19 1/2 hours with Jono

Monday, 18 August 2008

Jono arrived at my house last night at around 10pm. We had prep to do before his doctor’s appointment at 8 this morning so we went around the corner to my local. We drank beer as we filled in the medical history questionnaire and then talked about what our Monday would entail. If only we had guessed…

The pre-ordered taxi was waiting outside my house at 7.30 and got us to the insurance doctor’s office in the hills above Smíchov right on time at 8. There had clearly been some miscommunication amongst the insurance company, the doctor and my assistant, but we managed to sort out the paperwork and in the end the doctor approved Jono for his life insurance.

We got back to my office in Smíchov just after 9. My assistant had already talked to the insurance agent and she sent us straight off to the insurance company, which was nearby, so that Jono could sign the life insurance agreement. So far, so good. Things were going smoothly and we thought we had them under control.

Jono and I stopped for breakfast at Café Savoy and then went on to see P at the bank at Náměstí Republiky. We got there at 11.15, giving us at least an hour before we would have to leave to go to the developer’s office to sign the final purchase contract for our flat. P examined the insurance documents and then had further bank documents prepared for both the insurance company and the developer. Together we looked at the amendments to our future purchase contract, which changed the actual purchase price of our flat. We went over the list of what else we still needed to do to draw down the mortgage. When we were finally done with all of that and Jono and I were free to go, P called us a taxi and I called Filip to tell him we’d be a few minutes late.

Our taxi driver was a genius and we really did arrive at the developer’s office in Podolí only a few minutes late. We sat with Filip and went over the amendments to the future purchase contract and signed those. Then we discussed the price adjustment. Then we were ready to sign the 8 originals of the final purchase contract. Suddenly Filip informed us that our signatures on 4 of them would need to be notarised, but that we could all go together to the notary down the street. But I quickly realised that I couldn’t do that because I didn’t have my passport with me. “Sorry, guys…”

Filip suggested that Jono and I take the agreements, go home for my passport, and go to a notary near my house to sign, and then he would add his notarised signatures tomorrow or the next day. So off we went. We took the tram from Podolí back to Žižkov, on the way deciding to go to the notary I know in Smíchov, which is just over the road from the insurance company. The idea being that we could finish up at the insurance company afterwards.

The notary’s office was a bit crowded, but I think we were in and out in about 30 minutes. We crossed the road to the insurance office. Our agent was no longer there so we sat down with someone else. We needed the insurance company to complete the vinkulace – the document that confirms that the bank is the beneficiary on Jono’s life insurance. The woman went through the papers we had, made some copies, asked us where we wanted the vinkulace sent, and told us it would take a month.

I challenged her. A month?!!! No one had told us it would take a month and there was no logical reason why it should take a month.

She tried to explain. They would have to send the paperwork to Brno, no one in their office was authorised to complete a vinkulace But then she admitted that there might be someone in their office in Vinohrady. I asked her to call and find out. After two or three phone calls, she determined that there was someone at that minute in their office at the ass end of Prague 3 – way out near the end of the number 9 tram line. In other words, back the way we had just come from, but farther out. Off we went.

“What if we get there and she’s not there anymore?”

We walked into the insurance company office at Chmelnice. It was quiet and kind of dark. “Dobrý den, we’re looking for Mrs Procházková.”

“I’m Mrs Procházková.” Jono and I looked at each other in hope and amazement – this might just work out after all.

We sat down and Mrs Procházková looked over our paperwork. And then suddenly, “What’s this? You just signed this agreement today? It won’t be in our system yet. I’m afraid I can’t do the vinkulace until the agreement is in the system.”

A calm and civilised discussion ensued. Mrs P advised us that if we encouraged our agent a bit, she would be able to get the life insurance agreement into the system within 7-10 days. Then once the agreement is in there, Mrs P will be happy to do the vinkulace on the spot for me. A reasonable result, we thought.

About 20 minutes after we had left Mrs P, Jono got into a taxi and I stood waving him off as he headed for the airport.

Oh, and Filip and I agreed to meet at the flat for handover this Wednesday.


A Tribute to Arms

Sunday, 6 July 2008

nadal arms 1
nadal arms 2
nadal arms 3


Friday, 30 May 2008

I am not saying that I won’t be writing at all; it’s just that I want to explain why my posts may be few and infrequent. Bottom line: I’m busy.

I have a new job, which I officially start on 1 July. However I am already getting my feet wet and, as I am not tall, the water is lapping at my ass. I have been to Berlin for meetings and I think I am going to Warsaw for a party in a few weeks’ time. All this whilst I remain not quite discontentedly in my old job until 30 June.

I am also trying to arrange a mortgage and to keep up with some of my friends. And the weather has turned beautiful and warm, which gives me even less incentive to stay inside at my computer.

Thank you for reading my blog. I will be back…

Hating the haters

Friday, 16 May 2008

gay wedding

My choice has been made – I will be voting in California in November.

I don’t know that I will cast a vote in the presidential election. If I do, it will be only because I despise John McCain and not because I believe in anyone else. Sad, but true. But the reason I will bother with the whole rigmarole of absentee voting is so that those bigoted homophobic motherfuckers won’t be able to pass their bigoted homophobic proposition to ban gay marriage in California’s constitution.

Just yesterday, the California Supreme Court struck down the state’s law against same-sex marriage and declared that registered partnerships are not good enough.

“In contrast to earlier times, our state now recognizes that an individual’s capacity to establish a loving and long-term committed relationship with another person and responsibly to care for and raise children does not depend upon the individual’s sexual orientation,” Chief Justice Ronald George wrote for the majority in ringing language that delighted gay rights activists.

Massachusetts in 2004 became the first, and so far only, state to legalize gay marriage; more than 9,500 couples have taken advantage of the law. But the California ruling is considered monumental by virtue of the state’s size — 38 million out of a U.S. population of 302 million — and its historical role as the vanguard of many social and cultural changes that have swept the country since World War II.

California has an estimated 108,734 same-sex households, according to 2006 census figures.


One of the precedents cited was the California Supreme Court’s 1948 ruling that overturned the ban on interracial marriages.

The decision on same-sex marriage should be a happy ending and we should all rejoice that any couple who are lucky enough to find that kind of love can enshrine it in any way they want. We should all look forward to being invited to gay weddings where the décor and flowers, etc will all be in immaculate taste.

But instead, enter the small-minded, holier-than-thou, overly religious, freedom-loathing, malignant bigots that want us all to live based on their twisted code of intolerance and hatred. I really wish it were possible to convince them that they don’t have the right to tell other people how to live and that if there were a god, s/he would not be on their side.

Max is away

Wednesday, 30 April 2008

phu quoc

President Gas 2008

Saturday, 26 April 2008

a contemporary twist on a classic by the Psychedelic Furs;

I found it on Crooks and Liars

self-portrait in shadow

Saturday, 26 April 2008

self-portrait in shadow

Athens, Greece, October 2007