Tuesday, May 31, 2005

the seven list

People do the 100 List. They do it all the time! It's a weblog tradition, right up there with those INFURIATING FUCKING QUIZZES (What Buffy character do you most resemble? What sort of shoe polish are you? Etcetera). People wholly committed to their weblogs do the 100 list, even after the initial passion fades. I'm envious, intrigued, wannaknowmore-ish about this ability to think of 100 things off the top of one's head. But:

I'm busy. Aren't you busy? Don't you people have lives? One hundred things? Here's my five or six list.

1. Cold pizza for breakfast. A salad and a coffee for lunch. A belated smack to the head and a long look in the fridge for supper. It's the Palinode diet! Use only as directed.

2. By and large I'm a together kind of guy, but as long as I can remember I've had a mind-emptying fear of calling strangers on the phone. Back in 1990 I ended up in a telesurveying job, soliciting opinions from strangers about life insurance, soda, and politics. The job was only mildly stressful, but every number I dialed brought on a stomach-clenching, forehead-beading, blood-cooling terror. A few years later I started work as a documentary researcher. I had to spend my days phoning complete strangers and eliciting their life stories out of them. The fear I felt was animalistic and unreassoning, filling me with a tide of adrenaline that forced my words out in a babbling rush when the stranger answered. Over the years I turned that glandular surfeit into a tool, planing down my words and tone to a smooth persuasive pitch. Today I'm fully confident that I can punch out a number and convince a stranger to do nearly anything that I require. My phobia remains as strong as ever.

3. NASA has recently announced its intentions to throw a high-powered laser into orbit around the moon. That, I'm proud to say, is my doing. I called them up a few weeks ago and worked on the secretary until she put me through to the Department of Lasers. They went ape over my lunar laser eye surgery scheme.

4. The L Word is a web of histrionic characters and melodramatic plotlines barely supporting these heavy, near-bursting globes of softcore lesbian sex. I've been watching episode after episode trying to figure out why people like it so much.

5. In my late teen years I thought that I was having a whole lot of sex, but when I think back and calculate the number of days that actually included sex, I realized that they didn't amount to very many. My memory had apportioned one subjective week of time to every day that featured an interlude of doing it. Because really, what else of note was I doing that week? And being a teenager, the sex wasn't all that great either. BUT IT WAS BETTER THAN EVERYTHING ELSE I DID.

6. My wife has given me a lasting hatred of the number six. I had never realized how horrible and puke-yellow the number six was until she pointed it out to me. Now I won't give six the satisfaction of a proper entry.

7. Once in first-year university, an attractive girl whom I'd recently met asked me how I was doing. I stopped, thought about it with a pensive look stretched across my face, and answered "Pretty good". She never spoke to me again. I later found out that my moment to think about her question had disturbed her. The kids today call it "getting creeped out". The obvious lesson: no one wants emphatic answers to phatic questions. I had crossed some kind of boundary of ritualized meaning and utterly ruined my chances of getting laid.

Sunday, May 22, 2005


Hey! You remember that scene in Star Wars '77 (I'll be fucked before I call it Episode IV. It was the first one.) when Vader and Kenobi are having that kind of lazy lightsaber duel, and Vader deals Kenobi a killin' blow, which gives Kenobi an opportunity to vanish and leave his cloak behind? You've got that in your head, all firm? Okay, because after Vader gives Kenobi a slaughtering and Kenobi vamooses into the Force and Luke goes "Argh no Ben," Vader pokes around at Kenobi's clothes all in a heap on the floor. At the time I thought Vader was thinking What just happened here?, being unfamiliar with some of the finer aspects of the Force, but after watching Star Wars '05 I realize that he was probably thinking Hot damn, people, I got me one those brown Jedi cloaks that are so hard to come by.

It is a rule in the Star Wars universe that all good Jedi fights start with a time-consuming shucking of cloaks. They talk a bit in their hooded cloaks, then the talking's done and the cloaks come off. Sometimes they leave their cloaks in a convenient location for post-fight retrieval, but usually they leave them on top of a volcano or in some hallway in a sub-basement of a disintegrating mining complex. Even if the cloaks are left somewhere convenient - a ship's bridge or a landing platform - it is part of the Jedi fighting code that each fight must end at least ten miles from its start point. If you start at one end of an impossibly long and narrow bridge, it is written somewhere in those heavy Bantha-bound Jedi manuals that you must fight the entire length of that bridge. And once you reach the end of the bridge, go fight on a pipe or something. Whatever happens, you have to finish exhausted, drained of spirit but victorious, in a place that's so far from your cloak that there's barely a point in going to pick it up. No, best to head back to Coruscant and pick up a new cloak from the Jedi Tuck Shop.

It is my belief that the one tragedy unexplored by Lucas is the obvious collapse in the Jedi cloak industry that the fall of the Council must have sparked. I mean, the original SW flicks showed a broken-down, hardscrabble galaxy in which local strongmen flourished under the oppressive rule of the Empire. People lived a hand-to-mouth existence. Robots appeared to made of old stereos and spray-painted trash cans. Compare that with the elegant palaces and cities of the pre-Imperium. Endless lines of aerial traffic spinning webs of commerce between cities and planets. Pomp and plenty for all. Certainly the harsh and greedy economic policies of the Empire must have funnelled a good deal of wealth away from many planets, but I think a more fundamental explanation is at hand: The pre-Imperial galactic economy was supported by a heavily subsidized trade in Jedi cloaks. After the Jedis got all massacred up, right down to the Paduan younglings and that one seriously hot Jedi lady, the cloak industry suddenly lost all reason to exist. Absurdly long supply chains crashed, local manufacturers everywhere went broke, the secondary and tertiary industries built around catering to the cloak industry's needs evaporated. Masses of people found themselves unemployed and forced into a life of slavery or crime. Into that void stepped thugs like that slimy slug guy from Return of the Jedi, and everything went to hell from there.

I'm aware that some of you out there haven't stopped by your megalo-viewo-plex to see the new SW, so I probably shouldn't tell you that Anakin turns to the dark side when Palpatine explains that Sith Lords aren't obliged to leave their cloaka everywhere. Then he gets his first paycheque and finds out that Jedis get paid in company scrip and spend most of their lives in debt to the Jedi Shop.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005


Different places have different notions of going on vacation. Out here in Western Canada, where driving twenty hours in a rusted-out car with no air conditioning to get to a nice view of Devil's Tower is second nature, going on vacation usually involves a trunkload of belongings and a gang of sniping kids in the backseat. The destinations out here are the standard tourist hot spots of the North American West: Disneyland, Hollywood, Las Vegas. For the young and adventurous, there's the Winnipeg Folk Festival or Burning Man, but those are generally not family affairs. Instead, they're an opportunity for us to repeat the mistakes our parents made, namely the bizarre decision to get into a car and drive it through the fiery flat heart of the continent in mid-summer.

Back in Nova Scotia, vacations were different. The endless car journey was not as thinkable to a people raised in insular towns and cosmopolitan cities on the edge of the Atlantic. People either boarded airplanes or went nowhere at all. The few car trips that my family took seemed endless and hugely boring to me - there was no phrase to more torturous than 'the scenic route' - but we never left the province or spent more than five hours at a shot in one of our many Volkswagen Rabbits. Once we all piled into the car along with some out-of-town relatives and drove all the way to Cape Breton, highland home to the Celtic descendants of immigrant Scots. Cape Breton is one of those places, like parts of the Appalachians or Newfoundland, where 'authentic' 'culture' still exists and people in tarpaper shacks carry on their folkways. All I remember is the outdoor swimming pool at the motel, where swarms of mosquitoes helped themselves to my exposed body in the evening heat.

No matter where I've lived, though, everybody treats camping as a legitimate vacation. Why this is I don't know, since camping holds up exactly none of the criteria that a good vacation demands. Vacations involve relaxation and luxury, which camping does not provide - if anything, it demands greater work. They involve superior weather, which camping cannot guarantee or even shield you from. A good vacation promises refuge from insects, whereas camping is like handing out RSVPs to the vermin of your most Freudian nightmares. Most camping doesn't even provide the isolation that the uncamped would imagine. Too often, you find yourself in an allotted area, landscaped to accept vans and tents, little culs de sac and suburban courts of folks just trying to get away from it all. What amazes me most is that people will go camping no matter where they live, whether they're in the middle of a redwood forest or a loft apartment in Toronto. There's always somewhere to go where you can put up a tent and live like a caveman for a few days, generally amongst a crowd of urbanites hankering for a bit of that high-tech primitive experience.

So what's the appeal? When I was a teenager, camping weekends held out the promise of drink, drugs, bonfires and sex. Now that I'm older I can have me a drug-fueled drunken orgy for two in the comfort of my apartment. The only thing I can't get is the bonfire, but that's not such a bad thing, considering that somebody's sweater always ended up getting thrown in at three am. And you can never convince me that waking up in a tent, lead-limbed, stiff-necked and runny nosed, a knot of knowledge untangling in your head that you're a hundred miles from a coffee shop, is fun. No, camping seems to appeal to people for a couple of reasons: 1) reduced expectations and 2) justifiable but misguided dislike for the modern world.

I can get behind the reduced expectations. Too many tourist spots that promise untroubled leisure end up being a sticky mess full of ugly and elderly people all squeezing out a few drops of pleasure from the desperate dried-up bladder of their days. Las Vegas is a pheromonal wash of greed and horror, like a scrubbed-down Blade Runner; Disneyland will grant you the unpleasant experience of having your pocket picked by your childhood icons. Given those kinds of choices, it's not surprising that so many people plump for a grove of birch and pine and a cut path wandering into the forest. The squirrels may steal your food but they won't hand you flyers for escort services.

I think the genuine appeal lies in the control that people have when they camp. They're not shuttling from the world of determined productivity to the world of predetermined leisure. Instead, they're time travelers boring backward into history with an armature of polymers and high-tech gadgets. It's the ultimate projection of exurbia, in which people get to travel out to nature in their SUVs and sleep like pioneers in their their lightweight poly mesh sleeping bags and tents. Jackets of Gore-Tex, super alloy fishing rods with scientically engineered lures on the ends, advanced socks that wick away moisture and breathable boots. They've come with all their gear to have it both ways. Which is the dream of modern society anyway. And if the kids want to watch Shrek 2 on their battery-powered DVD player after the sun goes down, hell let them. What else are they going to do out here?

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

nosferatic extractor

A Japanese research team (who will stop these itinerant research teams that roam the countryside and terrorize the good people for food and lab equipment?) has developed a fuel cell that runs on blood. According to the team, the fuel cell can be used to power computational devices in artificial organs. This is nonsense. The logical application for for the blood-powered fuel cell is consumer electronics. Three fat kids can power an Xbox or a PS2 indefinitely with their blood.

It's an elegant system. The resource pipeline for the Blood Engine is parents, who supply children with crude soda. The children ingest the soda, allowing their digestive systems to refine the high fructose corn syrup into pure glucose, which is then injected into the blood stream in a diabetic cascade. An IV line pipes blood from the chilrens' arms into the power unit, where glucose is extracted and converted into electricity. A output tube carries the "grey blood" back to the children's bodies. Whenever the kids want to play a round of Halo 2 or Morrowind, they just connect the tubing to the shunts in their arms, slurp down a Big Gulp o' Coke and away they go!

Despite its versatitility, the Home Video Blood Engine does have a few disadvantages, prime among them being:

- it must be 'invited in' to consumer's home

- extreme sensitivity to sunlight will cause it to burst into flames

- in order to function at maximum efficiency it must be placed in a bed of its home soil from Redmond, California

- avoid driving wooden stake through centre of unit, even if power of Christ compels you

- accursed of God despite "green" energy profile

Units are expected to hit markets this fall.

Sunday, May 15, 2005

the argument from adulthood

I don’t argue much. As a consequence I’ve had to sit through many conversations with people whom I just should told have told to fuck off. People who are radically misinformed, people who argue from daytime television, people who sincerely believe in the tough lovin’ of an invisible daddy in the sky. People who ascribe to the colour of skin a hierarchy of inherent worth (but can’t figure out how they’re taking all the jobs). All the slackjaws who come out from under their rocks when your pour some alcohol out and jack up the background music.

Luckily I have friends who love to argue when faced with idiots like these, friends who chase strangers through the halls of their own assumptions until they’re driven out of the bar. For these friends, morons are meat. They’ve learned to transmute their convictions into a pastime, a game of meaning. Definitions and concepts are clarified, isolated and arranged for maximum enjoyment. Rhetoric is employed and deployed. And sometimes it’s just a bunch of drunken shouting, but the only people who really come away angry are the ones who shouldn’t have opened their mouths in the first place. It’s all incredibly entertaining, but I have trouble joining in.

In contrast to my aggressive friends, who show up spoiling for a disagreement, I view conversations as opportunities to agree with people. Partly this stems from the fact that I lost all arguments as a child; I refused to understand that logic and facts don’t work when people simply find you irritating or smug or physically short, and so it didn’t matter if I was in the right. Indeed, the more in the right I was, the less people wanted to hear it. Under those circumstances, the stakes for each argument were impossibly high, because I was arguing for my own worth in the social hierarchy of childhood. Which was pathetically obvious to everyone in my peer group (let no one suggest that nine year olds aren’t perceptive, albeit cruel, judges of character). Every time I argued a point, I was actually signalling Look at me! And who can bear such a spectacle, whatever your age?

So at some point I gave up on argument. Sometimes I catch people spouting bullshit, but then I think oh who cares and keep nodding along. Sometimes I adopt the supremely passive-aggressive technique of packaging my response in the form of an agreement but filling it with content that actually contradicts what they were saying. Usually, though, if I can’t possibly continue to agree without committing myself to some really untenable ideas, I disengage from the conversation, slowly retracting the landing hooks and kicking gently off until I’ve reached safe enough distance to gun the engines. Why should I hit this person over the head with my point of view? What good would it do the bullshitter to have his bullshit thrown on a plate and handed back to him? It probably won’t convince or convert him to my point of view. Nor can I think of much reward from argument beyond the satisfaction of being able to outtalk some poor bastard who’s blundered into cow-pattied pastures and lost his footing. And whatever happens, my nine-year old self thinks, I’m not going to win any friends by telling people what I think.

The older I get, though, the more that nine-year-old voice fades, and I become increasingly willing to step up and be the obnoxious ass I’ve dreamt of being. Last Thursday I ended up being that ass, and man, was it fun. I was taking part half-heartedly in a conversation that revolved around the question of Do You Believe In A Moral Evolution of Humankind. I threw my opinion in early on and left the wrangling to a few friends of mine and another fellow I’d never met, a soft-shouldered drunken customer service rep from a telecommunications company. For the record, my opinion was “No,” since in these arguments people say “humankind” when what they really mean is “a few wealthy industrialized nations with decent human rights records and centralized plumbing,”and the last truly great thing that people have done is extend the vote to women, and that was quite a long time ago now. I also found the term “Moral Evolution” so loaded with assumptions that I didn’t even know how to talk about it. I started to tune out. Eventually, though, the customer service rep put down his beer and said, with a wave of his hand meant to end debate, “Yeah, but in nature the weakest get killed off, you see. In the herd”.

Arguments from nature infuriate me. They piss me off so much that I will counterattack without regard for context. I had very little idea as to how the conversation had gotten round to this National Geographic moment, but I could guess. So I said to the fellow, “What do you mean?” He refocused on me and said: “You know, nature. The way it works in nature is the weaker get killed off and the stronger survive -“

“I don’t buy it,” I interrupted.

The guy looked at me. I could see the surprise in his eyes ripple outward, the slight loss of definition in his round unlined face. How could I not buy it? What’s not to buy? How can you not buy Nature?

So I told him. I told him that the “nature” he referred to was a series of received truths and quasi-religious bromides based on our cultural horror of being part of the world. I told him that he had seen “nature” perhaps once or twice in his entire life, that even once he left this city he was surrounded by farms, which are exemplars of controlled biomass, about as natural as a golf course. I told him that his attempt to explain human interaction in the framework of “nature” – in truth a debased Darwinism married to a primitive hierarchy of cultures – was reductive and fundamentally bigoted, eschewing as it does all the complexities of our social systems in favour of a brutal series of life-and-death encounters. In efficient, polite and forceful language I peeled back the guy’s assumptions and flayed his point of view without recourse to ad hominem attacks or Derridean jargon. The whole process probably took thirty or forty seconds, and then I was onto another topic altogether.

I’m not stupid. I doubt that I convinced the guy of anything beyond the speed of my mouth. Nor do I believe that I had entered into an evenly matched contest; he had wandered into one of my pet topics unawares and stepped on my toe. But it occurred to me that there was a time, twenty-five years back, when I was the weaker of the herd, consigned in the social Darwinist nightmare of childhood to the vulnerable and lonely edges. All I could do was shout to be taken in to the protective embrace at the centre, where fellows like this customer service rep would have stood.* Once I would have been arguing with him in order to prove myself to him. Now I was just pissed off and unwilling to brook received opinion. What I really wanted to tell him was that I was once on the outside, and that if the world really worked on a simplified ‘survival of the fittest’ model, I would never have gotten to this point, secure and grounded, well-married and successful, sitting in a pub and exercising my brain in the off-hours. Really, I needn’t have said anything at all.

*Yes, I’m aware that I’m adopting the very metaphor I’ve been reviling for the past five hundred words. Slugs can still feed a vending machine.

Friday, May 13, 2005

the nice light snack

On Mr. Sun I encountered a link to a story about a German scientist named Michael Werner who claims to have been living off of solar energy and "faith," as well as diluted fruit juices, for the last four years. He's even written a book about his nice light diet called Living Through the Energy of Light. Head of the German Society of Nutrition Dr. Helmut Oberritter believes that "this case needs a lot more investigating if we are to explain it".

Stop your investigations, Herr Oberritter! The science wing of Palinode's Palace has come up with a solution: Herr Doktor Werner is lying. Sunlight will provide the body with vitamins and a smashing nice tan, but it will not nourish you, even if you lie in the sun all day with your mouth outstretched, even if you glue fern fronds and maple leaves to your skin, even if you paint yourself green and scream "I'm a fucking PLANT!" to that invisible patriarch in the sky. On the other hand, if you take the expedient route of pretending to live on sunlight, even taking the deception so far as to write a book about it, in which you are free to make up the last four years of your life, then you can convince or at least divert the attention of people who have better things to think about.

And so the case of the Man Who Lived On Sunlight, Faith and Fruit Juices Mixed With Water is solved, Encyclopedia-Brown style. Rooms in the science wing of Palinode's Palace are available for guided tours Tuesdays and Thursdays, 1 to 3 PM.

socks, rocks and Chankelmas

Beddy-bye time for Palinode and Lotus. Streetlights slice through venetian blinds, finches in their cages shuffle and mutter on their perches. No one stirs. But they talk! Oh, how they talk.

Lotus: You're wearing my socks.

Palinode: How can you tell?

Lot: My eyes are open and I can see your feet. My socks are on them.

Pal: But how can you tell whose socks they are? They're all black.

L: All black? Those are grey.

P: And there are those argyles I bought from that angry woman in Chicago.

L: So our socks, contrary to your claim, are not all black. That was a ridiculous thing to say. [Note: we have a huge ungodly mound of black socks. Our sock drawer is a pit of black polycotton serpents. To pair them all up is a full day's work, I swear. So it wasn't in the least ridiculous to say that all our socks are black, just slightly inaccurate.]

P: Where did you get these socks?

L: I got those ones for Christmas.

P: Thank The Jesus for Christmas socks, hey? Otherwise, we'd have to buy our own. [Every Christmas we receive a three-pack pair of socks each from every member of The Lotus' extended family. This comes to approximately 66 new pairs of nearly identical black socks per year. This is why our sock drawer is such a Well of Souls nightmare.]

L: Yeah, Christmas rocks.

P: Thank The Jesus for Christmas rocks. They come in a big bag. Remember those days as a child when you'd run downstairs in the morning before your parents got up, and there would be that big bag of Christmas rocks?

L: Those were awesome days. I'd say "Thanks Mom. This rocks".

P: And she'd say, "No, Lotus, those are rocks".


P: Waking up the finches by shouting?

L: It would be so cool, if we had a kid, and we made up this holiday, and observed it every year, and we invented all these customs for it? We could get our friends to play along, and one day our kid would come home and say, "Hey guys, what the fuck's blahblahblah?"

P: Chankelmas. We'd call it Chankelmas.

L: And I'd make a special dish every year. Our kid would go to school and be like, "You don't celebrate Chankelmas?"

P: We'd have roadkill for Chankelmas supper.

L: Oh, that's gross.

P: No, it wouldn't really be roadkill. We'd just tell the kid that it was roadkill. We'd say that we're eating a lamb hit by a truck.

L: Every year the farmers let the lambs run across the highway for Chankelmas. We'd call it the Leaping Of The Lambs.

P: That's a proper Chankelmas feast.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

absinthe trash

Folks. Folks out there! I’m overworked, overtaxed, underslept and colonized by hostile bugs once more. Not that I’m complaining. I should be, but for some reason I’m happy with my crap condition, cheerful despite the paperwork, the meetings, the mucus, the two a.m. staring into semi-darkness from my pillow. How in god’s name is this situation juicing up my endorphins? It may be the season, which, despite being slow in arrival and colder than ten slushies dumped in my bath, always regresses me back to adolescence. It’s a little local infraction of the second law of thermodynamics. Every Spring I unstir the tapioca back out of the pudding, and the yokel inside me stands agog (the rube inside me’s too drunk to care, and the cynic thinks it’s a trick).

I don’t really drop a few years: still at 33, with the slight but stubborn love handles, the body hair creep, the radiant lines at the eye’s outer vertex. I just act like I’m eighteen and can abuse my body all I want. 3 AM house party? Sure! Long-abandoned drug? Hell, just this once. So it was that I ended up Friday night drinking absinthe with a bunch of lawyers and up ‘n’ coming neoconservative power politicians. Elsewhere like-minded people were meeting in bohemian apartments and swank pads, drinking wine or flapping their bodies around to a DJ. I got a bunch of hemi-demi-intellects watching Tivo’d baseball games and spilling absinthe flames on the countertop. I tried to escape into those green anisette fumes (because I swear, absinthe seems to vaporize the instant it hits your stomach, rushing into your lungs and sinuses, leaking out your tear ducts and quite possibly fumigating your cerebral cortex) but they kept asking me questions, all of which were really one of two questions: So you’re a documentary filmmaker, hey? And isn't that cool?

I tried to tell them that what they were thinking of - a Michael Moore, an Erroll Morris - was a long way from what I was, which is a producer for a documentary television series. I’m not the guy, I told them, who runs out with a camera to interrogate the public (like I used to be); I’m the guy in the office who signs purchase orders, breaks down scripts and hovers over the shooting schedule. I’m not intrepid; I’m management. It turned out that they didn’t care. These people inhabited the corporate world of managers and meetings, where no shame is attached to phrases like team player or the one I can't bring myself to write (involves boxes). For them, I embodied the kick-ass cool end of management. They understood film and television as a business with a cultural product, some of it trash, some of it art. Which made me a trash artist, an adept at manipulating resources (money and people) to the ends of entertainment. Which is to say, the entertainment of lawyers. If I’d been an actual artist they would never have let me at their absinthe.

So let it be known: I’m a trash artist whore for Eurotrash drinks. Pass it on. I’m available for conventions and parties.

Friday, May 06, 2005

revenge of the expositors

Hey folks. Through sources that I can't really reveal, I've managed to get hold of the new intro rollup text to Revenge of the Sith. Apparently George Lucas insisted on making the changes just prior to the film's release. Anyway, here it is:

Pursuant to subsection 22(c) of the Intergalactic Trade and Tariffs Act, clones have been declared a commodity and therefore subject to taxation like any other product. Clone war ships on a mission of destruction throughout the galaxy are held up in transit by orbital Galactic Customs Satellites, where they must process a myriad of vouchers and forms. Fiendish and multimonikered DARTH SIDIOUS, enraged by the burgeoning costs of combat, sends off streams of angry memos to the bureaucrats on Coruscant. The automated Galactic Customs agency, recently relocated to Tattoine as part of a cost-sharing planetary renewal government venture, responds by sending form 011f-3e (Exemption from Duty for Organic Commodities) but puts it on a non-hyperspace enabled vitrium transporter, which means that it will effectively take five years to arrive at Sidious' desk. The cunning Sith Lord hires a company of Jawa lawyers to argue that since each clone carries identical genetic material, then they should only have to pay duty once. Galactic Customs agrees, then charges Sidious such enormous duties that he goes into bankruptcy. The mysterious COUNT DOOKU leaps into the fray, taking out a lien against Sidius' property, thereby acquiring the clone army and all its effects. He sells off the clones to small mercenary armies dispersed across the galaxy and makes a killing. The war is ended! Long live Dooku! Then there's some extended folderol involving the Force and fighting for the fate of the universe. Yawn.

Personally I think it's a bit long, but it really captures the George Lucas spirit.

Monday, May 02, 2005

thanks yous

Now that I've settled down in my life and have finished a travellin' all over this land, it's time to take stock write thank-you notes to a few of the places I have been over the last twelve months.

To Rapid City, SD: Despite the promise in your name of speed and urbanity, you have neither. You are a cut in the Earth to the netherworld, where the dead drive around in pick-up trucks and occasionally donate their bodies to Iraq and Afghanistan. Like the dinosaurs that once roamed your big box store parking lots, you await extinction sadly and patiently, charging outrageously for the crappiest hotel rooms I've ever seen. You have a great Mexican restaurant, though.

To the suburbs of Melbourne: How did you manage to hook on to an actual city? A couple of pizza/pasta take-outs and greasy Italian spoons do not a city suburb make. Hey Lilydale: what makes you think that you're part of Melbourne anyway? You think you're Doncaster? Shove off. Go hang out with Geelong or Werribee or something. Stop bothering the real cities.

To downtown Dallas: No offense, but trying to walk around your streets in summer is like having molten bronze poured over your head. Which must be why you're designed for public sculpture and tall monolithic buildings but not actual human beings. Obviously no mortal can withstand for long the crucible of your wide bright empty avenues or your shitty historic district.

To the Netherlands: I had a roommate just like you once: quietly but maniacally tidy, patient and understanding of my quirks but slightly smug, given to bicycle riding over driving. I spent many evenings talking with him as he smiled sympathetically and agreed with me in principle but pointed out every so often in non-judgemental terms that his energy-efficient, sexually relaxed and spiritually pragmatic lifestyle really was superior to mine. I disposed of his body in a deep freeze.