Sunday, January 31, 2010

'Lets be friends, redux'

What a weekend. Not seriously, what a weekend. Why can't ever weekend be like that? I mean I'd be dead in months but my corpse would be smiling.

It started quite late, I got a haircut (good haircut, annoying hairdresser) chucked some clothes into my beautiful luggage and put on some very smart shoes. I was going to wear my waistcoat but I discovered that it doesn't fit anymore. I've put on too much chest muscle and now I can't put on my favourite item of clothing anymore. This caused quite a bit of swearing.

After a frantic last minute wardrobe re-think I stomped down to the train (in new shoes) with 30 seconds to spare. Some time later I arrived in London, met up with Ben and then jumped onto the tube.

Lycra was on good form and we had a very pleasant meal while drinking too much plum wine. There was laughter, truth and a some interesting statements. Lycra has a chap at the moment who is clearly messing her around and I suspect, married. More on this later. Anyway it was a nice meal, and then we joined some chums at the bar.

Lycra stayed only for one drink but had time to meet Pencil Skirt. Yes, the two objects of my unrequited love met briefly.

In the bar was Piqued, his lady friend and even Ra-ra appeared. It was marvellous. A bar full of my favourite people. London is so marvellous. We talked, laughed, said things we shouldn't have an basically had a grand old time.

I've come to accept that things with Pencil skirt are never going to be anything but friends and so I relaxed into the evening of laughter. She was impressed by my new shape though, as was Ra-ra, and suddenly all those hours in the gym seemed worth while.

Some people left, others arrived and I before I realised what was going on it was 2am and the bar was kicking us out. Oh, and one other thing. Pencil skirt and I kissed. I'm not sure how it happend, but it definitely happened and I'm still in shock.

What is going on? Are we know friends who kiss?

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Dialogue from the office

Here is some dialogue from lunch time. One of the chaps from marketing had just waltzed past.

M (Best chum at work) - 'What do you think of GB?'

L - 'I can't stand him. He is a heady combination of smug and useless'

M - 'I hate him more'

L - 'Would you pee on him if he was on fire?'

M - 'No'

L - 'What about in the eyes? That probably wouldn't put the fire out'

M - 'Yes, I'd pee in his eyes if he was on fire'

L - 'You've got a meeting with him later haven't you?'

M - 'Yes'

L - 'Better drink some more water'

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Hurrah for pay day

I have money! For a few brief seconds I am a man of means! Rejoice! Buy coats I don't need! Invest in champagne! Live!

And then blow most of it on council tax, rent and various other bills.

This weekend I'm faced with a choice. I could either spend a normal weekend, working away doing quiet things in a way to try not to spend too much cash. Or I could go down to London, have some misadventures with Ben and probably spend far too much cash so I have to live off cold rocks for the next 30 days.

After much umming and aaahing I decided that I NEED to go out and see people and so well, after getting a much needed haircut I'm going to go to London to have lunch with Lycra, see a film with Pencil skirt and go on no less than TWO dates.

I'm sure cold rocks are pretty tasty provided you've got some nice sauce to go with them. Note to self, buy tasty sauce before money runs out.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Late night calls to pencil skirts

I stayed up very late last night. Pencil skirt had sent me a book and after I'd finished it we discussed it on the telephone. I don't talk on the telephone for long usually, on my bills I typically use about four or five minutes a month and that is it. I spoke to Pencil skirt for two hours about the book, films and relationships.

She is so spellbindingly engaging. It's slightly infuriating that any date I go on will be measured against her and all of them so far have been found wanting. I know it's not healthy to moon after someone you can't have, but it would be a lot easier to cease mooning if we didn't get on so well.

I think part of the attraction is that she is London in female form, endlessly interesting, complicated and currently completely beyond my reach.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Moods in the gym

My moods are all over the place at the moment. Some days I'm feeling like a character from The Road, barely scraping an existence with no real hope of reprieve. Other days, the situation is entirely the same but I don't seem to mind so much.

I mean, somethings about the current situation are good. I like the people I work with, and the cottage. Other things are less nice, no real way to progress at work, the work isn't that engaging at the moment and my social life is almost non-existent. I do the occasional thing, but nothing on the scale of my previous London adventures. I miss evenings in a pub, bizarre art shows and long afternoons in the best wine merchant in London.

I miss my friends, I know they are technically a train journey away but it's quite an awkward (as in the linking trains are awful and infrequent) and expensive train journey. I have to say that when I move back to London (and I will) I will NEVER complain about having to cross London on the tube to see someone. NEVER*

I managed to go to the gym again today, this was a challenge because I have done something awful to my foot. I think I did it while running down a hill towards the pub after the hike. Anyway, it was a sort of easy gym trip, at least to begin with the spazzy foot meant I couldn't do any running, or cycling or anything like that. Instead I did weights, and played around with the machines. This resulted in me setting myself two new challenges.

1) I want to be able to bench press the weight of a co-worker.
2) I also want to be able to do 20 pull-ups.

The second one is going to be challenging, I've lost a bit of weight since going to the gym but I've also put on a lot in muscle so I'll be pulling up a fair old lump. Still I didn't think I'd manage the 700 calories in 20 minutes and I can do that with relative ease now. So there is hope.

God I'm boring these days.

*For at least the first few months.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Hike 1 - Louche 0

That was quite a walk, 8 miles in the mud. It was like the Somme at some points. Even the dog was knackered afterwards. It took a couple of hours, and by the end of it was broken. I was so tired I just wanted to lie down by the side of the road and die.

It was brilliant, I'm going to do it again next weekend. Nothing like a bit of wholesome exhaustion to cheer a chap up. Plus this gives me something to do at the weekend to keep fit in a different way.

The pub quiz was good too, or at least so bad it was good. The questions were mental, and some of them were trick questions. The git. Still you can't beat a good pub quiz. I love the mixture of blank expressions and whispering as people try and work out the answers. The questions were a bit mental though, who knows the last four arch-bishops of Canterbury before the current one? Mental.

Talking of mental, while on the pub quiz Chuck sent me a text. It just said 'I saw you today'. What is up with her?

Walking through the weekend

This is a shocking weekend, it's shocking because I'm doing TWO things at the weekend. Neither of which involve going to London. I know, it's amazing, boggling even.

In a moment I'm going to go on a long walk, almost a hike I've been told. With a chum and his dog. It's going to take a couple of hours and I'm really looking forward to it. I like walking.

The second event is that I'm going to go to a pub quiz this evening in a local pub. It's amazing! Especially after last weekend where I managed to go the entire weekend without uttering a word. That troubles me.

On more positive notes I've finished the second draft of the children's book. The first few chapters were a struggle but by the end I was really enjoying it. I'm currently sticking post-it notes all over my wall with things I need to clean up.

When I'm being slack about writing I look at pictures of London to inspire me, or at least I tried that this weekend and it really worked.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Brown rice

Brown rice isn't very inspirational is it? Perhaps it will grow on me but I struggle to imagine a time when I think 'oh larks, I can't wait to get home and have a steaming bowl of brown rice'.

Maybe it will come, I couldn't have previously imagined a world where I not only went to the gym every day but one where I was in line for member of the month. It's basically an award for turning up a lot but I'm in the lead so that's something. For someone who previously thought getting out of breath was a bit vulgar I'm turning into an unlikely gym bunny.

So plans for tonight? Well I shall cook some brown rice for lunch tomorrow. Try and do a bit of writing and then go to bed early with some Japanese homework. Not such a terrible evening, but it's the format of every evening of 2010 so far. Perhaps I'm just getting all the dull stuff out of the way so I can begin a life of wonder and joy for the rest of the year.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Hurrah for words

I'm re-writing the children's book at the moment, it's hard going (which is why I keep finding time to work on my C.V. and learn Japanese) but I just had a massive breakthrough. I just enjoyed doing a chapter. That's the first time that's happened as before it's been a huge slog ever step of the way.

If this keeps up I may even get dangerously close to enjoying the experience.

Monday, January 18, 2010

In which Louche talks about January

January is the worst month. It's cold, everyone is poor and summer seems like a fictional place that someone invented just to torture you. It seems like an age since I shared a cocktail with someone fabulous, even though it's only been about a month.

Today was my first date without bread. I've been eating sandwiches for a while at work, mostly because the food in the canteen is so dire. And since I've been going to the gym and working out so hard I've needed more and more sandwiches to fill me up.

It was getting silly how much bread I was eating and so now I've cut it out of my diet. I'm only on day two of bread free land and it's mostly okay. The most difficult part was when my salad leaked all over my bag. Sandwiches don't do that. My manbag smells funny now.

The gym is rammed at the moment, perhaps it took people a while to dig out their p.e. kits and find their gym shoes to join the new years resolution rush but today there were more people than machines. I'm going to have to start going earlier to beat the rush. It's not that I don't like people, it's just the gym is my quiet time away from that all. It's time to think, or not think, or at least work myself to exhaustion so I can sleep at night without fretting about pointless things.

Yes I am writing this instead of updating my c.v. BAD LOUCHE.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Being a grown-up

My life is a lot more grown up these days, and I'm not entirely sure I approve. It's not like I've got kids, or any real responsibilities, it's just things are a bit more dull. I used to have a rule about not seeing girls at weekends, or that a week was wasted unless I got wasted at least twice.

Last time I went to a nightclub I even paid to get in, I didn't do that for the entire time I lived in London. The closest thing to a steamy affair is with my gym and I've even started eating brown rice. Yes brown rice. I used to only eat fruit if it was part of a cocktail.

What has happened to me? Where did it go wrong? I mean apart from moving out of London. This job may have been good for my career but it's been dire for my social life.

*Pause in writing while frantically updating C.V.*

Updating a c.v is terribly dull isn't it? I mean, even when you've got loads of good stuff to put on it, it is still very boring. The last three months have just been a bit of a training montage, and not a lot else.

Strip Poker?

The following is an actual conversation had recently between me and a girl. The rest of the date was a disaster but this brief dialogue amused me.

Girl - "Hey, do you want to play strip poker?"

Louche - "Erm, okay, but I don't think I have any cards."

Girl - "Do you have any other games?"

Louche - "Not really. How about scissors-paper-stone?"

*brief pause*

Girl - "Okay, after three..."

This story didn't end how you would expect, but that's something for another time.

(500) Days of Summer, a rather belated review


The first time I watched 500 Days of Summer I hated it. I think I hated for a few reasons. I didn't have the ending I expected, or sort of wanted but didn't want at the same time.

I also hated it because Zooey Deschanel plays a less than pleasant character, this made me sad because it caused me to interrupt my usual flow of gazing at her while simpering.

Anyway, I watched the film, was angry for reasons I couldn't really explain and then didn't think much more about it for a few days. Then I thought about it a bit more, and more, until I watched it again and then I loved it.

It's not the usual sort of rom-com, that's sort of missing the point. What it really is, is an excellent film about dating awkward women. The sort of pretty woman that is like being in a cage with a wild animal who is fun for a brief time, and utterly consumes you until tossing you aside a slightly broken person.

I've not seen a lot of films about girls like that so it was refreshing to see. It was nice to see someone else making all the same mistakes and ignoring all the same signals. I think that's why 500 days of summer is now one of my favourite films, not one of those films you watch constantly, or talk about to impress people but something that someone just ticks a box in a way you can't quite place.

I really like it.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Memoirs of a mental.

Okay, so you have date with someone a few months ago. It doesn't go great for a range of reasons. She spends most of the time talking about her ex and how he never spent enough money on her and how he made her pay for half their meals together. Yes I know, the bastard. How dare he try that?

She also has that special property, she radiates mad. The sort of thing that just sets off all those animal instincts that tell you to get away fast. So I didn't think much more on it, I never thought I'd see her again after that date. That is until she sent me an email asking me to ghost write her memoirs.

I should point at no point did I say 'I've got loads of free time and I'm looking for a incredibly tricky but ultimately futile project to get my teeth into'. She sent me, what was about a four page email detailing her life, and why she thinks it would make a story that someone would ever want to read.

I'm not sure which date is the 'write my life story' one but I'm pretty sure I've never got to it. How do I attact these women?

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Forcing words in my head

I've been getting my learn on recently, and I think my new attitude to learning is gym inspired. The thing is, when you first go to the gym it's a bit awful. You will discover that really you aren't that fit. The next day you will feel terrible, massively sore and it's hard to work out why you would even consider going again.

Add to this the fact that you won't notice any difference in your body for a while and it's easy to understand why people give up after a bit. The thing is, one you get through that it starts to get really fun. All the modern machines give you numbers to compare yourself with so you can see yourself making progress and so it's rewarding. I enjoy this.

It's spilled over to other things, while learning Japanese I've been forcing myself to study every night and I've had to learn a whole load of symbols for the alphabets. The first one is pretty sorted now, and I'm working on my second alphabet. It's hard, after having learned all the noises and shapes I have to learn a new set off them. Still if I can get this nailed I'm most of the way there.

Work is hard at the moment, we are under huge pressure to do lots of things with no end in sight. If I didn't have the furious learning of Japanese to destract me I think I'd go a bit mad.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Bad dates

I had an awkward date this weekend. It was a second date with someone via work. It happened because the person at work was hassling me to go out with her again, and I gave in. I really should learn not to give in to stuff like that.

What followed was far, far too much polite conversation and mental counting down hours. There just isn't any spark, so it was a fight to keep the conversation going. I'm not saying that I'm insisting on love at first sight, but you should be able to at least spend time with the person without strugging for topics of conversation.

This date went on for far too long, I got drunk, so drunk that drinking some chilli oil in the restaurant seemed like a good idea. We ended up back at the cottage and she stayed the night. Nothing *really* rude happened, but enough to make me feel a bit wrong in the morning. For some reason she kept bringing up the subject of long term relationships (Top Tip: Don't do this when in bed with someone for the first time) or various insecurities (Top Tip: Women, you are all beautiful, men want to see you naked, don't ask them turn the light off, draw the curtains, and then close their eyes) or just weird stuff (Top Tip: The tip here was too rude to publish).

It was just uncomfortable and what makes it worse is I'm going to have to deal with work people asking about it, the ones who set us up. Oh dear. Still I must be resolute, I'm not going on another date with her, nope. Not at all. Please?

Tuesday, January 05, 2010


It's snowy here. Not end of the world snow, but a light dusting. I was quite hoping for joke snow but this is far too managable for my liking. It's also been bloody cold which has caused me to discover that I've messed up the circulation in my left foot a bit by crashing. It's a bit annoying, it's not completely broken, it just get's colder easier. Oh bum.

I've returned to the gym and my first visit was really unpleasant. My strength hasn't taken that much of a knock over the Christmas period but my stamina has been destroyed. I'm working on getting it back though and the second visit was far more pleasant than the first. The gym is very busy too as lots of people have New Year resolutions to work on.

My resolutions are rattling away, well at least one of them is. I'm re-learning Japanese. My oral skills are coming along okay, although I'm sure my pronounciation is a bit rough but my reading skills are being harder. Last night I just couldn't get the alphabet to go in my head. I stuck at it and about three hours later I was at about 40% comprehension (I've got an Iphone app that tests me). I suppose the main difference is I didn't give up, for which I'm slightly surprised at myself.

Not a lot else to report really. I don't do that much in the evenings. I've got a date lined up for the weekend, a second one with someone who is 'okay' rather than fabulous. I think I agreed to it because she is fairly local more than anything else, and no it's not the racist.

Other dates are in early planning stages but all of them are in London. I'm trying to work out a system where I can go down and a load of them in one go. Not at the same time of course, but you know, sort of have a long weekend of interviews, *ahem* I mean dates.

Friday, January 01, 2010

NYE with cider

New Year's Eve was surprisingly boozy. I was in the rural part of the country with the family so we had a large meal and then wobbled up to the local pub.

The local pub is, well terribly local. Some of the people I vaguely recognised from school. They were younger than me, and I suppose still are but they were herding children around. That was alarming.

There wasn't much else to do but drink, so I got very drunk. It seemed rude not to with pints so cheap. The clock raced around to midnight and everyone poured outside to sing the first verse of that song before mumbling the rest of the way through it. I was feeling a little bit blurry but not too bad. We scampered back home through frosty lanes and I got increasingly drunk.

For some reason this seemed like an excellent time to give my brother some useful life advice. So the rest of the walk was spent with me saying things like 'never offer to buy a girl a drink as an opener' and 'With very few exceptions you can always walk home from an awful party if nothing else'. He wasn't drunk and took this in good grace. The full moon lit the way home so it was a very pleasant walk.

By the time we arrived home I was ruinously drunk and stumbled into bed. I woke up a few times, feeling more drunk each time until about 7am when I just felt weird. Still that's NYE out of the way, now I have a month of purity and self enforced improving to look forward too.

Anything will be better than this bloody hangover that is still haunting me. I'm never drinking cider again.