Moustaches and gay jeans

So it finally stops being cold in Ann Arbor and Spring is here. If Autumn is Fall shouldn’t Spring be Rise? So it finally stops being cold in Ann Arbor and Rise is here and suddenly everything goes from cold and miserable to nicely warm and the place is full of café’s overflowing on to pavements and pretty flowers. No slow drift towards Rise for this place. One day it’s grotty and grey, the next it’s sunshiny and sublime. That’s Rise in Ann Arbor.

And what happens when it finally gets nice? I have to leave that’s what. My three months visa is up for the second time and it’s time for that emotionally charged trip to the airport again. Possibly not as emotional as it was for the people in the six or seven cars involved in the huge pile up that held me up on the interstate though. I’m guessing their day was worse. The guy driving this truck gets my prize for literalism in naming a company. Well done him for learning two words.

Got to the airport late to be informed that I couldn’t get my nice window seat I like. Damn, should have done that online check in thingummy. Also got told that my plane was full of car reps who’d been to the annual motor show in Detroit. A Plane full of car reps. That should be a joyous eight hours.

People are monkeys, attracted to each other by pheromones and looks. I attract pairs of human female monkeys in air terminals who like to talk absolute crap incessantly at the top of their voices twelve inches from my ears.

Monkey 1 – There was a crash on the road I was taking so I phoned the airport to tell them I was going to be late.
Monkey 2 – That’s good.

That version of the conversation I could have handled. The version which involved saying that over and over again in slightly different ways for 30 minutes was just a little too much for me. She wasn’t late. Ahhh Iphoto with total sound blocking properties…. mmmmm….. God I get crabby when I’m waiting for a plane.

Being a British Airways flight, there were people with far worse teeth than I’m used to seeing waiting with me for it. I’m in danger of becoming a tooth fascist like a proper American. I have also noticed that I no longer feel the need to mock American fast food advertising. Before I would shout at the TV something along the lines of “No wonder you’re all so bloody fat!” Now I laugh with it and my body wobbles along. Must get my teeth polished when I’m at home.

Then I’m on a plane full of car salesmen. The last bastion of the moustache, short sleeved shirts with breast pockets containing pens, all still wearing their name tags from the show. Except for the woman allocated the seat next to me who mutters and sighs when she has to move all her luggage off of my seat so I can sit on it and then proceeds to do the same thing every time I change channels on my tiny TV in the seat in front of me. Or move an inch. Or breathe. For the next eight hours. Oh, fate is kind.

“See them jeans back there all queer wiv ver flairs and the rips? Look at me. White T-shirt and Levi’s an’ I’m still standin’.” Ah must be back in Epsom…

How Great Thou Art

You remember I had an Ipod? Big 30 gig number that I loved (even if they did release the 40 gig the week after I got mine on purpose which I have nearly forgiven them for (they being Apple in case you hadn’t guessed)). I haven’t got it anymore. It’s a very sad thing. That little rectangular white and silver box of cuteness has served me well over the last 2 years and I am forever indebted to those who nearly bought it for me as a leaving present from ORC (but accidentally bought me something that was neither white nor an iPod). Fortunately I said thank you politely and made sure I had the receipt before taking their slight judgemental lapse back to the dark cave of poor quality electronic goods that it came from for a refund and splurging the cash on a lovely Apple glory box.

Back to today. Still with me? Good OK. I no longer have the iPod that I’ve been banging on about.

One good side of it is that it has gone to a good home. When you love something you don’t want to worry about it’s future as it goes out to make it’s own way in the world.

A little better than that is that I got given money for it. That’s a good thing. Nice to know that what you spent your money on 2 years ago hasn’t become worthless.

What is only slightly better, no I tell a lie, what is air-punchingly, manic-grin-inducingly, babble-makingly better is that I took delivery today of a 60 gig iPhoto. What’s an iPhoto? Oh come on, pay attention to the world outside will ya? There’s the future happening outside your window while you’re defluffing your bellybutton you know. An iPhoto for those of you still putting your shirts through a mangle at the weekend is an iPod with a colour screen, double the battery life, and room for 15,000 songs on it. That is a VERY good thing and I am temporarily in the position that I CAN fit my music collection on it. This will probably last about a week before I have it rammed to the headphone socket with tunes and am once again making heartbreakingly tough decisions about what to leave off it when I walk the 3 minutes to the shops. (What if I suddenly want to listen to my album of Elephants playing large instruments while I’m buying milk? Think I’m joking? Oh Ye of Little Faith! Can I suggest you buy it? It’s actually pretty good.)

Anyway. Yes. That’s good.

Other good things? Well one of them is the movie Sin City.

Don’t believe any of the reviews that go on about how it’s not good. Those reviewers are liars and should be killed with long Samurai swords. I saw it the other night and grinned from ear to ear all the way through it. It looks incredible. Mickey Rourke completely rocks in it and shit, isn’t it about time he was back in films again? I mean for how long does Hollywood have to punish a great actor for going off the rails? Bloody puritans. Bruce Willis is also good but the film is the star of the film if you see what I mean. You don’t? Well go see it. It is fantastic. (Actually, don’t go see it if you don’t like seeing a dog hungrily tearing flesh from the bloody leg stumps of a man who’s just had all his limbs amputated. You won’t like it. Don’t think I know anyone like that though.)

Anything else to report?

Well I played poker with a Dakota Indian last night again. I can now say that I’ve done that twice. You better find a poker playing Dakota Indian pretty quickly if you’re going to keep up.

Oh yeah, and Thursday I’m coming back to the UK for a bit. That’s happening too. I’m really looking forward to seeing all of you. I assume you’ll all be at the airport when I land right? Yeah, sure you will.


hold on a gol’darn minute man…

Ever hear of the Minuteman Project which is currently actively patrolling the US-Mexican Border? The idea is that concerned civilians are asked to come from anywhere in the US to assist the legitimate border patrols in stopping illegal immigrants. They need to have a valid drivers license to prove that they are who they say are.

How much of a good idea would you say this is?

What kind of people would you say would volunteer?

Oh, and as you so rightly, dear…

On Sunday night I played poker with a Dakota Indian. Bet you can’t say that.

I have had complaints from people who have sent me pictures of dogs that I show favouritism in my choice of hound to post on the website so here’s a small selection of recent entries… well two. If you have a picture of a dog that you’d like to send me then feel free, I’ll post any that you send. We’re sorry we can’t return any of your paintings but there is a prize for those that are shown.

Jake,a 3 month old from Sussex cites his interests as tearing up architects drawings and upsetting old dogs, “cos, like, they’re just trying to hold me back man… it’s SOO unfair”

Pup who is ironically much older than a pup cites her interests as jumping in swollen rivers, taking overdoses of Neurofen and the complete works of Sylvia Plath. “You don’t understand me or my music” she was heard to bark grumpily from behind a cloud of cigarette smoke and a pair of dark glasses.

One of the best dogs, Sammie is no more and is now bouncing around happily while the Pope throws sticks for her in a field full of rabbits. Bye bye Sammie.

The Pope is apparently back to his singing career as evidenced by this Ann Arbor record shop window display…

…While his earthly believers continue to compete for the “most distasteful ad of the year award 2005”

And Gail Ann Dorsey is continuing to avoid allowing me to see her live by playing in places just after I leave them…

I’m trying to get over my subconsciousness…

If you are sick of reading this then here’s your opportunity to blow it up.

Alternatively you could just read what I’ve been up to, vote in the shiny new poll over there on the right (Where? Over there and up a bit. Got it?), look at some pictures I took for you and enjoy the little animated gif over there on the right (Where? Over there and over the poll. Got it? That’s sitting in a car in Chicago that is). God I spoil you.

So a big drive to Chicago for the second time in my life. Talking of big things that drive to Chicago, here’s some… ever seen Duel?

So what was I doing in Chicago? Seeing Bloc Party at the Metro is what. The pictures aren’t great cos they were taken with a phone camera but hey, I never said I was John McMurtrie did I?

People stick things on their car roofs in Chicago. Honestly everyone does it…

First a nice hotel surprise. All clean and spacious and like there was no one else staying there. The last one I stayed at in Chicago was kinda sucky in that “make the reception area look really nice and once you’ve got the person in, show them to their dirty rabbit hutch of a room” way. Fortunately I managed to get stunningly drunk that time and not really experience the room but I hate it when people are just trying to get your money.

Second, a bad restaurant experience, “Take a seat at the bar and someone will seat you in a few minutes”, “Oh you mean that bar where there are no seats so I have to stand in the way of all those waiters trying to get past me with food?” then upstairs to the table and then the waiter brings something that was definitely not what I asked for, then sulked, and then took ages to bring something else. C’mon guy, I got a show to go to here… No tip for you then. God I hate it when people are just trying to get your money.

Then on to the Metro to see Bloc Party.

First on were The Ponys who were good in a mod/ new wave kinda way. Actually maybe they weren’t as mod as I was remembering and it was just the singers suit and the way he moved a bit like Paul Weller in his Jam days that was mod. And now I come to think of it they weren’t the first band on either but I didn’t see the first band cos of the waiter in the restaurant. Maybe they weren’t called The Ponys either? And maybe Ponys looks like a Welsh word if you look at it too many times? Anyway they were pretty good.

Bloc Party were ace. Guitarist Russell throwing guitar boy poses not seen since Richey Edwards jumped off the bridge. Singer Kele doing his little side to side dance while singing alarmingly well. Drummer unassumingly adjusting his glasses between songs and then playing that clipped, sharp beat that he does and the bassist, well, playing bass. What would you expect him to do? Shit, I’m not a reviewer, I’m an elephant. Why don’t you go and see them? They’re very, very good.

What else? Oh yeah, this.

Ok, I love you, bye bye.