February 28, 2007

Make Me Work

I'm in charge of making the shortlist for this week's Post of the Week, so make sure to nominate anything you find out there that might be worthy of the aforementioned accolade.

Go on, put me through my paces ... make that nominations list the longest and most diverse one ever. I dare you.



To Cream or Not To Cream

I was doing some grocery shopping this afternoon, and was privy to this conversation in the toiletries aisle ...

Boy: (about 14ish): Mum, can I get some face cream?

Mum: What for?

Boy: My face. I'd like some face cream, please.

Mum: But what do you need it for?

Boy: I dunno, my face.

Mum: I realize that, but what it's for. Is your face dry? Are you concerned about spots?

Boy: Yeah, it's a little dry I guess. Can I just get some cream?

Mum: What kind?

Boy: I dunno, but some friends at school give me some and it feels really good when they put it on me.

(By now I've had to look. His skin is great ... clear as can be.)

Dad: (clearly uncomfortable with entire conversation, in a business suit, mid-late 30s, cute if you like 'em short) Oh dear Jesus.

Boy: (sensing Dad's dismay) Erm, maybe we should go to Boots later?

Mum: Good idea.

Bless. It's never to early to moisturize. Just don't talk to Dad about it.

Which leads me to think, which would be the more difficult conversation — asking dad about jerking off or asking dad about face cream?

February 27, 2007

Tuesday 200 - #34

“I hear they don’t always tell the truth,” I whispered.

“Of course they do,” Clayre said. We were approaching a field of fortune-telling flowers. They blossomed only once a year, raised by the coven of militant Wiccan existentialists who “recommended” Clayre change the spelling of her name upon indoctrination.

“There’s no more ‘I’, only ‘why’,” she’d said when I queried her vowel movement.

“You have your question and you know the rules, right?”

I had written it down in the prescribed purple ink, placed it in an envelope with fresh sage, and slept with it under my pillow for the past week, dreaming of roast pork and stuffing. Without an alternate spelling to my name, I was forbidden to make noise or touch anything once in the garden.

“Remember,” she said, “absolute silence.” She led me into the lush carpet of green. Blood-red rosebuds, each atop a single stalk, turned to watch us; oracular oculi protected by petal-like eyelids.

Amazing. Absolutely ama … ah … ah CHOO!

Fucking hay fever.

As if shot by my sneeze, the flowers vanished in a pink mist. Clayre gasped. Witches glared.

Suddenly, I had a new question.

How do I get out of here?

:: :: ::

What's a Tuesday 200?

Last week's Tuesday 200.

February 26, 2007

The Bobscars™ — A Live Blogging Spectacular

One year ago tonight I had a living room full of people and pizza. Well, there were 4 of us, staying up all night to watch The Academy Awards (and only he and I stayed up for the whole thing).

Tonight, it's just me. Oscar parties just aren't the same here in the UK.

MAK is ensconced in his Queens living room, the one with carpet the color of Patricia Fields' hair, but we'll be in contact via Skype. He'll have the podcast recording, I'll be doing the typing.

Pre-show looks like it's all about Cate Blanchett's dress and Helen Mirren.

Hating Gwynneth and her Morticia Addams frock. And let's not even get started on her lipstick. Speaking of red ... who's Nicole Kidman's stylist and what's up with the giant red ribbon on her shoulder?

Okay then ... I'm gonna grab a diet coke and we'll have some more when Ellen gets going.

:: :: ::

I don't know who the Sky hostess is, but she and her rubbish bangs have got to go.

Okay ... here's Ellen, after the pre-recorded stupid interviews with the white background. Mac or PC?

This is going on way too long already. And not funny.

I so would have stood up if I were there. Just because.

"But sir, you're not nominated ..."

"Sorry, got a cramp ... just stretching."

Here's Ellen. And there's a bald Jack. Ugh.

:: :: ::

I would like to be at Ellen's in her PJs sharing that bottle of Chardonay. What kind of PJs do you think Ellen wears? I'm saying a pair of sweats and a Tipitina's t-shirt.

Abigal Breslin from Little Miss Sunshine. Adorable in a princess dress.

Peter O'Toole could very well die at this awards show. That'd be something, eh? Sad ... but something.

At least Jennifer Hudson took that ridiculous Mama Mia finale silver shiny thing off her shoulders. It was all wrong, and she was picking up Radio 4 on it.

Only blacks, Jews and gays are named Oscar. Ha. And Portia Del Rossi looks amazing.

Obligitory Ellen dance break.

:: :: ::

All in, the opening was limping, if not completely lame. Doesn't bode well for the next 1,000 hours to come.

Dear Nicole Kidman -- get a new plastic surgeon. Or just STOP the madness (the botox and the red ribbon)

Dear Daniel Craig -- hi. You're cute.

Pan's Labyrinth wins it's first award. Matthew is 1 for 1. I don't even remember who I chose for anything. Years past, I'd have a ballot filled with my choices. This year, it's recorded in Durban Bud's contest. Wonder if I'll win.

Maggie Gyllenhall looks very good for dropping a kid not so long ago.

Oh good!!! Modern Dance!!! Oh wait, it's shadow puppetry. WTF?

Who are Don Fontaine and Gina Tuttle?

Commercial break ... but UK gets Sky Movie ads. I want to see the iPhone commercial. Guess I'll have to wait for YouTube.

What does "find the 79s mean?"

Oh god. Will Ferrell. In an afro. Singing. Save me.

That was painful.

Pan's Lab wins a second, this time for makeup. I guess I should go see it.

Judi Dench having "knee surgery on her eyes." Ha.

I love Little Miss Sunshine. She's just so good, in an anti Dakota Fanning kind of way.

Third award goes to The Danish Poet for animated short. Where's best supporting actress???

Is she wearing a floor-length swimsuit?

West Bank Story looks funny. Oh! It won ... best live action short. Good for them. And the winner (Ari Sandel) is cute.

Gwynneth looks retarded. Is it the camera angle on the close-up or is she just whacked?

:: :: ::

Matthew thinks Clint Eastwood is dating Audra MacDonald. He might be on to something.

38 minutes into the show and there's been at least 4 or 5 minutes of quality entertainment. Going to be a long night.

:: :: ::

Poor Judi, first eyes and now boobs are the brunt of Ellen's jokes. So not true. She's totally having a brow lift. Dame Dench is gonna go to L.A. and kick Ellen's ass.

Sound effects choir -- do you think people get all diva-ish about being first chirping bird or lead brake-squeal?

Iwo Jima grabs a sound editing gong. Audra must be thrilled.

Speaking of Al ... got a little big, didn't he?

Why was Jerry Seinfeld making a pig face?

The Oscars are green! That means they're brass not gold, and they'll easily tarnish?

Dreamgirls wins something. So they'll get at least two, once Miss Hudson gets hers. When is best supporting actress?

Jessica Biel ... a little too pink, and a little too bouncy. Victoria has a secret darling, she'd be happpy to share it with you. James McAvoy ... yummy.

Oh Rachel, Weiss is up mit your dress and necklace?

Oh! An actor award. Supporting actor goes to (I'm guessing Alan Arkin) ...

What do I win?

Simple and succinct speech. Lovely.

More shadow puppets!!!

More anti-climaxes.

Y'all. Pilobolus is so good. Why are they doing this?

:: :: ::

Sky hostess is saying how much she hates it when winners whip out a piece of A4 (hello, they don't have A4 in Hollywood) and read a speech. Hating her, hating her eye shadow, hating her bangs (oh, it's fringe over here).

:: :: ::

James Taylor has no hair and Randy Newmann has grown-up hair.

James Taylor looks like the pedophile in Little Children. Note to Carly Simon -- you're better without him.

My, what an innocuous boring little ditty.

Hi Melissa. You look great. I bet she won't lie down on the stage and hump her guitar like she did when we saw her in D.C. at some Pride rally way back when. She's amazing. Singing Al's song, looking a little like Hillary Clinton if she were dolled up.

That's a scary thought. But wth, it's 2:30 am here. Thoughts are only going to get scarier.

Speaking of Al ... he's gotten pretty big.

The Oscars are green! They look gold to me. Time to get the color checked on the plasma. Or maybe they're made of copper now and will tarnish more easily.

:: :: ::

Ugh. Sky hostess again. Talking to Aubrey Dey, who's saying Ellen's bit with Scorcese was her best spot of the night, and she really won over the crowd with that one.

:: :: ::

Green = recycled jokes. Oh dear.

Meryl Streep chewing on her glasses. She just doesn't care anymore. Yay.

Cameron's dress ... not loving it. Could she not find a hairbrush backsage?

The penguins have extra Happy Feet tonight. And look, the director looks like a penguin.

There's a big red logo in the top right of my screen. It's for an interactive service and it says "Anytime Now." I couldn't agree more.

Penguins --> Ducks --> Quack --> Afflack --> Ben Affleck. Not a nominee.

Monotone introducing montage. I get it. No really, we get it. It's too long. Stop the montage.

Oh, it's about writers. Is the next award about editing? This montage could use some editing.

Waste of time.

Ah, Helen. She looks divine. Tom Hanks goes into an 12 steps joke. Crappy writing for writing nominations. Irony or just a poor choice?

Anybody think Sasha Baron Cohen will win? I'd like to see him give a speech ... shake things up a bit.

Ah, Barbara Covett. So misunderstood.

All hopes for a Sasha speech have now been Departed.

"Valium does work," says winner William Monahan. Indeed. Can I have one?

Chris Connely is getting all Tim Russert with a handheld scorecard.

I need a drink. Back with some wine. Can you believe I haven't had any yet?

:: :: ::

channeling Nikki from Big Brother ... "who IS she?" this Sky hostess woman? And who are the people on her panel? I miss proper commercials.

:: :: ::

Ellen Oscar Bjorn. Very nice.

Emily Blunt and Anne Hathaway. Interesting that the Brit is browner than the American. Miss Blunt's been to the spray-on salon.

Meryl Streep staring down her girls, she just won the Emmy for best performance at the Oscars. Yay.

Live models for the costume display. A montage for writing. Well they're just mixing it all up this year.

Would have been better if they were all drag queens. Especially in the Prada and Marie Antoinette (a winner!) tableaux. Oh my, what is Milena Canonero wearing? Her neckline is as high as her forehead.

Crazy midget downstage center!

Miss Cruise is giving Sherry Lansing an award. "Sherry came to Hollywood to become an actress. But she sucked her career was to go on another path." Hmm. Did they not let him on the red carpet?

Did Sheery just have a stroke before starting her speech? Oh, wait, it was the teleprompter.

"Through my work I have met scientists ... " yes, the ones who keep pumping botox into your face.

Very nice, Sherry. Go eat a cheeseburger.

Audra is shunned as a photographer so that Spielberg can take a photo of Ellen and Clint. Does Audra have 3D glasses.

Oh no. Gwynneth.

Yikes. The dress. The hair. The walk. The lipstick. Why wouldn't her makeup complement her dress (who'd give that dress a compliment?) Nice earrings.

Good for Guillermo. Pan's third of the night, this time for cinematography. Okay, okay, I'll see it already.

Shadows! Yay! A van? Yes!

Inspired? Not so much!

Poor Pilobolus. Oh well, at least it's not Debbie Allen with a hula hoop doing "Circle of Life." Remember that?

:: :: ::

Sky hostess asks a casting director (Priscilla John) "how hard would it have been to cast the little girl in Little Miss Sunshine? How hard is it to find a child who isn't too pretentious or unnerving?"

Probably not as difficult as finding a Sky hostess who is not pretentious and unnerving. Cor, I'm sending her to an island with Gwynneth.

Robert Downing Jr. joking about seeing spiders. He's dreamy.

Pirates of Carribean just won visual effects or something. We're only half-way through.

The wine is as tasty as RDJr.

Catherine Deneuve looking lovely, for a 120 year old woman. Who stabbed her broach?

Foreing language film montage. And not one subtitle. So arty.

Did they really just digitize out some guy giving the finger? Are you kidding me? I have to sit through Will Ferrel singing but I can't see somebody flip the bird?

Cate. She. Is. Stunning. And Clive looks right smart as well.

Best Foreign Language film. We're gonna say Pan's?

NO! It's Germany's Das Leben der Anderen. Who knew?

Ellen doing shadow puppets, turned into Snakes on a Plane.

"They're naked." That'd be hot.

George Clooney looks like a movie star. Who's he gonna give a statue to? Odds are Jennifer, but wouldn't it be fun if little miss Abigail won?

Oh, look at Miss Hudson looking all surprised. That's acting.
All right girl, now give a proper speech.

Beyonce all misty eyed ... "it shoulda been me." And a shout out to Miss Holiday. Good on Effie.

:: :: ::

Gael, *sigh*. And he's presenting "short" documentary. That's appropriate. 5'6" on imbd ... you know he's only 5'4". And the winner is Chinese orphans with AIDS. Only a holocaust film could've beat that.

Does Jerry Seinfeld still have a career? Ugh.

Mak and K on skype now ... K is expecting Dixie Chicks to win. Um, they're not nominated.

Al's gonna win, right? Will he accept if it wins?

Is Jerry really doing a routine? Oh key-rist. I'm livid.

Al Gore with lippy on.

MAK rooting for Pan to win best score. Oh, but we're not doing best score ... we're doing another honorary award ... WITH a, wait for it ... a MONTAGE!

Oh no. I'm just told Celine is going to sing one of his songs. Is the montage not trying enough?

Why is Pilobolus not dancing to this? Surely they could be turning shadows into chords on a staff? Who wants to see a Pilobulus dancer's staff?

I do. I do.

Fucking Celine Dion. You know how much I like Gwynneth? Oh wait, did Celine steal Gwynnie's frock?

She. Is. So. Sincere.

No K, it is not Jennifer Anniston.

She's gonna pop her chest any minute now. I hate when she pops her chest.

She's never looked more like a drag queen.

"Where did Nelson Mandela come from?" asks MAK.

Um, that's Quincy Jones.

Clint's translating Italian on the fly. Remarkable.

Kate Winslett looks so confused, "and get that camera away from me."

:: :: ::

Hugh Jackman is going to come out. Penelope Cruz looks lovely, but should only speak Spanish.

Okay, back to score. This one's MAK's category, being the certified geek that he is (he buys them to play them on a keyboard he's drawn on his ironing board).

Babel wins. MAK despondent.

Most accents in an Oscar broadcast ever.

60 second speech from the Acadamy president.


Toby and Kristin bopping out to the Spidey theme, getting ready to announce original screenplay.

K: "I love that Toby sounds a little stupid. It totally turns me on."

Little Miss Oscar. Lovely.

Shadow Puppets!!!

Form of Shoe! The Devil Wears a nice ass.

Why Chris Connely?

Why am I still awake?

:: :: ::

Jennifer Lopez wearing Cleopatra's housecoat.

Anika Noni Rose. Love her. I know, Miss Hudson first, but Anika's coming. Yay.

Beyonce. Yawn. Mama can't break up this little group and make you the star, can she?

Okay, Celine ... erm, Beyonce, listen, you've had your moment, step away from center stage.

Nicely done ladies. Bill Condon must be awful proud.

Best song ... hmm. My bet's on Melissa.

You. Are. Correct. Sir.

Oh, that's Melissa's wife, Tammy. It's not Natalie Maines from the Dixie Chicks.

We like Melissa. Very happy.

:: :: ::

Brit panel very upset by the Melissa win. Whatever. Brit viewers should be very upset by Brit panel.

:: :: ::

Will Smith says some movies cry for us. Another montage ... this could make me cry.

Michael Mann's montage is saying America is made of racism, religious zealotry, war, and James Brown. Um, okay.

Hi Kate Winslett. Most lovely pale sage ACE bandage dress ever. Who's gonna win film editing? I haven't a clue.

Thelma Schoonmaker for The Departed. She seems just charming.

What's Jack doing hanging back in the wings with his red glasses?

Jodi Foster looking amazing. The lesbians are making quite a good showing tonight, aren't they? And we get the corpse reel ...

Bruno Kirby. Didn't know that. A shout out to Comden (and Green). Mr. Limpett. The Nightstalker. Ah, Maureen Stapleon. Jack Wild? And end with Robert Altman. Not a bad year for dead people.

:: :: ::

Seems that Sky hostess is still alive. Eye shadow is now extra smokey and bangs have grown a quarter inch. Her legs are crossed all funny. Wonder if she needs a wee?

:: :: ::

"That's our show." Wouldn't that be funny.

Phillip Seymour Hoffman wearing Cameron Diaz' hair. Is there a damn hairbrush embargo I haven't read about?

All bets are on Dame Helen ... but wouldn't a huge collective gasp be amazing if it went to, oh I don't know, Marisa Tomei?

Remember that?

No gasps tonight. Let's see if her speech is as elegant as her outfit.

Gold stars ... Barbara Covett liked her gold stars, didn't she? "I give you the Queen." Lovely.

And the bookies are all paying out tonight.

Shadow Puppets! A gun! Look it was a cork flying out of one of their asses!

:: :: ::

Just came back from the loo and heard a vaccuum. Thought it was awfully early for the cleaners to be outside in the hallway. Oh, it's Ellen.

She found rolling papers. I wish I had some.

Who saw Half Nelson? Ryan Gossling is supposed to be amazing. When's it coming to the UK? I heard about it in Toronto last September, and still no release.

I haven't had release since September.

Best Actor ... conventional wisdom says Forrest Whittaker. But we've already got one "real leader" winning. Let's go with Peter O'Toole for fun.

Nope, The Last King of Scotland walks with the statue. He's an operatic tenor. There's some trivia for you.
A nice speech so far, he's gonna get the lullaby here any second. An Oscar gets you a second lifetime? I never saw that on the website.

Could George Lucas not afford liposuction on his neck? All the money in the damn world ...

Okay, give Marty an Oscar for heaven's sake.

And they did. Well done, for body of work if nothing else.

That leaves us with best picture. Little Miss Sunshine or The Departed.


LMS would be the underdog in this race. Is it big enough to win the big one? Haven't seen The Departed, but I'd bet it to be the winner.

LMS would be the Avenue Q of the Oscars, though, wouldn't it? It'd be nice to see a good (not great) tiny film beat the Hollywood behemoth.

What's with Jack channeling Uncle Fester? How hammered is he? I love Diane Keaton.

Okay kids, let's wrap it up.

It's Martin Scorcese's night all right. Where's Robert DeNiro?

Banananrama would have us believe he's waiting.

'Night Ellen. And thanks Oscar, for keeping the media in mediocrity.

:: :: ::

Oh dear god, Sky hostess is back. But fortunately, I have an off button. Too bad she doesn't.

For anybody that made it this far, thanks for playing. It was one of the most boring broadcasts I can remember, at least these scribblings got me through it.

Going on 5:30. Maybe I should make breakfast for those getting up for work?

Or maybe head off to the Governor's Ball.

Or maybe just to bed.

February 25, 2007

Rage Against the Unseen

Apologies to the three of you who stopped by looking for me earlier. Dreamhost caught a major case of the IT hiccups and many of its hosted sites were down.

If, like me, you'd check in for the occasional update on their status page, you'd have thought the friggin' world was going to end. I enjoy a good comment war as much as the next Towleroad gasbag commenter (they do like to beat their dead gay horses, don't they?), and Dreamhost's VIP (they ARE important, just ask them) customers gave me my money's worth today.

I guess everyone needs a place to vent.

Take, for instance, the woman I walked by a few minutes ago on Baker Street. She was a tall, slender Indian woman with silver-streaked black hair cut just above her shoulders. Very Anne Bancroft in her later years. Probably in her late 50s, wearing black pedal-pushers, flip flops and a medium weight winter coat. She was just standing on the pavement when I first saw (heard?) her, shaking her hand in the air and screaming for anyone to hear while no one was listening. "The Indian government is a conspiracy," she bellowed. She'd rant on some more. Not being posh like Shilpa Shetty (who wouldn't have yelled in the first place), I could only understand snippets of her heavily accented rage. "It's only for Africans," she went on. She'd walk … well, stagger … a bit more, stop, and start yelling again. Don’t walk too close. Crazy is catching.

And then I start to think about my own sanity. How close am I to being nuts?

I harbor a few anti-social thoughts and probably more than my share of displaced anger. I often consciously turn off the bickering voices in my head and tell myself to breathe on back to a happy place ... especially when I find myself on Oxford Street in a sea of idiots. Or on the phone with an HSBC or BT customer lack-of-service rep.

However, as much as I'd like to, I don't physically pick up and move the chatty Asian girl on her mobile who has stopped dead in her tracks, right in front of me. I don't push back when I seem to be in some yob's way, in such a hurry to get somewhere that he can't find the time to pull his tracky bottoms back up over his saggy ass. I don't scream on Wardour Street and try to pick a fight with two bouncers who just stare at me like I'm a roid-raging buffoon (okay, so he was probably on Friday night bender in Soho, but still ... ). I don't stand in the middle of HMV, stomp my feet and scream "I want a Wii!."

I internalize it. Maybe I'll write about it here or in my journal (story fodder, y'know) or, better yet, I'll just let it go.

When did the Baker Street Banshee stop holding it in? If she had a website would she have found a more quiet outlet, where she could whinge to her keyboard's delight? Would she have found a sparring partner in someone's comment box? What was the straw that broke her camel's back?

How close are any of us to snapping and just standing on the street, screaming to the world till we're hoarse, unable to keep it in anymore?

February 23, 2007

Pleasant Dreams

I love my dreams.

I don't mean as in 'hopes and dreams' (although I'm quite fond of those).

I mean the ones where Geraldine Page teaches me how to fly in a candle-lit kingdom where human flight is outlawed. The ones where I go back to Yellowstone and float under the Canyon Falls, chatting with friends and taking walks down secret paths that lead to New Orleans and Provincetown. The ones where I know the hidden passages of an old house and can flee from the monsters du nuit.

I even like the ones (well, the one ... I haven't had it for awhile) where I wake up knowing that I've committed the near-perfect murder and am pretty sure I'm going to get away with it. Something about a body in a lake and a wrecked car down the road. At least I woke up before they caught me.

Strangely, Larry's had a similar dream ... but not, as far as we know, on the same night. Maybe we were Sacco and Vanzetti in a previous life. Wouldn't that explain a lot?

I like when characters in my dreams make me laugh, and I think "I wish I was that funny," only to wake up and realize that, duh, it was my subconscious that did the writing.

I like my dreams so much that over the past several months, perhaps to a fault, I have mastered the art of the nap just to enjoy those extra REM nuggets of surrealism. Surely it beats watching Richard and Judy, and I've gotten a few story ideas. I'd have more, but I tend to forget to have a pen and notebook handy ... I'd rather just go back to sleep and try to find the lost dream. Or, sometimes, I'll write the dream down only to wake up and realize the perfect transcription was only the next phase of the dream.

I saw The Science of Sleep this afternoon (is it better to watch dreams than to have them?). I'd read about it ages ago, but it's finally here in the UK. It's an utterly charming film about a young man who lives in, if not perhaps for, his dreams.

It's out on DVD in the States. Watch it if you haven't already. Gael García Bernal has never been so adorably beguiling.

February 22, 2007

Mixed Messages

I was watching something or other on TV last night (maybe the pilot of Smallville, just to see how young Eric Zoner Tom Weller looked in the first episode, and then being shocked ... shocked I tell you ... to find our hero clad only in a pair of boxers, stuck in a cornfield with a red S painted on his man-boyish torso), when an ad came on that I found to be more ridiculous than Lex Luthor giving Clark a shiny red new pickup truck.

A gaggle of tarty girls are out on a hen night. One of them loses her grip on their apparently precious helium-filled balloons, and a superhero climbs the nearby building's scaffolding to rescue the lost treasures before they float off into space and then explode ... no doubt casting much unwarranted bad luck on said hens and the upcoming nuptials they're celebrating.

Superhero reaches the top, and then loses his grip and falls to the ground. You'd think he'd pull a Peter Petrelli and fly up to safety. But no. *SPLAT* he goes, and ends up in a pool of blood with his arms and legs splayed out like hands on a broken clock. He wasn't a superhero at all. He was just a drunk who thought he was clever.

"Don't lose your powers to the powers of alchohol," said the stern voiceover (or something to that effect).

IMMEDIATELY following that spot (almost as if it were the same spot), up pops a Tesco ad, showing a half dozen bottles of wine and champagne with a Graham Norton-esque VO saying "Your favorite wines now 20% off at your local Tesco."


February 21, 2007

What are the Chances?

“Who the hell wants to watch Josh Lucas blind Gwyneth Paltrow?”

That's the lead in the latest post by The Carpetbagger.

Sadly, I found no form where I could enlist.

In other news, bookies here in the UK have stopped taking bets on Helen Mirren winning the Oscar this weekend, with current odds anywhere from 1/16 to 1/100 (that's bet £100, win one back).

Judi Dench isn't faring as well, with current odds ranging from 9/1 to 34/1. Barbara Covett would be so not pleased.

February 20, 2007

Tuesday 200 - #33

“Danny, You okay?” Meg asked, kicking some sand at me to break my trance. I was sitting on the beach, staring out at the breakers. The tide was rolling out , skeletons of a pink-fingered sunset reaching up from the horizon into a periwinkle summer sky.

I gave a quick nod. We’d been out three times today. An AOW course in the morning and a couple wrecks in the afternoon. Nothing spectacular, but I learned years ago that a mediocre day underwater beats a good day at the office.

“He’s out there,” I whispered, digging my feet into the warm sand.

She scruffed her knuckles across my scalp, like Mom used to when she couldn’t find any words. Meg saw him too. The skinny blonde kid in the O’Neill wetsuit and yellow fins. The spitting image of Tommy.

Seagulls squawked above the breakers.

Not a dive goes by I don’t look for him, hoping to see him swimming with some turtles or playing with a school of nurse sharks. Maybe hiding in the hull of a wreck. He promised he’d come back.

“Never saw it coming,” people tell me. ”He seemed so carefree.”

Suicide notes don’t always tell the truth.

:: :: ::

What's a Tuesday 200?

Last week's Tuesday 200.

Out of Service

It's been said that when people irritate you it is time to hold up a mirror, for the things that make you angry in other are the things the bug you about yourself.

Well I must be a fairly awful person, not to mention incompetent, rude, unhelpful and vaguely superior.

Yes, I've been dealing with customer service reps on the phone again. Banks. Cable companies. Bastions of inhumanity, every last one of them.

Maybe I'm just irritated with myself. I'm feeling a little stifled. I'm loving my world and most everyone in it, just feeling like anything I set my sights on doesn't really hold up to the initial idea. Projects seem more of a painful waste of time than an inspiration. Things I've been writing aren't panning out, trending toward the amateurish and trivial.

I know, let the ideas oook and then come back to them. But sooner or later things get overcooked and they're just burnt down to a bitter reduction.

Maybe I'm just not giving myself the level friendly customer service I think I deserve.

February 17, 2007

Notes on Notes

There was a time when I saw most all the "must-see" films within the first few days of release. I guess it started in my pre-teens, when I'd ride my bike down to Fashion Square Mall and see whatever was playing at the multi-plex.

Much like Fantine's hair and my green Huffy with a banana seat, those days are gone. It's not that it all went wrong, but movies are on totally different release schedules over here, and I guess I'm just not as motivated anymore. Maybe I should make more of an effort, but with a hard-drive full of recently purchased TV series and an ever growing stack of books to read ...

Anyway, finally got around to seeing Notes on a Scandal this afternoon.

It's excellent. Wanna know what the best part was?

Was it going to the Curzon Mayfair for the first time? As cool as the cinema was, and I look forward to going back often, that was not the best part.

Was it Philip Glass' initially overbearing but ultimately effective score? Nope.

Was it Le Cate's often understated performance that became electrified me when she battered Barbara with the gold-starred journal, digging into her most guttural voice as she called her a vampire? While compelling, not the best part of the afternoon.

Was it Dame Judi's oh-so-sympathetic portrayal of a poor, misunderstood, sweet, doting, completely rational woman who wants nothing more than a chat and cuddle from her kitty? Gosh, she was creepy, eh? Yes, she was brilliant, but not the best part.

No, the piece de resistance of the cinematic experience reared its head immediately after the closing credits. I went into the gents and found the only empty space in a wall full of old-fashioned urinals, sidling up between Larry and a dapper elderly gent with a full mane of white hair, khaki trousers and a tweed jacket. He totally, and without a modicum of discretion, leaned over for a look at the urinal, and then gave a smile. Cottaging at the Curzon.

Did the old guy learn nothing from Barbara Covett? Or did he think the film was a pep rally cum how-to lesson for attracting younger companions?

Can I get an ee-eww?

February 16, 2007

Skype ...

... is clever, and fun.

Please Don't Go

Why do we read novels?

I think it's for moments like this.

Two years ago, I sat at the end of the bar in my neighbourhood pub. A few seats down there was a woman reading. She was nearing the end of a book. She turned to the final page, read some more, placed the book face down, read some more, placed the book face down. She looked around the bar, bewildered. Her eyes fell on me.

"You gonna be O.K.?" I asked.

She nodded.

"I take it it's good," I said, gesturing to the book.

"I don't know that I want to finish it here," she said, not necessarily to me.

"I haven't read it, but people seem to like the protagonist," I offered.

The woman's eyes grew moist. "I'm not ready for her to leave just yet."

That's from Seen Reading, a collection of very cool writing exercises by Julie Wilson that I found on Sarah's Writing Journal.

The book in question was A Complicated Kindness by Miriam Toews. Kinda makes you want to read it, eh?

I guess this could be one reason why some of us write. We hope that we can get readers to be "not ready for (our characters) to leave just yet."

Scout Finch. Lily Owens. Ian Bedloe. Henry Da Tamble and Clare Abshire. *Sigh*

Who are the characters that you weren't ready to leave as the book was ending?

Hack Flack Attack

Wow. Somebody got paid to write this:

My Mother’s Italian, My Father’s Jewish & I’m In Therapy! features funny man Steve Solomon in the 90 minute smash hit comedy inspired by his hilarious family and all the people in his life whose sole purpose is to drive him into therapy…and they succeeded. One part lasagna, one part kreplach and two parts prozac, you don’t have to be Jewish or Italian to see this show. All you need is to know what it feels like to leave a family dinner with heartburn and a headache.

If this interests you, discount tickets are available. I also have access to a clown who dresses like an infant and has a dancing dog. I'm sure it's equally as amusing.

February 15, 2007

I'm Not Talking About It

I'm told I shouldn't bring it up for fear of a jinx, but I had a very good interview today.

Sixty some-odd minutes longer than yesterday's illegal yet brief grilling, today's pleasantly informative chat was for an exciting role with an established firm. It'd entail shaking up a competent but perhaps complacent staff and some business travel to Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Provincetown (via their Boston office).

I'm crossing my fingers, putting it in a giant pink bubble and letting it go.

For the first time in a year, I have shaved two days in a row and have been seen in public wearing a suit and tie (I know!).

You know what? I've sort of enjoyed it. The end of the world is nigh.

February 14, 2007

Why Only Once a Year?

karen valentine tyne daly

Worst. Interview. Ever.

Went on an interview this afternoon for a Marketing Director role at boutique-ish investment manager.

I was to meet with the founding partner of the firm for an initial screening, which is a tad unusual, but what the hey.

I was seated in a confernce room and given a glass of water. I waited, and reviewed my notes and questions about the firm and the position. I waited some more.

The waiting gave me some time to enjoy the views of the St. Paul's, the City, Tower Bridge, and Canary Wharf. There was a framed cartoonish tourist map (complete with folds in tact) of a region in Zanzibar, which I found mildly interesting given we're off to Africa in six weeks. There was also an interesting finger painting, apparently done by somebody's kid. It seemed to be a landacape, a green hill perhaps, with a large pink penis flying above two huddled people.


After wating for thirty, no exaggeration, thirty minutes, Mr. Head Honcho came in, did not introduce himself, sat down and said to me, "So what's going on?"

"Hi, I'm Bob and It seems you're looking for Director of Marketing."

He nodded.

I told him my understanding of the role and how I'd done similar things in the past. He cut me off after a couple minutes.

"What's your birthdate?"

I told him.

"Why did you move to London?"

I told him I'd been working here and my partner got an ex-pat package with his bank.

"So you're married or single?"

I said partnered.

"Any kids?"


"Where do you live?"


"Do you like London?"

Love it.

"Okay then, I'm just screening people right now before second interviews and it seems you can do the job. I'll get back with (insert headhunter's name here) when I'm done with this round of applicants. I've asked all the questions I need to know for now. Thnaks for coming."

He didn't ask if I had questions (which I did). He didn't tell me anything about the firm or the people I'd be working with.

I was with him for less than 8 minutes.

What a collossal waste of time.

February 13, 2007

Feel My Love

Watches can be so romantic, perhaps even a perfect Valentine's gift. I saw this Swatch on Oxford Street today during a Wii hunt. Made me laugh.


I used to love Swatches, back when they first tick-tocked in 1983. I suppose that means next year we'll have to strap on a 25th anniversary edition.

Anyway, what's love without a little voodoo?

Tuesday 200 - #32

Our best times were in the water.

Meeting in a summer rain. Two strangers on a quiet walk one misty afternoon. A thunderstorm comes from nowhere, as do peals of laughter. The park provides a private, puddle-stomping playground. Grown men find their inner children, along with the best friends those boys never had.

Sitting in a bath. Stripped bare yet at ease, our spirits light as Mr. Bubble’s caresses on our legs and chests. “Do you believe in destiny?” Smiles separated by a tub of soapy warmth, soaking in the gratitude of a chance (was it merely chance?) encounter.

Playing in the sea. Wresting with Speedos and trying not to be the first one naked. More laughter, more splashes, never enough salty kisses. Floating on our backs, swimsuits now bracelets, erections like sundials above our stomachs, time standing still under the warming sun.

Steaming away our doubts during hour-long showers. Washing each other’s hair. Finding new flaws in each others’ skin, each blemish making our bodies all the more perfect.

You made us dry off. Were those tears or just drops of water hanging on your cheek?

We were alive in the water.

Could growing gills have kept us together?

:: :: ::

What's a Tuesday 200?

Last week's Tuesday 200.

February 12, 2007

The Kick Inside

Merlin over at 43 Folders made me smile (perhaps with recognition) this afternoon. I was listening to his "Kung Fu, Meditation, and Sexual Intercourse" podcast and it brought home some salient points about what my darling sister wisely calls "analysis paralysis."

You could become the ultimate expert in Kung Fu, but until you start kicking people then you're really not doing Kung Fu, you know. You're just a dilettante.

Bottom line = quit spending so much time trying to tweaking your method and just start doing something.

Detective Doppelgänger

I was talking with some guy this morning and he said I reminded him of an actor from the telly. One of the criminal detective shows, where they deal with pathology and dead bodies all the time.

It seems I look like the detective who never smiles, although my new mate said I seemed very friendly.

"Yes," I told him. "I'm the happy detective."

He has no idea what show it was, or who the actor is. But we did narrow it down to UK television, not the CSI or NCIS programs imported from the States.

Any Brit viewers out there know who he was talking about?

:: :: ::

Oh goodness. I've just done some Googling and found this. I hope that's not who he meant. Perhaps the three-day greyish gruff isn't working so well.

February 11, 2007

No Wii for Mii

I was *this* close to having a Wii yesterday.

Then I got kidney stones.

badda bing

We were wandering about and popped into the HMV on Oxford St. near Soho. They had Wiis in stock (shut up!), but they were only selling them in a bundle. You had to buy a memory card and two games along with the basic machine.

I decided that I didn't really need the extra games (but I do need the Wii) and would save the additional 70 quid by just going to another store that wasn't being greedy.

No other stores had them. I came home, did some online research, and realized that the bundle was in fact a bargain (and there were games I would enjoy). And if I got the extra games, I'd probably need the memory card.

So I took out the garbage, and zipped off a side trip to the HMV in Selfridges. Out of Wii.

I went to the HMV near Regent Street. Out of Wii.

I went back to the HMV near Tottenham Court Road, where I'd been just a few hours before. Talked to one of the clerks and he said they sold out very quickly and he didn't know when they'd get the second half of their new allotment. "Nintendo doesn't give us dates, they just show up."

At least I got a brisk walk out of it, dodging shoppers/tourons who can't get their bipedal engines out of first gear, stopping and starting along the pavements of Oxford St.

And now I'm on the hunt. We will have Wii by next Wiikend.

Skidmarks on the Runway

Fashion Week. Reports of the glamour keep rolling in.

Seems that a homeless guy found his way into Ralph Lauren offices after the staff had pulled a late nighter getting things ready for the show.

He ate all the leftovers, took a dump in the middle of the room and wiped up with somebody's coat.

Security found him sitting in his underpants, watching TV in a conference room.

Streaky brown is the new black.

February 10, 2007

How Do You Stop an Exploding Man?

I bought the iTunes season pass to Heroes last week and am now obsessed caught up.

Is it wrong to see things in cartoon panels when you close your eyes?

Is it wrong to spend more than a few minutes pondering the means of accessing my superpowers — do I need to get rid of my distractions or embrace the energies of those around me?

And is Dr. Who going to throw me off of a building?

Clues are everywhere. For instance, last night I dreamt of this:


I'm not quite ready to get it tattooed on my shoulder, but I think it's a sign.

February 9, 2007

Safari So Good

Being Canadian, you’d think Larry would be used to cold weather.

“I’m southern Canadian,” he says as he puts on an extra sweatshirt and shivers whenever it drops below 50° F / 10° C. With that in mind, it’s no surprise he likes a winter getaway to be somewhere warm.

We’ve been talking about said getaway for a few weeks now. I think he’s working much too hard of late — 60 hour weeks aren’t uncommon — and he needs a break. So we’d narrowed down the March holiday list to Thailand, Cape Town, Mauritius and the Maldives.

He’s been hemming and hawing, complaining that he’s “too busy” and I reminded him that if he doesn’t make a decision soon, he’ll end up having to warm up beneath an extra blanket while he watches Lifetime movies (he would not be adverse to this). So we looked at calendars a couple days ago and figured out what dates were good.

Well, bless him, he’s made his choice. Yesterday's snow must have motivated him. He came home last night and said “I’ve arranged tickets and we’re leaving on March 21.”

“Which destination did we choose?” I asked, knowing I’d be happy with any of the four on our shortlist.

“Nairobi, Kenya.”

“Really?” I asked, only a little surprised his choice came from neither Column A or Column B. He does this a lot. We narrow down dinner to Thai or Italian and end up having falafel. “Cool, shall I change my name to Karen von Blixen-Finecke and buy a farm?”

I asked where we were staying.

“I don’t know, I just booked the flights. It was the only place available on miles.”

I wondered if there might be a reason for that.

So now we have an adventure ahead of us, and I have a few chores. I get to find a 2-3 day safari. That's long enough, don't you think? How many days can one stay in a "luxury tent", underneath the snow-capped Mt. Kilamanjaro, wandering about with a Maasai guide looking for elephants, giraffes, zebras, etc.? It does sound kinda cool, eh?

I also get to do some research on beach resorts with maybe a day of diving in the Indian Ocean, and figure out other places we might visit. “Look into Mozambique,” he mumbled before falling asleep last night. “I think it’s close by.”

Anybody been to Kenya? Suggestions are welcome.

February 8, 2007

Run Away from the Runway

I hear from my NYC industry amigos that it’s that time of year again. The glamour that is Fashion Week.

It seems like this happens every month or so now. It’s like the city’s having its period and Bryant Park is tented with an oversized white Maxi-Pad. Maybe that's why they call it the rag business.

I suggest a novel way to pass the time when things get either a little too predictable (models popping Tic Tacs right after puking away that last stubborn half-inch) or pretentious (photographers giving you a quick once-over and then mouthing “no” ... like they’re the arbiters of good taste in their flack jackets knit caps).

Next time you’re up to your eyeballs in size zero twaddle, why not catch a case of the the latest couture contagion:

Fashion Tourette’s

It’s really rather simple. Just shout out things that will make people take notice. They're fashionistas, not scientists ... they'll believe most anything if you speak with conviction and aplomb.

Pull a little focus and watch the faux fur fly.

“Green is the new black!”

“Donnatella’s extensions are on fire!”

“Marc Jacobs likes girls!”

"Wintour's pregnant!"

"Trim Spa kills!"

“Polka dots, polka dots, it’s all about polka dots!”

“Calvin turned down an eight ball!”

“Gwynneth’s eating her Apple!”

"Tax the swag!"

“Lindsay Lohan’s sober in the next tent!”

“Earth shoes! Fall ‘08! Totally hot.”

You get the idea. And when the paps start clicking away, throw up your arms and shriek, “Please! Did we learn nothing from Diana?”

Then twirl around, do a quarter-turn back and throw your chin over rear-facing shoulder. It will eliminate any double chin and your ass will look as hot as Eva Longoria's ... who, no doubt, will be wearing green next time you see her.

It’s the new black.

:: :: ::

This gives me a new idea. All you fashion-friendly people send me lists of things that are overheard way too often during fashion week. We'll come up with a "Fashion Week Bingo" card .. or maybe t-shirts. Godmother ... they'd look good with the 5EPs. Or maybe a spread in Sportswear International.

Speaking of SI, I'm really upset that I got no compensation for the use of my high school photo for their latest issue's cover art.


Save the Cheerleader, Save the World

Who knew Heroes would be so good?

I'm up to episode 6. No spoilers, please ... but I'll take my super-powers now.

February 7, 2007

No iWalking

Remember back in 1998 when Giuliani and the NYC powers-that-be decided to crack down on jaywalking?

I was a smoker back then, and my boss and I used to stand outside our office building at 45th and 6th, having business meetings puffing away and egging the local midtown cops to ticket the jaywalkers.

The policemen (and women) couldn't be bothered. "Why don't you make a citizen's arrest" was one of their comments.

I have a feeling that, if proposed legislation to ban iPods et al while crossing NYC streets comes into effect, I bet the NYPD will be just as enthused to enforce it as they were to crack down on jaywalkers.

The Machine is Us

This is fascinating, but there are days I prefer a pencil scratching in a notebook.

(via Tabula Rasa)

Pipe Down

Dear Billie Piper,

I am most dismayed to have just read you've given up your dream of winning an Oscar.

Darling, you're still young! There is always time to get some education and technical training ... an "Achievement in Sound Editing" award could easily be yours.

Don't give up your dream, Billie. We ache to see you on the other side of the camera.

With much concern,

Uncle Bob

February 6, 2007

Had Enough of Silly Love Songs


First off, it's strange to see a show where all the stars are recognizable tv/film talents.

Wouldn't it be refreshing to see a show where all the stars gave performaces that broke away from their recognizable tv/film talents?

A trip to Love Song last night ended my 3-4-3 streak of winning theatrical experiences.

It wasn't terrible by any means, it just didn't blow me away like the past few shows have done. Not sorry I saw it, just wouldn't go back for a repeat ... and I would for the previous three.

John Kolvenbach’s script has some funny moments, to be sure, and Kristen Johnston (who looks amazing) milks them for all they're worth (and perhaps a half-gallon more). I wonder if the show would have gotten as many laughs if she didn't mug her way through it.

The play seemed too long to me ... which isn't really a good thing for a 90-minute-no-interval show. Like so much sketch comedy, it's a good idea stretched out twice as long as it needs to be (SNL-syndrome™).

Then again, if Kolvenbach cut down on the repetitive repetitions, it wouldn't have that is-this-still-edgy David Mamet / Aaron Sorkin feel (with a hunched-shouldered nod to Charlie Kaufman) that the playwright seems to emulate.

It felt like Mamet and Sorkin?

Fuck yeah, like Mamet and Sorkin.

More Mamet or Sorkin?

More Sorkin than Mamet, 'cause it was on the edge of sit-com.

Sit-commy, was it?

Yeah, but with an edge, sort of.

Sorta Sorkin?

Sorta edging on Sorkin's edge.

... and scene ...

You get the idea.

Neve Campbell ... well, she annoyed me. Bad line readings. No chest voice. Just sort of phoned in a phone-innable role.

Cillian Murphy ... well, can he play a role without seeming like a psycho? Very engaging, if not a little one-dimensional ... but that could be the script.

Michael McKean was spot on.

Spoilers ahead ...

From what I'd read prior to seeing it, the crux of the play is whether or not Beane's (Murphy) new girlfriend Molly (Campbell) is in his flat or in his head. There is no question. Neither Molly nor Beane are "all there."

I think the play itself would have been a lot more interesting if, after the curtain call, the audience was left to scratch its collective noggin (is he crazy? is she only a mousey-mouthed figment of his imagination? is his ceiling really on hydraulics?), rather than rub away the mild pain of giant whack (ouch!, we get it!) on the head.

It's not a subtle script.

Then again, subtley is not what TV audiences (which is what this seems geared toward) are bargaining for.

Wait Marge, I'm confused ... the Party of Five girl, she's not a spirit, is she? Ghosts can't hold magic bottles of spirits, can they? And why does she look like a boy?

In the end, all you need is love. And maybe to get out of your flat every now and again, before the ceiling starts pressing down on you. Literally.

Oh, wait, I get it! Love Song was originally performed at Steppenwolf, and that's where John Malkovich grew up, and in Being John Malkovich the ceilings were too low. It's an homage. Ahhh.

Like I said, subtle.

BTW, Beane is a role that Mr. Malkovich might have played if it were a bit edgier, and Glenne Headly would have been an amazing Molly, back in the day.

Tuesday 200 - #31

“You promise not to tell?” Tommy asked, tucking in his shirt and walking towards the door.

He’d just showed me the thin, rubbery lines of pink and white etched across the taut flesh covering his ribs.

I just stared at him, the roach burning in my fingers. He’s my best friend and this is fucked up. I’m cool with tattoos and piercings, but this looked like he’s carved slits into his sides.

“Dan, we’re good?” he asked.

“Dude, you sure we shouldn’t tell Megan?” I said, tamping out the roach into an ashtray, trying not to sound worried. Megan usually had all the answers.

“You can’t tell anybody. It’s my secret. And I’ve kept yours for years,” he smirked. “You owe me.” He opened the screen door and disappeared.

Gills. He swears he’s growing gills.

He’s fucking with me, right?

I pick up the phone and dial half of Meg’s number. I’ve kept yours for years bounces around the room, and I hang up. Gills?

I roll another joint. This is like some fucked-up Twilight Zone episode, and the Zone’s always better with a buzz on.

Maybe I’ll call Megan in the morning.

:: :: ::

What's a Tuesday 200?

Last week's Tuesday 200.

February 5, 2007

Look Who's Watching the Super Bowl

Dear Artist Formerly Known as Prince,

Can I have my do-rag back?


Aunt Jemima

P.S. Were you *really* playing electric guitar in all that purple rain?

February 3, 2007

A Waking Dream

photo by Almeida Theatre
Here’s what I love about the theatre.

I’m in the second row of the cozy Almeida tonight, not more than 2 or 3 meters from Eileen Atkins and Imelda Staunton. They're not miked. Not once do I think about “I saw something nasty in the woodshed” or “I help girls out.” I totally forget about the woman in Indiscretions whose little finger acted circles around a heaving Kathleen Turner in kabuki makeup and a nude, wet Jude Law jumping up and down in a bathtub.

That, by the way, was a 22-year old Jude Law and is not easily forgotten.

For two hours tonight, I was mesmerized by a crazy old loon (who may or may not be evil) and a domineering, repressed-to-the-point-of-being somewhat-evil middle-aged scholar (who may or may not be crazy).

For two hours tonight, I believed that the beach where Eugene killed himself was just a walk down the rocky path (amazing set design by Robert Jones).

For two hours tonight, I believed that Ms. Atikins an Ms. Staunton are two distinctly different relatives, each desperate for control -- of their grief, of their families, and of their own (perhaps self-imposed) madness.

I loved that during intermission, I say “Eileen Atkins is amazing” and my date for the night says “I just want to punch her. I guess that means her performance is good." Oddly, I sort of wanted to punch (well, maybe throttle) Imelda Staunton.

I loved that two people can see the same thing on a stage and have distinctly differnt reactions, and both be justified.

I’m three for three on intelliegent, funny, dark, and moving theatre. In less than a week, I’ve been transported to a repressing school in 19th century Germany, a maniaically manipulative Hollywood agent’s office (not to mention her diabolical mind), and a seaside cottage on the haunted shores of Western Ireland. (If we count theatre of good intentions, then we can add the hills and caves of Hope Falls, West Virginia.)

If you’re anywhere near London, go and see There Came A Gypsy Riding. It’s dark. It’s funny. It's sad. It's poetic. It’s a master class in acting.

February 1, 2007

Post of the Week


Recently read something that was just a little bit meatier than someone blogging about their last trip to the theater or their newfound disdain of driving? Why not nominate it?

Want to read something that's riding high on the bell curve of blogging? Why not have a read outside of your everyday blogroll?

Check out Post of the Week.

Disclaimer: I'm on yonder judging committee, thanks to the gracious Mike at Troubled Diva. We're just a few weeks old, but it's already been a great way to see new writing and realize how much talent is out there on the interweb.

Routine Maintenance

Eight days in America. It's been a perfectly perfect trip but I think I'm ready to go back to London.

"So England really feels like home now?" a friend asked this week.

I don't know that it's England per se, but yes, when I think of "home" the mental picture that flashes on the movie screen of my mind is B2's high-ceilinged pale-yellow living room, filled with light and books (and maybe a Wii in the none-too-distant future). It's where my routines are, and my bed is, and where the sometimes-annoying but mostly-cuddly MD cats are.

There's something to stitch on a sampler: "Home is where the routines are."

Speaking of, I was struck this week (ouch!) by something that used to be a routine for me and still is for millions of people. Something that I've fallen out of favor with.

No, not watching Katie Couric.

I'm thinking about driving, or for that matter, spending inordinate amounts of time in a car.

I rented a car in Cincinnati. It's always good to be mobile and I didn't want to be a burden on people's busy lives. Nothing more annoying than "can you come get me?" Things are fairly scattered in suburban Ohio and there's not much in the way of public transportation.

So I drove. A half-hour here. An hour there. Twenty minutes to the store. Another forty-five to run Mom out to the mall, and then she wanted a ride home too. I bet that I spent upwards of 2-3 hours a day driving the car, with additional time spent in the passenger seat. That's half a novel I could have read. A film I could have watched. A chapter (or at least several pages of drivel) I could have written. A nice nap I missed out on.

I asked the ever-wisening sister about it. She said he often spends at least that much time in her 4-wheeled coccoon. When she's not playing taxi driver for kids or clients (in the real estate biz, she is), she says it's a good time to catch up on books-on-tape or sometimes to just have quiet time for herself.

That's all well and good, but these days I'd prefer to take a nice long walk.

This was not always the case. I remember turning 16 and being so excited to finally get to drive. I'd grown up. I had wheels. I had independence. Sure, I'd love to drive to Kroger's to get more milk! I could go where ever I wanted. And I adored my cars when I had them. Well, except for that first Pinto ... the one that would explode it it got rear-ended. But my Mustang, and my Le Car (the tin can that took me to New Orleans so many times) and my Tonka Trunk (the Suzuki Samurai) were all brilliant.

These days, I prefer a taxi.

Years later, it just seems like a nuissance. Traffic. Parking. Insurance. Scraping icy snow off windows. Spark plugs. Trips to the Jiffy Lube. Idiot drivers (don't get me wrong, there are plenty of idiot pedestrians out there as well).

So it's back to London tonight. Where I don't need, or want, the routine of a car.

A motorcycle, on the other hand ...