Monday, May 31, 2004

Ho hum, off to Columbus

At the moment I am waiting for a friend who's giving me a lift to the little dinky airport just outside of town. 'Cause I'm off to Columbus, OH. Admittedly all I'm doing at the airport is renting a car, but still I'm going there.

I'm pleased to see that Pennsylvania has got into the Bank Holiday spirit. Yesterday was an absolutely gorgeous sunny day... and today it's pissing it down with rain.

My friend is here now, so I'd better run.

Friday, May 28, 2004

My toilet and Richard Kelly

Sometimes when I'm at work, sitting in front of my computer, I feel the need to have some time away from the screen. If I was somewhere civilized, I would go have a coffee, and by coffee I mean espresso, or I would attempt to smash empty beer bottles with a football, and thus clear my head. As it is all I could think of to clear my head today was to walk home, about five minutes, and go to the toilet. Today was the first day that I decided to walk home to use the toilet, normally I walk down the corridor to use the toilet... which typically makes more sense. When I arrived at home I found a piece of yellow paper stuck to the door telling me I had a new toilet... and lo and behold, I did. I found it very odd that the only time I came home in the day to use the toilet, I had a brand new.

(At this point I should probably recount how I came home drunk a month, or so, ago and broke my toilet... well it was already somewhat broken, it used to rock quite a lot, I just applied the coup de grâce by cracking it rather badly. By badly I mean your feet got wet when you flushed the chain. I patched it together with some strange epoxy stuff, but it was pretty much on its last legs.)

In other news, I read about two very exciting things coming soon from Richard Kelly, the director of the excellent Donnie Darko. The first of which is the Director's Cut of Donnie Darko, which premieres at the Seattle Film Festival this weekend. It will probably be released in July, hopefully it will be released America-wide (and worldwide, for that matter) and I'll get to see it on the big screen with the big sound and all those fun things. The second exciting thing was news of his new film, Southland Tales. Apparently, some of the people already signed up to star in the film are Sarah Michelle Gellar (of Buffy fame), Seann William Scott (Stiffler from the American Pie films), Kevin Smith (aka: Silent Bob from the Kevin Smith films), Jason Lee (star of many of the Kevin Smith films), Amy Poehler (from Saturday Night Live) and Tim Blake Nelson (starred in O' Brother, Where Art Thou?). And there's more to come, maybe in the guise of Janeane Garofalo, who I saw on the Daily Show describing a vote for Bush as a character flaw and currently is on the left wing internet radio station Air America. It's all very exciting, the star of Buffy and the director of Donnie Darko making a film... I wait with anticipation. Which is good as I imagine it will be well in to 2005 before we get to see the film.

Wednesday, May 26, 2004

Some good news... and some rather amusing news

I read some good news over at earlier today. Apparently, the chances are quite good that I will eventually get to see the 9 remaining episodes of the really rather good Wonderfalls, because a dvd release is looking likely. For those of you who don't know, Wonderfalls was a short-lived series on FOX. It starred, one of the girls on my if only list, Caroline Dhavernas as an employee of a souvenir shop who was talked to/at by inanimate objects. And it was really rather good. And it was cancelled. And I was sad.

In other news, some poor Saudi Arabian (or at least somebody whose computer thinks it's in Saudi Arabia) arrived at my musings via a web search for fucking cows [Edit: it seems that those smart people at Yahoo have rejigged their search results and I've fallen from grace in the cow fucking stakes]. What is particularly impressive about this, is the fact that of the 147,000 pages that matched, this page was ranked 15th and was the first non-porn page. I'm not sure whether he (it must be a he, surely) was looking for bestiality stuff, or if he really didn't like cows and was looking for fellow cow-haters... but I know what I'd bet on. Either way it makes more sense then the Australian who got here via a search for arse boat ryan blog. I just noticed that this bloke was from Perth, I wonder if it's my brother?

Monday, May 24, 2004

Random musings

For me this has been a week of The Streets [Edit: Fixed pesky link], Terry Pratchett, Thea Gilmore, Superman (well... Smallville), hangovers (well... hangover, more accurately), football, cricket, formula 1 and sweating like a bastard because my flat is too bloody hot. Which all means, except the sweating part... that's pretty much irrelevant unless you're the bed-sheet, that I have been "witness to some amazing feats", or at least some great lines.
"Hello?... Oh, fucking phones man!" — The Streets, Such a Twat

"...the place was one of those nowhere places that existed only in order to avoid the embarrassment of having large empty spaces on the map." — Terry Pratchett, Monstrous Regiment

"As some tight cunt to fuck and leave and fuck again" — Thea Gilmore, See if they Applaud

A Grand Don't Come For Free, the new The Streets album, is a bloody marvelous little record. It has 11 songs which follow Mike as he has a shitty day that was suppose to be so easy, is addicted to gambling, gets a girl, goes on holiday, loses the girl, and quite a few other things as well. I'm not really sure what kind of music you would say it is, similar to Original Pirate Material but also distinct from it and better than it. You see why I'm not a music critic now... I lack the descriptive prowess, or at least I lack the flowery bullshit... sadly, all my bullshit is of the non-flowery variety.

Monstrous Regiment is Terry Pratchett's latest full Discworld novel, and it's also very good. Something like Pratchett at his best, well it's got Sam Vimes in it so it must be good... right? Plus, the quote above is the perfect description of the town I grew up in, and the one I currently live in...

This week I did at least discover how you get through an entire weekend without spending very much money. You see normally I wake up sometime on Saturday morning and then, being as I don't possess vehicular transportation and the fact there is bugger all to do in State College, sooner or later I find myself in music shop, or a dvd shop, or a book shop, spending money. Whereas this weekend I got really rather drunk on Friday night, so drunk that they wouldn't let me in the second bar I tried to enter, thus causing me to spend the last half an hour before closing time debating this decision with the bouncer (I guess I was bored). The upshot of the drunkenness was that I only just managed to listen to the Five Live, via the wonderful internet thingy, coverage of the FA Cup final, and didn't actually get out of bed until about 4:30 in the afternoon. By which time there wasn't really any chance of me frittering away any more money. Admittedly, I did have to spend the money on Friday night to get drunk... but half price margaritas really helped there.

I also rediscovered just how sexy it is when pretty girlies say naughty words, see the Thea Gilmore quote above. If I ever write a film, and let's pray for everyone's sake that I don't... or if I do nobody actually films it, it will contain as many gratuitous scenes of pretty girlies saying cunt that I can get away with.

Um... the cricket is nicely poised with England some 274 runs behind with only tomorrow left. The Monaco grand prix was its usual interesting, high attrition race. How has Flavio Briatore had his wicked way with Naomi Campbell and Heidi Klum? Isn't Kristin Kreuk pretty? Didn't I have something more meaningful to say?

I think I wanted to rage about stupid poorly worded road signs. But I'm not sure how much rage I have by this time of the evening. So instead I'll just list a couple of stupid signs that I've seen recently DO NOT PASS — I assume meaning do not overtake other cars, as opposed to do not pass the sign, WATCH CHILDREN — no don't, watch the road and the surroundings to make sure you don't hit any children, and my current personal favourite BE PREPARED TO STOP — I have a sneaking suspicion that one should always be prepared to stop, in fact I think that's why cars generally come fitted with brakes... I don't need a sign to remind me of the brakes.

Monday, May 17, 2004

Am I a bad person?

Probably. But then again aren't we all...

This weekend my mother and her husband came to visit me (they had been staying with their friends in Reading, Pennsylvania). They arrived on Friday evening. Cunningly I contrived to be out of town on Friday evening. I was, in fact, driving back to State College from New York (well, JFK airport) when they arrived. But I had foreseen this occurrence and I had surreptitiously (praise be for spell-checkers) concealed a key between my two doors (praise be for black electrical tape). Now, the reason I was in New York was that I was generously picking up some friends from the airport, well okay it wasn't that generous... being as they had been kind enough to lend me their car for the last three weeks. However, what I hadn't anticipated was that it would take Until The End Of Fucking Time for me to drive back to lovely State College. Curse all the bloody roadworks and do something worse than curse all the fucking retards on the road who are incapable of driving at consistent speed, and insist on wasting my fucking life by being dicks and then causing the traffic to come to a standstill. I'd told my Mum that I'd probably be back around 7... due mainly to stoopid people I actually got home at 10:30. On the plus side the only people who had discovered the key and plundered my apartment, were me Mum and her husband.

I thought it was very good that I managed to turn up three and a half hours late to my own flat. Go team me!

Anyhow, I got to see Mumsie on Friday night and I received my haven't-seen-you-for-six-months parcel. Which included some things I'd asked for — the new The Streets album, the Keane album and a couple of Terry Pratchett books — and some things I hadn't asked for — a elephant with a mortar board, the rugby world cup final dvd, an England World Champions t-shirt and my Birthday presents (my birthday is in October... they like to forward plan) — which was all very well and nice. (By the way, the previous sentence included my first use of the — symbol; as you might have guessed I have no real idea when, or why, one uses it. To be honest, I'm not really sure about the colon or semi-colon either, 'cause I haven't got that far in Lynne Truss's book yet.)

By that most wondrous of phenomena, coincidence, this weekend happens to have been graduation weekend here at Penn State, which means there were no motel rooms available. As the chivalrous gentleman, I offered my own bed to Mum (and husband) while I crashed around my, recently returned from their three weak European holiday, friends' place.

Um... I seem to have gotten myself confused... I guess we have arrived at yesterday. Yesterday we visited historic Bellefonte, which was not especially historic, and went on a boat ride through Penn's cave, which I still want to read as Pennis cave. And I think that, sadly, we actually saw the most interesting bits of central Pennsylvania... unless of course you are into hiking up and down hills and that sort of t'ing, somehow I doubt Mumsie is anymore. Although, for you purists out there, we also visited Best Buy, Wegmans and Walmart. And I cooked some nice trout fillets, filled with onion, black peppercorns, coriander and parsley, served with green salad, rice and brocoli.

This is where we come to the part of tale where I feel like I'm a bad person. After spending nearly 12 continuous hours with my Mum and her husband, I tend to feel like I'm going insane. Now, it's not that I don't love 'em (because like any good son I love my Mother), but spending time in an enclosed space, say a car, with them, for more than ten minutes is a form of torture that could very well be used to abuse the prisoners in Iraq. I think I just need breaks every couple of hours, where I can swear and curse as freely as I like (which has probably got some thing to do with the fact I'm a foul mouthed, dirty minded so-and-so). Unfortunately, I didn't get these breaks. So, by the time yesterday evening came along I couldn't get out of the house quick enough... I nearly ran out of the door.

(Now I'd recommend that people stop reading here, what follows is an account of an unpleasant bodily function.)

As I mentioned earlier I was staying at my friends' place, see I did mention it for a reason, and they had just returned from Europe the night before, ditto, and hence went to bed early on Saturday night. For some reason or other, the last few days I've had a rather dodgy stomach. Due to the fact that I was nearly running when I left my flat, I neglected to make use of the facilities. The combination of a few beers, the fish, my unsettled stomach and the fifteen minute walk to my friends' apartment, meant that when I arrived at their place I needed to use the toilet quite badly. Whereas, the combination of a hard day spent tidying and rearranging their apartment (the room I was sleeping in went from a tip with a mattress on the floor, to a spotless room with a made bed), and some jet-lag from the flight, meant that my friends were asleep in their room when I let myself in to their home last night. I carefully removed my shoes and stealthily padded to the bathroom... where I endured some of the most uncomfortable minutes of my life. I was a guest in their home and they were sleeping, so I was trying to be as quiet as the proverbial church mouse. However, I had what seemed to be several litres of liquid unpleasantness and a similar quantity of gas that were trying to force their way out of my body through the back door, so to speak. These were irreconcilable forces which I was struggling to reconcile. Eventually my discomfort, and the several litres, passed.

Thursday, May 13, 2004

A bum's life

This morning I got my hair cut. As I was sitting in the big barber's chair the State College town bum walked in to the shop. He inspected his sideburns in the mirror before leaving the shop and the trademarked bum smell of urine soaked clothing behind him. The barber informed me that the bum does this about once a month. I wonder what he was looking for? Was he just checking to make sure he still exists? Or was he checking that his personal grooming was still it at its usual high level? Or was he just a very lazy narcissist who enjoyed looking at himself in the mirror? Who knows?

For the record, as I was standing and admiring myself in the mirror this evening. I thought that the haircut made we look somewhat homosexual. For some reason the barber's interpretation of "and get the rest as short as you can with the scissors" was to leave it rather long. Still the homosexual aspect might have come from the fact that it is laundry night and I was wearing my lovely pinky-purply linen shirt.

When I look for a new apartment in Columbus, I'm going to make sure that it has hot and cold running water. Now I realize this doesn't seem like much to ask for being as this is the 21st century and I live in the world's richest country. However, this simple requirement has proved far beyond the capabilities of my current apartment. For the second time in as many weeks the water, both hot and cold, has stopped for over an hour. And then on those occasions when the water has deigned to work, what I've had is luke warm and warm running water. Which is not ideal for anything really. How I miss being able to drink cold water from a kitchen tap.

On the subject of hair, even though we weren't. Tonight's The Daily Show featured a man who was modelling one of the truly great hairstyles of the ages, which I had feared was in danger of extinction. The man in question was Sen. Carl Levin and the hairstyle, the come-over. Praise be to a man with such conviction to make himself look a bloody fool. He's bald. He knows he's bald. We know he's bald. And yet still he tries to hide the fact.

Monday, May 10, 2004

Targeted spam?

I just received an email with the subject "Get antidepressants and weight-loss pills here". As I was wiping the tears from my chubby cheeks, I thought isn't this all a bit too personal?

That really is all I have to say. Some cheap, not very funny joke. I'm almost disappointed with myself. But fortunately I've drunk far too many beers for any sense of appropriateness or relevance at this time in the evening.

Oh! I remember, I should probably mention that the sheep may well be cows. (I would give this comment some context, but sadly that would probably take away from its pointlessness. And at the moment I appreciate the lack of pointy.)

Saturday, May 08, 2004

Stoopid and sexy

Last night I went shopping (grocery shopping) at Wegman's. As I was standing in the queue by the till I started reading the no underage sales sign. I've noticed these signs before, but I've never bothered to read them (usually when I go the queues are very short). The sign says something like:

Anyone appearing to be under 30 years of age will be asked to prove their age when purchasing tobacco products and certain non-alcoholic beverages.

I had to read the sign two or three times before I really believed that it said you have to prove your age to buy non-alcoholic beverages. So I asked the girl working at the till about it and she told me that you had to be 21, or over, to buy non-alcoholic beer.

The people who make up the laws in Pennsylvania all need to be slapped, repeatedly about the face with a large fish... possibly a trout. Are they really concerned about kiddies getting drunk on non-alcoholic beer? Stoopid, stoopid, stoopid.

On a less stupid note. I watched Lost in Translation again last night and Scarlett Johansson is just about the sexiest human being walking around the Earth these days. And any film that starts off with a shot of her bottom and has lots of scenes of her in her pants (British pants not American pants) and a t-shirt is a film that should be lauded as much as possible. And just think it was directed by a girlie....

Friday, May 07, 2004

Why the Daily Show is great

The path to the Iraqi's hearts and minds doesn't run through their electrified genitals. Now we know that.

... and remember just because we actually tortured prisoners it doesn't mean that torturing prisoners is something we would do.

It is without doubt (at least, without doubt in my mind) the best comedy show on American TV.


For the first time since I've been here in America, I've watched NBC. I'm ashamed to admit that I watched the Friends finale. It actually wasn't too bad. Admittedly I haven't watched friends for about 6 years (but I don't think I missed anything much during the intervening years), so maybe it's been really great recently. But still it was okay TV, nothing amazing but nice enough.

Now ER has come on. I can't remember the last time I watched ER. Sometime back when I was a lazy undergraduate, probably. It still has the sexy (big Croatian male) Dr Kovac and (of course) Dr Carter and Abby (who's still a trainee doctor). Plus it has no less than three and a half (one Zimbabwean/Zambian/English girl) genuine English actors (or actresses) playing English folk. Nearly four English people... I feel intellectually stimulated.

I even got to see a pretty girlie saying wanker. Which is quite frankly a beautiful thing. Plus I got to see a blonde Linda Cardellini, which is also a beautiful thing.

I was going to say something more deep and meaningful. However.... all I can think of is the word Testicle. But then again that's pretty much my state of mind 90% of the time.

Thursday, May 06, 2004

An orgy of spending.... and inside my crazy dream mind

I'm slowly but surely coming to the conclusion that I shouldn't be trusted with my own money. I mean all I have to show for my 26 and a half years on this planet is some of last months paycheck. Well that's not entirely true.... I also have my student loan and my overdraft. But that's over in England.

As an example, at the end of last month I contrived to completely run out of money. It got to the stage that I had to put twenty of the last forty dollars in my wallet back in to my bank account, to ensure that I could pay my telephone bill.

So what happened when I got paid last Friday? After a week of frugal living I tried to spend as much as I could over the course of the next week. So hear I am 4 books, 3 TV series on dvd, 5 films, 9 music albums and 2 learning French cds better off.... and several hundred dollars worse off. I mean it's not as if I was spending the money on something worthwhile, i.e wine, women and drugs (although I did buy two cases of beer).

For the record the books were 3 of Neil Gaiman's Sandman collections and a book by Michael Connelly, called The Poet (which now sits on my pile of 9 unread books). The TV series were all the Father Ted series (very funny show.... this sheep is little and those sheep are far away). The films were Clerks (very good), Mallrats (alright), Chasing Amy (good), Amelie (never seen) and It's a mad mad mad mad world (which I bought pretty much by accident). The albums were D12's D12 World, Lenny Kravitz's Greatest Hits, The Flaming Lips' The Soft Bulletin, Stephin Merritt's Pieces of April soundtrack, XTC's Apple Venus Volume 1, The Magnetic Fields' I and also their 69 Love Songs trilogy. Oh and it was Michel Thomas's French cds.

Strangely enough all the albums I bought I really good. Well okay I'm not convinced that the D12 album is, but the rest of them are very good, and D12 World isn't too bad. After a couple more plays I might think that it is good. The Stephin Merritt (keep wanting to spell his first name Stephen) albums, he is the main guy behind The Magnetic Fields, are all the fault of Neil Gaiman (he keeps on getting mentioned on this blog) recommending him very highly on his blog a number of times. Well that and my aforementioned inability to retain my money for any length of time. Whereas my purchase of the XTC album can be directly attributed to the Wonderfalls theme by Andy Partridge and to Tim Minear (my-near) repeatedly saying how great XTC were. And low and behold it turns out that they are really good. One of their songs, Your Dictionary, is my current favourite song.... probably.

I meant to come home I write a nasty letter to the INS/DHS/BCIS/USCIS asking them for some money. But somehow I seem to have just wasted my time listening to music and watching TV... oh and now writing this.

One night last week I dreamt of my ex-girlfriend (and by ex we are talking about well over year in the past now.... I've lived in three countries, and two different states here in the US, and become a doctor, not the medical kind, since we were 'going out'....... oh and not that kind of dream) and ever since I've been thinking about her and thinking about whether or not I should email her. And I don't think it's very healthy. I mean I'd like to know how she's doing and how her family (who after some initial difficulties I ended up getting along pretty well with) are doing..... but I don't want to seem as though I'm not 'over' her (which, most of the time, I am). Or really what I don't want to hear about is how great the new man in her life is, not that I know if there is one... and I doubt she'd mention it if there was. It all reminds of something Thea Gilmore said before singing one of her songs (and I now can't remember which one) about how it is when you bump in to your ex somewhere and you just want to come across as doing better than them. But anyway I don't think that I'll be doing anything... well not just yet anyway.... and maybe never.

As for other things: my vacuum cleaner doesn't suck.... at least not on the vacuum sense, my Mum and her husband are coming to visit in a week or so, oh.... and I'm moving to Ohio in a couple of months.

But more on all that later..... well maybe not about the vacuum cleaner. Now it's time for The Daily Show.