Wasting My Time

January 22nd, 2009

I haven’t been posting here much lately, but that’s mainly because I’ve been trying to find a new flat. We’ve been fed up with this place for some time now; annoying house mates, not enough space, while there most probably is something way better out there. So for the past week (actually longer than that already) I’ve been phoning estate agents, scouting out new areas and seeing available flats. It’s all time-consuming, energy-draining and stress-invoking, but I know in the end it will be worth it. 

Lately we’ve been looking around Canada Water. It’s a quiet, almost suburban area, but the transport links are great for us (from there we’d be quicker in Central London, then from where we’re living now) and there’s a big shopping (plus cinema) right next to the tube station. And as a bonus it’s near the water. So we’ve been trying to find something around there.

And last Monday we found something. A spacious yet cheap 1 bedroom flat, only 5 minutes walk from the tube. We straight away made an offer on it, and were already celebrating that evening that we found something great. Only to find out the next morning that the landlady decided to take it off the market. Grumble, grumble, don’t put it on the market then in the first place!

Anyhoo, for the past week all the viewings and appointments all went without any problems. Until yesterday. Yesterday I had 3 viewings and I ended up seeing none of the places. Now I’m not one to rant. I don’t get angry that often, barely never in fact. Something really has to go wrong for me to get angry. But yesterday? Yesterday was one of those days where you end up dealing with the mess of incompetent people and not achieving anything at all.

I had appointments that day with three different agencies. The first one was at 11.00 with Oliver Jaques and I had arranged to meet the agent at the property. Because of problems with the tube I was running a couple of minutes late, but with a lot of running and hurrying I managed to be there on time. And no one was there. It took me a while to figure out what the telephone number was, but once I phoned the agency I was told that “He had tried phoning me half an hour earlier to confirm our appointment, and when I didn’t pick up they assumed I wouldn’t be there and cancelled our appointment”. Ehm, I was in the tube? And I wasn’t told the day before (I had only made the appointment less than 24 hours ago) that they would call to confirm it. What kind of idiocy is this that they just don’t show up? 

Now this same agent was supposed to phone me back later that day to reschedule the viewing to later that afternoon. He never did. I phoned again and was told he’d phone back in half an hour. He never did. So now I still haven’t seen that property, but by now I’m not even sure I want to. This isn’t the way to deal with clients!

Next up was my second appointment. This wasn’t too bad, and not even the fault of the agency, but I still couldn’t see this property either. Apparently the locks of the communal entrance were replaced earlier that week and the agency hadn’t received the new keys for it yet. So there I was standing in front of the building with the agent and we couldn’t get in. What ticked me off though? The person on the 1st floor who was home (we saw him behind the curtain) and refused to open the downstairs door for us. Refused to even listen to what we had to say. Hopefully we’re going to see that property tomorrow, even though the agent still doesn’t have the keys…

Finally we had the third property. This agent was taking over from some other agent who I had phoned the day earlier; the tenant and the property was usually dealt with by this other agent. We arrived at the property, only to hear someone in the shower. After a while, we found out the tenant was still home, angry as hell that for the third time the agency hadn’t cleared it with him when they’d bring viewers by. And he refused to let us in. I completely understand his point of view, I wouldn’t have done it either. But that meant 3 appointments for me all resulting in nil, nada, nothing.

Fingers crossed that tomorrow all goes fine, cause yesterday felt a complete waste of time.

After reviewing last year’s resolutions, I’ve (just like Cristiano) decided to skip the more “usual suspects” of resolutions. Of course, I have to sport more, eat healthier, be more organized, etcetera, but those aren’t the most interesting resolutions I can make. So here are my 2009 resolutions:

1. Finish my degree and get a job

This should be my number 1 priority this year; I’ve been taking way too long in finishing my degree and it’s about time I complete this. While I might be a bit demanding, I want to find a job that I love doing, day in, day out. I don’t want to settle with something that will pay the bills, I want to find a job I am actually passionate about.

2. Get a new apartment

I’ve had it with my housemates and I really want to move some time this year (the sooner, the better). I’d like to get a place on our own, so no sharing anymore, but with the prices here in London I’m not so sure if that would be possible yet.

Salmon On A Bed of Mashed Cannoli Beans

3. Try out and create more recipes

The past year I’ve been slowly learning how to cook from scratch, not using any sauce bags etc. Instead I’m trying out recipes and learning how to use the different ingredients together. I’ve created a couple of dishes I’m already proud of, but I haven’t even scratches the surface yet here. Main Goal: making a perfect Risotto Milanese with Ossobucco.

4. Start my own startup

This might be aiming a bit too high, but I do want to get my idea of a startup going. I at least want to think it out a bit more better, and figure out if it’s possible or not.

Besides these four resolutions, I’ve also got a couple blog related ones:

1. 52 Movies

Cristiano and I discovered we’ve only watched a measly 25% of the Top 250 IMDB Movies, missing a lot of great movies (confession: I still haven’t watched The Shawshank Redemption). So we’ll be watching one movie from that list a week, and I want to write a blog post ever single time. We’re already not having such a good start though; tonight is the last day of the first week, so we have to watch a movie tonight (and I have to blog about it tonight).

2. 52 Themes

Similar to the 52 Movies, I will take 52 photos, every week with a different theme (according to an already predetermined list of themes). I was interested in a Project 365 (taking a photo every single day), but I’m not that much of a photo addict yet to do that. What I do want to make sure of though is that I take every one of these photos with that theme in mind; I don’t want to make “random” photos and then look back thinking “oh, I could use that for the theme this week”. 


3. What I Wore

I’ve been inspired by blogs like Karla’s Closet, the What I Wore tumblr, and Sunny-Side Uptown, who post photos of some of the outfits they wear. While it won’t be every day (I don’t have enough different clothes and I don’t go outside every single day, for that), I want to start doing something similar to that. It will have to wait though until I figure out what the best way to take those type of photos is. I don’t have enough space here in my room, and I don’t trust London enough to leave my DSLR outside on the street alone (even if it’s just for a few seconds).

4. Write more reviews

I’m already writing reviews for movies and books, but not as much as I’d like. I want to try to actually write reviews for every single book I read and every movie I see this year (although repeats on TV won’t count).

What do you think of my resolutions? Anything I’m forgetting?

My 2008 Christmas Pressies

January 3rd, 2009

I’ve been lucky this Christmas; I’ve gotten lots of lovely presents:

Monet Earrings

Loving these earrings, although I did pick them myself. The pair that I got (also pretty) were broken, so I had to take them back to the store. They didn’t have those ones in stock anymore, so I got to choose from their remaining collection.

Monet Earrings

Hanayama NEWS Puzzle

Besides this little puzzle “box”, my brother created a cool treasure hunt to figure out how to open the box. I’ll blog about that some time later this week, cause it’s worth more than just a quick mention.

Hanayama NEWS Puzzle

Chanel Nailpolish

I got this nail polish from my Mum. It looks pretty red on the photo, but in real life it’s actually a colour much more similar to the red on this blog.

Chanel Nailpolish

Lancome Eye Shadow

I’m not used to wearing make-up, but I do want to start slowly into it this year. I got this set from my sister and it’s exactly the type of colours I was looking for. Not too flashy, nice and light, and natural. Now if I only knew how to actually apply it properly…

Lancome Eye Shadow

GPS Keyring

I still have to see if I can get it working with my mobile, but if it does I’ll be able to get my GPS location on my mobile. Great for geocaching!

Bluetooth GPS Keyring


I got these two fantasy books from Cristiano’s parents and sister. Phantom from Terry Goodkind is the tenth book in his Sword of Truth series. Melusine is the debut from new writer Sarah Monette; I’ve heard a lot of good things about it and the plot sounds pretty interesting.

Fantasy Books

I’ve had the idea of a startup (I’ve mentioned it before here) for some time now, so Cristiano gave me this book to take my first step to making it a reality.

Business Plan In A Day Book


One of my plans this year is to do A Movie A Week from the top 250 movies on IMDB, mainly because there were so many films I still hadn’t seen yet. I told my brother this a couple of days before Christmas, so he made sure I at least got two of them.



Two comics! The first one is the second episode of The Ultimates (can’t wait to see the movie next year, and who they will cast for it). The second is an Angel comic, based during the second season of Angel.


Pink Clogs

Cute pink fuzzy clogs! This will definitely keep my feet warm this winter!


Jewelry Bag

This leather jewelry bag will really come in handy. It’s got separate compartments for earrings, rings, necklaces and bracelets.

Jewelry Bag


I got two bags this year (one from my parents and one from Cristiano’s parents), and they actually complement each other great. The first one fits my wallet, camera and notepad (and most probably a netbook too).


The other is much smaller, but perfect for when I only need my wallet and some small items.


Table Hook

This is a cool and handy item: it’s a take-along-with-you table hook, so that you can hang your bag on it at restaurants etc.

Table Hook

Last but not least, I’ve gotten money to get a new laptop! I haven’t decided between a MacBook or a MacBook Pro yet, but I guess I’ll wait until MacWorld first. I am thinking of getting a netbook for travel besides it though; whichever MB I choose I won’t be taking it a lot with me (even the 13″ MacBook I find too heavy).

So care to share with me what your presents were?

Last Year’s Resolutions

January 2nd, 2009

Before I do my New Year’s resolutions post, I thought I’d take a moment to step back and take a look at how I did with my resolutions from last year

1. Work out more, be healthier.

Kind of “check”? I did start running this year, but I can’t really say I kept to a weekly schedule. Food wise though, I do feel as if I started eating better. Let’s put it this way: I worked out more and was healthier in 2008 than I was in 2007. Overall, I still think I could improve a whole lot, but it’s a nice little start.

2. Work more organized and more regularly.

Again kind of “check”. I am much more organized than last year, but there is still room for major improvements on the “more regularly” part.

3. Stress less.

Check! If there’s is one thing I’ve improved in this year, is the amount of stressing I do. I used to get really worked up about all kinds of things, stressing out about stuff in my life that wasn’t going completely to plan (the plan in my neurotic-slightly-overachiever mind that wants to do everything perfect). This year I realized and accepted not everything goes the way you want it to, so there’s no reason to stress out about those things. 

Now where is that alien?

4. Start organizing events.

Check! Since February I’ve been involved with organizing the London Geek Dinners and have created some spin-offs like the London Geek Meet and the London Girl Geek Coffees. I still don’t put as much time into each of those events as I wish I could (haven’t organized a Girl Geek Coffee since June), but I hope I can do more of these events next year.

5. Finish my degree and get a job.

Ehm. Pretty much “Fail”? I’ve made some progress with my research thesis this year, but I still haven’t finished it yet. There have been some serious issues which caused the delay (like my wisdom tooth removal), but it’s no excuse: my main priority of 2009 should be finally getting my degree.

6. Get a “real” camera and learn more about photography.

Check! Since Cristiano got a second DSLR, I’ve been playing more and more with his old one (although I like the lens on the new camera too). One of my resolutions of this year though is to actually process the photos I take and not keep them lying around untouched for ages.

And My Camera

I’ll be writing about this year’s resolutions some time later this week. So how did you guys fair with your resolutions from last year?

Happy New Year!

January 2nd, 2009

Happy New Year, everyone!

One of my New Years resolutions is to upload more photos, and much more quicker after I’ve taken them (instead of a couple of weeks later; I still have photos from half a year ago which I still haven’t processed yet). So to start off this new year right, here are some of the photos of the fireworks yesterday night in Almere:







Tags: Other

It’s already a couple of days after Christmas, but it’s still the Christmas holidays and I wanted to finish my 12 Posts of Christmas (wow, lot’s of Christmas’s in that sentence). Here are my favourite Christmas songs: 

5. Oh Holy Night

This is one of those songs I wished I could sing properly. I still don’t have the right technique to sing it without paining others. Here’s one version from Josh Groban:

[Watch the video on YouTube]

4. Where Are You Christmas?

I love this song, but I never realized how cheesy the clip (unintentionally?) is:

[Watch the video on YouTube]

3. Christmas Is All Around Us

“I feel in in my fingers… I feel it in my toes… Christmas is all around us… And so the feeling grows”. One of the main reasons I love Love Actually:

[Watch the video on YouTube]

2. Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas

This is one of those songs that so many artists redo, most people won’t even know from who the original is.So, for your continuing education: it first appeared in Meet Me In St. Louis starring Judy Garland. Here’s a clip from the movie with her singing it:

[Watch the video on YouTube]

1. White Christmas

I love the Bing Crosby version, but the one from the movie White Christmas with the whole cast singing always brings me that much more into the Christmas spirit:

[Watch the video on YouTube]

Tags: Music

Blog Action Day: Poverty

October 15th, 2008

I wasn’t planning on blogging four times today, but I thought I should join in this global blogger’s effort. Today is Blog Action Day – a day where bloggers unite to discuss, raise awareness and initiate action in one issue: poverty.

I’ve never experienced real poverty and I’m guessing most readers on my blog won’t have either. And it’s so easy to forget just how lucky we are. I already couldn’t imagine a life without my computer, let alone the more vital aspects of life, like food and clothing. And yet there are thousands of people living in these type of circumstances. 

So what can I (and you) do to make a difference? For starters, spread the word. Talk about this Blog Action Day and see how many people you can reach. Secondly, donate. How about lending money on Kiva.org? Kiva is a great way to help entrepreneurs in developing areas raise money for their projects and helping them build and improve their community.  

I also want to mention Skellie’s blog post here. Besides it being a great post with 30 simple things you can do today to battle poverty, she’ll be donating 5 cents to Kiva.org for every visitor today. So head on over to her blog post!

One last thing: if you’re a blogger, have you already blogged about Blog Action Day?

Tags: Other

The Sound of Silence

August 26th, 2008

Sorry, it’s been a bit quiet here lately! I went on a 5-day trip down to Dorset with a couple of friends, but as we were all geeks (we even called our trip Geeks in The Country), I took my laptop with me and thought I’d have time to blog a bit. Instead I’ve spent a great couple of days sightseeing, enjoying the countryside and eating wonderful loads of food. And I was completely tech free: no blogging, no emails, no Twitter. It felt like a real holiday; I haven’t been on holiday now for 2 years and it was great just to get away from all the busyness. 

I’ll be uploading more photos later this week and write a blog post or two about the wonderful things I’ve seen. For now: what do you think of my new wellies?

We Will Rock You

August 17th, 2008

My mother was in town again, visiting with a friend, so last week we went to see We Will Rock You with them. And WOW! As much as Joseph disappointed me, this just amazed me. It’s really a unique experience.

A while ago I discovered that TFL offers special deals for Oyster card holders, like discounts for museums, restaurants and theaters. One of those deals were 2for1 tickets for We Will Rock You, so I was able to get 4 tickets for only £110. And the seats we got were pretty great: we were about halfwayish (row 11 from the 27) in the stalls, on the right hand side, but exactly next to one of the aisles. By the way, I only got the tickets the day before the show, so even if you’re a bit last minute, chances are there are still good seats available.

I didn’t know anything about the musical before going there and to be honest I didn’t have any expectations at all. Not in the sense “ooh, it’s not going to be good”, more of a “oh, a musical with Queen songs in it” and just stopping there with the line of thought. I mean, I never realized that like with the MammaMia! musical they would interweave all the songs into a story (I know, silly me). So that story really came as a surprise to me.

And what a story! Set 300 years in the future, Earth is now called ‘Planet Mall’ and everything is controlled by the Globalsoft Corporation. Everybody wears the same clothes, watches the same movies and listens to the same (cheesy pop) music. Musical instruments are forbidden and rock music is only known as a myth of the past. Teenager Galileo Figaro is a bit of an outcast; he has weird dreams and hears strange words in his head, most of which are lyrics of songs (which he doesn’t know though). 

It seems like a silly plot, but it’s a great setting for all the featured Queen songs. Almost all the main hits appear in some form or another in here (for instance, Don’t Stop Me Now is cut short after a few lines). I never was much of a Queen fan (don’t know why, just never took the time to listen to their songs properly), but this musical has turned me around; I love the songs!

Another thing I didn’t expect was the humour in We Will Rock You. The jokes are mainly clever and silly one-liners, referencing pop culture, but some of them hit the mark perfectly. I can’t recall any exact examples, but at times the audience was completely in stitches.

We Will Rock You is a great, fun musical with songs a lot of people can sing along to (although it was a shame no one actually sang along until the last couple of songs). If you haven’t had the chance to see it yet, I highly recommend it.

Sidenote: a week before the musical I went to Mobile Geeks of London and the pub it was held at shared the same back alley as the back entrance of the Dominion Theatre. I saw most of the cast (without knowing at the time though who was who), but even cooler: Brian May! Anthony and Annie Mole both got some cool blurry photos.

Tags: Musicals

Episode 78: “With these broken wings I’m falling”

This song from Nickelback was mentioned in one of the books I finished this week (Dark-Hunter fans, you know what I’m talking about), but I had never heard of it before (yeah, not that much of a music geek, me). So what does a girl do in that situation? Look it up on YouTube of course! 

I don’t really like the song itself. Perhaps it may have been better, if someone other than Freddy Chad Kroeger was singing it, but with his raspy voice? Nope, didn’t fit for me. What I did like though was the clip: