Thursday, 25 December 2008

FUCK YOU EBOOKERS

This is a rant. It won't be witty. It won't be Christmassy. Quite frankly Christmas can shove it, because I am mad. I will outline why:

Yesterday, I attempted to book a flight on ebookers. Now, ebookers is a nightmare before you even get to the payment stage, advertising flights that then disappear when you click on them and such. So I finally chose my overpriced return flight to Paris and then the website politely informed me in red text that ebookers was still confirming the flight with the airline and that if I didn't receive confirmation within half an hour to go ahead and rebook.

You are kidding me. I JUST ENTERED CREDIT CARD DETAILS AND CLICKED GO.

So I waited.
and waited.
and waited.

No Confirmation Email.

Better rebook, yes?
No.

Why? Because the bastards have just charged $413 to my bank account, that's why!

Not to stress, I think; it is the holiday season, people are busy celebrating a holiday honouring a deity I don't believe in, eating lots of food (which I do believe in) and generally being merry. Surely, the site is just busy with crazed customers, touched by the light of consumerism, I mean, Jesus, busily snapping up last minute flights to romantic destinations. Like Paris. Which is where I want to go.
I'll just email ebookers and tell them to send on the confirmation.

Later (much later) I get an email telling me that no, no, they have no record of my booking. Not even a failed booking record. Just nothing. Nor do they have record of charging me a fuckload of money for the flight. Can I send a bank statement?

No I can't send a bank statement, say I. See, when one is travelling around the place, one uses last minute internet booking sites, not for fun, but because one is travelling around NOT SITTING AT A FULLY EQUIPPED HOME OFFICE CHEERILY MAKING USE OF THE SCANNER AND PRINTER AND PEN HOLDER AND PAPERWEIGHT AND WHATEVER OTHER NICE ITEMS ARE FOUND IN OFFICES AND NOT IN THE PLACES FREQUENTED BY TRAVELLERS! (please note that the above text was not included in my very polite response to Mr or Mrs ebookers. Please also note that I am not saying Mr or Mrs to suggest that I did not know the gender of the staff member who replied to my emails. I did know the gender of each staff member who replied, it is just that a different one replied to each email. How's that for customer service? Fuckers.)

But wait, there's more.

After a number of emails I called ebookers and after a number of phone menus I spoke to a customer service lady who was very polite even though it was obvious I was on the verge of a tantrum. Unfortunately, polite is useless when not coupled with any kind of asistance.

All I wanted was either:
a) an email assuring me that if I were to book a new flight the current charge would be refunded or
b) A GODDAMN FLIGHT TO PARIS


I got this via email:
We would also like to inform that the details which you have provided us though we are unable to retrieve the booking if you go ahead and rebook and if the ticket is non-refundable then you will be at a loss.

Right.
The woman on the phone told me to call the airline directly. I said that the airline charged £1 a minute, and that it was ebookers fault and could she please fix it.

No.

So, I set the timer (so as to be able to pay my nice hosts for the expensive phone call) and called easyjet.

USELESS

They have no record of my flight either. They suggested I call ebookers.

So right now I have no flight to Paris, $413 less in my bank account, and a FUCKING TRUCKLOAD OF RAGE on Christmas Eve.

Ok Santa, baby Jesus or whoever else is running round the skies tonight, step up. I don't want socks, I want a flight to Paris. I'll even be nice the next time I visit a famous church - no scoffing, no suggestions that someone have sex with me in the confession box, no stealing of anti-abortion fliers and certainly no graffiti (that was Brie and it was a church in Bathurst, not a famous one.)

It has happened. I am finally sick of travel and ready to come home.

Wednesday, 3 December 2008

The Singing Housewife and Simone the Little Pig







Things I love about La Ferme du Lama Gourmand:

1. The fact that it is called La Ferme du Lama Gourmand - The Farm of the Gourmet Llama. And, evidently, the llamas. Quite possibly som of the funniest looking animals in the world. They are also very well behaved when it comes to posing for photos which the 26 million llama photos I have taken will show.

2. Mud, fine food and pretty countryside.

3. Simone....I always thought pigs were semi-cute but never truly understood some peoples' passionate love for them (hey chand.) Then I met Simone. Simone is very small and brown with paler stripes (stripes! on a pig! like a little tiger pig!!!). She is round like a barrel and often gets scared of people. Apparently the solution to this is to let her sleep in your bed one night, something which Michel intends to do next weekend. I am devastated not to be here and I think that if Viv had not booked her flight to Paris already I would have cancelled that little adventure and stayed here just to see it!

4. French Scrabble. Playing it. More importantly, nearly winning it. I lost by one measly freakin' point! Though at third game, I drank too much wine and forgot to count half the points, so who knows who won. Not me though. Foreign language + wine = no.

5. Frère Jacques ring tone on phone.

6. The music collection of hosts. No one has been home during the day so I get to make dinner whilst singing at top of voice along with Nina Simone, Edith Piaf, Eartha Kitt, Shirley Bassey, Liza Minelli, Antony & the Johnstons, a wide range of opera classics and various excellent soundtracks including, yes, Yentl! (meanwhile not smoking for 4 months has stopped that unbearable pain I used to get on the high notes - woot woot!)

7. Being introduced, in the evenings, to the CDs I didn't recognise including Juliette and Nina Hagen as well as a variety of old French singers who use a lot of euphemisms for sex, masturbating and genitalia (hairy mountain being my favourite.) A few of these songs are great for a charleston which I attempted to teach to Guillaume.

8. Meeting someone else (Guillaume) who's voice can carry through several rooms and who you can hear even when you can't hear the 12 other people in the room with him. I am not alone!

9. Three words: Hay Bale Backpack.
Is backpack two words or one?

10. Finding out that one of my three favourite French words; Pompier (meaning fireman) is also a euphemism for blowjob. Very upsetting. Fortunately have replaced it with 'topinambour' which is a jerusalem artichoke. The pigs eat them. (coming in 1st and 2nd are 'quantitativement' and 'plombier.' in case you were interested)

Tuesday, 2 December 2008

Queer?

A friend of mine from Norway, Frederik, posted these quote from Whipping Girl by Julia Serano and I found it interesting...thoughts? comments?

"It [the queer/transcommunity] is a subgroup of the LGBTIQ community that is composed mostly of folks in their twenties and thirties who are more likely to refer to themselves as "dykes", "queers" and/or "trans" than "lesbian" or "gay". While diverse in many ways, this subpopulation tends to predominately inhabit urban and academic settings, and is skewed toward those who are white and/or from middle-class backgrounds. In many ways, the queer/trans community is best described as a sort of marriage of the transgender movement's call to "shatter the gender binary" and the lesbian community's pro sex, pro kink backlash to 1980s-era Andrea Dworkinism."

....

"[I call this trend subversivism] Subversivism is the practice of extolling certain gender and sexual expressions and identities simply because they are unconventional or noncomforming. In the parlance of subversivism, these atypical genders and sexualities are "good" because they "transgress" or "subvert" oppressive binary gender norms. The justification for the practice of subversivism has evolved out of a particular reading (although some would call it misreading) of the work of various influential queer theorists over the last decade and a half

To briefly summarize this popularized account: All forms of sexism arise from the gender binary system. Since the binary gender system is everywhere - in our thoughts, language, tradition, behaviors etc - the only way we can overturn it is to actively undermine the system from within. Thus, in order to challenge sexism, people must "perform" their genders in ways that bend, break and blur all imaginary distinctions that exist between male and female, heterosexual and homosexual, and so on, presumably leading to a system wide binary meltdown. According to the principles of subversivism, drag is inheretly "subversive", as it reveals that our society's binary notions of maleness and femaleness are not natural, but rather actively "constructed" and "performed" by all of us. Another way that one can be "transgressively gendered" is by identifying as genderqueer or genderfluid - i.e., refusing to identify fully as either woman or man"

....

"On the surface, subversivism gives the appearance of accommodating a seemingly infinite array of genders and sexualities, but this is not quite the case. Subversivism does have very specific boundaries; it has an "other". By glorifying identities and expressions that appear to subvert or blur gender binaries, subversivism automatically creates a reciprocal category of people whose gender and sexual identities are by default inherently conservative, even "hegemonic", because they are seen as reinforcing or naturalizing the binary gender system. Not surprisingly, this often-unspoken category of bad, conservative genders predominately made up of feminine women and masculine men who are attracted to the "opposite" sex.

....

"One routinely sees this "dark side" of subversivism rear its head in the queer/trans community, where it is not uncommon to hear individuals critique or call into question other queers or trans folks because their gender presentation, behaviors, or sexual preferences are not deemed "subversive" enough. Indeed, if one fails to sufficiently distinguish oneself from heterosexual feminine women and masculine men, one runs the risk of being accused of "reinforcing the gender binary", an indictment that is tantamount to being called a sexist. One of the most common targets of such critiques are transsexuals, and particularly those who are heterosexual and gender-normative post-transition. Indeed, because such transsexuals (in the eyes of others) transition from a seemingly "transgressive" queer identity to a "conservative" straight one, subversivists may even claim that they have transitioned in other to purposefully "assimilate" themselves into straight culture. While these days, such accusations are often couched in the rhetoric of current queer theory, they rely on many of the same mistaken assumptions that plagued the work of cissexist feminists like Janice Raymind and sociologists like Thomas Kando decades ago."

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The Blurb

For maevegobash: yeah, I just like thinking/writing/talking about myself. That's what blogs are for, right? For vegepalooza: I have been vegetarian for 25 years now - so that's always for me. My mothers cooked a storm up in the kitchen and I am carrying the torch filling my friends bellies at every opportunity. I love food and want to share my recipes, tips and tricks here to encourage creative vegetarian eating. There will also be a lot of vegan recipes for my friends with more willpower than me (sorry kids, I just love the cheese). Anyway enjoy, feel free to criticise and most of all Happy Eating!