venerdì, dicembre 18, 2009

The Red Dragon self-flagellates

Sick as hell. These past couple of months have taken me and broken me, and my fucking body has decided to punish me for not getting pregnant yet by getting rid of my dragonly cramps and replacing them with nausea; I'd really prefer the pain . . . I have a degree of paranoia that I'll be one of those pregnant women who spend the whole nine months puking and the present situation isn't helping me deal with that paranoia. But the lovely Rodelinda, that gem among women, sent me Marks and Spencers chocolate-covered gingersnaps and those have fixed allllmost everything. No wonder men all lose their fucking minds when she dumps them. She's so awesome.

In the meantime, my Christmas vacation has now started. Luke Duke sent us a couple of books on Spain as we're flying out tonight - luckily throwing up all over aeroplanes won't be breaking any new experiential ground for me - which means I am going to go get busy reading them, now that I'm done with Stalin's Children. Which was fine. The first half was really good and the second half wasn't, so, altogether, fine.

Luke Duke's gifts: Ghosts of Spain and ¡Guerra!. They look pretty good. You know what I love about Spanish? The fucking upside-down exclamation points and question marks. That is really awesome. You know right away at the beginning of the phrase if it's going to be exciting or interrogatory. I love that. And yesterday I was given to understand that our Asian division is haemmoraging money so the odds of me being able to continue my job without interruption whilst moving to Australia are poor - but honestly work has stressed and exhausted me so badly over the last little while that I had to welcome that news - especially as it means the F-word and I get to pursue one of the more attractive Plan B's we've ever had: before moving to the Antipodes, we go spend a few months in Spain, doing the Camino and learning that awesome language. I don't speak a word of it of course, but I can usually figure out what they're talking about if they want me to because of its similarities with Italian, so I think given three or four months there I'll be able to pick up a lot of it.

In the meantime, my sweethearts, I'm not going to be posting on this blog; will return the week after Christmas, hopefully stuffed to the brim with tapas and ham, ham, ham. Very lovely holidays to you all; may your indiscretions be discreet, your pleasures shameless, your carbon footprint smaller than mine, and you and yours very very happy above all.

mercoledì, dicembre 16, 2009

Attrition position

I shouldn't whine, first of all; the distribution of work after my boss disappeared was equitable and then this week I went back to my 'normal' workload, since when I leave for vacation means I'll be missing a deadline; so my other boss was the one who really broke her head over the proceedings for the publications-in-process. But in any case the lead-up to Christmas is bloody hell.

Possibly you remember last December, when my own company sacked 10 people in December to squeak the cuts in before the end of the calendar year? Well on the offchance you're some sort of corporate innocent, a teacher or a family-owned business worker or some such fucking quaint thing, and sacking a whole fuckload of people just before the Most Wonderful Fucking Day of the Year seems inhumane to you, here's some sad news: all the fucking public companies do that shit.

It gives them a chance to write down any losses involved in severance in the old year, it gives them a more attractive cost base for the new year, and it gives them a couple of weeks when the people they sack had already made plans to spend time with their friends and family in a way that our professional lives no longer permit us to do at any other fucking time of the year (and I whine this out as a European with five weeks holiday a year), which cuts the chances of difficult confrontations and even of really stiff or extended severance negotiations. Etc. Ground we've covered before.

But the arse of it all as far as I'm concerned at the moment is that December isn't on the easy end of the 'normal' workload because there's so much goddamn news about the cash-strapped companies in my industry shutting down factories and sacking a kajillion people. Yesterday afternoon, whilst working toward our 4 o'clock deadline, some fucker of a fucking northern European company announced a bunch of shutdowns and sackings at about 2:50. And the cunts scheduled a conference call for half an hour later. And I had already been juggling writing some other shutdowns, as well as a couple of near-fatal accidents (which also seem to step up around Christmas). I mean, the fucking bastards.

Anyways, with any luck today the clear sailing starts. And then Friday night we leave, and I come home to some light and non-pressing of Orthodox Christian and Muslim markets. But I'll tell you, for the fucking moment my head is close to bursting.


Lately we have been enjoying John Safran's new ABC series, Race Relations. It's pretty fucking awesome, and for me roughly - errrr - x 1,000,000 better than anything Sacha Baron Cohen has done since the Ali G interview with Noam Chomsky, and even that was only at parity.

The really remarkable thing about John Safran relative to other comedians who use shock-and-awe interviewing techniques with unsuspecting subjects for sheer hilarity is that the sheer hilarity grows out of John Safran leaving you with a niggling suspicion that John Safran is a complete fucking mongoloid whose mental problems go well beyond the average comedian-neuroses. And gawking at that doesn't weigh on the conscience, because obviously he isn't, or at least not pathologically enough that he's missed out on having a thriving career. It's not as fucking funny as it is because of horrid mothers pimping out their babies for photoshoots, or because of baying white trash Americans getting pissed off by two guys making out - things which I would argue, whatever their merits as documentary, aren't fucking funny at all.

Here's the clip that convinced the F-word we should watch it:

And here's a clip of what I mean about the pathological mental problems :

And I promise you it only gets worse, or better, depending on your perspective.

martedì, dicembre 15, 2009

Shit too heavy

I've started having nightmares about my missing boss, who I see standing with his back to me, and who won't turn around even though I yell at him until I wake myself up. So I'm restarting analysis. Any excuse, apparently.

Just when you thought that a navel couldn't get any more gazed . . . Luckily this is Belgium, so there will probably be a certain degree of ridiculousness involved in even getting an appointment.


lunedì, dicembre 14, 2009

Things to address with a professional

Finally it's colded up here, dropped below zero with the attendant fucking off of the bloody seemingly inexhaustible supply of grey drizzly clouds and the sun reappearing in her finest ice-maiden form. Thank god. I was about to lose my shit. I think the F-word and I understand each other decently well, but there's a bit of a gap in the weather-sense; I'm fine with cold as long as there's sun, he's fine with no fucking sun as long as it's good and warm. Hopefully we find a way to reconcile that. My plan at the moment is to buy a cottage in Canada with Luke Duke and Magnum so that I can spend northern hemisphere summers there, and southern hemiphere summers, well, in the fucking southern hemisphere, obviously. But for now with wide blue skies and the sun out, I'm ace. Brussels is really pretty with a touch of sun.

Reading Stalin's Children, at the insistence of a Ukrainian colleague, who probably insisted because I ask her too many questions about the Ukraine and Russia, because I'd like to go see what it's like myself but I'm afraid I'd get beaten up for looking too Jewy. Here's a Westerner who really understands what things there are like in what used to be the USSR, she said. Well damn. It's not a bad book (though maybe a little turgid when it comes to the description of the author's first-hand impressions of himself and of modern Russia, which is really annoying but at page 150 so far mercifully brief) but it sounds like things are absolutely shitty there and have been for ages.

Reading this book with rapt attention, especially so soon after reading Goodbye to All That with rapt attention, especially especially after managing to sit through 2012 even if I didn't enjoy it besides the car chase close to the beginning, makes me wonder if I have a thing for humanitarian disaster porn. Probably something I should address with a professional.