Friday, December 03, 2010
I've been blogging for four years now, and though it's mostly been a fun experience, from time to time it has been pretty rotten due to some fairly scathing comments I get.
A few years back I started to get some anonymous and particularly harsh comments berating my blog and its content, my lifestyle, and criticising my writing a blog about settling in Athens when I did not have to go through any of the difficulties that someone who comes here totally on their own does. This includes being portrayed as some sort of ex-pat gold digger who speaks no Greek, riding on the back of my sugar daddy older husband.
Anyway, if you're wondering where this post is going, it is directed at CaliforniaKat, journalist and the author of an excellent blog http://livingingreece.gr/
For some reason, I got the impression that CaliforniaKat didn't like me very much, and based on this one feeling along with the writing style of some of the comments, I did the most childish thing possible and assumed it was her that was making anonymous and nasty comments.
I'm ashamed to say that I responded in a very stupid way. CaliforniaKat is a successful journalist and her articles appear in a popular British publication from time to time. I used the comment forums on these articles to make some pretty mean and personal attacks on her and her work.
A lot of time has passed and a lot has changed. I know it doesn't make up for my behaviour, but I would like to apologise. I'm not at all sure it will be accepted and there is no agenda behind this. The truth is I should have known better than to assume someone like CaliforniaKat would be bothered enough (or even have the time) to not only read my blog but also to write nasty comments about it.
CaliforniaKat, it's probably an apology too late. I think you are very talented and your blog is an exceptional resource. And yes, the truth is I was jealous. I call myself a journalist but the fact is I am not, nor will I probably ever be one. You on the other hand are successful in a way that I truly envy.
I would just like to say that I was very childish in my behaviour and I'm sorry about that.
Wednesday, November 24, 2010
I have had a driving license for a full three years now and done nothing with it until recently. First, there was the long process of getting my paperwork done to insure me onto a car. Then came the small matter of finding someone with the time to take me for a drive now and again. Despite many offers of help, these never materialised with any kind of regularity.
Tuesday, November 23, 2010
Tuesday, November 16, 2010
I was happy when I saw this. Now, I'm not particularly practising... okay make that pretty much not practising at all. But it was nice to see the authorities take such a step, and I'll tell you why. Having witnessed the mess caused in the UK by unregulated mosques and imams, I very strongly believe it's important for Athens to designate an official mosque in the capital, monitored by the Greek government to make sure that the imams who preach there are moderates. Because extremism has no place in a modern society. Muslims in Athens gather at unofficial mosques anyway, where who knows who is preaching who knows what.
Wouldn't it be in everyone's interest to have an official mosque in order to keep control of extremist points of view? I'm sure we can all agree that no one wants that in Athens, especially in the current climate when things are hard and migrants are feeling hard done by. This is ripe ground for extremists to sow their seeds of hate.
Anyway, my feelings of happiness have now turned into feelings of sadness. Because a few idiots gathered at the squares where prayers were held, taunted and jeered the worshippers, scattered pictures of pigs around them and threw eggs at them. I can't imagine how humiliating this must be.
Ok, locals got upset, but to attack someone while they are praying is pretty damn low. I don't really have much else to say about this, when judging by comments on news pages about this incident the common feeling seems to be "They asked for it! Greece for Greeks!"
Just a final point for those wondering, from the comments I read. Yes, in my small home town in the Home Country, there is an active church. One of my childhood highlights was being a bridesmaid at that church. So now you know.
Thursday, November 11, 2010
Tuesday, November 09, 2010
So everyone here is basically saying please just do something that doesn't suck so bad without having to change everything.
I was not ready, not at all ready then to be assaulted by Next Top Model judge Chris "The Hair" Kontentos's new look. It was alarming enough when he shaved off his beard. But then, I caught a glimpse of him on a chat show and was assaulted by this, his new look:
Why'd you do it Chris, why! Who will bring me my Monday night dose of bitchy follicular spectacularness now? What next? Vicky Kaya with a beefburger in one hand? Jenny Balatsinou saying something I don't immediately forget? Harry Christopolous being left alone with a naked Next Top Model and saying "Let's just play Scrabble."? I can't take all these changes right now!
Friday, November 05, 2010
Sorry muchachos for my lack of posting. The truth is I have had no life lately thanks to whole bunch of things, such as losing our dear Yiayia, coming down with a cold and therefore first not wanting to leave the house and then not being able to. I am still trying though to save this blog from a slow death.
So I've been stuck indoors without the release of my usual twice weekly session of bellydance to keep me sane. All I do is work and watch TV, the quality of which has deteriorated significantly this year.
When I first came to Greece I only watched MAD music channel and CNN since I couldn't understand anything else. And a hell of a lot of Jean-Claude Van Damme movies. If I thought things were bad then, they're even worse now, because Greek TV in the last few years has discovered the fast food equivalent of TV programming- reality TV.
Thus our schedules are filled with Kati Psinete, Top Chef, Masterchef (someone gets an idea and everyone runs to copy it)Big Brother which I hate and Next Top Model which I LOVE and a host of other satellite programmes much too stupid to mention. And the worst part is, you'll usually find me on weekday evenings parked infront of the TV in my pyjamas, watching some reality programme or the other and making snide remarks.
Of all of those shows, perhaps the only useful ones are Masterchef and Top Chef. You could actually learn something that you could apply to your everyday life, such as a new recipe or a new way of using an ingredient. Because let's face it. The chances of me standing in the kitchen wondering what to cook are significantly higher than Vicky Kaya popping up and asking me to do a pose that's not so commercial but more boutique.
On a total tangent, Shakira has released a new video. When I first saw it, my immediate reaction was: Where did she go??? Girl has lost some serious weight which is such a shame because seeing her super fit but still juicy figure was a delight in a sea of stick insects. Disappointed. Hope she puts the weight back on because this new skinny look doesn't suit her at all!
Have a good weekend y'all!
Wednesday, October 13, 2010
It's back, bitches!
And not a minute too soon. Just when the Greek version of Big Brother, with its parade of losers and people I've already seen about 10 times on other reality TV shows, was preparing me to poke out my eyes and mail them to the TV programmers, along comes our saviour headed once more by Vicky Kaya.
She got married a few days ago, you know! Maybe pre wedding nerves explains her choices this year, which were whore-ific. Either that or she had laser eye surgery that failed. All summer she's been barking on about how this year the competition is fiercer as the girls are fiercer. Seriously? Could have fooled me, love.
So let's start. As always, things kicked off with boot camp and our judges - Harry "Pervo" Christopoulos, Christoferos "The Hair" Kotentos and Jenny "Was not invited to Vicky's wedding, Meeeooooww" Balantsinou.
The show opened with the 35 shortlisted girls tossed onto a ferry heading off to Mykonos for Model Bootcamp. Sadly, none of the bazaa crowd fell overboard. Next arrives Her Majesty Kaya in a helicopter. Because, you know, it's Mykonos and no one there feels the economic crunch!
Then the girls were thrown to the lions one by one. I won't talk about the ones I thought had potential, that's boring. I'm going to keep with the mood of the show and bitch about the ones that made me think "WTF?"
This year we got a Chinese-Hellenic contestant, Jian Nan. I think she got through purely on the exotic factor. Okay okay, she has a good body too.
Next came Shelby who Vicky only put in so she could speak English with that whacky American accent of hers. Shelby is Canadian! She has piercings! Naturally Harry couldn't resist asking where she has them, and Shelby delivered. Maybe they could show each other their piercings some time if yaknowwhadamean.
Georgia from Cyprus is hoping to be the first Cypriot to win the competition. She hates women, which is totally going to work for her in the fashion industry which is full of women and bitchy gay men.
Laura-Ann has a Scottish mother and a Greek father. Harry asks her if she really looks in the mirror and believes she's beautiful. Ooooh bitch you did not just say that!
On the same note, Elena has a Greek mother and Italian father. Seriously, Elena, I don't mean to be harsh but have you seen the other bodies you're up against? Lay off the pies and come back next year. It's not just you. The judges would tell the same to anyone who actually eats.
Let me cut in here and say how the hell do most of those girls have such flat abs? I busted my ass in the gym for months and never came close. Maybe it's down to being on the right side of 25.
Speaking of which, poor Zoe got ripped to pieces for being 25, which is ancient in model years.
As for Kelly, I will only say this: TRAGIKO!!! It must take a gigantic amount of self belief to be so sure you're model material when Mother Nature gave you an extra dose of nose and ears. To top it off, hideous orange blond extensions. When they made her cry with their comments, Harry managed to keep a straight face while telling her she was a babe. But then Harry ain't fussy. And look what Monica Man O' Chin achieved last year. Maybe Kelly knows how to model at an angel that hides her ears, nose, chin... okay her whole face. That's talent I'd like to see.
I will point out Sindorela only for her name. Not Cinderella.
Now, Aliki. She is 21 and has a baby daughter, and somehow her body carries absolutely no trace of this. How did she do that?! Some people get all the good genes. Harry adores her, not for what she's achieved with her post-baby body, but for her juicy backside.
Cue eliminations, screaming and crying.
Night time at the model house, and they were given a choice of souvlaki or sushi. I was so sure that this was a test and that they would get ripped into for actually eating. Rule number one of modelling: models don't eat! And if they do, they eat sushi, NOT souvlaki.
The next day and a photoshoot in Mykonos took place. Kudos, because there's something about Mykonos that makes mere mortals look fantastically ugly. The one and only time I went there, I felt like the haggiest and most decrepit person on the island.
Marianna believes her strongest point in her shoot was her eyes, and the camera quickly cut to a shot of her lovely behind.
Hmmm. "Eyes" would be right. But with Harry O'Pervert shooting, what did we expect?
Eliminations! Not surprisingly 25 year old Zoe was eliminated, naturally, but maybe they gave her a walking frame or some thermal underwear to make her feel better about her age.
Don't miss tonight's episode at 9pm on ANT1, when THIS happens:
Monday, October 11, 2010
Monday, October 04, 2010
And so, as we gingerly step into October, I bring you two sites that will save you a whole ton of money, tried and tested by friends of mine:
Simply enter your email addresses and every day you get sent an offer that you can purchase within the space of 24 hours, valid for use up to one year later. Offers include massive discounts on meals out at good restaurants, discounts on beauty treatments, gym sessions, dance lessons, manicures, pedicures, weekend trips and much more. A tiny example is the friend who told me she bought 12 Power Plate gym sessions for a total cost of EUR 60. The gym I go to offers the same thing for EUR 200. A big difference, I think you'll agree.
The only catch is the website is in Greek so if your Greek is not up to scratch, here's some motivation for you.
Sign up, it's for real and in this climate it's nice to know someone somewhere is making an effort to ensure the good people of Greece manage to still get up to fun things that are otherwise much too expensive with the price of living skyrocketing.
Monday, September 27, 2010
As you may have noticed, there is jack shit on TV. Nothing. Absolutely nothing. Just replays of Jean Claude Van Damme movies, and if you live in Greece for the last 4.5 years like I have, by now you have seen his pouty face so many times it's become a form of visual waterboarding. It's as if TV execs are reclining in their leather chairs, sipping on black coffee (no milk, see above mentioned truck strike) and saying "Don't show any movie unless it's already been shown 10 times. I want the viewer to know it off by heart before seeing it again."
I went to the supermarket yesterday. It depends on where you shop, but slim pickings are abound thanks to those lovely truckers and their never ending strike. I went to Dia, which was so empty I actually felt depressed. There was practically nothing on the shelves, on account of Dia not having their own truck fleet.
The story in Carrefour and Galaxias is not as bad since they have their own private delivery trucks, but as of yesterday I was noticing gaps already, milk being the major one with pretty much half the brands of milk no longer in stock.
Where this will end is anyone's guess. Summer is drawing to a breezy close here in Athens and something tells me winter is not going to be much fun at all if things keep unfolding this way. It's got to the point where I don't even want to watch the news any more because I'm so sick of the constant misery mongering that's going on.
So I tried to think of something positive, like kittens, but even that reminded me of the one eyed teeny tiny little black feral kitten that I found not having a super fun time in the yard with our dog. Some cat parents are so irresponsible. A few days later I saw him dumped near a tree on the footpath again, with mama cat watching on nonchalantly. She's probably a cat crackhead. The family seem to have moved on since.
Thursday, September 16, 2010
Tuesday, September 07, 2010
This is something I never thought I would ever say after weeping through 10 whole years of British summers, but I'm glad summer is coming to a close here in Greece. This summer for some reason seemed more exhausting than fun. None of the charms of summer seemed to catch anyone's attention. It's hard to enjoy a day at the beach when you will pay an arm and a leg for the entrance to the beach, the sun beds, a frappe and a bite to eat.
The country in general was in a bad mood, no one felt like having fun, no one I know went shopping with any real dedication, we had losses of loved ones and multiple exam failures (failed twice now, and counting) and as usual all my friends buggered off during the summer, leaving people like me who went on holiday late this year moping around their deserted neighbourhoods.
So, dare I say it, I'm waiting for summer to get on with it and leave already. It sucked me dry this year, and I'm normally summer's number one fan.
Hope you're all getting back into gear as Athens begins to revive after the holidays, and thank God for that!
Thursday, August 19, 2010
This is going to be a really short post to let you know that last night, when I was on Korinthias Street heading to Salamat market, I passed a shop called Roxanne that was still selling juicy sweet mangoes from the Home Country. Surprising as by this time of the year, I really didn't think they'd be anything left to export.
So anyway, I paid nearly EUR 20 for 8 mangoes, which is a ridiculous amount to pay and I admit it, but if you want to catch mango season right at its tail end, go NOW to Roxanne and get your mangoes before you're gone. The guy in the shop said this would be the last week he had them. if you love mangoes, you will not regret it.
Monday, August 02, 2010
The strike which led to severe shortages of petrol across the whole country, with 80-90% of all petrol pumps running dry, has been wildly unpopular in a country where ones right to strike is usually begrudgingly supported no matter how much inconvenience it causes.
Tourists and the Greek public alike had their holidays ruined by the lack of petrol leaving them stranded at home or far away from home.
But the lack of petrol caused particular distress to the country's very active anarchist factions.
Petrol is an important ingredient - some might say THE SINGLE MOST IMPORTANT ingredient in the Greek anarchist's calling card, the Molotov cocktail. 99.9% of anarchists surveyed agreed it was impossible to petrol bomb a shop or car without petrol.
"I've been fielding calls all week from young anarchists searching for an alternative, viable source of fuel for molotov cocktails" said Yiannis Thanassos of the Greek Anarchist Hotline.
"People were panicking and making all kinds of stupid enquiries about things that are just not viable fuel"
"It shows the level of desperation young Greek anarchists felt. This strike almost ruined our plans for a summer of mayhem!" he added angrily.
But the general feeling in Athens this morning was one of relief as the blockade was lifted and petrol pumps restocked.
"This is a great day for all anarchists," said Maria, 19. "Without petrol, works of anarchy like the Syntagma Christmas Tree of 2008 would not be possible."
Stavros, 21 said "Those pelicans in Florida or wherever it is can go to hell! Hooray for petrol!"
Stop being such a drama queen!
A spokesperson for the Greek Anarchist Youth Club confirmed that the end of the blockade would be celebrated with a Molotov cocktail making contest tonight at their headquarters.
Disclaimer: I don't think this strike was particularly funny, seeing as it ruined the much awaited holidays for so many people. I don't think oil spills are funny either. This disclaimer is to make my views clear and protect me from people with no sense of humour.
Thursday, July 29, 2010
Actually, I joined a gym five months ago now. What can I say, something about the looming 28th birthday must have spurred me into action. I spent my whole life until 24 eating whatever the hell I wanted and not gaining a micogram. Seriously, I used to eat fried lunches every day simply because I could. I never skipped desert when eating out and baptised all my cake in baths of double cream. Just because I frickin' could! Thems was the days!
But to my own shock and horror it occurred to me that these happy circumstances might not continue forever, after turning 25 and the appearance of everyone's best friend, cellulite. Especially since fitting into the first pair of jeans I ever bought in Athens is now nothing but a distant dream. I couldn't even get half a butt cheek into them any more, so I got rid of them, by the way, lest they make me feel bad about myself.
I decided to join the nearest gym I could find, knowing myself to be much too lazy to take a bus trip to a cheaper one, and all sorts of hilarity ensued. "I'm interested in your evening classes" I exclaimed, innocent still of what was to follow.
The trainer looked me up and down. "Have you been to a gym before?" he asked.
"You might not survive the classes then."
Day one and the trainer took me around the equipment and made me do a few sets of exercises on the various machines. Yes, I was so unfit I actually had to be prepped for about a month before they made me a programme.
It didn't go too badly until we got onto doing leg curls. I tried one. "Oh God!" I wailed "I can't do this! Can you take some more weight off? I'm dying!"
The trainer said "Um... there aren't any weights on there. You're just working with the weight of the machine." Feeling like my thighs would snap off and slide down my knees, I persevered.
At the end of session one, the trainer warned me I might feel sore the next morning. I did feel a little sore the following day but nothing I couldn't handle, I thought valiantly, envisioning being able to crack open walnuts with my thighs in a week's time. Session two went much like session one. And the next morning I felt like every muscle in my body had been lovingly bathed in acid all night.
The pain! I thought I would never walk again. And yet I had to still keep going to the gym in order to stop it getting worse. I wondered when I stopped loving myself enough to voluntarily inflict so much suffering on my poor body.
Anyway, that was a good few months ago and believe it or not, I love the gym now. Here are some interesting things I have observed about my local Athenian gym (though it's not like I ever went to another one in the UK to be able to compare):
1. The serious people go in the morning. That's when you'll find me too, but only because I know if I leave it the rest of the day I will talk myself out of exercising
2. People bring their toddlers with them! I've seen this more than once. If you tried that in the UK someone would come screaming at you with a Health and Safety manual.
3. The beefcakes go in the evening and hog all the machines and make constipated sounds
4. The chicks hunting for beefcakes go in the evening too, with perfect hair and makeup. They consistently fail to work up a sweat. I admire their determination for beefcake baiting - gyms are expensive to join.
5. The male trainers are much easier on you than the female ones. But the female ones are much more understanding of what you want to achieve and determined to get you there dead or alive. Most likely dead in my case.
So there you have it. I can add "Joining a gym and following a gym programme in Greek" to my list of things I have achieved in my continuing, ever expanding adventure of life in Greece.
Friday, July 23, 2010
"We're asking the Greek people to be a little patient while we ride out this crisis'" said Prime Minister George Papandreou, "This means making a few more sacrifices, like food."
Fashion student Maria, 19, agreed that food is overrated. "Which is why I try to get by on fresh air. The fashion industry is a bitch."
But shoppers at Greek supermarkets were less than enthusiastic. A housewife who wished not to be named said she was still coming to shop, filling her trolley and then emptying it again. "Sort of like shopping bulimia" she added.
Stavros Spyridakis, 29, free camping in the national gardens added "I'm not free camping. This is the only place I can afford to live now. But I guess it's for my own good, as the government says."
A spokesperson for the KKE Communist party of Greece blamed the bourgeois upper classes for witholding the food and driving up the prices in collaboration with the US and Israel, while the far right party, LA.OS insisted it had hard evidence that the immigrants were operating on a stealth policy of starving ethnic Greeks out of existence.
They made a giant curry out of all the food. Try eating that, Niko!
Meanwhile the government appealed for calm and insisted this new measure was for a better, more stable and happier Greece. Greek nationals all agree that they can't recall being unhappy in the first place.
Thursday, July 15, 2010
A walk around my neighbourhood reveals shop after shop that has closed and let the premises out. The most tragic of these closures was the clothes shop in my neighbourhood that sold extremely ugly, extremely expensive clothes. It was also named Up Just. No matter how many times I turned it around in my head I couldn't understand what they were trying to get at with a name like that. I guess someone really did just pull it out of their ass.
Up Just was more than a bastion of ugliness, it was the source of many laughs from visitors and a useful landmark for giving directions to my house. Many was the summer evening when I would pass it and be impressed that the clothes had got even uglier (T-shirt with a picture of some girl, seemingly taken with a webcam, anyone?) and the shop that never had a single customer inside.
Personally I always believed it was a money laundering operation. That, and this Chinese restaurant downtown that I have NEVER seen a single customer dining in, and I've passed it nearly every Wednesday for four years now.
On the plus side, the sales have not really stopped since the winter, resulting in prices that are actually close to what the stores should be charging anyway. For example, a Body Shop body brush that costs GBP 7 in the UK costs EUR 14 in Athens. With a 50% sale, it comes pretty much on par with the UK price.
Sadly, supermarkets do not do blowout sales. And that's a shame, because we can all cut a few corners but when it comes to food, we can't look at out bills and say "No more food this month, kids! We'll survive on fresh air and love!" Supermarkets in Greece are some of the most expensive in Europe. A typical monthly shop costs me about EUR 200, and that's just staple items, not a trolley full of champagne. Brand loyalty has gone out the window. I just buy what's cheapest, and I think everyone else is doing the same.
Tourism is down, despite the GBP 200 for 7 nights, all inclusive to Kos and other such places that I saw in the UK. Not in my wildest dreams could I get that deal internally - it would be cheaper to fly to the UK and then fly back on such a package holiday. That's just wrong! Think about the hotel owners making jack shit out of deals like that. As Flubberwinkle so perfectly puts it, we live in Greece but can't afford a holiday here!
We're all bored to tears about hearing that the economy is getting worse and worse, and I don't think we've hit the bottom yet. Everyone expects the end of the summer to reveal to us just how shiteous the situation we find ourselves in really is. So enjoy the summer because it's going to be a bumpy ride this Autumn!
I leave you with a song close to all our hearts right now.
Monday, July 12, 2010
"Hey," said the guy "You're Bollybutton, aren't you?"
I left it much too late to take the first swim this year. But all that is coming to an end thanks for having officially failed my Exam from Hell, so I'm not studying for a while. I just enjoyed the sea and her charms, laying back on our towel with A and admiring the blue sky and scatterings of beautiful curly clouds. When on the beach in Greece, life doesn't seem so bad no matter how much you hate your job.
Speaking of which, remember my grand ambitions a few months ago about leaving my job? Well, they came to nothing. I pimped my CV all over the place and got no replies. Conversations with friends revealed that absolutely everyone, Mr Zeus included, hates their job but doesn't dare change it, or if they have tried they are getting no where. Jobs are mysteriously being posted and then not given out. Strangely, realising that jumping ship is not an option when you're jumping off into a shark infested sea has actually made me sober up and get serious. I hate my job, so does just about everyone else on the planet. No big deal. Someone once told me you can do anything you want in life, but not everything you want in life.
Prices are skyrocketing in Greece, pays are being slashed but still somehow people are getting by. As the lady in the post office said with a shrug "This is Greece. We've been through worse!"
On a side note, I have noticed lots of lovely emails in my firstname.lastname@example.org address. Can I just apologise for the late replies to them, if you've sent a question and need an answer, drop me a comment here so I check my mail and Bollybutton, Agony Aunt will be getting back to you soon.
Friday, July 09, 2010
Wednesday, July 07, 2010
My poor mother's carefully planned funeral was ruined by a last minute speech by a drunk relative. To top it all, I then sat an exam on Monday which went terribly and finally flew out on Tuesday night. I give this tripe -250 out of 10.
When I landed very early this morning and the first blast of warm air hit my face, I cried great big tears of relief at being back in my dear city, Athens.
This morning things feel strange and disjointed. I can't find things in my kitchen where I'd left them. But I do want to apologise for abandoning you all. I was too busy studying to blog, or even go swimming. I still haven't set foot in the sea.
But since my well planned strategy of 100% study and 0% fun has probably yielded a big fat fail, I am now going back to my normal schedule of blogging and general merriment.
It's good to see you all!
Wednesday, June 02, 2010
Many, many moons ago, when I was still trying to adjust to the Mad Hatter's tea party that is life in Greece, a song irritated the hell out of me.
Proof that I have officially settled in Greece is that when this song plays, I am the one who is first on the dancefloor.
So, people of the world, we are in economic meltdown. A ton of you have cancelled your holidays after seeing the riots in Greece which, let me assure you, are a national sport and nothing out of the ordinary. Think of the interesting postcards home getting caught in a riot would make!
It's in your hands to keep us afloat this summer. Come to Greece! We need your tourist euros/dollars/yen!Still not convinced??
Monday, May 31, 2010
Still, I was not ready for Germany's asstastic song to win. And I'll tell you why. There were much better singers at Eurovision on Saturday. The best of the lot was the Georgian entry. I give you exhibit A:
That girl has the best voice live I've heard in a long time. I've paid vast amounts of Euros to see celebrities that don't even come close to how talented she is. Compare this to the winning German entry:
Huh? This won? The mockney cockney accent? A song about blue underwear? If I were the Georgian entry, I would have killed myself. Talk about a slap in the face. I don't care what anyone else might say, this song sucks ass big time.
I knew that Greece didn't have a winning song, so my hopes didn't lie there, though well done to them for getting in the top 10 and delivering the first peppy song of the night, otherwise we'd all be stuck on a one way trip to Ballad City.
I thought the Romanian entry was really good (minus the opera bit):
Armenia was represented by a booblicious relative of the Kardashians. She would have won but sadly they forgot that women and gay men make up Eurovision's biggest audience, therefore making fabulous breasts pretty much redundant. Write that on a post-it next time.
But it was the French song that I thought deserved win because it was so fun and with Eurovision coming so late in the year, it really got you into the mood for summer.
Monday, May 24, 2010
I shall not name any names, suffice to say it was a tango show and I went to support my brilliant and long-suffering tango teacher. I thought he was the best dancer, and always give him extra brownie points for tolerating my complete inability to progress in tango.
Now, we all know the history of tango and how it began in the brothels of Argentina, blahdy blah blah, and that tango is serious and dark and full of people making orgasm faces. Whatevs, said I, and went along for some light entertainment.
This is how it played out. Here's the story:
La Vie en Rose is playing. That must mean we're in Paris, chérie! A bunch of tango peeps are sitting in a cafe and enjoying themselves. They then break into spontaneous tango. Hurrah! Tango over, they go sit down. But, quelle horreur ! What is this? The hot waitress is being molested by a customer! He proceeds to rip off her skirt and tango-molest her. Then he decides he's packing this hot tottie off to Argentina with him. I could see it coming. She looked too happy.
Nooo wails the waitress, and the waiter tries in vain to wrestle her away from the evil Argentine, but he succeeds in taking her away. See, when I read that in the programme I thought they fall in love and run away to Argentina. But oh well. Kidnapping is good too.
The scene changes. On the boat over from Paris, the kidnapped and molested waitress gets a change of wardrobe and a lobotomy, because now she's totally happy to be hanging out with her kidnapper in Buenos Aires. But hark... all the other women here are prostitutes, and the head hooker ain't having none of this. She marches over to the evil Argentine and they dance, of course.
Dancing over, the fawning waitress is thrown to the group of hookers and then she realises she's been trafficked. Heinous!
Much tango dancing ensues along with looks of anguish from the waitress who is being dressed by all the other happy hookers of Buenos Aires. She's all weepy and stuff until she spots her pimp again, and then she's all "Yay there's my pimp!" Lots of hugs and dancing ensue.
The scene changes. Waitress has again decided she's pretty pissed at her involuntary change of career and delivers a passionate modern dance interpretation of her misery. Then the waiter from Paris appears and they're both like "OMG where have you been all this time! Let's go back to Paris."
But oh no, you guys! There's the pimp again! And he's not letting go of his prize cash cow. Dance fighting ensues, the waitress tries to flee onto a boat, and is stabbed by the jealous head hooker and DIES!
And now what's happening? Everyone is dancing again. So is this part of the show or what? Are they in heaven now? If so, why is everyone wearing black? Or is Hell this tangotastic?
I was sitting there, feeling totally depressed by all this. The dancing was great, no question, and the live music absolutely wonderful. But jeez, people. I came out to have my spirits lifted and ended up thinking about human trafficking, and that made me feel sad.
Friday, May 14, 2010
I will just say thanks for still checking in. This is turning out to be my year of re-evaluation and freakishly hard work. I'm trying not to sweat the small stuff and focus on the big picture.
Since I have nothing much to blog about, I will use this space and time that I have available to complain and say yes, I am still the only person who got married last year without a baby. but that's not my complaint. The babies are pouring out of our pals like it's going out of style. It's some kind of Babygeddon.
And with that in mind, to all those so helpfully pointing out my lack of a baby and who seem to think that reminding me of this will spur me into action ("A baby? Why didn't I I think of that! And Mr Zeus is not going to be young forever? What a revelation!") I ask you to click here.
Now you're probably thinking "But Bollybutton, weren't you yourself desperate for a baby a while ago? What's with all the evil hag-like behaviour?" and you'd be right, and I was, but since I can't procreate on my own, aphid style, I got over it. And I would be the first to advocate the joys of children in a home and parenthood etc etc, but if I go visit one more set of friends with a new baby that says "You guys should have a baby." and then look only at me, I will scream. Or I'll just ask them what time they got up today.
What's with the "You GUYS" line but looking only at me? Do I look like a magical human freak that can procreate solo?
Seriously, there's only so many times you can hear the same damn line over and over again before wanting to stuff Little Junior's pipila in your ears.
That's all. Back to studying. I hope to resurface in a more pleasant and creative mood.
Tuesday, May 04, 2010
Tuesday, April 06, 2010
It's been hugely depressing to wake up for work again after the long weekend, especially considering there was only one day when I actually slept in. The rest I was up at an ungodly hour to use the time and finish up dozens of half baked projects.
So let's be cheerful today and hope that a blistering summer is on its way. Because I'm getting tired of these low 20s temperatures.
Time to get random.
Even a crushing workload seems possible...
After all, I have a magic sword
And my feline abilities are second to none
Evil shall not conquer so long as there are kittens in the world!
Tuesday, March 23, 2010
This is a post for the ladies, and the men who care.
Imagine this: you are in a foreign country. You don't speak the language. This country has a reputation of being quite safe and the locals are known for their friendliness. A stranger approaches you and offers to show you the ruins. It's broad daylight in public, so what could go wrong?
He offers you a bite of something he's eating, a local type of food, and you think what the hell, a little bit wouldn't hurt. After all he's eating it too.
Then everything gets hazy. Snow White's poisoned apple. You lose track of time and yourself and wake up in a strange room, alone with this man. He has drugged you and you have no idea what else he has done. You, your body which is precious and sacred to you, which you take care of and choose with love who you give it to - you have no idea what this stranger did to it and why he treated you with so little value. Like you were a nothing, a nobody.
Even if you were not raped, someone put something in your blood without your consent, took you somewhere you didn't want to go. You take care of yourself, there are people out there who love you. A fiance who is making plans to marry you.
What gave this man the right to do that to you?
On a scale of one to ten, how terrified would you be? Can you imagine this scenario? I can't, most of us can't because it's an unlucky few that have gone through the ordeal of having their body violated.
This is the story of Natalie Karneef, who came to Athens in 2005 and went through what I just described on the second day of her holiday of a lifetime. Her trial was due to begin this month, but the Greek courts have postponed it. To 2011. To start with, it was over 24 hours before she was able to find a hospital in Athens willing to run a rape exam on her. Then an agonising three months to see if she had been infected with an STD, or even worse, HIV.
This is unacceptable. The man they caught in connection with what happened to her had done the same 4 other foreign women. Unfortunately, there still exists a certain school of thought amongst certain men in Greece that foreign women are fair game.
I must say though that although assholes exist the world over, I did not expect the Greek courts to have the same attitude. Bah. She's a foreigner. No one in Greece to make a big deal of it for her. So what. They have sex with strangers on holiday all the time and then come crying to us afterwards that it was rape.
For shame. I say that not as a foreign woman in Greece. I say that as a woman. I say that as a sister. What if this had happened to Mr Zeus's niece? Or one of my Greek friends from bellydance class? Or my little sisters when they came here on holiday one summer?
What if it happened to someone you knew? What if it happened to you? This man has been left to roam the streets free once more, despite being convicted of other rapes. Us women who live in Athens could be coming into contact with him during our daily lives. Doesn't that thought make you feel completely revolted?
The Greek courts are a law onto themselves. There is not a lot we can do to make them take the issue of the abuse of women seriously.
We can, though, show our support to Natalie. She is one voice who wants to be heard out of God knows how many that choose to stay silent. I know that if this had happened to me, most likely I wouldn't have pursued it. Especially in a foreign country. I just don't have the courage and strength to last as long as she has.
So please, let's show her some support and drop in on her blog. Leave a comment, no matter who you are or where you are from. Let's let her know we are thinking of her and supporting her stuggle.
UPDATE: If you are a female blogger reading this, I ask you to link Natalie's blog in one of your posts. Let's look out for our fellow sisters. Let's not let this be a case of "There's nothing we can do." We can keep up to date with this case, and when it comes around again in January 2011 we can be present outside court. Numbers speak, maybe the judge will take notice.
Tuesday, March 16, 2010
On the first point at least this morning I took matters into my own hands and helped the Greek economy by going shopping. My target was Greek shoe temple, Migato. I adore Migato because they sell overpriced shoes according to winter and summer seasons, and once a season is over, they drop their prices so low I can actually afford them.
Thank God for fashion's stupid slavery to seasons.
So today I took advantage of their gracious offer of any two pairs of winter boots for EUR 50 and bought four new pairs of boots for EUR 100.
There you go, EU, I just paid some precious tax euros into the Greek economy! Time to give us a break.
Monday, March 15, 2010
Friday, March 12, 2010
Monday, March 08, 2010
These days, plates have been replaced with over priced trays of carnations. I've got to say, as corny as the whole set up struck me, I am a glutton for cheese and campness and I LOVED it!! Okay, it's not something I would do every night, but it was still hugely entertaining and completely different to any night out I've ever had.
Frangelico is frequented by some Athens celebrities, and on the night we spotted the mayor who married us and that mean chef from Efialtis Sthn Kouzina. And would you believe it, he was wearing a baseball cap even inside a dark club.
Anyway, at one point one of the performers took a break from singing, looked out into the crowd and said , "Ah... Julia.." at which point everyone broke into applause and a hand in the crowd shot up waving a DVD.
With everyone in Athens getting tired of talking about the shiteous economic situation, one of Greece's Queens of Skank, Model/Singer/Whatever Julia Alexandratou did us all a favour and released a sex tape of herself.
Okay so she claims it was done without her consent, but I'm not buying. According to her this was a private moment. Now, correct me if I'm wrong, but personally my private moments tend not to happen with a professional camera man and a professional porn actor.
Furthermore, she claims someone did the same thing to her in the past and she didn't go public that time. Eh.. if it bothered you that much the first time, surely something in your brain would say letting a cameraman into your bedroom again is a bad idea? Or not? Dunno.
Within hours of the news breaking, everyone with internet access had seen the tape. That's the thing with porn in Greece, at least those out of Mr Zeus' generation don't take it seriously. It's watched to be laughed at, not to draw inspiration from. It was the number one topic at our dinner party on Thursday.
Normally, I avoid porn because you can never be sure who is exploiting who, and it's so obviously fake I don't see the attraction. But celebrity porn is considered fair game and even I watched it, and here's my verdict: she was stoned out of her brains, looked really bored, and it was too well filmed and edited to be an amateur job.
Actually, I listened to more of it than I watched because most of it was so boring. Eventually I got tired of that too and skipped along the tape to see what it contained. Your standard stuff really, some oohing and aahing, a bit of this, a bit of that and the money shot. Ta da. It's not rocket science, and you should think twice about denying something that is so obviously professional.
Especially when there are photos of you circulating with two representatives from the biggest porn production company in Greece! I mean, really Julia! No one is buying your story!
But everyone is buying your DVD. On Saturday as I walked through the vegetable market outside my house, someone was shouting "Two kilos of potatoes for two euros, and a free DVD of Julia!"
Oh well. At least we all got a brief break from talking about the economy.
Wednesday, March 03, 2010
This is the first one as of yesterday and Bollybutton's Quest to Make a Living From Writing:
Many thanks for your email and idea.
I'm afraid this idea would not be appropriate for Olive at this time. Please look carefully at the structure and format of the magazine before submitting ideas to ensure they are appropriate to the publication.
So and So
May I punctuate this post with the following song, dedicated lovingly to myself. Nothing but death will stop me trying to make it as a writer, so take that, rejection letters!!
I recently cracked the technique of making my own sugar wax. This is a really ancient method of hair removal involving a sugary goo and strips of cotton. What, did you think waxing was a modern invention?
I take equal parts water, sugar and lemon juice and boil them down in a pan until they turn caramel coloured. Sadly, here I can offer no advice on timings etc. It took me a lot of wasted sugar to get a feel for when the paste was done. I keep a plate near the pan and drip the syrup onto it at intervals, then I rub it between my fingers and when it gets to the right texture that's how I know I'm done.
This home made sugar wax isn't as effective as the usual waxes, but it has one major advantage: it's 100% natural and you know exactly what went into it. Plus, I don't see why we have the right to change a few thousand years of beauty wisdom. Sugar wax is the only type of wax that won't rip off the top layer of skin with it which means you can wax the same area a couple of times if you missed hairs, and the ingrown hairs are much reduced.
And finally, you can eat what's left over in the pan. Do I do this? Of course not! I'm Asian , remember? There is never anything left over in the pan! If anything you will find me scraping it with a toothpick to extract just a little bit more wax for a missed patch.
Tuesday, March 02, 2010
Good bed linen costs stupid prices in Athens, so I literally brought back all the high quality cotton bed sheets and pillow cases that I could carry from the UK this time.
Fast forward to 2010 and I'm pulling new bedsheets from their packaging, inhaling the fresh cottony smell and insisting Mr Zeus feel their quality.
Barbie was a big, big part of my childhood. I don't quite remember when I stopped playing with her. I do remember my first university lecture ever was about Barbie's media image, her constant career changes and her bad influence on self-image. I sat there thinking "Really?"
I felt bad. I searched my inner psyche for things I could blame on Barbie, but found nothing.
Me and my sisters had about 20 Barbies between us, and none of them left a negative mark on us. The only doll who always played the sinister role in our games was our solitary Sindi doll. That girl was bad news, with her real eyelashes and rotating wrists.
Our Barbies were in total control of their collective destinies. They did what they wanted, when they wanted. They divorced and married one of our three Kens as they wished, with no ill feelings towards the previous wives. They had spa days before battling dragons and monsters, went on expeditions and discovered new countries while the Kens were busy being idiots.
Tuesday, February 16, 2010
So it's all over and I'm left wondering what I'll do with my Monday evenings now.
This is how last night's GNTM episode unfolded. The girls returned from London and started taking part in photo shoots that would decide who goes and who stays. First, they had to ski down a slope and deliver a line in Italian for a video ad campaign. Seraina was all "I can totally ski" having a Swiss mother and all that, but went on to do pretty much nothing special. The rest of the girls delivered their lines on their asses.
Next, the girls were asked to pose in bikinis in the snow. Why? Because this is Fashion, baby! It doesn't work like the normal world you and I inhabit. In Fashion World they shoot all the summer lines in the winter and all the winter lines in the summer.
At first I wondered why you wouldn't just fly across the equator for each respective season, but then I realised it's probably a very cunning ploy for people like Harry Christopoulos to say "Are you cold? Come here, I'll warm you up / Are you too hot? My hotel room has split level aircon. And a big circular bed with satin sheets. And all the tissue paper you can eat." (I have it on good authority that models do that behind the scenes at fashion shows, which leads me to wonder why they don't just eat a cucumber - equally calorie free. Go figure)
Next came a catwalk challenge for the gorgeous-haired Christophoros Kotentos, the only judge with hard-core fashion experience of the catwalk, who is also a designer and has dressed the likes of Rihanna.
The catwalk is where Ioanna and Seraina dazzled, and Monica and Maria stumbled, Maria quite literally. She lost a shoe while leaving the catwalk and instead of just carrying on on tip toes AS THEY HAD BEEN TAUGHT by Vicki Kaya, she kicked off the other shoe. Mistake. Telos panton, Monica has bow legs and walks like a camel so catwalk was never her strong point.
Then, eliminations time! The girls came before Her Royal Highness Vicki and eliminated in pairs of two. Here is where I disagreed. They paired Monica and Ioanna, Maria and Seraina. Monica and Seraina got to the final two. Ioanna should have been in the final two. Seraina won it, but it wasn't really a fair win.
When asked why they wanted to win, Monica talked about her lifelong passion for fashion and how she will work her fingers to the bone to make it, something she has already proved by getting to the final. She's not pretty, but she has slaved and sweated to make it to where she is. Seraina was all like "Yeah now that I'm here I realise how much I'd like to do this." Out of all the girls, the one who deserved least to win it on effort alone was Seraina.
She is one of the most beautiful girls, technically she is actually perfect. Great body and stunning face. But she has made practically no effort simply because she's so beautiful. She hasn't had to try at all. In every single shot, her eyes are completely flat. She's so devoid of personality that even last night as she was about to be crowned Next TV Reality Star, her emotions ran like this:
"I feel really... I can't believe it" (o_0)
"So many emotions are running through me right now" (o_o)
"I'm just so happy, so very happy" (o_o)
And when she won, she was like this (o,_o,)
Girl got nothing on the inside. She'd make a great door stopper.
Anyway, to me it was obvious that Vicki really wanted Monica to win, and I think that's why she put her through to the final two. When she spoke to Monica about how hard she has worked and how she has proven all her critics wrong and done nothing but work and work and work to improve, her eyes shone with pride.
When she spoke to Seraina, you could tell her heart wasn't in it. Okay she squeezed out a few cynical tears for Seraina's victory, but I knew it was Monica she wanted to win. She couldn't let her, most likely because Harry Christopoulos didn't want a Top Model winner he didn't feel like banging, so the next best thing she could do is let her almost win.
So that's a wrap, and proves my original theory that judge Jenny Balatsinou had no reason at all to even be there. The woman said about two words throughout the whole series, such as "I agree" and "Yes".
Seraina is the perfect reality TV star because she's beautiful and empty as a Greek church on Sunday - you can sit her infront of a camera and put whatever you want in her head and she'll say it. Monica meanwhile will pursue a serious fashion career. High fashion does not fit well with classic beauty - they like weird faces and strange concepts. That's why everyone remembers Lady Gaga's videos.
And so ends Greece's first Next Top Model. It's been fun, and I'm looking forward to the next, seeing where the Reject Debris washes up. I've already counted one former contestant at a wedding expo.