My Corkscrew Got Screwed Up; or, The Worst Christmas Ever

A day before Christmas, something terrible had happened. My corkscrew got screwed – in a bad way – it broke into two pieces as I was diligently applying it to a bottle. I was left in an even worse way, with the prospect of holiday without wine. Fortunately, there was still slivovitz. A few days … Continue reading My Corkscrew Got Screwed Up; or, The Worst Christmas Ever

Weird Czech Seasonal Traditions; or, Carp in the Bathtub

Unless you’re Czech, you’ll be surprised to find that we Czechs have one of the weirdest sets of Christmas traditions ever. They range from tampering with dangerous chemicals (lead pouring), through animal cruelty (carp in the bathtub), to becoming a Christian for one day (atheists attending the midnight mass). Preparations for Day C aka Christmas … Continue reading Weird Czech Seasonal Traditions; or, Carp in the Bathtub

Troubles with Trains, Tribbles and the Whole Universe

It’s become a tradition to begin my travel posts with how much I hate travelling. Much to the despair of my cat and more to my own despair, I travel quite a bit. My latest achievement is a completed business trip to Gdansk, Poland, which took twelve hours on the train, and which I survived. … Continue reading Troubles with Trains, Tribbles and the Whole Universe

A Vignette from the (Un)employment Agency

When I discovered that life was tough, that the system was sick and that no ordinary gainful employment could possibly support a single person living alone in a rented flat, I put my self-respect away to join the skeletons in the closet and went to give myself in at the local employment agency. The institution’s building … Continue reading A Vignette from the (Un)employment Agency

In a Morbid Vein: About Undertakers

Now more than ever seems it rich to die, To cease upon the midnight with no pain. --John Keats Like John Keats, I’ve been thinking about ceasing and expiring a lot these days. After some twenty-five years spent successively at school, college and university, I ceased to be a proper student. It’s not that I’ve … Continue reading In a Morbid Vein: About Undertakers

From Academia to Actual Life; or, The Downward Spiral

I waited for five years to start serious work on my dissertation. During that time, I became chums with the dean, since I was constantly writing him requests for the extension of my studies. My department was well pleased with the extensions because a student proofreading and editing workforce can be more easily underpaid and … Continue reading From Academia to Actual Life; or, The Downward Spiral