Monday, June 25

Strangely Synchronized

It's happened to everyone. You book a weekend away in Ohio only to find it coincides with England getting to the Quarter Finals of a major football tournament.

Sunday's game with Italy kicked off at 2.45, and our flight back to Boston was scheduled to leave a few minutes after 3pm.

Only as we reached the gate, the sign said the flight was delayed.

I fired up the iPad, logged onto free Wi-Fi, and launched the ESPN app … and realized what an awesome time we live in that you can watch a European football game on your own screen in the middle of an American airport.

The gate rep announced that the pilot was unable to head to Boston because of regulations governing how many consecutive hours they could fly.

There would be another announcement at 4.30pm.

Anyone raised on football can do the math. 45 minutes x 2, + 15 minutes for Half-time and the game will finish at … 4.30.

After the tedium of 2 defensively minded teams playing out a 0-0 draw, we head to Extra-time. 15 minutes x 2, + some monkeying around with cramp and water bottles.

Surprise surprise as United announce they are still trying to solve the pilot problem and will make another announcement at 5.15.

At 5.15pm the game goes to penalties. 10 seconds later the gate announces a further delay.

Anne suggests we go watch the game in the bar 20 yards further down the airport. I remind her that it's bad for me to be near people when I'm watching England.

Evidently the ESPN feed in the bar is running about 7 seconds quicker than the feed on my iPad.

Consequently I hear a cheer just as on my own screen Ashley Young places the ball on the spot.

7 seconds later I realize the cheers were for a miss, and the bar is full of Italian fans (probably moronic twats who call themselves Italian-Americans despite their only Italian experiences being the bottomless salad bar at The Olive Garden, and their name ending in a vowel).

The pre-emptive cheers let me know that Ashley Cole, the man who once vomited on a woman during adulterous sex, had missed his penalty, and finally Italy scored to go through to the next round.

With the net still jiggling from the last penalty, the gate attendant announced that "We have a pilot", and the boarding process begins immediately.

Anne and I both hope the guy with the epaulettes is an Italian fan and not some suicidal Englishman willing to take a plane full of Boston travelers down with him and his inevitable abject despair.

Friday, June 22

Quit being a whiny dick

Not quite what a colleague said to me, but the implication was there.

We had one of those weird jumps in temperature this week.

Tuesday was a pleasant enough 72°F (22°C for lovers of all things metric).

And then "Boom", Wednesday and Thursday peaked in the 100s.

This photo from 5pm shows the outside temp as 106°F (41°C).

When I mentioned this spike to my colleague who works on-site for a client in Phoenix she told me the average temperature this week in Phoenix was going to be 115°F (46°C).

Of course, that's a dry heat ....

Sunday, June 17

The simple things in life

Anne managed to finish all of her cat-sitting gigs by lunchtime today.

Faced with a surprise weekend afternoon with my all-time best lady-friend we did possibly my favorite open air activity.

We went down to Seaport, took 2 deck-chairs out of the trunk of the car and sat by the end of the dock.

And proceded to watch the airplanes fly over the top of us as they land at Logan.

Of course we lasted about 5 minutes because it's breezier than an easy, breezy CoverGirl down there.

So back in the warm comfort of my car and with the sunroof open we speculated on airplane liveries, as well as life, love, leisure and the lack of allure of owning a sailboat.

There's a dog kennel business down there too, so every 5 minutes you'd see a happy owner running out with a chirpy terrier, no doubt pissing off the hardy fishermen who pitch their rods in the hope of catching a fish before the squawking maniacal over-sized sea gulls get there first.

Afterwards, and predictably, I got lost in this otherwise soul-less part of Boston. Bizarrely Cirque du Soleil have pitched a huge tent down there for a new show.

Anne confided in me that she could never be a traveling acrobat.

She never fails to surprise me.

Back in Cambridge we did what any sane-minded adults would do on a sunny summer evening. We went to Za, had a cocktail and then headed back home for a bit of Downton Abbey.

Friday, June 15

Spasms, Urination & Orgasm

I went to a breathing class last night. I figure it's always good to breathe and I envisaged myself in a fugue state of calmness surrounded by running water, classical music and a cool breeze blowing in my hair.

Instead I had signed up for a circular breathing class that would have my prana angrily pushing out the chemical toxins of my soul.

Don't you hate it when that happens?

There were 2 others in my class. A hard-of-hearing octogenarian with boundless curiosity (these are 2 characteristics that make for constant interruption), and a woman from the Ukraine who had been practicing this art-form for a few years.

Then we began ... 45 minutes of pronounced intake and exhaling of breath that passes you through phases of dry throat, wooziness, into uncontrolled violent spasms, strange cramps and audible moans.

The experienced Eastern European breather didn't have spasms and cramps because she had already expelled her toxins.

So instead she just orgasmed for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile our teacher's mantra of 'good breathing' is tattooed into the inside of your eyelids. It's at this point that I expected someone to unbutton my pants.

Finally we stop, and a euphoric 15 minutes of bliss surges through your body as your brain says, "Thanks for going back to breathing normally you asshole".

45 minutes of heavy breathing made the 80-something want to pee.

Afterwards we all spoke of our experience. Loudly for the old guy, and without eye contact for the flushed post-orgasmic lady.

Our Germanic teacher told me that my spasms were ridding my body of the chemicals that my mum embedded into me when she accepted medication at my birth.

I'll be sure to scold my mum this weekend for her thoughtlessness, and the overwhelming embarrassment she caused me in a stuffy room in a business park 41 years after my birth.

I've signed up to go again next month.

Friday, June 8

Relax: Somalia's gonna be OK

Weird headline of the day has to be this on the BBC.

Letting me know that dry cleaning is one of the things I can cross off my "bad things in Somalia" Google Doc.

My own dry cleaner continues to shorten her hours of operation. The painted sign on the door says she's open from 7am until 6pm, but each week I swing by she shaves off 15 minutes from one end of the scale.

Anyway, next time I travel to Mogadishu, I won't have to limit myself to 'stay press' garments.

I might even break out the linen.

Thursday, June 7

Happy Birthday 2U

Pint-sized ladies-man, and texting shorthand vanguard Prince is 54 today.

Wednesday, June 6

Alanis Morissette delivers Air-Con Unit

In the most ironic event since a black fly in your Chardonnay, a huge crane backed into the parking lot of the courthouse next to our home at 6am this morning.

The 120 decibel, 20 ton machine was delivering a roof mounted air conditioning unit.

Coincidentally, because it's not ironic, the new unit should deliver cool air to the courthouse without making the mighty din that the current unit makes.

That'll make our neighbors happy. Actually it won't. They're miserable fuckwads.

I should insert a photo here, but my phone was downstairs, and at 6am I'm not at my best. Plus it was street-cleaning this morning, and guess who was parked on the odd side of the street?

Monday, June 4

When someone says it better than you

I've had some great restaurant food in the UK, but this blog looks at the other end of the market ...

Shite Food was started as an antidote to the middle class ‘food porn’ programmes on television. Tired of seeing Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall and Nigella Lawson spunk the average persons food budget for the week on one meal, I thought it was time for a dose of reality. Britain’s cuisine has supposedly improved immeasurably since the 70′s but, lurking behind the ‘Finest’ and ‘Taste the Difference’ ranges in our supermarkets are some true culinary horrors. We want to highlight the supermarkets who market poor quality, nutritionally dubious, crappy food to those on low incomes to make a quick quid.

 With my rant out of the way, I have to say that I’m fascinated and intrigued by the worst the supermarkets have to offer. As a food lover, I want to experience as many taste sensations as possible. From frozen Donner Kebabs to fusion food like Chicken Tikka Lasagne, to microwaveable Chips in curry sauce, Shite Food aims to bring you the food reviews you just don’t get from AA Gill or The Observer’s colour supplement, for your reading pleasure.

Friday, June 1

Cereal Killer

My sister is a nurse. She probably saves lives.

I say probably, because I think she works on the ward for old people who have broken bones.

So she exists somewhere in the space between serial killer Dr Harold Shipman and all-round medical goody two-shoes Florence Nightingale.

I do way more morally rewarding work. What I do saves lives.

Today I will be removing 7 almond pieces from a cereal photo that contains 13 pieces.

Why? Because the photographer and stylist don't live in reality. That's why.

They don't understand the physical suffering and mental torture of the hapless consumer who only gets 6 almond pieces per serving of this particular cereal.

I'll also be adding 'Serving Suggestion', in case the same hapless consumer purchases the cereal and mistakenly thinks the milk and bowl are included inside the carton.

Now, put on your helmet, because I'm about to blow your mind. Perhaps if the milk was included my sister wouldn't have a ward full of oldies with osteoporosis.

Circle of life.

Back to Harold Shipman. He committed suicide in prison in my home town of Wakefield.