Doing battle with daily dragons

Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Recovering From the Weekend

Everyone still with me after the weekend? Leave no man behind; that’s my Bank Holiday motto. It is my fervent hope that sunburns are fading, hangovers are receding and memories of acts committed while under the influence are hazy, at best.

The Mis-spelled Band took up a great deal of time over the last 4 days. 3 gig weekends are the bane of The Rock Star’s life. The Idiot, keen on fame and fortune (and buying his ex-wife out of their house) shoehorns as many performance dates into a Bank Holiday as he can manage. The swinging bachelor/bum lifestyle the rest of the band exist in (excluding The Girl, who’s about to become a student again and The Pretty Boy, who is an auto-sales slave) doesn’t exactly fit in as smoothly with a married/working your ass off trying to keep your company afloat one. I’ve actually given up going to gigs for a while to keep healthy as The Rock Star and I are contemplating giving spawning a go, (“If you’re in a smoky bar, you’re smoking,” my doctor assured me.) so sitting at home every weekend night isn’t exactly massively appealing. (Although getting E4 on Freeview might help to ease the pain somewhat.)

So, during my first experimental gigless weekend, these were the highlights:

- Friday night nosh with Boyracer, Baloo the Builder and The Christian. I had forgotten what it was like to go out with boys who weren’t legally obligated to keep their eyes to themselves. Since neither the Christian nor I are attached to Boyracer or Baloo, we endured a long meal with lots of distracted glances at the table of 6th form girls who were obviously having some sort of leaving do at the other end of the restaurant. “You know everyone in here is feeling sorry for us right now because they think we have such bad boyfriends,” remarked The Christian.

- Saturday night, I actually accompanied The Rock Star to the gig venue, but sat out the gig. The Mis-spelled band occasionally plays City Limits in Xscape MK. It has become one of their notoriously loud gig venues, although not due to enthusiasm on the band’s part, but rather the apparent complete deafness of the house DJ, who The Hairy One politely described as “a total cock.”

About 7 months ago, The Rock Star purchased us some top quality earplugs which, while not at the height of cool visually, have most certainly saved my hearing. The little rubber devils stick out of your ear sideways making you look like a 1950’s spaceman.

Some drunk guy at a pub: Huh huh, are you from Mars or something?

Me: No, I’m from Uranus.

Some drunk guy at a pub: Huh?

Anyhow, the little guys cut out 20 decibels of sound. These earplugs have been terrifically useful in every venue…except City Limits. That’s how loud it is.

At any rate, while The Rock Star slogged through his set, I went to take in a very late showing of “The Interpreter”. I’ll be honest, it’s not a film I would have seen in the cinema if I hadn’t been looking for something to do, but it wasn’t bad. What was even better about it was that I had the ENTIRE place to myself. (I guess midnight showings of taught geo-political thrillers aren’t high on the to-do lists of Milton Keynes natives) Once I got over my initial movie theatre shyness, I put my feet up, talked to the screen and even had a sneaky fart. “There was probably like, one other guy hidden in the shadows who was too scared to come out,” said The Rock Star. I prefer to think of my solitude.

-Sunday night The Rock Star was performing in The Mis-spelled Band’s “home venue” in Aylesbury but he had the day off, so we took in the Tring Canal Festival.

I have to admit to not knowing much about canalia. I think I’ve mentioned the two types of canal occupants before; “people who live on boats” and “boat people”. The festival is more of a celebration of the latter. We’re talking top hats, pheasant feathers, homemade inkings and beards a plenty. Most of the time we just spent people watching, although we did indulge in some candy floss and suspicious sausages.

To avoid the big smoke of the evening gig, Moot, PPD Boyracer and I returned to the water-logged love in to listen to sip some bevies and listen to some tunes provided by another local band. We brought along Dougal the Excitable whose reaction to the plethora of canal dogs running free around the festival was fairly predictable. Dougal could tow the QE2 across Ohio if he had something to chase and nearly managed to drag Moot into the beer tent after a Pomeranian.

There was also apparently a fight.

Woman reading raffle tickets off in the tent: Pink 340…That’s pink 340 and COULD WE PLEASE STOP THE FIGHTING IN FRONT OF THE STAGE? RIGHT NOW! WE ARE NOT HERE FOR FIGHTING! WE ARE HERE TO HAVE A GOOD TIME!

Crowd: Yaaaaay!

Woman reading raffle tickets off in the tent: So, pink 340? Last call?

- Monday was chill out day. A long lie-in, some friendly faces and an afternoon in the sun. The best new idea of the afternoon was an art shop in Soho that would only sell things that had been sat on by famous people. You know Charles Saatchi would be the first one in line.

Hope everyone had a similar weekend, full of enlightenment and profitable deeds.

The Arrival

Over the weekend, my computer, having learned that it’s replacement, a sleek, fast and sexy Sony Vaio laptop, was already on it’s way, staged the only act of scorned fury it could manage. Its power supply mysteriously imploded. It’s baffled even PPD, who usually just has to LOOK at a piece of equipment threateningly and it begins working again out of terror. So it is now lying in bits on my desktop, hoping that in its fragile state, I might take pity on it and remember my former affection. It’s not working however, because I am a techno-hussy and a sucker for anything smaller, faster and shinier.

Be still my heart, a City Link van has just pulled up outside the house. Could it be that my new love is here?

Frenzied trip down the stairs…

Behold, the new techno-shiny in all its gleaming Sony wonderfulness!

I think I’ll call her Tallulah.

Friday, May 27, 2005

Paradise Re-gained

I consider myself fortunate to be far from the walls of Purgatory today, as it is one of those days outside when you get down on your knees in the warm grass and thank the universe that you’re alive. Soon, however, I shall never be imprisoned in their cold, badly painted embrace again. For I have given Ms. Personality my notice and shall soon be free.

My disappointment in not getting the low paying, but intellectually stimulating job at the bookstore was assuaged mightily by an offer of a post as office manager for PPD, as his current one is moving up North. Not only does the post pay about 10 times more than the bookstore, it means 0 commute, tea every hour on the hour and lunches in the sunny garden complete with family dog. True, I must try to discover the function of the confusing jumble of GPS equipment that inhabits his office and get over my fear of spreadsheets, but I feel that I have made a worthy choice.

And so, with this joyous good news, I must begone for today in order to better understand what it is I’m supposed to be doing.

I’ll try not to press any flashing buttons, no matter how tempting.

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Which Guitar are You?

Not really a great surprise there. I love my tele. :)Thanks to Cilve for the link! Which guitar are you?

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Weeping and Gnashing of Teeth

Okay, here’s a confession. I am a total girl. Not in the standing on a footstool and screaming at spiders kind of way or anything, but I have to admit to having very little stimulus to precipitate extreme waterworks.

This is difficult living in Britain. Sitting in an America movie theatre after some tear jerker, you could expect many ladies exiting with their mascara running freely, but here, you are fixed with looks that clearly states, “Get a grip.” Women are sort of naturally emotional due to the fact that our bodies are built to release thousands of mind altering hormones once a month. Once in college, in a bout of severe PMS, I remember welling up because of a commercial on television. The product? Cotton. It was an ad for the cotton industry proclaiming that “Cotton is the fabric of our lives.” I was completely undone.

Tears are, of course, completely natural and normal in circumstances like weddings, graduations, funerals or extreme emotional duress. I’m afraid to admit however, that my outbursts are not limited to these occasions. (Totally losing my cool during the song “When She Loved Me” in the middle of “Toy Story 2” comes to mind. Don’t try to tell me that you don’t secretly think your childhood toys miss you.) So, here’s my thing for today:

Please describe a public occasion (other than those mentioned above) where you have been unlucky enough to begin leaking from your ocular region.

Sunday, May 22, 2005

A Night to Remember

I have fond memories of my high school proms. This time of year tends to bring it all back vividly. Memories of spending far too much time poring over Seventeen magazine with Virginia, trying to chose the perfect dress that my mother wouldn’t veto for length or neckline. Buying my first set of fake nails that I thought would make me look exceptionally sophisticated. (Ladies, if you MUST use the awful stick on drug store nails, here’s a little tip: Put on pantyhose FIRST.) Having conniptions when my date phoned to let me know he’d rented a WHITE tux. (He’d actually only rented a white jacket so instead of looking like an idiot, he only looked like a wine waiter.) I went to five proms in all during my high school career, so by the time my senior one rolled around, I was less concerned about getting my picture taken in front of a cardboard cut-out of the city of New Orleans than I was about wanting to go home and take off my uncomfortable shoes.

So, on Friday, when The Rock Star told me that The Mis-spelled Band was playing at a 6th form leaving ball, I begged to be allowed to sit in a corner quietly, observe and revel in hormonal, teenage nostalgia. In my enthusiasm, I had a small, niggling feeling in the back of my head that it might be wholly depressing to see beautiful, hopeful, thin people with their whole college experience still ahead of them, but I pressed on regardless, put on a sparkly tank top and found myself smack dab in the middle of the whole experience FAR from feeling depressed, but rather thanking GOD that I am no longer 18. (Except for the being thin part. Being thin I miss.)

For purely research purposes, I thought I might do a little quick comparison between formal experiences.

Subject A: Themes

It is the law that US proms must have a mind-meltingly insipid theme, such as “Stairway to Heaven”, “Evening in the Tropics” or “Paradise City”. I feel that David Letterman’s Top Ten Rejected Prom Theme List has a more realistic flavor:

10. Let's Pretend We All Have Bright Futures
9. A Night at the Hair Club for Men
8. America's Most Wanted
7. Rise Up and Kill the Popular Kids
6. Children of the Damned
5. Sorry I Made You Pregnant
4. An Evening in Willie Nelson's Laundry Hamper
3. Come as Your Gay English Teacher
2. We Shall not Pass this Way Again -- Except for Our Really Depressing Reunion in 10 Years

1. 'Faced!

The gathering I witnessed on Friday evening didn’t seem to have any definite themes other than: “A Magic Night of Overindulgence, Ruining Your Date’s £500 Cocktail Dress and Losing Your Dad’s Rolex. Some Guy From the Band Found It And Took It Home. Boy Are You Up Shit Creek Without A Paddle.”

Subject B: Decorations

I was never on prom committee. Probably for the same reason I didn’t plan my own wedding. (Not planning my own wedding didn’t have much to do with me not being on the cheerleading squad, though, just with extreme disorganisation.) To be honest, I’m not sure that I know who WAS on the prom committee. (Other than the cheerleaders) Whoever they were, the bulk of the decorations were balloons, whether the theme was “Western Romance” or “An Evening in Abu Dhabi.” Balloons covering the ceiling, balloon centerpieces, balloon archways…every square inch of the hotel venue was covered in latex and helium. Maybe this is why so many unplanned pregnancies occur on prom night.

Some things never change. The Pendley Manor ball room looked like a sea of satin and black and white rubber. There was, of course, the obligatory large balloon, filled with confetti and smaller balloons, meant for the grand finale of the evening that was decimated before The Mis-spelled Band took their first break.


Subject C: Photography

There is not even a remote chance that you will be able to leave your house without being caught on film upwards of 2,000 times from the moment you go into the bathroom for a shower to the moment that the bumper of your boyfriend’s car disappears over the horizon. But the true horor awaits once you arrive: The formal photo.

Depending on your theme, you and your date will be arranged in front of something (usually cardboard) that loosely represents the evening. (The worst one of these that I had taken was in front of a giant pink moon that looked less like a celestial body and more like a giant phallus.) The photographer will pose you beautifully and say helpful things like “Look like you’re in love!” which is fabulous, since your boyfriend has just informed you in the car on the way over that he thinks you should “see other people” when you go off to college. (This is not to say this happened to me. My date thoughtfully waited we were on the way HOME. See Subject G: Emotional Damage)

Then they will charge you $20 for copies.

The leaver’s ball also had the option of photography. However, it was in front of a tastefully bland screen with a photographer that said little but “smile”. The Mis-spelled Band took the opportunity to have their photo done before beginning their set. I’m fairly sure their photo is going to come back looking like a rather surly family reunion.

Subject D: Fashion

According to PromSpot.com, in 2005, young women in the US will spend $4 billion on prom dresses. That's a hell of a lot of burgers flipped and lattes pulled to look great in a dress for about 3 hours until you and your date decide it’s time to go up to the hotel room and take it off. The first three proms I attended all took place at different schools, so I was lucky enough to wear my first prom dress 3 times before having to look for a new one. It was long, black and kinda bunchy in unpleasant places and had to have some ruffles added to the plunging neckline in order to prevent dreaded red-carpet nip slip. Did I mention the long black gloves? Uber-class. I won’t spend any time on men’s fashion as it’s pretty much a fait acompli that you’re going to be wearing a dinner jacket for the first time and look uncomfortable enough to crawl straight out of your skin.

Along with the fashion, I must mention the prom royalty tradition. No, it doesn't come out of "Saved By the Bell", it actually happens. My senior year, the Prom Queen was Gina Konietzko and the Prom King was Golden Fillmore. (Yes, his name was Golden and he had a knack of getting me a lot of lunch detention in middle school. He also exposed himself on the top of the Kennedy Center in Washington.)

I think people have gotten more beautiful since I was in high school. The thing that struck me most about the elegant creatures that floated around the ballroom was that they all possesed EXACTLY the same body type. (The type that you can't figure out where they keep their internal organs.) I don’t know about any of you, but I remember some fat kids in my graduating class and I’m telling you, there just WEREN’T any. The dresses were well tailored and beautifully fitted. The tuxedo jackets, however, were discarded by the time The Mis-spelled Band launched into “Hotel California.”

There was NOT royalty present, although some guy DID go croud surfing during the Darkness number. He got dropped on his head.

Subject E: Food and Drink

It’s rather traditional in the US to go out to dinner before prom, because naturally, when you’re all dressed up, the best thing to do is go to a restaurant and order spaghetti bolognaise. There are many couples who arrive at prom pre-stained.

As for drinking, theoretically, there wasn’t any, but everyone knew there were some football player’s parents who were out of town that weekend and there would be an orgy of underage drinking. For this reason, everyone still had to sit through the obligatory “Blood on the Highway” video the week before prom in which the dangers of drinking and driving were illustrated so graphically, that only the guys who volunteered with the local paramedics didn’t come out feeling distinctly ill.

Two words: Chocolate fountain. Someday, after I find that genie who will grant me my wish of eternal fitness, good hair and world peace, I am going to purchase one and use it 24 hours a day. For those who have not experienced the joy of a chocolate fondue fountain and its array of marshmellows and strawberries…your life is not complete.

One word for anyone contemplating a drink at the bar: Don’t. 18 year olds (and not-yet-18-year olds) jockeying for a spot at the bar are dangerous, rude and tiresome. The crowd came to a stand still when three charming gentleman kept taking drink orders from various mates standing around waiting to be served. The Rock Star was eager for them to try this tack in The Hogs Head on a Saturday night so that they could receive a brutal education in manners.

Subject F: Music

At my senior prom, I can remember distinctly being regaled with tunes from bands such as AC/DC, Poison, Def Leppard, Whitney Houston, Cher and Celiene Dion, the last three of whom are evil.


Luckily for the 6th formers from Aylesbury High School, they got The Mis-spelled Band as WELL as a DJ. The Idiot was in his element; showing off in front of pretty girls. He was having such a good time, he slipped in one of his most notorious lyric changes during “The Joker”. “I get my lovin on the run” becomes, of course, “I get my lovin up the bum”. No one noticed, of course, not even the four teacher chaperones who were dancing two feet away from him.

I’m glad I don’t have any children for him to be a bad influence on.

Subject G: Emotional Damage

Prom night would not be complete without FLOODS of tears, break ups, reconciliations and long term psychological scars from coming out of the ladies room with your gown tucked into your tights.


Sure enough, things have changed little since my day. 18 is still 18 and I found myself in the ladies room listening to tales of betrayal, insensitivity and believe- it –if- you- like.

“He…he…(sniff)(gulp)..said..I…I…loo(gasp) look FAT!”

“I can’t believe she wore the same dress. I don’t EVEN want to come out! I look TOO stupid!”

“I know we’re going to last through university. We’re in love.”

I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my stroll down the balloon covered lane of memory. I hope, that long after this magical moment has past for the leavers, they’ll remember their evening with fondness and longing for the innocence of youth.

They might even be able to forget the chocolate stains on their £500 Versace original.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Eye Color Generator

Here's an interesting little generator for those of you who have yet to spawn.

Some Thoughts on The Throne

My in-laws came to one of the Rock Star’s gigs the other night. The pub in question looked as if it had been kitted out by Henry VIII’s interior decorator; iron chandeliers, mock gothic windows and lots of very spiky metal grillwork that was obviously not designed with heavy drinkers in mind. The layout was cursed with the same flaw as many other stops on The Mis-spelled Band’s circuit; if one feels compelled to heed the call of nature, one must don battle armour and fight ones way across the dance floor in order to find the loo, sustaining much damage along the way in the form of crushed toes, groped buttocks and stained outer garments.

So great was my mother-in-law’s desire NOT to make this journey, that they left early and she had “a hugely refreshing wee” on Stanmore Common. A 63-year-old woman chose to relieve herself on a public green, risking prosecution rather than use a nightclub toilet. This is a sad state of affairs.

It’s just as well that my in-laws never came to see The Rock Star at what we affectionately termed “The Mutant Pub” in downtown Aylesbury. It's since been taken over by new management, so we imagine the mutants have returned to their undergroud lair. It’s been awhile since any of us ventured near the place, but before the Mis-spelled Band got put on the O’Neills circuit, they often braved this little sinkhole of humanity. I mention this because the toilets there were worth avoiding even if you were suffering from acute food poisoning. The gents was reputed to be worse (although this is almost always the case) although they had a more amusing selection of novelty items for purchase in their vending machine than in the ladies, including inflatable sheep, vibrators and contraceptive devices that sported so many attachments that they looked like they were capable of being used for home repair.

However, all is not entirely rosy in the world of posh loos either.

About 2 years ago, while visiting LawGirl in Boston, she and two of her lovely friends took me to an extremely swanky restaurant downtown. Everything about the place was very classy, so when the sole male of our party came back from the toilet with a puzzled look on his face, we naturally questioned him.

“You know a restaurant is too pretentious when you can’t quite figure out where you’re supposed to pee,” he said. Apparently, the main feature in the gents was a large fountain, lined below with crushed ice. “I hope that’s where I was supposed to go, cause if not, I just desecrated a really nice design feature.”

The ladies room also had a surprise in store. Upon entering, we were dazzled by the dozens of mirrored surfaces, including the outer stall doors. However, when seated in the stall, you come to the horrible realization that the doors are in fact one-way mirrors so that you can observe the goings on in the restroom at large. I can’t convey how disconcerting it is to be sitting on the toilet and have a woman facing you, checking her makeup and picking her teeth.

I think I prefer the anonymity of the nightclub stall hands down. Even if I have to shove my way through the England rugby squad to get there.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Shiny


Just ducking in quickly today as I’ve got some metal to hack apart.

Some of you know that I’m a silversmith. It’s just one of the many things I do to keep body and spirit together. It’s kind of a strange and expensive hobby, especially if you don’t sell much, but I manage, through the help of a very dedicated saleswoman, (i.e. my mom) to make ends meet and turn a small profit.

But mostly it’s just to satisfy my shiny habit. There’s nothing I love like a whole boat load of shiny. If you too have a hankering for some shiny, have a look.

And as shiny can come in all forms, I must echo Clive in his praise of Orisinal. You will want to spend all afternoon playing here.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Quote of the Week


One police car screaming down Oxford Street is normal. Two, slightly more unusual. But four, plus a riot wagon means someone somewhere is getting a whuppin. I discovered the source of the disturbance at the bottom of the Victoria Line escalator where a group of ASBO's waiting to happen were congregated, being interogated by the fuzz.



Chav: So he's all like, "Hey bitch, get out of my face," and I'm all like, "You wanna go?" and he's all like, "Shit, bitch, nigga don't PLAY like dat!" and I go....

Me: HA HA HA HA HA!

Police Officer: Could you move along ma'am?

He wanted to laugh too. I could tell.

Heart of Darkness

Visiting the US Embassy is always a little bit like going to the principal's office, even if you know you haven't done anything wrong. The brown 70's office furnishings and facade of imperial concrete make you feel like you're going to class without your homework finished.

At any rate, if I want my new passport, I must venture into The Interior to find out what happened to Kurtz. The bumpkin once again makes her way into central London.

Monday, May 16, 2005

Why Earplugs Were Invented

I’ve never been a natural when it comes to music. There’s a bit of your brain that takes care of “building block” skills like math, languages and all things musical, which, in many fortunate people, is as diligent as the SAS on manoeuvres in the Persian Gulf. Mine, however, frequently goes AWOL and is subsequently subjected to a lengthy and humiliating court marshal, so it hasn’t got much time for keeping that information safe and secure for use at a later date. This probably explains why I’m so appalling when it comes to math, but I prefer to blame that on Mr. Palamara, my 7th grade teacher, who told me that I was “stupid”.

This is not to say that I haven’t picked up instruments in my time for a brave stab into the unknown and incomprehensible. My musical hopelessness began at the tender age of 7 when I was forced to pick up the recorder to make bird-torturing noises with the rest of my fellow 2nd graders. Most were granted the privilege of graduating to the “alto” recorder, which made bird-torturing noises in a slightly lower register, but I alone was left behind in soprano squeekyville because by the time I learned where B flat was, I’d forgotten how to play an E.

However, by 10, I had conveniently forgotten my failure with woodwinds in time for the visit of the Harold Hill-esque band instrument salesman who showed up at our school, peddling dreams of musical virtuosity, or, at the very least, something that would make our parents pay us to stop playing. For maximum pain, I could have chosen the violin (something that would have sent my grandmother to heaven on the spot) but instead, I lowered the threshold of agony with the clarinet. I was okay. Not great, but okay. My squeaking was kept to a minimum and most of the time I remembered where B flat was. But my heart wasn’t in it and I spent most of band practices for the next two years or so passing notes to a girl called Christina about boys that we liked, so that too fell by the wayside.

One would think that after two tries at playing something you have to blow through and not succeeding, I might have thought about giving up. (Anyone who is thinking about commenting on this statement may kindly get stuffed.)
Not so.

Somehow, at 17, I was convinced to join the high school marching band. Did I play an instrument? Did it matter? Hell no, was the answer to both questions. I spent my senior year in marching band VOLUNTARILY, playing the melophone (Don’t laugh. It’s a marching version of the French horn) and the trumpet for the winter concert season. I was 7th chair out of 14, although I’m not sure if this reflects well on me or rather more poorly on the 6 other guys who had been playing for 5 years and got beaten out by someone who picked up the instrument over the summer in their spare time. Whatever the score, we enjoyed deafening the woodwinds and making livestock noises during the first 45 bars of “Sheep May Safely Graze.”

However, no high school hippy’s journey would be complete without a foray into the world of guitar inspired by that one really sensitive teacher that wrote his own music and all of the girls secretly hoped their boyfriends one day would be exactly like. YOU GIRLS OUT THERE KNOW WHICH TEACHER I’M TALKING ABOUT. DON’T EVEN TRY TO PRETEND THAT THERE WASN’T ONE AT YOUR SCHOOL. At any rate, I very successfully learned “Let It Be”, got bored and ended up dragging a disused acoustic halfway across the country and back several times.

Nowadays, I’m older, wiser and slightly more patient. I’m having a learning rennisance at the moment, partly due to the fact that, in The Rock Star, I have a good teacher and partly due to the fact that I know I look pretty cool strutting around in front of the mirror with my white Fender Telecaster and practicing my “musical grimace.” I know loads of riffs, albeit not so many entire songs, but it’s cool if someone thinks you’re a total newbie and you suddenly let rip with the first lick of “Black Dog”. You’d just better hope they don’t want to hear the rest of it.

Just for the record, if anyone ever requests “Let It Be”, I’m there.

Friday, May 13, 2005

Stuff in the Garden

Summer is definitely on the way. I know this because this strange plant here at the left has begun to bloom in earnest at the marina. We’ve noticed it only in the last week. Some plants dazzle with magnificent foliage, some plants sting or snare you as you pass, but this particular flowering shrub (Which, Moot generously pointed out to me this morning, is a member of the Berberis family) has a rather unique odor. It smells like…well…stuff.

This is how the dictionary defines “stuff.”

stuff n.

1. The material out of which something is made or formed; substance.
2. The essential substance or elements; essence: “We are such stuff/As dreams are made on” (Shakespeare).
3. Unspecified material: Put that stuff over there.

I propose a 4th definition.

4. A rather popular male bodily fluid: The CSI isolated the epithelials from the hair, blood and stuff left on the hotel bedsheet.

The shrub was fairly small when we first arrived at the marina 6 years ago, so the smell was not as noticeable as it is today. We only really noticed it two years ago when we moved to the mooring directly across from the offending hedge. We were sitting out one night and suddenly this aroma came drifting over.

Me: Um…what’s that smell?

The Rock Star: Dunno. But it wasn’t me.

It is especially pungent at night, when the Rock Star and I are returning from one of his gigs at 2 in the morning and get caught up in a miasma of…stuff. It can be slightly embarrassing when guests come around. You can see them sort of looking around for the source of the bouquet, trying to pretend that it’s probably just a lilac bush playing a practical joke.

We long to enlighten them, but it’s very difficult to find a nice way of explaining that we live next to a jizz tree.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Ten Reasons Why I Probably Had a Better Day Today Than You

10: I got bitten in the butt by a swan but…

9: …It was because I was sitting on the bow of my boat

8: …In the sunshine

7: …Playing guitar

6: …Drinking tea

5: …Eating ice cream

4: …And conversing with The Rock Star who was working from the boat today since there was literally no electricity in the office. I mean, the Internet connection was lying across the road due to some electrical tomfoolery.

3: I also ate lunch in the pub…

2: …Had beer…

1: …And took a short nap.

Word.

Feel free to hurl abuse.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

The Worst Play in the Whole World

If someone set out to write the worst piece of theatre ever conceived in the whole history of mankind, it would have to contain these elements:

- A “dazzling” combination of mixed medias.

- A searing indictment of pop culture and its influence over the fragile human mind.

- Suicide.

- Religion.

- Lesbians.

- Vampires

My name is Galetea and I acted in this show. I was the lesbian. I only dredge up this painful memory because I just rediscovered the site of the playwright that inflicted this piece of theatrical damage on the, oh, 6 people who actually came to watch it. He seems to have turned his hand to music now, which is fine by me, as long as I never have to listen to it, because I imagine that it might be a lot like his prose and then I’d have to find something sharp to kill him with. What bothered me most about this play was the fact that SOMEWHERE along the line, SOMEONE must have been asked "What do you think?" and instead of nipping the awful piece cruelly, but humanely, in the bud, they offered ENCOURAGEMENT. “It’s great, man,” they must have said, “it totally moved me.” DAMN THEM TO THE PURGING FLAMES OF HELL FOR THEIR DISSERVICE TO HUMANITY, AND MORE IMPORTANTLY, AESTHETICS.

Just for the record, my part was actually recorded on video, so I didn’t have to take to the stage to perform in this monstrosity. Instead, I sat in the audience with my mouth hanging open watching the horror unfold in front of me. I wanted to grab The Rock Star and run, but unfortunately, Mr. Genius Playwright Boy was sitting in the seat right behind me.

I played an aggressive lesbian talent scout and trying to seduce/intimidate a girl who was 6 feet tall and actually LOOKED like a vampire. (Her day job was pretending to be a waxwork at the London Dungeon and giving heart attacks to fat American tourists.)

For my dedication to my art, I was paid the generous sum of £10 and a silver zippo lighter. He couldn’t have thrown in a pack of cigarettes?

Bear in Mind

The Rock Star has just made a very strange discovery about our very strange English language. While looking up the word “bear” to try to ascertain whether or not “bear in mind” was spelled like the “omnivorous mammal of the family Ursidae”, he found out that “bare” was actually the PAST TENSE of “bear”. Of course, what this actually means is if you were to speak of “bearing a burden” in the past tense, you would spell it “bare”. However, we thought it was much more amusing to think of “a former bear.” Maybe a grizzly that got tired of forests and salmon and decided to be an accountant instead?

Sunday, May 08, 2005

Quote of the Week

I'm hoping that, during the course of my all too fast weeks, that I will find something that will amuse me enough to want to share it with the rest of you. This one just squeaked in under the wire, today, Sunday.

Today The Rock Star and I ventured to the London Guitar Show where we were plunged into a seething mass of large hair, black t-shirts and 8,000 pre-teens crunching out "Smells Like Teen Spirit" with amps turned all the way up to 11. (There were also a small group of cool people there, but I won't make fun of them.)

The Rock Star has a Chinese dragon fetish. He's even got one who sits obediently on his shoulder. (He's called "Sid") So, when he spotted a scratchplate for his Fender Strat with a beautiful Chinese dragon on it, he yoinked it off of the wall and headed up to the cashier. For those not versed in guitar lingo, a scratchplate is the bit of plastic under the strings that keeps you from damaging the body while using a pick. A BIT OF PLASTIC, mind, usually worth about 15-20 pounds.



The Rock Star: This'll fit a standard Strat, right?

Salesguy: Yep. That'll be 50 pounds.

The Rock Star: SHIT THE BED.

(I must point out that this choice phrase of my husband's is one that is tolerated in the home and among friends, but today was it's first public outing. "That came out just a little too easily," he remarked afterward.)

Friday, May 06, 2005

18-30

Boy Racer was, this morning, bemoaning the fact that he is no longer eligible to go on an 18-30 holiday. If he’s really honest with himself, I don’t think he would enjoy a holiday that almost guarantees being submerged up to your neck in a tub of penicillin upon your return.

“Potamus could still go,” he commented, “but she’d be playing mama the whole time.”

“Now you don’t want to go drinking a whole bottle of THAT. Just put it…no…put it down. Now, there’s no need for that, is there? No one wants to see Mr. Willy, so why don’t we put him back where he came from? That’s right. Now lets scrub that little bit of sick off of your best shirt, shall we? You’ll want to make a good impression on all of the young ladies at the discothèque this evening, won’t you? For heaven’s sake, stop drooling! Now, here are some prophylactics. We remember what they’re for, yes? No, they’re not for making beer balloons to drop over the balcony on guests around the pool….”

I shudder to think.

Bumlasers

Well, into all lives a little rain must fall. I'm afraid I didn't secure my much wanted job. Cest le vie.

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Superstition Ain't The Way

We went to see The Cheerful Idiot last night. First off the bat, we were relieved that he wearing trousers, which is a definite improvement on last week when Pretty Boy knocked on his door and he answered it in Y fronts. I think that’s probably still all PB can see when he closes his eyes.

The Idiot was vexed. He’d just broken two mirrors trying to arrange them in an aesthetically pleasing pattern on his bathroom wall. The girl currently sharing his abode, who we shall call The Barmaid, revealed to us that he’d recently consumed almost an entire bag of sugar.

He seemed rather unconcerned over the implications of the shards of reflective glass that now covered his upstairs hallway. “14 years bad luck? I can’t imagine that my luck could get any worse than it has been over the last 7 months.” I think he’s wrong however and will discover this himself when he next makes a dental appointment.

Superstitions are funny things- hangers on from times before science took away all of our ghosts. I’m not a terribly superstitious person, but according to those who believe that a reflection in a mirror is actually your soul, The Idiot should have waited for 7 hours before cleaning up the pieces and then buried the shards in a deep hole by moonlight. To me, that counter spell sounds a little like one of those children’s books where you can create your own silly person by flipping 3 or 4 sections around giving someone the head of a woman, the body of a chicken and the feet of a clown.

If You…

- Break / Step on / Spill / Walk Under / Pass By / Trip Over / Bump Into / Accidentally Impale /

- A Mirror / A Cat / Salt / A Ladder / A Sparrow / An Elephant / A Witch /

- Immediately / Never / Always / Sometimes / Next Tuesday /

- Throw It / Turn Around / Curse / Pinch Your Nose / Spit / Flip the Bird /

- Once / Twice / Three Times / Four Times

- Over Your Shoulder/ Around Your Head / Between Your Legs / At Grandma’s House

- At the Full Moon / On a Moonless Night / Under a Tree / By a Crossroads / On a Moderately Sunny Day With Temperatures in the Mid-Teens /

I personally have very few personal superstitions other than throwing spilt salt over my shoulder. I couldn’t tell you why I do this since the devil at my shoulder probably isn’t going to be perturbed by a little salt in his eye.

Other manias welcome.

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Un-American Activities

I like to think I know a parody when I encounter one. I like to think that my brain is highly developed enough to detect the whiff of someone who is trying to yank my chain. In my early morning web browsings (which are about sophisticated as sitting in front of the TV in my pants) I stumbled upon a little piece of anti-American bile by a charmingly hateful UK resident called Limey. Here is an excerpt from one of his well-informed little diatribes.

Don't you just hate Americans? Everything about them is so utterly crass, so second-rate – from the sloppy way they dress to their junk food and whinging nasal twang. If only they’d leave us alone. But, being Yanks, they won’t, or can't. To a man – even, it seems, to a woman – their sole aim in life is to turn us into Uncle Sams.

Now I don't generally rise to basic ignorance, but it occurs to me that Mr. Limey and Mr. Kilroy-Silk might have one or two things in common. (At the very LEAST, extreme xenophobia. As far as the startlingly orange skin, it’s difficult to make that out from his writing style, but, out of spite, I’ll say he sounds like a good candidate for the “I’ve Been Tangoed” brigade. I’ll bet the words “asylum seekers” are part of his daily vocabulary too.)

If anyone on the planet wants to point accusing fingers at the White House, American foreign policy, our environmental track record, or religious extremism, hell, I’ll be right behind you. I’ll even find you some rocks to throw if you want me too. But Mr. Limey has never met an American. If he ever decides to go and seek one out, I’ll tell you what he’d discover.

When my friend and I found ourselves in a brand new city near Thanksgiving, we were determined to make a meal, but had a niggling doubt in the backs of our heads that we might a) poison ourselves or b) burn down our apartment complex. But, out of the blue, we received an invitation to dinner from two complete strangers, who knew only that we were two new folks in the area who had no family to go to for Thanksgiving. I could write this whole blog about complete strangers who put themselves out for my sake, just because they thought it was the right thing to do. In America, the words “community” and “neighborly” are not hollow punchlines. They are watchwords. The guy sitting next to me on the bench in the airport is my neighbor. We take people to our bosoms instantly; we don’t hold them at arm’s length until a suitable period for intimacy has elapsed. You’re new here? Come to my house. Meet my family. Be PART of my family.

Hell, I’d even invite Mr. Limey over for dinner if he felt he could get past my sloppy way of dressing and my whinging nasal twang.

The second part of his diatribe is slightly more amusing and bucketloads sillier.

Sadly, here in the United Kingdom it’s working all too well. Monopoly control of film distribution and cheap TV series ensure American ‘culture’ is everywhere. The result? Massive sales of Levi jeans, MacDonalds burgers, Ford and GM cars, Starbucks coffee, Budweiser beer, Jack Daniel’s whiskey, Dell and Macintosh computers – you name it. And all, in the end, to the detriment of our own native culture.

I just wanted to make sure of something; Have any of you Brits out there ever felt like drinking a Budweiser or shots of Jack (although I know most of the hairy rockers that read this blog probably drink straight out of the bottle!) was an assault on your Britishness rather than your sobriety? Have any of you designer types ever felt a pang of national disloyalty switching on your Apple Mac? Has your ass ever felt less patriotic when covered by Levi denim? Ever feel the disapproving glare of St. George when biting into a Big Mac? Has the “Star Wars" franchise ever stopped a Guy Fawkes night celebration? Is a Mustang ever going to keep a village fete, with all of it’s terrier races and giant vegetable growing contests from happening? Will a cup of Starbucks Coffee overthrow the Houses of Parliament?

I feel slightly uncomfortable attacking the Limester, to be honest, as I am unable to read his articles in their entirety due to Blogit’s pay-to-read policy. But anyone with a blog entitled “Don’t You Just Hate Americans?” is going to have to deal with any little bits of education that I choose to throw in this direction.