Archive for October, 2011
Another drawing done with the Procreate app. More finger painting here.
I figured it was time to try out some more of the drawing/painting apps for the iPad. I’ve been using and enjoying the Brushes app for three years now. I still use it pretty much every day. But, I’ve seen other stuff, so fancied having a go with one of the newer ones. This is the first quick scribble done using the Procreate app. I kinda like the control you can have with various elements when painting, and it seems to mimic real paint pretty well. And, as you can see here, it can do a decent charcoal imitation, too.
Over the weekend, my flatmate’s cat has been interested in the sports I’ve been watching on the telly. (I use the word “cat” instead of a name, cos I don’t remember the names of either of her cats. In my head I call them Althea and Donna.) Here’s some photos of Donna watching the Manchester derby.
The referee is under her paw in this photo:
She’s a good cat, she’s helping out the City defence.
She’s confused here, because the ball had gone off the edge of the screen, so she went ’round the back of the telly to try and find it.
No-one wants to be that close to Alex Ferguson’s blotchy face. Poor kitty…
Bigger versions of the photos on my Flickr page.
Seen on the side of the road between Mexico City and Toluca.
…but I think this poster says “I have an enormous vagina.”
This afternoon, I saw someone pull a gun. I have no idea if it was real or not. I was walking down a street towards a bigger street, and on that bigger street, I saw a car go by with a moped behind. The moped rider didn’t have a helmet, but he did have a big belly. He was shouting at the car. He reached to his right hip, pulled out the gun and continued shouting. Thankfully, shouting not shooting. When I got to the corner of the street, the car was gone, and the moped rider was turning around and drove back on the wrong side of the road against the flow of traffic.
I live in a building which has a doorman. Yes, I know, it sounds fancy, right? And by Mexico standards, it is quite a fancy building. It’s in quite a fancy area. Although, the problem with living in a fancy area is it’s kinda boring, and full of rich people with fancy cars who seem to think that having a fancy car trumps any consideration one would normally afford a pedestrian: my car is fancy, so fuck you and your halfway-across-the-pedestrian-crossing ways. By London or even Berlin standards, though, my rent is pretty cheap. It’s quite nice to live in a building with a doorman. If I’m out and the UPS guy comes: no problem, the doorman’s got it. If I am carrying a few bags of groceries, there’s the doorman to open it for me. There are two doormen. They seem to work 24 hour shifts, which must suck. One of them is pretty friendly. Always says good morning, or good evening. He sometimes watches movies on a portable DVD player, he sometimes has an acoustic guitar with him. And if I come home late at night, he’ll often sneakily ask if I have a spare cigarette. Luckily, I always have a pouch of spare cigarettes for moments like that. The other one — and I bet you saw this coming, because I’m nothing if not predictable in the set-ups for a rant — is a dick.
He never smiles, never says anything when I say good morning. I made a pact with myself to stop saying thank you when he opens the door. I kept that up for about three weeks. Then I came home drunk and said thank you. He was still silent, so when, a couple of weeks back, we had two new doormen, I was quite pleased. These new guys were different. The old ones wore suits and yellow ties. The new ones have white shorts with patches, and black trousers tucked into big black boots. There has been a military coup of our building. The politicians are out, the comandantes are in. And they say hello, and call me “señor.” But I know that deep down in my fantasy, one day I will be slaughtered in my sleep when the rest of the army arrives.
I lost my temper a few days ago. I’m never at my best first thing in the morning, and I do find that being in a queue in Starbucks is not really the best way to begin the day. I like waking up either earlier than the businessmen rush or mid-morning, then I avoid the six or seven deep queue. The morning in question, there was just one person in front of me. She paid and went to wait by the little high table next to the coffee machines. The person at the till, was doing something else (I can’t remember what; let’s pretend he was getting some change or changing the receipt paper roll). Behind me, a guy was barking – not literally – into his mobile phone. The use of mobile phones, I’m sure, has been blogged about a zillion times. Now it will be a zillion and one. It’s a few days ago now, so bear in mind that the story has changed in my head, the way that stories do. Were we to see CCTV footage of the event, it’d be totally different, I’m sure, but this is what happened. I turned to him, caught his eye, told him he was shouting. In bad Spanish. He did a dismissive smile, looked away, and continued barking – not literally – into his phone. And out of nowhere, I channelled my inner Larry David, and equally loudly, about 18 inches from his head, mimicked his volume, barking – not literally – nonsense words at his face. He looked at me like I was crazy, and said, in English, “What’s wrong with you, man?” I turned away, angry but happy that I had caused him to end his phone call. I paid for my fancy coffee, and walked over to the little table. Victory was mine. Probably.
The baristas in Starbucks aren’t very good at making cappuccinos. In the States and Canada, they, on the whole, are pretty good. Here, you kind of have to specify that you don’t want a gallon of milk in there unless you order a cappuccino, but actually want a latte. Interestingly (oh really, Craig?) I went into my local place a week or so ago, and they were having what the manager (she’s always friendly to me and has a chat) called, “an international visit.” There was an English man being shown the hand-drawn chalk boards with the specials on them. One of the employees was telling him about the Mexican-y drawings next to whatever hideously sweet variation of frappuccino was available this week. But, the international visit had made everyone pick up there game. Best cappuccino I’ve ever had there. Not too wet, not too dry. Just right. And I was only stood next to the little table for about 30 seconds.
That little table fascinates me. “Fascinate” is probably the wrong word. But, y’know, I’ve stood near one of those little high tables quite a lot in my life. It’s kind of amazzing the way people behave near the little high table. (Not amazing enough to have two zeds, but that was a typo that I felt like leaving in.) When it’s not busy, I feel it’s fine to stand next to the table and wait. But if it’s busy, normal people (code for “people who do things that I don’t have a problem with in my mental brain”), normal people kinda keep a distance of a few feet. It makes sense. You might have ordered a strawberry and champagne-infused platinumaccino so it makes sense to keep a bit of distance, cos the dude who ordered a cappuccino or English Breakfast tea might have his drink before you. I tend to keep my distance, and only go up to the table when my drink is called out. But then, there are the people who, seeing four or five people waiting, decide that they are just gonna waltz – not literally – up to the table, and plonk their fat elbows down. One time, I saw a woman do that. She was attractive, so obviously, the world has bestowed her with an invisible Access All Areas pass on an invisible golden lanyard. She did the plonk, and got one of the little green “splash sticks” and started picking at her teeth with it. This happened at a different time, on a different day, but like the editor of Big Brother who will cut in a reaction from another time just to make the narrative “better,” I caught the eye of one of the employees. She rolled her eyes. I smiled. We both knew: the tooth picking lady was a dick.
Seeing as though I’ve got into the habit of tediously blogging about my haircuts, (August 28, 2010, February 22, 2011 , June 5, 2011), I will continue. I went back to the place that I went to in June, a place called Paris Merinne, a couple of streets away from my apartment. I liked it last time, good haircut, and they have this massage-y thing that is enjoyable.
Going in there, with bad Spanish comprehension, is a little overwhelming. The barber jumped up, ushered me to a chair. Another guy — not wearing a white barber coat, but with a hare lip — took my hooded sweatshirt and cap. A middle-aged lady in a white coat asked me if I wanted a drink, “café, aqua, refrescos, whisky, brandy, cerveza.” No gracias. The guy who took my cap and sweatshirt came back with the pile of magazine. No gracias. And the middle-aged woman returned, asking if I wanted a manicure or pedicure. No gracias. That was a lie, though. I did want a manicure. Not sure why I said no. Sometimes I do that kind of stuff, though. There are two coffee shops in my neighbourhood that I’ve yet to go into even though I really want to. One of them, the coffee smells really good; the other just looks nice inside. But I’ve still not been in to either. Something in my brain happens, and I find myself over-thinking it, and just walking by to, inevitably, and somewhat depressingly, just going to Starbucks.
I mumbled in Spanish what I wanted, showed the barber a photo of what his colleague did last time, and he got to work. I looked at my nails. Quite close, cos I didn’t have my specs on, and was about to ask the guy if I could change my mind, and actually get a manicure, when he asked if I wanted one. Si, señor.
He nipped off into the back room for a moment, and a younger white-coated woman came out and asked to confirm that I wanted a manicure. Si, por favor. she nipped back off to get her toolkit, and the middle-aged white-coated woman came back and asked if I wanted a manicure. Oops, I think toes were stepped on by the change of mind and, through no real fault of my own, choosing the younger, prettier manicurist.
I’ve only had one manicure before, which was also in Mexico, when I was on vacation here in 2005; my then-girlfriend was having hers done, so I figured I’d get mine done too. That was in a mall in Tuxtla Gutierrez, Chiapas. And it was painful. My nails hurt for the next couple of days. But this time, it was lovely. Really relaxing. She smiled a lot too, which was nice. And at the end of each hand, you put some cream on my hands and gave my hand a good vigourous rubbing. It was especially nice when she interlocked her fingers with mine and gave them a good creamy rub.
There is something weird about have the dead parts of your body simultaneously chopped off. Although I wasn’t having a pedicure which would complete the clearing away of the dead. Next time, I will try to refrain from picking my toenails (a truly horrible habit of mine is picking at my toenails. I’ve done it ever since I was a kid. They look like talons most of the time.) And then I can be like the man on their business card:
(I love that the guy using his laptop whilst getting a shoe shine is staring at nothing on his screen. It’s either nothing, or one of Brian Eno’s new generative music apps.)
I am rather proud of my new nails. No longer are the edges like the coastline of Iceland, no longer are they all ridge-y like an aerial photo of a glacier; they are smooth and shiny and lovely.
Should you want to read a long essay about the Yankees losing last night, you can do so here: http://www.flipflopflyin.com/flipflopflyball/writing111007.html