Sunday, February 5, 2012

What A Senseless Waste of Human Life ...

Who would have thought it, an international criminal mastermind, intellectual-property theft facilitator and penis-spammer found hiding in a spectacularly vulgar and tasteless Auckland McMansion? (Who the hell ordered that thing built, by the way? And why haven't they been arrested for crimes against good taste, and the builders executed, pour encourager les autres?)

How times have changed since the Good Old Days™, when the international press and the eyes of the world turned to our beloved country only to report on, and gloat pruriently over, the scandalous bedroom antics of some lesser-known politician and a convalescent rabid sheep. And now the shame, our proud nation's good name sullied, dragged through the mud with the full knowledge and connivance of the political elite - I can stand it no longer. (Hurried footsteps, door slams, sound of gunshot off ... "Damn!" - second gunshot ... this could go on for some time)

But seriously folks, it is making it damn difficult to find places from which to download decent TV series. I bet they never thought of that when they arrested the guy. The consequences will, as usual, be unintended. (Bonus conspiracy theory for no extra charge - yes, I have actually heard it, not making it up - Dotcom was arrested at the behest of The Music Industry, and probably Big Pharma too, to put the kibosh on their planned paying streaming service, which was going to deliver singing Viagra to millions of porn-hungry, tone-deaf Americans by the technological miracle of MADTRIPE*. Believe it or not, but remember - you read it here!)

Another one of our false friends is the word "déçu". You really would think I'd know that one after all this time but I'm apparently slower than even the rest of my sadly cynical family believe, for I didn't. In my defence, the difference is subtle ... "tu dois être", wrote Sophie, "déçu de ne pas me voir ce samedi" - WTF? Deceived into not seeing her? By whom? Is there an international conspiracy, involving dubiously made-up aliens and Area 51, and operating only on weekends, of which I am an unwitting pawn? Sophie, what is going on?

Of course I didn't bother to check before replying, too bad really because the word simply means "disappointed", and quite correct all things considered. Especially with all those choucroute ingredients on my hands (although that did work out alright in the end). It's always the little things that trip you up. As Alice Cooper once remarked, albeit in another context.

I rather foolishly bought a large chicken on Saturday, being as it was on special: totally neglecting, as one will, to glance at the best-before date - which turns out, on closer inspection, to be today, Sunday. I am not going to roast the poor beast and let it wither and dry in the fridge until Margo turns up, and I have nothing suitable with which to stuff it, otherwise I would perhaps bone it and turn it into a ballotine. My options are somewhat constrained: I could either poach it, let it cool in the stock and then do something interesting with the meat, or turn it into a stew of some sort. Decisions, decisions ...

After considered reflection, it's been a long time since I had a decent chicken pie, and come to that there all sorts of things crying out to be done with juicy shredded chicken meat and tacos, or pita bread - I rather think I'll boil the bugger. And at least like that I can freeze the leftovers, and reincarnate them as spicy stuffed dumplings at a later date. Sounds good to me.

On the other hand, I also have two rather large saucisses de Montbéliard in the fridge, originally destined for that choucroute but there was so much meat already in there that even I could not find the heart (nor, to be brutally honest, the room) to stuff them in. Quite frankly I'm seriously tempted to slum it and treat myself to something Margo won't eat - bangers and mash leaps to mind - but this talk of dumplings has got me all aroused**, so it may have to involve sauce, in which I can cook those as well. Why does my life have to be so full of choices?

(But I rather think I've had enough pig to last me for a while. Say, until next weekend.)

While I think about it, I met up with Bryan today, bobble-hatted as befits an ambulatory garden gnome (him, not me you fools), as I trudged through the snow in the centre of town, and discovered just why it was that he and Beckham felt themselves unable to eat choucroute on Saturday night. It turns out that once I'd left them heading off in search of a pizza and a couple of glasses of rosé to wash it down things degenerated: they wound up at Bryan's place and discovered - to their astonishment - that there were still a couple or three intact bottles, saw that this was a shame and finished them.

When Bryan chucked her out so that he could get a bit of a nap, Beckham headed off to Cardinal's for some serious beer-drinking and, hopefully, a pick-up: she tried all the males at the bar, lost her wallet (some kindly soul apparently stuck it down the loo), got chucked out for being D&D, and fell off her bike on the way home.

So you see, there are worse than me.

Anyway, got a phone call Wednesday to say that there were forms to be filled in for Jeremy before he left for his stage in bloody Blackpool, and that he needed to sign them before Friday. Does no-one talk to others at that damn lycée? I mean, surely someone there must know that he's currently on stage for three weeks in Briançon. Pissups - breweries, in - organisation of ...

So I went there this morning to sign for him and glumly admitted that I was a complete idiot for not having brought with me a photocopy of his carte d'identité (which of course he has on him), nor an autorisation parentale de sortie de territoire, which I had no idea he needed.

Perhaps encouraged by my passivity the secretary got quite chatty (truth to tell, I was hoping to get out as quickly as possible) and confided that there ware at least six families in the same state as us and some of them had got quite shirty. "But", she said, "I'm only doing my job". I thought vaguely of reminding her that that defence has been tried before and found wanting, but she seemed to be of an age to be able to personally remember the Nuremberg trials, and of a humour to have been on the wrong side of the bars, so I let that one slide.

And I got a phone call from my friend Denis, of the SNCF, who's off on some trials up in Metz. Just a few little problems, but he mentioned in passing that the temperature inside the rame was all of 10°. Attacking a keyboard with woolly gloves on must be an interesting experience. Mind you, 10° would still be a luxurious 25° warmer than outside, which rather puts it in perspective.

Here we had a relatively balmy -7° outside, but I must admit that the wind-chill factor from the vicious bise made it feel colder. (That is indeed the word for a kiss, but applied rather sarcastically: it is close-up, on the lips - and everywhere else - long enough to feel like forever, and very cold.) If this keeps up I won't be spending much time outside at the market on Saturday before repairing to somewhere cosy where sustaining drinks may be bought.

Let's be honest, things are not getting any better. Nine degrees below this morning when I left for town, and still that brutal wind. Mind you, after half an hour or so, even with a greatcoat and gloves, you can hardly feel anything at all in the extremities (especially the ears, don't know why this should be so), which I suppose has to be a good sign.

Had to be one of my quickest trips around the market on record, though. Half the stallholders weren't there (wimps!), no salade (probably frozen), and even Goat Cheese Man was AWOL. There weren't that many clients around either, truth to tell: I suspect that most intelligent people - and even the little old ladies - had decided to stick around in their nice heated apartments rather than go out and get transformed into Popsicle-Person.

Whatever, they apparently have enough clients chez Liddy to still be able to afford heating (even if the door-handle is held on with string) so Bryan and I could at least thaw out a bit as we nursed our glasses.

*That's MAtter Disassembly, Transmission and Reconstruction, Internet Protocol Extension, for those of you that don't get out much, or keep up on the Internet RFPs. Which is, let it be admitted, most of us.

**Yes, I know, it's sad. Still, food plays an important part in erotica, and for most people - university students excepted - having a stable food supply is more important than sex. Mostly, anyway. And the Scots could always console themselves with dreams of tepid porridge***.

***Clinical tests have proven that this is not, in fact, an aphrodisiac. Which rather makes it stand out from other foods, which are.

No comments:

Post a Comment