Archive for January, 2009
The seventeenth Pigeon is online over at Spreeblick. I’m beginning to think that “Versteh ich nicht” (I don’t understand) would’ve been a more appropriate name for an English language comic strip on a German website, but, y’know, la de da… Archive. RSS.
The sixteenth Pigeon is online over at Spreeblick. It all kinda hinges on you having seen a specific Kevin Costner movie. It might not be funny anyway, but it’s very likely it won’t be if you haven’t seen the film in question. Archive. RSS.
Wednesday was a funny day; one of those days where lots of tiny things accumulate to make life seem a little bit brighter, a bit more peculiar. After I bought a coffee, I got a dollar bill with “Track this bill at www.WheresGeorge.com” stamped on it in blue ink. An aside before we get started on the real meat of this topic: isn’t it weird when people capitalise the separate words in a website URL? I can appreciate why they do it, but it just looks a bit odd to me. Plus, in this case, it looks extra weird that they’ve capitalised the words but, of course, can’t use the apostrophe and question mark needed to make it look truly correct. I was once stood on a London Underground platform looking at a Destiny’s Child poster about ten years ago, and I can still remember distinctly thinking it was funny that they couldn’t have their name properly represented in a URL because of the apostrophe. I chuckled to myself. Then remembered my website was called Flip Flop Flyin’ and, well, I felt like quite the chump.
So anyway, when I got home, I typed in the required details at wheresgeorge.com and was rather disappointed to find that mine was only the second entry for this particular bill. The previous entry was, err, entered on 30 April 2008, and the location was a Dairy Queen in Woodinville, Washington. Maybe I’ll hang onto the bill and use it the next time I’m in, say, Belize or Panama or some other country where the US dollar is a valid currency.
On the bus, after getting on, walking up the steps behind a man with what looked like shit stains on the rear end of his trousers, I had a funny little personal moment where I did a bunch of my silly cat-like sneezes. Then a moment later, I did a couple of high-pitched coughs. Then another moment later, a big loud yawn. The bus was fairly empty at that point, but the big loud yawn came out without me being able to catch myself doing it. This is something that worries me a little, because I’m starting to notice that, if I’m wearing headphones, I seem to be of the opinion that other people can’t hear things that I might do either.
For example, and I’m not proud of this, I’ve found that a couple of times in the past, I’ve broken wind and not tried to dampen the sound down, the way you can do (you know what I mean), to make it slip out silently. But, to my eternal shame (well, eternal is probably overdoing it a bit…), there have been a couple of times where, somehow, the bit of my brain that works through the normal daily stuff without it ever being a conscious thought has lapsed and seemingly thought, “You can’t hear that trump, Craig, so neither can anybody else.” And, of course, on both of those occasions, I’ve realised immediately, and found myself wanting to be swallowed up by the ground. The last time I did it was at the bus station in Bellingham. Thankfully, it’s an outdoor bus station, but there were enough people around for me to just spin on my heels and leave. I walked away and bumbled around town for an hour so that I could get the next bus without having to see any of the people who must’ve heard me pass gas. Still, yawning loud isn’t too bad, though, is it?
A short while later, staring blankly out of the window, trying hard to enjoying the MGMT album (I’m not feeling it, hipsters of the world), and I saw a flash of white moving swiftly along a country road that was perpendicular to the bus’s trajectory. (Sorry for using “perpendicular” and “trajectory” in one sentence. I know: it makes me seem like a pompous ass.) It was a little, middle-aged, Hispanic guy (and he was little, and I speak as someone who’s not particularly tall). He didn’t look very athletic, but he was moving like the wind!, and when he got on the bus: totally breathing normally. Like he’d been waiting at the bus stop for ages. Further down the road, we passed a bar where two blokes where stood in the car park next to a pick-up truck, right up in each other’s grills, arguing about something.
Moving on, to get to Portland from Estacada, I have to change buses in the town of Milwaukie. As I crossed the road from where the bus dropped off the passengers, to the other bus stop, there was a guy (I’m guessing early forties) in a motor-powered wheelchair. Nothing funny about that, of course, but he was wearing a baseball cap with one of those little propellors on the top. Spinning away like a drawing in a comic. I smiled as he passed me, he smiled back, and I watched him go on his way, and saw that he had a t-shirt hanging off the back of the chair that shouted in big white letters, “WHOOP ASS.”
I didn’t really do a whole lot in Portland, essentially what I’ve been doing a whole heap of since I’ve been back in the States: bumming around. I bought some books, drank coffee, had a sandwich… I got accosted by one of those charity people; a young smiley woman, waving at me from about ten metres away. I was in a good mood, so I took my headphones off, and we had a little chat about the child that I already sponsor (Roy, lives in Manilla). Must be a bit annoying when you’re doing that job, and when you manage to get someone to stop and talk, they’re already involved in your cause. I know what you’re thinking, and you’re right: I am a saint, I do deserve a medal for my kindness/twenty dollars a month.
I saw a nice-looking couple waiting for a bus. Both of them were quite chubby, both of them were wearing white food industry-type clothes, and the lady was holding a tray of pastries. They were having a good old chuckle about something, and occasionally kissing. It was super cute. And maybe it was my good mood, breaking through the normal pissed-off look on my face (that’s how my face naturally falls when expressionless), but today was one of those days where I got a few “looks” from the ladies. I enjoyed that, cos it’s not happened for a while. The last time was 17 April 2008 in Buenos Aires when I got an approving look and a “grrr” sound from a couple of young ladies. Yes, that’s right, I made a note of the date. Frankly, it was one of the highlights of my
Back on the bus, heading back to Estacada, and a woman who was on the bus into town was also on the bus going back. I love it when that happens, it kinda validates the amount of time you spent at the destination, like, “Yes, Craig, three-and-a-half hours is the perfect amount of time to have spent in Portland doing nothing today.”
Anyway, the bus smelled of some sort of hot, meaty pasty. Either that or a hot, sweaty dude. I was sat next to a guy in a Boston Red Sox cap, so it was probably that.
Or, it could have been the fellow who was farther back on the bus that I was. I caught a glimpse of him as I got on, and studied him when he got off; only because of what happened in-between. He looked like your typical Hollywood roadhouse bar extra: shoulder length messy hair, goatee beard, leather jacket, denim shirt and trousers. He was talking really loud. I had music on, but I heard the liberal use of naughty rude words, so turned the volume down, like the good curtain-twitcher that the Queen of England demands I should be.
He had a drawling, growly, whiskey-soaked voice that sounded like there were marbles on phlegm jiggling around in his throat like the balls in a bingo machine. Apart from the “fuck”s and “fuckin'”s, it was tough to understand what he was saying to begin with. Without having to turn around, it was obvious he was talking to a woman sat opposite him. I have two ears, so, y’know, locating voices is a skill I’ve honed over the years.
She sounded like she didn’t know him, but wasn’t averse to a random conversation with a drunken stranger. They talked about music. He spoke of how he could never get on being in a band, and liked to just do stuff on his own; of how he loved pinball; that the first concert he went to was Pink Floyd, and that they were “successful on so many levels and
so relatable.” He then shouted to the driver “Where’s my bike at? HEY! WHERE’S MY BIKE AT!?” The driver shouted back that it was still on the front of the bus. They have those cool buses here with a bicycle rack on the front. If they weren’t before, most the passengers were listening to his conversation now, which made it amusing that the next thing he said to the lady was “I don’t really like talking.” (Around the time of the Pink Floyd comment, I’d taken my notebook out of my pocket and started taking notes, thus being able to tell you about it in detail.)
So now that most of the people on the bus were listening, he chose to ask the woman, “D’you got a boyfriend?” She told him that she didn’t; she has a girlfriend. Brave girl. His voice kicked up a volume notch and he said, in the sleaziest of sleazy ways, “You have naked lesbian sex? You into that stuff where you tie each other up and shit?” She told him she didn’t want to talk about it. He kept trying with other questions about the ways of lesbianism, each time she told him, “I don’t want to talk about it.” He kind of got the message and got back to random ramblings. Soon enough, but not before telling someone to “suck my dick,” he got off the bus, and I got back to listening to some Coldplay and looking at the pink clouds that seem to come fairly often before sundown in this part of the world.
For the last few days we knew that yesterday was coming. Rod – a guy from Vancouver (Washington not British Columbia) that Kraig and Barbara know from the Oregon Country Fair, whom I had met there in the summer – came over to fit a new carpet in their living room. Y’know, I watch people working, doing stuff that people with real jobs do (rather than swanning around the Americas and occasionally drawing some pixelly crap), and I’m always amazed at the skill involved. Watching him made me imagine that laying carpet is easy, but, of course, I know it isn’t; it’s just Rod’s skill.
And, well, things never happen the Hollywood way; including the sad things. As the living room was being re-carpeted, with all of the displaced furniture that such a task demands, there was the sound of wheels on gravel. The vet had arrived. It was time for Buddha, one of Kraig and Barbara’s dogs. Suffering from a knackered knee and hips, it was time. Kraig took Buddha and the other dogs, Annie and Nemo, for a walk around the (large) garden. When they got back, I gave Buddha one last goodbye rub on his neck, said “Hey, Boo” one last time and, not sure what to do with myself, I went into the dog run and kept Annie and Nemo company. Buddha was laid on a blanket on the deck next to the hot tub. Kraig and Barbara with him, as the vet did what she had to do. From where I was stood, his eyes looked golden. He went to sleep. We all cried, including the vet. Rod continued laying carpet, away from the sadness. I left Kraig and Barbara alone for a few moments, and had a smoke on the other side of the garden. Then Kraig and I filled the grave with soil.
Rod finished the carpet. We moved the furniture back. A guy in a big truck delivered propane to heat the house. We pottered around. Kraig and Barbara did stuff in and around the house. I fiddled with some HTML. They went in the tub. I went in the tub and looked at the amazingly clear sky, at Venus shining very brightly, while the neighbours argued in their garden. We ate and watched the thoroughly disappointing “Spiderman 3.” Then it was bedtime. Goodnight, Boo.
Just in case anyone reading this came here via the South Beach Comedy Festival website, I’m sorry to tell you that they linked to the wrong Craig Robinson.
While I’m happy that you might have read this far, I feel it’s only right to let you know that I’m not a) famous, b) funny, c) American, or d) black.
I could end up being all of them, though, if I a) do something noteworthy, b) learn some good jokes, c) successfully apply for a green card and/or marry an American chick, and d) put on some thoroughly offensive boot polish.
Still all about the relaxin’ here. So much so that I’m gonna let these pictures do most of the talking.
This is the view of Mt. Hood from the road outside Kraig and Barbara’s place. When the sun’s going down, it looks lovely and pink
A river made of water
A lovely moss-covered tree
More moss-covered trees
Another view of Mt. Hood, this time with some low, low clouds and the Sandy river in front of it
This is the library in Estacada where Barbara works. It was, for want of a better word, fucked up by flooding. A bunch of books and computers got wet, all the stuff has been moved out into storage, and the floor’s very sticky
A library meeting in the car park
A photo of fog with the camera flash turned on
I’ve gathered together all the drawings I’ve been doing on my iPod. They’re now here. I’ll still put stuff up on the blog as and when, but I think the bulk of them will be on the other page, just linked from here.
It’s been a fairly lazy few days since I last did the me me me thing (or, more accurately, my daily life, my daily life, my daily life thing). For the most part, though, nothing exceptional has happened. I’ve watched “Wild Card Weekend” NFL games on telly, which I’m enjoying more and more. I’ve enjoyed the hot tub every night, especially on Sunday night when it was snowing.
And this is what it looks like in daylight. I’d guess it’s a little bit wider than one-and-a-half metres.
I semi-enjoyed the friendliness of the people in both the Estacada Medical Center and Hi-School Pharmacy; and damn right they should be friendly with the amount of money they sucked from my wallet to sort out a simple ear infection (which is on the mend now).
I’ve taken the long long bus journey (about 90 minutes each way) into Portland; just mooching around, looking in shop windows, trying unsuccessfully to avoid getting hassled for change or cigarettes from Portland’s seemingly endless homeless/vagrant/tramp/bum population (is there a technical difference between, say, a tramp and a bum?), and drinking coffee. I had a quick look at PGE Park, the Portland Beavers’ stadium; first time I’ve seen a baseball stadium in the off-season, and it made me miss it. Plus, I’m wont to enjoy a bit of melancholy, so looking at an empty stadium in the rain fulfilled that desire perfectly, even if I was stood there as a bunch of teenagers walked by, and were trying to throw their drained McDonald’s fizzy drink cups over the railings that marked the boundary between the stadium and the pavement into a trash can on the other side. I’m no basketball expert, but I didn’t see any future Michael Jordans.
I’ve very much been enjoying drawing on my iPod, too. As someone who always has a sketchbook with them, but primarily uses it for notes and planning stuff like the Pigeon comic strips, it’s so refreshing and – I can’t believe I’m using this word – energising to be having fun simply drawing stuff. Even if it’s just the back of a guy on the bus or a building in Estacada while I’m waiting for Barbara to pick me up, it’s good to get back into doing something that I’ve not really bothered with since I was at art college.
Last night, Kraig and I returned to the Rose Garden to see another basketball game. This time it was the Trail Blazers against the Detroit Pistons. Allen Iverson plays for the Pistons. I’ve heard of him before, so he must be famous.
(Off the top of my head, this is the full extent of my knowledge of basketball players: Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, Shaq, LeBron James, Scottie Pippen, Kobe Bryant, Larry Byrd, Doctor J (but I don’t know his real name), Allen Iverson, Carmelo Anthony, Dirk Nowitski (only because he’s German and he seems to constantly be on the news on the TVs on the U-bahn trains in Berlin), and that super tall Chinese dude who used to be in the Apple adverts, and I remember one of the Harlem Globetrotters on the cartoon was called Curly.)
We were in less expensive, less fancy seats this time: Kraig’s regular season ticket seats. They were one level higher, but, y’know what? For the nigh-on $100 price difference, I’m saying that the Lexus Level seats we sat in the other night are really bad value for money comparatively. Anyway, lots of bouncy bouncy, and I’m starting to see what’s going on, and to understand a little bit. It seems to have a lot in common with soccer, offensively and defensively. Blazers were poor in the first half, but picked it up in the third quarter to pull to within three points of the Pistons. In the fourth they took the lead, and after some exciting back and forth, with the lead changing hands a few times, there’s a timeout with just 8.3 seconds of the game remaining. The Blazers are up 84-83.
When the game restarts, Iverson gets the ball, with a chance to win the game, and this is how it goes down…
(I know it’s not very clear what’s going on there, but he misses. Blazers win. You can see it better if you watch the high quality version here.)
So, Americans, I was thinking the other night about Washington after Cameron referred to the nation’s capital as simply “D.C.” I was, of course, in Washington state at the time. And it got my mind a-whirring. Can the contiguous states of the country be carved into two, along a line which would denote which Washington, state or District of Columbia, one is referring to?
I’ll make myself clearer: if someone was to say to you, “I’ve got to go to Washington next week?” which Washington would you automatically assume they were talking about. I’m guessing that folks here in Oregon or in Idaho would be referring to their neighbouring state. Similarly, I’d assume that people in New York, Philadelphia, or Baltimore would be talking about D.C. My fabulous furry freak friends Kraig and Barbara are of the opinion the dividing line might approximately run along the Mississippi.
This is where you come in, citizens of the United States of America. We could make a map. And who doesn’t love maps? So, all I would like you to do is tell me where you are in the States, and which Washington you would assume someone would be referring to. Of course, if you’re from Seattle, but living in New York, you might think differently than your fellow New Yorkers and skew the results a bit, but, I think it’d be cool to make this map. So, y’know, if you’d like to help make me happy, please leave a comment, and ask your pals or electronic pals around the country to join in. No need to sign in to comment, you can leave them anonymously if you want. Thanks, y’all.
Update 8 Jan: Thank you so much to everyone who commented. The conclusion I’ve come to is that most people would say “state” at the end if that’s what they meant, or would just say the name of the city within the state instead. It seems that most references to a Washington would be referring to D.C. Again, thanks for your help. Follow-up question brought up in the comments: How far away from New England do you have to get before people assume you mean Portland, Oregon not Portland, Maine when you simply say “Portland”? I guess this question could be asked of Germans, too, Frankfurt am Main and Frankfurt (Oder)? And, indeed, how far away from the hamlet of New York, Lincolnshire do you have to get before people assume you’re talking about that other New York?
You bored of this stuff yet? I’m not.
I would guess it’s fairly unlikely that someone hasn’t done this before, but I’ve never heard it done, so…:
ifihadahammer.mp3 (732KB, 23 seconds.)