Wednesday, July 28, 2004

The post which hates dentists slightly less than the last one

Thankfully my tooth is no longer causing me incredible pain. Every now and again there is a little twitch, but the constant unpleasnat buzz has left me. So maybe dentists aren't the evil devilmen that my previous post portrayed them as being. Maybe they are just would be serial killers who've found an alternative outlet for their angst and mankind hatred.

I'm still in love with my shiny little iPod. Although I have already managed to scratch it quite a bit, so I might need to buy it a little sleeve and some restorative lotion. But it is still a wonderful little toy.

I'm very excited. One of my favourite artists, the gorgeous Thea Gilmore, is going to be on the radio show of one of favourite broadcasters, the less gorgeous Mark Radcliffe. Apparently this Thursday evening, UK time, she's playing at and he's covering the Cambridge Folk Festival. (Now I realize that anything with folk in the title is a little scary, but she's really rather good... and did I mention gorgeous?) I just hope that more people are there to enjoy her than were at the Pittsburgh show I went to.

Tuesday, July 27, 2004

Macadamia nut popcorn curse update

This morning I visited the devil to fix my tooth. Oh sorry did I say devil I meant demon... actually I meant dentist. I now understand why so many people are afraid of the dentist or hate them.

Before I went there my tooth didn't hurt. Before I went there I was one hundred dollars richer. Before I went to the dentist I hadn't spend twenty minutes laying on my back while some stranger used a power drill or a power sander to burn away the living part of my tooth. Well at least I hadn't had that experience for around ten years. The burning smell was particularly unpleasant.

After he had finished abusing my tooth and stuffing it full of metal, he told me that it would be sensitive to hot and cold for a while. What he didn't tell me was that it would be sensitive to my own saliva. He didn't mention that the nagging pain of this morning (once more I typed the smo... before I realized that smorning is not a word) would slip and shift into a killer headache this afternoon.

So in summary I paid $100, and that was just my ten or twenty percent, to go from a pain free situation to one where my tooth tingles, and occasionally shoots, with pain. And next week I get to go and have a cleaning... I hope it proves to be less painful.

And all of this because of the curse of macadamia nut popcorn woman. Fear those shop assistants.

Sunday, July 25, 2004

Something naughty...

I did something naughty. Not naughty as in a 16 year old school girl. Or naughty as in cat burglary. More naughty as in buying something which one really shouldn't buy. In my case it was one of these shiny little things. I don't really need. I can't really afford. I don't have enough music to fill it. And I love it.

For those of you who are curious (who am I kidding... no one is curious, but I'm going to keep blabbing on about it 'cause it's my new toy), I bought one of the 40GB fourth generation iPods. And it's very nice. Although it was a bit bastard to get all of the songs from my laptop on to the iPod. For some reason it kept on messing up after transferring 100 or 200 songs. After a few hours of the mysterious "Unknown Error - 36" message I tried to wipe the disk and try again from fresh. Sadly this process messed up the poor little fellow so much that I had to take him back to the Apple store and get them to fix it. In fact I was all ready to ask for a refund, but they fixed it so quickly that I thought I'd give it another try. After persevering through a few more file transfer hangups and computer reboots, I managed to get a few hundred songs on my iPod and I got to take it out for a test drive... well actually it was a test walk, but you get the picture. Strangely enough, when I returned from my little stroll around Columbus the remaining 1500 songs transferred without a hitch. Since then I've managed to copy almost my entire cd collection on to the iPod without any further problems. Long may my trouble free days continue.

At present I have around 3,000 songs on the iPod, which constitutes all the cds I have with me in America. So, I'm not quite sure why I bought the 10,000 song capacity 40GB as opposed to the $100 cheaper 20GB version. Who knows though, maybe I'll manage to fill it up sooner or later. I left a number of cds in my Grandmother's loft when I came over the pond.. so if I ever go back home for a visit there'll be a few more songs that can go on my shiny little friend.

Enough of this droning on about my new toy. While I was out on my wanders yesterday I visited a few of those places which have helped the recent warming in my opinion of Columbus. Firstly there was, the wonderfully named, Magnolia Thunderpussy Records (whose website might be up and running by the time you read this), which is a nice little independent record shop (as in they're independent, not that they only sell independent records). Whilst I was there I bought the Mercury Music Prize co-favourite Franz Ferdinand (thanks in part to the recommendation of a certain Mr Smith) and XTC's English Settlement (thanks in part to the recommendation of a certain Mr Minear). Both of which are now on my iPod and, on first listens, are rather good. They might advance to being very good, or slip back to being okay, once I've heard them a few more times. Oh, I should probably mention that one of the reasons that I like this shop is that they have a pretty girlie working there behind the counter... which always helps my shopping recidivism.

Next up on my brief shopping tour was the North Market, a part covered, part open , um... market. One of the stores in the market is Gaelic Imports Columbus, which sells all manner of things that I miss from home, including the likes of Fuse bars and Lilt... both of which I've tried in recent weeks. Oh, and looking at their website I notice that the also sell black pudding, it would seem I'll have to be paying another visit there in the not too distant future. There are lots of other funky food and non-food stalls in the market, and it's all very nice.

The final stop on my tour of cool shops, although hopefully it isn't the only other cool shop in Columbus, was the Book Loft in the German Village area (not quite sure why their website thinks that I want to listen to some silly Irish muzak). The Book Loft is like an old fashioned English bookshop. It's the kind of place that caused Terry Pratchett to invent L-Space. Lots of little book filled rooms connected with book filled little corridors. It was very cool. The only problem was that the rooms and corridors were very short and very narrow. However, when your 6' 3(ish) and 288.8 lbs. (well I was when I went to the doctor's on the 8th July) small book filled corridors and not necessarily the best places to try and pass other people. By the time I left the shop I was beginning to feel excessively large and I really enjoyed getting out in the open.

Um... there was something else. Can't remember what now though. I'm sure it was thrilling. Either thrilling or very dull.

Oh, did I mention that I've got a shiny new toy?

Wednesday, July 21, 2004

More Zimbabwe news... and some childish sniggering at a name

I noticed this article about next year's Zimbabwean election. Essentially, Archbishop Pius Ncube of Bulawayo is claiming that the last election was rigged and the one next year will also not be `free and fair'.

Some of the claims he makes in the article are that last time round there were 800,000 dead people on the electoral roll and 600,000 duplicate names on the list. All in all, the report he was quoting from claims that, of the 5.5 million Zimbabweans registered to vote, two million did not exist. Which is pretty impressive.

If you recall the last Zimbabwean election was one which the European Union and the Commonwealth observers claimed was neither free nor fair. But African groups said everything was tickety-boo — although I don't believe that was the actual wording used by the African observers.

And the childish giggle? Was it inevitable that someone named `Pius' would grow up to be an Archbishop? (Although it would be better if it was spelled pious.) Of course it could have been worse for the poor kid, look what happens when you name your son God. Which I think proves that God (as in The Almighty — if he/she/it exists — and not Mr Chiwelesa), or Mother Nature or something or other, does have a sense of humour.

Tuesday, July 20, 2004

No good will come of it...

Fucking Macadamia Nut Popcorn.

I've been meaning to post a Columbus ain't so bad sort of a post for a while. But now Fucking Macadamia Nut Popcorn has intervened. One of the reasons that I've been warming to Columbus is that I've discoved Trader Joe's grocery store. It's a shop that sells lots of good stuff, some of it organic, some of it European, some of it alcoholic (yea I'm not in retarded Pennsylvania) and generally everything I've bought there seems to be pretty good... but that was before the Fucking Macadamia Nut Popcorn. One of the reasons that I like Trader Joe's is that when I first went there (last Friday I think) I was wearing my Collina t-shirt, and no less than three people commented on it.

This evening's trip to Trader Joe's started off well. One of the employees, a pretty girlie, feigned mock offence at my (correctly spelled) "You're sh*t and you know you are" t-shirt. Then I picked up a load of stuff that I don't really need and one or two bits and pieces that I do need. As I was making my way to the checkout I noticed the Fucking Macadamia Nut Popcorn... how I now wish I hadn't.

The beginning of the end occured at the checkout. The lady packing my bags picked up the Fucking Macadamia Nut Popcorn and said, "No good will come of it!". Was it a prophecy? Was it a curse? Was it a coincidence? Was she mad? Should she have kept her trap shut?

I should at this point, point out that she was refering to how good the Fucking Macadamia Nut Popcorn was and was not making some doom prophecy for me. At least that was what I thought.

So, I get home. I start cooking some lamb, which was very nice by the way. And whilst it's cooking I open the Fucking Macadamia Nut Popcorn... big mistake. As I ate maybe the third or fourth piece there was a large snap and a shot of pain on the right hand side of my mouth. After I clean the remaining popcorn from my mouth I notice that I've broken the corner off one of my teeth. It's one of the big ones at the back (molars?) and the corner of the tooth is missing exposing the metal filling. At the moment at least, it's more annoying than painful. But now I've got to go and see a dentist. And it's going to cost me lots of money. And there going to tell me how bad my teeth are. And then it's probably going to cost me even more money. And all because of Fucking Macadamia Nut Popcorn.

Sunday, July 18, 2004

A few corrections, clarifications and additions

I admit it I was drunk. Bearing this in a mind there we should probably clarify a few things. I'd probably had five or six beers when gorgeous girl first entered the bar. Meaning that while I was in full control of my faculties ― i.e. the beer bus had not yet been through ― my judgement was probably a little impaired. So, she was probably somewhere between very good looking and "just about perfect". Hopefully I will get to see her again, in a more sober state, to more fully appraise her.

There were also some cast members who I neglected to describe, through a combination of tiredness, forgetfulness and drunkenness (with a heavy leaning towards the latter of those three qualities... if, indeed, qualities is the correct word). For instance, I didn't mention the enormously tall ― either he was enormously tall, or the man he was playing pool with was incredibly short ― bald man, who sported a pony tail. (Little piece of advice here, if you ever go bald Do The Right Thing and get a really short haircut, don't accentuate your baldness with a fucking pony tail.) There were also the ginger (pronounced such that it rhymes with winger and not whinger) couples... they were not red heads they were ginger. And bollocks it there were other people who I now can't remember.

Oh, and I forgot to mention I really like it there.

Thursday, July 15, 2004

Some observations

I went to the Victorian's Midnight Cafe open mic night ce soir (or should there be an accent on ce?). And, I tell you, it was one of the most eclectic mixes of people I've experienced recently.

Where to start? I guess you have to start with the one handed girl playing the drums. What do you call those drums which are two little drums attached to each other... are they bongos or tam tams? Either way this girl, who only had half a left arm, was playing them tonight. And, for my sins, I couldn't stop staring at her stump. All the time I was staring at her stump I was hating myself for being the kind of shallow person who would stare at the stump of a one handed girl playing the drums. But still I stared. Each second adding a year to my stay in hell. But fuck it I'm sure I'll be down there long enough to not notice the increase.

Along with the one handed drum player, there were also a variety of other assorted Freaks and Geeks. There was the amazingly gorgeous husky dog and its reasonably gorgeous owner. There was the Quasimodo lookalike drum player (I'm not shitting you, he was my height and as hunched up as I will be in twenty years). There was crazy Pete (no explanation necessary or possible). There were a variety of good musicians. And along with all these people was possibly the most gorgeous girl I've ever seen. She came in around three beers (when I was still in possession of sound judgment) and left at around five beers... and she was just about perfect. Since I was about twelve I've imagined her. But still she came in with some dwarf dude (less than 5'10" is my definition of dwarf) and I was so jealous when she also left with him.

Oh and in other news, Kirsten Dunst is fucking gorgeous.

Wednesday, July 14, 2004

Creamy cat conundrum

It's official I am now the cat who got the cream... well, either that or I am a Very Sad Individual. I haven't quite decided which one yet. I'm leaning towards the cat option, but chances are the other option fits better.

My creamy cat inclinations come from the fact that I am currently sat in the bar just downstairs from my shiny, well more dusty and dirty in truth, new flat. Where I am surfing the internet and posting this entry, from the comfort of one of their nice big sofas. This is what technology was made for.

The reason for the VSI feeling is that I am currently sat in a bar with my laptop, typing away. On the plus side I have a bottle of beer ― Anchor Steam ― and I'm enjoying the sofa and the music (not live tonight). On the downside I have a laptop and I'm sat in a bar, typing away. I think I'll just put it out of my mind and decide which one is more appropriate later.

Tuesday, July 13, 2004

Glorious Zimbabwe

I just ran across this article on the latest ambulances in Zimbabwe. Inflation is at 400%, unemployment at 70%, but at least now they have ox-drawn ambulances... and they were donated by Unicef.

It seems my country of birth really is going from strength to strength.

Back in Columbus... back in a coffee shop

So here I am back in Columbus, after a whistlestop (should that be one word or two? Does anyone know? Or care?) visit back to State College. I'm very ashamed to admit that I did not manage to visit any of the Central Pennsylvania Festival of the Arts exhibits/stalls, which I'm told are very good and one of the highlights of the State College year. In fact I didn't manage to do very much.

On the way up to State penitentiary (ahem... I mean college) I did manage to stop at the IKEA in Pittsburgh. Where I discovered, to my comfort and horror, that it is identical to the IKEAs of Switzerland and England. I think that the horror mainly stemmed from the fact that I was initially comforted by the fact that it was the same. I mean here I am on a different continent, things Should Be Different. But they ain't.

I must admit it was nice to see all of my friends, and get drunk, and have two breakfasts and one lunch before I left (long story). Not to mention the enjoyment gained from couriering (or whatever the appropriate word should be) Columbus burritos and receiving both a pie slicer and reasonably well broken clock. I was very disappointed that I didn't have one last trip to my local CD shop. Incidentally the shop that enabled me to get to listen to the likes of Thea Gilmore, XTC, The Magnetic Fields, The Flaming Lips and quite a few others I can't really remember at the moment. I hope that my friend the shop owner will manage to stay afloat without my regular cash injections. Which reminds me I need to find some interesting albums to buy, as the girl working in the local indie CD shop here was really cute. And I want to find out if she is amazed by my accent (last time I was in this coffee shop the girl behind the counter thought I had a New York accent... not quite sure what she'd had the night before, but it must have been good).

The coffee today is not very good. I'm in Cup O Joe (note the lack of apostrophe) next to some big car park/shopping center place. The glass of water that I got with the coffee is quite drinkable though. And, of course, they have wireless internet... so I can write this [insert suitably descriptive word for this blog entry here].

My apartment is starting to look more like an apartment and less like a bomb site... which is good. I now have a bed, and tonight I will actually sleep in it... which is also good. And tomorrow afternoon I will hopefully have both cable TV and live streaming pornography, I mean and an internet connection. And due to the fact that my apartment is almost above a bar, it is conceivable that I will be able to utilize the marvelous wireless technology to surf and drink in the bar at the same time. It's very exciting. Of course I could always drink at home and surf there... but it's just not the same.

There were a number of things I meant to mention in this post... but I'm now too tired, confused or stupid to remember what they were. I'm sure they were all very interesting, and I'm sure I had something witty or informed or both to say about them. Well maybe that is pushing the realms of reason a little far.

Thursday, July 08, 2004

Further thoughts from a Columbus coffee shop


I am totally, without question or doubt, knackered. This weekend has involved packing, heavy lifting, driving, buttock straining, radio listening, lying in agony, and some other stuff that was too painful or dull to remember.

On Thursday afternoon I was indeed driven to Philadelphia — by a moderately inexperienced driver, who terrified herself whilst only making me slightly agitated once or twice. In the evening I returned, all on my lonesome, listening to my old best of the sixties CDs — which I hadn't listened to in years. The reason I did this was so that I would have a motor vehicle to move some of my stuff with over the weekend — well that and I didn't think that the aforementioned driver really felt comfortable driving and navigating herself all the way to Philadelphia airport — well that and it was a day away from work or packing.

On the morning of Friday I was the proud controller of a little car... only for my boss to turn up, with no prior notice, and give me the keys to his car, with which I was meant to, and in fact did, drive to Columbus today. So Thursday morning zero cars, Saturday morning two cars, on Monday I eagerly awoke expecting to have four cars, only to be disappointed.

On Sunday morning I hurt my arse... well it was my thigh, arse and lower back to be entirely truthful. Not entirely sure how I did it, some combination of dreaming, getting up, doing the washing up and then sitting down. The fact that I could neither bend at the waist or the knee made my planned packing activities, on Sunday and Monday, both very slow and very painful. After each little burst of work I had to recover with a little lie down on my sofa listening to the excellent BBC Radio Five Live.

On Tuesday morning, still in moderate to severe discomfort, I thought it would be a good idea to get up at 5 am (yes that 5 am, the one that comes four hours before 9 am... at which time any civilized human being should still be in bed) and drive to Philadelphia to pick up my car owning friends... it was nearly a very bad idea — not picking them up the 5 am bit. By the time I arrived, I was almost asleep and in near total agony. Fortunately after an hour or three's break from driving I managed to drive the second half of the way back without feeling overly tried or painful.

Then followed six hours of mad packing forcing the entire contents of my flat in to a Ford Mustang and a Mazda hatchback. Before a much needed beer.

This morning featured about an hour of apartment cleaning, the returning of my apartment and office keys (the latter of which netted me the $50 deposit I had to pay the bastards for the right to enter my office and do my job)... oh and a coffee. This lunchtime and afternoon featured a nearly six hour drive from lovely State College to the office of the rental company here in Columbus. Which by the way I arrived at at 5 pm, just as it was closing. A signature (on a cheque) later and the keys were mine.

The apartment is similar, but not the same,to what I remember. The bathroom has moved from off the bedroom to off the kitchen and a third room has been inserted between the bedroom and kitchen. It has all wood floor and exposed brickwork, both of which are nice. Um, and I almost completely buggered myself carrying all my stuff up from the car to the apartment... which I think is a reflection on my current fitness, or lack of it, and the sheer weight of some of my luggage, rather than anything to do with the apartment.

Even after two double espressos' I am too tired to write more... plus I suspect that most of what I've written is drivel.

To finish though a quick summary of my reaction to the recent sporting events.

David Millar grrh, grrgh, and I was going to bet on you in the prologue, grrh, are the all bloody on something?

Maria Sharapova... (insert sort of soft contented purring sound here)... whoo, whoo, whoo. Yankee boy lost to Swiss boy, ha ha ha. Yankee boy is very gracious and amusing in defeat ("I think I'll have to start winning some of them before me can call it a rivalry")... feel bad about the laughing.

Schumacher... again.

Greece? Greece? Greece? European champions? Greece? Greece? Greece? Greece? And they lost to Russia. Greece? They do know how to party though. The defenders were terrific. But Greece? Maybe there's hope for England yet.

Thursday, July 01, 2004


I'm tired.

I'm somewhat hungover.

I need to go back to bed and sleep it off.

I'm about to drive to Philadelphia and back... well actually I'm about to be driven there and then I'll drive back.

I'm meant to be leaving State College next week... and I don't know how I or any of my stuff is going to get to Columbus.

I don't know where to watch the final of Euro 2004.

I'm not sure why I'm writing this post.

I'm going to go.

I've gone.