Pimp Le Bob — Vote Vote Vote!
So it's a horse race now, which is fun. Mr. Angry is running a close second and, with his promise of nudity, is closing in fast. Surely I don't have to resort to naked pictures of myself to win your votes?
So, if you haven't already, click here, then click on Bob (the poll's in the right-hand column), then click on vote.
Extra credit if you pimp it on your own blog or email these instructions to all your friends.
This silly pimping thing ends this Sunday night, then we'll go back to regular blah blah blogging.
June 27, 2007
Who Killed Jeremy Taylor?
I ran a little murder mystery with the Kazakhs yesterday. It was set up in the text book, but I doctored it a bit (I love my interactive white board) and we had some fun, revising past simple with listening and reading exercises. Basically, it was practicing English while playing Clue.
The set-up was simple. Jeremy Taylor is 60 years old and having a birthday party in a country mansion. The guests include his wife, his daughter, his business partner and his secretary. He goes to bed early and ends up dead. Who killed him?
Their imaginations ran wild. They came up with stories of mistresses (turned out to be true, "I know these things because I am woman," said the 25-year old Channel-laden bride), suicides, faked deaths ("this story will go on for more lessons"), and accidental poisonings by the cook (who wasn't even in the story).
The best part was how quickly they came back from their cigarette breaks, because I ended each part of the lesson on a cliff hanger.
I guess if it were a really captivating lesson, they wouldn't have wanted a cigarette break, but I'll take what I can get.
June 26, 2007
I'm Janet ...
Janet Van De Graaff ....
I don't wanna show off no more.
I don't wanna big blog no more.
I don't wanna pimp votes no more.
I don't wanna show off.
But rules are rules and in this case, Big Blogger has stated ...
So this means that Big Blogger wants you to pimp like you've never pimped before. Call in all those favours, blackmail your boss, put ads in the local paper, whore yourself at work - do everything you can possibly think of to get people (and as many people as you can) to vote for you.
So go here, clicky on the Bob, then clicky on the Vote. Then tell all your friends to do it. Then pimp me on your blog. Then remember it ends this Sunday when it goes back to vote to evict. Don't vote for me then. Vote for me now.
Thank you. Because ...
And now I really want to stay
And I have some more time
But need votes to call mine
So I'm not sent out into the fray
Far away ...
:: :: ::
Oh, did I mention I saw London production of "The Drowsy Chaperone" last night? And it might still be a little fresh in my head? Sorry about that.
Bob Martin is still amazing. They've reworked the book ever so slightly, taking advantage of across-the-pond transfer jokes, British people appreciating humour rather than laughing at it, and making a slew of short jokes at the expense of a certain diminutive diva named Elaine Page.
We won't have a word said against her.
But she does sort of channel Norma Desmond
mugging her way through playing the chaperone. She's very good, but has got nothing on Beth Leavel.
One thing especially amused me prior to the show ...
I haven't seen that much soft-focused photography through Vaseline since Lucy did "Mame".
Tuesday 200 - #49
“Ain’t you cute,” I said to the young woman ringing me up at Wal-Mart the other day. “I’ll call you Pink Lady.”
She giggled, her light brown cheeks taking on the color of her rose-colored head scarf.
“That’s a hijab, ain’t it?” I asked, trying not to show off. Hell, if they were going to start working in our neighborhood, I figured I might as well know what they’re wearin’. I ain’t narrow-minded, like some *other* folk I know around town.
“It’s so nice for customers to be friendly to me,” she said. “Some people here most rude.”
“Don’t I know.”
I thanked her kindly and told her to enjoy her day, it was fixin to be a scorcher.
“Yes,” she said, wiping her brow. “Already I most very hot.”
“Well, I can imagine, what with that sheet wrapped your head …”
“Security!” she shouted
Blue lights flashed and an air horn blared. Guards rushed to the checkout.
“What? Am I the millionth customer?” I yelled. “Did I win something? Is that Ed McMahon?.”
Sweet wounded allah on a star o' David. You’d have thought *I* was the terrorist or something.
Judge says sensitivity training starts next week.
:: :: ::
June 25, 2007
As We Stumble Along
If all goes according to last night's plan, I'm going to see The Drowsy Chaperone tonight on the West End.
I'm excited about this for a number of reasons ...
Bob Martin has come from New York to be the man in the chair
They've asked me to replace him when he goes back to the US or Canada (not sure what he's doing yet, I don't start rehearsals until mid-July)
It'll be interesting to see what Miss Page does with the title role (will they beef up what is pretty much a supporting ... although award-winning ... role? will we be able to see her behind that big martini glass?)
Terry's in town and doesn't know much about the show, so he'll pee himself, which is always entertaining
I'm very curious to see how they've changed it from the original script (surely they've London-ized it a bit?)
I love to put a monkey on a pedestal
Fingers crossed it didn't get too watered down on the trip across the pond.
June 23, 2007
What the ???
Hey! What's this all about?
One gets sequestered into the Big Blogger house, sneaks back home for a bit, and finds the place has been redecorated.
Reminds me of when I was young. My dad traveled a lot on business, and my mom would get bored and rearrange the furniture in the house. He'd come home in the middle of the night, walk across the living room and bang his shin on a coffee table that never used to be there.
So what do you think? I love it (and really, that's all that matters, eh?). My heartfelt thanks to Gordon for his creativity and patience during all of this.
June 22, 2007
Livng on the Edge
I dropped into The Edge last night for a social event put on by Fortune & Friends, for "just the one." Normally I don't enjoy being solo* at mixer events, but I thought I might recognize some of the guys from the F&F creative writing workshop I went to a few months back. Also, the guys behind Fortune & Friends are quite lovely and I've spoken with them about co-branding a Life Clubs with them.
Turns out it was a relatively small crowd, and everyone was really friendly ... a fine testament to anybody who might be interested in one of their workshops. And then Eduardo and Nick showed up and ... *poof* ... it 11:30pm and I'm home with a very spicy curry take away.
Assimilation is mine.
Anyway, I had a good chat with the event's photographer, who's German, and looked like an odd mix of a young Kevin Bacon and my brother-in-law. He's also a teacher, but his classroom is the cockpit of a glider. I'm pretty sure I want to take flying lessons now. How cool would that be?
*Solo on the 15-year mark? Not to worry, L's out of town on business. And the proper "anniversary" isn't really until the 28th (we only met on the 21st, and being civilised folk, didn't start the relationship till a week later) and is being celebrated by a couple weeks on a boat in the Baltic, starting the end of next week.
June 21, 2007
Once on that Island
Fifteen years ago tonight, my old roommate Parker and I threw the first (and last) annual SADIST Soiree. That stood for Spring's Almost Done, It's Summer Tomorrow. We were oh-so-clever back then.
All the cool kids in Chicago were there, and some special guests from out of town as well.
By midnight, we were well on our way to being lit, and a charming Canadian man came up the stairs. He called himself Larry. He quietly sat in a corner, in what I remember as bemused terror, while we serenaded each other with the songs of Ti Moune, Daniel, Erzule and Asaka.
Yup, we met 15 years ago today.
June 19, 2007
Tuesday 200 - #48
The teensiest rivulet of pink drool was caked on the left corner of his mouth.
Could’ve been Pepto. Could’ve been the Pink Ladies from last night’s “Come as Your Mother in the Fifties and Drink her Cocktail” celebration.
Whichever, it clearly didn’t complement his coral lipstick. “Mama loved her corals,” he confided in me.
I didn’t have the heart to tell him he looked like he’d washed up off a reef. And I didn’t take the time to analyze why his dishevelled drag made him so delectable. Probably, it’s because in real clothes (or out of them) he’s untouchable … totally out of our league. But dolled up as a drunken Mamie Eisenhower, he was as frumpy as the rest of us on any given night.
The god became mortal.
“Come home with me,” I said. I heard a (jealous?) gasp from one of my daiquiri darlings. He looked me somewhat squarely in the eye and said, “dat’ll be mama’sh pleashure.”
A drunken god beats no god at all.
Don’t you hate it when gods are so hammered they forget they’re lactose intolerant and don’t realize how much dairy is in a Pink Lady?
I’ll have to burn those sheets.
:: :: ::
June 18, 2007
Settling into the New
I think I might like this new schedule, even if it only on the books for a couple of weeks.
Got up around 8am, made a pot of coffee and worked on a new scene in my story for about two and half hours. Got about 1,000 words written, with a bunch of first draft blah blah, but at least there's stuff to edit now. Should have the entire first draft done by tomorrow night.
Now I'm off to school to finesse a lesson plan I sketched out over the weekend, and then teach for a 5-hour stint. They do like their breaks, and they're private clients, so that's fine by me.
Finish up around 7:30 and will meet CB for a couple drinks and some dinner in or around Covent Garden.
I could get used to this.
Then again, there are two Big Blogger tasks coming up this week (not to mention two new house mates), so one mustn't get too comfortable.
:: :: ::
Oooh, have just seen the first task of the week: recount your favorite celebrity anecdote?
Which to write about? I've already told the popstar-gets-a fisting tale here (which I'm allowed to reuse if I rewrite it). Should I recycle that or talk about:
* my very long cigarette break with Sarah Jessica Parker?
* talking about vampires and white imagery in Moby Dick with Nicholas Cage in my New Orleans apartment?
* hanging out in an Ohio airport with Henny Youngman?
* being an escort (not that kind) for con-man turned author Frank Abagnale (the guy who Leonardo played in Catch Me If You Can)
* chatting up Lynn Redgrave in a theatre lobby because we have a mutual friend?
* Tim Burton and Sylvia Miles congratulating me on a very twisted show I once did at La Mama Etc.?
* Christmas pudding with Nicholas Parsons?
* cruising with Miss Coco?
* having lunch with Troubled Diva on Friday?
Who do you want to read about?
June 17, 2007
I'm not really sure who/what The Master is, but I can't stop walking around saying, in a loud stage whisper ... "I. Am. The. Mahhster."
Last night's Dr. Who was a master class in writing (Russell T. Davies) and acting (Derek Jacobi) for television. I had a schoolboy's smile on my face for the entire last half of the episode.
I really hope John Barrowman took some notes. I'm sure he's very good on a big West End stage, but ....
And remember, Vote Saxon.
June 16, 2007
I seem to have fallen into an old habit. I suppose it’s not necessarily a horrible one, but it’s one that I think keeps me from being a member of civilized society.
No, it’s not taking up smoking again in solidarity against the upcoming ban. Although I do have a bit of a sore throat this morning which is, no doubt, somewhat attributable to last night’s Marlboro Lights.
So what is this new private praxis?
I confess. I have become a sofa sleeper.
With two perfectly functional and serenely comfortable beds in this flat, I have woken up this morning, yet again, on the couch. A couch that, I might add, whose cushions only span sixty inches. For those of you keeping score at home, that’d be fourteen inches less than this humble scribe’s once-lanky frame.
One would think stretching out on a king-size mattress would be more comfortable. Or if that particular slumber sanctuary is less than soporific due to a certain someone’s snoring, the queen-sized cradle in the blissful back bedroom is surely a viable option.
But no, like a little kid who can’t keep his eyes open but swears he’s not tired, I stay in the living room and curl up with a cushion, waiting to hear how tonight's crime drama will be resolved. I’ll go to be in ten more minutes … I promise. And no, I won’t put the magic quilt over me, because if I’m that cold, I should just go get under the covers.
So now it’s morning. I’m in the clothes I wore to work yesterday, drinking a cup of tea and wondering if my back would feel any better had slept in the bed (which, on the plus side, doesn’t need making today). I had the whole flat to myself last night … you’d think I’d have taken advantage of more than the living room.
Oh well. We move on.
CB arrives this afternoon, and Peter comes on Monday for his monthly visit. Oops, I’ve double-booked the B&B.
That’s okay. Larry’s out of town for the week. CB can have my bed on Monday night and I’ll be perfectly happy to sleep on the sofa.
June 12, 2007
Tuesday 200 - #47
I adore babies when they’re sound asleep in their strollers, so peaceful and secure. They haven’t a care in the world and pay no heed to the bustling city streets they’re being pushed through.
I couldn’t help but notice one next to me at the bus stop this morning. He was wearing blue corduroy OshKosh overalls and was wrapped in a Piglet blanket. The teenisest rivulet of pink drool was caked on the left corner of his mouth.
His mother gently rocked the stroller back and forth with one hand and dug through her purse with the other. She pulled out a bottle of liquid antihistamine, gave me a sneer through her imitation Gucci sunglasses, and took a swig.
“Hay fever season,” I nodded, smiling at her slumbering angel.
“Uh huh." She reached into the carriage and grabbed her boy’s bottle. With a flick of her wrist, the top was unscrewed and the remains of the allergy tonic were poured in.
As the crosstown coach pulled up, she closed the baby bottle, placed it back onto her son’s chest, and sucked out the last drops of cherry syrup.
“Better living through Benadryl,” she grunted, heaving the stroller into the bus.
:: :: ::
June 11, 2007
Learning to Crawl
"Mr. Bob," the ringleader of my Kazakhs said to me this morning, "why you no teach grammar?"
We'd been working for about half an hour on putting adjectives together with nouns. I asked him what he meant and he could only come up with the same question again.
I wrote this on the board:
noun + adjective = grammar
noun + adjective = grammar
He wasn't convinced. So I wrote "3rd Conditional", "Present Progressive", "Passive Voice" and "Past Perfect Tense" on the board.
"Is this the grammar you want to learn?"
"What's a tense?" he asked.
I smiled and said "as soon as you master adjectives and nouns, we'll work on tenses, okay?"
"So tell me, does an adjective come before or after a noun?"
"What means before and after?" one of them asked.
I wanted to say you have to learn the basics before you can learn the complex stuff, but I wrote numbers instead. 1, 2, and 3. One comes before two. Three comes after one, etc.
And then I wrote this on the board ...
run before/after walk
run before/after walk
Pointing to the slashed words in the center, I asked them to pick the right one.
After some fantastic miming, we got the right answer, and checked meaning with days of the week and months in the year.
And then I drew a line from "walk" to "noun + adjective = grammar" and a different colored line from "run" to "present progressive".
The ringleader smiled and said, "I understand." His wife sighed, said "walk first" and then whispered something to him in Russian.
Later in the day, they asked if I could be their only teacher, rather than have their day split between me and one of the more senior (and very well respected / published) instructors.
I'm not sure if that's a good thing or not.
Tomorrow we're revising how to tell time. He'll hate that ... but it is grammar.
June 10, 2007
Whole Paycheck Foods
At some point Friday night I got drunker than I anticipated.
Memo to self: Try eating something more than a bag of crisps on the way to the Barcelona Temperance Society.
I think it was right around the time that the charming 20-something straight boy with a fetching smile and rather large hands said, "I wear size 14 shoes."
"Wow, how big's your cock?"
I realized I must have thought that out loud, because his girlfriend answered for him. "Everything's proportional," she assured me, and we had another round of tequilas.
And then we all flirted some more. He wants to take me to Oxford for a week to get my motorcycle license later in the summer. And I remember most of what happened after.
So I laid fairly low yesterday morning. Last time I woke up with a really fuzzy head after over-zealous flirting with straight boys was July 7, 2005. No point in trying to repeat that.
Larry, who went to bed at a reasonable hour on Friday night, left for the grocery around 10 o'clock yesterday a.m. to round up our weekly provisions. A couple hours later the phone rings.
"Did you get my message?" he asks. Apparently he'd called my mobile, which I never heard over last night's tequila-induced buzzing in my head.
He'd been on his way to Edgeware Road when he spied a Whole Foods bag. So he headed over to Chelsea to give the new store a visit.
Unfortunately, he doesn't pay attention to much outside of the workaday world, and didn't realize that Whole Foods was on Kensingtion High Street ... not in Chelsea at all. An easy mistake, as we used to shop at Whole Foods in Chelsea when we lived in New York. And really, who doesn't get New York and London neighborhoods confused?
Now you know why I drink.
"Why don't you come meet me here, we can do some shopping and have lunch?'
I didn't realize that Whole Foods just opened this week, so in my haze I agreed. Oy. It was a mob scene.
The store itself is amazing. It's a lot like the New York stores (more like Columbus Circle than Seventh Ave, for those who've been to those franchises). Three floors of fresh, reasonably healthy, overpriced foodstuffs. The cheese and fish departments are both brilliant ... although I'm still trying to wrap my head around salmon that sells for 20 quid a kilo (that's about $20 a pound ... is fish really that expensive?).
I guess that's why we call it Whole Paycheck Foods.
I think most of the people there were, like us, more interested in scoping out the new store than doing any real grocery shopping. As we queued to check out (a fifteen-minute wait, with around 30 tills in operation), I noticed that most people had only one or two items. One guy waited a quarter of an hour to buy a bottle of wine. Surely there are other less crowded wine merchants in Kensington?
We managed to spend £45 on some cheese, crisps, bread and nuts. But they're quality products, and like a good restaurant, you're paying for ambiance and service. Everybody that works there is really friendly and very, very helpful. Wonder how long that will last.
One thing will keep me coming back is the freshly baked Kalamata bread. It's the same recipe as what we used to buy in NY. Absolutely delicious ... it's especially good toasted. Not unlike 20-something straight boys.
June 8, 2007
I Are Tired
I haven't had the chance to say this for a good long while ...
I'm really glad it's Friday.
This teaching thing seems to be taking off. Ten hours last week. 17 and a half hours this week, and next week it turns into what seems to be a full-time job .... teaching 2 classes from 9-4. It can wear a boy out, I tell you.
It's nothing compared to the 55-60 hour weeks that I know some people are putting in, and I'm realy enjoying it, it's just more tiring than I anticipated. And then, of course, there's the 24/7 party people over at the Big Blogger house. You've voted to keep me in (that's *not* voted for me) and voted for my ball-gag gala? Right? Well go on then. (clicky on the big red banner to your right -------> )
And with that ... I need to come up with some fun new vobabulary exercises. The Kazakhs await.
Life in the fast lane.
June 7, 2007
Time Out London should make one of these quizzes ....
My New York age is 18
This New York age puts you-generally speaking-into the young category. That's what you were hoping for, right? Run and tell your friends. Then get drunk (as usual). Then sleep it off. Then pop an Adderall. Then come back and consider experimenting with a more mature type of New York life (just once in a while). Have you ever been to the Village Vanguard or the Living Theatre? Eaten at Elaine's? Taken a date to Michael Feinstein? Before you laugh, check 'em out and see what old-school NYC experiences you can add to the new.
June 5, 2007
Tuesday 200 - #46
She longs for the good old days, when it was a quiet neighborhood and the only reason to watch your step was to avoid getting stuck by a used syringe. Oh sure there were junkies, but at least it was peaceful.
Nowadays you can’t walk down the effing pavement without being sideswiped by a caterwauling child in a carriage that probably cost more than her rent — perambulating parents prattling into phones, oblivious to any other lesser non-breeding mortal.
Two blonde hellions bray at the table next to her, vying for any adults’ attention. “Look Gran, Smurf wars!” they squeal, knocking their blue plastic trolls off the formica table with french fries and fish fingers.
In her day, kids would mind their manners. Speak when spoken to and shut up and eat. If not … thwack!
She shakes her head at the cover of “The Sun.” Still no sign of the missing kid. Unlucky sods, they had to have the only quiet British brat in all of Portugal.
She stabs out her Mayfair, sticks a tenner under the ashtray and storms out of the cafe, waving her tabloid in front of no one particular, muttering, “Why can’t they all be kidnapped?”
:: :: ::
June 4, 2007
Department of Boo Friggin' Hoo
Lily Allen's father Keith has said being a pop star makes her "very depressed".
The actor's comments follow a blog posting in which Lily said she was "fat, ugly and s**tter" than Amy Winehouse.
He explained: "She hasn't stopped for a year and a half. I remember meeting Robbie Williams and thinking him the saddest person I had ever met.
"I thought, 'Why doesn't he just give it up?' I haven't said that to Lily, yet, but I will."
So go get a real job where you don't have to play into a ridiculously transparent PR machine.
And again I ask ... what was that word?
Oh, yeah. I remember. Say it with me ...
June 3, 2007
I was in Hyde Park this afternoon, watching people exercise (I could do that all day), soaking up some sunshine and scribbling notes for potential stories.
An American girl and an English guy, late 20s, were sitting not too far from me.
"I think it's totally wicked that you're like so close with your family," says the none-too-quiet girl in her finest OC accent.
"Yes," says her friend, whose pasty-white legs seem out of place on such a sun-filled day, "and the interesting thing is that we're all so different. My sister, for example, is quite the free spirit."
They left soon after that. I presume he had to get to mum's for tea, after putting on trousers, of course.
Tommy, Can You Hear Me?
You have read them all, haven't you?
For a minute this morning, I thought the BBC was taking the piss out of the Royal Air Force ...
Why on earth would the RAF name its spy planes Nimrod? Is it lulling the enemy into a false sense of security?
June 2, 2007
The Write Material
I signed up for an online writing course to get me focused on finishing a short story or two. Didn't think I'd get tossed into Big Blogger (which is actually just one big, fun, silly creative writing exercise, innit?) or that I'd pick up another 10 hours of weekly work, teaching Kazakh VIPs (who are all near beginners). Better go rent Borat.
It's good to be busy.
I have to come up with two 250-word narrative summaries ... sketches of stories I'm going to work on over the next 14 weeks. Really, how frickin' hard should that be? And yet, as habit dictates, I have elevated 'making things more difficult than they really are' into an art form.
Rather than actually write something creative this morning, I opted to answer the question "where do your story ideas come from?"
I always freeze up on this one. I get overwhelmed by the choices, especially when it comes to a 'for submission' situation such as this. How do you know it's the "right one?"
I think and then and then rethink and then go into analysis paralysis. I forget that I have stacks of notebooks full of scribbles and half-baked ideas. Sometimes they're not even baked, more like splatters of batter on the page.
But I never know where those notebooks are when I need them. One would think one would be more organized. Ah, but that's the critic coming out saying, "Why start anything new again? It was all crap in the first place. Go have a run and forget about it for another day or so." And days become weeks, and then life gets in the way and I forget to look for the batter.
And then there are the two Nano drafts -- over a 100,000 words of rough material to pull from, to twist and to polish and maybe make something out of.
I forget that I have almost a year's worth of 200-word mini-stories on my blog, some of which could be fleshed out into proper stories. Oh, but is that cheating ... to flesh something old out and not come up with something new?
I forget that some of my best writing has come out of workshops where I sit with a notebook and a pen and the instructor says, write about "x" for the next 10 minutes ... go. Where are those notebooks, anyway?
I forget that I need to get out of my head and just let myself go and trust the process. Sometimes all you need to do is look at a random postcard and start writing. But which postcard? Oh yeah, the random one. But I don't like that one ... maybe the next one will be better.
Do any of you go through this, or do I need to adjust my medication?
So where do I get ideas? Sometimes from a prompt in a workshop. Or a spark that comes from free-writing. Maybe it's a line I overhear on the tube or a person that catches my fancy — why on earth is she wearing that?.
There's a character I have in my head, a young girl whose mother is dead and father is a total loser. I saw her get off an airplane last year, accompanied by a flight attendant and watched her wait for someone to pick her up for 30 minutes. Broke my heart. I wrote a quick sketch about her and don't know where to go.
My Tuesday 200s often come to me in a flash, admittedly some more inspired than others. I build each one off a line/idea/image from the previous one. I end up pondering them for several days and think I'm never going to have another creative idea again. And then, on the day of my deadline, something will come to me. It may not be the final idea, but it gets me going.
One story I'll be working on during this class is about a young man who must get over his deathly fear of water in order to survive. He's recently discovered he's growing gills. The idea's been swimming (see what I did there?) in my head for a few months and I've made a few false starts. I have no idea any more where the original idea came from. Maybe a dream? I really don't recall.
I have no idea what my second story will be ... I'd like to do something from scratch, but I might recycle an old exercise (again, is that cheating?). Either way, I'm determined to come up with something over the weekend. I just have to remind myself that all I need to do is create a few signposts. I don't have to create a surveyor's map, clear the field, bulldoze the path and lay down the asphalt all in one go.
Starting always gets me in a dither.
Okay Bob, quit babbling about your neuroses and go sit in the park and start free-writing.
As Mary Chapin Carpenter says, "accidents and inspiration lead you to your destination."
Gosh, I don't know who to dislike more ... Paris Hilton or "Christians" who celebrate the misfortune of others.
A nationwide Christian organization that often slams pop culture icons for their behavior is throwing a party to celebrate Paris Hilton’s 45-day jail sentence. Author and radio host Mark Dice is organizing parties in Hilton hotels across the country to celebrate what they are calling a great day in American pop culture.
I'm all for slamming Ms. Hilton, whether she's in the slammer or not, but to do in the name of religion? I think they misread their New Testament again.
They're all, oh what's the word ... fucktards?