Friday, June 29, 2007

Today Has Gone To Shit and It's Only Noon

Woke up this morning already angry because it was, yet again, raining! You may have heard that parts of England are suffering from torrential rain. Scotland, however, has just been experiencing non-stop rain (not torrential; just constant) and bloody freezing temperatures. Where is summer already?

Turn on BBC Breakfast for the news and make myself a cup of tea. My flat smells like vinegar due to a leaking water container (long story) and i notice that mould has started to grow on my carpet due to leaking water tank and constant moist spot.

Watch the news and learn that more people want to bomb London. "Oh, piss off", i think, "fucking terrorists can fuck right off". i don't live in London (shout out to Glasgow!) so admittedly, i'm not that paranoid. Just annoyed more than anything. Due to our desensitised attitude towards bombs and blowing people up, i think "terrorists" need to start getting more creative. How about performing Seppuku in Trafalgar Square? Or flaying themselves alive in Piccadilly Circus? That would DEFINITELY get our jaded attention. No more of this blowing other people up bullshit.

Come to work and read the Canadian news online to find out one of my favourite CBC personalities, Andy Barrie, has early-stage Parkinson's. Shit.

Did i mention that postal workers are on strike today? To be honest, us in Scotland probably won't even notice disruption to our regular service because it's not like we got any anyway.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

There are certain words I try to avoid saying in the company of British people.


This is, of course, because Brits have a different way of pronoucing certain words than Canadians and I can be somewhat self-concious of my "accent". Opening my mouth in public, in general, might draw a few looks of suspicion but really, it is when i pronounce certain words that people seem to roll their eyes or make a point of correcting me. I think it has something to do with being a Canadian and Canadians, in general, shun drawing attention to ones self.

Take, for example, lunch yesterday. i walked to my one of my favourite wee vegetarian/hippie granola joints for their daily home-made soup. Walking into the packed cafe/shop, it was with horror that i noticed the soup was spicy TOMATO with OREGANO.

Shit. Two weird British-sounding words in one go.

Well, when in Rome and all that. And so, i tried pronouncing the soup British style. Only, i ended up sounding like a complete idiot as i struggled with "Or-A-Gan-Oh" and draw the puzzled gawks of the local school kids on their lunch hour. The server even laughed at me. Maybe culture shock isn't istantaneous; perhaps it is a long and drawn out humbling experience that shakes you back into appreciation, just when you're getting too comfortable.

Monday, June 25, 2007

i should probably preface this video by stating that although Paul may come off as a "grumpy bastard" (his words, not mine), he isn't. Well, not usually.

And so, here is a video of a typical Sunday morning in Glasgow; lying in bed with Paul reading the paper and me, surreptitiously trying to take his picture and interrupting him as he reads The Guardian (which drives him nuts and consequently leaves me in hysterics).

Friday, June 22, 2007

I Hate Royal Mail and Royal Mail Hates Me

Photo taken by Bob/Coco Baby in Fort William

According to news wires today, Royal Mail are set to strike next week. That's funny because based on my already sporadic mail delivery, you would think that they already are. Unfortunately i am an immigrant (from a first world country, no less) and as such, i have experienced efficient and effective mail delivery. i don't know if it's because this is Europe and therefore more people are "laid back" (read: lazy and apathetic), but i cannot tolerate their (lack of) services. Even though i have lived in the UK for well over a year now (and getting used to shitty service), i'm still amazed at their lack of customer service.

Only in the UK would a company (Royal Mail) offer a service "guaranteeing" delivery of your mail ("recorded delivery"); hello?! It's your fucking job to deliver my mail! And it wouldn't be so bad except they charge you DOUBLE the rate and because delivery is notorious for being so fucking shit, most people opt to send post by recorded delivery!

What a fucking swindle!

I say to the people of the UK, you have already privatised public transport allowing companies to compete for the market, why not the post? Because if i "lose" one more DVD or REALLY IMPORTANT LETTER from the bank, i might just go postal.

p.s. Sorry for all the swearing, Mom.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Being all touristy and gawking at the castle while listening to the augio guide

Tourist pose

Tourist pose, originally uploaded by Jenny Knoxville.

View of Edinburgh from the castle


Castle, originally uploaded by Jenny Knoxville.

Bob - a.k.a Jabba the Slut, originally uploaded by Jenny Knoxville.

This is Bombo, in his make shift bed (air mattress) in my flat. I came home from work one day, watching Big Brother (he is a new convert), lying in bed, with the tv remote controls and phones spread out around him. While lying in his lair, he would order me to make him tea (not too milky) and to pass him the biscuits. Bitch was too busy watching Big Brother.

I love you, Coco. Miss you.

Bob, channeling his inner European


Edinburgh, originally uploaded by Jenny Knoxville.

Bob, striking a tourist pose


Strike a tourist pose, originally uploaded by Jenny Knoxville.

This is Bob, striking a tourist pose, and listening to the audio guide in Edinburgh Castle. Holy shit. This day was SO bloody cold, i felt like lighting my hair on fire. It was the second week of June and it was 5C!

More photos to come once i upload them.

Edinburgh Castle entrance

Edinburgh Castle entrance, originally uploaded by Jenny Knoxville.

Inside Edinburgh Castle - not sure if it is worth £11

P1010349, originally uploaded by Jenny Knoxville.

Edinburgh Castle as seen from the street below

P1010358, originally uploaded by Jenny Knoxville.

Friday, June 15, 2007

"Coke is the New Weed"

Last night was bizarre.

After spending a nice (albeit fucking baltic) day in Edinburgh with Bob, we headed back to Glasgow to meet Paul and go to the Glasgow Art School final year show. After spending about an hour wandering around the beautifully designed Charles Rennie Mackintosh building and bumping into Paul's ex, Paul, Bob, and i left for dinner. Since our usual haunt was PACKED, we headed off to another restaurant just down the street, which was meant to be quite good.

Arriving at the restaurant, we discovered it was quite packed as well, this time with a wedding party that seemed to consist of extras from The Sopranos - that is, if the show was set in Glasgow, if you catch my drift.

Resigning ourselves to the knowledge that we were just going to have to eat our dinner amongst Glasgow's finest, i wandered off to the washroom. And so, as i was going about my "business", i heard two girls' voices in the cubicle a couple down from mine. The strange thing, however, was that they were both in the same cubicle and NOT ONLY talking about coke but fucking snorting it too. Strange because i would have thought that they heard me come in and such. It wasn't until AFTER i flushed that they suddenly hushed and whispered that someone else (i.e. me) was amongst them. It didn't, however, stop them from loudly hoovering up big fat ski bumps while i washed my hands.

Taking a seat back at the table, i was honestly quite disturbed. At first i couldn't really put my finger on it but after thinking about it (a lot), i now can. See, the thing is A LOT of people in Glasgow (and perhaps the UK) do coke and as such, people are quite blase about it.

Coke is the new weed. No longer is there a stigma attached to snorting a line of coke in public; and yet meth continues to carry one. What's the difference?

This isn't some anti-drug War on Drugs propaganda - i just don't understand why or when the Glaswegian public view shifted. i don't understand how the middle classes will demand fair trade organic coffee from Waitrose/Whole Foods, but will happily snort a fucking gram of coke that has Latin American blood all over it.

i suppose i should reveal that i've never done coke, will never do coke and frankly, don't understand why anyone would want to do coke. Why would i want to take some stimulant that superficially inflates my ego - how pathetic do you think i am?! Why would i want to take a drug that turns me even more into an asshole who thinks that every word coming out of my mouth is divine revelation?!

Tuesday, June 12, 2007


Bombo, originally uploaded by Jenny Knoxville.


Necropolis, originally uploaded by Jenny Knoxville.


Necropolis, originally uploaded by Jenny Knoxville.


Tourists, originally uploaded by Jenny Knoxville.

View of the Cathedral from the top of the hill in the necropolis, originally uploaded by Jenny Knoxville.

As we wandered around the graves on Sunday, we heard drums and flutes/whistles. Turns out that the orangemen / protestants were marching that day down below us. Seriously dudes, y'all need to get hobbies or something.


Grave, originally uploaded by Jenny Knoxville.

More Graves

More Graves, originally uploaded by Jenny Knoxville.

Creepy gravestone

Creepy gravestone, originally uploaded by Jenny Knoxville.

View of Ben Nevis

View of Ben Nevis, originally uploaded by Jenny Knoxville.

Walking in the highlands

Walking in the highlands, originally uploaded by Jenny Knoxville.

Bob consulting the map

Bob consulting the map, originally uploaded by Jenny Knoxville.

The road to Ben Nevis, originally uploaded by Jenny Knoxville.

Bob and i went on a 3 hour hike from Fort William to Glen Nevis via Cowhill Trail, Peat Trail, and the West Highland Way.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Sound the alarm! According to an article by Martin Newland in Canada's national magazine Macleans, England is rotting. The article is definitely worth a read if only for Newland's hyperbolic tone; by the sounds of it I am living in a nation drowning in its own filth and debauchery.

Newland essentially accuses Tony Blair and the Labour party of moving us into this current state of "rot"; Newland breathlessly writes:

  • UNICEF this year ranked Britain bottom in the league of industrialized nations in terms of the well-being of children. This is a startling fact, given that child welfare has been one of Gordon Brown's chief preoccupations throughout his 10 years at the Treasury.

  • Labour has also failed to meet its own targets on the reduction of child poverty, and this despite the extra billions in welfare targeted at parents and carers.

  • Britain also has the highest rate of teenage pregnancy in Europe, the highest proportion of single mothers, and one of the highest divorce rates.

  • Britain ranks top, with France, in western Europe in terms of sexually transmitted disease. It has the highest obesity rate in Europe, with nearly a quarter of inhabitants classified as obese.

  • Britain has one of the highest rates of alcohol abuse in Europe, with a quarter of Britons indulging in the sort of binge drinking that every weekend transforms cities and market towns into Hogarthian hellholes.

  • Britain also heads Europe in terms of drug abuse. Cocaine use is highest in the United Kingdom, and use among secondary school pupils has doubled in the last year.

  • Along with Ireland and Holland, Britain has the highest crime rate in Europe. London has a higher violent crime rate than any other city in the European Union, higher than in Istanbul and New York City.

While a lot of these "statistics" might be true (Newland conviently does not site any references), it should be noted that England never was, to paraphrase Sinéad O'Connor, the mythical land of Madame George and roses. Perhaps during the Victorian era, when sexuality and livelihoods were suppressed, England resembled the pastoral image of high tea and crumpets that some so desperately cling to. England, from what I gather, has ALWAYS been dirty, drunk and classist. Did I read from a different high school history text book when I learned that the middle ages were nothing but drunken sex and the creation of the House of Lords?

Britain is a nation - once an Empire - in love with its own Britishness and in that sense, i am reminded of Canada. Canadians constantly try to define what it is to be Canadian - which, in itself, is SO Canadian. And yet, in another instance we accuse homegrown productions or books of being "too Canadian", which is meant to be an insult of course. In fact, just the other day the Prime-Minister-To-Be, Gordon Brown, suggested the creation of a "National Britain Day" to celebrate "Britishness" and to unite communities. i guess it would sort of be like Canada Day, which would be cool, really, because it's just a day to watch fireworks and have a BBQ (and drink, of course).

It should also be noted that the author of the article, Martin Newland, was once editor of Canada's right wing paper (National Post), is a devout Roman Catholic, and has been reported to have applied to the Conservative Party to join their candidate list for the next General Election. 'Nuff said.
Saw this graffiti (statement?) on my way to work this morning. Scots indeed!

i chuckled to myself because just the other day i asked Paul, "why are there so many fucking English people in Scotland?!" To which he replied, "you sound like my Grandfather".

Not that i have anything against English people - not at all. Some of my closest friends are English - not to mention that the arts sector in Scotland is practically run by English folks as well. No, i was merely pissed off because on that infamous day when i asked Paul my rhetorical question, i was completely cut off by some English dude on my lunch break. See, i was doing some shopping in a tiny cafe and this HUGE bloke was bent over, investigating yogurt, wherein i kindly said "excuse me" to try and move past his ass that was sticking out, blocking the aisle. He just ignored me and i had to squeeze past his big ol' Anglosaxon butt.

While standing in line to pay for our food, the dude and his butt stood behind me and started chatting to his "mate". i gathered he was English because he was yammering away and i heard his accent. i quietly seethed in my passive-aggressive Canadian way but quickly got over it (obviously).

Yes, i know it's wrong to generalise and make sweeping statements about a nation of people. i guess the person who wrote "Scots not Brits" on the side of the garbage bin was tired of getting blocked by big ol' English butts too.

Nevertheless, it cheered me out of my angry mood (only a wee bit) this morning. i am seething (it's something i picked up from the year and a bit i have lived here) because the Ottawa Senators lost the Stanley Cup last night - lost to a FUCKING TEAM FROM CALIFORNIA (?!!!) WHO ARE NAMED AFTER A FUCKING DISNEY FILM!!!!!!!!!!!


Tuesday, June 05, 2007

i am a would be law school drop out.

i did it. i replied to my offers and i declined. i'm still not sure if it was the right decision. To be honest, i would have gone for all the wrong reasons: money, security, greed, etc. - which isn't the right it? As well, if i were to go back to school, i would like to get a Masters/PhD in my initial field of study - art history and/or film.

And so, i bid farewell to my dream of being a professional ball buster and welcome back the reality of being an arty flake.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Worst part of living in the UK?

Missing Hockey Night in Canada - which is only more pronounced these days since the Ottawa Senators are in the play offs. Sure, you can watch highlights of the game 24 hours after the actual event on Five US or you can do like i did last year and stay up from 1.00am to 3.30am to watch it live.

If i were completely confident in the Sens i could sleep with little problem. However, being a Canadian (and not to mention a Toronto Maple Leafs fan), i am a glutton for punishment; yearning to stay up past my bedtime in a vain effort to watch the Sens lose their grasp at the Stanley Cup.

Saturday, June 02, 2007