Thursday, November 27, 2008

I'm gutted.

I am truly disheartened to learn that Woolworths has gone into administration, putting thousands of jobs at risk:

Hundreds of Woolworths stores across the country are expected to close, causing thousands of redundancies. The store chain employs 25,000 people, with another 5,000 on Entertainment UK's payroll.

I love(d?) Woolworths for it's cheap housewares, clothes and most importantly, it's pick n' mix.

R.I.P. Woolies...
Scenes From a Transatlantic Relationship #2

SCENE: At Paul's Grandmother's house with his family and wee brother, James, who is celebrating his 7th birthday.

Paul's Uncle: "So, James, did you get the dumps at school today?"

Me, astonished at the question, look at Paul, who is ignoring my bewildered look of plea for some understanding.

Paul: "I remember getting the dumps at school on my birthday!"

Finding it hard to remain composed, the couch begins shaking from my contained mirth.

Paul, turning to look at the source of the shaking, starts laughing, "No, you numpty. It isn't what you think it is!"

I start cackling and his family look at me.

Paul explains: "Jennifer thinks you mean something else. Something nasty."

They all start laughing along.

Paul and his family try to explain - the dumps, apparently called the "bumps" in England, is a ritual wherein kids at school punch you on your back or butt when it's your birthday, and not the side effects of eating too many dried prunes.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

In a west end town, a dead end world
The east end boys and west end girls

We're moving. Again.

I have moved flats many times in the last two and a half years but two things have always remained the same: no matter where I lived, I had to stay in a traditional tenement flat and it had to be located in the west end.

As obnoxious as it may sound, I've always been a west end type a gal. Whether it was sheer nostalgia from living on Park Terrace as a student in 1999/2000, I absolutely had to be within walking distance of Gibson street, a park, Ashton Lane (although, Lord knows, it ain't what it used to be) and a decent cafe selling good coffee (which is rare in this city). It was just one of those things. If the flat was outside the west end, forget it; it was a deal breaker. I was cutting close the first time, when I lived on Garrioch Road because it hovered between North Kelvinside and Maryhill (bandit town).

My current flat is located between a precarious state of being in the west end AND city centre. It's perfect because I can walk anywhere and more importantly, my work is a mere 15 minute walk away. I was happy enough in my quaint and ancient flat...until things started falling apart. First it was the ceilings, then the lights, and then finally, the gas fireplace. It seemed to quickly reduce to a modern take on the Money Pit.

Well, perhaps I've matured because I am moving to the Southside. Shawlands to be exact. Some would say that Shawlands is the "poor man's version of the west end" and I'd say, I guess so because I'm pretty poor from paying west end rent rates. Besides, Shawlands ain't that bad and some of my former west end residing friends live there (albeit they own their flats while I just rent). Hey, it even has a couple of awesome cafes.

Nevertheless, I will now be further from my work but I'm determined to try and avoid taking the bus - not because of any environmental concerns I may have, but mainly due to the fact that some buses are just....spectacles of unearthly creatures.

More and more bus drivers in Glasgow are Polish and I've often wondered what they must make of Glaswegians because, no doubt, they probably conclude their opinions based on the people that ride their buses.

So, despite the fact that cycling in Glasgow is a near death wish, I've been thinking of buying a bike. The only thing, however, is that there aren't any second-hand bike shops in Glasgow, as far as I've seen. Perhaps with all that money saved from no longer paying west end rent, I can buy this beauty:Hey, it's on sale too (for a mere £367)! Oi vey.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Napanee District Secondary School Drama Club, 1995 (I think?)

Last Wednesday I received horrible news.

My friend from high school, Nancy, passed away in her sleep on Sunday night/ Monday morning.

Although it was absolutely shocking news, I knew that Nancy had been fighting inflammatory breast cancer even before I moved to Scotland. What made it shocking was how sudden and unjust it was; a young mother with two young daughters. Life is truly unfair.

I know some people can embellish a person once they pass away but genuinely, Nancy was one of the sweetest and most caring people I have ever met. She did not have a malicious bone in her. If anything, I'll forever be indebted to her for introducing me to Ben Folds Five and inviting me out to her farm when I was having a particularly hard time in high school.

Condolences to her family, her sister, and our friends - especially Sara D.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Loch Lomond

Another reason why I love Glasgow?

Only at a Glaswegian gym would a bunch of weegies whoop and holler when a favourite dance song comes on during a gruelling aerobics class.

Friday, November 07, 2008

The thing about coming from a dysfunctional and fractured family, is that I don't really know a lot of my relatives or our history.

My father is one of ten children; born to my Welsh Grandmother and Canadian Grandfather. While I knew my Welsh Nanny (and love her dearly), I met my Grandfather a total of once in my life and even then, I vaguely recall the circumstances of it (winter and a snowmobile ride at the family farmhouse in Prince Edward County).

You see, after meeting my Nanny during World War Two and bringing her over to a remote part of Canada and having ten kids, my Grandfather left (and eventually divorced) my Nanny, which had a devastating effect on the ten children. This was all before I was born, of course, but I assume my Father remembers it quite clearly because he never took my brother and I to meet his own Father. When my Father called to inform us that our Grandfather had died, I asked if we were to attend the funeral but he replied with a curt "no".

And yet, after he died, I came to know my Grandfather's new family even better then any of my other aunts and uncles. Perhaps this was because he had three other children with his new wife, who were closer in my age then to my Dad's. When I was younger, I always felt a bit guilty and that I was somehow betraying my Nanny by going to visit my Step-Grandmother and half-uncles and aunt. One time, however, I recall my Nanny telling me to not hold my Grandfather's "sins" (hey, she's a Catholic) against the innocent kids and that I shouldn't feel bad about wanting to go hang out and play with my younger half-aunt. I thought that was pretty cool of her.

Anyway, I guess what I'm trying to say is that circumstances before my own birth, still have an impact on my life. The actions of my family so many years ago, created a fractured family wherein most of my Father's nine brothers and sisters do not like one another and I don't know the majority of my aunts, uncles and cousins. Who they are, where they live, what they do, what they're like - I haven't the faintest idea, although Facebook has helped me to find some of them.

In fact, only last year did I find out that I have a cousin in London, England. And it was only last month that I was told that I have second-cousins in Belfast (two of whom, apparently, were in the IRA). It sucks to hear that I have relatives only a few hours away (instead of an ocean) but that I don't know the first thing about them.

So, I want to trace my Welsh Nanny's roots. If I can't know my relatives well, I might as well know my roots. It's just....where the hell do you start!?

Ok, confession time.

I'm not really into the whole idolising of footballers and lusting after grown men who kick balls on a pitch for a living, but guys? I seriously have a huge crush on Paul Hartley.

I love Paul Hartley - not just because he plays for Celtic (which appeals to my dirty Irish heritage) - but because of his scruffy beard too. And he's gorgeous. And he doesn't look too intellectually threatening either (sorry, but it's true).

Monday, November 03, 2008

Daily (Hate) Mail

I generally despise the right-wing rag that is the Daily Mail, because of their partisan politics, rabid and irrational fear of immigrants, and constant criticism of the BBC; the Daily Mail is pretty much the print equivalent of Fox News - except the Daily Mail once supported facism and nazis.

In fact, I would go so far as to claim that if you read the Daily Mail for understanding of today's political issues, I probably won't like you.

The Daily Mail seems to constantly harp on about two issues: the BBC and Immigrants - i.e. "the BBC is rubbish nowadays" and "Britain is full of dirty immigrants nowadays, takin' our jobs and council flats!" Unfortunately, these are two issues (and stances) that I take personal offence to.

If you've been fortunate enough not to be bombarded with the Jonathan Ross/ Russell Brand "scandal" of last week, all you need to know is that the Daily Mail is pretty much responsible for whipping up all the "outrage" from people who NEVER EVEN HEARD THE SHOW IN THE FIRST INSTANCE.

You know what enrages me? All the outraged faux-moral idiots who complained but hadn't even heard the show. I won't say anything else but rather, leave it up to Charlie Brooker:

Want a rush of empowerment? Join the angry idiots registering their disgust with Ofcom

The sad, likely outcome of this pitiful gitstorm is an increase in BBC jumpiness

So it's here at last. The dawn of the dumb has broken in earnest. Two mistakes occur - first Russell Brand and Jonathan Ross overstep the mark with an ill-advised bit of juvenilia, then someone decides to broadcast it. Two listeners complained, but that's by the by: it shouldn't have gone out. But then the Daily Mail - not so much a newspaper as an idiot's guidebook issued in bite-size daily instalments - uses the incident as the starting point for a full-blown moral crusade. Suddenly everyone's complaining, whether they heard the broadcast or not, largely on the basis of hysterical, boggle-eyed descriptions of what the pair said. Poor Andrew Sachs, who, having been wronged, graciously accepted their apologies and called for everybody to move on, looked bewildered by the sheer number of cameras stuck in his face. Because, by then, apologies weren't enough.

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