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.


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.


Thursday, August 21

A One-Two Combination

We took little Isobelle to the vet for her regular push and probe.

She's such a pacifist, and always stands on the table, super-still, letting out sad tiny whines as Dr Aimee Mann gives her the once over.

After the usual organ check, the vet was in the middle of suggesting a teeth cleaning when she stopped mid sentence and said,

"Oh Sweetie"

Isobelle was so frightened she had pooped 2 little chunks out.

Two minutes later the vet was performing another little task on our baby, when she suddenly felt her leg getting warmer.

Isobelle had pee'd on her.

She's a Lady!

Tuesday, August 19

Saving Lives

Down by Kendall Sq. this morning.

Really? Monitoring the legality of our driving?


Saturday, August 16

NYC travelog

A week late, but here it is.

After a whole week of sleeping in, the girls decided this would be the day they got up early. NYC excitement began at 6am.

Filled 2 bags with unhealthy snacks, and off we went .... then realized one of the girls would need ID to check into the hotel.

Buckled up for the 2nd time, and made it as far as our local gas station, where again Rachel and Laura were puzzled why someone other than me pumped gas into our car. This is America baby!

Hit the Mass Pike with Anne driving and my iPhone playing. This equates to a solid 70 mph coupled with some loosy-goosy tunes mixed in with pretentious head scratching cover versions.

In the middle of CT (surely the most pointless of the 50 states), we switched drivers and let the good times roll. I'd mentioned a few days earlier that I would prepare a game of "Guess the actors age". I'd pulled down 40 names from IMDB and loaded them onto my iPhone. As Anne asked the questions I was amazed at just how good Rachel and Laura were at guessing the ages of obscure European thespians. A quick look in my mirror revealed they had a list of 100+ actors which they had written down the night before. This was, and remains, 'bullshit'.

Hit the Bronx and hit the traffic. I whined greatly about the route the GPS had devised for us, but then suddenly and quite magnificently you see Manhattan.

Found parking in the city - the big "P" sign should actually have been an "R". 36 hours later I would be raped of $125 for the honor of parking down there.

Hotel action. Previous night we had snagged the 4 star Barclay on Priceline, and we dumped our bags with the funny sounding 'Bell Captain'. I might have freaked the girls out when I said "If we get lost or split up in the city ...", not the speech you want to hear when you are surrounded by the hustle and bustle of New York.

Waltzed down to the Empire State Building. Wrong! 18 mile line to get up the damn thing. Instead hopped in a cab and headed for Times Square, home of a billion places to buy T-Shirts with New York written on them. Not just T-Shirts either, magnets, guitars, towels, snow globes and dildoes too. Maybe not dildoes ... but you never know.

Stopped by a guy pitching a comedy show to us. Said "no" about 18 times. Still don't think he got the message.

If you only visit one chocolate themed attraction in Times Square I say go for the M&M one instead of the Hershey's. We went in both. Bought more stuff.

Next we walked to the Brooklyn Diner up on 57th. Laura sat in the same seat as Tyra Banks. She ably demonstrates this in the photo.

I had the always funny, Pigs in a Blanket, while Rachel fastidiously picked the mushrooms out of her minestrone soup. We all had the Diner's famous Milk Shakes ... just like Tyra ... probably.

Afterwards we ran down to 51st to the matinée performance of Wicked. Both of the hapless teenagers bought $20 programs. Anne and I didn't see the show, and spent the next 3 hours chilling out and lazing around in our hotel room, watching a piece on NBC about a black guy who swims in the US Olympic team. That's a stereotype I can cross off my list then.

Later, Anne and I walked over to the theater to be met by 2 sad faced teenagers. They needed to go to the bathroom, but the queue was too long. As it was everywhere. Finally used the impeccably filthy McDonalds facilities and headed off for Hooters ...

Both Rachel and Laura wanted Hooters T-Shirts as gifts, and it was left to Uncle R to buy them. I probably picked up clamidia just from touching the entrance door, but once inside Rachel and I were asked if we wanted a table for 2. "Yes, I'm taking my niece for shitty wings served by a ho in a shirt 3 sizes too small" was what I did NOT reply. Instead we shuffled over to the merch section and made our purchases. Good to see Hooters is an Equal Opps employer.

Next up we bought water from a convenience store and paid with $8 worth of change. Checkout chick thought we were bastards. Was correct.

Central Park. Softball game. Kids not impressed. Trudged on to Bloomingdales.

Rachel and Laura both wanted these. Plastic versions of the paper bags Bloomingdales use. Think there's a Friends connection, but I always thought the show sucked, and never watched it.

Plastic bags acquired we went over to Dylan's Candy**. Great store design. Shitty product. Although the teenagers tried a Charleston Chew for the first time. Hopped into a taxi and went back to the hotel.

** Love it when I learn the same fact from 2 different sources. Last week I had no idea that Dylan is Dylan Lauren, daughter of fashion designer Ralph Lauren. Learned the fact at work this week, and then just read about her in T&L Magazine last night. T&L is Travel & Leisure, not Tits & Legs, although I think Ralph hawks his over-priced chinos in both.

Dinner: Little Italy. Guy tried 4 times to light the candle. Failed. Seemed to be his only job too. Food was OK. Laura asked for no artichokes. Waiter said "No". That earned him a "Douche". Wanted to steal the Peroni beer glasses. Chickened out.

After dinner we walked down Mulberry St, laughed at a balloon sculptor and after hobbling thru' the cobblestones of SoHo, we cabbed it up to Times Sq. to see NYC in all its garish neon beauty. This gave the kids another T-Shirt opportunity. On our way back to the hotel we walked past a line of a 100 kids with their parents. They were queuing up to get the autographs of the (ahem) 'stars' of the Legally Blonde Broadway show.

Back at the hotel, and fell asleep immediately. Long yet great day.

Day 2 Breakfast. Bad Milk. No Home Fries. $65. Pah.

The Empire State Building is my US equivalent of the Tower of London. I've been to this fucker way too many times and I'm done. Thank You.

After a Starbucks rest-stop, and a heated discussion about "The Man", we took a bus tour. Except it took 20 minutes for the damn thing to set off. Also, it was Crazy Dominican Republic People Day™ on the streets and they waved like maniacal goofballs as we drove up 6th.

Photos, photos and more photos before we alighted (love that word) at Battery Park. No batteries and way too many people going to the Statue of Liberty.

Instead of watching Rachel get sea-sick we just took a picture of the Statue. This is a photo of me trying to look like a penis between two balls. Everyone agreed I did a good job.

After such a photo-op there was only one thing to do ... walk over to the Wolrd Trade Center hole and order a shitty sandwich. Anne's theory was that the real short order cooks only work during "Wall Street" hours. Probably had a point. My burrito was microwaved to imperfection.

Half-replenished we looked over the stalls outside. Yes they actually have 9/11 snowglobes. Take that terrorists, we're still capatalists.

Then we hit Sephora and saw this crazy bastard.

OK. Crappy film, but this mental was spraying all of the cologne samples onto his person, to the point that he was dripping!

Next stop. Lower East Side to Economy Candy. Driven by a God-loving African guy. He had the radio on 'Crazy Preacher FM'. Scary.

$45 worth of candy later we had just one thing to do before we went home. The kids wanted to buy shitty tic-tac. Only it turned out that they were discerning buyers of said tic-tac. Eight damn stores they wandered in and out of. Eight!

After a quick robbery at the hands of the Parking guy, we headed home. Rachel felt sick, but still battled on gamely, while Laura fed Anne and I with cookies and chips.

Excellent trip.

Wednesday, August 13

Obscure 10,000 Maniacs Reference

"Holidays must end as you know", from Verdi Cries.

The girls left us tonight, flying back to England. Tears at the airport. I think we all had a good time for the past 2 weeks.

Monday, August 11

Chinese Porno Bowling Team

Took the extant teenagers bowling today. And Rachel bowled a 156*

In action on the next lane were the following players: Pow, Pumpkin, Hero and Pretty.

* Bumper Rail Assisted.

Friday, August 8

Time for Parole

Totally bummed out today by the fact that I have been working full-time for 20 years. My first day of gainful Graphic Design employment was 8.8.88.

Here I am 19 years ago, doing pretty much the same as I do today.

A little then and now ratio ...
Speed of Computer 1:1000
Salary 1:15
Dress code 5:1
Desk tidiness 1:1
Stress 1:5
Ability to handle stress 3:1

Thursday, August 7

T-Shirt Update

I was asked to follow up on my previous post about the Comme des Garçons T-Shirt.

Said shirt did indeed arrive. I gleefully unwrapped it and was delighted with its bright and gaudy design.

I whipped off my shirt and stuck my head into the Japanese (not French curiously) fashion piece.

And therein lies the problem. Japanese large is approx. American small.

It fit like a cycling shirt. And my 6-pack abs ain't what they used to be. I looked like the kid on the front of the Fatboy Slim record.

The next day I mentioned my disappointment at work. "yes, that sounds like hipster large", was one comment. I took this to mean I am not considered a hipster. I have no idea if this is good or bad.

This week I met with a lady who could add extra slits of material down the sides to give me a bit of breathing room in the shirt. Alas not only is it tight around the middle but it is cut for someone with shoulders that only just jut out from their neck.

I've handed it over to my friend Laura and her E-Bay whizz of a husband Rich. Maybe some idiot trying to re-create their youth will buy it ... as if!

Wednesday, August 6

Who's that Guy?

The M.R.S posted a nice piece about my special day.

Tonight we went for Ethiopian food. Rachel and Laura our intrepid English teenagers tackled the situation with élan. That's pretentious for vigorous spirit and enthusiasm.

Anne got me a T-Shirt subscription. Like Fruit of the Month, but instead of apples they send a Swedish limited edition t-shirt. Stylin'

Tuesday, August 5

Zipline II

Just like Zipline I but with a bigger budget.

Saturday, August 2

A moment of peace and quiet

My niece Rachel and her friend Laura are visiting from England.

So far so good! I just dropped them in Newbury Street for the morning, while Anne gets her hair done.

Highlights have included a surprising love for our local post office, and an overly protective desire for blind people to cross the road safely.

On Thursday I spent the day with them, and I think they only took one photo, which was of the 2 of them wearing 3D specs at the IMAX. We nearly saw a fight too, however the guy was so NOT bad-ass, he got his t-shirt stuck on his head during the smack talk phase.

A woman threw up fish pie on the plane, so I think they are not too keen to eat fish, but Anne and I are sneakily trying to introduce new foods into their meals.

Much to my delight, evenings are filled with board games. Played Scattergories last night where the strangest point scoring phrase was "Gonorrhea kicked in".

Planning to go kayaking this afternoon, unless it starts raining. Regardless of the weather we are going ziplining tomorrow. They have a new longer course. Check it out here.