Friday, September 30

Travellin' with the blues

I set off for London today with a bit of a sniffy nose. Not to worry I thought as I hit the Hudson News in the airport lounge, I'll get some tissues. They had no tissues.They did have a box of 50 envelopes.

I detest Hudson News, they sell niche magazines for Boston florists, living in Miami guides and African-American tattoo fans, but they cannot stock a title about movies, or The Economist. Douchebags.

Waiting for the plane a group of 20-somethings sat behind me, extolling the virtues of their various electronic devices and giving out handy yet 100% incorrect tips for traveling through security. "I take out my Digital Camera. They always want to see that".

Then they moved on to the the beauty of Groupon, "You can like, save 100s of, like dollars, by using this thing. I click on the links on Facebook. It's, like, awesome"

Next up, they discussed their friend who it appears is getting married in India next month. "She wears these, like, sari things, which are awesome. Like in that Slumdog Billionaire (sic) movie".

Elsewhere, Yanks with fanny-packs and gleaming white sneakers, mingled with balding middle-aged Brits in their distressed SuperDry shirts and Boxfresh jeans. Neither realising what twattish targets they look in other countries.

The middle-aged woman next to me looked nutty. And when she pulled out her book by televangelist Joel Osteen I felt suitably vindicated for my assessment.

Once on the plane, life settled. I realised I was watching the same move on my iPad that was playing on the in-flight screens.

At passport control I had a few choice words with an American woman behind me who seemed to think it was her job to control the line. 'Neurotic logic' was my best phrase in that conversation.

Finally I hit my £29 a night Travelodge room. You can imagine how good that was ...

Thursday, September 29

Nutty nutjobs

Our new office is in a big flashy glass building in a business park of the future. It's also next to a medical facility for people with seriously shitty health issues.

The other day I saw a grizzled 50 something woman with a cigarette hanging from her mouth, rushing her 80 something mother into the facility. The mum looked like she had mobility and mental health problems. Her compassionate daughter dealt with the problem with this bon mot "For fuck's sake mom, hurry up I need to piss".

Last night I went to see a movie, and as I walked to the theater, a guy with his trunk open said, "Hey could you help me". Being a well-rounded individual I immediately presumed this was a con where I end up in said trunk as a prelude to being gang-raped and chopped into bite size pieces.

Turns out I was wrong.

The guy had an electronic mobility cart that he needed help breaking down into pieces and loading into his car. I moved onto my next neurosis ... I get some kind of mechanical dyslexia when faced with machinery.

Turns out I was wrong. Again. I broke that baby down like a pro. What an adult I've become.

Homeward bound

Tomorrow, I'm heading back to England for the first time in almost a year.

Looking forward to seeing my family, drinking a few good beers, and catching up with 2 former co-workers.

Then, I'm off on another pointless jaunt to Europe. This time I'm heading to Luxembourg. Because I've never been before!

Let the annoying observations begin.

Thursday, September 22

Manly Pursuits

I swapped vehicles with my colleague Todd last night. He got to drive my fast German automobile, while I got to ride his pick-up truck.

I almost failed to get in the damn thing. Essentially I threw my ass up in the air to reach the elevated seat and almost missed.

Once in, I forgot to fasten my seatbelt for the whole ride home. Grrrrrrr. But I rolled the window down, stuck my arm out, and put some Springsteen on my iPod for the drive home. I'm so blue collar.

Maintaining the blue-collar theme this morning I dressed in J. Crew. Because when hauling furniture into the back of a truck nothing is as manly as J. Crew.

The iPod receiver wasn't working so I listened to Sports Radio. People, actually men, were complaining about the Red Sox.

Thankfully I'm back in my air-conditioned private office surrounded by my executive toys, because sadly, most CEOs are men too. I'm in the mood for some white-collar crime (thanks to the dry cleaners who wash, iron and starch my white shirts).

Tuesday, September 20

Dialysis expert?

Cambridge Hospitals appear to be taking the piss.

And also shitting me.

In fact they're grabbing a big tumbler and with the aid of a rusty funnel, and a crazy-straw they are force feeding me a mouth full of bodily secretions.

As I enter my 14th month of pain in the country with the World's Greatest Healthcare™ I allowed myself to get excited when last week my new doctor found a neuromuscular specialist to look at my forearm problem.

A week later (don't get me started) the referral manager called me today to let me know when my appointment is.

November 23 at 4pm.

In more than 2 fucking months time?

Worse still it's the day before Thanksgiving so I'm sure she'll want to bunk off to go pick up her frozen turkey.

Sunday, September 18

Worst job in show business

So each Sunday during the football season, Anne and I plonk ourselves down in front of the telly and watch something called Red Zone.

Red Zone runs from 1pm to 7.30pm, and zips between the 14 live games played on a Sunday afternoon. Unusually for American TV it has no commercial breaks, and in essence is 6 and a half hours of unadulterated action.

The show is presented by Scott Hanson, who links between the games, sets up the action and during the few moments when there is nothing happening, recaps some of the fantasy football figures for the day.

My reason for mentioning all of this? I don't think he has time to go for a piss for the duration of the show. Anne agrees with me, and thinks he has a big bucket under his desk. When the moment is right, he whips his chap out and empties into the bucket, while seamlessly recounting stats about the Bucs secondary unit.

Consequently, someone must be the piss-bucket emptier. And that cannot be fun.

For all I know he might have been whizzing while this photo was being snapped.

Friday, September 16

Secrets of my trade

I'm no branding expert. Oh wait, I am.

There's nothing Anne likes more than walking around a supermarket with me as I pose rhetorical questions such as, "Darling, I know what you're thinking, is this a hexachrome carton? Or did they use combination screening to split the process from the spot color?"

She loves it. Just ask her. Go on. Ask her. Our anniversary dinner when I explained ink density variables in gravure printing was a captivating tour de force. And romantic.

Well the other day she went to the store without me, and she managed to buy a somewhat pretentious beer without her pretentious husband AND select the greatest branding EVER.

And YES, I've started using CAPS for impact. Much better than !!!, or emoticons, or shit like OMG.

I fancy this might be our flighty local liquor store rather than the branding geniuses at Grolsch Towers, but really I love what they've done here.

A recycled non-virgin-board with a matt varnish finish, and a simple script in black to create background and foreground contrast. The primary communication just pops off the page and yet the title has room to breathe without bombarding the consumer with secondary messaging.

They pay me for this shit?

Moving Day

It's time to move my business to a new location today. Boy has this been a 4 month pain in the ass to plan.

Proving I can pretty much complain about anything, when we signed the lease the new space was ideal. Then what happens? We only go and virtually double the size of our business. Ugh.

So today with the help of a shoehorn we move our stuff, staff, samples, trinkets, and NERF guns into the new office.

It also marks the last day of sharing space with the company that we split from. They're a good bunch of people, and they are moving too. This week they took down the black plastic letters of their company name.

And the whole office went anagram crazy!

Most were fairly vanilla, until 'in the ass' appeared yesterday.

By day end we had this one.

Needless to say the office is filled with middle-aged men who still have the brain of a teenager ... myself included.

Thursday, September 8

Monkey meet Expert

Tonight it all kicks off again.

Football baby!!!!

For my third year of Fantasy Football I no longer consider myself a monkey, and will therefore probably second and third guess myself into mid-table mediocrity.

Oh for those fearless days of not knowing the difference between Bernard Manning and Peyton Manning, and thinking there was only one black guy in the NFL with a last name of Johnson.

This year I have 3 Fantasy teams, and in one league I'm up against the Mrs, and her quick fingered trades. But mostly I want to beat any team that is owned by a douche who starts his (always a he) team with Da. Da Browns, Da Bears, Da Patriots et al.

Let the battle commence. And Go Clay!

Wednesday, September 7

Good vs Evil

CVS have stopped selling Liquorice Allsorts. They were the last retailer in my area to sell them.

In one way this is good. It stops be buying a 1lb bag and stuffing them all down my gob into my fat belly.

Then again, can't an ex-pat have one guilty pleasure in life? It's not like there's a Scotch Egg and Cornish Pasty shop on the corner of every street in Boston. Instead there's a fucking Dunkin' Donuts and I hate donuts.

Tuesday, September 6

Wonderful World of Retail

I've been doing too much shopping recently.

Overheard in CVS
And the lucky thing was I saw my friend Wolf there, so I got to see him in the jousting competition.

Shelf Stacker "Are you looking for something in particular?"
Me "My wife"

Overheard in Container Store
Lindsay come here and look at these tiny coat hooks
I think they're for keys?

Overheard in Ikea
Stace, we need hangers for fuck's sake. We need to hang stuff.
and later
We don't need bowls. I don't eat anything in a bowl.

Club Monaco
Snooty sales guy "Are you looking for something special?"
Me "No, that's why I'm in your store"

Overheard in Target
Do you guys carry the Equate brand?

Today there was a fatal AK-47 shooting spree in Nevada at an International House of Pancakes. I just turned the TV on for background noise and there's been an ad for IHOP during each commercial break.

Finally, I was in the pharmacy today, and I asked where I could find First Aid Kits.
Walgreens associate "We don't sell them".

Saturday, September 3

That's a crock, monsieur

I had a bit of a senior moment yesterday.

I'd driven down to Chestnut Hill to walk through the Container Store, because I have shit that needs containing.

Post-purchase I trundled my stuff to the car, filled the trunk and as the back went down I realized that I had left my keys in there.

Anne came to the rescue, but not at emergency speed, so I found myself with 2 hours to fill. Incredibly there is a cinema next to the store, but they only had the Smurf movie, and The Help. I love black and blue people, but not enough to watch a dreary movie about either, so I went and found a place to eat instead.

I spotted a French restaurant. It was technically in a strip mall, but at least it's a Chestnut Hill strip mall. A quick once over the menu and I spotted croque monsieur so I went in.

Why doesn't everyone sell croque monsieurs (or madames for that matter)? They're not healthy, easy to make and delicious, in other words right in the middle of the American dining sweet spot.

Once inside, I realized I'd made my 2nd mistake. The CM was on the lunch menu. Zut alors!

So I ate badly cooked French food alone on a Friday night, as I read an old copy of Newsweek.