Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Adventures In Lighting

So, remember how the light in my flat burned out?

Yeah, that was 29 days ago.

It took me that long to fix it. I know.

It's because it's impossible to reach the light from any of the stepladder/accessable furniture combinations that I could come across. Other than dragging my chest of drawers into the middle of the room, which I wasn't keen on doing as it's covered in loads of crap, and I couldn't be bothered to move it.

What's a girl to do?

Well, thankfully a girl got a new fabulous dressing table delivered from eBay, so she could get rid of her old desk, but thankfully she hadn't gotten rid of the desk top and, as if by magic...

It's the world's least safe climbing device! Especially when you're standing on the top rung, and you realize that you have to reach behind you to get the lightbulb, and it seems a bit wobbly for a minute.

But, just when you think all is lost...

Ta da!

Isn't it pretty? I'm liking this whole lighted flat thing. I think it might catch on.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

You like poetry, right?

You people are so lucky to have me, you really, really are.

I am here to solve your Christmas gift dilemmas.

I know what you're thinking, "I have numerous poetry lovers to buy for, and yet I have little to no knowledge about poetry". Or, alternatively, you may be thinking, "I have to buy something for a person that needs a bit more culture in their life. Is there a reasonably priced, yet still incredibly awesome book of poetry that can fit the bill?". Or, you might even be thinking, "I'm looking for a poetry book to add to my Christmas wish list. But what book could that be?".

You are all so lucky. Because my good friend Heather Taylor has written just the book of poetry that can fix all of these problems!

It's called "Horizon and Back" and it's available both through the publisher, and on Amazon.

It's a mere £7! What an incredible bargain!! It's 80 pages of poetry goodness, which works out to a teensy tiny 8.75p per page!

For you foreign folks, we're looking an insignificant $12 of your US dollars, and $14 of your Canadian dollars! It's like she's just giving these 80 fantastic pages of poetry away!

So, buy away people! This is one fantastic book of poetry. You, your poetry loving friends, your friends that deserve a bit of culture, and all the other people on your Christmas list will love it, I'm sure.

Did I mention that you should buy this book? Because I think you should. And you know I'm always right.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

It's Getting Cold...

It's the middle of November, and I'm feeling Christmassy.

Now, I know that the people with December birthdays (hi Sarah K, Brad & Tim!) are probably hissing and thinking horrible things in the "it's not Christmas until after my birthday, dammit!", but I just can't help it. In all fairness, there have been Christmas decorations up here since mid October, so I think I'm showing admirable restraint.

Anyway, I'm going to be in my new flat for Christmas (fingers crossed), and it'll be my first Christmas in London in my own place that's big enough to have a tree. Yay!

So as I'm feeling Christmassy, I'm getting my Christmas viewing and listening material together. It's always best to be prepared. I've been downloading (not illegally, of course. Because that would be wrong.) lots and lots of music with a Christmas theme, which is very delightful. And I've been trawling through eBay to find Christmas DVD's and videos.

I've found lots of childhood favourites, but I'm sure I'm still missing a few classics. So, suggestions in the comments please - what are your favourite Christmas movies, TV specials and songs?

Also, apologies to those of you who do not celebrate Christmas, and feel free to suggest Hanukkah, Kwanzaa or Ramadan holiday treats.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Underappreciated Film Genres Revealed

So, you know my friend Heather right?

Well, she works from home, which is awesome for her but something I could never do because I would do things like say "Oh, I think I'll just watch Office Space before I finish that spreadsheet" and then I wouldn't get anything done because I have virtually no self discipline. Anyway, I chat with her on Messenger during the day from time to time, and she happened to mention that she was watching the classic 80's film Troop Beverley Hills, the delightful film starring national treasure Shelley Long.

That got us on to a conversation about movies that we loved that are crap. Unsurprisingly, I have many of these.

I was inspired to look up two TV movies I'd recorded as a kid and watched millions of times. To my surprise and delight, both were available on DVD. I wasn't going to pay the crazy Amazon prices of upwards of £10. What am I, made of money? Fortunately, I have had much experience in tracking down the cheap and not very good movie so I headed right over to eBay.

And did I find them? Oh, did I ever!

And that's how the the two greatest TV movies of the late 80's and early 90's came to join my film collection.

Now those of you who didn't grow up in North America perhaps aren't familiar with the phenomenon of the network extravaganza made-for-TV movie. I don't think they exist anymore, but there were certainly tons of them when I was a kid. Basically, a network would pull stars from all its sitcoms and put them in a fantastic film. How could this possibly go wrong?

The first is 1990's Camp Cucamonga.

It's the touching tale of Marvin Schector (John Ratzenberger - Cheers) and his summer camp, Camp Cucamonga.

Marvin, or Colonel Marv as he's known to the campers, has just given up life as an accountant to fulfill his dream of running a camp. Supported by wife Millie (Dorothy Lyman - Mama's Family) and daughter Ava (a pre-Friends Jennifer Aniston - Ferris Bueller), he has to deal with an amusing mix-up between the handyman (Sherman Hemsley - Amen) and the camp inspector (G. Gordon Liddy - no TV shows, but you may remember him from the Watergate scandal. Seriously. No, seriously.). The mix-up results in the camp losing its accreditation. Oh no! How can the camp survive?

Why, it's resourceful campers to the rescue! Rebellious Lindsey (Danica McKellar - The Wonder Years) is finding it tough to fit in at camp. She's made friends with fellow outcast Max (Josh Saviano - also The Wonder Years), but isn't fitting in with fellow campers Amber (Candace Cameron - Full House), Dennis (Jaleel White - Family Matters) and Frankie (Chad Allen - My Two Dads). Will her suggestion of a rap video to send to the head of the camping association save the camp, win the friendship of the other campers (and Frankie's heart) and aid the blossoming relationship between Ava and fellow counsellor Roger (Brian Robbins - Head of the Class)?

Well, I don't want to spoil it for you, so I won't tell you. But I will tell you that the Camp Cucamonga rap is the single best thing ever. (Camp Cucamonga, oh yeah, oh yeah).

The second film is my favourite. I recorded it from TV in 1988, and probably watched it about seven thousand times before the tape was lost.

It's classic film Dance 'Til Dawn. I seriously cannot tell you how much I love this movie. Love, love, love.

It's the moving story of the graduates of the '88 class of Hoover High. It focuses on several different groups of teenagers and their parents, and I don't know how you can fail to be delighted.

Class popular girl Shelley Sheridan (Alyssa Milano - Who's The Boss) hasn't been asked to the prom by her boyfriend of four years Kevin McCrea (Brian Bloom - As The World Turns) because he doesn't think she'll put out. Encouraged by his friends, Kevin asks out school weirdo Angela Strull (Tracey Gold - Growing Pains) who he thinks is a slut. Angela forgoes her longstanding plans with best friend Margaret (Tempestt Bledsoe - The Cosby Show) and agrees to go with Kevin.

While avoiding the prom, while still pretending to her parents that she's going with Kevin, Shelley runs into class geek Dan Lefcourt (Chris Young - Max Headroom). Dan is hiding out from his father, Jack Lefcourt (Alan Thicke - also Growing Pains), who thinks that he's actually cool.

Angela surprises her friends and Kevin by turning into a hot chick when she puts on her mom's old black sequined prom dress. Her dad (Kelsey Grammer - Cheers) is scandalised when he meets Kevin, whom he sold condoms to earlier. Certain that Kevin is up to no good, he and Angela's mom (Edie McClurg - The Hogan Family) follow them for the night and get up to all kinds of wacky hijinks.

Class snob Patrice Johnson (Christina Applegate - Married with Children), along with her lazy boyfriend Roger (a pre-friends Matthew Perry - Second Chance), is determined to be prom queen and have a fabulous apres prom party. Her parents, prom chaperones Nancy (Mary Frann - Newhart) and Larry (Cliff De Young - the only cast member without a TV show), are going through a rough patch and are planning to divorce.

Will Margaret find out that Kevin is using Angela for sex? Will Shelley and Dan realize that popular kids and geeks can both be lonely? Will Angela be named prom queen? Will Kevin realize that he likes Angela for herself, not just her imaginary sluttiness? Will Patrice and Roger be stranded and unable to attend the apres prom party? Will Nancy and Larry remember why they fell in love in the first place? Will Angela reject Kevin and achieve a new self confidence? Will Shelley and Dan fall in love? Will Roger dump Patrice and announce that he wants to be a fireman?

If you answered no to any of those questions, then you have clearly never watched TV or seen a movie before, and I obviously have nothing in common with you.

I can't even tell you how happy it makes me to have these two movies in my collection.

Now, I just have to track down this one that Aaron told me about - 1988's Crash Course. I haven't seen it, but I know I'll love it.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Forwards That Actually Made Me Laugh, pt 2

Jess at work sent me this today. I actually laughed out loud. Good stuff, I say.

20 Ways To Maintain A Healthy Level Of Insanity

1. At Lunch Time, Sit In Your Parked Car With Sunglasses on and point a Hair Dryer At Passing Cars. See If They Slow Down.

2. Page Yourself Over The Intercom. Don't Disguise Your Voice.

3. Every Time Someone Asks You To Do Something, Ask If They Want Fries with that.

4. Put Your Garbage Can On Your Desk And Label It "In."

5. Put Decaf In The Coffee Maker For 3 Weeks. Once Everyone has Gotten Over Their Caffeine Addictions, Switch to Espresso.

6. In The Memo Field Of All Your Checks, Write "For Smuggling Diamonds"

7. Finish All Your sentences with "In Accordance With The Prophecy."

8. dont use any punctuation

9. As Often As Possible, Skip Rather Than Walk.

10. Order a Diet Water whenever you go out to eat, with a serious face.

11. Specify That Your Drive-through Order Is "To Go."

12. Sing Along At The Opera.

13. Go To A Poetry Recital And Ask Why The Poems Don't Rhyme

14. Put Mosquito Netting Around Your Work Area And Play tropical Sounds All Day.

15. Five Days In Advance, Tell Your Friends You Can't Attend Their Party Because You're Not In The Mood.

16. Have Your Co-workers Address You By Your Wrestling Name, Rock Bottom.

17. When The Money Comes Out The ATM, Scream "I Won!, I Won!"

18. When Leaving The Zoo, Start Running Towards The Parking lot, Yelling "Run For Your Lives, They're Loose!!"

19. Tell Your Children Over Dinner. "Due To The Economy, We Are Going To Have To Let One Of You Go."

20. And The Final Way To Keep A Healthy Level Of Insanity.......

Send This E-mail To Someone To Make Them Smile.

Its Called Therapy.

Despite the haphazard capitalization, and the cheesy #20, I heartily approve of all of these things, in accordance with the prophecy.

Happy Belated Birthday to Me!

Random things regarding my birthday

Apparently this is me:

Your Birthdate: November 5

You have many talents, and you are great at sharing those talents with others.
Most people would be jealous of your clever intellect, but you're just too likeable to elicit jealousy.
Progressive and original, you're usually thinking up cutting edge ideas.
Quick witted and fast thinking, you have difficulty finding new challenges.

Your strength: Your superhuman brainpower

Your weakness: Your susceptibility to boredom

Your power color: Tangerine

Your power symbol: Ace

Your power month: May

Bette wrote a lovely little something about yours truly on her blog. Isn't she a delight?
Mike sent me a virtual birthday cake.

Pretty, no? And it has 28 candles! Well played, Mike. Well played.


Apparently, this is also me:

Section 1: How You Approach Life and How You Appear To Others

Ferociously proud and somewhat vain, you like to be impressive and to be seen as Somebody Special. You are not timid, meek, or self-effacing, and are rarely content being in the background or in the subordinate position. You are a natural leader, and do not take orders from others very well. You must have something of your own, something creative - be it a business, a project, a home or whatever - that you can develop and manage according to your own will and vision. Whatever you do, you do it in a unique, dramatic, individual way. You like to put your own personal stamp on it.

Section 2: The Inner You: Your Real Motivation

Quiet, deep, emotionally complex and intensely private, you are not a person who is easy to get to know and understand. You are extremely sensitive but disinclined to show it, and you allow only a special few into your inner world. Like a wary animal, you are cautious and mistrustful of those you do not know until you "sniff them out".
You are very, very instinctive and intuitive. You usually have a strong, immediate gut reaction to people, even though you may be unable to clearly articulate why you feel as you do. Your feelings and perceptions go deeper than words.


I had a lovely birthday, with lots of white wine. (No, seriously. So much wine.) I got great presents, and had a great time with friends.

27 worked out pretty well for me. I've got a pretty good feeling about 28.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Did I mention I'm still at work?

It's 6:58pm. I'm still at work. I'm waiting for a VHS of a half hour programme, so that I can transcribe the voice over for a recording session we have at 9 tomorrow morning.

It will probably take an hour. If I'm lucky.

Oh yeah, my job's all about the glamour.

Also, my birthday is in two days.

But that doesn't help with the whole still-at-work-when-I-could-be-drunk-with-Buffy thing.

It's now 7:02. Still waiting.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

100 Things About Me

I got this from Gwen, who got it from various other people. I thought I'd give it a shot.

I was born in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario on November 5th, 1977. I feel an affinity with Star Wars (released the year I was born) and Elvis (died the year I was born). They both clearly have something to do with me.

I’m a Scorpio. I’ve always felt that I was a typical Scorpio. I also think it’s the coolest zodiac sign.

My middle name is Elizabeth. About ten girls in my grade in school had the same middle name. It wasn’t until I moved to England that someone mentioned to me that it probably had something to do with the silver Jubilee. My dad was surprised that I didn’t know that.

I have a scar on around wrist that I got when I was two years old. Boiling water from a teapot spilled onto my wrist, and the cuff of my shirt held it there. I like my scar quite a lot. I think it has character. Most people don’t notice it at all, or assume that it’s from a watch. If I had the option of getting it removed, I wouldn’t.

I have a younger brother named Peter. He’s 18 months younger than I am. According to my grandmother, when I was about 10 or so, I decided it wasn’t cool to be friends with my brother and started being mean to him. I don’t remember that, but I still feel bad about it.

We moved when I was 9. I don’t remember the Soo that well, but it has that idyllic childhood feel. I do remember that I didn’t want to go to my going away party because I was sulky.

19 years later, I am still often sulky.

I lived in Goderich, Ontario from the ages of 9 to 18. It’s a lovely town, and since my parents don’t live there anymore, other to go to weddings, I probably won’t be back.

That makes me sad. I have a fondness for Goderich that I didn’t have when I lived there.

My first job was at a bowling alley. I made snacks, untangled the strings that held the pins, rented and cleaned shoes and served behind the bar. Or at least, I served behind the bar until they realized I was only 17 and it was illegal.

I wanted to get a job when I was 13, but my parents wouldn’t let me. Then, when I was looking at 16, I couldn’t find one because everyone my age had experience.

I went to summer camp every summer from the age of nine. I didn’t like it much, but loved it when I became a counsellor. I made some really great friends there, and but I’ve lost touch with most of them. I think that’s really too bad.

I was a smart kid slacker in high school. I was in gifted classes, and got okay grades without doing any work.

My mom once told me that if I spent as much time studying as I did working out what percentage I needed to get on final exams in order to get the grade of my choice, I’d probably get straight A’s.

She was probably right.

I moved to Toronto after the first semester of my OAC year (grade 13, to you non-Ontarians). I lived with friends of the family in their basement, took pottery and paper mache classes, went to foreign films, hung out with my camp friends and did very little. That was an awesome time.

I still get introduced by those friends of the family as “This is Alice, she used to live in our basement”

I dropped out of university after two years. I planned to only take a year off, but that was six years ago, so I really don’t think I’m going to go back.

It doesn’t bother me that I don’t have a degree. I work in TV. No one cares.

It bothers me when people find out I don’t have a degree and are shocked and/or appalled. I don’t get that. It seems to me to be a kind of intellectual snobbery that really irritates me.

I’ve been dying my hair since I was fourteen, and I’ve had the following hair colours: every shade of blonde imaginable, purple, pink, auburn, orange, dark brown and mahogany. I’m not entirely sure what my natural hair colour is. I suspect it’s a medium brown.

I have been a maid of honour twice, a bridesmaid once, and a witness at a non-church wedding once. I love weddings. They’re so fun! This year was the first time I’ve been at a wedding I wasn’t involved in. It was much more relaxing.

I’ve done the makeup for four brides. I seem to have a lot of friends that never wear makeup. This is a mystery to me. But I think I’m pretty good at it.

I’ve worn glasses since I was 10. I wear contacts sometimes, but always feel more comfortable with glasses. I don’t think I’d ever get laser surgery or anything like that.

I can’t imagine what it would be like to wake up and be able to see immediately.

I love sleeping. If given the option, I’d probably sleep for 10 or 11 hours a night. Mmmmmmm, sleep.

27 is my favourite number.

I set my alarm for an hour before I get up, and press the snooze button 5 or 6 times. I’ve tried to just get up, and it doesn’t work for me unless I have something specific I need to get up for, like a plane or something like that.

I’m a Canadian size 8.5 shoe, a UK 6 and a European 39.

A guy once bought me shoes on the second date. They’re sparkly pink trainers and I love them, but I can’t wear them because they pinch my toes.

I never told him that when we were going out.

I still have them, though.

I miss having a cat.

Foods I hated as a child but now like: broccoli tops, spinach, and Brussels sprouts.

Until about thirty seconds ago, I thought they were called “brussel sprouts”.

I am a very good speller. I was told by a teacher when I was a kid that it was because I read a lot.

I read a lot.

No, really. A lot.

I consider myself generally well read, and read lots “good” books, but I read a lot of crap too. Sometimes, I like books and movies you don’t have to think about.

I always have a song running through my head. It usually stems from an outside influence, but sometimes it’s totally random.

I love to people watch, and especially enjoy eavesdropping on other people’s conversations. I like hearing little snippets of stranger’s lives.

I regret giving away my Barbie dolls when I was a teenager. I wish I had them to give to my kids one day.

I’m not even sure I will have kids. I wish I had them so I could play with them.

I’m very bad at confrontation, and tend to cry during fights.

This makes my arguments less effective.

I’m crap at doing accents. People always think I should be able to do a British accent, since I’ve lived here for so long. I cannot. I do a passable Southern US accent. That’s all.

I’ve lived in the UK for just over four years now.

I’d only planned to stay for a year.

I should know better by now about planning things for a year. They tend to become permanent.

I love London. It’s a city I feel incredibly comfortable in, and I can imagine myself here for the foreseeable future.

When I think now of moving here knowing absolutely no one and having nowhere to live, I can’t believe I had the courage to move here.

I don’t think I’m that brave now.

I have a collection of books with “Alice books”. My parent’s friend Charlotte has bought me books with Alice in the title or as a main character since I was a kid. She still sends them to me.

That’s incredibly cool, and I can’t wait to do the same for my friend’s kids.

I can’t wait for my friends to have kids. I’m going to be such a wicked Aunt Alice.

Sometimes I’m not sure that I’m really a grown up. I’m almost thirty. That doesn’t seem right.

I’ve never had a nickname, other than at camp where all the counsellors had nicknames. For a brief period when I was ten, I was “Allie”. My dad and brother call me “Al”. In the past five years or so, more and more people call me “Al”. I’m not sure why, but I don’t dislike it.

I’ve always like the song “You Can Call Me Al” by Paul Simon.

I loved the show “Kate and Allie” when I was a kid. That’s some quality comedy, right there.

I have a not-so-secret fondness for sitcoms of the late seventies, eighties and early nineties.

I also can describe the set of any of those sitcoms to you in great detail.

That part of my brain is where things like “remembering my keys” should go.

I’d like to do more travelling. I need to get off my ass and sort that out.

I’ve lived in the following countries: Canada, the UK, the Bahamas.

I’ve been to the following countries: the US, Mexico, Cuba, France, Portugal, the Czech Republic.

The New Kids on the Block was my favourite band when I was 11 & 12.

They were the first group I saw in concert.

Donnie was my favourite, but I had a crush on Joey because he was closer to my age, so it was therefore more feasible that we could date.

When asked to pick a favourite movie, I can’t ever think of one. My fallback is “The Shawshank Redemption”, but I don’t know if that’s true. I love it, but is it my number one favourite? I’m not sure.

I have a desperate longing to own the complete ten seasons of “Friends” on DVD. Although it costs £129.99, which I can’t afford, I’ll probably get it when I’m rich with mortgage money.

Being rich with mortgage money makes me nervous.

I’m looking forward to decorating my new place. I’ve already chosen my colour schemes.

My soft drink chain of preference is Diet Coke, regular Pepsi, regular Coke, Diet Pepsi.

I think Diet Pepsi is gross like poison.

I am a movie wuss, and get scared and jumpy in scary movies.

I still love them, though.

I didn’t watch horror movies until I was 18, because I thought I’d be too scared. That’s because “Gremlins” terrified me when I was a kid.

I am now aware that “Gremlins” is a comedy. I did not know this at the time.

I love that I live in a country that has fireworks on my birthday.

I dislike it when the aforementioned fireworks get in the way of my birthday plans.

I love having parties, and going to parties, but I hate planning them. It’s very tense, and my worry that no one will turn up gets me all stressed.

I love holidays, especially my birthday. I also love Christmas and Halloween, although I haven’t done anything Halloweeny in a few years.

I’m very excited about getting a Christmas tree this year.

I cry during TV shows. I’m what they call a “sucker”. Every other episode of “Scrubs” makes me cry.

I’ve read the book “Love Story” about forty and it makes me cry every single time.

I’ve never seen the movie.

I don’t like to see movies when I’ve read the book. They never measure up. I will, however, read the book if I’ve seen the movie first.

I’m a book snob, and don’t buy books with movie covers.

I’m friends with lots of poets, but I don’t read poetry. I read too fast, and skim when I read. That doesn’t work with poetry.

I love musicals, both movies and plays. It’s my secret dream that I will one day be somewhere and everyone will burst into song and dance. That would be so freakin’ awesome.

I wish I was more artistic. I’d like to be able to paint.

My grandmother is a painter, and I have three of her paintings in my flat. Two are of burning buildings and I think they’re amazing.

That is not because I’m a pyromaniac. One time you set a receipt on fire at a restaurant, and you’re labelled for life.

This is first time in my life that all my family – parents, brother and all grandparents – live in the same city.

I have two rings that I wear everyday. One is a $5 silver ring I bought in Cuba with a polished stone in it. The other is a Navajo silver ring with turquoise that my grandfather bought for my grandmother in the seventies. They’re both cool, and I feel naked when I leave my house without them.

I also wear earrings and bracelets every day, but I rotate them according to my outfit.

I have four stuffed animals on the top of my TV. A Cheshire cat from “Alice In Wonderland” that I bought at Disneyland when I was 16, a white polar bear my mother sent me for Christmas the first year I lived in the UK, a multicoloured bean bag type lizard she gave me last year and a Husky dog my grandmother gave me. The polar bear has two badges on it.

I don’t think of myself as the kind of person that keeps stuffed animals.

I think I look really good in a tiara, and I am sad there aren’t more excuses to wear them in real life.

I’m about seven films behind on the Guttenberg Project and it’s making me feel guilty.

Finished! Man, that's harder than you'd think.