Monday, November 28, 2005


Originally uploaded by Nyx.
We got an early taste of winter this weekend, so it was something of a relief that in his last money-sniffing visit, the heater repair guy was able to pull his thumb out of whatever plum tart he'd stuck it into long enough to actually do something vaguely resembling fixing it. The overflow spout now leaks instead (every time he "fixes" it there's a leak that moves location, it's quite a thing).

Also we have severe interior condensation problems, especially in the bedroom that has two walls that connect with the outside world. This reminds me too much of the beginnings of what I was lucky enough to send the end consequences of back in the LAST apartment.

I've managed to control the interior window condensation but the entire wall is just one big wet spot, including the inside of some cupboards, which I luckily rummaged around in this weekend or there'd have been a big tearing out of hair a couple of months down the line when I found a stash of mouldy wet blankets, books, documents and suitcases.
Ok, I've lived in the tropics, I can deal with mouldy damp walls and such, but this is rivulet territory. And its like minus 58 outside or something, so I can't really open the windows. Well, I could. But as soon as I close them again, it just comes back in a few hours. I guess I could crank the heating up AND leave the windows open. That'd work, right?

So how bored are you reading a posting about interior damp then? Given up yet?

This is another reason I need to leave town. I want a different apartment. Again.

I got proactive and went to the unemployment office last week(the half that deals with the unemploymentness and not the money). They basically said they couldn't help me. Thats it, I've been categorically advised by employment services that I am beyond help. They even gave me a bit of paper to prove it. All my other jobsearch news is boring or depressing, or both. But I might punch the next person who tuts sympathetically and exclaims how absolutely inconceivable it is that I'm having such difficulty finding work. Especially if they're a person who has my cv in front of them at the time.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Fashion fallout zone

Fashion tip for the day: Sometimes, just sometimes, naked would've been a better choice.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

And some good news for a change...

teddy bear tea party
Originally uploaded by Nyx.
Branson looks to plant waste for jet fuel

Tired of skyrocketing jet fuel prices, Virgin Atlantic Airways boss Richard Branson says he plans to turn his back on hydrocarbons and use plant waste to power his fleet.

"We are looking for alternative fuel sources. We are going to start building cellulosic ethanol plants (to make) fuel that is derived from the waste product of the plant," he said.

"It is 100 per cent environmentally friendly and I believe it's the future of fuel, and over the next 20 or 30 years I think it actually will replace the conventional fuel that you get out of the ground."

Mr Branson did not say where Virgin would build its factories or how economically viable cellulosic ethanol would prove.

"We are in the early days," he admitted.

He says cellulosic ethanol "is the by-product you get from the waste product (of plants), the bits in the field that get burned up" as opposed to ethanol, which is produced from fruit or corn for example.

Mr Branson's Virgin Group has a 51 per cent stake in Virgin Atlantic as well as interests in Virgin Cargo, Virgin Nigeria and Australia's Virgin Blue.

He says the combined fleet is almost 100 aircraft.

"We use around 700 million gallons of fuel a year between the four airlines," he said.

"I hope that over the next five to six years we can replace some or all of that (with ethanol)."
(This is very similar to my own approach regarding my bloodstream - my edit, Branson didn't say that. Pity)
- Reuters

Some of the UK's most environmentally sensitive upland lakes and streams are recovering from the impact of acid rain, the government has said.

Acidic sulphur in Britain's water has generally halved in the last 15 years, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs said research showed.

In around half of 22 sites monitored by scientists, invertebrates and native algae were showing signs of recovery.

It is thought that emissions controls and greater use of natural gas instead of coal is aiding the reduction and boosting fish, plants and insects.

Since 1970 there has been a 74% decline in sulphur dioxide emissions from 3.8 million tonnes to one million tonnes in 2002, and a 37% decline in emissions of nitrogen oxides.

The switch from coal to gas in both power generation and in the home, while being mainly for economic reasons, has also meant a lot less pollution

In some sites, acid-sensitive mosses and other aquatic plants were found for the first time in 15 years.

And at three of the most acidic sites identified, juvenile brown trout have recently been found for the first time since 1988.

Other examples of improvements include the River Etherow in the Pennines which has experienced substantial reductions in biologically toxic aluminium.

Also, the Round Loch of Glenhead, in Galloway, and Llyn Llag in Snowdonia - both with a well documented history of acidification - have seen stands of aquatic plants return.

Ben Bradshaw said the research highlighted how measures brought in by government were starting to bear fruit.

"New strengthened measures such as the implementation of the Large Combustion Plant Directive will help ease the situation even further."

Monday, November 14, 2005

Hausseman at Christmas


Jacob put me on to this article. Long, but a very solid and complete background into the history of race relations in France today.

Puzzling fact for the day
Shorts and stockings seem to be the current autumn fashion thing. Last year it was pants tucked into tall boots. Next year I expect the latest accessory will be a frigging HORSE to go with all the country club fashions.

Latest goss.
I met her. Lucky me :)
(ok, that is NOT sarcasm in case anyone decides to artificially implant some sarcasm in there and ruin my feeble social life)

Finished war of the Worlds. The Martians all get a cold and die.
I haven't watched this yet, but I found out that this was made at about the same time. And that it was totally faithful to the book. And that it was a complete and utter pile of crap,chock full of appalling acting and bad fake moustaches.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

oh, the incompetency

When will this reign of incompetency end? I should preface this with a disclaimer that this is not another Paris is worse than anywhere else on the face of the planet rant. Incompetents are everywhere. You name a place, and I'll pretend I'm worldly enough to know something they're spectacularly incompetent at.
Darwin, Australia: Processing construction permits
Adelaide, Australia: roadworks
Hanoi, Vietnam: Driving
America: Tact and diplomacy in world politics.

Paris, France: Read the blog.

I got a recorded message call today from the ANPE (employment agency). Telemarketing to the unemployed? Hello? We're looking for work. Just call us ok? We'd like the opportunity to chat with someone once in a while. So I got this message, recorded by someone who was clearly learning how to talk underwater and say complete phone numbers in under 0.5 of a second (seriously I had to listen to the message FIVE TIMES to get it). Anyway, I called the number, because they'd made it sound like I meant to, and the old dear on the other end didn't know very much of anything about it and was asking ME questions to specify (I'm sorry, the mermaid didn't elaborate, search me).
Earlier in the day, I connected to a public service website to try and find out about the precise conditions to be eligible for a particular type of work contract (there's about a zillion of them, contracts for one legged people with headlice, blind people with urinary tract infections, young people, old people...nothing for spectacularly pissed off 30 year olds with Masters degrees though, funnily enough). First number was wrong, second rang out and third was a paid service (I'll get onto that later), in which the lady on the other end, in a spectacular display of empty grammatical prose, managed to explain absolutely nothing. 'It means what it means' was the best I got out of her (and when it doesn't mean anything at all? What then huh?)
Yeah, so paid services. A lot of phone numbers to unemployment agencies, social security, dole offices have per minute rates. People, who by definition have no money, have to pay to try and do something about it. Explain that one if you will.

But despite being perpetually pissed off and such, I did a good deed today, I weighed an old ladys grapes for her because she couldn't see the buttons on the scales. She thanked me for not telling her to get lost (serious).

Monday, November 07, 2005

Dancing on Merlins Tomb

I lost about half my leisure time stuck in traffic jams over the long weekend. There should be some sort of law against other people wanting to go vaguely in the same direction as me during holiday periods. Spent a couple of days in Saint Brieuc, Brittany, much to the chagrin of the local crustacean population. In Brittany we beach-comb food, mussels, oysters and an assortment of hapless crabs to violently kill and consume in the form of a bisque which, much to my surprise, did not result in my untimely death by food poisoning. Other cultural pursuits involved potatoes, Merlins tomb, fest-noz, crepes and cider.

Thursday, November 03, 2005


You've probably been hearing some news about riots going on in this part of the world. I've had a few 'hope you're ok!' messages from some dear friends who like to worry, so in case you're thinking along the same lines, I thought I'd post this up...

The Seine Saint-Denis and Seine et Marne areas of the north/north-east of Paris have long been problematic zones, with large numbers of poor immigrants, high density housing, few services, and an urban landscape to make you weep. The sort of activities of late - burning cars, destroying property - aren't new, it's simply the length of time (a week) they've been going on is unusual. Apparently the standard average is 5 or so days. There are incidents of this sort fairly frequently on the whole. They think there might be more problems tonight, I guess we'll see how it develops.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Fly agaric

Toadstools growing in a field. Brittany, France