no money. Which is even more depressing when you realize that I'm looking at spending what could buy you a three bedroom house in downtown Toronto. And I'm looking at two bedroom flats, the largest of which has been around 750 square feet. And I still have no money here.

4. Not getting a property is very distressing. It's like a personal insult - why didn't they want meeeeee to have it?

5. I'm going to put in an offer on another flat tomorrow. Hopefully that'll go a bit better.

I do like the flat hunting procedure though. Especially when the owners aren't home. You're supposed to snoop around to see how big closets are and how much storage space there is. It's not sneaky or anything! But you can feel a bit guilty about doing that when the owners are in, so I always recommend a non-supervised viewing.

And I like the planning - figuring out how much furniture will be required, and if the kitchen needs to be re-done, how much would it cost, and all that kind of thing. Delightful!

I'm hoping the offer tomorrow goes well. With any luck those orange velour curtains could be mine. Score!

It's Guttenberg-arrific!

Oh, there is SO much going on over at the Steve Guttenberg Project!