Tuesday, 29 June 2010


After Moronapalooza on Thursday night/Friday morning, I got a reprieve from the Tweedles for the weekend as they went god knows where. However, sadly we are now back to our regularly scheduled programming in Retardia.

The Tweedles owe me A LOT of money for the household bills, some of which date back to FEBRUARY. I want my money back before Saturday, hence why I am repressing my natural inclination to flay them alive. So I continue to bite my tongue...which will probably be completely severed in half by Thursday. Good times.

Instead of writing anything about running or even remotely health and fitness related now, I’ve decided to follow Jamoosh over the cliff into meme-land.


Q. What is your salad dressing of choice?
A. Oil and vinegar.

Q. What is your favorite fast food restaurant?
A. Taco Bell: bean burrito. Really fires up the colon.

Q. What is your favorite sit-down restaurant?
A. Here, it’s a pub that serves vegetarian and vegan food. In the states, it’s any restaurant where I can get a chicken chimichanga and some hot salsa.

Q. On average, what size tip do you leave at a restaurant?
A. 10% - I love England.

Q. What food could you eat every day for two weeks and not get sick of?
A. Baklava (with walnuts, not pistachios)

Q. What are your pizza toppings of choice?
A. Pepperoni and mushrooms.

Q. What do you like to put on your toast?
A. Butter or margarine.

Q. What is your favorite type of gum?
A. Used to be Bubbalicious then I worried about rotting my teeth out so now it’s one of the various varieties of minty sugar free gum.

Q. Number of contacts in your cell phone?
A. 36.

Q. Number of contacts in your email address book?
A. I’m not counting that crap. Moving on...

Q. What is your wallpaper on your computer?
A. This.

Q. How many televisions are in your house?
A. One and the only reason I’ve watched it at all in the last month is because (a) flatmates Tweedledee and Tweedledipshit had been away and couldn’t hog the sitting room and (b) the World Cup is on.

Q. Are you right-handed or left-handed?
A. Left-handed for writing. Ambidextrous for everything else.

Q. What’s your best feature?
A. Either my blue eyes or my foul mouth. It’s a toss up really.

Q. Have you ever had anything removed from your body?
A. Yup.

Q. Which of your five senses do you think is keenest?
A. It was my eyesight until academia destroyed it, so probably taste or my sixth sense but I can’t tell you about that one or I’ll have to kill you.

Q. When was the last time you had a cavity?
A. About four years ago. My one and only cavity. I hated losing that streak.

Q. What is the heaviest item you lifted last?
A. Boxes of books for the move.

Q. Have you ever been knocked unconscious?
A. No, but I got a few goose egg-sized bumps on my noggin as a youngin. Explains a lot, doesn’t it.

Q. If it were possible, would you want to know the day you were going to die?
A. I think so.

Q. Is love for real?
A. Yes, but I believe most people have an unrealistic sugarcoated concept of it.

Q. If you could change your name, what would you change it to?
A. Squirrel Bait “Pickle” Espinoza.

Q. What color do you think looks best on you?
A. Blue.

Q. Have you ever swallowed a non-food item by mistake?
A. Yes. (Commence peanut gallery comments...)

Q. Have you ever saved someone’s life?
A. No.

Q. Has someone ever saved yours?
A. Not literally, no.

Q. Would you walk naked for a half mile down a public street for $100,000?
A. Yes.

Q. Would you allow one of your little fingers to be cut off for $200,000?
A. Hell no.

Q. Would you never blog again for $50,000?
A. I’d ditch you guys in a New York minute for a fiver.

Q. Would you drink an entire bottle of hot sauce for $1000?
A. Maybe, but I fear the magnitude of the resulting heartburn.

Q. Would you give up watching television for a year for $25,000?
A. That’s pretty much been the last five years for me anyway, so yes.

Q: Missing someone?
A: Everyone. It’s the downside to my self-imposed exile in England.

Q: Mood?
A: Not bad.

Q: Listening to?
A: The tourist buses unleashing the hoards onto Nerdtown.

Q: Watching?
A. Time flying by at an alarming rate.

Q: Worrying about?
A: Everything.

Q: First place you went this morning?
A: Port Meadow for a run.

Q: What can you not wait to do?
A: Finish this goddamn PhD.

Q: What’s the last movie you saw?
A: Valentine’s Day. Don’t judge. I was having a weak moment.

Q: Do you smile often?
A: It would appear so.

Q: Are you a friendly person?
A: Mostly.

Q: Now that the survey's done what are you going to do?
A: Brainstorm where to hide the bodies when I crack before week’s end.

Friday, 25 June 2010

Welcome to Retardia

Today I had intended to write a post about my close encounter with the cows in Port Meadow on Wednesday. However, now there is more pressing news. Jamoosh made a comment once that I wasn’t allowed to move out of my current flat because then there would be no more fun stories of my asshat housemates. Apparently they feel the same because I’m currently a week out from leaving the House That Crazy Built and they seem to want to make sure there’s fireworks to accompany my departure. How generous of them.

Last night, sane housemate Finn and I returned late to our place. It was Finn’s last night in the house as she’s heading back to her homeland for a much deserved holiday before commencing her fellowship in the fall. I did some last minute tinkering on my laptop, she cleaned her room and we were both snoozing in our respective rooms by 11:30 pm.

The harbinger of doom sounded at just before 2 am. The asshat housemates, Tweedledee and Tweedledipshit (who, if you may remember, are a couple), have been gone for the last six weeks in Italy for fieldwork, research and holiday-making. Tweedledee owns a car so they drive instead of fly. They’ve done this trip before. They take their time on the way back and spend money they don’t have on enough booze, gifts and other miscellaneous items to equal the collective possessions of the population of a mid-sized European nation which they then cram into our tiny little house uncaring of the fact that there’s no room for us let alone their copious amounts of crap.

Last year they arrived in the middle of the night and made a racket equivalent to the sound of a million people simultaneously playing vuvuzelas and continuously slamming doors. I woke up, quietly cursed them under my breath and slowly drifted back to sleep an hour later after they were done unloading their cargo from the vehicle.

This year was apparently meant to be much the same. They arrived just before 2 am and were their normal loud selves, heedless of the fact that their two housemates were trying to sleep. I woke up, grumbled and turned over to try to block out their noise. During this time, it occurs to me that they are not alone. They have a guest with them – apparently one of Tweedledipshit’s siblings from the states who met up with them during their journey.

Forty minutes after their arrival, I hear them open the door to Finn’s room which is right next to mine and I realize what’s going on. Tweedledee and Dipshit both sleep in his room while her room is used as storage for the mountainous amount of crap she/they own. Since the landlord stopped by while they were away, I know that her room was in a right state – every available surface was covered in stuff, including almost the entire floor. The landlord was not impressed.

Anyway, this means that Dipshit’s sibling could not sleep there. That leaves the sitting room, but I guess they were bypassing that in the hopes that Finn was away (she only lives in the house part-time) and they could use her room and bed. As you know, Finn was not away. I heard the door shut almost immediately.

Then the most unexpected thing happened. The door to my bedroom was opened. The Tweedles know I’m home because sadly I’m ALWAYS home these days, so this didn’t make any sense. I was also still in limbo-land between being asleep and awake so this really threw me for a loop.

It’s Dipshit and she’s trying to turn on my desk lamp. I beat her to the punch and turn on the lamp on my nightstand. I’m still really groggy at this point and can’t see very well, but I finally understand what Dipshit’s trying to ask me:

“Can my sister sleep on your floor tonight?”

What. The. Fuck. Confused as all hell, I still manage to make my cognizant self proud by immediately barking out “NO!” followed by “She can sleep in the sitting room. I cleaned it last week.”

I hear “I know, I saw you cleaned it” then mumble, mumble, mumble. I have no idea why she is still in my room, so I get up, open my wardrobe and pull out my sleeping bag and snuggie and chuck them at her and say something like “She can sleep on the couch cushions on the sitting room floor” and then immediately collapse into a heap on the bed.

(Yeah, I’m not so good when woken up against my will. There’s a short but very notable list of individuals who have learned this the hard way.)

All I’m aware of at this moment is that the door closes and I’m left alone. Then I hear the door to Finn’s room open AGAIN. Dipshit apparently went to ask Finn if her sister could crash on her floor. I learned later this morning from Finn that although she was aware of the commotion and it disturbed her sleep, she didn’t recall Dipshit asking her anything. So either she gave up after her run-in with me or Finn’s a better sleeper than I am.

Anyhoo, I continue to be in limbo-land when I finally hear the house settle down. I have no idea who is sleeping where but I do know I’m pissed off which leads me to wake up rather than fall back asleep again. I tried for a good hour to sleep, but I just got more and more agitated. Last week had been shitty because Crackhead Neighbor had had two loud parties, one of which lasted until 8 am and involved a drunken brawl. She also had a big fight with her boyfriend that resulted in her screaming at him to get out at 4 am and then her crying like a banshee afterward. I’ve had very little sleep for a prolonged period of time. I thought things were looking up when I got 11 solid hours of sleep on Monday night, but then this happened and I cracked.

With a mixture of frustration, stress, anger and tiredness, I started to cry. Thankfully I only did that for ten minutes before I told myself to woman up. It was now 4 am and there was no way I was going to be able to fall back asleep. So I did the only thing any normal person who's had less than three hours of sleep would do.

I went for a run.

Before I left the house, I checked the sitting room. No one was in there, just a few travel bags. Turns out the sister ended up sleeping on the floor in their room which should have happened from the first anyway. Total. Fucking. Illogical. Wankers.

The run did me good. I hit up Port Meadow and was calmed by the quiet sounds of the world waking up. Geese and ducks quacked softly, bunnies hopped across the path and the horses and cows silently munched their breakfasts.

Most of my anger dissipated and left me with a lot of disbelief and very little understanding. How can you be so inconsiderate as to wake someone in the middle of the night for something so stupid and unreasonable? Finn and I have the smallest rooms in the house. The sitting room, even with the baggage in there, still has more floor space. Their actions made absolutely no sense. Then again, they never do.

These people are the epitome of clueless selfishness. This is just another glaring instance of it from them in the past two years that I’ve endured living with them.

One more week and I have freedom. I just hope I can last that long.

Have a wonderful and hopefully fucktard-free weekend, everyone.

Later gators.

Wednesday, 23 June 2010

Getting into the spirit

Just a quickie for today (that's what he said). I'll leave the tale of this morning's bovine blockade of one of Port Meadow's gates and my subsequent ultra awesome stealth tactics to extricate myself from the situation until next time. Instead, I leave you with my FB status for the day:

"My fellow Americans--think good goal-scoring thoughts for our boys in blue in South Africa today and make sure to mock the English whilst they continue their national legacy of choking under pressure.
GO Team USA!"

If only I had a vuvuzela. Ok, maybe not...

Tuesday, 22 June 2010

March to the beat of your own drummer

A few times when I’ve left the department around 7 pm (late for some days, early for others), I’ve seen one particular runner. He’s in his mid to late 20s, has shoulder length brown hair and a lean runner’s body. He looks like an effortlessly fast runner.

However, when I first saw him, I didn’t think my usual first thought when I see a runner which is “God, I should/need/WANT to be running right now.” Instead, when I saw him, I thought “What the hell?!”

You see, this guy has a running tick of sorts. Like how Paula Radcliffe has a head bop when she runs. Except this guy doesn’t do the head nod. Instead, his arms swing like he’s playing the drums. It’s not a subtle movement either.

At first I thought maybe he was rocking out to some tunes, but in all the times I’ve seen him he hasn’t been wearing earphones. Maybe he’s just drumming to music in his head. If so, it appears his head music is on repeat, because his arms keep jamming away on that invisible drum in the same steady rhythm.

Now when I see him, I think “I want to go for a run”. Oh, and I also think of this:


Now back to me
I’ve done jack all for a week. Last week I did manage to hit the pool once and I went punting on Sunday, but other than that it’s been balls to the wall on my dissertation.

My eating habits have taken a turn for the worse as well. I had been begging a friend for five months to make his famous cinnamon rolls. He finally did this past weekend. I’m pretty sure I consumed an entire pan of them on my own. When I walked by my bathroom scale this morning, I believe I heard it groan. Never a good sign.

I need a plan of some sort—one that won’t interfere too much with my shit work schedule but still allows me to retain an iota of sanity and to prevent myself from outgrowing my fat pants. Preferably a plan that includes some kind of strength training considering how sore my arms were the day after punting. That’s just pathetic.

I will be brainstorming tonight as I pack my books into boxes the local liquor store is putting aside for me. (Irony, I has it.) If you have any suggestions, let loose in the comments. I will take them under advisement.

Hope you’re all doing well.

Later gators.

Monday, 14 June 2010


World Cup mania is here and I’ve been caught up in the chaos much to my surprise. I’m not really a sports person, but it’s impossible to ignore the World Cup in this country. English flags are plastered EVERYWHERE – cars, windows, faces, tattooed on people’s no-nos, etc.

Saturday afternoon, Greece got their asses handed to them by South Korea (score was 0-2) and that night England played America. The game ended in a tie. I’ll have you know I told the home team to f*ck off and rooted for my birth country. (No, I wasn’t spawned in the depths of Hell. I know, shocker.)

I feel bad for the US soccer team since this is the most watched sporting event in the world, yet most Americans probably don’t even know it exists. Our team’s not too bad either. Well, except for Saturday night. They had absolutely no offense to speak of and their only goal was the result of England’s very Green goalie cocking up.

Did you catch that pun? Funny, huh. *crickets*

My awesomeness is wasted on you guys.

Oh yeah, this is a running blog
Last week blew big chunks. My hysteria over my approaching major deadline (submitting my dissertation in 5 1/2 months = AHHHHHHHHHHHH!) has made my schedule sucktastic. I’ve been stress eating, chucked exercise at the first opportunity and have been glued to my laptop like white on rice. Healthy, no?

This weekend I attempted to turn things around. Since I’m moving in three weeks, I thought I should make an effort to eat the crap I have in my cupboard and therefore buy as little as possible from the store. Working with what I have, this week I’ll be making shakshuka, homemade ‘kitchen sink’ soup (i.e. if it won’t make it rancid, it gets thrown in) and my own patented lazy-person’s meal of tuna, couscous and sauteed courgette zucchini. Weirdish, I know, but it doesn’t taste half bad.

I also finally got back to running this weekend. Both days even. Score! I ran my out and back route in Port Meadow and, both days, was surrounded by the grazing aminals (unintentional but it stays). Sunday was even better since there were numerous baby horses and cows amongst the herd and they all decided to congregate along the path on which I was running. Too cute.

There’s been a common factor amongst my post-marathon runs (all three of them – yes, I am that bad ass) -- I haven’t worn my watch. I have no idea what pace I’m running at and that’s for the best. I have enough to obsess and fret about right now and I don’t want running to be added to that, so I’ll be running without a timing device for the foreseeable future. I’m not training for anything anyway, so it’s all good. I’ll just be a zen runner for a while.

Me being zen? Huh. This will be interesting.

Okay, that’s it for me. Later gators.

Monday, 7 June 2010

She giveth and she taketh away

Alas, there was no running this weekend. However, I did cycle to Blenheim and back on Saturday and spectated at the Blenheim triathlon. I racked up 20 miles on Aeolus that day and an additional six on Sunday. My ass and right hip now hate me.

Saturday night I attended a friend’s leaving do. The night slid right into hysterical insanity when the booze was flowing and someone broke out SingStar. I ended up singing karaoke with four gay men. Awesome doesn’t even cover it. For the record, I only won once but that’s because (a) I’m beyond tone deaf, and (b) I couldn’t stop laughing. Thankfully I’m not a sore loser. Well, not much anyway.

Speaking of losers, let’s see who didn’t win the phallic bottle openers.

Minus the multiple postings (way to be trigger happy with the submit button, Ian) and those who explicitly stated they did not wish to enter the contest, there ended up being 18 entrants.

I plugged the details into Random.org and it spit out two winning numbers.

#7 is Lily and #4 is Viper. Email me your addresses at ukxenia at gmail dot com and I’ll get those openers out to you later this week.

Well, maybe not.

Since I’m an evil wench, I need to make this difficult for Viper. If Jamoosh had not withdrawn his entry, he would have been entrant #4 and since Viper has won something from my blog before, I’m giving Jamoosh the chance to steal his prize. If Jamoosh declines, the prize goes back to the leader of the Booze Hounds. Jamoosh, please make him sweat this one out for a while.

However this does not affect Lily’s win at all, because then the recipient would end up being Ian and that wouldn’t be right since he’s a dirty banker who probably uses people’s retirement funds as toilet paper.

Ian, how much do you hate me right now? :)

My condolences to the rest of you for being losers, particularly EZEthan since I’m not sure how much longer his penis will last. Wait, what?

Have a great week, everyone.

Later gators.

Friday, 4 June 2010

You want one?

This has nothing to do with anything. I just like it.

Wednesday was a success. I finally got back to running and I did 4 miles instead of my intended 3. With the exception of a slight ache in my upper left thigh, all was well. The weather was gorgeous and half of Nerdtown was out enjoying the beautiful evening in Port Meadow. I can only hope this is a sign of the summer to come as opposed to being another aberration.

Of course I proceeded to follow that up with jack-all yesterday and a gigantic gutterball this morning. Tonight I’m headed to a garden play so that’s another kibosh on running this evening. However, we’re supposed to be having some excellent weather here this weekend, so I’ll get out and about then.

Other than that, things are the same in my world: I continue to peel at an alarming rate (thank you, scorching Scottish sun), my dissertation is still driving me demented and I received a visit from the cops last night concerning my unstable crackhead neighbor. I feel bad for her, but I’m really looking forward to moving soon. Like, a lot.

Come and get it
My search for funny bottle openers in Scotland kinda failed. So, I’m left with phallic Big Ben. (heh)

Fortunately I purchased three of them – one for me and two for a couple of lucky Diggin’ It readers.

So, here’s what you have to do to enter to win:

Leave a comment on this post.

That’s it.

Would I like it if you became a follower too or talked about this on your blogs? Sure, but that’s not going to give you an additional entry into the contest. That would just make more work for me and I feel I’m already doing more than enough by offering to send kitschy English crap across the Atlantic.

So, one entry per person. If you leave more than one comment, you’re still only getting one entry so don’t bother. Entry closes as of 5 pm EST on Sunday, 6 June 2010. Winners will be chosen randomly via Random.org or drawing the names out of a hat. I’ll announce the results on Monday.

On a slightly related note, I saw this little gem on FB and though I'm not a drinker, I thought it might be helpful to you all when you've got a bottle of vino but no corkscrew to hand. All you need apparently is a shoe. The video is in French, but you don't have to understand what he's saying. Just watch.

Okay, greedy bastards, hop to and leave your comment. Have a great weekend.

Later gators.

Wednesday, 2 June 2010

Seven Deadly Sins of Post-Marathon Recovery

Gluttony – Food, glorious food. Get in mah bellay!
Sloth – Exercise, schmexercise. Besides, the couch is super comfy right now.
Pride – I ran another marathon. Bow down, bitches!
Greed – I don’t have enough race medals.
Envy – I should have had so-and-so’s finishing time. Bitch stole my running mojo.
Wrath – Scale, you did NOT just show me that number!! %*&#...

It’s been ten days since Edinburgh and I haven’t run a step. Hell, I’ve done absolutely sod all on the fitness front. However that will change this evening. I’m planning to go out for a three miler sans watch. I don’t need to know how slow I’ve gotten with my prolonged inactivity and unsurprising weight gain. Also today is National Running Day. Appropriate timing, me thinks.

My other source of motivation to get back to running this month is that I’m moving to the other side of town at the beginning of July which means no more regular jaunts in Port Meadow with my animal friends. Venturing there will now be limited to runs of 10-12 miles which, lets be honest, will not happen often since I’m not training for anything any time soon. But my relocation will provide me with other scenic locales in which to run...though maybe not so much at night. My new neighborhood is a bit rougher than the one I currently live in, but that’s the sacrifice I had to make to score an affordable studio flat. At least I’ll be closer to a larger grocery store which means less travel time with heavy bags and lower prices. See, there’s always a bright side.

Hope your week is going well. Catch up with you guys when I can.

Later gators.