sarahx: (sweary)
Phone rings, disturbing me when I'm busy trying to concentrate on proof-reading that feature I was battling with yesterday and finally managed to finish last night.

'Hello, it's Saffy from Numpty and Eijit. We sent you a press release about our latest report into widget wangling couple of months ago. Did you use it?'

Saffy, please note:

1. Don't you read my publication?
2. If not, why did you bother sending me the release?
3. And if you can't be arsed to read the magazine, why don't you pay a cuttings agency?
4. Oh - and the press release was irrelevant anyway...

sarahx: (poshburd)
Ah, the joys of technology. I've been stranded at a trade show all week (and trade shows are in my top-three most hated things, so you can imagine how happy I am to be here). Until today I was doing the show's daily newspaper so all computered-up. Today being the last day (hurrah!) the G5s have been packed away. So I opened up my laptop to start writing the show review copy (deadline: tomorrow lunchtime) and huzzah! One of the exhibitors nearby has, most generously, set up a wireless cloud around their stand and failed to password-protect it. So I'm back on the interbadger again. Can't be arsed to write - think I've got a cold coming and my brain resembles mashed potato. I'll do it in the morning.

Anyroadup, here I am in Paris. Or, more accurately, Villepinte - yes, one of those delightful Parisien suburbs where if you had a car last month, this month you've got a burnt out wreck. We were also stranded at the Hyatt at the airport - which isn't really at the airport at all, it's a trek in a shuttle bus away. And, despite the proximity, an utter pain to get to at the end of the day. Going on the train involves going to the airport and getting on said shuttle bus. Going in a taxi involves braving the vast queue that is inevitable when there's 10,000-plus people at a show all being kicked out at the same time.

On Tuesday it was less of a problem, as one of the nice companies I do re-Englishing for took me out for dinner (yes, Stu, I booked the table and it might just have been at Les Bouchons, and no, I was good and didn't have cheese and dessert). However, I did get back to the airport just nicely in time to see the arse of the Hyatt bus disappearing into the distance. It was a 'sod it, I'll get a taxi' moment. Proof that claiming it's an airport hotel is a joke: it cost €12.

But at least I wasn't hanging around in the freezing cold at Charles de Gaulle for half an hour. Unlike when I arrived. They claimed the bus picked up at both terminals and the train station. So (having gone on the Eurostar and caught the RER back up to the airport) I stood at the train station, at their bus stop, and the shuttle bus sailed past down the road without pulling into the stop for me. Then did it again. When it ignored me for the third time, I called the hotel, got very cross (erm, yes, well, and a little bit sweary). Well, I was freezing. The bus then deigned to pull in to rescue me. It took nearly an hour for my fingers to thaw out once I finally made it to the Hyatt.

Tuesday dinner aside, I might just as well have been in Birmingham. Glamorous it ain't. And as I'm here working for the show organisers, I was stuck in the hotel with them. They're proof positive of Sarah's Law of the Dutch: the men are lovely, the women are, um, not. And, unfortunately, most of them are women. Fortunately the Dutch contingent of the newspaper team (two photographers, one designer and a manager from the printers) were men, and hence nice. We've all been avoiding the women.

Oh, and I feel the need to have a bit more of a rant about the hotel. When I'm booking and paying for them myself I always ensure they're either within walking distance or a sensible public transport ride away from where I want to be, so I'd never dream of booking this one myself. If I had, I'd feel ripped off. Hell, I feel ripped off and it cost me nothing! The rack-rate of €330 is quite outrageous for a room that looks pretty tired, and even the much better rate they will have been paying was, frankly, too much. For example, two huge chips in the enamel bath had been 'disguised' with white gloss paint that just serves to make them more obvious. The shampoo etc were crap. And then there's the cost of the incidentals. No Wi-Fi cloud at all - and the broadband access was an eye-watering €23 for a day. When I arrived, I had a sandwich - which cost €20. I came to check out this morning, and they tried to charge me €7 for something from the minibar - which I hadn't even opened. Bah.

Thank goodness I get to go home soon - I'm on the train a little after 6pm. Fingers crossed it's on time. I'm knackered and I want my bed!!
sarahx: (sx2)
It's done. Dropped the magazine through the door of the printers at just gone 9, then had to drive home.

I make that a 64 hour week in the office. I've no idea how I managed that (and more) every week when I had a real job. Little wonder I wound up with an ulcer.

[when I say 'done', 'almost done' would probably be more accurate. Brain death had set in and I've written about 60 words of my column. Only about another 700 to go. I will be writing it on the train to football in Norwich tomorrow morning. Thank goodness I've done all the research, at least...]
sarahx: (doll)
Just hit the 12 hours in the office for the fourth time this week. Hurrah! Probably another hour tonight and I'll bale out. Then tomorrow, I'm here until it's done. However late that might prove to be. Or, given a miracle, un-late. We Shall See.

So by way of distraction, some further clues to the four lyrics that weren't got on Tuesday. I've added a line to each of them. That should help. None are even remotely obscure - and I'm sure [ profile] budgie_uk or [ profile] burge or someone has included one of them in a lyrics quiz they've done in the past few months.

Here goes...

11: I tried to show you just how much I care, I'm tired of words and I'm too hoarse to shout
Two out of three ain't bad, Meatloaf - [ profile] alasdair
12: Good friends are there for each other, never, ever forget that I got you
Reach, S Club 7 - [ profile] anw
14: Could we get it together again? I just can't go on pretending that it came to a natural end
Kayleigh, Marillion - [ profile] alasdair
22: The medicine within me no doctor could prescribe
Way down, Elvis Presley - [ profile] budgie_uk
sarahx: (chihuly2)
I'd forgotten how much going into the office on a regular basis wrecks yer social life... I seem to have done nothing! Gah! I'm sure I do much more when I'm stuck on the sofa at home with the laptop.

Needless to say that's where I am now, settled in for the evening shift, getting on with my writing. Or not. Most of my brain seems to be on the beach still. And the rest stuck in Quark XPress back at the office.

Oh well.

I can think of plenty of places I'd rather be. The beach is top of the list.

In fact, this beach.
sarahx: (doll2)
It's a lovely sunny Sunday morning. So, obviously, I'm sitting on the sofa writing. In my pyjamas, equally obviously. A quick scan through the diary shows that the next day I can devote to writing-type-work is Saturday 22 October (always assuming the US visa materialises, of course). This means that today - and the one evening I've got free this week - I've got to:

• Finish my American news (taking a break now, it's about half done)
• Finish a feature on chiral chemistry (started a couple of weeks ago, wrote 200-ish words, another 2000-ish to go)
• Finish my new drugs page - one out of three done
• Write up one of the interviews for the Cambridge mag as the guy's going to be away after this week.


I'm cheering myself up by listening to some of the nonsense in my vinyl collection I've not listened to in some years. There is some spectacular crap in there, nestling between the good stuff like Led Zep, Duran Duran and Half Man Half Biscuit. And I found something I'd totally forgotten about - possibly my absolute favourite of all my 45s (it has a lot of competition...). I found it in a record shop in Amsterdam when I was on a concert tour there back in 1984, it cost me about a guilder and I bought it purely because of the cover. The content doesn't disappoint. I've no idea what they're singing about - Dutch translation help needed ;-) But it's very oom-pah and there's a quite magnificently OTT key change in there. And the B-side is an instrumental so you can sing along (or could if you knew the words). Glorious.

Back to work...
sarahx: (Default)
The winners of the Chemistry Nobel Prize have been announced this morning - and it's for 'proper' chemistry. It's gone to Frenchman Yves Chauvin and the Americans Bob Grubbs (whom I've met a couple of times) and Richard Schrock for the metathesis reaction - a fantastically useful reaction in industrial synthesis, particularly of drugs. And beautiful chemistry, too.

Schrock is giving the organic colloquium in Cambridge on Monday teatime.

And where am I on Monday? London. Subbing on the travel magazine.

sarahx: (sx1)
Because in a fit of lunacy this morning I agreed to write a 1000-word op-ed piece from the Nice conference by tomorrow morning, I'm still working even though I'm falling asleep. Couldn't start it until I got home from the travel mag, and I'm now beginning to flag. I somehow have to get it up to about 1200 words so I can hack it about tomorrow so that it makes sense and delete the worst of the rubbish that my fingers will inevitably have spewed out this evening.

Did I mention I'm on the travel mag again tomorrow?

So concerted f-list reading will have to wait until tomorrow. As will proper updating. Paying for my trip to the south of France has to come first...
sarahx: (Default)
Insomnia and early alarm calls make for depressing bedfellows.

sarahx: (Default)
Half a bottle of Sancerre seems to have lubricated the writing cells in my brain rather nicely. Billy T's now on the second rotation.

So have a clip from the incomparable Popbitch. This amuses me.

>> Start me up <<
Mick and Keith get their own defibrillator

It's not easy being a rock and roll
pensioner. The Rolling Stones' tour party
in Toronto has just purchased an automated
defibrillator, presumably for use on Charlie,
Mick, Ronnie or Keith if they keel over before
the encore.

"2, 3... Clear! Zzt! OK let's rock!"
sarahx: (Default)
How I know I've really, really, really got to concentrate on my writing: I turn the radio off and put Billy Taylor on. Perfect music to work to. Just spotted that iJournal has picked up on it from iTunes. Spoooooky.

Hope it works - got to get column and a couple of news stories done by the end of the day. Which, realistically, is about 4.30pm as I'm interviewing the Provost of Yale then (he's a Brit, with a PhD in chemistry from Cambridge - he even did his PhD with one of the desperately eminent retired professors I share an office with). He's then giving a lecture to the department, and there's a reception afterwards. And then I have to drive home.

Oh, and I'm off out to lunch at Browns with my sort-of-boss here Steve Ley et al in a bit.

Maybe the writing will prove easier after a couple of glasses of wine? Tis often the way.

I'm trying not to think about the fact that my alarm is set for 4am tomorrow...


Sep. 9th, 2005 10:14 pm
sarahx: (Default)
I've been in Dublin for the past couple of days, for work. It would have been a nice relaxed couple of days had it not been for grotty weather there today that left all the flights dreadfully delayed. So much for being back by teatime!

And I'm off again in the morning. Wednesday are away at Leicester tomorrow, my Bolton-fan mate from Loughborough is coming along too as Bolton aren't playing until Sunday (and as I know he reads this - for the toilets, I think! - Paul, you must be mad, it will be rubbish!). Then up to Sheff, where I'll be watching the last couple of days of the Test series at my mum's, doing some work, playing with my loverly nephews, and driving back late on Tuesday night after our home game with Leeds. It's all go.

Now I think I need to go to bed. But first, some sitcom.

My LiveJournal Sitcom
Living With sarahx (UPN, 2:30): sarahx (Geoffrey Rush) buys a wheelbarrow from pixylatedpyxie (John Travolta). The week after, the_rauncher (Peter MacNicol) misinterprets an email from gregmce (Jonathan Taylor Thomas) and tries to get into a deli for free. That weekend, anw (Mark Hamill) and osymandus (Willem Dafoe) buy a fish market. Later that day, philaylen (Glenn Close) wipes rottenplanet (Sal Mineo)'s laptop. At the same time, rockoctopus (Lisa Kudrow) dances with alasdair (Hank Azaria). (Series finale.)
What's Your LiveJournal Sitcom? (by rfreebern)


Jul. 11th, 2005 11:17 am
sarahx: (Default)
It's lovely in the garden today.

Shame I've got to work while I'm out here.
sarahx: (Default)
Just realised that today is the 4th anniversary of the start of my non-employment.

I've not regretted escaping the clutches of a proper job once! Long may it continue.
sarahx: (Default)
Just called the company in Germany whose website copy I've been rewriting.

I was treated to 'Sugar baby love' by the Rubettes and then 'Sugar sugar' by the Archies.

No prize for guessing they make sugar derivatives.

Wonder what else I'd've got had I had to wait longer? Bet Def Leppard aren't on their playlist...


Jun. 4th, 2005 12:39 pm
sarahx: (Default)
In Cambridge, working (boo). While listening to the cricket (hurrah). Go Thorpey.

Taken a few minutes off to drink tea and read the Sun. And, apparently Paris Hilton has two engagement rings because she can't choose between them.

One has a 24ct canary yellow diamond, and the other a 'more subtle' 15 carat white one.

On what planet can a 15ct diamond ever be considered even remotely subtle?!
sarahx: (Default)
Gorgeous day for working in the garden. OK, so it's Sunday, it would have been a lovely day to go out into the countryside, and I'm writing a feature about the growing importance of Rx-Dx linkages (actually quite interesting, honest!). But if I've got to spend my Sunday writing, I'd rather it were outside in the fresh air.

The only difficult bit is keeping myself away from gardening! Maybe I'll allow myself a bit of digging when the feature's half written...
sarahx: (sx1)
I scared myself last night by making the fatal mistake of adding up how much work I have to do before I go to France on 16 June.

And the verdict:

Words: Almost 20,000. Including 9 features.
e-newsletters to copy-edit: 2
Magazines to design, edit, sub & write: 1
3-day conferences in Brussels to attend: 1
Subbing shifts: 2

This is why I'm spending my Saturday morning on the sofa working. Dammit.


May. 6th, 2005 05:04 pm
sarahx: (sx2)
I think my brain's turning into mashed potato. That's clearly what I deserve for staying up late last night - but not late enough for Kilroy's result. Bailed out at 1-ish. What a wimp.

So with taters for brains, writing chemistry is proving a challenge. Especially as I'm trying to write a third feature about exactly the same thing the last two were about - only making it sound different. Second one was straightforward enough. Third is more challenging. If they need a fourth - eeeeek.

I'm also pretty p-ed off with the ticket office at HIllsborough. They've got themselves a lovely new 0870 number. I was on hold -at 6p a minute - for an hour-and-a-half this morning trying to get tickets for tomorrow's match and the home leg of our play-off game. I was working at the same time, but the endless stream of adverts for the new home shirt and Dooley's restaurant get to your brain after a while. Especially when you're paying 6p a minute for the privilege of listening to them. I can call north America for half that.

Oh, and is it just me, or has anyone else's friends page gone screwy? It's doing it in Firefox, Exploder and Safari. Hmm.
sarahx: (sx2)
Election results a-go-go. While getting on with the writing for Thor. Midnight oil, don't you just love it?

Anyway: two random snips:

First, from my mate on the subs desk at the Glasgow Herald.

Another elderly man confessed: “I used to vote for Tony Blair but I stopped voting for him when I found out he was a Conservative. I’m old Labour you see, so I’m going to vote Liberal Democrat.”

And from Popbitch:

We'd be getting more excited about the election if the leading MPs were more like George Brown, the deputy leader of the Labour Party during the 1960s. A noted drunk, George's finest hour came at a London diplomatic reception. As the band struck up the first number, he approached a potential conquest in a long, red velvet dress and asked, "Beautiful lady in scarlet, may I have the next dance?"

"Certainly not!" came the reply.

"Why not?" asked George.

"In the first place you are drunk. In the second, this is not actually a waltz but the Hungarian national anthem; and, thirdly, I am not a beautiful lady in scarlet, I am, in fact, the papal nuncio Archbishop Mancini."

And on that note, I shall return to my organofluorine chemistry.


sarahx: (Default)

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