gamiila: (Mitchell)
No post for ages, then three come at once (or follow shortly upon one another)!

Casting about for a job to go on the 'list of successes', this morning I hit upon the idea of giving the kitchen a good clean. So I got on my new stepladder, and began by scrubbing the tops of the upper cabinets. I am not a housewife, and when it comes to household chores, my usual philosophy to doing them can be described as "out of sight is out of mind"; so after I raised my eyebrows, I grit my teeth, and set to. I finished the cabinets, mopped the floor, scrubbed the splashback tiles, cleaned the work surfaces, scrubbed the cooker, cleaned the microwave...I'm on a roll!

I also plan to clean and wax the parquet flooring - I can't remember when I last performed that task, it must be some years. It's such a hassle, as it involves clearing the rooms of all their furniture, leaving it piled up in the bedroom while waiting for the treated floors to dry. I used to do it once a year until someone told me I was a fool and to wait till one could actually see and appreciate the difference. I think one might, now.

I'm meeting Mum to go see a film. I was hoping we could go see The Dark Knight Rises, but Mum wasn't keen and so we've decided on The Intouchables instead. Apparently, it's won a bunch of Césars -- which hopefully translates to an eminently watchable film.
gamiila: (I just want to be OK today)
I received a phone call from Verizon a minute ago. Despite the very 'positive overall impression' I had made in my interview, they had decided they weren't comfortable with the fact that I had no previous experience in Sales and so, wouldn't be taking the process any further. I was sorry to hear it, as over the last few days I had allowed myself to dream that my search was almost at an end. Also, the company seemed like one I would enjoy working at...international, technologically innovative, dynamic...

On Sunday, I went to see The Avengers in 3D. It was a spur of the moment thing, and therefore not the kind of film I would have queued up for if I'd given the matter any thought, but I enjoyed it greatly - despite the fact that I've never read any Marvel comics and (apart from the Hulk, who I knew from the 70s TV-series) have no idea of any of these characters' back stories. Robert Downey Jr. starred in it though, and that was enough to keep me happy. Joss Whedon's name popped up in the end credits as the director and gave me a little jolt of recognition and surprise, but the person I went to see the movie with isn't familiar with the Buffyverse and so I didn't comment on it. I understand some people on my flist are looking forward to seeing it and so I won't spoil them with any thoughts on plot or character development, but will only say that it is marvellous good fun (the audience erupted in gales of laughter at several points) and well worth the price of admission.
gamiila: (winter)
On my way to the cinema yesterday, coming upon a scene of people enjoying their Saturday out on the ice, I stopped to take a few pictures.



afternoon on the Hofvijver )

The film we went to see was The Iron Lady, and it was remarkable how creditable an impression of Baroness Thatcher Meryl Streep gave, though the story told in the film was pure conjecture. It hadn't read about the film and it was Mum who wanted to see it, and I was somewhat surprised at how much I enjoyed it, and especially Jim Broadbent's humourful role as Denis. I was also quite pleased to see Anthony Head play Geoffrey Howe, though he is of course far too handsome.
gamiila: (a good read)
I agree that the changes to LJ that have upset half my flist, i.e. the disappearance of the subject line and the Userpics drop-down menu on Comments, have not made things easier for communities or individual users with basic, S1 style accounts. As a paid, S2 style user, I'm not directly affected; but I do think it's shameful how LJ has gone about implementing these changes and has so far failed to respond to the uproar it's created. But my biggest bug bear is the sudden increase in the amount of spam I seem to be receiving lately, all of it Russian, requiring me to go back to entries posted as far back as 2004 and delete these 'comments' from my journal. It wouldn't be so bad if, in the process of cleaning up, I could stop reading these old entries and losing valuable time that I would do better to spend job hunting.

Not that I'll have time to devote myself to that endeavour today, either; as I've arranged to meet a friend in town later on, and go see L'Artiste/The Artist at the art house cinema. I expect this will be the last new release I'll watch in the cinema this year, bringing my total up to 7 (after The King's Speech, Sonny Boy, Black Butterflies, Beginners, Jane Eyre, and Puss in Boots), which considering most years I don't get to see more than 1 or 2 is quite a lot for me. OTOH, it's been a very bad year for gigs, as I've only been to 1 (Mark Knopfler & Bob Dylan), in October.

And I'm behind my pace on my reading this year, too, or so Shelfari informs me every time I log in. Whereas last year, I read over 50 books; in 2011, I didn't manage more than 46.

My year in books )

Again, history and historical fiction made up the bulk of my reading. I can't help it, it's my favourite genre. Sometimes, it works, and works brilliantly (Bernard Cornwell, Glyn Iliffe), and sometimes, it doesn't (Stephanie Dray, Douglas Jackson). A few bargain basement books have been outright disappointments, while others have been real finds; and as for the classics...well, re: Lady Chatterley's Lover, I can't see what all the fuss was about; it's one of the most boring books I've ever had the misfortune to read. Three: Stalking Richard and Judy, Mini Shopaholic, and Good Omens, have been laugh-out-loud; but only one, Egyptian Dawn, has been put-away-in-disgust. The blurb was misleading, stating it dealt with the problem of dating the earliest dynasties (a genuine egyptological subject I have a particular interest in)...in reality, it was another crackpot theorist trying to persuade his readers to believe in Atlanteans and possibly, aliens, as the progenitors of the ancient Egyptian race. It never ceases to amaze me how many people are willing to credit that our ancestors were cretins who couldn't count to ten, let alone work out how to build a pyramid; and then write a book about it.
gamiila: (technical issues)
On the advice of some of my friends, I'd been using an external keyboard since having broken several keycaps on my laptop. Although it did the trick, it wasn't an ideal situation, and I was seriously contemplating sending the laptop off for repair when, in my search for a reputable repair service online, the notion to make it a DIY-job took hold of me. After all, why pay p&p, insurance, material and labour costs and be without my laptop for a minimum of 3, possibly 4 days when one can just have the part sent and be done in 5 minutes? I mean, it was just a keyboard replacement job; how hard could it be?

So I sent off an e-mail to this computer repair webshop, asking exactly that question. And received a reply saying, basically, a child could do it. Take a small blade, feel along the top of the keyboard for the clips holding it in place, wriggle it loose, carefully take it out, and then slot in the new keyboard. Easy peasy. I didn't need to be told twice. I ordered the keyboard, and it arrived yesterday. This morning, I replaced it. It was almost exactly as the technician had said in his e-mail, only he'd forgotten to mention what to do with the cable belt; but there was really only one option if you thought about it and...as you can judge from the fact that I can still post a message to LJ, the operation was a complete success! I am now officially a keyboard repairing genius!

I also received the news yesterday that they will be delivering the chair I bought 10 weeks ago some time between 3 and 5pm today. I do hope they'll stick to that exact time frame as I will need to be in Utrecht by 7pm.

Last night, my niece and I went to the cinema to see Puss in Boots. Pure escapism, but a jolly good film to end the cinematic year with.

Also, I've left it a bit late and with money being kind of tight at the moment, I'm half decided not to send any Christmas cards this year. Please don't think badly of me -- I may not send seasonal greetings, but I will be thinking of each and every one of you and wishing you the very best in 2012!
gamiila: (boys)
Just back from the flics where I saw Jane Eyre, a new atmospheric adaptation easily worth going to see for the visuals alone. Wouldn't have thought this old stalwart of literature could stand another retelling and still be interesting, but I was wrong. Brilliant, brilliant acting of thesps Wasikowska & Fassbender, with beautiful support from Jamie Bell and Dame Judi Dench.

Of course, I embarrassed my friend again by bursting into tears on several occasions...Why is it that I always cry at movies? I don't think I'm particularly sentimental, but films (and books) bring on the waterworks more often than not.

We didn't know it when we decided on what film we were going to see, but it turned out that it was a '50+ matinee', which meant that not only was the movie shown at half-price, but coffee and cakes (and a goodie bag for the ladies in the audience!) were included and served in the interval. Yes, this one had an interval! I don't think I'd witnessed an interval in 20 years or more ;-)
gamiila: (bow tie)
Is it bad of me that, despite the fact that I wasn't particularly busy over the weekend, I still managed not to remember that it had been two full years since my father's passing? I would have forgotten all about it if Mum hadn't mentioned it on Sunday.

We met to go to the pictures together, and we saw Ewan McGregor and Christopher Plummer in a really sweet film called Beginners, in which Christopher Plummer plays a 75-year old who after 44 years of marriage comes out as gay, and almost immediately falls ill with terminal cancer. Ewan McGregor plays his grief-stricken son, who has commitment issues in his own life; and another important role is filled by the dad's Jack Russell, Arthur. It didn't disappoint and I'm glad I picked it out of the meagre list of films shown here in town, most of which seem to be of the 3D-variety.

I went to pay my respects to my Dad's gravesite this morning and when I got back, I was approached for the position of Contact Center Analyst by the same recruitment company that got me the interview at Apple back in January, so with a bit of luck and even if this doesn't work out, they'll be able to help me get into another job soon.

By the way, did I mention that 2 days after I had left the Apple office, the MacBook I had left on the train was handed in there? I didn't, did I - but it did! :-)
gamiila: (fork)
The thing with problems is, that they have a way of either resolving themselves, or getting resolved. Either way, they cease being a problem, and then the particulars become hazy, and get forgotten. I don't believe the problems I've had in the past have been all that special or interesting, and I can't predict what problems I'll face in the future, so there's no point in writing about any of them for the sake of a meme.

the rest of the days )

I went to see The King's Speech today, and enjoyed it very much. Colin Firth, Geoffrey Rush and Helena Bonham Carter all did a brilliant job bringing their characters to life, and I was pleased to see Anthony Andrews, who I actually hadn't seen in anything since the early 80s and Brideshead Revisited, in the role of PM Baldwin. Much older now, and no longer a pretty boy, but still very recognisable.

Ended up having dinner at my favourite Greek restaurant, which had undergone a complete refurb since I last visited the place, and tucked into a hearty meal of garides saganaki for starters and lamb shank stifado, washed down with a nice retsina. Am consequently rather full at the moment.
gamiila: (fun & games)
When you've lived as long as I have, it's difficult to pick one favourite film out of all the hundreds, maybe thousands, you've seen. You'll have forgotten about a lot of them, while others will have left an impression even if you've seen them only once. Of the films that are regularly shown on television, one that I will always quite happily settle down to watch again for the umpteenth time, is Witness, starring Harrison Ford, Kelly McGillis and a young Lukas Haas. It's a thriller dealing with corruption and murder in the Philadelphia police force, in which an Amish family accidentally becomes embroiled when an 8-year old boy travelling with his mother witnesses a murder taking place in the train station's restroom. In order to protect his witness, Harrison Ford's character takes mother and son back to their community, and because he is wounded, has no choice but to stay there himself too -- which is just as well, as his corrupt colleagues, armed to the teeth, are on their way to peaceful, pacifist Amish country themselves.

The scene I like best in this movie is that of the barn-raising, when the whole community gathers to build a barn for a newlywed couple, and it's a beautiful summer's day and everyone sits down at long trestle tables laden with food -- it's just so idyllic (and probably a long way from an accurate portrayal of Amish life, but still...). I love the music, and the on-screen chemistry between the main protagonists; the sweeping views of the beautiful farmlands; and the late Alexander Godunov's debut as an actor in the supporting role of Daniel Hochleitner, who comes to woo Kelly McGillis's character of Rachel Lapp. In the late 70s/early 80s, I was very much interested in ballet, and Godunov and Baryshnikov were the outstanding dancers in those days. When Witness came to our cinemas, the inclusion of Godunov's name on the posters was a major pull for me.

the rest of the days )
gamiila: (Top Gear trio)
I've forgotten how to do a bullet post, and I can't find the FAQ, but here goes:

06:03 Wake up, cats start their morning greeting ritual, aka the head butt & smell my bum-game
06:13 Get up, feed and water cats, make coffee
06:20 Change litter box
06:30 Eat breakfast (muesli & yoghurt), drink coffee
06:45 Do last night's and this morning's dishes
06:58 Tidy up and hoover
07:20 Pour second cup of coffee, read next three chapters in this week's book
07:40 Finish coffee, check mail and bank balance, pay bills
08:00 Do laundry, check LJ
08:45 Hang up washing
09:00 Take shower
09:20 Get dressed and apply make-up
09:30 Supermarket run
10:15 Put away groceries
10:25 Work on report for art foundation
13:00 Go into town
13:38 Drop boots to be mended off at shoemaker's
13:47 Meet Mum for lunch at Scallywags (i.e. British tearoom in The Hague, catering to ex-pats mostly)
14:15 Eat Scallywitch (i.e. a plate of Cumberland sausage, baked beans, bacon, eggs, baked potatoes, courgette, Cheddar cheese, toast and HP Sauce with an apple & mango salad on the side)
wash it down with a pot of Lapsang Souchon (sp?)
15:15 Leave Scallywags, go to cinema to pick up tickets for next showing
16:00 Watch film (Sonny Boy, a Dutch drama based on real events of the 20s, 30s, and 40s, which tells the story of the relationship between a black man and a white woman who are involved in the resistance movement and die in German captivity just before the end of the war)
18:38 Take Mum to the bus stop and start to walk home myself
19:20 Walk in, take off coat and feed cats
19:25 Make coffee and drink it
19:45 Watch a bit of telly
21:00 Log on and start writing this post
21:20 Post entry

the rest of the days )
gamiila: (ambitious but rubbish)
I hate to admit it, but I'm feeling really rather stressed at the moment. I've secured another interview, and since this potential employer is also located in Rotterdam, I've opted to have it back to back with my PB one on Thursday afternoon. It seemed like a good idea at the time, but I'm now realising I may be saving on train fare but will be up against the clock in my first and to me, more important appointment of the day. Small wonder I woke up in a cold sweat this morning...

I've been unemployed now for 9 months. You'd think I'd have adjusted to this circumstance by now, but I haven't. Every day, I wake up slightly stressed and feeling guilty about not being a productive member of society, and the stress just keeps building during the course of the day. I live in terror at the thought of not ever finding another job again...and in terror at the thought of finding one and having to prove myself again. My confidence has hit rock bottom and I can't shake this feeling that I'll be rubbish at whatever job I might, by some miracle, manage to land. I'm good at masking it, though; whenever I leave an interview room, I'm always surprised my interlocutor(s) haven't picked up on my uncertainty, but have seemed to swallow my BS whole. Then I start to worry they might not be so obtuse next time, and I'll get laughed out of their offices...or tarred and feathered and run out of town.

It's times like these that I regret not having a SO, someone to sit me down and talk sense into me. It's just me, myself and I all the time; and frankly, I'm driving myself nuts.

The news that The Biatch who chose not to renew my contract out of petty revenge has been demoted hasn't helped put me in a better frame of mind, either. I warned her she wouldn't be able to make her ludicrous targets with the changes she was implementing; I have been proved right...but at the end of the day, she's still in work and I'm struggling to make ends meet.

On a lighter note, though: I had a quiet weekend, in which I went to the pictures with my mum. It's something we like to do on occasion. I usually let her choose the movie and this time she picked Burlesque, which surprised me in being quite good fun. I hadn't expected it to be my cup of tea, really; the story's pretty flimsy and done to death already, and while I've always liked Cher as an actress, Christina Aguilera was a complete unknown to me. I'd never heard her sing, and had no idea if she could act. However, I think she did pretty well. Much better than Madonna, although that's not saying much.
gamiila: (still cooking)
Neither of yesterday's tentative approaches made to me by recruitment agencies will be taken any further, and I have just been informed that the position I had applied for at some other company has now been put on hold for two months, after which they expect they will advertise again and begin the selection process anew.

I wish I had more things going on in my life right now, but apart from the job search there's only the 30 Day Movie Meme, which thankfully is coming to an end today with Day 31 - Scene that made you stand up and cheer:

Les Uns et les Autres )

I'm not in the habit of standing up and cheering at the movies. However, casting my mind back to December 1981, I recalled that at the end of this film, sometimes described as director Claude Lelouch's masterpiece, the whole audience (of which I and my then-boyfriend were a part) gave it a standing ovation. Don't ask me what the film was about; there were several storylines involving the war and the Holocaust all coming together at the end, with all the different characters turning up for a performance of Ravel's 'Boléro' at the foot of the Eiffel Tower - which is the only scene in the film that I have never forgotten.
gamiila: (bow tie)
Neither of yesterday's tentative approaches made to me by recruitment agencies will be taken any further, and I have just been informed that the position I had applied for at some other company has now been put on hold for two months, after which they expect they will advertise again and begin the selection process anew.

I wish I had more things going on in my life right now, but apart from the job search there's only the 30 Day Movie Meme, which thankfully is coming to an end today with Day 31 - Scene that made you stand up and cheer:

Les Uns et les Autres )

I'm not in the habit of standing up and cheering at the movies. However, casting my mind back to December 1981, I recalled that at the end of this film, sometimes described as director Claude Lelouch's masterpiece, the whole audience (of which I and my then-boyfriend were a part) gave it a standing ovation. Don't ask me what the film was about; there were several storylines involving the war and the Holocaust all coming together at the end, with all the different characters turning up for a performance of Ravel's 'Boléro' at the foot of the Eiffel Tower - which is the only scene in the film that I have never forgotten.
gamiila: (meanwhile in the distance)
Today, I have had two organisations approach me with a request to send in my cv; one of them in the financial sector. I have to admit, I like being contacted by agencies and potential employers much better than responding to ads; it's so much easier to explain what you're looking for and what you have to offer over the phone than it is to write a good cover letter.

When I started on the 30 Day Movie Meme, I thought there'd be 30 prompts. I have recently discovered that there are in fact 31, which means that after listing my choice for 'saddest death scene' below, there will be one more post to follow. I promise to make it a short one.

Bambi )

I have no doubt that there are tens of thousands of sad, sadder and saddest death scenes in films, and who's to say which is the saddest of them all? But when I was 4, on my very first outing to the cinema, the death of Bambi's mother made me cry so uncontrollably Mum had no choice but to take me home soon after. To this day, I don't know how the film ends, as I've never seen it again.

the rest of the days )
gamiila: (Top Gear trio)
Today, I have had two organisations approach me with a request to send in my cv; one of them in the financial sector. I have to admit, I like being contacted by agencies and potential employers much better than responding to ads; it's so much easier to explain what you're looking for and what you have to offer over the phone than it is to write a good cover letter.

When I started on the 30 Day Movie Meme, I thought there'd be 30 prompts. I have recently discovered that there are in fact 31, which means that after listing my choice for 'saddest death scene' below, there will be one more post to follow. I promise to make it a short one.

Bambi )

I have no doubt that there are tens of thousands of sad, sadder and saddest death scenes in films, and who's to say which is the saddest of them all? But when I was 4, on my very first outing to the cinema, the death of Bambi's mother made me cry so uncontrollably Mum had no choice but to take me home soon after. To this day, I don't know how the film ends, as I've never seen it again.

the rest of the days )
gamiila: (*headbonnet*)
Funny old weather; so far in the last few hours we've had torrential rain and hailstorms, though at the moment the sky is clear and blue and there's quite a bit of sunshine around, but no warmth.

I got up early to go to work, but found the art foundation's offices were closed. Waited around for half an hour but no one came to open up, so I left a message on the ansaphone and walked back out into the hail again. Within the space of the next half hour, I received three phone calls to let me now that of the three applications I had going, none of them will be going forward. I didn't really mind in two of those cases, as I hadn't invested any real time and effort into them (yet); but in the case of the third, the UK-based gas analysis equipments manufacturer that were looking for someone with the drive and ambition (and know-how) to reorganise their customer services department, I was disappointed to learn that after meeting me last Thursday, they had decided that I was far 'too competent and over-qualified' (again!) and they were afraid that, coming from a corporate background, I would 'soon grow bored in a firm that employs only 30 people (including technical staff) in the Netherlands and 300 worldwide'. I really should stop showing off in interviews; it seems that when managers outline the problems they want the successful applicant to deal with, they don't want to hear any solutions offered then and there.

It's Day 29 in the 30 Day Movie Meme: time to list the 'movie you have seen more than 10 times', which in my case is:

Jesus Christ Superstar )

At one of my schools, coming up to Easter there was a showing of this film every year. I didn't really care much for it at first (we weren't raised in any religion at home, and Jesus was just a man in a beard who lived a long time ago to me then), but it grew on me; and now there isn't an Easter that goes by without me popping in the DVD at some stage and singing along at the top of my lungs.

the rest of the days )
gamiila: (that. is rubbish)
Funny old weather; so far in the last few hours we've had torrential rain and hailstorms, though at the moment the sky is clear and blue and there's quite a bit of sunshine around, but no warmth.

I got up early to go to work, but found the art foundation's offices were closed. Waited around for half an hour but no one came to open up, so I left a message on the ansaphone and walked back out into the hail again. Within the space of the next half hour, I received three phone calls to let me now that of the three applications I had going, none of them will be going forward. I didn't really mind in two of those cases, as I hadn't invested any real time and effort into them (yet); but in the case of the third, the UK-based gas analysis equipments manufacturer that were looking for someone with the drive and ambition (and know-how) to reorganise their customer services department, I was disappointed to learn that after meeting me last Thursday, they had decided that I was far 'too competent and over-qualified' (again!) and they were afraid that, coming from a corporate background, I would 'soon grow bored in a firm that employs only 30 people (including technical staff) in the Netherlands and 300 worldwide'. I really should stop showing off in interviews; it seems that when managers outline the problems they want the successful applicant to deal with, they don't want to hear any solutions offered then and there.

It's Day 29 in the 30 Day Movie Meme: time to list the 'movie you have seen more than 10 times', which in my case is:

Jesus Christ Superstar )

At one of my schools, coming up to Easter there was a showing of this film every year. I didn't really care much for it at first (we weren't raised in any religion at home, and Jesus was just a man in a beard who lived a long time ago to me then), but it grew on me; and now there isn't an Easter that goes by without me popping in the DVD at some stage and singing along at the top of my lungs.

the rest of the days )
gamiila: (in the corner of your eyes)
My choice for most overhyped movie:

The Matrix )

For years, I'd heard nothing but superlative praise for this film, and so I expected to be wowed when I finally got around to watching it. I wasn't, though. I guess the plot was just too far-fetched to my liking.

the rest of the days )
gamiila: (Default)
My choice for most overhyped movie:

The Matrix )

For years, I'd heard nothing but superlative praise for this film, and so I expected to be wowed when I finally got around to watching it. I wasn't, though. I guess the plot was just too far-fetched to my liking.

the rest of the days )
gamiila: (yawn)
Late night last night -I went out for drinks, dinner and more drinks with my former manager at Crédit Agricole- led to a lie-in this morning, and a feeling of general tiredness all day. Oh! to be 18 again, and have the constitution of an ox! At 30 years older, I really should know better than to stay up half the night.

Day 27 in the 30 Day Movie Meme wants me to nominate my candidate for best villain, and I've gone with Bette Davis in

Whatever Happened To Baby Jane? )

When I first saw this scene, at the tender age of 10 or 11 I think I was, it freaked me out as I had never been freaked out by anything shown on television before (save one scene, a few years earlier, of a character in my mother's favourite show dying in a housefire)...or after. I think it was after this that I decided that thrillers and horror movies were not for me; which has been a rule I've lived by ever since.

the rest of the days )

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gamiila: (Default)
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