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The Journal of a slightly depraved Mef
In which woes are unburdened and there is a little obnoxiousness... 
27th-Mar-2008 09:32 am
Oh dear. A few days ago at work, I was sitting happily at my desk, munching surreptitiously on cherry drops and typing, when the TV monitor in the corner of the room began to flash red, important looking 'breaking news' signs at us. We all stopped working, unashamedly, to watch. First, there was a speech from Mr Bush, in which he called Iraq a 'victory' and we all snorted.

Bush: "When Americans like Spanky Gibson serve on our side, the enemy in Iraq doesn't got a chance"
Reporter 1: Did he just say 'Spanky'? Cos, y'know, if ever there was a word I didn't want to hear coming out of his mouth -
Reporter 2: "The Enemy"? Are we really in a cowboys and indians movie?
Reporter 3: I can handle bad nicknames and understand the lack of subtlety, but 'doesn't got a chance'? Bad grammar makes my teeth vibrate!
Ro: Er, that's because you're gritting them so hard. I see what you mean though, how odd that's he's the most powerful man in the wo - Reporter 3, maybe you should put that knife down. You have an odd glint of maniacal despair in your eye.

And then John McCain was up.

John McCain: "It's common knowledge and has been reported in the media that Al-Qaeda is going back into Iran and receiving training and are coming back into Iraq from Iran."
Newsroom: *collective 'WUT?'*
Helpful Senator: *whisper whisper*
John McCain: "I'm sorry, the Iranians are training extremists, not Al-Qaeda."
Ro: Heh heh heh, there's no way they'll vote for him now.
Jaded Colleague: Ah, so young, so naive. They may not even report this on US tv.
Ro: But, but...he said -
Jaded Colleague: *getting nostalgic* I remember being young and idealistic once too. I was a pretty young thing back then. And could I ever shake it. My milkshake brought all the boys to the yard.

Firstly, Sunni Al-Qaeda and Shia Iran? Big No No for the prospective next leader of the world's biggest superpower. I really think that this isn't the kind of thing you can make even a slip of the tongue about, without immediately correcting yourself, and get away with. Humans are flawed, but y'know, if all the other politicians can manage it...

Last Saturday at my sales assistant job a friend whom we shall call 'Simon' decided to make it 'turn everything into a sexual pun day'.

This was irritating at first, but became entertaining.

Pierced blonde: This duct tape is trying to peel my clothes off.
Simon: Wa-hey! *eyebrow wiggle*
Lady Manager: Do you know where the rest of this pole kit is? I'm looking for some more nuts.
Simon: Wa-
Lady Manager: *death stare of ultimate Doom*
Simon: *weakly* -hey?

My manager asked me very politely on the same day if I was sure I was suited to retail. I wasn't sure how to tell him that I'm certain that I'm not suited to retail, but really need the money, (and I was surprised by how much he seemed to think I'd chosen the job rather than had to take something, anything, to fund my gap year). Apparently, I had been pegged as a 'long term player' in the department at first, but I haven't quite lived up to that lately. I was mystery shopped recently. This is when people come around and pretend to be shoppers and then grade you on your acknowledging them, building the sale and closing it. I'm not enthusiastic enough and am not a pushy enough seller (according to my scorecard) and did not do very well. This is sad, but not terribly unexpected. He told me kindly to take a couple of weeks to think about it, but made a point of saying he'd like me to stay on if I still want to, since he thinks I could improve with more experience. I'm not sure if this is just meant as a warning, or is the nice way of getting someone to resign to avoid having to sack them.

At any rate, I'm going to see if I can stay until the end of May at least. I might start looking for something at a small shop, where I'd be able to get away with not being as pushy. I did decide to sell a bit of my soul and start asking customers - who comprise mostly of young couples with children or elderly people - if they wanted to buy partnership cards. I even managed to sell one. I felt a little bit like Ethan from Shortpacked. On the bright side, it made my manager a little happier with me.

To balance out all that woe, there was a shining point of awesome this week. A friend of my parents runs a national ethnic newspaper for which I write reports every so often. They had their annual glitzy awards ceremony last night which I volunteered to help with. It can get a little dull, but and I get to meet up with friends I don't see very often, and we all get free food and can sneak out some of the hotel's soaps. Last night David Miliband, Hazel Blears, Boris Johnson and William Hague all made appearances and gave very different speeches, (Boris Johnson's being about a three, and William Hague's, much as it pains me to say this, about an eight).

My friend, whom we shall call Glitter, accidentally introduced herself to Boris Johnson. She was with another friend who, as a professional in his 20s, is used to networking.

Used to networking: Hello, my name is blah. *firm handshake* And this is...
Glitter: Er, hello...
Used to networking: *Spots David Miliband and scurries off*
Boris Johnson:...
Glitter: MyfriendandIsawyouatTottenhamCourtRoadtheotherdaybutwedidn'twanttocomeoverandsayhi...
Boris Johnson: O.o
Glitter: Ilikeyourhair...

Glitter is not the best conversationalist when she's nervous. And I don't converse at all when I'm nervous. So I was understandably worried when she decided we had to introduce ourselves to Alan Johnston, and take another friend, whom we shall call Sparkle, along with us.

Ro: But what will we say? "Hi, glad you're not dead!"
Glitter: *steering me firmly along* I'm sure he'd appreciate the sentiment. Just don't say nothing.
Sparkle: *strategically cornering Alan Johnston against his table* Hello! We just wanted to introduce ourselves. *firm handshake* I'm Sparkle and these are...
Ro: ...Buh?
Glitter: *sighing and firmly steering me away* I'm sorry. She has trouble using her words sometimes.

Once I'd pulled myself together and managed to speak again I discovered what a lovely man Alan Johnston really is. He stood there, dodging passing waiters and dishes delicately balanced on fingertips which went zooming past our heads, and talked to us for ages. And the nicest thing was that he didn't just wait for us to run out of questions for him, but asked about us in return, which none of the other figures of note there on the night managed to do when cornered by three nervous teenage volunteers.

Once we'd brought it up he would every so often allude to the whole kidnap in Gaza for which he's best known, and occasionally he would make it self-deprecatingly funny. It was terrible not knowing whether to laugh or not, (we gave up in the end and laughed, since he was laughing too).

A definite point of awesome in what could otherwise have been a fairly boring night.

On a completely different note, I was just Rickrolled. Wow, the internet is a strange place.
27th-Mar-2008 12:12 pm (UTC)
Oh, Ro, can I piggyback onto your rant about American politics? So last week Barack Obama made the most amazing speech I have ever heard/read about race relations in America. It was brilliant, beautifully written, insightful, honest, without rancor, and just masterful. I was certain that the entire country was going to stand up and say, "Wow." And vote for Obama. And guess what? They didn't. They're not. A large percentage of people apparently haven't read or heard the speech, and even many of those who did say, "Well, that's just not enough! Why didn't he condemn that preacher for saying bad things about white people?" And I have my head in my hands, as I say, "Didn't you LISTEN? He explained it SO WELL!!!! He laid it out in crystal clear terms!"

Meanwhile John McCain makes these huge gaffes (I DID hear about these, but only because I listen to NPR, which puts me in the minority), and he has gone from being slightly behind in the polls to being significantly ahead of either Democratic candidate. I used to say at least he was better than Bush, but he utterly lost me when he caved in about the waterboarding. I do not want to believe that Americans as a people are idiots, and I wish they (we) would stop behaving as if they are.

Whew. Thank you.
27th-Mar-2008 12:13 pm (UTC)
Heh heh. Aren't you glad I don't do this in Chatzy?
27th-Mar-2008 03:57 pm (UTC)
Every time I turn on the TV I tend to feel the need to put on a heavy accent and say, "American? me? I have no idea what you mean. I am French!" ...which I think will work nicely until I can vote XP

meeting Alan Johnston and Boris Johnson = awesome. I'm glad you managed to speak :P
28th-Mar-2008 08:55 pm (UTC)
LOL. That's the sad thing, all the Americans I know, whether Republicans or Democrats or neither, are all lovely intelligent and open minded people. I find it hard to believe that so many other people aren't, but all the evidence seems to point that way...

I'm glad I managed to speak too. :)
27th-Mar-2008 07:47 pm (UTC)
*thumps head into desk* Why, WHY can people not grasp the difference between Sunni and Shi'a? WHY?! *sobs in frustration* I asked someone once, just out of interest, and received a look like I'd presented them with an unexplained pink rubber duck wearing a toupee, and possibly a pack of explosives.

Rickrolling actually improves my day. I hearts the Astley.
28th-Mar-2008 08:57 pm (UTC)
The thing is, it wouldn't even disturb me except in a politician applying for a position in which he'll have to make incredibly important decisions that could affect the who world, based on having that knowledge.


Lol, I did enjoy passing on the favour to other people. >-)
27th-Mar-2008 09:41 pm (UTC)
Sometimes I think I may be the only person on the internet who has not yet been Rickrolled. Yay?

Your awards ceremony sounds awesome, and I sympathise with the insanity in the face of fame; I've been known to lose control of my speech functions and jabber on in an increasingly hysterical manner until kind people move me away. One day I'll embarrass myself hugely, I know.
28th-Mar-2008 09:03 pm (UTC)
Quite possibly a yay. I would Rickroll you here, but I can't find any videos which will load quick enough for it to work properly. >.>

The awards ceremony did turn out to be pretty cool; it's nice to know I'm not the only one who does that! I think we all have/will embarrass ourselves hugely in that way at some point. Sad but inevitable.

I've been meaning to say, by the way, how much I love your icon. :) And also to ask - do you have a friend called 'pigrescuer'? She wandered into the chat room of a forum I help moderate and said I was going to Oxford next year with a friend of hers who likes Mistful, I just thought I'd check she'd got the right person. :)
28th-Mar-2008 10:26 am (UTC)
Alan Johnston! He is one of my heroes! That is truly awesome.
28th-Mar-2008 09:04 pm (UTC)
He's one of mine too! It really was. :)
28th-Mar-2008 01:51 pm (UTC)

Nice one!
28th-Mar-2008 09:04 pm (UTC)
29th-Mar-2008 08:46 pm (UTC) - Ah!
So that's who Alan Johnson is! Thank you for sticking that at the end of your post. I knew I recognised the name but couldn't remember why.

Did you know Top Gear cast/Captain Jack slash-fic exists?! :-O

My Mum reckons McCain is gonna win. I dearly hope she's wrong!
Sounds like you have a fun work-place though!

31st-Mar-2008 09:12 pm (UTC) - Re: Ah!

I did not know that. Wow, that's actually a little scary.

Hmm, I'm starting to think McCain is going to win too. Yes, work is pretty good at the moment. :) How's everything going with you?
29th-Mar-2008 08:48 pm (UTC) - Oh!
Do you watch Flight of the Conchords? Also, do you know of any fun YA books to read? I've nearly finished Catcher in the Rye and I don't really feel like reading another adult's book next time... Hmm.
31st-Mar-2008 09:13 pm (UTC) - Re: Oh!
How did you know!? I just had Flight of the Conchords poked at me a few days ago. Hmm, fun YA books, I'm afraid I've got nothing, I've been on an adult lit kick recently. :S Sorry Y.
30th-Mar-2008 10:17 pm (UTC)
Actually, what President Bush said was "The surge has done more than turn the situation in Iraq around – it has opened the door to a major strategic victory in the broader war on terror." He did not declare victory. You can read the entire speech at http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/shared/bsp/hi/pdfs/19_03_08_bush_speech.pdf . Perhaps if BBC reporters would make some attempt at overcoming their clear bias and reporting accurately, they would not then have to pitch little hissy fits.

The Spanky in question is a Marine who had his leg amputated because of a wound received in Iraq, and is back on duty now in Fallujah. In the speech, the President quoted him: "The Iraqis are where we were 232 years ago as a nation. Now they're starting a new nation, and that's one of my big reasons for coming back here. I wanted to tell the people of this country that I'm back to help wherever I can." The BBC reporter in question may feel that the importance of the story is the opportunity to sneer at the slip in grammar and the nickname. I don't.
30th-Mar-2008 11:08 pm (UTC)
Hey Leslie. You're absolutely right and I'm sorry for generalising, he didn't call Iraq a victory. What I meant was that most of us felt that "The surge has done more than turn the situation in Iraq around – it has opened the door to a major strategic victory in the broader war on terror." implied that Iraq had become a victory or a success in some sense and, rightly or wrongly, were skeptical.

I'm not working at the BBC either. :) The reporters I quoted work at the very small regional newspaper I'm at right now. I'm sure BBC reporters have more sense to blab about things like this near trainees who will write it up on their online journals.

It does seem a little cruel to laugh at Spanky Gibson, but I don't think that the reporter was laughing at him - rather at the word 'spanky' coming unexpectedly from Mr Bush's mouth. I certainly didn't mean to laugh at him, but the effect was startling and funny in our little room, where we're used to hearing carefully screened and prepared speeches, calculated to avoid words which could provoke a sense of the ridiculous. The same goes for the grammar - we mock our own politicians mercilessly and even viciously so most try to avoid slips in grammar which could be pounced upon and imitated or commented on to try to make them seem unintelligent. So it's incredibly jarring to hear a politician who seems to have so little regard for that sort of thing. Then again, you could argue that Bush's speeches come across as being a little more honestly felt than those of other politicians because of those things.

Honestly though, I just meant to write a light post about something some of the reporters said that made me smile - I didn't get the impression that what they were laughing at was what they thought was important about the story. I didn't get the impression that any of them were making those comments as the things they found most important about his speech, but more as the things they found the most amusing in his speech. They were just trying to make me and each other laugh, not to report the news.

I apologise if I've offended you Leslie. I certainly didn't mean to offend anybody, and I'll try to cut down on my political ramblings in the future, (or stick them under cuts with warnings at least).
9th-Oct-2008 09:51 am (UTC) - Hello.. Let's get acquainted...
My name is Jessika!
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