Luca Belletti

Product Manager living in London (UK)

Let’s not forget Gay Christmas

I have booked myself into a cheap hotel in central Athens from 18 to 22 May 2006, along with some friends. Flights reservations to follow soon.

It is not a coincidence that the Eurovision Song Contest 2006 takes place that weekend in that very same city.

We probably will fail to find tickets for the show and end up watching it in some seedy taverna and spend the following day oozing ouzo and nursing a hangover.

But wow – I’m going to My First Eurovision. How cool is that?

(Oh, don’t answer. Please)

links for 2005-12-22

Half of me is supposed to be radiant

While queuing at the supermarket yesterday I spotted this headline on the cover of the latest Elle UK:

Revealed: the £7.50 face cream that’s so good we don’t wear makeup anymore!

(or something along those lines anyway)

Of course I opened the magazine to find out about this intriguingly-named wonder: Olay’s Complete Care Multi-Radiance. Because these days only One Radiance simply does not cut it.

Then later I saw it on offer at £4.49 at Superdrug – and bought it.

I am now wearing it on the right side of my face only. I defy anyone to tell which side I’ve applied it to.

I suppose one needs to use it regularly to start seeing some results, but if I spend that much on something to slap on my face, I expect to see results. Now.

links for 2005-12-21

links for 2005-12-17

The icecream experiment

Having a corner shop just, well, around the corner means that we are never more than five minutes away from any sort of tempting food, from eight in the morning to ten-thirty at night, seven days a week.

As you enter the shop, a stand-up fridge filled with tubs of Haagen-Dazs and Ben & Jerry icecream welcomes you, almost always festooned with some sort of offer.

For the last couple of weeks, the offer has been £2.79 per tub (about two pounds cheaper than usual). And we have developed this habit whereby some time after dinner Dr B. sends me subliminal messages (well, he sputters ‘icecream!’, pretending to disguise the word in a cough) and minutes later I present him with a fresh tub from the shop and two teaspoons. We take turns in passing the tub to each other and before you know it it’s gone.

This is a routine I personally decided we could work on (a sulking Dr B. denied there was anything wrong with it), so on Thursday night I bought two tubs for four pounds with my grocery shopping at the supermarket on the way home, and announced we were going to only have 1/4 tub each at every sitting instead of 1/2 tub, and I was therefore expecting them to last until Sunday night.

To make this more intriguing, I bought us a household favourite (Ben & Jerry’s’ Dublin Mudslide) and a limited-edition novelty (Haagen-Dazs’ Chocolate Cherry Brownie).

So far we have stuck with it, having only half of what we used to, and eating out of proper bowls and everything.

The verdict is that it can be done, it still feels like a treat (and why wouldn’t it, at 300 calories each?), and I found I eat slowly to make it last longer. And Chocolate Cherry Brownie can safely be dropped without causing us too much heartache.

And best of all, as Marjorie Dawes suggests, because it’s only half the calories we can have twice as much!

links for 2005-12-16

Sugar and spice (and 2,194 calories)

The pepper cookies I made last year

I am exceptionally posting from work because Dr B.’s upgrade of the modem/wireless router resulted in no internet access from home.

So Christmas has officially arrived in our household: I bought two oranges to be decorated with cloves. I found out we were out of cloves. I went down to the surprisingly well stocked corner shop, but they had none.

Two oranges sit in the fridge now.

Then I made a half-batch of thirty-six piparkökur (pepper cookies, Icelandic recipe, English language version).

This morning Dr B. noticed that only three were left and said: ‘Oh, the Cookie Fairy has come’, then made my buttocks wobble and added ‘…and you have eaten her!’

I rushed out to work without even showering.

The devil makes work for idle thumbs

Close-up of a plucked turkey

And if the devil is equipped with a Braun Silk-épil, you can go from being moderately hairy-chested to the whole plucked chicken look, including life-like bumpy rash, all in the space of half a Madonna album.

Not a good look. I was so ashamed I slept with a t-shirt on.

Ouch.

And all I can look forward now is the itching.

We will not be homeless after all

The sale of Dr B.’s flat fell through just as he had obtained an additional mortgage to purchase a bigger property. The buyer does not have access to the moneys until July.

We had visited a lovely top-floor loft-style warehouse conversion only a five minute walk from Vauxhall tube, and Dr B. was about to put in an offer just as he heard that his buyer had pulled out.

We are of course gutted. What makes it worse is that now we have to go back to cleaning and tidying up the flat every morning before going to work, in case the estate agents bring people around.

When the flat first went on the market I was enjoying the feeling of living in a perpetually spotless environment.

Now I just want a maid.

What is morning wood?

Jake Gyllenhaal with Santa's hat

Morning erections have nothing to do with dreams of sexy ladies – or sexy men, for that matter.

I had a hard time pointing at the toilet bowl after waking up today, and all I was dreaming of was that I was in a new job and we’d just been hacked. Hardly stiffy material, I know.

Although now that I think of it, the head developer was played by Jake Gyllenhaal.

Now, Jake Gyllenhaal is absolutely not my type, and I appreciate the effort he made in my dream, sporting the shaved head and combats he donned for his role in Gulf war drama ‘Jarhead’, but he just does not do it for me. Too young I think.

So I’ll just go with the ‘specific neuroreflexes that are stimulated during REM sleep’ explanation, then.

We are soon to be homeless

Dr B. has received an offer on his flat. This is the flat we share and that he put on the market two months ago in order to move to a larger place with a second bedroom (which is already being called ‘the snoring room’ in honour of my night-time concertos).

The buyer is willing to reach the asking price if the exchange happens very quickly.

We had not been looking for a new flat yet, so on Saturday morning we visited a handful of new developments Dr B. had his eyes upon. They are all due for completion sometime next Summer. They also have stupid mock-Scandinavian names.

It is probably not worth renting until next July in order to end up living in an apartment block called Dümpå.

Last night I favoured Little Britain over Madonna

If the latest documentary on Madonna had been aired five years ago, I would very likely have set two VCRs – and watched the broadcast itself – just to make sure I did not miss it.

Last night I ignored it (alright, I forgot about it) and watched Little Britain instead. I’m Going To Tell You A Secret is probably going to be repeated over the next few days on E4, E4 + 1, More 4 (and More 4 + 1 when Channel 4 launches it on the additional Freeview channel they successfully bid for the other day).

I also bet it’s already freely available from any BitTorrent client worth of its name.

What was Madonna’s big secret that she wanted to tell us anyway? If she really wanted to shock us, I suppose she could confess:

‘All this business of being out of breath and not hitting half the notes, it’s all pretense really. In reality am a trained opera singer with a vocal range of seventeen octaves, but I’d hate to come across as a pretentious virtuoso.’

Yeah, right.

Congestion charge

Working as a temp provides many perks. Leaving on a whim, for example. Taking long breaks between assignments is another one. Switching employers if relationships are less than ideal, or putting up with bad conditions knowing that you’re out of there in two paychecks’ time.

However, if like me you have been temping in the same job for over one and a half years, it’s bye bye to perks, and hello to all the disadvantages, among which no sick pay. If you are careless enough to let a bug bite you, you must deal with the consequence of money stopping trickling into your bank account until you’re back on your feet.

This is why I am off to work on enough Sudafed to put a horse to sleep, and will probably spend the rest of the day knocking down Red Bull to fight the drowsiness.

High-flying ad executives twitch at their desks on coke. Me, I shall sneak into the toilets for a quick snog with my Night Nurse every now and then.

links for 2005-11-30

links for 2005-11-29

The Red Heart Ball was not a success

The Red Heart Ball held to raise funds and awareness of Worlds Aids Day was probably not a success, unless it filled out in its later hours.

It was empty at 9 when we arrived at Koko after warming up at the Royal Vauxhall Tavern, and still pretty much not busy at all when we left at 10.30 and headed out to DTPM to cut our losses, before I even had a chance to climb and lick the stage Madonna had tread upon just over a week before. I kept staring up at the glitter ball, large enough to hold her, maybe she was still trapped in there and I could go save her and we would become friends and go heartlessly kill pretty doe-eyed does together.

Well, in the end it was worth going to have a look at the sumptuous venue anyway. A good lick of (red laquered) paint and several (faux) crystal chandeliers did wonders to the former Camden Palace, but it was not enough to make us resist the temptation of going on to more peopled dancefloors.

One quick phonecall to one of my friends who joined us with eight half-price entry passes to DTPM, and we were crossing the doors of the palace of naughty Sunday night clubbing.

Musical highlight: hearing some sort of instrumental mix for Hung Up. All you could make out was the distinctive strong bass line, and possibly a muted, muffled hint at the ABBA-borrowed loop. It works.

Surreal highlight: being dragged off the stage from the above friend who wanted to talk business and introduced me to a guy who desperately needed a developer to build a website around a 5,000-entry SQL database – in two days!

I checked the website last night, it actually announces it is being launched on 30 November. Did he not know you should never say when you are going to launch something online, because something always goes wrong?

This guy gave me his card with a hopeful look and said that the agency who was working on the website pulled out saying it was too complicated and they did not have enough resources, and so he was desperate. Funny how you can always trust a gay man to dance his tits off in the face of adversity.

I politely declined to help and wished him to quickly find someone who could. Looking at the state the people in the club were in, I doubt he found them there.

Totty highlight: spotting him off the telly I like a lot. The one I once mentioned had a blog.

It was either him or a very convincing lookalike who should totally take advantage of the resemblance to bed as many sad star-strucked stalkers as he could.

I left the club at four and went to bed at 5.30, via a very long bus ride to Leyton and back, just because I thought it was within walking distance from home. It is not.

And as I said, I slept for two hours, went to work and spent the day writing multi-step forms in ASP. It was quite a disappointment to realise that my job was so undemanding.

links for 2005-11-26

We are proud to announce that this weblog contains no misspelled wirds

Dr B. alerted me upon the fact that the advertising poster for Adrian Mole and The Weapons of Mass Destruction contained a typo. Ah yes, our autumnal evening dinnertime chats are so exciting!

I checked it, and it says exactly this:

Richly comic… Stuffed fall of humour, tragedy, vanity, pathos and very
occasionally, wisdom. Guardian

Stuffed fall of humour. Is this a take on the fact that The Guardian‘s frequent typos have earned it the unflattering ‘Grauniad‘ sobriquet?

Take That to reform but without Robbie

‘Gary Barlow, Howard Donald, Jason Orange and Mark Owen announced at a London news conference on Friday that they are reuniting for an 11-date arena tour starting in April.’

(Reuters.co.uk)

I’m trying to come up with something really really nasty to say about this, but the truth is that I’m really chuffed for them.

I think I gave it away when I ran across the gym earlier today to plug my earphones into one of the step-machines-cum-tv that was broadcasting the press conference on Sky, to find out why Gary Barlow was looking so grumpy (well, wouldn’t you? First they praise you as the most talented new songwriter around, and ten career-less years later you end up reforming like cheap ham).

links for 2005-11-25

One tiny zimmerframe-assisted step closer to old age

A picture of actor Robert Taylor

Had he not died twenty years ago, my father would celebrate his eighty-seventh birthday today.

I feel old.

By the way, this is not a photo of my dad. I have a few with me in photo albums I took from my mother’s house over a year ago. The idea was to scan them all and return the albums. They still sit there untouched.

The hunk in the picture is Robert Taylor, the actor my mother had a major crush on. She was fifteen when Waterloo Bridge came out.

And now I feel ancient.

links for 2005-11-24

Move it with Madge: the fitness video for aging disco bunnies

Success! I made a dent into my month-long gym hyatus by using my secret weapon: Confessions On A Dancefloor, quite possibly the greatest workout album ever produced.

At 56 minutes and 28 seconds, it covers exactly the duration of my average session, from initial warm-up jog (Hung Up) to final cool-down stretches (Like It Or Not), via an unsurprising peak of bicep curls (I Love New York), an unexpected second wind doing alternate rows (Jump) and winding down with ab crunches (Push).

Either the image of Madonna’s 47-year-old toned butt made me go the extra mile, or I have not lost that much strength in a month (around 5%, I’d say).

This morning I am aching all over, and yet I cannot wait go to back.

links for 2005-11-23