Thursday, March 31, 2005

Like Cassandra, I too have the burden of prophecy. Fortunately, my curse is not to forsee the fall of Troy and have no sympathetic ear to tell. My curse is the prophecy of the mundane. I constantly have visions of the future but rather than the useful ability to divine doom or winning lottery numbers I can only see the dull portents of upcoming banalities. I will have the clear vision of me brushing my teeth at an unfamiliar sink and a month later I will be in a hotel at that very sink that I foresaw. The worse calamity that I have foretold was a head cold as the premontion of my sneezing into a tissue came to pass. The biggest problem is I constantly confuse the memories of my
everyday life such as sitting at my desk typing with the predictions of my everyday life such as sitting at my desk typing in the near future. This morning while waking and listening to the news, I saw in my mind's eye the eating of a delicious soup. Spooky, huh?

"Have I missed the mark, or, like true archer, do I strike my quarry?
Or am I prophet of lies, a babbler from door to door?" -Cassandra

Friday, March 25, 2005

Made a little trip to paris and as you can see by the picture I had a lovely time.

Sunday, March 13, 2005

Our humble narrator sometimes forgets that he lives in a foreign country. It is not unusual. Everyone speaks a dialect of English and I have been here long enough for the novelty of things like biscuits versus cookies to wear off. That is until the Welsh are in town. It’s not only because they speak another language and their English is affected with a singsong lilt usually heard in West African accents. This is secondary to the truly bizarre and alien behaviour of this race. Firstly, their god is a vegetable. Behold the Leek! They carry effigies. They dress in full body costumes of them. The less devout wear pins upon their lapels. Upon their heads, they wear hats shaped like the blessed scallion. I have seen one welsh penitent carrying an eight-foot Leek. They wear kilts as well, but it is merely a pretext for public exposure of their genitalia. I was walking behind a large group as they shouted randomly at passer-byes and buses1; one Welshman paused to adjust his kilt. He carefully tucked the back hem of his kilt into the chain of his sporran and checked to ensure that both cheeks were fully exposed. He then hurried to catch up with the rest of the pack, chanting a song of incomprehensible words. God save us if they do not have a good result today2.

  1. The only natural predator of a Welshman is the red double-decker bus.

  2. FUN FACT: In Britain, fans riot when their team loses whereas in America it's usually the town of the winning team which is burned down.

Saturday, March 12, 2005

"For me the belief in necessary truths points to a severe lack of imagination rather than some glimpse of the absolute."

Monday, March 07, 2005

After reading this bit of comedy gold. (thank god. This guy is just an invention of some cartoonist at the BBC.) I am determined to use the phrase, "Is there no limit to their brazen cheek?" in a conversation. Wish me luck.

Sunday, March 06, 2005

I had a plan. When my private army took over the country, I would burn down the bookstores, but as you will discover this plan had a fatal flaw. I borrowed a book from the library upon a recommendation received over pints. I was flipping through the pages and upon the overleaf of the last page a previous reader wrote, “Lucky Jim is Great.” Written in aquamarine ink and complete with the underline. It made me even more excited about starting this book. I also deface library books regularly, tough titties if this upsets you. I started the practice after reading a borrowed copy of ‘Portrait of Dorian Gray’. The owner of the book had clearly read this novel several times and would underline sentences or phrases that were perfect examples of Wilde’s famous wit. It was like looking at geological strata. Each pass she made through its pages added a different hue of underlining as well as marking the progression of her absorption of this favoured novel. This is why I like reading 2nd hand books. I not only get to experience the thoughts of the author as he attempts to communicate something to me in a couple hundred pages, but also I get to peek at another reader’s experience of those pages. This copy of ‘Lucky Jim’ also has a listing of about twenty page numbers on a blank page. What mysteries those numbers may hold!?!

I too leave my markings and scratches upon the books I read. I underline. I also leave little annotations like, “Hey! Pay attention. This will probably be the greatest and most important thing you read in your life.” or “You might want to go get something to drink before you read this paragraph as it may cause kidney failure. Yes. It’s that good!” At the end of such paragraphs I also usually write a quick, “Told you so.

It is for this that I thought others would be better off if I just did away with the bookstores. The second hand shops would of course be spared. To be honest, I think it would be best to get rid of the high street bookstores. The books they hold are usually nothing more than covers to look at whilst you make your way to the coffee shop at its heart. Luckily, my forces have not seized the capital, and I could not rashly give the order to carry out this mistaken plan.

Today I taught my spellchecker, “titties”. Someday, my spellchecker dictionary will read like the stalls of a men’s public lavatory.

Friday, March 04, 2005

I found myself in a village outside of Edinburgh looking for a warehouse. While reconciling my hand drawn map with the unnamed streets, I noticed the buildings around me. There is a style of architecture in this country whose sole design purpose is to punish its inhabitants. They come in two shapes; rectangular and even more rectangular. They are two stories high and each residence gets four windows per side. The building is then rolled in what looks like breadcrumbs and then painted one of three shades of sputum. This kind of housing always seems to crowd the peripherals of the railroads. While you watch the countryside fly by, enjoying the beautiful landscapes and sea views, you get a sensory slap in the face as you must watch these sad little communities blur by. After traversing a few blocks of these buildings for which the exterior decorators chose ‘summer-time bile’. I found the warehouse. It was right beside a Gregg’s warehouse. For those who do not know, Gregg’s is a very cheap bakery where one can get anything they could dream of. As long as those dreams are limited to jelly donuts and sausage rolls. By order of the Queen, whenever any store closes whether it be a pub or dentist’s clinic, it is replaced by a Gregg’s. Each Gregg’s must also employ at least one teenage girl with gold hoop earrings and hickeys on her neck. The breeze told me that the warehouse was baking ‘yumyums’. My people would call these ‘bearclaws’. I played with the idea of going in and asking for a tour but I had less important but more pressing things to get done.

As I waited at the warehouse door, the sugar-sweetened breeze reminded me of a time when I lived in a similar area. For a time, my abode was a band’s practice studio located in the warehouse district of a different city in a different country. There was also an industrial bakery across the street. They made fortune cookies. Nothing but fortune cookies. Every day. At all hours. As a result, a patina of fortune cookie molecules covered everything in the immediate area. My truck’s interior carried the smell for months. Soon after, I made the decision to move to away from that city and start to live a different kind of life. Occasionally, as I fretted over the consequences of moving to a new city which held no friends or support, the waft of fortune cookie would remind me of what I was leaving behind. It reinforced that the complications and difficulties that I was facing were only niggling concerns as transitory as they were inconsequential.

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

I have never lived anywhere that snowfall was a real possibility. I was in my twenties before I ever saw a cellar or basement. Sure. I have seen snow on holiday or in James Stewart movies, but this is the first town where I have lived with snow. Well, I have to say. The charm is gone. I am not too keen on the stuff anymore. The first years here the snow would fall at night in huge fluffy clumps. Several times each season; we would get this kind of snow. (That reminds me. Seasons are a new thing to me as well, but I am still in favour of those). In the morning, the snow fairies would sweep the stuff up and that would be it until the next snowfall. Don’t get me wrong. Few things are more mesmerizing than watching the snow make its clumsy way to the ground illuminated by the light of a street lamp. The way everyone acts like children when the snow has gathered enough to warrant a snowball or tiny snowman with twigs for arms is a joy to watch.

This season was different. This year saw the snow fairies on strike and the snow was left to accumulate over several days. At first it was the usual joy. I even took off work to make my first snowman taller than a poodle (a poodle is the official unit of measurement for snowmen. For those who are interested, the snowman just mentioned was seven poodles tall). After awhile, I started to notice something. It’s wet. It’s really cold. It gets everywhere. It’s slippery. You fall a lot. In short, it’s just a pain. literally and figuratively. By the end of the day, the streets were filled with ugly black slush. The cars sprayed this disgusting fluid at the feet of frowning pedestrians. It made the city miserable looking as well as its inhabitants. To add to it, this liquid misery hung about for days. Eventually, the snow melted. The nice thing about the snow is that it seemed to be the winter’s last gesture. A two fingered wave good-bye. The morning yawns and stretches of spring are now being felt. The days are getting longer and the morning sun is already becoming obnoxiously eager to peer into my windows. Soon, the drunks will have their path home lit by a dull midnight light. Ahh. Bless this city.