Thursday, May 31, 2007

Last night my friend, Kate, taught me - albeit briefly - how to play tennis. i remember playing tennis once when i was about 7 years old, chunky, and at a summer resort (shout out to Isaiah Tubbs). As such, i was running around the court like a headless chicken and bashing the ball against my racket like a spastic child.

Nevertheless in between spastic ball bashing sessions, i got to thinking about something Kate said to me recently. We might have been completely intoxicated (most likely) but she basically commended me for moving to Glasgow with next to nothing. Swaying from the red wine, she observed, "Jen. Babe. You've really done something. You moved to Glasgow and you made a life here". This being the UK, and British people not really prone to such emotional nakedness, i was quite touched. Really, i was because up until this point, i wasn't quite sure if other people - particularly my British friends - knew just how hard it was. However, 1 year and 2 months later i think, "fuck, why didn't i move sooner?!"

That all being said, however, i did spend last Saturday morning watching Canadian Heritage Minutes feeling a bit homesick. Totally fucking worth those four hours though!
Today in a sermon from Scotland's most senior Roman Catholic, Cardinal Keith O'Brien, stated that the abortion rates in Scotland were equivalent to "two Dunblane massacres a day". Cardinal O'Brien also called on voters to not support MPs who defend such a "social evil". Cardinal O'Brien's sermon was to mark the 1967 Abortion Act, describing the seven million (give or take) abortions in Britain since then as an "unspeakable crime" and the "wanton killing of innocents".

You know what i find to be a massacre? Cardinal O'Brien's sense of logic and vulgar use of a tragedy to further his political agenda. Ah well, there's nothing like abortion to get every one's knickers in a knot.

So, for the sake of his (and other pro-lifers') argument, let's agree that abortion is murder. Why are all these old white men publicly shaming an act that is extremely private? Oh, right. It gets you a running headline on the BBC. Why do these old dudes still work themselves up into a tizzy over a woman's right to choice? This is 2007 and no longer are women viewed merely as vehicles for making babies and picking your shit up after you. Why not take up the case of vasectomies? Think of all those dudes shooting blanks! Or why not people - especially in America - on death row? Oh, right - because they're not viewed as "innocent deaths". An eye for an eye an' all that.

And so perhaps the rate of abortion has increased in the UK. It is faulty logic - post hoc, ergo propter hoc - to assume that such an increase is an example of the unholy times we live in. Guess what? There are more people than there was 40 years ago.

i think the Chief Executive of the British Pregnancy Advisory Service, Ann Furedi, said it best: "The cardinal has every right to hold his views. He obviously doesn't have to have an abortion, or provide one."

Look out because i am on a fucking rampage.

Sometimes i think that the UK is the most inefficient, inconvenient, and nightmarish when it comes to bureaucracy and customer service. It's downright Kafkaesque. i have literally lost count of how many times i have had to call companies to follow-up with THEIR lack of work and/or mistake. Just an example - my previous cable/phone provider never came to pick up their equipment and i had to chase them down to do so.

In fact, just this evening i received a letter from BT (British Telecom) thanking me for my service and due to my request, would be transferring my phone calls. To what provider, i have no idea because I NEVER ASKED FOR A FUCKING TRANSFER...?!

Yes, yes, i know. Calm down. Make a cup of tea.

It's just almost unbearable when it seems that such hassling (on my part), wrong input, and delayed actions pile up - one after the other. i'm certain that this is a form of torture.

On the bright side, they do have free birth control pills, John Lewis, and brilliant chocolate. i am off to make that cup of tea now and ensure that i still have a phone line.

Monday, May 28, 2007


Me and my big nose making dinner for Paul.

Gallery of Modern Art

Paul teaching his wee brother, Daniel, how to steal a car - Glasgow style.

This is a HUGE slug that i found on the sidewalk, just chillin' in the rain.

Wee Daniel and i gawkin' at the slug being totally and utterly grossed out by it.

Daniel, coming out of the closet. i guess you just know sometimes, eh?!

Wee Daniel.
Paul and cheeky Daniel.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

i turned old(er) yesterday. 28 years old. To mourn my misspent youth, Paul took me for dinner last night for an "official" birthday dinner - not to be confused with the drunken fest that took place this past weekend.

So, here i am being all old and stuff.

We went to a posh South Indian restaurant where they presented us with a giant dosa.

Paul, approving our feast.

Me, attacking the giant dosa.

Our decimated dinner.
After getting word that it was my birthday (and perhaps as such, feeling sorry for me), servers at the restaurant gave me free Cardamom kulfi (Indian ice cream).

Paul and i posing - being all fat and shit.

Afterwards, i started taking pictures of the "underground", which never ceases to entertain me. Paul started getting mad 'cause i was acting all touristy.

But, come on! Look at that thing! That isn't a subway - that's a toy! Sooooo 1970s colour scheme too!

Tuesday, May 22, 2007


Monday, May 21, 2007


So, this is my new flat - this is the living/eating area.

View outside my living room window.



Beautiful decorative ceiling.

Museum of Modern Art.

Woo woo! Getting all dolled up for my birthday dinner.


Woo Woo Part 2 - posing like an idiot in the new pad.

Friday, May 18, 2007


i just received word this morning that my best pal, Bob (a.k.a. Bombo/Coco Baby/Bitter Queen) is coming to Glasgow for a week in June! BEST NEWS EVER! It will be his first time in the UK, although he has been to his "ancestral homeland" of Greece when he was around 10. So, it's about bloody time he makes it over here and get some culture!

Good luck getting through British customs with your creamy mocha skin and a name like CHARALAMBOS, bitch! Don't worry, i'll be there to claim your refugee ass at the airport!

i am so excited and literally have a grin from ear to ear. Finally! Someone with whom i can gawk at junkies and jakies with; someone whose Canadian sense of style will also be deeply offended by the outfits on parade in city centre on a typical Saturday night!

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Pass your judgements all you want, but a recent study, from 2006, found drinkers earn between 10 and 14 per cent more than non-drinkers, and men derive an additional 7 per cent of income over the initial "drinkers' premium" if they head to a bar at least once a month.

You'd think that with such findings, Glasgow would be a city of millionaires. Then again, Porsches seem to be a dime a dozen over here. i've even seen a Lamborghini and a Ferrari.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007


Holy shit, did you all watch BBC's Panorama last night about Scientology - that bizarre/scary cult that parades itself as a "religion"? Cult, religion - whatever you want to call it, any fanatic frightens me; besides, didn't all religions once start as a "cult" at one point or another? Once you have let go of rational thought and given way to "any means necessary", or as Scientologists call it, "Fair Game", well, you're on your way down that long and twisty road of fanaticism.

Yeah, the BBC reporter/journalist, John Sweeney, totally lost his shit and cool on the Scientology spokesperson - creepy Tommy Davis who eerily looks like Tom Cruise circa Risky Business - but who could blame him? I scream like a banshee anytime Tom Cruise so much as appears on my TV screen. Which is why i love most British media: they have balls and aren't afraid to ask questions, even if it means sacrificing the proverbial stiff upper lip.

BBC journalists: 1
Scientologists: 0

Thursday, May 10, 2007

You all know Yann Martel, the Spanish-born Canadian writer, right? Author of Life of Pi?

He has started a brilliant campaign/website entitled, What is Stephen Harper Reading? I should pre-face this all by suggesting that Mr. Harper does not represent the current political climate of Canada, but rather the backlash against the Liberals and Paul Martin - it's complicated.

Anyway, Yann Martel was inspired to start the website after attending a celebration at the Canadian House of Commons in honour of the Canada Council for the Arts. He writes:

Just so that you know: the parliamentary appropriation this year for the Canada Council for the Arts is $173 million. Next year it will be $182 million. Does that sound like a lot? Let me put it into perspective. A budget of $182 million translates to $5.50 per Canadian per year. Most Canadians I know spend more than that in a week on parking, some in a day on coffee. Sure, the federal government supports the arts in other ways, too, through industry-support grants and the funding of cultural agencies such as the CBC, the National Gallery, the Museum of Civilization, the National Arts Centre, Telefilm Canada, and so on, but these are institutional venues. Only the Canada Council for the Arts sustains our living arts of today and tomorrow where it really counts, at the level of the individual artist. And they’re supposed to do that on $5.50 a year per Canadian.

Now, let me put something into perspective: a nation of 34 million people (i.e. Canada) offers $173 million Canadian dollars (£78 million pounds) to its artists for funding and support while, in comparison, a nation of 5 million people (i.e. Scotland) offers £50 million pounds to its artists for funding. A city with a population just shy of 1 million (i.e. Glasgow), offers £3 million pounds in cultural grants.

While Canada parades itself as being an inclusive country with a socialist agenda, it's quite embarrassing when it comes to funding for the arts. Scotland, particularly Glasgow, has a long history of labour and socialist movements that does not shy away from bragging about its cultural and artistic landscape. Why is that? Why do Canadians moan about the shitty state of our film and tv sector and in the same breath criticise the government for supporting it? The BBC is supported via public funds and i just have to laugh when British people bemoan the state of BBC-produced TV. Shit, at least you don't have to suffer through commercials...

Tuesday, May 08, 2007


Here is what becomes of you when you're one of Scotland's greatest poets - memorialised as a garbage bin, as seen in Queen's Park.

After spending the afternoon at the Queen's Park Farmer's Market and feeding Scottish Tablet to squirrels (who fucking love that stuff, by the way), Paul's friend, Jamie, suggested that we head to the Burrell Collection as i had not been there in about 7 years. The museum and building itself are beautiful and home to a fair amount of Edgar Degas work. The museum itself is situated in a HUGE park - which Paul and i subsequently got lost in. While wandering around aimlessly, we asked an English man how to get to the actual collection. He informed us that we were still quite a few miles away, to which he must have heard my sigh of despair because a few moments later, he pulled up beside us in a car and offered us a ride.

Anyway, i took this photo because Paul and Jamie are so cute and look, they even dress alike.

This weekend, in the UK at least, was a long weekend and as such, most people had Monday off. Apparently the holiday is called May Day - which means that lots of unionists, hippies, working-class folk, Bob Dylan fans, communists, socialists and boozin' punters gather at a free venue with their kids, sip a pint of beer whilst their children have their face's painted and watch bands perform salsa and celtic music. So, i felt pretty much at home amongst the drinkin' Dylan fans and of course, had to alienate my fellow comrades by creating something straight out of Curb Your Enthusiasm. Paul, recognising someone he knew, introduced me to "John" - the head of an organisation dedicated to helping innocent people who have been wrongly imprisoned. "John" handed me a flyer, inviting us to a charity event to which i responded, "Ahh, they're all innocent, aren't they?!" thinking that i was being funny. Paul and John just glared at me. Sorry 'bout that. i guess the Larry David sense of humour doesn't bode well with the leftie crowds.

Afterwards, Paul and i met up with some of my friends to continue drinking to show our solidarity with our comrades.

It rained all day Monday and so, Paul and i were essentially held captive in my flat all day forced to watch all of Spaced Series 2 on dvd, while grimacing at Paul, who is probably the most messy eater i have ever met (even more so than Coco/Bitter Queen) which, really, demands a certain amount of respect.

Friday, May 04, 2007


Party Const Regn +/- Tot
After 81 of 129 seats declared
LAB 32 0 -7 32
SNP 15 16 +16 31
LD 9 2 -1 11
CON 4 2 -1 6
Others 0 1 -7 1

And so, that is how the polls currently stand.

What a fiasco - from the electronic voting to the man beating the shit out a election box with a golf club. Ah, bless. The whole counting process has been marred by errors, electronic malfunctions, and fog. Personally, i have to admit that i was slightly confused when i voted last night as the ballots just had the different party logos, rather than just their name. As such, it took me a while to figure out the differences between "Scottish National Party" and "Scottish Voice" because shit, i'm an immigrant and i don't know all the different party logos. i had a wee chuckle, however, when going down the ballot and noticing the party, Scotland Against Crooked Lawyers. i'm not sure who started that party, but i'm going to assume that they're the kind of person who doesn't easily let go of a grudge. Kind of reminds me of that old joke:

Q: What do you call 100 lawyers chained together at the bottom of the ocean?

A: A good start!

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Last night, Paul took myself and his Mother to see Angels in America: Millennium Approaches at the Citizen's Theatre. It was simply astonishing - the actual written play, the performances, the production design. Simply brilliant. Even the actors' American accents were amazing - with the exception of one actor referring to a sofa as a "sofer" (Scottish pronunciation).

Although the first part was 3 hours and 30 minutes long, it really didn't seem like it. Part two, however, is apparently 4 hours long so bring a flask. We're going to see Part 2 this Friday evening and i'm quite excited.

Today, coming into work, i was chatting with a co-worker, who went to the same performance last night, and he remarked about the audience. Specifically, he wasn't entirely sure that the Scottish audience understood the cultural references. For example, there is a character in the play called "Ethel Rosenberg" - based upon the actual person by the same name - who was involved in a very famous mistrial of justice and executed, along with her husband, for "treason". My co-worker argued that the audience didn't seem to grasp the cultural reference due to their "schooling" or lack thereof. While it's true that the public (in so far that i mean STATE) schools over here seem more destitute than Canadian ones, i'm note entirely sure that i would agree. While Paul himself has experienced both the Scottish and American schooling system, while reiterating the shitty and classist state schools over here, i think the issue has more to do with it being an American event. i mean, i never learned about the Rosenberg Trial until i was in university because we were too busy being taught CANADIAN HISTORY in high school during history class, you know?

And although i took OAC Law (what you Brits call, "Highers"), we learned about the CANADIAN law system and famous mistrials such as: David Milgaard and Guy Paul Morin - so excuse me if i don't know about some "famous" British injustice. i never knew about Fred and Rose West or the Moors Murders until i moved to Scotland, so really what's his point? That the UK has a two-tiered education system systemically perpetuated by classism?

Well, then i concur.