Sunday, February 27

Bottom

It's 1991 again, and I'm enjoying a Bottom marathon with Rik Mayall and Ade Edmondson.

Thursday, February 24

3D

Sat in church the other night (see previous post) I noticed the wall was engraved with names of people.

Presumably they had died or donated for this honor.

The bottom guy caught my eye. I'm always wary of anyone named generationally ... "Hi, I'm Chester Longfellow III", but I've never noticed it written as 3D before. Probably riding the 3D fad, or perhaps he jumps out when I put the colored glasses on?



Speaking of signs and Harvard, the organization for the Fry event was dreadful. The collective minds of one of the greatest schools in the world had neither the ability to create a sign indicating where one should queue, nor the ability to establish an electronic ticketing system.

The future looks dark. But it'll be in 3D.

Wednesday, February 23

A Little Bit of Fry

We went to a church in Harvard last night to celebrate an award for atheism.

When I say atheism, it was really humanism ... which is atheism with a PR manager.

The venerable Stephen Fry spoke for about an hour without notes in his usual avuncular style, quoting every notable luminary of The Age of Enlightenment.

He was great. Sadly there was an opening act.

Molly Lewis is an example of a growing trend of talentless fuckwits who believe their trite wit and ukelele playing deserves a larger audience. It does not. Zip it. She even came back at the end to serenade Stephen Fry in song. Fry laughed, because he is genial and has manners. I wanted to perforate my own ear drums.

Against my better judgement here is a video of her and her witty song.



The event was MC'd by a leather jacket wearing 'minister'. The phrase trendy vicar sprang to mind ... without the religious bit. Douche.

Humanism does push the creed that regardless of religion we can all work towards a greater good.

Sadly that is spoiled when a rich Harvard kid with a blazer and a Bieber haircut invites me to join them for irreverent non-religious fun and a few episodes of South Park on a Friday afternoon. Sadly kid I'm out working, just like your parents, paying taxes and earning an income so they can put your mealy ass through expensive college.

Monday, February 21

Not Enjoying Life

I'm the guy who buys those bullshit bars down at Whole Foods every week.

Wanting to take a break from whatever granola hemp birdseed flavor I usually get I bought a box of these the other day.

Now, either someone screwed up when they made the dieline for the wrapper (and the carton), or the 'Enjoy Life' people are a bunch of crooks.

There are not 2 bars in there. The bar you see, comes in the wrapper you see. Maybe the space denotes where all of the nuts and gluten would have been?

Saturday, February 19

Eighty-something

We were due to leave the frozen tundra that is Massachusetts this week.

A 5 day jaunt to the Cayman Islands was our winter getaway for 2011.

We canceled.

Instead I'm 2 months deep into the Christmas project that took to me to China in January. It's such fun to get up when it's dark, and come home when it's dark 6 days a week.

Still, if I'd gone to the Caribbean I'd be complaining how much I suck at snorkeling, or how the sand gets into my shoes.

But I really shouldn't have gone to weather.com this weekend.

Thursday, February 17

Another small part of me dies

I was in the Apple Store the other day. Some widget had snapped off inside Anne's iPhone and we needed a man with a jeweler's loupe and a tiny screwdriver.

Sat next to us was a hipster in media wanker glasses, a tweed jacket over a hoodie, and hair that said "I try hard to look like I don't try".

He was telling the passive-aggressive 'Genius' that his MacBook Pro was "Running Slow".



Genius: Well have you tried turning off all of these Applications?

Hipster: What do you mean?

Genius: You have almost 30 applications open

Hipster: How do you know?

Genius: See the tiny glow under the logos?

Hipster: Yeah.

Genius: That means the app is open

Hipster: Really?

Genius: Yeah

Hipster: Huh. And closing them will speed my Mac up?

Genius: Yeah

Hipster: Wow. Thanks.

Sunday, February 13

Poached Eggs on Toast

Let the record show this is my current breakfast of choice. I ate them each morning in China and my little poaching contraption arrived from Amazon this week.

Thrilling. I know.

Saturday, February 12

You have a moon face ....

Each year Anne gets an eye test in Harvard, during which time I sit in the front of the store listening to spectacle salesmen make a spectacle of themselves.

This year saw the usual personnel, plus one.

I'll start with the plus one. A latin gentlemen replete with wafer thin mustache talked to a middle aged guy as if they were in an ironic infomercial within a daytime soap opera. And just when I thought their stiff conversation could not get any worse Jorge wished the customer a happy Valentine's Day for Monday.

Cardigan guy has been there a few years. He's a heavy-set young (and I believe straight) man who dresses like a skinny man in pastel colors. Under the blue ribbed top was a teal polo shirt that even a leather-mit-a-like Floridian would say was a bit too much.

He always seems annoyed that people are asking for discounts from their various medical plans, and he appears to think that a 30 second conversation is a window into your eye-glass soul. He hands out advice like an old Jewish woman.

Behind the counter is an older woman who says "No" to whatever request the poor bastard of a customer makes.

Joining her is a Lauryn Hill look-a-like. During my 45 minutes sat watching I formed no fucking clue what she does other than bark passive aggressive shit to her co-workers.

Finally the eye doctor ... well ... Anne dislikes her. I just thought she dressed like a bat.

Monday, February 7

First to 100

I'm obsessed with stats. It started as a kid with sporting lists, but morphed to music.

As a teenager I visualized my music, catalogued not just alphabetically, but with all kinds of meta data.



Then database software came along ... then mp3 software like SoundJam ... until finally iTunes rolled into town and fueled my obsessive mania beyond control.

iTunes drew a line in the sand of (digital) time.

Sadly it'll never be able to recall 1991 when I put Gett Off by Prince repeatedly on a C90. So it will never know the number of times I played it non-stop during my commute to and from work in my beat up Fiat Panda.

In 2004 I switched computers and my iTunes data file became corrupt. So I had to start again on September 5, 2004.

I'm sure a bunch of you have songs that you've played a thousand times since then, but hey variety is the spice of my life, and today marked the day that I hit a 100 plays of a song.



I only added "Song for the Leftovers," by A Camp ( Nina Persson from the Cardigans) in April 2009. Which means I've played it more than once a week for 80 or so weeks. I suppose at heart I'm a melancholy soul.

Does this make this my favorite song? Not really. It maybe scrapes my top 10.

The next song in my 'plays' list is only at 80. Then again I have 22,637 songs to choose from. Each one has cover art, my specific Genre convention and a bespoke grading system so my Smart Playlists are auto-updated.

High Fidelity was good, but nothing tops Shrevie from Diner. Poor Beth.

Sunday, February 6

Temerity

I just switched on the Super Bowl coverage.

Various stars of the NFL (and Donovan McNabb) are reciting the Declaration of Independence, to remind us of what the country stands for.

I just switched off.

I'll turn the TV on again in an hour when they're selling ads for $6m a minute, and the rapist guy is throwing the ball, and James Harrison is missile-tackling defenseless wide-receivers helmet to helmet.

--

OK, so I just turned the TV back on and Sam Elliott of The Big Lebowski and the Coooooooors commercials is introducing the Packers.

Everything is good in the world again.

Italy/Italians

Contradictions.

Anne and I watched Top Chef the other day. The chefs cooked Italian food for a restaurant in New York.

I got soooooooo angry, as I always do when blowhard Americans roll out their ethnic heritage. At least on Top Chef there is an Italian contestant (Fabio), but of course we get 4th generation Americans who think because their name ends in a vowel they are still listed in the Naples phonebook.

I've had an assful of "Oh, I'm Irish/German/Italian/French Canadian/Quarter Cherokee etc etc, but when you ask have you been to these countries or can you speak the language, you get vacant stares. You're American. Deal with it, and shut the fuck up.

Meanwhile, my co-worker Kim is going to Italy later this year and I just spent the afternoon writing down some recommendations based on the trips that Anne and I have taken over the years.

I'm not a fan of Italians. There I said it. But man do I love Italy. Coffee by Lake Como, the sunset at Cinqueterre, the rattle of the punctual trains, the heat of Rome, the dress shirt/v-neck sweater/blue jeans and tailored jacket combo, the gelato of Florence, the winding roads of the Amalfi Coast, old ladies in black walking the grandkids in the late afternoon.

Saturday, February 5

Whatever old man ....

I left my hometown of Wakefield a long time ago, but I'll always be from there, proud of it, and take an interest in it.

During the past few weeks a tragic story has developed. A teenager went missing after a night out in Westgate, and a week later they found his body in the river. It's sad, and I understand the sentiment expressed by everyone.

But.

I noticed a Facebook page was created for people to pay their respects. I clicked on, but quickly wished I hadn't. The level of writing is retarded. Not borderline retarded. Just retarded. It's Forrest Gump meets Biffa Bacon meets Terry Fuckwitt.

Look I know we all write e-mails and texts that use shorthand, and are littered with mistakes. I'm sure my editor wife could go to town on this very blog entry, but come on.

And when did this quasi-religious bullshit pervade British society? Angels, thoughts and prayers? Never forgotten? There'll be a shrine of cheap flowers there for the next few weeks, and then everyone will move on to the next problem-du-jour.

I know I sound like an old man grumbling about grammar and society, but for fuck's sake, this is embarrassing.