Wednesday, December 31

Trying to move on

It's been 2 weeks since our darling cat Isobelle was put to sleep. A short illness, she hardly suffered, but I feel robbed that she was only 9 years old.

Such a kind hearted cat, and ultimately weak hearted too.

After midnight, when we left the Angell Hospital we couldn't face going home to an empty house. So we walked up and down Commonwealth Ave in Boston in the freezing cold, reminiscing about her; laughing but mostly crying into the early hours of the morning.

Every object in the house has an emotional attachment to her, and now there's just space where she used to be.

And I miss her each day. I often look up expecting her to walk into the room or jump on the bed. Each noise the house makes reminds me of her. She was always near.

Not sure if we'll ever have another cat, couldn't go through the upset of losing another one.

To everyone who said how sorry they were. Thank you.



In Anne's words

Sunday, December 14

204 Days

The number of days I have spent outside the US since I moved here in 2000. And despite my previous vaguely Anti-U.S. post, I finally got round to filling in my Citizenship forms today.

I figure after 8 and a half years it's time to consider pledging allegiance.

On the form I had to state how long I had spent outside the country since I became a Permanent Resident. A problem for some perhaps, but I keep a database of all my travel, and finally it became useful!
What disappoints is that I have spent those 204 days in only 8 other countries.

Saturday, December 13

Milky

Went to see Milk starring Sean Penn today. Good movie about a great man.

30 years on and the issue changed from Prop 6 to Prop 8, only this time California let themselves down.

Obama's the new President but let's not get carried away. This country still has a long way to go before it can call itself progressive in its thinking.

Tuesday, December 9

A chance to mingle with the managers!

Came back to the hotel on Tuesday night to find this under my room door.

Car Musings

I rented a car yesterday ... and I may have gone off on this one before ... but I rented from Alamo.

Those bastards screwed me over in 1992 and I still haven't forgiven them. Sam Gessesse, LAX office; douchebag.

Anyhow, it's a Ford Focus, and the only noteworthy attribute I experienced yesterday was that it goes bing a lot. Key in, trunk open, seatbelt off, lights on. Bing, bing, bing and bing.

It snowed overnight. Shouldn't Syracuse car rental places put a snow scraper/brush in the car? Alamo didn't. Christ it snows for more than 300 days a year here (this is a fact I just made up).

Plugged in the SatNav. Because I don't read maps anymore. And set off for Fulton, NY.

Once I got on the highway I took another look at the dash, and noticed this car has satellite radio. I think I need to get this.

Because the service is national, they have separate channels for weather and traffic in major urban areas.

This morning I listened to the DC weather and the LA traffic.

Then I listened to the Elvis Channel, and a UK radio station, and a French Canadian pop music channel, and a Korean News Channel.

To be honest I was kind of sad to get to my final destination.

Monday, December 8

Jennifer

So to beat the loneliness and boredom of an evening in the Syracuse area, I walked to the lobby to get a cup of coffee.

I took my book and started reading.

Soon after, a tenacious young black woman said to me, "How's the Book?". OK, not quite, "Why are you Reading?", but I still laughed and answered her.

Anyone who knows me understands I hate making small talk with strangers, but Jennifer won me over.

Turns out she is about to travel to England to study, and she harbors hopes of becoming a lawyer for the UN. She asked me the cool spots in London. I said Hoxton?!?

She also offered to get her Garmin out to show me how long of a drive I had tomorrow. I politely declined and went back to my chain hotel coffee and paperback book.

Holy F

Hopped in my car this morning, wrapped up in scarf, hat and gloves. The dashboard said 16°F. Holy shit I thought. That's cold.

And then I flew to Syracuse this afternoon. And after a stomach churning dinner at Fresno's - The Southwest Grille and Bar by the airport I noticed the temp was a big fat zero.

Zero °F. Not Zero °C. F. Effing F.

Ice and snow everywhere, and it's blowing a gale outside. I'm holed up in the Holiday Inn with the heat turned up to 75.

Saturday, December 6

Complaint Update

So a while ago I made a complaint.

And today I received a reply. I particularly like the part where he writes 'we assumed readers would understand'. I didn't. Guess that makes me too dumb to read Budget Travel.

Dear Mr. T ... I'm sorry to hear that the True Story about Casablanca we published in the November 2008 issue of Budget Travel disappointed you. I want to assure you that in publishing the story, we assumed readers would understand that the woman's preconceptions were not an accurate understanding of Morocco. And we believe the writer and his wife realized the same thing during the episode.

Sorry about the delayed response. I hope that you'll continue to let us know about your thoughts about Budget Travel and True Stories. We greatly appreciate your feedback.

Best wishes,
Thomas Berger; Copy Chief
Budget Travel

Thursday, December 4

Doctor Doctor

"The nurse is ready to see you now."

After a few vitals and a bunch of questions.
"Would you mind if the Doctor is accompanied by a Med Student?"

20 minutes later a knock on the door.
"Hi, I'm a Med Student, mind if I ask you a few questions?"

20 questions later.
"OK I'll go meet with the Doc and we'll be back."

20 minutes later. The Doctor arrives, "How you doing Richard?"

20 questions later, he forgets to renew my prescription, and I have to ask the Med Student to chase after the Doctor.

And that's how my request for a repeat prescription took 100 minutes out of my day.

Sunday, November 30

Four Fifths

A few years ago my old boss Brian shocked Anne by stating 80% of the population were useless.

At the time Anne was involved in charity work, and it seemed like a damning view of a world that needed help.

And yet ... each time I go to the cinema I feel closer to 90% of the world could just disappear.

Now the movie I saw yesterday, Role Models, is hardly highbrow. In fact it's so lowbrow that even I was tired of the kid swearing.

And I love a kid that says fuck.

But given how mindless this movie was, I was still shocked at how the audience laughed at parts they weren't supposed to laugh at, and yet didn't even titter at some of the seriously funny parts (of which there are a few).

Wow, I just did 150 words of social commentary based on a dumb movie.

Saturday, November 29

The last camera I ever buy?


Or the last stand alone camera.

Got myself a new camera today. My last one was 4 years old and served me well. I hope in 4 years time, the iPhone (or whatever I am using then) will come with a camera worthy of ditching this new one.

Friday, November 28

It kind of works

Read this review for a bar where I need to pick up some tickets.


Stupid yes, but there's a certain logic to it.

Sporty!

We were in the pub the other night with my parents and I caught them watching sports on TV. Being English, I presumed them to be impervious to the delights of hockey and basketball.

Apparently not.

So I went to the convenient folks at Ticketmaster and bought some tickets for both the Bruins and the Celtics ON THE SAME DAY!!

Just watched the Bruins beat someone else. As usual the National Anthem was butchered in Mariah Carey-esque style. I also love how US sports is all about family values and yet they promote hockey as a 'you are likely to see a fight', concept.

Parents loved the game, the music, and the fact you can order food from your seat (that might just have been the chi-chi part of the stadium we were in).

So tonight the Garden swaps the Zamboni for the guys who squeegee the sweat off the boards.

And I get to listen to the National Anthem again.

Thursday, November 27

Passive Aggressive Canadians

I don't have any Canadian clients. Not by choice, we just haven't tried pitching much up there.

Around this time of year however, I'm usually working with a client who uses a Canadian supplier.

The supplier always sends a work related e-mail on Thanksgiving. I've also had reason to attend their site on ... Presidents' Day, Columbus Day and Independence Day weekend.

Yes, we get it. They are not Canadian holidays. And probably most non Canadians don't know when Victoria Day, or your version of Thanksgiving is.

But starting a mail with "I need a quick response on this ...", and ending the mail with "Have a Happy Thanksgiving" is passive aggressively douche like.

Thank you.

Wednesday, November 26

Cheesy

We have a cheesecake sampler for Thanksgiving.

Regular, Cranberry Swirl, Egg Nog and Pumpkin.

Nice.

Monday, November 24

Bumming my High

Every time I see this commercial I feel torn.


I'm sad for the animals, but wonder if Sarah McLachlan could buy all of them.

Reminds me of a McLachlan story. She once let her screaming child ruin the ambiance of a very expensive Boston restaurant. Apparently little Tarquin (or whatever the kids name is), was allowed to shout and scream while the diners paying $300 a plate each looked on in horror/anguish/pain.

Saturday, November 22

Different kind of blogging

I have a feeling my restaurant blog eatdrinkreview will get more action in the next week or so. My parents are here and we love to go out to dinner.

Of course it means I can probably wave goodbye to the weight loss competition at work, but it's great to go out to different restaurants and talk all night.

2 nights in, and we've been for fish and Brazilian BBQ. No idea what today will bring, although tonight I'm taking them to a comedy show in Boston.

And I'm determined to take them for Indian food, despite their last experience being a dodgy Tandoori in 1974.

Tuesday, November 18

Tree

From my wonderful in-laws (mother, father, brother and sister).

I'm sat at my desk and the phone rings. A guy said "I'm at the back door with some flowers for you".

Being a cynical bastard I immediately thought it was a scam. I really thought I was being served papers for some business indiscretion. No one ever sends me flowers.

Anyhow, as you can see, it looks very nice next to my therapist style couch.

Monday, November 17

Fascinating Sociopath or Hoax?

So the other night Anne mentioned a website where married people can register to have affairs. No, I don't recall how it came up!!

Now as someone who loves to judge, my first thought was, adultery is still illegal in some states, so in essence these guys are assisting in a crime.

Whatever.

In her always-factual-journalistic style, Anne said that the site is "Some woman's name".

A google search later I discovered the site is ashleymadison.com, however I scanned past the actual website, and at #6 on the google hit was a blog that caught my eye.

You can guess the objective of http://100girlsin1year.blogspot.com/ Don't click the link if you are easily offended or shocked.

However, I don't shock easily. So. As I read through each entry I wasn't sure if this was real or not, but even more mysterious is that the guy (or imposter woman) suddenly stopped blogging in June, only 21 women into his year long 'quest'.

What the hell happened? Answers on a postcard please.

Sunday, November 16

The Anatomy of a Photo


FROM FRIDAY'S MOMENTOUS DAY.

1. We thought we were borrowing $250,000 from the bank. Wrong! They take out their fees. Bastards!

We were also shocked that they wrote a check/cheque. The money came from the bank, and then went straight back into the bank.

And when I say wrote, I mean wrote. Seriously, you couldn't do this on a computer, or make us an outrageously huge check/cheque as if we had won the lottery?

2. I love polka dots.

3. I stole a pen from this address.

4. I'm 38 and I still bite my fingernails.

5. Account number is Gaussian blurred for our protection. Although Chloe from 24 could probably undo it.

6. This is a part of Maria's face.

7. Try not to mix pin-stripes with polka dots.

Sexy Syrup!

I'm becoming obsessed with the mythical women used to sell maple syrup.

Vermont Maid, Aunt Sue, Mrs Butterworth, Aunt Jemima, Miss Bee ... A lady for most tastes I'm sure.

Saturday, November 15

We did it

Together with my amazing business partner Maria, we bought our design company yesterday. In the grand scheme of things there are way too many people to thank. So instead, in chronological order, here are the people I need to thank just for yesterday.

6am Anne kisses me for good luck and says I look handsome

7am Sean puts a bottle of Champagne on my desk

8am Maria and Paul sign some documents to finalize the deal

11am Brad the lawyer walks us through the process

11.30am Bob the banker hands over the money

12.00 My parents say "Well Done"

12.30pm Emma takes the money and gives me permission to go to lunch

1pm Laura, Laura, Kim, Dave, Jay and Sean join Maria and I for a boozy celebratory lunch

2.30pm Back at the office, birthday boy Chuck, joins in the celebrations

3pm Beck calls on her day off to say well done. Classy. Both Maria and I will 'drunk-dial' her 4 hours later

4pm Well-wishers swing by as we drink Champagne from coffee mugs

6pm Down the pub, Pat, Tony, Peter and Matt say "Cheers"

7pm Kim drives 3 drunks to Cambridge

7.15pm Mike and Jenny congratulate us

7.30pm A pregnant Mrs Sean drops off Sean. Really happy he showed up

8pm Adam meets his girlfriend's drunken colleagues for the first time

8.30pm Taylor and Adrian show up - buy us drinks

10.30pm Anne gets a drunken Maria settled in the spare bedroom

10.45pm I am asleep.

Tuesday, November 11

Armistice Day

Just read about the 3 oldest veterans who attended today's memorial.

Henry Allingham, 112, Harry Patch, 110, and Bill Stone, 108, represented the RAF, Army and Royal Navy respectively at a ceremony at London's Cenotaph.

Incredible that 90 years later we can still commemorate their service.

Meanwhile this article focuses on the last people to die just before 11am on 11/11 1918.

Monday, November 10

Hot Cat

With the temperature dropping, Isobelle has begun to follow us around the house.

As soon as we sit down, she jumps up onto the couch/bed/chair and curls up on our laps.

Add a blanket, and she's guaranteed to be there.

No No No

Got stuck behind this old dear on Rt 1 this morning.

Either a fan of 90's one-hit wonder Dawn Penn, or Jim Trott the stuttering old perv from The Vicar of Dibley



License Plate NoNoNo

Sunday, November 9

Word of the Day

I was reading the thoroughly enjoyable On Royalty by Jeremy Paxman tonight and came across this word:

abstemious

Pronunciation: \ab-ˈstē-mē-əs\
Function: adjective
Etymology: Latin abstemius, from abs- + -temius; akin to Latin temetum intoxicating drink
Date: 1609
: marked by restraint especially in the consumption of food or alcohol ; also : reflecting such restraint .. an abstemious diet ..
— ab·ste·mi·ous·ly adverb
— ab·ste·mious·ness noun

So, obviously linked to abstinence. I will attempt to shoehorn this word into conversation this coming week!

Thursday, November 6

SJP

Anyone raised in Europe knows the national identity car stickers that used to be stuck on the back of the car when you traveled overseas. (GB = Great Britain, E = España etc.). They've kind of phased out with newer registration plates, but you get the idea.

So I was bemused when I moved to New England and found twats from Marblehead, Rockport and Newburyport with town acronyms stuck on their bumpers, but hey, what can you do?

Bizarrely in the last few years I've noticed a bunch of cars with SJP stickers on the bumper. Now, I find Sarah Jessica Parker adorable as Carrie Bradshaw, but these stickers seemed such an obtuse form of marketing.

So in the words of all Viz comic letters "Imagine my surprise ..." when I realized this week that SJP isn't Sarah Jessica Parker but St. John's Prep, a catholic boys school in Danvers.

Boy do I feel stupid.

Wednesday, November 5

Nothing to report here

Kind of quiet past few days after Monday's blogathon.

Oh yeah, Obama became President.

Obviously, being a resident of Cambridge I am happy, as is everyone else in the neighborhood.

All the welfare single-mothers, and gay atheist abortionists that form such a huge demographic around Harvard.

Monday, November 3

Jon Hamm on Sarah Silverman

Catch a little Don Draper in Cable Guy mode.


I read an interview with Sarah Silverman where she said that his name tag reads "Eating all the pussy since '93".

Where it all began

Just booked a January trip to San Francisco, where Anne and I first met.

Still difficult to reason why she fell for a man who thought he looked good in a bandana.



Can't wait to relax with good friends, walk through old neighborhoods and be the best version of myself.

I'll even try to read On the Road again.

Graceland!!!!!!

My parents have yet to show up for their 2008 trip and they've already booked for July 2009.

Me thinks a trip down to Memphis might be in order. I've already started on the iPod mix.

Of course we should probably visit Nashville too. But I'd love to drive down to Alabama to cross State #45 off of my list.

Weight a Minute


So I entered a weight loss competition at work today.

God knows how many of us entered, but the fee was $20 each.

The winner is the person who loses the largest percentage of body weight by January 2.

Obstacles between today and 2009?


2 weeks of my parents visiting - approx. 10 restaurant trips, and 20 Starbucks runs.

Anne's birthday - always the chance of a blue cake there.

Christmas with the Slovak in-laws - all the usual Christmas stuff + dishes laden with noodles, heavy cream, cabbage and fatty meats.

I've no chance of winning ... or have I ... ??

Hello Laura love

Still no reply

Recently sent the following e-mail to the good folks at Budget Travel.



Concerning this entry in their magazine.

Sunday, November 2

A little bit of politics

"That Obama chap's doing awfully well", I said to Anne the other day, somewhat in the style of a dithering English fool from a foppish Richard Curtis movie.

"Don't jinx it", was her reply.

Of course as an Englishman, I have taxation without representation. That's doesn't seem fair does it?

Crazy Airport

Pictures from the new Intercontinental Airport in Funchal, Madeira.

My advice, keep right.



IRA SchmIRA

Enjoyed 2 1/2 hrs of Henry Rollins tonight at the Orpheum. To be fair that's about an hour light for the usual Rollins show.

He did a small bit about interviewing a guy in Northern Ireland who used to be in the IRA, and it reminded me of when my parents-in-law visited us in London in the 90's.

They wanted to visit Westminster Cathedral. Not the 1,000 year old Abbey, but the Byzantine style Cathedral which is home to the Catholic Church in England.

Only the IRA decided to call in a bomb threat to the Cathedral that day, just as we were coming out of the Underground and walking towards the church. So we turned around and went to another church.

No fuss, no bother.

I think Anne's parents were quietly impressed with how laissez-faire we were about the whole thing. And it gave them a travel story that they would never find in a guide book.

Saturday, November 1

Hi, I'm Bruce

Catch yourself a whole lotta Bruce Campbell this coming Friday.

As a way of promoting his new film My Name is Bruce, Campbell is going from city to city, attending opening night.

Obviously the nights are staggered, and this Friday is the turn of Boston, or more specifically Kendall Theatre in my fair city of Cambridge!

"Bruce will be personally appearing at each of these cities to introduce the film and do a spirited Q&A* afterward."

*Midnight showings are Introduction of the movie only no Q&A.

Friday, October 31

Is it safe to swim in here?

I wish my own foreign language speaking was better. My talents are guide book phrases at best.

This caught my eye on the BBC website today.

When officials asked for the Welsh translation of a road sign, they thought the reply was what they needed.

Unfortunately, the e-mail response to Swansea council said in Welsh: "I am not in the office at the moment. Please send any work to be translated".

Monday, October 27

Easy Sell

Not since a poor black kid knocked on my door a few years ago and got me to subscribe to a shitty magazine to keep him off the streets have I been so easily sold as I was today*

* Except the time I gave money to the battered women shelter. The woman at the door looked so .. battered, that I felt guilty for being male.

Anyway, back in April we went to Loon Mountain for our Anniversary for a spot of zip lining. The place we stayed in was nice enough and they've been pestering me since to sign up for a discount stay in one of their other resorts.

So I caved in and signed up today. Now as I look at the resorts they have available I'm not so impressed.

Loon Mountain:
Well here's the deal, we've been there twice this year. It ain't no Acapulco.

Maine: Choose from Ogunquit, which doesn't seem far enough away to warrant a weekend trip, or Jackman which is 5 1/2 hours from Boston, and only 2 hrs from Quebec City.

Cape Cod:
I hate the Cape. It's an overrated sack of toss.

So there you have it. A 2 day weekend or 3 day weekday stay is all mine. Just wish it was somewhere better.

Friday, October 24

An Old Freind

Earlier this year, as spring turned into summer, my brain did a re-organization, and moved a factoid into the area marked: Temporarily Forget.

So when the temperature dropped this week and my eyes scanned the car dashboard for help, I had that 'light bulb' moment.


The seat warmer is the best feature my car has to offer. Thankfully it's also one of the few extras that is yet to break.

AND I TOTALLY FORGOT I HAD THEM.

Winter can roll on in. At least when I'm in the car.

Meanwhile at home, Anne asked last weekend if we could turn on the heating "Just to make sure it is working correctly". 6 days in and all seems fine. As usual Isobelle the Cat has taken root over one of the floor vents, which I suppose are her personal seat warmers.

Thursday, October 23

And the Academy Award Goes To ...


If you only go to see one talking dog movie this year, be sure to choose Beverly Hills Chihuahua.

It is undoubtedly the best one.

And remember, wherever there's a piñata, there's a stick.

Tuesday, October 21

OK then, just one

We're slowly developing a jigsaw of inter-connecting photos of Acapulco. Each casita we stay in is positioned on a different part of the hillside overlooking the Bay. And every year I take a photo. Because I still cannot believe I'm visiting a place I thought only existed in Elvis movies.

Monday, October 20

Fine Dining


I found this image while reading oursurprisingworld.com

Check it out; The Taiwanese toilet themed restaurant features incredibly inventive seating.

Faeces shaped ice-cream anyone?

Original Source: funfever.blogspot.com

Sunday, October 19

Kinda

Was the name tag on the woman who checked my items at Target on Saturday.

Perhaps her last name was Sexy, Stupid or Right. Was probably Lopez.

Speaking of Kinda Stupid. I was in a clothing store on Saturday and the guy next to me was checking himself out in the mirror. He'd tried on a sweater and actually gave himself the knowing wink and followed it up with the finger guns ... both barrels.

10 minutes later and I was at the check out making a purchase when the aforementioned douche-nozzle announces that he "wanted to wear the pants he was buying" (a practice I never support).

He was asked to sit on the anti-theft device to de-activate the over-priced jeans. In the meantime the sales guy bagged up the old pants. All fun and games, until the Dick tells the sales clerk to remove the old pants from the bag and neatly fold them.

The counter-guy does the "You serious?" double take. He is serious and now he asks for a bottle of water. The sale guy puts on the shit smile and pulls out a bottle of Fiji. And the guy says "This is warm".

Man it must suck to work retail.

Sunday, October 12

Terminally ill skiers

I imagine they go downhill fast.

Thank you very much.

I'll be here all week.

Thanks AT&T

Just got your text message and e-mail warning me about excessive International Data Usage.

48 hours after I left Mexico..

Supposedly I used $US580 worth of internet.

Probably going to challenge this one.

Sunday, October 5

Sacacorchos

Being good Catholics, the Acapulcans don't sell booze in their stores on Sunday. So we raided the comedically expensive minibar for a couple of Coronas.

No bottle opener.

I tried the door jamb trick. They'll need to paint the door.

So I rang down and after much Espan-jolity I learned the Spanish for bottle opener but even better, I now know how to say corkscrew!

Less than 90 seconds

How long it took for the Mexican maid to see me naked.

We'd been shown around the casita, and the door was closed.

How was I to know she was going to bring extra towels in through the balcony doors?

Saturday, October 4

That Guy

Winter's not quite here, but each year I seem to find myself in some snow covered airport.

As I walk to the gate avoiding the obese lazy bastards on the beeping cart and wondering why Hudson News sells magazines only a milquetoast moron would be interested in, there is one thing guaranteed to cheer me up.

A guy in shorts, t-shirt and sandals. This guy doesn't give a damn that it's blizzard time out there. He's probably flying somewhere warm, or maybe he's just a crazy fucker from Buffalo!

This week, I'm that guy. I just packed for 5 days in Acapulco. 2 pairs of shorts, 3 t-shirts and a pair of sandals. I have more books than clothes.

And at the stroke of midnight next Friday/Saturday I'll be that tool in the taxi line at Logan freezing my ass off.

Monday, September 29

I'm the friendly stranger in the black sedan

The joy of iPod struck last night as I drove home.

Not sure which is more embarrassing. First I was listening to Crazy in Love by Beyoncé and it was followed by Vehicle by The Ides of March.

They have a really similar horn riff.


I know the Beyoncé song samples Are You My Woman (Tell Me So) by the Chi-Lites but The Ides of March?

The only other pointless fact I know about Ides of March is that the guitarist went on to form Survivor of Rocky III fame.

Saturday, September 27

Contrapuntal noodling in a Baroque style ...

... with Great Handeling

Dressed up smartly and went to see The Chamber Orchestra of Boston last night.


They started with Handel. I like Handel. Toccatas, minuets, gavottes, gigues, fugues - you can throw all of that stuff at me. I'll lap it up.

Then the Haydn kicked in. Boring!

The evening was presented as a Handel and Haydn evening, however the 2nd Handel piece was a modern composition based on one of his violin sonatas. Here's an idea. Play Handel and dump the modern interpretation.

Then it was back to Haydn, which meant I went back to reading the program notes in my uncomfortable chair.

The best part of the evening was Anne's happy face when I explained the tempo and style characteristics of the concerto. 15 years of playing music suddenly all seemed worth it, just to make her happy for 5 seconds.

And I didn't even mention the terraced dynamics of pre-Classical scoring ...

Tuesday, September 23

Mexican Reading Pt II

Anne posted an entry about what she's planning to read while in Mexico during, "our third annual stay at Las Brisas".

I love that these trips sound as inevitable as a Charity gig at a Holiday Inn by a washed up singer from the 70s.

Every year we celebrate doing nothing for 5 days. And although Anne reads way smarter books than me, I read much quicker than her, so I have to take a bunch of books.

I've already started reading each of these books.

Twinkie, Deconstructed
Watching the English
Death of a Salesman
Cracked: Life on the Edge in a Rehab Clinic
On Royalty: A Very Polite Inquiry Into Some Strangely Related Families
Havana Nocturne: How the Mob Owned Cuba & Lost It to the Revolution
Party Monster: A Fabulous But True Tale of Murder in Clubland
Why?
Towards Zero

In addition I quite fancy these too:
Hell Bent
Gig: Americans Talk About Their Jobs
Downtown Owl

Still a week to go, so I could yet add to this list.

Monday, September 22

Bringing their 'D' Game

Screw your A Game, these days C is more than I expect.

This week I saw an overweight woman running wearing an Entenmann's T-Shirt.

Same morning, a woman on a bicycle. Riding one handed. On the phone. With an infant balanced in the front basket.

Later: Me, "Hi could I get an Grande Iced Coffee" Starbucks Guy, "Want that hot or cold?"

Speaking of low expectations. VH1 is distracting me with another of their countdown shows. They have a guy from Color Me Badd.

To quote Kim Jong-il "Why is everyone so fucking stupid?"

Monday, September 15

Non sequitur pairs?

Pairs of random things that are currently making me smile.

Eating junk food at the The Big E
Hearing the phrase "Oh no we missed Buckcherry"

The possibility of beating Ourand and Richens at Scrabble .. again
Recalling their 1998 heated debate about rape. Apparently it's a violent crime, not a sexual crime. Except you ejaculate at the end

The Mrs shouting at the TV during football
The futility of inspirational football movies

A trip to Acapulco is coming round again
And Anne wants to buy a George Foreman grill in Mexico

Getting my niece to read Catcher in the Rye
Getting my nephew to wear a Hooters t-shirt

Going to the Symphony next week
The twatishness of Rock Band

Chin stroking comments
People with big chins

Nachos - Can't stop eating them
Buying wine on a Friday night

Making Genius playlists on iTunes 8
Richard Cheese singing "Shake ya Ass"

Mad Men on AMC
ANTM on CWTV

Sunday, September 7

Very Necessary

No. Not a reference to the classic 1993 Salt 'N' Pepa record.

No. Sadly, internet has become a basic human right in our household. We've had intermittent access due to our dodgy cable modem. Nevermind that we have city-wide free Wi-Fi - it's not as fast. I know I sound like a right old douche, but "Come On!"

The football mad missus is bitching that she cannot complete her 12 different fantasy teams, and I'm trying to stream shitty movies in the 'widow' room, which is what I essentially am every Sunday through January.

I called Comcast and they were great. And now my pants are on fire.

I love my VOIP with Vonage, but this weekend the router has been flashing more than a pervert at a raincoat convention.

Cable guy is coming between 1pm-3pm tomorrow.

Dramamine!

My parents are on a cruise somewhere in the Atlantic Ocean celebrating their 45th Wedding Anniversary.

They called mobile to mobile, so I'll probably need a loan by the end of the month.

They have sat at dinner with couples from Harrogate and Wigan. And yet they tell me they are having a great time? Odd.

Happy Anniversary Mum & Dad.

Saturday, September 6

Ouch

I kind of took a summer vacation from the gym, and returned Thursday night after a seven week break.

By Saturday morning I was walking like a robot, and wincing in pain every time I crouched down - I really need to put all drawers at waist level.

Feel like my groin is 'in the red' like a hack sci-fi movie when the pressure/radiation/revs go to beyond the safe number.

Worse still my glutes make it impossible to sit down without another pansy-ass yelp.

Damn the price I pay to be the perfect human specimen.

Sunday, August 31

New Gadget

Bought myself a Roku last week. This thing is real simple. It streams movies from my Netflix list directly to our huge TV.

Netflix don't have all of their content ready to stream, which is good, because it means I can load up my instant queue with stuff I might not push to the top of my DVD list. I'm curious to see how my 2 lists develop. Probably more mainstream stuff on DVD, and curio items on stream.

This weekend has been full of Hitchcock movies, Documentaries on sexual habits, Troma flicks and a short film about why we eat chicken. All great stuff that manages to fill in the gaps of my movie knowledge.

Saturday, August 30

Lightweight Status

Went out last night for Indian Food and afterwards went to the liquor store for some beer. Being a pretentious sort, and somewhat brand un-loyal, I grabbed a 4 pack of small beers by a brewer I hadn't heard of.

I had a five and a few singles in my wallet and pulled them out as the guy rang up the beer.

$14! For 4 small beers. Turns out these things are super strength 8.5%.

So when we got home we shared one. And we did the same tonight. Half a beer. Rock and Roll.

Oh! And as we left the liquor store a Big "G" pulled up, hip hop blasting out of his ... Hyundai Sonata. What a colossal prick.

Mook

Damn we love our cat!

Thursday, August 28

Hopefully not my last ever posting

From the public address system:
Passengers flying to Greenville, SC, just to let you know the Captain is inspecting the plane currently and has asked for some maintenance issues to be addressed.

Freaking me out

I'm a prepared traveler. I try to get to the airport much earlier than required, and over the years I think I have even won over my last-minute wife Anne.

But early morning flights always pose a problem. I had a 5am out of Boston this morning, and in an effort to give myself a little bit of sleep last night I set the alarm for 3.40.

None the less I woke at 3.30. My 1 minute beauty regime consists of tousling my hair into a different 'just got out of bed and still need a haircut' shape.

Add in the usual wash, dress and working out what books and cables to take, I left the house at 3.50.

On the road I approached the tunnel to get to Logan. Closed. Shit fuck piss!

Long detour later I made it to Logan. Flying US Airways, I headed for the Terminal B parking Lot. Closed. Shit fuck piss 2!

A loop around the airport, I found parking and ran to check in.

Inserted my card, and it comes up with the itinerary of a different Mr Taylor. Stay calm. Ask the assistant. No help. Breathe. Go to bag check-in and try a different angle on the machine. It comes back that I cannot check in to more than 3 flights at one time without assistance.

Desperately ask the bag guy for help, and he tells me it is because I am flying back and forth to Boston with connections all in one day.

"Wow, 4 flights in a day, you love punishment"
, says the US Airways employee of my decision to fly on his crappy airline today.

Finally get 4 boarding passes. "Hmm middle seat, my favorite."

Security goes as you would expect. Your garden variety douchebags who have no idea of the admittedly stupid yet simple rules they need to follow. But whatever.

I'm the last guy on the plane. And whenever I fly, I hate that guy!

PS. I'm in Charlotte, NC on my way to Greenville, SC. They don't appear to sell tissues here. Tampons, Tylenol, laxatives and scrunchies. But no tissues. Odd.

Monday, August 25

Dear Editor ...

I've always been fascinated by a person's motivation for writing to a magazine. I guess e-mail makes it easier to fire off a quick note, but back in the day, who was writing letters to magazines about their shitty observations?

I love travel magazines almost as much as I love to travel, and subscribe to 3 and buy another couple each month.

Letters to a Travel magazine tend to fall into 2 distinct buckets.

1. I've been there too

Dear xxx Travel, I read your piece on insert name of quasi-interesting locale, and recalled with joy the 2 days me and my husband spent there in 2002 ....

2. Travel Tips
This is the first section of a Travel magazine I read. It is so wonderfully mundane. This is from this month's Budget Travel.
Who the hell takes a bird on holiday with them? And of this microscopic percentage, how many of the owners have asthma?

Here's another gem.

On a broader level Viz Magazine has ridiculed these idiots with it's Top Tips section for years.

Classics such as: PARENTS. Half a cocktail stick with a blob of nail varnish on the end makes an ideal "safety match" that your children can play without the risk of setting fire to anything.

To quote Jon Hodgman, "That is all."

Sunday, August 24

Burger King hates Pirates


Because they don't have enough "Rrrrrrrr's".

Copyright of "The Really Old Joke Company"

Saturday, August 23

Tongue Depresser

With Anne in Ohio I'm alone for the weekend.

Arrived home from work last night at 8.30 to a meowing cat. After a game of Chase the Ribbon (which Isobelle won), I was scratching around for something to do.

So I went to the Emergency Room.

Since Monday my tongue has felt too wide for my mouth. The irritated sides are catching on my razor sharp teeth, creating some discomfort.

Strangely for a design agency we have a number of Doctors on staff. Their conflicting advice had sent me into a tailspin of worry, so it seemed OK-ish to warrant a late night trip to Cambridge Hospital.

Being 2 blocks from my house I drove there. The receptionist was a delight. Like a young Mary Wells, she processed my paper work in a flirty yet calm manner, as I sat to the side in a comfortable chair. She seemed thrilled that so many people shared my name.

I noticed after she processed everyone but me, she applied Purell to her hands. She must have liked me ...

Four things were on my mind. In order of importance:

1. If this is an infection, where the hell did I get it from?
2. Where can I buy a Twinkie? I'm reading a book about them.
3. I hope the urine soaked homeless guy next to me doesn't start a conversation.
4. How turgid a movie is Wedding Date with Debra Messing?

Staff Nurse Carol called me through, and took my vitals. I have kick ass blood pressure. I told her: "Don't drink**, don't smoke."

The absence of, "what do you do?" hinted that she wasn't much of an Adam and the Ants fan.

** except for the 2 Stellas I had after work.


Next I walked to the treatment cube. Handed a smock and told to change. Offer a "You shitting me?" look on my face, and the nurse responds with "OK, then just your top half".

Read Twinkie book, and notice overabundance of signage on medical equipment.

Mr Doctor comes in and tries to find a tongue depressor. Fails. I begin to think my ailment may not be such an 'emergency' issue.

Verdict. Some type of allergic reaction. He prescribes an antihistamine. Looks at my chart and notices that I already take such a medication. Shrugs and says I can go home.

And so my exciting evening finished with me happily falling asleep safe in the knowledge that I don't have some kind of life threating ulceration.

Yay.