scribbles tagged ‘list-o-philia’

the cooking conversation. again.

Friday, July 31st, 2009 | tags: , , ,  |

Popular conversational topics #5: cooking competencies

Tomatoeswhat do you cook? unless you include toast and porridge I dont really cook.   You don’t cook?   Do you eat out all the time? the question is asked with the intonation of shock,   disapproval or possibly repulsion.   I eat out once or twice a week,  having a quality meal produced for me is one of my  favourite luxuries.

If you don’t cook and you don’t eat out,   what do you eat, microwave meals? My questioner is still intoning in a disapproving manner.   For a few moments I wished that I had aspirations to conform to the social norm of interest or pride in the preparing and cooking of food.   Those moments pass quickly.    My lack of indugence in use of the  microwave,   only for porridge,   allows my  interregator to release a wrinkly or two from her brow.   I mostly eat cheese, tomatoes, cheese cucumber, cheese,  coleslaw,  cheese, necturines, cheese,  toast, cheese, marmite, cheese, twiglets, cheese, triffle,  cheesecake, peanut butter, date and walnut or battenburg cake.   All raw,   no cooking involved.     You like cheese then? My interregator appears to be reasonably satisfied with this reply.   But still their hangs a a niggling doubt over my ability to be a fully functioning member of society if I don’t cook.

can you cook? It had never occured to me that people don’t cook because they can’t.   At high school all girls were required to take cookery classes, under the title of ‘home economics’ classes.   They taught me to do things I’d been doing at home for years.   I used to cook, a lot.   As a student I rarely ate out and hand’t yet lost my verve for food preparation.    In my 30’s I used to host about one dinner party per month and the food seemed well appreciated,   in my 40’s I hosted fewer parties with more guests and they seemed well appreciated.   I can cook.   I only really enjoy it when I’m cooking for others and not doing it in a rush.   My interregator appears convinced that I can cook.

All my lasting lovers have been excellent cooks,   deriving pleasure from whipping up food to whet my palatte and I certainly enjoyed them doing so.

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Rock chic

Wednesday, July 8th, 2009 | tags: , , , , , ,  |

RocksHoliday warning!   Cornwall here we come!

With my

Rod Stewart haircut,

Oakley sunglasses,

figure hugging fab frocks,

I’ll be wandering over the rocks on the coast.

Rock chic!

There will also be the standard Wendy, none-rock chic, outbreaks of:

  • A bit of paddling
  • collecting pretty coloured, pocket-sized, pebbles
  • eating  fish and chips wrapped in newspaper for supper
  • wearing Sunhats galore (consecutively)
  • reading a book about the Medici
  • blowing rasberries at the seaguls
  • riding the local BUSES on windy cliffside roads

Excitedness levels are already Amber.   OH!

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wild wendy home life

Wednesday, May 13th, 2009 | tags: , , , , ,  |

An action packed weekend in the Wendy House garden:

  • a fuzzy-buzzy bee feeds on a rotund allium
  • a Peacock butterfly feeds on another allium
  • the garden robin feeds on insects attracted by my recent digging
  • a harlequin spectabilis ladybird takes a break from aphid eating on one of the acers  
  • Matrix snoozes under another acer
  • A large hornet (2 inches) found its way into my bedroom.   I didn’t know it was a hornet.   They look scarey.     I panicked, squeaked, opened the bedroom windows,   wrapped myself in a curtain and wafted the corner of the curtain at the hornet until it  took the hint and  left via the window.  

Real bee feeds on Allium Peacock butterfly feeds on Allium The local Robin harlequin spectabilis ladybird on Acer cat under katsura acer

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purged

Sunday, May 3rd, 2009 | tags: , ,  |

In a rare,  mercifully quick,  shopping moment I replaced 3 pairs of well-worn, too-small, skinny, hipster blue jeans with  new jeans that:

  • fit
  • don’t break along the seams when tugged
  • say  ‘not-a-soccer-mom’
  • tone  with my ‘I’m-a-professional-person’ jackets
  • are not blue
  • chafe to the optimum temperature in all the right places and none of the wrong places

JeansWay too much excitement for one day,   I must lie down and breath slowly lest I become overwhelmed by it all.   You all take care,   don’t over exert yourselves,   its tough out there and a well stitched pair of jeans can help keep things under control.

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joining an organisation

Friday, May 1st, 2009 | tags: ,  |

Phrases to describe the experience of joining an organisation:

onboarding

ramping up

bedding in

induction

orientation

Can you spot which of these phrases I learned:

  • in the USA and which in England?    
  • at sea and which in the garden?  
  • on the road and which in my boudoire?
  • in a maternity ward and which on an electrical engineering course?
  • planning outdoor activities and which during religious instruction?
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10 to 1 on

Saturday, January 31st, 2009 | tags: , ,  |

 

to people relaying extremely sad stories,   such as the Samaritans  hear,  do you think I would:

 

  1. use active listening skills?
  2. tell people to stop whining and pull themselves together?
  3. ask lots of rather silly, mispronounced, miss-spelt, jargon laden, incomprehensibubble questions?
  4. laugh maniacally?
  5. play with Excel and ignore the stories?
  6. fall asleep?
  7. all the above?
  8. none of the above?
  9. other, please specify…
  10. wibble wibble wibble

I’m thinking about taking bets on this one,   what are the odds for each option based on your knowledge of my past performance?

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playing and LP

Thursday, January 29th, 2009 | tags: , ,  |

The small ceremony of playing a vinyl Long Playing (LP) record has been temporarily lost from the Wendy House. Below are the Dr. Wendy recommended steps taken to play a vinyl LP*:

  1. select the record, review the cover-art and song listing for each side.  
  2. select a side to play based on personal taste or consultation with people in the room
  3. Tip the album cover slightly with one hand to slide the LP from the cover into the other hand
  4. Place the cover on a surface near the record deck
  5. Slide the record from its protective sleeve taking particular care not to touch the grooves
  6. Place the sleeve on top of the record cover
  7. hold the LP up to the light and check there are no large visible scratches that might interfere with the quality of your listening experience
  8. Place the LP on the turn-table with the side to be played facing the ceiling, the hole in the centre of the vinyl over the peg in the centre of the turntable
  9. select the turntable speed by turning the switch to the slowest speed, 3rd position, 33rpm, the switch should make a pleasing clunking noise with any position change
  10. Postion your body so that you have a good view of the position of the expensive diamond needle above the outside grooves of the record
  11. Lift the record-player arm and move it towards the record edge it where it can gently drop onto the outside rim or the record, or between tracks if not playing the whole side
  12. Pick-up the LP, album, cover and sleeve to review and admire their art work and content
  13. Start bouncing around, waving your arms and singing
  14. Laugh as any nearby cats run for cover

There is a risk that I may purchase a turntable this year in order to recapture this meditatively pleasurable ceremony wth my small collection of 200 or so pre-1986, rarely played, vinyls.

* Singles and 78’s both have subtle yet significant variations on the above ceremony.

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broken tags

Tuesday, October 28th, 2008 | tags: ,  |

To honour Scarlet’s request, 6 psuedo-random personal things:

  1. Peanut butter and cheese sandwiches without any bread,   spread the peanut butter directly on a wedge of cheese.
  2. At 44.9 (.9 recurring) yrs  old  I still wear school daps.
  3. I do not have enough hand-wind-up-clocks that tick loudly with unsynchronised chimes.     BOINGNGNGNGNGNG…
  4. Beyond name and gender allocation I bear no resemblance to JM Barrie’s Peter Pan character Wendy.
  5. There is garden mud underneath my left index fingernail.
  6. I will be breaking the tag rules (see below)  by not  leaving a tag comment on the blogs of those  people cited below.

Tags for these 6 people that are worth reading to see if they ring your bell,   chime your clock,   peanut butter your cheese, or dap your feet  :

  1. Hilarious. Jenn’s ˜The Piehole”: http://liscious.net/piehole/index.php
  2. Serious. Twisty Fasters˜I blame the patriarchy”. http://blog.iblamethepatriarchy.com/
  3. Windows. Raymond Chen’s ‘The Old New Thing’: http://blogs.msdn.com/oldnewthing/default.aspx
  4. Ambulances. Tom Reynolds ‘Random Acts of Reality” : http://randomreality.blogware.com/blog
  5. Matronly. Mrs. Pouncer’s Mrs Poucer’s counsel” http://mrspouncer.blogspot.com/
  6. Paramedic. Stuart Gray’s Paramedics diary. http://theparamedicsdiary.blogspot.com/

Tag rules: Link to the person who tagged you. Post the rules on your blog. Write 6 random things about yourself. Tag 6 people at the end of your post and link to them. Let each person you have tagged know by leaving a comment on their blog. Let the tagger know when your entry is posted…

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lists of fairtrade outlets in Reading

Saturday, October 18th, 2008 | tags: , , , ,  |

I do enjoy a good list,   closely followed by that wonderful feeling of achievement that follows ticking things off lists, or striking them out as ‘done’.   I’ve found a list provided by the BBC,   a fabulolus service,   that lists shops and eateries in Reading that  sell fairtrade goods.   How fabulous is that?!

http://www.bbc.co.uk/berkshire/features/2004/03/fairtrade_shops.shtml

I will tick-tell-myself off if I use any other Reading shops and cafes. Naughty girl.  

Hip Hip Hoorahs all round

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fabulous wedding features

Monday, September 15th, 2008 | tags: , , ,  |

<soppiness warning>

Just a few of the too numerous to enumerate highlights:

  • Gift registry:   www.epilepsy.org.uk  & www.simoncommunity.org.uk
  • The bride wasn’t ‘given away’ like chattles,   bride and groom walked down the isle together.
  • Isle-walk accompanying  music:   You only live twice
  • Readings including multiple references to Pooh in A.A.Milne’s  ‘us two’   (read by AfH)
  • Outstanding vows because they acknowledged each others strenghts and weaknesses and showed love, respect, knowledge of what it takes to make a relationship work and be  fun too.   I particularly liked this one:

I promise to allow myself to be silly around you and to enjoy you being silly around me as well.

  • 7 Henchman subtly and actively coordinating the smooth running of the  event: Oddjob, Mr. Wint, Mr. Kidd, Nick Nack, May Day, Xenia Onatopp, Jaws
  • Red wedding dress
  • No ‘maids’
  • A photobased childrens TV themed Quiz organized by table at the wedding breakfast.
  • Bride’s speech toplining the other speeches.
  • Creatively quirky photographer:   http://www.vikmartin.co.uk/
  • Local bands at the reception were friends of the Bride and Groom,   some included the Bride or Groom and all played at least one cover version of Bond theme tune,   compared by AFH.
  • My yellow-red shot silk  hat,    however, the relative lack of hats on other guests  was actually a tad disturbing.

BagpussTables were decorated in childrens TV themes,  with models and soft toys, and each guest  as a character,   I was Soo.   As you can see, even  Bagpuss joined the fun.

<soppiness temporarily suspended>

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again please!

Sunday, September 14th, 2008 | tags: , ,  |

Hotel breakfast room with volcano view

Excellence

included multiple boob-topped churches,   deserted dawns  shared with the departed,    livingly sociable sunsets  announced by rather flat church bells,    mules trains,   smiling old people,     sculpted  young people,   versataile windmills,   stylish alleys  often containing sleek kitties,   oodles of  sunshine, beer and clear blues.  

On top of all these standard Greek holiday experiences I learned about the real sailing motoring experience from a chain-smoking German skipper  in the company of a pack of youngsters.   I learned real sailing involved:

  1. being prepared not to sail.
  2. feeling sick.
  3. not doing a  poo in the loo of a boat moored in a Greek harbour.
  4. wearing white to hide the cumulative  sea-salt crystals.
  5. knowing knots.
  6. charging small ‘devices; in Tavernas.
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no trousers

Tuesday, September 9th, 2008 | tags: ,  |

<list-overdose event  warning>

Below is a list of the stuff that GAP recommended that I pack  where the ticks (US = check mark)  indicate how many of an item I carried.   Items not  actively used  during the holiday are struck-through:

  • Passport (with photocopies)   ü
  • Travel insurance (with photocopies) ü
  • Airline tickets (with photocopies) ü
  • Euros and travellers cheques ü
  • Credit or debit card (see personal spending money) ü
  • G.A.P Adventures vouchers, pre-departure information and dossier ü
  • Any entry visas or vaccination certificates required ü
  • Camera and film ü
  • Reading/writing material üüüü
  • Cover or plastic bags for backpacks ü
  • Flashlight ü
  • Windproof/waterproof jacket/rain poncho ü
  • Small towel and swim wear üüü
  • Warm sweater ü
  • 4 shirts/t-shirts üü
  • Sunhat  Ã¼Ã¼Ã¼Ã¼
  • 2 pair of shorts üü
  • 1 pair of long trousersü
  • 1 pair hiking pants/track pants ü
  • Hiking boots/sturdy walking shoes (for shore excursions) ü
  • Sport shoes with light colored soles/sport sandals (while on board) ü
  • Biking gloves (if you wish to participate in sailing – optional) ü
  • Sunblock ü
  • Sunglasses  Ã¼Ã¼Ã¼Ã¼
  • Toiletries (biodegradable) ü
  • Flashlight ü
  • Watch or alarm clock ü
  • Water bottle ü
  • First-aid kit (should contain lip salve, Aspirin, Band Aids, anti-histamine, any extra prescription drugs you may be taking). ü

Striking holiday characteristics  hidden in  the above list  include my:

  • Not falling-over (band-aids not used)  .
  • Not loosing my passport.
  • Not wearing more than one pair of shoes during the fortnight.
  • Only getting 4 mosquito bites.   I think the high winds  helped.
  • Wearing only 3 different pairs of glasses  during the  fortnight.
  • Managing with only 4 hats,   I suspect I needed more.
  • Being able to see by the light of the moon.
  • not wearing  trousers or knickers.

<list-overdose temporarily suspended>

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news: wendy is a fake woman (crash*)

Tuesday, July 22nd, 2008 | tags: , , , , , , ,  |

Sunday Times and   online Times article ‘Sex and the Sixities’    by India Knight includes the following rousing calls to womanhood:

the essence of modern womanhood, the one hard-to-define component that makes us all want to cheer the loudest…”   is   “…possibility that we may, at 62, perhaps look like Helen Mirren in a bikini

a 62-year-old woman looking hot, properly hot, not hot for her age or hot as in fanciable, even though you know you shouldn’t is a thing that simply can’t be celebrated enough.”

‘Mirren in her red bikini says more, more succinctly, about what women want and can achieve than any amount of turgid feminist preaching ever could’

Gosh,  I don’t think I know people  who think spending time and skill to dress for the occasion is shallow,   but India thinks  that view might be held by some Times readers  because she considerately quashes it “if you think that’s shallow, I would humbly posit that you understand nothing at all about real women’s hopes and ambitions.”   Trying to following India’s  humble  reasoning,   leads to the suspicion that if I don’t want to look like Helen Mirren in a Bikini then  I may not be  a real woman,   Ooops!   I think I may have fallen over.

Apparently the social construction of ‘woman’ once meant “no longer being a girl, which translated into bad clothes, bad hair, bad make-up and, if you were especially unfortunate, a bad figure.”   and “Worse, having reproduced meant that in the eyes of society you no longer existed as a sexual being“.  It seems that  India believes promoting yourself as a ‘sexual being’  , sexbot, should be an aspirational goal  for real women and it is equated to looking young. If you don’t look sexy you look old.   Whhhooooops!   I definitely fell over this time.

India’s view also implies that, normal,  aspiring real women have no financial or legal obstacles to not looking youthful and sexy because ‘deregulated’‘  ‘minor surgical procedures’  are ‘nothing that is outside most people’ league’ .   It is all part of the groundwork for achieving ‘a triumphant assertion of easy, carefree femininity’.    While fake women should embrace the freedom and “life-changing power of hair dye“.    As a self-identified, terminally-fake, woman I  “might know better if they [I] made an attempt at living in the real world“.   Maybe downtown Reading is actually a figment of my nasty, demented, Ivory-tower, imagination?    Deary me,   I   must get out more and take my zimmer-frame.

If ‘looking good’ is primarily equated to looking youthful and sexy I have no intention of developing an interest.  or skill,  in it.   When  looking good is constructed to promote  wrinkles and twisty silver hairs  ideally with a dash,   or spring, of surrealist creativity,   then I’ll be swinging my funky-stuff with the melting clocks  but not with the  people who aspire to portray themselves as sexbots.

For now,    if I place myself in India’s analytical framework I find that  I am:

  • Preaching (turgid?) feminism.
  • intelligent, a  blue stocking.
  • a frump because  I don’t pride myself in being fashionable.
  • Living in an ivory tower (in Reading).
  • not recognising the equivalence of the value of having a face-lift with the right to paid maternity leave.

At least India has clearly given me the escape route to achieve real-woman status that luckily I can choose not to aspire to,   I must

  • maintain my already abundant confidence.
  • promote my sexual potential.
  • develop and interest in whatever the current fashion defines as looking good.
  • have minor surgical procedures so that I can look good in a bikini.
  • Die my hair.

Unlike Alan’s outstanding advice I wont be aligning the value-set outlined in India’s article.

* the sound of me and my zimmer-frame colliding with the ground when dropping out of our Ivory tower.

news: wendy is a fake woman (crash*)
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no knickers necessary

Friday, July 18th, 2008 | tags: , , , ,  |

The travel company has provided a trip dossier that includes a very specific pre-holiday check-list on what to pack!   Useful and appealing to my listophilia:      

  • Passport (with photocopies)   ü
  • Travel insurance (with photocopies) ü
  • Airline tickets (with photocopies)
  • Euros and travellers cheques ü
  • Credit or debit card (see personal spending money) ü
  • G.A.P Adventures vouchers, pre-departure information and dossier ü
  • Any entry visas or vaccination certificates required ü
  • Camera and film ü
  • Reading/writing material üüüü
  • Cover or plastic bags for backpacks ü
  • Flashlight ü
  • Windproof/waterproof jacket/rain poncho ü
  • Small towel and swim wear ü
  • Warm sweater ü
  • 4 shirts/t-shirts üü
  • Sunhat  Ã¼Ã¼Ã¼Ã¼
  • 2 pair of shorts ü
  • 1 pair of long trousersü
  • 1 pair hiking pants/track pants ü
  • Hiking boots/sturdy walking shoes (for shore excursions) ü
  • Sport shoes with light colored soles/sport sandals (while on board) ü
  • Biking gloves (if you wish to participate in sailing – optional) ü
  • Sunblock ü
  • Sunglasses  Ã¼Ã¼Ã¼Ã¼
  • Toiletries (biodegradable) ü
  • Flashlight ü
  • Watch or alarm clock ü
  • Water bottle ü
  • Pocketknife û
  • Snorkeling gear (optional) û
  • First-aid kit (should contain lip salve, Aspirin, Band Aids, anti-histamine, any extra prescription drugs you may be taking). ü

I’m a tad concerned about the lack of underwear and nightwear worn by  my fellow passengers, self,  and the skipper.  Publically displayed  jiggly-bits can  put one off one’s beer or book.    The lack of  ‘dressing’ requirements for evenings in the Taverna, or Temple visiting, is also a tiny disappointment.   Luckily for the male guests there  are no requirements to bring skirts or dresses.  All the listed gear fits into this holdall with space to spare,  for  an unlisted  skirt, underwear, binoculars  and possibly a pretty dress.     I’m still waiting for my promised paper airline ticket to arrive…

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Bros evaluates ex-boyfriend

Monday, July 14th, 2008 | tags: , ,  |

Bros:   he was alright except for the lists

Wendy:   the lists?

Bros:   Yes,    the lists,   you remember how he would make lists all the time for even trivial things?

Wendy:   errr,   yes,   of course,   the lists

It appears that my brother has not yet noticed my pocket-size book of lists that has travelled all over the world (and Reading) with me.  Nor has he recognised the intrinsic Wendy-appeal of someone that blazenly employs lists in public.

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holiday spirit #5: insurance

Tuesday, July 8th, 2008 | tags: , , , ,  |

in less than one hour of excited pre-holiday preparation  I called the:

  • credit card company to check on how to deal with a lost or stolen card while out of England and gave them the dates and location of my travel to make sure they didn’t cancel my card when used in GREECE.
  • medical insurance company to verify my coverage and what I should do when I fall over  in GREECE.
  • home insurance company to order a copy of my policy and check on what’s covered if taken out of the country (to GREECE) and find out if I need to replace my locks*.
  • Water authority** to check some billing details.
  • mumzie to let her know that I’m ok,   haven’t fallen over today,   yet and I will be safe when abroad.

* Apparantly,  my contents are insufficiently valuable for them to require that I upgrade the Wendy House stable-door bolts.

** This has nothing to do with my HOLIDAY,   but I was on a roll with the phone-calling and wanted to keep the momentum going.

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distributed (human) memory

Wednesday, July 2nd, 2008 | tags: , , , , ,  |

<Essay warning>

Not distributed within the mind,  distributed across people and other things.   The work of Yvonne Rogers  in the 1990’s introduced me to the idea of distributed cognition.   Here are some examples from my everyday life:

  • placing my empty bottles by the front door to remind me  to take them to the bottle-bank when I leave the house (memory distributed between bottles and Wendy’s absent mind)
  • going upstairs to get my passport,   when I get upstairs I’ve forgotten why I went there,   going back downstairs and seeing the holiday (excitement level: Amber) details on Darling I remember why I went upstairs. (memory distributed between holiday details on Darling and Wendy’s absent mind)
  • At the pub quiz,   trying to name a song title from hearing a snippit of the  tune,   I can only hum the continuation of the  tune,   another team member can sings the lyrics to my hummed tune,   a third team member can now name the band then the fourth team member can remember the song title (memory socially distributed between team members).  
  • I can’t remember my password as letters and numbers,   I can’t remember the layout of a keyboard,      when infront of Darlings keyboard I  can reliably produce  my password  (memory distributed between keyboard layout and Wendy’s absent mind).   The recent move from US to UK keyboards has been a bit password-disruptive.
  • I can’t remember how to get from St Nicolas’s market to Clifton,   but when I am in Bristol I can walk the route directly with no trouble whatsoever,   very pleasant it is too   (Memory distributed between the city-scape and Wendy’s absent mind).   Note that the Schrocks recently experienced the way that St. Nicholas market can suprise you by turning out to be exactly where you  are wandering.

People, sensibly, strategically delegate the effort involved in constructing some memories to post-it notes,   lists, calendars,  address books,   mobile phones,  bag-contents, places,  blogs, photoalbums, family and friends.  

A die-hard cognitivist might say this is just context-cued recall.   Both paradigms provide the means to describe human behaviour,   but the approaches to psychological  theory building and  research are radically different.   The cognitivist would attempt to identify the specific cues that work most effectively and assess them in a lab,   one specific unusual context,  rather than analyse everyday activities in commonly meaningful contexts.   These different research techniques would yield different practical,   application, recommendations.

The cognitivists make the research language and approach to understanding human behaviour their domain as specialists,   ‘everyday’ approaches enable results to be readily recognisable, understandable and communicable to people outside of a specialist discourse.   They also afford more meaningful pragmatic applications.  

<Essay warning over>

My next essay will probably be on Reading’s buses

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lighting the touchpaper

Monday, December 31st, 2007 | tags: , ,  |

I did my upmost to light family festive  barneys by:

  • eating a whole jar of pickled beetroot at one meal.
  • Using the wrong remote-control (choice of 6) to change TV channels.  
  • asking for porridge.
  • Securing the largest portion of Triffle.
  • mentioning that ‘run cmd’ provides access to a DOS window in XP
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street names

Saturday, December 22nd, 2007 | tags: , , ,  |

Off to the shops.    The shopping tortutre.   Ick.    Luckily I was  armed with a set of seasonal shopping lists from those short-people*  that must be obeyed because of their lung, pout, and innovative-torturing-technique, capacity.

Toddling home  armed with short-people pacifiers and a book.   A book that lists Reading street names,   almost but not quite, alphabetically as it outlines the significance of the names.

Here’s an excerpt from my current Reading, reading, material (my emphasis):

The Reading Paving Act of 1827 – a splendid document written in legalese that never uses one word where three, or better still nine, will do – talks only of ‘streets, Lanes, public passages and Places’. (It also says that occupiers have to sweep the pavement outside their houses, and specifies when they should remove Night Soil or filth from the Necessaries or Boghouses.)

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seasonal lists

Friday, December 21st, 2007 | tags: , , , ,  |

Mini Wendy’s are herded by their parents into providing their Maiden Aunts with helpful lists lest they get the normal bizarre undesirable obscurities she normally offloads their way in the name of goodwill.

Lets take a moment for a thematic analysis of these lists.   The 13yr-old has covered her back against seemingly being disapointed by adding the item ‘surprises’ to her clearly titled pink,   heart-bulleted, picture illustrated, word-document  list.   Outstanding job,   not least the request for a hair straightner,   dropping the clearly superflous e was a stroke of pure genious.

By age 15yrs the Mini Wendy has grasped the usefulness of hyperlinks and chosen them over pictorial representations.   The top-shop and over the kee socks references are clearly fashion references that perhaps I could learn from.   Hmmm…     And the lassie has clearly dealt with my impending myopia,   excellent forward thinking there.

Good to see the mini Wendy’s are developing the Wendy trait for list construction.   Clearly the girls are growing into fully rounded capable young Wendys

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to let

Thursday, November 8th, 2007 | tags: , , , , , ,  |

 

Illustrated list of some basic steps to follow when looking for somewhere to rent in Reading

1.)   Use the internet and free classified listings to find property to let in and around Reading getting a feel for prices,   collect letting agent phone numbers,   call the offices,   talk to the agents about your needs and arrange a time to visit them.

2.) wander down to  a letting agent with an impressive, alphabetically arranged collection of family  names.   For example, “Vanderpump & Wellbelove  & Wellesley – Smith & Co (Est. 1929)“.   This is just one of the dozens of letting agents I’ve visited in Reading.

3.) watch while the pink-tied-male letting agents tap-tap-click-click on their computers,   chew their pens, adjust their hairgel  and generally bicker amongst themselves about

– what the property is called.

– how many sets of keys they have.

– how long it takes to get from one property to the next, and

–  what is the best route.

Its actually a fabulously entertaining show.   A show  well worth taking a vacation to see.   Which I did.   Hooray!

4.) go to look at property.   Ensure you have a convenient shop nearby.   My US person training together with my general level of un-adult-hood  left me giggling at the name of this corner-shop.

5.) check-out the local parking possibilities,   one-way systems,  speed bumps, then see if you can find a few nieghobrs to talk to.

6.) ensure there is an excellent pub within walking distance.   To complete this step you have to go into the pub,   order a pint,   drink the pint and interview the bar staff while observing the other clientelle.

7.) take a look at the district details on:   http://www.upmystreet.com/

Estate agent:   Are you sure you’re from the US?

Wendy:   lived there for the best part of  the last 8 years

Estate Agent: you don’t sound American

Wendy: I’m not

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repatriating to Reading (Berkshire) UK

Wednesday, October 31st, 2007 | tags: , , , , , ,  |

Reading rhymes with

I’ll be covering the unique and much maligned experience that is ‘Reading’ in many upcoming blog posts.    A Brighton-based blog post exemplifies  common themes of passionate disappointment in Reading:

the epicentre of new Labour, corporate, consumerist blandness…     …despite its affluence and its growing population it can’t rise above the terminal blandness and ‘middle Englandness’ it seems to have always had…       …It is bored and dissatisfied young people planning their escape, it’s a football club who plays in a shed resembling an out of town B&Q and whose torrid home games with their dire atmosphere are (ahem) bound to take the Premiership by storm this season…   …Reading is a rip off, Reading is unfriendly, Reading is in a rush to purchase and then to get home.

Oh deary me!

A (fictional) letter from “chase me ladies I’m in the cavalry” to a Reading East MP (Member for Parliament) had me wetting my pants,   or is it my trousers,   I can’t be sure,   but they are definitely damp.

There is good news about Reading provided by a blog called Reading Roars.  Not  ‘Reading belches’ ,   ‘Reading  pukes’,  ‘Reading falls asleep in front of the TV’.   Wendy appetite wetting references includes a Sushi restaurant.   yes,  one!   Wireless enabled bus service called the “Thames Valley Park” (TVP)  that has been described as a  ‘farce‘.    I love a good farce.    I do like buses too.    Two goodies in one!    I can hardly wait to try blogging from a bus.   Just imagine what a vibrating bus will do to my spelling, ability to fall-over, and general happiness…    There’s a Farmers market.   I do like farmers and I might find  one or two ruddy  faced farmers there. With my UK  regional accent I might even be mistaken for a farmer,   it has happened before!

Result!          

Stay tuned to find out how my Reading investigations evolve,   or even send me tips on highlights…

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snoopers’ network locations

Monday, October 15th, 2007 | tags: , , , ,  |

My readers are perhaps just a bit geeky, um, like me,  because they are coming  from universities,    financial institutions  and the software computing industry.  

Google analytics tells me the Network locations of computers that have reqested page-loads from the wendyhome servers.   Often these network locations are clearly consumer internet service providers,   sometimes they are not.   Here are some of the Network locations that do not look like consumer internet services grouped by primary business type.

Software/Computing

  • Microsoft Corp
  • APPLE COMPUTER
  • Intel Corporation
  • IBM
  • Macafee Security
  • Research Machines plc
  • Hewlett-Packard Company
  • Cisco Systems inc
  • Opera Software asa
  • Honeywell
  • Eastman Kodak Company

Financial

  • Credit Suisse group canada
  • Fidelity Investments
  • Bloomberg Financial Market
  • Bank of America
  • Barclays Capital (UK)
  • Nat West Bank group (UK)
  • First Rand Bank

Universities

  • Cornell University
  • Purdue university
  • Leeds University (UK)
  • North Carolina State university
  • University of Brighton (UK)
  • University of Cambridge (UK)
  • University of Washington
  • Charles University

Local government

  • Wolverhampton city council (UK)
  • East Sussex local education authority (UK)
  • State of Arkansas
  • State of Minesota
  • State of Tennessee
  • Government of South Africa

Aerospace

  • the boeing company
  • lockheed martin corporation
  • Patrick Air Force Base
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1975 appraisal still applies

Sunday, October 7th, 2007 | tags:  |

At 11yrs old my school teacher wrote in my annual report  that  I:

  • need to work on my spelling.  
  • work hard without any pressure.  
  • create interesting items.
  • have an above average grasp of maths.
  • work well on my own or as leader of a group.

  It’s darn right spooky how little I’ve changed.   Luckily we have spell-checkers now (though not in WordPress),   my job requires  maths skills and creating  ‘interesting items’.   Um…  and I still let team members and leaders know when I don’t understand their contributions….  

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public love fest

Sunday, July 15th, 2007 | tags: , ,  |

(Warning:   anyone with aversions to bulleted lists should avert their eyes after the next sentence)  

The July 4th parade in the City  formerly known as Bug  is by far the most engaging,  relaxed and  inclusive I have ever experienced.   Inclusiveness includes:

Some people even drive their tractors to the parade  for a good view.   Everyone  cheers and waves at everyone else.  

An all around  love fest of everyday life.  

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Holiday spirit #3: Lists

Sunday, March 4th, 2007 | tags: ,  |

A list is an extremely powerful medical tool for  counter-acting the symptoms of scattyism before they lead to the rare and dangerous unscrewed-on-head problem where the sufferer is accused of:

 ‘forgetting your head  if it wasn’t screwed on

This post perverts the  law requiring bloggers to list 2, 5,  10, 43, 56  or 100  things that define some example of goodness or badness to a ‘things to pack for my fortnight in England and Cornwall’ list.    Cumulatively, the listed  things  should conform to my packing goal of   “I can carry it up a staircase without injuring my back“.     This is an officially  boring post, you should stop reading NOW.  

It needs charging:

  1. Laptop;   Power-cable; GPS extension;  
  2. Car-to-US-power converter; UK to US socket power converter
  3. Cell-phone;   socket and car  charger;
  4. MP3 player;   headphones; rechargeable batteries;   battery-charger
  5. Camera;   docking-station;   charge-cable; USB PC connection cable

Legal:

  1. UK passport
  2. USA Employers Authorisation Card  
  3. H1B + documentation detailing approval.
  4. 3 ‘Advanced Parole’ documents
  5. US Driving Licence;   UK Driving Licence

Stylin’ :

  1. 4  5 hats:   purple baseball cap;  blue Parkhurst cloche; pink velvet cap;   black wool cap; Blue denim cap
  2. 4 prescription glasses:   Mui Mui; Ray Ban; Oakley;  ProDesignDenmark;
  3. 1 adorably textured purple scarf
  4. make-up:   1 black mascara; 1 black kohl pencil; 1 gold cream eyelid shader;  
  5. sparklies:    2 sets of earings;   2 neclaces; 4 hair-clips

Entertainment:

  1. CD’s (Mountian Goats;  Nick Cave; Jonny Cash; Sandy Shaw; Morrissey…   etc),  
  2. 3 Novels (Ian McEwan; Frank McCourt; Chaucer)  
  3. cash & credit card
  4. sketchpad and pencils

Unseen:

  1. underwear:   Bra’s; knickers; socks;  
  2. Grooming: toothpaste/brush, deoderant, shampoo, moisturizer; nail-file; comb; lady-pants
  3. Ooops:   antisceptic cream; plasters; ibuprofen; swiss army knife

Clothes:

  1. 3 pairs of hipsters:   DKNY skinny jeans; Diesel skinny jeans;   Black suede bell-bottoms
  2. 5 Jackets:   Waterproof ;  2 Velvet;   2 Woolly zip-front jumpers
  3. Multiple  fine knit  woollen tops
  4. 3  pairs of footwear:   comfortable all terrain black shoes;  purple pickers; girlyness-conforming healed cutesy-shoes
  5. 3 pairs   1 pair of black fingerless gloves (2 black, 1 blue leatherette)

Oddments:

  1. a photograph of my parents with fellow passangers on a coach tour of Washington DC
  2. a copy of my last Will and Testament
  3. 2  handbags:   1 for daily laptop carrying;   1 for when things wont fit in my pockets
  4. amazing 1970’s dress for Mumzie to donate to a fashion Museum
  5. Flat Eric

(updated 3/5/06 to reflect an important decision to replace 2 pairs of gloves with a 5th hat)

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secret garden (conkers)

Thursday, March 1st, 2007 | tags: , , , , , , ,  |

twenty-first post in a  Thursday series of snoops into experiences of taking tiffin with  (black) tea  in the NW USA.

Thursday Tiffin #21: secret garden  (conkers)

recommended venue for an atmospheric, private,  conversation with special friends or family over a good cup of tea and to stock up some sizable conkers.

1890’s Historically registered building.   For the US West coast that is REALLY OLD!   There are several huge old conker trees in the garden.   The ground is littered with conkers.    I rarely see conker trees in the puget sound region.   A habit left over from childhood, I placed a few big, heavy,  symmetrical conkers in my pocket, just incase…    

Inside,    high quality retro décor, not kitsch or overdone.   White table-clothes and napkins.   Antique furniture that is not ‘distressed’.   The establishment blends beautifully American and English tea taking ceremonies with excellent food in a tasteful, timeless ambiance.   Let me say ‘excellent food’ once again.   Prices are neither cheap  nor  exorbitant.   I had a large bowl of Coconut Chicken Lemon grass soup with a scone and a small pot of Darjeeling that came to about $10 including tax.

English

  • clientele included men as well as women
  • a jug of milk was offered before it was requested
  • sugar-cubes in a bowl with tongs
  • matching china crockery and pseudo-silver flatware
  • soup served with an actual soup spoon

American

  • The en-suite shop that sells quaint things, pink things and sparkly jewellery things
  • A glass of iced water, regularly topped-up
  • The scones (more like English rock cakes)
  • wide choice of sugar substitutes in sachets on the table
  • over 70 types of tea on a laminated plastic menu
  • staff attentive and clearly amenable to customer requests not currently on the menu.   I overhead a customer asking for, and receiving,   iced tea.   In January.  

Those tiny imperfections that even an excellent establishment can have…they are trivial….

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9 ways to deal with Seattle snow

Tuesday, November 28th, 2006 | tags: , , ,  |

The authorities do not ‘Grit’ or salt the roads in Seattle.   No local government provided roadside grit bins.   I’m told they do provide sand but as far as I can tell it’s not stored at known troublespots.     Apparantly, drivers have to rely on other means to reduce the impact of slippiness.     Here’s a list of strategies I’ve observed in the last 24 hours:

  1. heavy metal:  4 wheel drive SUVs  with chains  and/or studded tyres.   I watched a lady smoking a fag in a   Mall car-park yesterday while a ‘cashiers clerk’ (packs shoppers bags for them) put the chains on her stonking-big SUV.  
  2. cat litter:   several people I know carry bags of cat-litter in their car boot,   just incase they need some traction in an emergency.  
  3. abandon ship: abandon your car here, anywhere,   well perhaps aim at the side of ther oad.  Pressumably  these people get a lift from somone with an SUV.
  4. Mall camp:   drive to the nearest strip-mall with a 24hr store.   There are lots of them.   Park,   then wait for the weather to thaw.
  5. hermit:   stay indoors (popular choice).
  6. truant:   claim being stranded then go skiing (another popular choice).
  7. speed: put your foot on the accelerator to get up that slippy hill  (I kid you not,   I saw several people trying this on slopes).
  8. wiggle:   wiggle the steering-wheel around to try and regain control when in a skid (seriously,   I saw this happen to more than one driver)
  9. attack: get out of your car and kick the tyres (uhu,   you guessed it,   I saw somone do this after having wiggled his steering wheel and spun his tyres)

 Now excuse me for a while,  I’ve got some serious falling over to be getting on with,    outside into the pretty slippy world… …oooOOOOooooo….

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One is true. 6 are laced with fiction.

Tuesday, November 28th, 2006 | tags:  |

Inspired by Piehole’s undeniable nerdy achievement.   My claims to secondary school nerdiness  at an  English comprehensive co-educational,  formerly Grammar all boys,  school  with approximately 1,400 pupils.  

One item is a complete fiction from start to finish.    Five items have inaccurate titles and warped  truths  in the detail.   One item is accurate in title and detailed description.    Which one is all accurate?

1).   6th form Prefect.

Headmaster nominated me one of 7 chosen in 1980-82 (17-18yrs).     This actually meant that during my ‘study periods’ I could hang-out in the corridors of the main school and frighten the short people by making faces at them,  chasing them up and down the corridors shouting “don’t run“,  “don’t shout“,   “your mother smells of elderberries,   “beam us up scotty” or miss-quoting a poem or two.

2).   House cross-country team captain.

Elected captain 1978 (15yrs).   Because of my unique talent for living near the school and making a stonking cuppa.   Whenever the cross-country team had practice we would run out of the school ground.   When out of sight we would start strolling,  light-up fags,  and gossip.   We’d walk to my home and spend 2 hrs practice time drinking tea, listening to music  and gossiping.   Leaving my home we’d walk in pairs back to sight of school then run the onto the school grounds.   My House team always did fairly well on cross-country  times in practice.    Less well in competition.   A happy  well socially bonded team.    It all got a bit messy when, in 1980,  we decided to have a re-union  ‘cross country practice run’ during a Maths class.    Somebody dobbed us in.   The Maths teacher.   She  had been  a tad upset when no students turned up.   She made us promise to invite her next time.   We did,   she didn’t come.   Touche!

3).     Poetry recital competition winner.

1975 (12yrs).   Stand up infront of several hundred older, bigger, uglier  children at my school while reading a soppy poem out loud?   No Way!   Mumzie made me do it.   Darn clever people those mumzies.    The skill came in  handy for scaring the short people with during prefect duties.        

4).     School representative on British Youth Council.

1979-1981 (16-18yrs).   Government (school) funded weekends away in fabulous management training course facilities  with other ‘youth leaders’ (14 thru 21yrs) from all over the country where we’d discuss things like ‘preparing for the leisure age’ then all get drunk on scrumpy and snog each other while the responsible adults were also doing things they shouldn’t be doing, which we snooped on, of course!   Shocking.  

5).     Simultaneously Drum Major in 3 marching bands.

1976-1980 (13-17yrs).     These bands were all part of a National Christian Youth Organization who’s motto was ‘fight the good fight’.   Rehearsals once a week for each band and Sunday mayhem as they all fought over who’s band I was going to lead for the Sunday service.   Lots of going to trendy C of E churches and the occassional away match at a Catholic high-church to show good will to  those hip  incense swingers.   It also gave me the opportunity to torture the brass section.   If they got too cheeky for their own good I’d just call them in to play frequently until their lips were sore.   I accepted beer to secure my favour and the soft lips of the buglers.   Fond memories.

6).   Only girl in sixth form Advanced Level Maths and Physics classes.

1980-1982 (17-18yrs).  I had to  hide from my English teacher because he had purchased the required Beer dosage to secure Wendy-loyalty and I’d subsequently betrayed him by choosing  Nerdy boy-maths instead.   The math teacher wore his Black univeristy gown to teach.   Think Harry Potter style teacher gowns.   I’m now so Nerdy I too have a full Ede and Ravenscroft gown.   My distraught English teacher swore he’d never speak to me again which made  everything, except my spelling and grammar,  a bit easier.   He emigrated to New Zealand soon afterwards.

7).     27th place  in the annual 10 Tors race.

1977 (14yrs).   Absolute nightmare.   Training by running around at night carrying brick-laden rucksacks.   Attempting to sleep in soggy clothes and ill-secured tents in the middle of Dartmoor during rainstorms while helicopters tried to find the less well-prepared missing teams. NEVER again.

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blog quality guidelines (part 1)

Tuesday, October 17th, 2006 | tags: , , ,  |

Which really means:

8 reasons why Wendy didn’t read a blog

together, these reasons  have prevented me  reading blogs that may have outstanding content… …but I’ll never know:

  1. poor publicity:   I don’t know that the blog exists,   its contents  never show up in any of my internet searches,   there are no links to it in other stuff that I read, none of my friends told me about it.
  2. foriegn language:   I know it exists but I can’t read it because the language is too foriegn.  For example,  German,   Instant Message or phone-text message  style  abbreviations like “u shud cuz u r kewl“.  
  3. personally irrelevant: I know it exists, I can read the language, but the blog content does not provide anything clearly relevant to my life.  For example,   a blog on standard poodles.
  4. offensive message:     I know it exists, I can read the language, the content is relevant to my life but the message is  fundamentally offensive.  
  5. squinting required:    either the text is so small that I have to squint to read, there is a low  contrast between the text and the background,   the spacing between the text lines is so small it’s difficult to visually follow one line.   I can’t read it without changing my preferred browser text-size that works for most other web pages.
  6. witless: If a blog lacks wit, I stop reading it. I like to learn something or laugh,   ideally both at the same time.   Double whammy!
  7. lacking illustrative pictures:   Too much text can make my head spin,   then I fall over.  Breaking the stream of text,  regularly, with  pictures that illustrate the message helps prevent  me falling over.   It’s not essential,   but it helps.
  8. scrolling required*:   I’m too attentionally challenged to regularly  read blog posts that  are long enough to require scrolling the window,   especially if  they don’t include pictures.   Again,   not essential,   but it helps keep my reading  regular..

Apart from including an illustrative picture,  what have I missed that  is important to you?

*  I write  scrollable blog posts.  My excuse is that I’m  endearingly waffly rather  than perfectly precise.      

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