Wednesday, December 26

Ho I Ho

Cleveland for Christmas and it never disappoints.

Saturday night we went to dinner with Anne's brother Russ and his wife Chris. Drank sidecars which is always notable. Their daughter Mandy was just back from Peru, and she freaked us all out with her stories of E. coli and crappy charity work in Lima. She hiked to Machu Picchu, and that got me thinking ... We've all seen amazing photos of Machu Picchu, and Anne and I hope to go next year (we'll take the luxury train, none of this hiking business), but I think I want to be the guy who doesn't like Machu Picchu.



Fake Blog Person: How'd you like Machu Picchu?
Futuristic me: Ugghh. I thought they would have a better gift shop
FBP: But didn't the Incas have an amazing sense of structure and civilization?
FM: Yes, but it didn't stretch to good restroom facilities did it?

Sunday was a great day of doing nothing, we ate, drank and listened to Anne's p'rents tell stories from their younger days. All good fun and I even started on a genealogy project for Anne's side of the family.

Monday began in downtown Cleveland buying pierogies and trying to find a comedic Menora (more later). God bless the missus. She had the balls to ask the guy in Family Dollar if they had one. He gave a her a look that said, "I work in Family Dollar for 6 bucks an hour".

For dinner we ate pierogies and I gained 6lbs in 20 minutes. Damn those things are heavy.

Later that night we went to Bud and Joann's house. Bud is Anne's youngest brother and he throws THE best Xmas Eve party. The house is a great mix of adults building toys for excited kids, using instructions translated from a Chinese manual. Multi-generational drunkenness and more food than you'll ever want to see. I think it was also my first glimpse of the Christmas Story. TBS run it for 24 hours. It was filmed in Cleveland and everyone loves this movie except me.

Christmas Day begins with me chatting with my folks in the land of the Eng. They had a good dinner and were kicking back to relax that evening. Back in Ohio, we do the whole Yankee Swap thing. Anne's brother Ron won the prize for the largest gift offered (a stepladder), he is also Commander of the Swap but I took offense to his Euro-effete-socialist-liberal way of doing things (oh wait that's me).

His wife Maggie was suitably punished by choosing my Hannukah and Kwanzaa diversity celebration basket. Canned yams and Shabbat candles. She took it well and I expect her to become a fan of blaxploitation movies in the coming year.

Me? I got a remote controlled snake to amuse myself as I watch Snakes on a Plane. Anne got a robotic cocktail shaker. My poor father-in-law ended up with a man purse.

Photos from the day.

Rusty temporarily bags the stepladder


Ron and Natalie look on as Maggie sings "Say it Loud, I'm Black and I'm Proud"


"First a European son-in-law, now a man bag", says Anne's Dad


Dylan gets gifts #4, 9 and 15!


Holy snakes for Christmas. Anne loves it as much as me.


Bud gets the booze ... for now


Tyler unwraps, Jenny wins patient Mom of the Year

Thursday, December 20

Copper Colored Kettles

Apparently you should jot down a list of your favorite things whenever you are in the mood to vent a little bile.

So here goes! A list of things I enjoyed on our holiday to Mexico. I threw in a few grumbles to flesh it all out.

Houston to Acapulco; some old geezer stole my aisle seat. He said he needed access to the toilet. The bastard didn't get up once during the whole flight! Redemption came in the form of the old man's safari suit he wore. Very dapper indeed.


The Customs Form you fill in on the airplane flying into Mexico states that you can only bring in ONE of the following. In case the photo is too small here's a selection: A typewriter, a pair of binoculars, 2 laser disks, a tent, 2 tennis rackers, a TV smaller than 12".

The Acapulco baggage reclaim and Customs hall is simple. An x-ray machine and a huge 20" diameter comedy-style button. You hit the button and if the buzzer goes off 2 women with plastic gloves check the contents of your bag.

Working the odds, I'm guessing you have a 1 in 8 chance of having your bag checked. Hey, guess which 64-1 shot has had their bags checked 2 years running? Meanwhile the drug mule behind me walked thru'. And what a walk thru'. Once outside Customs there's a scrum of taxi driver/time share guys selling you their wares.

Escaping the scrum and surviving the shock of wonderful humid heat (coming from a Boston winter), we were ferried from the airport to our hotel in a minivan with 3 other couples. There's a patch of Acapulco in between the luxury developments that is the 'real' Acapulco. That's English 'real', not Spanish 'Real'.

The area includes a roundabout / rotary / circle, that has no rules. 7 roads converge on this one space and you can drive on whatever side of the road you want. Generally the bigger trucks seem to do best, but there's always some crazy young latino with a pencil mustache on a scooter slaloming through the melée. Or a car full of nuns. Ironically they did not have a prayer.

What's better than falling asleep, outside at night, on your own balcony bed? Sure, I was bitten 27 times on the legs by red ants, but hey, after the 6-pack abs, my legs ARE my best feature™!

Flicking through the TV channels, we stumbled on CNN who were playing a Amy Winehouse video. We spent the next 17 hours believing she had died.

To be clear, Amy's death would not be good (she's currently 24 so she has three more years before she can join The 27 Club of Jimi, Janis, Jim and Kurt), but her fake death did display just how good it was to be starved of useless media for a while (such as pointless blogs ...).

Believe it or not, the Acapulco Wal-Mart is awesome! I'm no fan of it's US counterpart but the Mexicans do it with style. It seems at the end of every aisle there is a young woman selling/promoting a product. I saw a woman dressed as the Energizer Bunny and 2 women selling douche products. We had a great conversation with a rep. regarding Coppertone sun lotion. She couldn't speak English and my awful Spanish hadn't kicked in (it takes about 24 hours before I start speaking any foreign language). Despite the linguistic incompatibilities, we managed to work out that Anne and I needed sun protection. Protection so thick that the next step would be to wear an anorak. Elsewhere we taste-tested guacamole, were offered tours of the area, and even had our bags packed by a little boy named Pico who bagged better than anyone at Whole Foods.

BubuLubu - a chocolate covered marshmallow treat. Damn those were good.

We filled in a Customer Survey and were gifted a set of beautiful 'Las Brisas' face-cloths. Kind of feel bad for stealing the toothbrush now.

We both felt slightly uncomfortable living 4 days of our life in such luxury, but compare that to the rich and spoiled over-medicated woman we shared a jeep ride with. She hated every little bump in the road and appeared to be allergic to sunlight. Poor dear.

The Road by Cormac McCarthy. The post apocalypse journey of a child and his soon-to-die father may be no laugh-fest, but on a sun-lounger with a six pack of Sol who the fuck cares?

On the ride back to the airport, an American lady took photos from inside our fast moving mini-van with tinted windows, on her 1 mega-pixel cell phone camera. "No, no, they will look great honey", said her husband. What am I loving here? Utter stupidity with no bad consequence.

Customs, taxi, concierge, security. All personnel in Acapulco seem to wear crisp white shirts with military style stripes on the shoulders. Quasi-officialdom. Great.

After a protracted journey home, to be met at the door by Isobelle the Cat is a delight. Even at 2am it's a pleasure to hear her purring like a cheap Suzuki motorbike. When you think she cannot get any cuter, she burrows under the covers and falls asleep between us.

Tuesday, December 18

Sexy Eyes!

Sometimes it's right under your nose, or in the case of Sexy Eyes right above it.

As a fan of all that is kitsch, I'm super impressed when something transcends ironic cool and just becomes stand alone great.

Today that very thing happened.

Sexy Eyes came on my iPod. The Tom Jones version.

Here's the deal. First time I listened it was just your typical 70's white soul shakedown. A touch of wah-wah guitar and a tin-muted trumpet. But after repeated listening it became apparent that this is no poor man's cover of the Dr. Hook (ahem) classic.

The opening lines are:

I was sitting all alone, watching people get it on, with each other. They were dancin' 'cross the floor, turning movement back and forth, they were lovers. No more lonely nights for me, I looked up, what did I see?

Worthy of Shakespeare, but anyone can read great lines. However. It takes a special talent to deliver these lines with a sexual panache so great that Planned Parenthood are paying overtime (wo)manning the phones. Across the land, disco ladies are mysteriously getting knocked up.

Tom's voice is more suggestive than a suggestion box in a Nike Bangladeshi sweatshop.

The clip below is audio only. Because anything more would set the internet on fire. And that would spoil it for everyone. Wouldn't it?

Sunday, December 16

Supermarket Weep

Regular as clockwork I had another supermarket event today. It's snowing like a bastard, so we decided to walk to our local Whole Foods.

At check out we handed our environmentally friendly bags to the bagging guy.

Now there is a difference between a Stop & Shop/Shaw's bagger and a Whole Foods bagger. It's probably a partial credit on a Political Science degree and $1.50 an hour more, but they both know dick about bagging groceries.

So I'm splitting bagging duties with the Harvard drop-out and he grabs my bag and RE-bags it!

I don't proclaim to be good at many things (although parallel parking and mini golf spring to mind), but one thing I do have is excellent spacial awareness. I can bag groceries in my sleep.

The result is that Anne's carrots were crushed (which is odd because she doesn't really like them). Meanwhile the dread-locked middle class quasi-lib will be oblivious of the vegetable damage he created as he smokes weed in his Central Square bed-sit tonight.

Saturday, December 15

Cake

It's my better half's birthday. Probably closer to 15/16th than half however.

Her own classy link. Happy Birthday pookie.

Postscript. Went to Olé for dinner last night. I've previously blogged about what a great place it is. The restaurant packs you in tightly, and last night was chock full. So all of us got to listen to a baby crying. Really? You have to take an infant to a busy expensive restaurant on a Saturday night? Of course none of us dared to complain. Instead every table quietly fumed.

Thursday, December 13

Nobody cares what it is like in YOUR country

I'm trying to stop with the whole "In the U.K ..." start to a conversation (even when co-workers graciously acknowledge a good British TV show over it's diluted US version).

I've lived here for more than 7 years now, so I obviously quite like it. However.

Taxis.

For a country that prides itself on giving good customer service is there any shittier experience than riding in a US cab?

With no sense of hyperbole, I think ALL cabs in Boston have the "car requires service" check light activated.

A Crown Victoria is a huge car, and yet once they fit that stupid center piece, sitting on the back seat feels like an OB-GYN exam. None of the drivers seem to use the security panel so it's removed leaving large protruding flaps of plastic that would leave bizarre scars on my forehead if we crashed ... of which there is every chance, because Boston cab drivers are assholes. They've developed this notion that it's part of the charm of the city that they drive like utter twats.

And don't give me the NYC taxi cab defense. Remove the checkerboard pattern and you're still in a death-trap driven by a guy with umlauts in his name. The only redeeming assurance is that at least most of Manhattan is on a grid. So there will be a sense of geometry to your car crash.

I've no problem putting my suitcase in the hold of an aircraft to be man-handled by a douche bag from US airways, but the US taxi trunk is always some deep filled pit of rusty wheel disease.

Constantly chirping 2-way radios, distracting cell phones, lame FM and an air freshener named "Ass/gas with a hint of overly sweet/sweat fruit".

Also. I live in Cambridge and none of the drivers at Logan have any idea of the street names. And then they try to take the Ted Williams tunnel instead of Sumner. It's the wrong direction you shit-head!

As an additional bout of buggery from the City of Boston, taxis are NOT allowed to use FastPass through the tunnel. Instead they have to wait in the long line (while the clock runs) and are charged more than other vehicles. Genuine use of buggery and tunnel in a sentence there.

London taxis are clean and spacious (4 adults and their bags no problem), the drivers while boorish have to know every street within a 30 mile radius. Cabs are wired so that you can speak privately, or you can choose to listen to the driver drone on about how "foreigners" are spoiling England (I said they were boorish). And they can use the special lanes to get you quickly to your final destination.

Listen and learn America.

OK I'm done.

Tuesday, December 11

Once upon a time in Mexico ...

Back from Acapulco. Needless to say it was wonderful.

Private casita and pool, absolutely no commitments, phones or computers. I read 6 books and drank 3 times as many beers.

Roll on 2008, so we can go back there again.

The only complaints I have revolve around when we HAD to interact around other people. Normal bitching and grumbling will return soon

I should have picked Acapulcan Luis Miguel for the musical accomp., but instead I went with Joe Cuba.

Wednesday, December 5

God Bless America(n Airlines)


I e-mailed American a few days ago. I wanted to know if I my parents in England could use an AA gift card.

First mail I received was an automated one.

Could they kiss my ass any more? Kiss ass comments in bold.
Bold Italic text demonstrates why automated mails are stupid.


Dear Mr. Taylor:

Thank you for sending us such nice sentiments via our American Airlines Customer Relations online form. Positive feedback means a lot to us as it helps us pinpoint areas of our service where we excel so we can improve our overall service.

Again, thank you. We regard every contact from a customer as a welcome opportunity to listen and learn. It is a privilege to have you as an American Airlines customer.

As the holiday season fast approaches, we begin to think about spending treasured time with friends, loved ones and .... shopping| For a very special holiday gift, you may want to consider the gift of travel. Check out our holiday gift cards at: http://www.aa.com/givetravel.

That's right, my mail requesting information about gift cards garnered an automated response suggesting a gift card.


The 2nd mail ...

3 paragraphs copied and pasted from the website i.e not written by Customer Service. And then: ... I'm sorry that your parent's will not be able to utilize the gift cards since they live in the UK.

Sorry to be the grammar police but parents should not have an apostrophe.

All things considered I still like American Airlines, and will carry on using them. The 2nd e-mail was from: Dixie L. Hoopes

How can you dislike a company that employs Dixie L. Hoopes?

Tuesday, December 4

It's a scientifically quantifiable amount

.
THINGS I'VE HAD A COMPLETE AND UTTER ASSFUL OF

Christmas music - Children playing, having fun. Who cares?

Starbucks customers - Starbucks have good product, they're charitable and they pay benefits to part time staff, so why do I hate every single person stood in line? "Oh, I cannot start my day without a Venti Chai Latte." Try living in Darfur bitch.

Boston driver superiority - Having rotaries doesn't make you better drivers until you learn to use them properly. Stop yielding when you are on them, and stop entering them at speed without looking left you dicks.



Local Government - 2 pieces of mail, first born child, inside leg measurement, a letter from your employer, cornea scan and a gift wrapped box of attitude just to get a parking permit

Door to Door Charity Collectors exposing my psychological weaknesses
-
"Hello Mr Taylor, we are collecting for battered women, would you make a donation?",
"Hello Mr Taylor, would you subscribe to this magazine to help pay for poor kids to go to college?",
"Hello Mr Taylor, give us your money or the kitten gets it in the face"


New & Improved - Putting 1% more Soy Lecithin in EZ-SQUEEZE-CHEEZE, does not make it New & Improved.

To address the imbalance.

THINGS PEOPLE AROUND ME HAVE HAD AN ASSFUL OF
The following words come out of my mouth every hour, on the hour,
"I'm going to Acapulco on Thursday."
Let me hear you say "Oh yeah!"

Sunday, December 2

Separated at birth? *


Javier Bardem as Anton Chigurh in No Country for Old Men.
and Saleisha from Cycle 9 of America's Next Top Model.
To quote Jay Manuel, "They both work it like the rent is due tomorrow."

* Apparently this humorous observation made by my fellow cinema-goer was culled from fourfour. Their ANTM model weekly recap is often funny. View it here.

Saturday, December 1

The colonoscopy of theaters

Anne and I went to see Margot at the Wedding at Kendall Square Cinema tonight. Boy is that place 'up it's own ass'. The movie was good however.

In fact full marks to Jennifer Jason Leigh, she's 45, she had a semi-clad Jack Black next to her, and yet she still managed to look damn sexy in a pair of men's pyjamas (it's how I spell pajamas).

Friday, November 30

Helvetica


Please buy or rent the documentary Helvetica celebrating 50 years of the ubiquitous if somewhat bland typeface.

I'm a huge fan of the modernist movement, so unless you are German or Swiss you should not design typefaces*. However, Hermann Zapf is living proof that just being German doesn't guarantee your fonts are any good.

* British design genius Neville Brody appears in the film, but he is the exception that proves the rule.

Also in the documentary, Erik Spiekermann shows that Germans can actually be funny! Link to his blog

Part 2
Demonstrating how hack most US typographers are, Tobias Frere-Jones tells a shitty tale regarding letter-spacing on a dry cleaner's sign. He drops his fiancée into the story, and it seems totally manufactured to prove he is not asexual.

His partner in crime, (because bad design should be punished) Jonathan Hoefler rolls out some crap regarding typographic integrity in period films. Here's ALL you need to know about Hoefler.


He designed Hoefler Text. Alphabetically on most lists it comes after (the World's worst typeface) Hobo. It's the font list equivalent of living next to a pig farm. Doesn't matter how well crafted it is, it still stinks.

American typographer Morris Benton designed many great fonts, but he also drew Hobo and frankly that cancels out his whole body of work.

New tangent. If lead singer of The Time, Morris Day and his sidekick partner Jerome Benton became a celebrity couple, their portmanteau could be MorrisBenton. Wow! That's specialist. Am I the only person making references to typographic design and Prince side projects in one fell swoop?

Part 3
So as not to be accused of Anti-Americanism, David Carson is a genius. He designed Ray Gun in the 90's. It's unreadable typography challenged design sensibilities although David admits many of his so called daring type treatments were mistakes made at the proofing stage!

Best story from the Ray Gun years? One of the magazine writers submitted a bland, generic story about Bryan Ferry of Roxy Music fame. Carson found the text so boring that during the layout phase, he went down his whole font list to the alphabetical end. He changed and subsequently printed the article in Zapf Dingbats, the symbol-only font.

A dick move? For sure! As a fan of ballsy design I love this guy, however I married a writer, so let's keep it quiet shall we?

Monday, November 26

(Picture Free) Crazy Weekend Round Up

Friday: Went to the Post Office to mail some packages. The old lady behind the counter looked so glum, you'd think she'd won tickets to a Celine Dion concert.

It became my mission to make her smile, and as she stamped each of the five Customs slips her discontent grew.

Finally she said, "I'm such a jerk"
"Why?", I replied.
"I should have taken today off. I don't work weekends, Mondays or Tuesdays. I could have had a whole 6 days off."

I cajoled her with how good she was stamping my packages (not as patronizing as it sounds), she told me how impressed she was that I had Christmas stuff out of the way. Before you knew it we were metaphorically clinking cocktail glasses and her sullen depressing gloom was temporarily lifted.

Sunday: I could write something about each weekly trip we make to the supermarket. Overheard in the cereal aisle, "Organic. What do you think they mean by that?"

On our way out of the store we bumped into a familiar looking old woman. It was Post Office lady! She looked how you appear just before they shave off your hair in preparation for the electric chair. Didn't get a smile from her this time round. Bummer.

On our ride home we went down Butt-Nut Lane a.k.a, Springfield St. Somerville. These are the clowns who light up the street at Christmas like it's the runway at Logan. November 25 and the trailer sized manger is out already. I made a baby Jesus quip to Anne who pointed out that you "Don't put the baby in until Christmas."

I imagined the sheep saying "So we have to hang around for a whole month in this m-effing weather? Damn!", (one of the sheep was black). Actually, one of the shepherd/kings looked a lot like Bootsy Collins too, regaled in finest purple. I love Bootsy although his Christmas album is one of the worst I've ever heard (although not quite as bad as Billy Idol's).

Sunday night finished with a trip to Target. I went silly buying portable compartment dividers for my car - Christ I'm aging by the minute. Our trip was made all the brighter by an old curmudgeon plodding up and down the aisles looking to pick a fight with anyone who would listen to her profanity strewn voice. Love that.

Friday, November 23

One more for the Zipper

It's 2am the day after Thanksgiving, and I'm awake and out of bed. I had a dream that I was trying to enter a sporting event using a bootleg plastic zipper seal bag. The police tapped me on the shoulder to ask what kind of bag it was, and I collapsed like a house of cards. As a rule of thumb, never tell people stories about your dreams. As this post ably demonstrates, they are never as fantastical as you think. In my experience your story always ends with the other person making a non committal grunting noise coupled with a slow nod of the head.

The dream woke me up, but age kept me up. I've reached the age where I have to be careful what I eat before I go to sleep.


Yesterday being Thanksgiving, I ate and drank too much. See what the missus wrote about the Day here. Of course eating a second helping of salty, therefore delicious, stuffing at 8pm was bound to de-hydrate me. As was the extra beer. Dreaming of our upcoming Mexican trip, I bought Tecate on Wednesday night (on my way home from the gym of course).


I didn't help things by lazily NOT refilling my supa-fly Swiss humidifier. It gets so dry here in winter, that I need to actively turn our bedroom into a sauna. Only this new humidifier emits a cold vapor. Kind of like a shitty 80's pop video.


It's way more functional than last year's humidifier - the Japanese donut. But man was that thing stylish.

I'm slowly introducing old person items into my life. Last week a folding foot stool arrived in the mail. It's a shoddy wooden construction with a fake woolen top. It takes center stage next to the sofa when I watch Jeopardy on TV ... next to my blanket ... and puzzle books.

I'm so old.

Thursday, November 22

Blogworthy

Not really a word, but it has crept into our vocabulary lately.

Anne came up with the wonderful idea of attending a pop culture exhibition last weekend in Framingham. It was full of retro TV memorabilia, plus some Star Wars crap. The TV stuff wasn't really relevant to me. I grew up in another country. Also I have not seen a single Star Wars movie - something I wear like a badge of honor.

Anne's reply was that the place would be filled with "blogworthy nutjobs".

I hit back with, "So is the Medford Stop & Shop".

Kapow!
as Batman would say if I secretly did watch those American TV shows! Medford being closer than Framingham we went grocery shopping. And sure enough before we even set foot inside the store, the trip was a montage of fun. Inman Square meth-heads, Somerville douchebag drivers, and old white ladies dressed like Flava Flav. Once inside ... so many questions.

• Why do tool guys think it is OK to walk in front of my moving shopping cart?
• Why does a High School drop out think she can pack groceries better than me?
• Why is there always a line of check cashers at the bank on a Sunday morning?
• Why do all shopping carts now have to have coffee cup holders?
• Why haven't Ben & Jerry come out with a new flavor in 2 months?
• Why is organic product still a 'store within a store'?
• Do we really need a whole aisle of Christmas theme 5lb bags of M&Ms?
• Why does the person manning the 'self check out' area always seem to be worse than me at scanning problematical bar codes?

I'm done. Grumpy Old man I know. I'd prefer to be Jack Lemmon over Walter Matthau, and my wife is actually called Ann(e) Margaret.

Friday, November 16

You don't see that too often

Anne and I attended a charity event last night. It was very well organized with silent and live auctions, and lots of good people lending their time to a worthy cause.

There was a 3 piece band playing lite jazz arrangements of pop classics. Everybody seemed to love their musical noodling.

Better yet, the drummer was an older lady who looked like a thoroughly depressed Gena Rowlands.

A morose senior hitting the jazz skins! More hi-hat? Piss off.

Tuesday, November 13

De Doo Doo Doo De Da Da Da

We went to see The Police on Sunday night. Let me explain.

Friday night, our venerable friend Johnny e-mailed us to say he had tickets to Sunday's show. He's the best connected person I know. He gets to go to the Super Bowl, he's met Mr. T and I once saw Belinda Carlisle naked thanks to him.

Anyway. His e-mail mentions the tickets are "in a suite at the BankNorth Garden", but sadly he cannot go. I hate basketball, but I'd go watch the Celtics every night if it was from a suite like this. We virtually had the suite to ourselves. One other couple kept popping in and out. From our vantage point, the stage was straight in front at a 90° angle. Awesome.

Of course I'm too young to like The Police. My older sister liked them. Still, I knew most of the songs, and it appears that Sting still sings in the same key as 25 years ago.

Couldn't help but notice that all three of them have look-a-likes.

I don't care whether this story is true or just an urban legend. Stewart Copeland would scrawl "f - - - off" on his drum kit and imagine he was banging Sting's head while pounding out a beat.



Another Police story.
As a kid I thought the lyrics to "So Lonely", were "I feel Sue Lawley, I feel Sue Lawley"

Sue Lawley is/was a British newsreader. From the photo it should be quite obvious we are talking 1980s.





And another Police Story
1981. It's my eleventh birthday and I'm on a pedalo (that's English for Paddle Boat) in Corfu with my sister. Message in a Bottle had been a hit 2 years previous, but my sister was still listening to Reggatta de Blanc. A mile out to sea, we notice a bottle. With a message inside. My dear sister decides to jump into the sea to retrieve the bottle. Bottle retrieved she attempts to get back on the pedalo. She cannot. Instead she almost tips the damned boat over. I start crying. An 11 year old shouldn't start crying, but I'm a crappy swimmer, and the current is taking us away from the beach. Hours (probably exaggerating) later we make it back to shore with me pedalling while sister hangs on to the pedalo and does a pointless swimmers kicking motion. Happy Birthday to me. Message turns out to be some desperate Albanian, repressed by the Communist regime. Cheers Albania.

Sunday, November 11

Remembrance/Veterans' Day


The 11th Hour of the 11th Day of the 11th Month. An end to WWI.

My grandfather fought in WWII, and he recently passed away. Sorting through his things we found a bunch of photographs from his Army days.

I love this photo. I still cannot tell if this is a mirror or a window.

All better men than me.

That's poor

I'm watching the Man Utd vs Blackburn game.

David Bentley's name is spelled incorrectly on the back of his shirt.

Saturday, November 10

Polka Polka Polka


Bought these little babies on our way home from Magnolia's tonight. What is it about polka dots? You can put them on anything - babies, cars, dialysis machines. They are always adorable. They have no real connection to the accordion filled music of the same name.

Yay! It's Christmas


Shopping in my local Shaw's supermarket earlier today, I was bombarded with Christmas music. November 10 people. November 10.

Worse still it was Michael Bolton. Does anyone like that mullet haired wanker?

Tuesday, November 6

Cardigan Schmardigan


I bought this at Zara last month. I knew it wasn't really me, but sometimes you buy things hoping they will grow on you, or give you a dazzling new look.

It didn't.

Firstly, I have an aversion to anything touching my Adam's Apple, and secondly, my face is too fat to be framed by a high collar.


It makes me look like Ming the Merciless from Flash Gordon.


Last time I looked good in a cardigan? 1974.

Monday, November 5

Straight Outta Danvers


I was reading an article on Boston.com today about some kid in Danvers terrorizing his 'hood with loud rap music and a pimped out car.

Anyone with a passing knowledge of West Coast rap (I'm a white, middle aged, white collar guy), knows that 187 is police code for a homicide, and the original LA area code is 213.

The kid is Mr 5-0-7 (public nuisance). Representing 978. Liberty Tree Mall in the house.

Tosspot. For real.

Sunday, November 4

AR12


Quick observations regarding the new Amazing Race.

• Anne discussing the contestants "another round up of tools"
• Julia is of Spanish descent, so it's pronounced "hoo-lia". I'm going to pronounce all 'j's like this from now on.
• The goths used "Oh my goth", a split second before I did. Damn them.
• Nathan & Jennifer. Him cheater, her victim, they deserve each other.
• Who orders a taxi at an airport? The place is crawling with them.
• TK. Cool? Be wary of men with first names that are just initials.
• Raymond: "Who's your Daddy?" There is no better TV than an elderly Asian American dancing on a mat in rural Ireland.

Sunday isn't Sunday without the Amazing Race dramatic slo-mo just before commercial.

That's all.

Saturday, November 3

Day 6 - Going home


Thanks American Airlines. You canceled my flight. Now I won't get home until this evening.

Nice Nuts
Bought these on Monday, still hadn't finished them by Saturday.


Time to go Home
I went to Chaska Post Office to mail the items I couldn't take on the plane. Razors, scissors, air-horns, antique stool samples etc. etc. The polite woman who served me, looked at my envelope and said, "Hey, my Dad worked in Cambridge - he was the first black patrolman there in the 1950s." I swear this woman was paler than me. And I'm pale.

Same thing in the airport a few hours later. My waitress used to live on Boylston. Now she serves 8,000 calorie brownies to unsuspecting travelers.

Hello Senator

For those unfamiliar click here. Here's the bathroom. In case you are curious, once inside it's the 8th stall of nine.


Be patient with your parents
Preparing to fly from Minneapolis to Chicago. The woman in front of me was talking to her mom on her cell phone. I only heard her side of the conversation, but I got the picture.

I'm flying from Chicago to London.
They're 5 hours ahead.
Yes 6 hours ahead of Chicago, but you live in Long Island, and that's only 5 hours.
They changed their clocks last week.
Yes, I know we are changing ours tonight.
I don't know why they do theirs at a different time.
Yes it's confusing mom.
No I'll call you in the morning.
Your morning, my afternoon.
I'll be 5 hours ahead.
Yes, even with the clocks changing.

Finally
Extra stuff I never got round to writing or posting ...

Scariest moment of the trip
was in Arkansas. I was looking for the town of Zinc on my KKK search, and I turned down a country lane to Pyatt. I crossed a one lane bridge, over derelict train tracks (even Scooby Doo wouldn't have done this), and ended up in the middle of two dusty connecting streets of trailer homes. Everyone watched as I did a 3 point turn in my Illinois plated $25k rental car. Didn't stop to say hi.

We need more of these
A building shaped like a boat.


If you have to ask
You don't want to know.


Guess Who?


Guess What?
It's part of the Berlin wall turned into some nut-job religious artifact.


and they had a gift shop.


College Girls gone mild
A colleague went to college in Missouri. Here's a less than outrageous photo of her sorority building.


Serenity Now
More Precious moments


You should have seen the size of the net


Frenzy of Birds


If ever you find yourself in Webster, SD
(Between the months of May and October)


I don't care for country music.
With a few exceptions, 1975 is the cut off point for the good stuff, but out on the open road I got a sense for why it exists. Perhaps it could be quarantined so that only people within a 2 mile radius of a farm can listen to it?

No animation
How about an old time map with an animated red line moving past the places I visited? Unfortunately I'm just not that good. Click on the map to see an enlarged version of how I racked up 1,565 miles.