On the London riots

I only lived in London for half a year, but it’s one of my favorite places in the world and it will always feel like a home to me.

I was there in the beginning of 2005, only a few months after the reelection of the dreaded George W., and I remember thinking that compared to America, England felt like the sanest place in the universe. During our orientation, a member of the House of Lords came and told us about the way things worked in the UK: police without guns, pickpocketing but very little violent crime, government-funded higher education and healthcare, and a Prime Minister who must regularly defend his actions to the Parliament and the people. And most of all, a reasonable, educated populace who took an interest in the world around them. I know I was only stopping through and can’t speak as someone who actually grew up in the UK, but these were the impressions that I got during my time there.

When shit goes down in London, I feel a pang for it the same way I’d feel for any place I lived, the same way I’d feel about something that happened in my own country. Which brings me to the recent riots. I have far from a full understanding of them, but there’s something so fundamentally horrible about it all. A city that seemed to me one of the most reasonable and enlightened in the world, for all its problems and failings, for all its long history of unrest, devolving at such a rapid rate.

Honestly, what is wrong with people? Why do people suck? This whole mob mentality thing is seriously fucked up. Of course it also sounds like there’s some seriously legit sociopolitical beef behind all of this, but that doesn’t undo the fact that this kind of reaction is not the way to work through issues. Are human beings honestly just barbarians two layers below the skin? Does society fall away that easily?

Half-formed thoughts, I know. Just had to get this out.

Blizzards and skeezy Santas

Listening to: “Another World” – Antony & the Johnsons

Greetings from the heart of the Northeastern Seaboard’s Neverending Blizzard ’08! It’s already put me on postpone for 2 plays this weekend–luckily rescheduling is set to occur. Can’t afford to miss out on writing assignments this month. You know that old carol “Christmas is coming, the goose is getting fat, etc. etc.”? Yeah, I’m the one who hasn’t got a ha’penny and needs some god-blessing.

Still, I think I’ll always have a Pavlovian joy response to snow days, even when I’ve got no work or school from which to play hooky. Last night Tuck and I holed up at Ryan and Rog’s and watched Mad Men and had Schnapps-spiked hot cocoa, while the snow piled up in drifts over Brookline. The mutt definitely digs the snow–sometimes it even makes him forget his debilitating fear of the Green Line–all old smells covered up, fluffy whiteness belly-high, and the whole world fresh and up for grabs. He leap-runs through deep snow in winter the same way he does through the tide in the summer when I bring him to the beach. I wonder what the beaches must look like now–totally surreal, no doubt. You never really see the image of snow falling on ocean waves.

Today out my bedroom window I saw a scrawny guy standing in a full Santa suit on the sidewalk, just chillin’. A girl walks up to him and–I shit you not–sticks her hand down his woolly red pants. And we’re talking deep–like, grab-the-dude’s-dick-and-flail-it-around-a-bit deep. Santa didn’t seem particularly aroused, but it was hard to read the eyes buried between the beard and hat. I’m telling you man, only in Allston.

Alright, time to go dig out the ol’ car so I can get to Cafenation and get some actual productive freaking writing done. I’ll leave you with an image of what I wish I were doing this fine, snowy evening:

Don’t we all, my friend

Listening to: “Sons and Daughters” – The Decemberists

So I was browsing the Writing Gigs section of dear ol’ Craigslist, and I came across this gem:

Ah, the lot of a writer. We are but lowly creatures, who will take any work, even if there’s no pay and our boss is some random twatbag who happens to have broadband. On the North Shore, no less. I wonder if he’ll let me telecommute?

Check. No more butt-monkey.

“Dammit! You know what? I’m sick of this crap. I’m sick of being the guy who eats insects and gets the funny syphilis. As of this moment, it’s over. I’m finished being everybody’s butt-monkey!”

You tell ’em, Xan. This was the quote that immediately popped into my mind in the wake of this morning’s events. Dog eats chicken bone. Girl gets laid off from job. Again.

At least I got to climb a mountain before this latest epic fail. Argh blargh blooch blechasllasfalskjfaslfkj.

So, right. Will not be butt-monkey. Full of good cheer. Off to sulk on the couch for a few hours now. Cheers.

Why people suck, reason #337

Listening to: “Kalamazoo” – Ben Folds

Let’s just call a spade a spade here, huh? Or in this case, let’s not call it a spade if it’s not a spade. So here’s your lesson for the day: NOT CAMPING does not equal CAMPING.

According to the ever-incisive, journalistically daring, in-no-way-lame Boston Globe’s latest trend-wank piece, the glamping craze is sweeping the country like a plague of boils. Yes, glamping–“glamorous camping.” The latest insipid portmanteau to worm its way into the lexicon, possibly even worse than such botulism-inducing “words” as staycation, infotainment, and Newgrass.

The idea of glamping is that you go camping and experience the great outdoors, except without actually camping or experiencing the great outdoors. Not uncommon are “camping butlers,” WiFi stations, and s’more delivery services. Cause you know, s’mores are incredibly difficult to make oneself:

“Lori Karger of Weston may be the ultimate luxury camper. In April she and her husband, Stewart, spent a night in a two-story air-conditioned, beautifully appointed treehouse at the year-old Winvian resort in Litchfield Hills, Conn. Winvian sits on a private 113-acre estate with a a Frenchtrained chef and 18 themed cottages designed by different architects. Several of the cottages evoke the fantasy of being on a wilderness camping trip.

These include a $1,700-per-night “camping cottage” with trees painted on the walls and a ceiling painted like a night sky, and the $1,950-per-night “charter oak cottage,” with an actual charter oak poking up in the living room. All cottages, including the treehouse, have fireplaces, jacuzzi bathtubs, Italian linens, espresso coffee systems, radiant floor heating, and pop-up plasma TVs.”

THAT’S NOT CAMPING, you flaming, flaming bags of douche. That’s a fucking luxury hotel room with a fucking tree in it.

My life in the rain

Listening to: “Driving” – Everything But the Girl

So I’ve pretty much been wet for five days straight. And not in the fun way. What with reviewing mounds of outdoor theater here in Boston (As You Like It in the Common gets interrupted by torrential downpour smack in the middle of “All the world’s a stage…”) and camping and mountain climbing in the Mahoosucs, I suppose it’s not surprising. But seriously, New England–give me a fucking break, will you?

Sooner or later I’ll end up like the forest-bound French regiment in Calvino’s The Baron in the Trees, covered in moss and moisture and looking more plant than human. Or like Moist in Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog: “Is there anything you need dampened… or made soggy?”

Anyway, it’s nice to be sitting in my dry apartment, even if all the lightbulbs have been mysteriously dying, and the water pressure in the bathroom seems to ebb with the rains.

Mt. Success, take two was indeed a success, if a dubious one; it was so rainy and foggy up there, we could barely tell we were on a mountaintop. But the plane crash near the summit (from 1954!) was fucking awesome. Here’s a shot taken partway up the trail, taken with my camera that’s now half-ruined from all the wet:

Just started reading Midnight’s Children by Rushdie. So far, reads like an Indian version of 100 Years of Solitude–which is by no means a bad thing. Every nation needs its magical realist epic novelist-laureate, I suppose.

In other news, I am bored with growing out my hair and am resisting the strong urge to chop it all off again. And I would love if dear little fuzzy life would slow down for a sec so I could maybe take a breath. But breathing is a luxury of the aristocracy.