Archive for November, 2011

The Times They Have a Changed

Masarwa man - http://natavillage.orgIt’s Pizza Day, which is my favorite day of the week. It’s a (scheduled) day every week on which I am allowed to eat pizza. To rationalize, it’s always a reward for something. This week it’s a reward for eating Brussels sprouts and broccoli. Pizza Day is always on a day off, so that it can be fully exploited with an entire Pizza Day regimen. This week it’s on Thursday, which is my home-office day.

In the morning I go shopping for pizza and the other things I’ll need to repair my body the day after Pizza Day. Then I take a bath and read about Abraham Lincoln. I organize the fridge and freezer, and then groom the cat with her awesome new grooming brush (Good Girl Cat Brush 69Kc at Tesco). I finalize preparations by downloading a good movie to watch with the pizza (A Man Called Horse starring Richard Harris, 1970, 114 minutes, color).

In my 38th year on this planet, this is what passes for excitement.

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Requiem for a Mouth Breather

There were two fat guys at the symphony that evening, the guy to my left and the guy to his right. We did not arrive together.

The man who walked into the Rudolfinum that evening was the fattest Czech I had ever seen. He waddled up the aisle with a dignity peculiar to sea mammals, and wore the somnolent mask of a pasta-stuffed mafia boss.

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Zen and the Art of Guilty Pleasure

Heating UpThe chicken is in the oven, the floors are drying and the washing machine is rumbling like my stomach after a double order of Rogan Josh from Ali Baba’s. All is right with the world.

We all have guilty pleasures. I know childless carpenters who watch Disney cartoons every weekend and PhD academics who, after three Gimlets, can name every Days of our Lives character. I know rugby players who dress as women for Halloween and then spend the entire evening alone on the couch watching movies in a dress and garter belt.

Domestic Sunday is my weekly guilty pleasure.

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The World is Going to End and I Blame Bjork

Mega-Tsunami in Manchester!A massive wave hits a tranquil monk banging a gong; an enormous aircraft carrier gets flipped by the ironically unpeaceful Pacific Ocean. After that, there are meteors hitting the Empire State building and tidal waves the size of mountains hitting New York City. Then Hitchcock’s birds, Godzilla, grumpy aliens, several airborne viruses and zombies.

No matter how you cut it, we are doomed.

This describes the cinematic line up in my house the day after (no pun intended) I read the science and nature section on or National Geographic. This week the article that attracts my sadomasochistic attention is ‘10 Disturbing Scientific Discoveries.’ I immediately click to read about the angry universe, which is evidently gunning for us humans for thinking that we have been the center of it for so long. And for Bjork music. I go on to read about how we are in between ice ages, and how the end of the human race, which is around the corner, promises to come in Micheal Bay-esque cinematic fashion. As if the world ending isn’t bad enough, it has to end like a Michael Bay movie. In other words, insult is introduced to injury.

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October 9th 2008 - The Space in Your Heart is the Pefect Size for a Family TreeI take a deep, shaky breath and step into the classroom. “Good afternoon,” I say, but even I can see through this paper-thin, greeting formality.

Nobody reacts, so it doesn’t matter.

I organize myself for class and observe the room. There are five students, however the room is dead quiet, adding to the melancholy aura. The students resemble extras in a post-apocalyptic zombie film. Their eyes are sunken and their pale skin is a precursor to its coming mid-winter, jaundiced yellow.

I put on light music and speak to the students in a distant voice as I write on the board. “Today we’ll talk about this,” I step aside to reveal our one-word theme:


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Reward Thyself

Scarlett JohanssonI hit the keys on my computer like a maniacal pianist, the taps play their thumping music as words are pouring out of me like blood from a head wound. When the writing flows it’s like being given an extra day of your life to spend with Scarlett Johannson and she’s only wearing a bikini made of cellophane.

The writing is so good at the moment that in some far off section of my brain I am imagining today’s writing reward: Four beers at my local pub, the tasty lamb knee with spinach and mashed potatoes and one Becherovka afterward. Life is good.

Writing is an easy thing not to do. Most people don’t have to write and if nobody is paying you to do it, you could very well put it on the back burner and forget all about it. And I could teach a PhD-level seminar on procrastination. To combat my natural laziness, I have installed a method of getting my fat rump into action.

I set specific goals, achieve them and then reward myself. Though my rewards are often ingestible, they are not limited to food and drink. I have rewarded myself with mindless (glorious) television, an extra hour of sleep and an hour of nerdifying on any of’s history blogs—before you ask, yes, I’m single, I know it’s amazing.

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The Becherovka Imp

Nige Becher...Sunday Waitress offers me a reverse nod on my way into the local pub for a post-writing beer. Before my rump is in the chair I am greeted with a beer and a Becherovka, proving why this local is a great post-writing locale.

I take down the Becherovka like place your favorite wildlife simile here and recline into the chair with a book of Ambrose Bierce stories.

The first Becherovka always tastes like 1.5 ounces of Christmas. Its flavor of herbs, cloves and cinnamon pierces like a tasty dart and spreads warmth throughout my chest and sternum. This warmth travels down my spine and nuzzles into my stomach like a well-fed kitten sleeping in the sun.

Sunday Waitress comes by and suggests a second Becherovka, and quite frankly it would be rude not to have one. The second one travels down the esophagus and joins the first in a liquid rendition of the tarantella. The second and first Becherovkas then work together to create a pleasing lightness in the stomach. This occasionally has a subsidiary zapping effect on the bowels.

I get into my book and listen to the rain hit the windows. Sunday Waitress comes back and as I nod assent to the third, I realize that she is somewhat cute in an ‘I have no major deformities’ kind of way.

And so, it has begun.

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A Bad -ucking Day

Jenna Not HappyThe -ist that connects squarely with my chin is holding the tattered end o- a shoelace. And it belongs to me. I grit my teeth and go about the relacing ritual, inching the lace out and measuring the slack needed to create an adequate pair o- laces with which to tie my shoe. -inally, a-ter two misjudgments and a misthread I have two two-inch laces. I -eel like Gulliver trying to tie one o- the gi-t boxes that Jokey Smur- is always leaving his blue compatriots.

I put on my other shoe and give mysel- the shoelace-gripping right hook that karma has been dying to deliver. And, once again, my neighbors are treated to another impromptu lesson on the creative vulgarities o- English.

As I step out the door and drill my elbow into the metal knob, I decide with a cool head and absolutely no embarrassing swearing that today the world is going to end. On top o- it all, I need to write a paper -or school and guess which -ucking letter on my -ucking keyboard is broken?

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