March 30, 2009

It's Not Easy Seeing Green

Here's what the front of our building's gonna look like for the foreseeable future.

Granted, the boys put it up pretty quickly, and I'm not home during the day anymore to hear the clanging and pounding. But you know what I like best about the company in charge of my building's erection?

No misplaced apostrophes. Do you know what a rarity that is in London?

Suffice to say ... yes, the workman were Polish (hence the clever company name) and no, there were no "can I help you with your pole?" or "would you boys like to come in for a cool drink" moments.

We're classier than that these days.

But it is kind of an eyesore, no? The view could be worse, I reckon ... at least I don't have to look at that mess (the backyard, not the neighbor) anymore.

March 29, 2009

A Cock in a Frock on a Rock. More Schlock.

We saw Priscilla yesterday afternoon.

You can't deny it's good fun, but it was just all so ... Let's put on a show!.

To be sure, the audience loved it. The costumes were entertaining (all the ones you saw in the movie and more), and the music was fun (it's a jukebox musical full of disco classics and the occasional ballad ... 'cause even drag queen can tug at your heart strings, y'know) if not completely uninspired. The chorus boys were buff and waxed within an inch of their life. We saw flesh! (but not too much, of course)

But, I'm gonna go out on a limb here and be a little grumpy (big surprise), it's just not musical theater. It's a souped-up drag show (which people seem to love, especially in the comfort of an uncomfortable West End theater ... you wouldn't catch 90% of suburbia at a real drag show, in seedy club where the freaks real artistes are performing). It's an amusement park Wigstock, with most of the dirty bits covered up or censored out. It's Vegas-lite. It's cruise ship entertainment on steroids.

It's bound to be a crowd pleaser. It's just not anything new.

The sets are ridiculously cheap ... I guess because they spent all their money on costumes and an LED bus (god bless Miss Saigon, where would musicals be without a reworking of the helicopter?).

I blame Mamma Mia (recycle the tunes) and Disney (recycle the movie). People don't want to be challenged. They don't want to see anything new. They want things they know, with bad choreography (exceptionally bad, in Priscilla's case ... yeah, we get it, it's sexual, please go on and do some more pelvic thrusting and pulling your arms back like you're screwing the air) and songs to sing and clap along to. Audience-participation is the new black. I reckon Sister Act will be huge.

Can't we please unplug the jukebox now and create some new shows?

:: :: ::

The post-show entertainment was genius. Dinner at the swelligant Mews of Mayfair with a homicide detective who isn't all too happy that there's only been one murder in her precinct this year. You'd think that would be a good thing, but the poor dear needs some work to do. She's growing weary of knocking out crossword puzzles at the police station, waiting for the phone to ring.

Fingers crossed for a headless body in the back of someone's garden.

March 26, 2009

Adventures in Page Layout

metro I'm not sure what the Metro (that bastion on journalistic integrity) is trying to say today ...

a) Is Simon Cowell gay and in need of a cure?


b) Is Simon Cowell the cure for homosexuality?

In what could be related news, the same paper reports that Britain is running out of cocks.

We did not use the Metro as a teaching resource today.

March 23, 2009

Zorbing the Geek

I would like to do this.


Who wants to roll around with me?

March 17, 2009

The Come-to-Allah Talk

One of my students has decided he isn't learning enough. He's one of five Arabic blokes in the same class (4 Qatar, 1 UAE). I'd already heard from the Director of Studies he was thinking of changing classes (which would be no skin off my crooked nose).

"Well, Abduhl," I said, "may I make a few suggestions on how you might get more out of our class?"

"Yes, teacher." (I keep after them to call me by name, but Arabic culture dictates they call me teacher, it seems)

"You could show up on time. You could come to class every day. And you have to stop spending half the class talking to the other guys in Arabic. You're not going to get better at English unless you start practicing it. And it doesn't do any of you any good to come into this class, not listen to the other students when they're speaking English, and having your own whispered Arabic conversations when other people are talking. So there are to be absolutely no complaints about this class if I hear as much as a salaam out of you in this room."

"But they speak Arabic to me first," he protested. (totally not true, but he's always quick to point the blame, this one is)

"Then either don't talk to them or answer them in English. Can you try that for the next two hours?"

He said he could, as long as all the others promised to only speak English.

Guess who the first one to sneak into Arabic was?

I love these guys, but they are a lot of work. Bless.

March 12, 2009

In Which I Channel Mrs. Malapoop

Me: I hope your colostomy goes okay tomorrow.

Him: (all angry-like) That's not funny. Not funny at all.

Me: Geez, I was just trying to be nice.

Seems I said the wrong word.

Colostomy, colonoscopy.

Potato, potahto.

March 8, 2009

Anger vs Attitude

We were supposed to write a piece with 'attitude' this week. Here's what it said in our brief ...

What Makes You Write? What Makes Them Read?

For me, anger is the motivating force it makes me decide what I want to write and how to write it. Others might call it energy. Others might call it ... whatever they want. Let's stick with 'anger' ans a catch-all term.

... write a piece this week which is imbued with anger the result of which will be the attitude we have been talking about. It might be political anger (the erosion of civil liberties), it might be sociological anger (why are there so few lollipop ladies, it might be the way people strike you (always moaning instead of being happy) ...

You'd think that this would have been a friggin' cakewalk for me, as I've done little except tell Larry that everyone we see or hear needs "to shut the f*ck up."

His response is that I need to seriously change my attitude: something I've been hearing from authority figures for, oh, about forty-three years now. Maybe it's time to go back on the Lexapro express.

Anyhow, after three or four drafts over the past week, I couldn't get past writing anything, fiction-wise, that just didn't sound like a rant to me. And last time I had a bit of a rant in a story, I got feedback that my character was too bitchy. This was a week after I was told by yonder tutor to paste these words over my computer: "Don't be nice. Don't be fair."

I guess I haven't found the happy medium yet.

We'll see what happens Tuesday night, when the comments come in.

March 4, 2009

And You Thought Your Job was Meaningless

I was standing at a bus stop in Islington around 11pm last night. It was pouring rain. I'd been waiting about fifteen minutes for a bus that had been 'due' for the past ten when a little silver car pulled up along side me, facing the wrong direction, and parked next to the pavement.

The sign on the door said something about transit services. I reckoned he was there to fix the LED next-bus-arriving sign that clearly was malfuctioning.


He took a small rectangular basin (the kind you'd place in your sink) from the car, filled it with soap and water (he'd brought his own water, not that there wasn't enough streaming down the gutters), and proceeded to wash the glass of the bus stop in the pouring rain. He'd soap it up, rinse it off, then squeegee it dry.

And the downpour continued.

Undaunted, he moved to the next panel of glass. He was still working when the 205 arrrived another ten mintues later.

March 2, 2009

Waste Not, Want Not

Gypsy was lying behind me in my office today, snoozing away (as she's wont to do) and all of a sudden I heard a squishy slurgurp sound. She'd puked. Without so much as a cough. Cab's the throw-up cat, and he always makes a big production.

"Ewww," I said, heading to the bathroom to get some tissue to tidy up her mess.

By the time I'd gotten back (17 second, max), she'd licked it all clean.

So. Not. Right.