Archive for March, 2009
Sometimes, it’s the tiniest things. I saw the words fantasy baseball on the front of a magazine, and it got me thinking about MY baseball fantasy: a game between the Wu-Tang Clan and Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band. Of course, one has to pretend that ODB and Danny Federici are still alive. I gave a lot of thought to their positions and the batting order. I wanted Bruce to be the pitcher, so in the rude parlance of our time, it could only be his wife Patti Scialfa who is the catcher. Both teams have power guys at first base, Raekwon and Clarence Clemons, and what I imagine to be speedy guys as lead off hitters.
Anyway, I imagined the teams, so I imagined the game, too. RZA got off to a great start on the mound, pitching four perfect innings. Method Man was the player of the game going 3 for 4, with an RBI and a run scored. I also imagined the leagues these teams played in.
The fielding positions are below. You can see the full thing, including box score here.
For the last couple of weeks I’ve been feeling a bit homesick. Homesick for Berlin. Strange really because, aside from a couple of weeks last summer, I’ve not lived there since November 2007. It doesn’t take a genius to work it out though: I’m living in a new town, a small town, and I can count my friends here on one hand. I could lose a couple of fingers in a meat slicer and still count my friends with that one hand. And until I get a receipt from the immigration people saying they’ve received my application paperwork, I can’t really use aeroplanes within the country because if someone in the airport checks my passport and sees an expired tourist visa, then there’s a chance I’ll be shipped off to wherever illegal immigrants are shipped off to. And because of that, Claire had to go and visit her brother in sunny San Diego without me. So aside from missing Berlin, I’m missing moving around, and sunny weather. This is the longest I’ve been in one town since I left Berlin. I know, world’s tiniest fiddle.
So it was good to go out the other night and find myself thinking that something good is happening in Bellingham. Good to see lots of other hairy fellas. Good to drink a few beers. And good to be at the first live show I’ve been to since seeing Super Furry Animals at the Royal Festival Hall on New Year’s Eve 2007. I went to see Black Mountain at the Wild Buffalo. Fucking great it was too. If you get a chance to see them or the support band The Sadies, it’s worth your while. Black Mountain have got some mp3s to listen to on their site if you’re curious.
I’ve always wanted to be in the New York Times, so having a piece of my work on a blog on their website is pretty sweet. They used my basketball shorts graphic in a blog piece about basketball stuff. Screenshot here. (I’ve not linked to them, cos, well, they didn’t link to me; and they were a bit… unfriendly is the wrong word, but brief in their emails; and I’m nothing if not pouty and petty.)
Never imagined I’d ever write those words, but that’s what Rosco was doing.
Drawn using Brushes app on iPod touch which now can, through the special magic stuff on their website, save a little movie of the whole process of drawing. You can watch the drawing process of the Yankee Stadium drawing above as a stupidly-large Quicktime movie here (111MB), or you can watch it on YouTube below:
It took about three hours to draw this one. Here’s a before and after of my iPod. Before, clean. After, all finger-smeary.
More of my iPod drawings in the Much Fuck It’s Drawing section.
The New Year’s resolutions I made in 2008 were made quite late, on 16 March. Let’s look at how I did, because I know how I did is important to the very fabric of your lives [insert Krusty the Klown groan here].
1. I will not spill anything anymore. No more milk dribbles when making a cup of coffee; no more dribbles of water through my beard as I hungoverly gulp down water first thing in the morning; no more superglue on the fingertips: the spilling years are over. For. Ever.
I’ve done pretty well on this one. I even tripped down three or four steps with a fresh glass of rum and Coke in my hand without spilling a drop.
2. I will never trip or stumble again. Broken pavements, steps, cobblestones: beware! You will not make me look stupid any more.
Well, you’ll see above that I have indeed tripped and stumbled. Many times. The other day, in fact, I stepped in dog poo and walked into a fence cos I wasn’t paying attention. Clumsy fucker.
3. I will not sing “Mmmm, Danone” every time I see one of their products.
Aside from in the days following typing that, I’ve pretty much observed that one perfectly.
4. I will not look at my watch, then look again ten seconds later because I failed to take notice the first time.
Failed resolution. I still do this, more or less daily.
5. I will not bite a Tic Tac and try to realign the two parts with my tongue, because it stops me enjoying the wonderful vanilla-tinged mintiness.
Another failed resolution, but I’m embracing the joy of realignment.
6. I will not try to hide the fact that I’m sniffing my armpit to see if it’s a bit sweaty by pretending to itch my nose on my upper arm.
Again, one that I still do; but not so much right now, cos it’s the winter and it’d take a whole hunk of skanky smell to get through the layers.
7. I will not get caught in a white lie, by saying I’ve seen a film that I haven’t seen or don’t remember, and then find that, when the other person says “that bit when X happens is great, wasn’t it?” I am further and further entangled in the lie.
A success. I’ve stopped doing this. This goes hand in hand with more or less completely losing track with what’s going on in modern music. I’ve heard songs by Animal Collective and MGMT and, well, I wonder if my time is up when it comes to appreciating modern music. Even that Bon Iver dude fails to excite me; an artist that several of my friends have suggested that I would love.
8. I will not “write” a word on my thigh with my fingertip when someone who I am talking to says a nice, interesting word; leading me to get distracted by my fingertip calligraphy and stop listening to their other words.
Still do it, but I now tend to do it in a very cursive, almost calligraphic manner.
9. I will not be bitten by any more mosquitoes. You’ve had your fun, you little buggy bastards.
They didn’t get the directive, those mosquitoes. Having said that, I’ve been mosquito bite free for about six (err, winter) months, so you never know…
10. I will not pick at my toenails when wearing flip-flops. I might not think they do, but people probably do notice me doing it.
Glad to say that I only do this in private now.
11. I will not tell people I meet in South America that my German skills are “quite good” because sooner or later one of them will speak German and I’ll have to confess that actually, I’m a lazy bugger who never bothered to learn much German in my seven – sefuckingven! – years there.
Still do it, but I’ve kinda embraced my ridiculousness with this one. Whenever I think about it, I have a little chuckle because it’s so stupid and lazy. Finally…
That there are eleven resolutions there leads to a twelfth: that I won’t be so insistent on groups of things being “nice” amounts. Like, I won’t stop at ten if there’s actually eleven just to make a nice round number. But this one is number twelve, which does make the list a nice round dozen, which isn’t what I want. But, I shouldn’t add a thirteenth simply to avoid it being a nice amount, either. Which makes my twelfth resolution a two-part resolution, which is more-or-less thirteen, so, y’know, phew!
This one is way too ingrained, I think. There are nice numbers and not nice numbers in my head. One, two, three, four, five, six, eight, ten, twelve, twenty, thirty, fifty, seventy-five, one hundred. All are nice to me. The others… I dunno, it’s the same feeling I get when I know that I’ve forgotten to write down something important.
I’ve not even thought about resolutions for 2009, so thankfully, you won’t have to read this crap on 16 March 2010. I will make a prediction, though, that the resolution that is currently floating around my head will fail: that I should stop comparing what is happens on every day of 2009 with what I was doing when I was travelling around the Americas last year. (By way of an example, on this day last year I was recovering from my all-night Santo Daime experience.)
I was having a poke around Roadside America the other night, and every now and then, I’d beckon Claire to come and look at something. The next morning, she suggested we go and look at one of the attractions listed. Ice scraped off the windscreen with a credit card, big paper cups of coffee in the cup holders, and a fresh pack of cigarettes, and we were heading south down I-5, and chucked a left at Burlington onto some other road. Nice crisp day. Pretty hills.
First stop, the small town of Concrete. Named after the Pet Shop Boys’ 2006 live album. Population 845. All names of things amused me there: Concrete High School, Concrete Antiques & Collectibles, Concrete Theatre, Concrete Airport. And for such a small town, there seems to be an inordinate amount of churches.
We stopped on the outskirts to have a look in a little pottery shop where we chatted to yet another English person. She moved here with her husband – the potter. It really is amazing to me how often one comes across fellow Brits over here. The other day, in my local store, there were three of us. The Sauk Mountain Pottery woman was the bearer of bad news, though: the thing we were on our way to see was broken.
Just a few miles down the road, past some lovely snow-dusted hills and cute little farms, is the town of Rockport. Just as you pull into the town, there’s a Shell petrol station. And under a collapsed wooded roof, is the Self-kicking machine. This is (in hindsight) rather pathetically, what we’d come to see. We looked at it, took a couple of photos, and bought petrol and snacks from the incredibly unfriendly woman in the Shell station.
We kept on trucking, and a further few miles down the road in Marblemount was another thing to look at, the tiny tiny Wildwood Church. It can seat about 12 people.
After giving a mountainside road a go, but only getting a short way before the snow on the road got a bit too much for Claire’s Subaru. We did have time to look at, break off, and throw around some icicles, though.
Back to Marblemount to get some food at the Skagit River Resort. Makes it sound fancy, the name; like a golf/spa-type thing, but no. Aside from a few nice local artifacts, it was rubbish. Shitty food and – considering we were the only customers – really shitty service. And shitty spelling of cappuccino. And for a country that has such a hard-on for its flag, you’d think that they’d have a proper one, or at least point out that the one they do have has never officially existed.
A brief detour to have a look at a dam near Lake Baker, and the rather lovely Mount Baker on the horizon, and then we were heading back.
It was a lovely day, and getting to know Washington state is something I’m enjoying very much.
Hands up who’s been watching the World Baseball Classic? None of you!? Understandable, really; baseball’s not really a sport designed to be judged on one-off games like football and American football can be. But, I’ve enjoyed the bits I’ve seen, especially the Netherlands beating the Dominican Republic. One of the things I’ve enjoyed the most, though, is the uniforms that the batboys at the Tokyo Dome wear. The uniform is white trousers, a white Adidas t-shirt with “TOKYO DOME” on the front, over a blue long-sleeved undershirt, and a white helmet with a blue bit at the front. Can’t find any photos and only fleeting screengrabs off the highlights on the website, but they kind of remind me of that dude off Battle of the Planets.
Aside from a lack of qualifications for the job, there’s one other reason why I will never be a contender for the position of Secretary-General of the United Nations. Looking at all the other dudes who’ve done the job – Gladwyn Jebb, Trygve Lie, Dag Hammarskjöld, U Thant, Kurt Waldheim, Javier Pérez de Cuéllar, Boutros Boutros-Ghali, Kofi Annan and Ban Ki-moon – it’s quite clear that my name is way too boring.
I’ve often chuckled to myself when people have said in emails that the Minipops are too small. That’s the idea, dummy! But I now feel a bit bad about that. When I was looking at the Minipops page a couple of days ago after doing the Obama one, I realised that, as monitor display sizes get bigger, Minipops start to look even smaller on the screen. When I first started doing Minipops, my monitor was 1024×768; now it’s 1440×900. And I’m wondering if I should double the size of them, so that they’re easier to see. It’s an arduous task changing 980 HTML documents, but it may well be needed. Or will that destroy the magic… Ho hum, I dunno. What do you think?
Anyway, there’s ten new Minipops on the page today. Apart from two of them, I’ve kinda ignored your suggestions, but I do have them saved to refer to for the next batch. So, today there’s the two fellas off “Fantasy Island”; rapper Lil Wayne; Seasick Steve, who I keep thinking is called Seasick Dave; and the Fifth Dragon King of Bhutan, Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck. Plus a bunch of political figures: Iranian president and current holder of the handsomest world leader title, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad; Venezuelan human cannonball, Hugo Chávez; Brazilian president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva; Bolivian president Evo Morales; and the prime minister of Russia Vladimir Putin sporting the truly macho-er than macho topless-with-combat-trousers look; and Sean Penn lookalike Harvey Milk (can you guess which film I saw at the cinema last night?).
I bought some Tic Tacs in the local Goodwill store yesterday. I wonder if the Ferrero U.S.A, Inc. donate all of their deformed mints to Goodwill..?
I was a little bit surprised to find out that the above Minipop of the Obama family is the first I’ve done in eighteen months. It’s the 970th Minipop. It doesn’t take a maths genius to work out that there’s only thirty to go until there’s a thousand. With that in mind, any suggestions?