March 29, 2004

You've got a driend.

Check it:

"Superior SUMMER Accommodation for Visitors - June-Sept! International visitors welcome. Adjacent to Temple Bar. Large 1200 sf apartment. This Student accommodation is in the heart of Dublin. Good vibe in house among 20 somethings; you will love preparing food in a fully equipped kitchen. If you can cook an ethnic meal, you will fit in and find a driend."

A driend?

Okay, there's a cult, isn't there? There's totally some kind of cult involved.

Unless by ethnic you mean "not involving the potato."

"R U clean, trustworth and want to live in Dublin this Summer? Internet access, balcony, cable TV, 2 big bathrooms. First come, first served on waiting list- move in May 23rd.

The price is geared to stduents all costs are included: utility bills, cable TV, washer-dryer - everything furnished: bed linens, towels, kitchen utensils!! These extras make the difference."

Yeah, extra Rophynol.

Did y'all click the link? And see that this is accompanied not by a photo, but by a drawing of the apartment/compound? And a blueprint: 2 bathrooms, 12 people. Not pretty.

Still. Internet access.

And yet ---- "everything furnished: bed linens, towels" ---- lice.

Decisions, decisions.

Posted by Diablevert at 08:08 PM | Comments (0)

Damn My Eyes

Accidentally saw that the smoking ban goes into effect today.

I take heart in Ireland's healthily hypocritical attitude toward pub closing times, and in the fact that, here in New York a year on, there's many a dive where the ashtray comes out as the night wears on.

I really resent smoking bans; if feel they're the government's attempt to force me to quit something in order to support their view of my own good. Nyah-nyah-nyah-nayh, I feel like saying, they're my lungs and I'll fuck 'em up if I want to.

On the other hand, I can't argue that secondhand smoke is good for you. I can and do argue that grown ups get to decide what risks they take, and that people who are that incredibly concerned about the risk of secondhard smoke --- and hearing damage, and vomit stains --- probably oughtn't become bartenders. Leave us the pubs, part of me wants to cringeingly plead. Resteraunts and offices, fine and fine, but leave us please, that simple pleasure, a drink and a smoke to wash away the cares of the day. Let me have that freedom, I don't think it costs you much.

I'm not trying to take away your santictimony, after all.

Posted by Diablevert at 04:04 PM | Comments (0)

March 26, 2004


Much workage. Tomorrow, a real entry.

Posted by Diablevert at 09:34 PM | Comments (0)

March 23, 2004

I confess; I just wanted to be meta-knowing

There! Now I am a mysterious linker!

I really hate the word blogoshpere, too.

Posted by Diablevert at 06:05 PM | Comments (0)

Where seldom is heard a discouraging word, and the skies are not cloudy all day

So, I’ve begun scouring the real estate listings, trying to get a feel for price ranges and what neighborhoods I might want to live in. At first I turned to real estates agent’s sites, but most of those seemed attuned to the needs of the buyer rather than the renter (or letter. lettee?). Finally I stumbled onto, which claims to be Ireland's biggest property site. They also have message boards, a fairly common feature, but one implemented a bit unusually on their site. Occasionally you stumble across someone asking a fairly simple moving related query, but mostly they seem to be thoroughly taken over with vociferous and ill-informed discussions of social policy, musings on why the board members can’t get a date --- apparently, it’s because all Irish women are slags, according to several commentators --- offers to sell Duran Duran tickets, and the tirades of several resident trolls, some Irish anti-Europe, some Other anti-Irish. It’s as if they allowed all the people scouring the Village Voice classifieds on Monday midnight to sit slumped in the same bar, drunk, while they did so. Ah, I thought, here are my people.

The ads themselves have an amateurish, fly-by-night quality; that is, while some of them partake generously of the real estate jargon meant to create a tempting vision in three acronyms or less --- “HWd. Fl.” “Ex. Brk.” “Blcny” “Yd. Acc.” --- most were mere statements of fact and a few were just a price, a sparse selection of amenities ticked off a list, and, always, a phone number. “You want it? Come and get it,” they seemed to say.

I’m mildly apprehensive about the fact that so many of them checked off “Microwave” as an amenity. In New York, even the scummiest slums have stoves with ovens --- hey, how else you gonna warm the house when the landlord cuts the heat in the middle of January? --- a stove and running water are the minimum necessities to rent a place as an apartment under the city code, before even a refrigerator. (Though that’s pretty much de rigueur too.) In Ireland, I know, the swingin’ bachelor(ette) pad is an idea whose time has fairly recently come; in the 60s and 70s students and other young singles often stayed in bed-sits, which are like a cross between a dorm room and a B-n-B, as near as I can make out. Something along the lines of a boarding house, a concept so old school over here I believe I first heard tell of one while reading Steinbeck. With the economic revival and the housing boom, people my age have begun moving out of their parent’s homes in droves, which means a lot of the bed sits have been renovated, but I’m beginning to get the feeling renovated means installing a private European-style bath (Take phonebooth. Slice in half. Attach to wall. Install showerhead.) and buying a microwave.

I am conflicted. I really like to cook, but I’m not sure how much that’s worth to me --- doubling my rent and halving the time I have to find a job is not a step I want to take. Coming home every night to stare sullenly into the gamma radiation as my frozen burrito rotates on its axis, its doughy, gamy self somehow coming to embody the lonely Existential degradation of my life in a very black and white student film kind of a way is not a future I want to contemplate.

Posted by Diablevert at 01:04 PM | Comments (0)

March 22, 2004

On the Mind-Body Disconnect

As a point of consideraton on the topic of Cartesian dualism, I now relate the following anecdote:

The other morning I was lying abed, thinking idly of what I should wear to work that day and rueing that my selections were so limited by the fact that most of my clothes were at the laundromat, when I heard a banging sound emenating from the kitchen. Whatever can that be? I wondered, mildly irritated. I shall inquire of my roomate when I get up to take a shower. I put on my robe and tossed a towel over my shoulder, emerging from my room to obseve my roomate Strunk standing by the sink, turning over something in his hands.

I am one of those Not A Morning Person people, and being sans shower and coffee, it was with something less than my accostomed fluidity and ease of speech that I now attempted to formulate my thoughts into words. I turned to Strunk and said,

"What you bang?"

"Hmmm?" he said. "Oh, it's this travel mug, it's broken, see the rim here..."

After a moment's pause for consideration, I rejoined, "Why break mug?"

"I didn't break it, the liner's got seperated from the outer shell and ---" he said, looking up at me. "No break mug. Fix mug. Fix mug."

"Hurmph," I said, and proceeded to my morning ablution.

This legendary moment in inarticulateness has been brought to you by the letter Zzzz, the vitamin Q, and Juan Valdez.

Posted by Diablevert at 01:07 AM | Comments (0)

March 18, 2004

St. Patrick's Day

So, I was sitting at my desk yesterday, feeling a mite stumped about today’s entry. Nothing was coming to me. Moving stuff, Ireland stuff, random other stuff…bored and barren, that was me.

Then I remembered what day it was.

And that I was sitting literally two blocks from one of the largest ethnic pride parades in the world.

So I went, on my lunch hour. You imaginary people shall never know what I suffered for you. It was snowing. In the middle of March. Those two blocks were long, avenue blocks. And Little Miss Was Already Running Late couldn’t find her scarf this morning, so I was forced to endure a few sharp gusts on wind right down the center of my décolletage. Pity me yet? No? Moving on.

I came out on Fifth right by St. Patrick’s Cathedral, so I first I thought I’d try and scam my way on to the reserved area by the steps with the killer view, but the NYPD had thought of people like me, and cleverly erected a wall of sawhorse barricades, caulking the seams with burly beat cops. I thought about trying to cut through the cathedral and sneak out the front, but I figured my Nana would never forgive me for being in St. Patrick’s and not lighting a candle for somebody, and I hate those fake-ass electric candles. Were the wax bills really killing you, guys?

So I navigated my way back 'round Madison and down a bit, weaving though the variously-greened and funky-hatted crowd (Viking hats? With green and orange horns? What are you, the Minnesota delegation?) until I managed to pop out around 49th and grab a fairly good spot.

Let me tell you, there’s nothing like a passel of grim-faced, chap-kneed majorettes to make you feel a surge of ethnic pride. (The German tourists beside me certainly dug ‘em. “Woo-hoo!” is the same in every language, apparently.) I sympathized with the majorettes. The group I remeber best were led by a phlanex of rifle bearers followed by a line of flutes, and were working the traditional Twiggy bottom/Tin soldier top majorette outfit.* They were playing, "It's a Grand Old Flag," which I thought was odd at first. Upon reflection, I realized that there's probably not a lot of compositions suitable for adaptation to a flute, hand xylophone and marching drum combo. "It’s Grand Old Flag," was probably a one of the better, more spirited numbers of the choices on offer. Loved their flag array: U.S. flag, Pope Flag, School Flag, N.Y. State flag, Irish flag.

There was the one team of baton twirlers that stood out ---- their leader wasn’t half bad, managed a nice twenty-foot flippy toss with a one-handed grab that came off well, although the majority of the group was looking a little half hearted, with eyes all squinted into the wind and their lushly applied fake blush entirely outshone by the natural flush that wind burn will give you. But it was their banner bearers that stood out --- they had a pair of mini-majorettes, skinny little things about nine years old, holding up their banner at either end, and the one on the left was clutching on to her end with a white knuckle death-grip, a cold-formed rictus on her face like she was marching down the Trail of Tears… oh, the humanity. Oh, the hilarity. I amused myself by playing “Count the Visibly Shivering,” as each little group pit-stopped to do their thing in front of my section of the sidewalk.

I had a good time, though. What warmed the cockles of my heart was the civic-ness of it all --- all the green, white, and orange sashes dug out of the back of various dusty closets, faded from use on a hundred like occasions. The cheerleading team from the girl’s Catholic school which seemed to be from someplace on Staten Island that maybe was once an Irish enclave but was now largely black and Latino, but there were there, raising their frigid pompoms. The totally weird civic groups that seem to pop out of the woodwork just to be in these things, the Mechanist’s Unions and the Woman’s Auxiliary to Hibernian Association of Greater Poughkeepsie, the Orange County (CA.) Brotherhood of Police and Firefighters, all that stuff. There was something so cheerfully municipal about it all.

It’s weird, I’ve always felt a bit disassociated from St. Patrick’s day. When I was at home my family used to get together at my grandmother’s for corned beef an cabbage (and thus, I learned to appreciate what my people had suffered) but other than the menu, it was really no different that what we did a couple time a month for birthdays and whatnot. I almost never remember to wear green. In fact, when I was a kid I kind of made a point of it; my given name is Irish to a Smuckersian degree --- as soon as you meet me, you figure with a name like that I’ve got to be Irish --- and as a snotty pre-teen, I was all, “Listen, I walk around named Erin McFaithnBegorrah all year, I don’t think I need to change my sweater in order to represent.” I only really began to actively celebrate St. Patrick’s Day as a holiday when I was in college, and that was really more in the spirit of, “All right, St. Patrick’s Day! An excuse to drink!”

But that’s kind of really all it is, isn’t it? I mean, on the one that’s all all holidays are to a certain extent, but somehow I’ve never felt obligated to plunk on a pair of Shamrock antennae and get plastered on the 17th of March.

I do kind of want a "Fuck me I'm Irish" t-shirt, though.

*Go-go boots and a miniskirt below, satin tunic and chin-strapped top hat with poof above. Like this.

Posted by Diablevert at 05:42 PM | Comments (0)

March 17, 2004

Happy St. What's-His-Face

My boss just wished me a happy St. Patrick's day as we passed in the hall. "Going out celebrating tonight?" she called out.

"Oh, well, you know, probably."

"I bet you celebrate every night!" she trilled gaily as she walked away.

In a step and half, I realized, My boss thinks I'm a fucking drunk.

Sláinte, y'all.

Posted by Diablevert at 05:58 PM | Comments (0)

March 16, 2004

Tangentially Related to Sweden. Or, a totally random post that turns into a rant

Was reading Sundry Mourning which I just found and quite like. I want to introduce her to Groovy Decay just like when you meet a new friend that you're sure would totally get along with an old friend. Except sometimes they hate each other, so you don't do it.

Anyway, she has a habit of titling her entries with a vaguely suggestive sentence from somewhere in the post, something like, "Are Swedish people just naturally tidier and more efficient and tending towards metal accents and birch countertops?" Which I, quickly realized, meant she was going to talk about Ikea. Fairly quickly, anyway. This lead me to a thought tangent, namely,

Things I Associate with Sweden
(A partial homage to Lore Sjoberg and his Book of Ratings.)

The Swedish chef from The Muppet Show (Aside: Age when, while viewing a re-run, I realized they were human hands? 12. I am a college graduate, people.)
Gentle rivalry with the Norse
Bikini Team
And maybe saunas. Are y'all the peeps wit the saunas? Or is that the Norse again?

Ohhhh…wait! There's more:

A remarkably egalitarian social system which provides numerous benefits
That band from Muriel's' Wedding…Abba
The other band, well, if you count two incredibly talentless people as a band, Ace of Base. (What? They were real popular when I was in middle school. You should be thankful kiddies, for — hold on a second, I got to bust out of the parenthetical for this, otherwise we're all gonna get lost—)

Which reminds me…I have recently come to the conclusion that pop culture imploded in 1991. Think about it, people. Nobody likes the early nineties. Hammer pants? Young MC? Ace of Base? (Oh, crap, now I'm gonna have to change the sidebar.) Vanilla Ice, for chrissakes? I have the distinct impression that my generation, then in its formative years of pre-teen hood, took a look around, said to itself, "This shit is so lame I cannot possibly emulate it, for it will merely cause my parents to laugh at me rather than bewail my devilish ways," and went off to mope in its room while listening to Nirvana, and begin to cultivate a kind of lustful nostalgia that is our defining characteristic. I cannot begin to tell y'all the number of conversations I have had about Thundercats, a program that, while cool in its way, makes a crappy cultural touchstone for the youth of my generation in comparison, to say, Woodstock. Or Altamont. I like me some Adult Swim as much as the next girl, but we have got to stop it with the what-ever-happened-tos and the where-are-they-nows and the do-you-remembers with shit that happened in 198-fuckin'-6. We have got to stop having debates about whether the Snorks were a complete ripoff off the Smurfs, and the "Did you have a Pound Puppies lunchbox too?" and the slavish adoration of the John Hughes oeuvre. This is how we end up with programs like VHI's The Best Week Ever which is a gauzy, misty-eyed look back at shit that literally happened yesterday. Jesus Cocksucking Christ. Pop culture is eating itself, and we, my fellow twenty somethings, are Calista Flockheart in that one HBO special about bulimia --- you know the one I'm talking about --- we keep little jars of old pop culture hidden at the back of our closets and we frickin' need help.

I'm not saying that there hasn't been a period of recovery. It seems to me that once the Backstreet Boys entered the picture, the teenagers of today (as prompted by the corporations of today, Clear Channel, I'm looking at you here) set about creating a zeitgeist filled with enough embarrassing excess that they will be able to spend their golden years telling their middle aged children that they just don't understand, maaaan.

We have to start doing some stupid stuff, now, right now, so that we will have something to remember later. That's all I ask. Some sort of era defining idiocy bandwagon that we can all gratefully jump onto so that years later we can look back at pictures of ourselves and chuckle defensively. 'Cause really, looking back twenty years from now at your flipped-collar members only jacket and trying to explain to your children that you were attempting to ironically reference a fashion from somebody else's youth is going to be just sad. Bathos, here we come.

Or, as Cat and Girl put it, "The 90s are back. I hope we don't have to ironically appreciate Creed."

Oh. Right. Swedes. In conclusion, looking over my list, I realize that I think some of my Swedish things are actually Finnish things, or maybe Norwegian things, and that I'm not sure where the Laps live, but I sure do remember their bit in Richard Scary's big book of international animals. Sorry, Sweden.

Oh, and Denmark is the Delaware of Europe. And, lutefisk.

And I'm out.

Posted by Diablevert at 01:28 PM | Comments (0)

Oh, yeah, and another thing

I can't believe I forgot the fucking Nobel Prize. Damn.

Sorry, Sweden.

My bad.

Posted by Diablevert at 11:54 AM | Comments (0)

March 15, 2004

Cud! Fresh Cud!

My old professor wrote me back! I am psyched.

I wrote her a few weeks ago, because her specialty was in immigration (to the U.S.) and I thought she would have some good links for me. She didn’t write me back for a while, and wasn’t sure what to do. It’s always difficult to try and imagine what going on in the ether at the other end of an unanswered email. Did you get binned on sight when they didn’t recognize your address? Spam-filtered? Did they read it and forget about it? Should you pester them again, after they evinced such an overwhelming desire to correspond with you the first time? I decided to give the professor another go. (I have the feeling that if I were English that last bit would sound dirtier.)

Turns out she didn’t reply the first time because she was giving birth to her firstborn child. Keeps you busy. She even remembered who I was, which was also cool.

But clearly coolest were the links she sent me, to here , which had links to here, which is a repository of oral histories and suchlike stuff from people who immigrated and people who didn’t. Or, plenty of stuff that’s right up my alley. Facts and figures, callou, calley! Tables, charts! Ye-ah!

The latter site in particular is neat; they have almost a hundred interviews of about an hour each, many with pictures and other pieces of documentation thrown in. The earnestness of grad student interviewers to recording all this stuff is in sharp contrast to the rather more blasé attitude of the subjects toward the importance of their own experience, but the good heartedness of all involved comes across quite clearly. You do wish they'd speak up a bit, though.

I can't wait to ruminate, man.

Posted by Diablevert at 07:20 PM | Comments (0)

March 14, 2004

I put up an about me page

It's on the sidebar.

That is all.

Posted by Diablevert at 04:07 PM | Comments (0)

March 13, 2004

And that's one to grow on, peeps

Read a really interesting article yesterday --- The Atlantic makes a habit of coughing up interesting articles from its vast and dusty archives --- to wit, "What Makes An American," by Raoul de Roussy de Sales, first published in March 1939.

I'm still chewing over the things he says and trying to figure out what I think of them. I'm all excited because this type of article is exactly the kind of thing I'm interested in, and it's good, very very good, to have someone else's ideas to bounce off of and help form my own....but seeing as I have nothing substantial of interest to say at the moment, I'll leave you with this quotation, in some ways the nub of the article:

"If the improbable choice were given to Americans by some great jokester, 'Would you prefer to go on living in your country and be deprived of your Constitution and everything that it stands for, or would you prefer to take it with you to some new wilderness?' I am not quite sure what the results of the referendum would be."

Take the Constitution and run, right? That's what I thought, pretty much immediately. I should far rather lose the Rockies, the Grand Canyon, the Everglades and the Missisippi, Georgia's red clay and Oregon's hushed cloud forests, the glaciers of Alaska and the black sand beaches of Hawaii, and last but not least be deprived forever of a crisp fall day among the orange leaves in my native New England, than lose any one of those first ten amendments. Particulary the first. And it possible that no other country in the world would chose so?

Posted by Diablevert at 02:19 PM | Comments (0)

March 11, 2004

The Fruit of Eden

I’ve been reading a lot of Irish blogs lately, and I am strangely tempted by them.

As I mentioned once before, I’m planning to move in four months to a city I’ve never been to, something many people would consider risky verging on crazy. (Sounds a bit like an English village, that: “We stayed at the quaintest little B-n-B in Risky-Verging-On-Crazy.”) Most people in my situation would be sucking up all the information about their intended destination that they could.

Me, I’ve been actively avoiding that.

As much as I can, I want to arrive naked and guileless as a babe new-born into the world, feeling that my carefully preserved naiveté will lend my impressions a freshness and a snap that will make them more worth reading, and perhaps more entertaining to have. The endeavor in itself is a strange one, in the era of Google, when I am a mere click-type-click away from any fact or speculation I could desire. It’s hard to keep thinks unknown, keep impressions of a place your own, entire, and not merely the particular sheen imparted by shellacking a layer of actual experience onto a well-worn patina of books read, news heard, photos seen, movies watched, Mapquests downloaded and urban legends repeated. Even as I type this I realize that the mere attempt is fruitless and impossible, that I am the-woman-who-knew-too-much before I even begin, just for re-reading “The Dead” every Christmas. I especially, perhaps, with my refrigerator-door mind—plastered with factiods held still with stray shards of magnetic poetry—will have to fight off a ghost Dublin, a feisty wraith determined to stand between me and the city I’ll find, fogging over my impressions with itself. The last thing I want is to chew through every guidebook forty times until I’ve got them thoroughly digested, and arrive to find everything just as I expected, no surprises in store.

But I am human, you know. Thus the temptation of the blogs. I’ve found a few by Irish writer writers, and by people who’ve just moved to Dublin, and I want very much to read deep into their archives and take my comfort from their doubts and struggles, to write to them for hope and for advice. They’ve done it, you see. They’ve managed somehow, and accomplished that which I desire. In small things and in large, I want assurance, and my want is both desire and lack. But you can’t have assurance and danger, and I cannot read back a year into someone else’s life and trials without reducing to some degree all that which is left for me to discover…and so, I’m tempted.

Posted by Diablevert at 07:20 PM | Comments (0)

March 10, 2004

Abridged Conversation from Work Today, Roughly Paraphrased

Co-Worker A: "Fine, then. Let's ask Our Boss. Hey, Boss, do you eat bacon?"

Boss: "Sure, sometimes."

Co-Worker A: "But you don't think there's anything wrong with not eating bacon, right?"

Boss: "Sure, I ---"

Co-Worker B: "No, no, no, see --- what if your reason for not eating bacon was because of Wilber from Charlotte's Web?"

Boss: "What?"

Co-Worker A: "That movie really affected me!"

Diablevert buts in, unwanted

Me: "Well, what about spiders? Do you kill them? Because it seems to me like Charlotte was the protagonist of the ---"

Co-Worker A: "No, I do not."

Me: "Would you carry a spider's egg sack around in your mouth, acting as a human incubator? Because Wilber..."

Co-Worker B: "Damn straight. It's a precedent."

Co-Worker A: "Don't you have work to do?"

Me: "I'm just trying to establish the logic of your position, here, from a spirit of philsophical inquiry ---"

Boss: "Wait. Don't you have work to do?

Posted by Diablevert at 03:20 PM | Comments (0)

A Musing...

(Two words, not one, you are forewarned.)

One of the things that strikes you most about Ireland is how much the place actually resembles its postcards. This is surprising because with postcards you're always wondering what's cut out; they're visual epigrams, distillations of the picturesque, and you can almost feel the haphazard, functional, asymmetrical jumble of all the rest of it pushing at the edge of the frame, trying to knuckle its way in: high tension wires, concrete highway embankments, plastic grocery bags and tonic cans, all scattered along the side of the real road with its scenic overpass, and all very carefully edited out of the frame.

This is why, for the most part, Ireland's continual resemblance to its depictions is so very surprising --- sheep, check, stone wall, check, cottage, check, thatch, check, grass, green, blazingly bright as a sportscaster's jacket, check. Perhaps this is so continually surprising to Americans because we expect that only 5% or so of the actual scenery to look anything like what one thinks of as so representative --- white picket fence? Yes, but more often chain link. Long lone highway rolling on to infinity, stark red sandstone parapet reaching up to heaven like the earth crying out to God? Sure. There's a couple places in Nevada and New Mexico where you can see all that type of thing. Mostly, however, our highways run Target-Wall Mart-Barns & Noble-Sears-Applebee's-Mickey D's-car dealership-multiplex-office park. Repeat. For miles and miles, with the weather varying and the name and number of the fast food restaurants altering, adapting themselves to the minute variables of local consumer preference like the beaks of Galapagos birds. But, essentially, the same. That's what's so comforting about it.

Or perhaps its just seems so to me, a Northeasterner, a suburbanite. Out of prejudice and limited experience I form such firm opinions. But as the man said, in the long run we're all dead, and I've got to form my opinions out of something. Otherwise, no blog. And no conclusion to these fading trails of thoughts…

Posted by Diablevert at 12:02 PM | Comments (0)

A random thought: Tonic

I've decided to try and bring back tonic. It's a symonym for soda or pop, a peculiarly New England expression now fading out of use, but I like it, dammnit. It's old-fashioned and invigorating, and need not be always entwinned in its tumultous ménage à trois with vodka and gin.

I can't decide whether this is the first sign that I'm turning an eccentric, a crumudgeon, or a crank.

But, yeah. Tonic. "Do we have any Diet Coke left, or are we out of tonic?" Feels good.

Posted by Diablevert at 01:41 AM | Comments (0)

March 09, 2004

The Great Panic of 95

Taking a brief time out from converting the 80-plus hours I've worked the last week into 6 minute chunks of Orwellian doublespeak to remark that I have taken the irrevitable step: I have bought a ticket. End of June, JFK, round about 18:20. Or 6:20 in the evening, for those of us who keep sensible twelve hour days, and an irrational fondness for gallons, teaspoon, miles and yards. (Though I notice y’all don’t belly up to the bar an order a demi-litre, do yehs? A pint of plain is still your only man, eh?)

Mind you, had I been bolder I could have saved myself seventy-five bucks; I hemmed and hawed, hoping to snag a sweet summer deal, only to find that the fairly cheap price I'd been eyeing for the past two weeks was the cheap summer deal, and that by waiting until the publicaly announced it, I had waited until it sold out. In a fit of pique and agita, I then opted to get the next cheapest ticket (still not bank-breaking), feeling that prices were likely only to rise as people's vacation dreams drew nearer, and that I was too chicken to wait until the last minute in hope of a better price, what with the risk of having to pay full. Viz. she-who-hestiates, I grimly conceed that I will probably spot fares less than half what I paid at intervals for the next three months.

Still, it feels good to be committed. Good in a paralyzing anxiety kind of way. My job is like to be comsuing almost all my waking hours for the next few weeks, which I am of two minds about: "Money, Yay!" and "I'm going to kick the dust of this hellhole off my feet first chance I get, and then I'm going to stomp on it, and then I'll have to kick it off my feet again, but that's okay 'cause the third thing I'll do is spit on it so it stays down, take that, you soul-sucking leeches!"

But either way, I won't have much time to really attack the many, many tasks on my List (it's the unknown unknowns that scare me) until a couple months from now. Which will be less than a couple months from my departure date.

Did I mention that in a while back, in the spirit of keeping my eye on the light at the end of the tunnel, I painstakingly tapped a day-by-day countdown to my anticipated quit date (a week and a half before my flight) into the calender of my handheld organizer thingie? And that now everytime I go to look up a phone number it confronts me with the dwindling number of days I have left to prepare to leave the country of my birth, taking self, stuff and sanity along?

Consider it mentioned, in the post title.

Posted by Diablevert at 03:25 PM | Comments (0)

March 07, 2004

Sometimes I Almost think I believe in Karma

Even though I'm pretty sure "Karma" doesn't mean "rewarding my whining."

But thank you very much anyway, Mr. Fried Man.

Posted by Diablevert at 11:13 PM | Comments (0)

My soul, she is crushed.

I've only had like, seven visits in the past three days.

The interent hates me and I suck. And I was doing so well, too, all February.

I suppose you ingrates want me to write something new before you visit.


Posted by Diablevert at 02:32 PM | Comments (0)

March 04, 2004

Tableau Rasa

So, it's Thursday morning, and I've worked 49 hours this week.

I have nufthink, nufthink! --- to post.

Yet to keep up the pretense of This Little Blog O' Mine being a daily cattle prod to my bovine writerly self, I really ought to post.

Let's see...well, as I was telling my long-distance friend, dodong, I went to a lame party Saturday.

But I couldn't pinpoint why it was lame. You'd think it would have been okay, given a basic description: It was in the building across the courtyard from Eclaire. Two levels, liquor in the kitchen up top and a keg in the basement. There was a dj; the dj was, surprisingly, actually pretty good, the place was packed with an interesting mix of people, a bunch of whom I knew.

That may have been the core of the problem; in addition to the usual bunch of billyburg hipsters there was a sprinkling of frat boys and chipsters and at least one mini-posse of dudes with white-boy dreds. I discovered I am not merely aesthetically but physically repulsed by white-boy dreads; I was trying to squeeze down the staircase to the bottom floor of the duplex and one of them was standing by the knoll and I actually remember thinking,
"Must...not...touch...dreds..." Bleeuugh. Shiver.

Oh, and I saw a kegstand. I don't think I've ever actually seen a kegstand, what with LPU's floor and a half of Greek life. So, there's that. There was also the little circle of frat boys who elected to stand near us, eyeing the room nervously, punching each other in the shoulder, and filling up lapses in the coversation with, "Aaaawww, skriit skriit skriit skriit," and "I'm gonna get crunk tonight, man."

Thinking about it, and being willing to sound like a hippie, I think there was just a bad vibes interaction going on with that particular mix of people --- the frat kids making the hipsters more pretentious and the trustafarian chicks making the frat boys more obnoxious, the film geeks and the stoners multiplying each other's sulleness. And the twatball who brought a German fucking shepard to the party and let it run around the back yard barking at people wan't helping any. I mean, you got a golden retriever running around and sniffing everybody with a big drooly grin, you're all "Awwwww." Or at the worst, slightly annoyed. A German shepard darting back and forth as if pacing a cage, stopping every occassionally in order to stand in front of you and bark, every muscle taut, and you start to think, "If he lunges at me, I'll head fake left and go for his eye with my cigarette."

So, that was my weekend.

And you?

Posted by Diablevert at 11:14 AM | Comments (0)

March 02, 2004

The List, the Dreaded List

So, I'm still fairly early in this process, where I pack up my life and cares and start anew, rising on the stepping stones of my dead self to better yadda, yadda, yadda. I'm still in the fun part: The part where I get to make neat little lists of things to do, and feel all organized and take-charge, and don't have to actually do anthing, yet.

I spoke of lists; really, it's one list, The List. It started it a couple months ago, a very short little thing, stirring in its simplicity:

1. Get ticket
2. Send Stuff
3. Find House
4. Find Job
5. Write About Above

Five things! Who can't manage five simple things? Idiots, that's who.

Now, as the time for departure creeps ever closer, those five simple things have begun to break up, fragment, like walking closer and closer to a pointallist painting (remeber when they had that bit on Seaseme Street? Or maybe it was Mister Rogers. Or Reading Rainbow. Somebody had that bit.) About a month from now, I think it's gonna feel like I'm nose-to-canvas with a Seurat.

For now, though, the transformation has just begun. It's started with my daydreams; lately, I've been trying to move beyond idle images of a quiet Sunday in my Tastefully Decorated Cozy Cottage (located in an amazingly cheap yet charming and soon-to-be-fashionable area) toward more concrete details and planning --- ought I to get moving insurance? Remember to check the voltage of the DVD much would it cost to get a new CD player? I must buy this thing and sell those; I should follow-up with this person and send that one an e-mail; ect., ect. And the list burgeons.

What troubles me is not the things I think of when I set myself down to plan but the things I think of when I do most of my daydreaming, that is, during boring work and work related meetings; while crammed ramrod straight into the center of a packed L; just before the phone rings or my boss starts talking...I seem to just manage to think of something when I have to stop thinking of it and direct my attention elsewhere.

Such missed thoughts pester me like flies, a harsh buzz that swoops by my inner ear and away again as soon as I make a grab for it ---- BZZT! Make a Doctor's appointment! Don't forget me, I'm important! BZZZzzzz --- and I am left flailing around, peering searchingly into the attic corners of my mind, attempting to snag that darting thought and smack it down into an ink-black splat on the list.

The curse seems worst when I'm lying half awake in the mornings. It's most often then that a useful thought will land and begin a delicate upward crawl that just tickles my senses, and then I'll roll over, over shake it off, nod out for another couple minutes, and spend of the rest of the day knowing I have thought of something really important, and useful, and necessary, and not being able to remember what it is.

I'm sure there's a word in German for that.

I shouldn't complain too much, though; often enough I'll be saved, hours later, by a pure flash of inspiration: "Important documents! That's it! I have to make copies of my passport and other important documents! Praise, Jesus! Halleluja!" Often enough that I've decided to make this my whole strategy for figuring out what to put on The List, anyway.

Posted by Diablevert at 11:40 AM | Comments (0)

March 01, 2004

Diablevert wonders

If The Man* buys you dinner, and through your own stupidity you order a dinner that sucks, should you spend your own hard-earned money buying something you actually want to eat? Or does the double whammy of wasting a freebie and then spending your own hard earned cash --- in effect, nullifying an hour of overtime --- worse than sitting here for another four hours with my stomach grumbling? In effect, double grumbling, because it's not like I wasn't going to be going all rassa-frassa-suffrin'-succotash at having to be here that long anyway.

What is wrong with me?

1. Tarragon tastes like licorice
2. I don't like licorice

Both facts known to me at the time of ordering. And yet, I ordered. The fact that even as I clicked the order button I experinced a flicker of doubt ---- "If a dish has only four ingredients, and one of them is tarragon, I'm probably going to be able to taste it, huh?" --- only makes me the more chagrined.

There, now I feel slightly better. Now they just paid me for fifteen minutes of whinging to a vast and indifferent audience of international web-surfers. Ye shall know the taste of my vengence! Raarrghh!

*The Man being The Man, of course. That is, the outfit for which I work, whose cunning plan it is to lessen my resentment at being here at till the wee hours by paying for me to order food from the plethora of middling-to-crappy dining esablishements which dot midtown.

Posted by Diablevert at 08:07 PM | Comments (0)