Saturday, 31 October 2009

great pumpkin

Halloween is a strange sort of holiday, and I bet this one will be the scariest yet with the slow, creeping spread of Swine Flu. It is sort of rather a bump in the road towards the long processing of the holiday season to come, and in Europe at least, transitional since we had the time change and the dark days that make for a zombified sort of week, miserable and staving off everyone else's contagions. I got candy to ward off the reprisal of the neighbourhood kids, but I doubt we'll have many visitors, unless parents can convince their children the hottest costumes are doctors and nurses and Asian tourists (with surgical masks--who's laughing now?), like the cast of Outbreak, Twelve Moneys, the Thaw, etc.

Monday, 26 October 2009

fall back

It's really bizarre how annual time bids a hasty retreat. I am sure that those who conceived of this plan and its perpetuators find the ritual rather laughable, that people dutiful greet the sunrise an hour earlier one Monday a year--afterwards, the novelty wears off. It's just a brighter shade of grey in the mornings and depressingly dark too early, even on days when one can escape from work a bit sooner. There's even apparently a different change date for the States. On Sunday morning, there was a time warp happening at home, with computers and cell phones smart enough to adjust themselves and most other gadets transposed somewhere in the future. It's not nice to fool Father Time

Wednesday, 21 October 2009


Good old Diploma Mill University is presenting an unending challenge. Mostly I manage to reap descent marks, however, I would have better overall grades if I just managed to follow directions and not take off running with a flash of colourful prose and a witty twist of phrase that I cannot bring myself it edit out. Sometimes it is hard to read expectations, especially in an on-line environment with a class full of beauty-school drop-outs (go back to high school) and the temptation just to phone it in. It is hard to find a posting or email that is anything but terse and rushed, as if these were telegrams and one was paying by the letter. Even plagiarism, though not a real temptation for me, is like this strange sort of monolith that no one speaks of, save beating up on Wikipedia for lack of academic rigour--universities universally condemn Wikipedia, I think, out of jealousy and a sense of self-preservation. If one searches for any permutation of the rubric of the assignment, one will quickly uncover those completed assignments for sale or complete crib notes with abstracts and references that one can cut and paste and submit.

Sunday, 18 October 2009

lumberjack orgy

Though having committed to the delivery way back at the end of August through a popular auction website, our supply of firewood was not brought by until later Saturday evening. I guess that H and I will not be hearing Torch Bunny transform very much this winter, or the next, since we've been rained on with an embarrassment of kindling. The whole process, delayed as it was, was sort of strange and suspect. And most deliveries in Germany stop at one's threshhold or at the bottom of the stairwell, but I was a bit miffed that the guy dumped his trailer full of wood in front of ours and neighbour's garages. To his credit, he spent a good half hour tossing logs into the big pyramid that now occupies H's parking spot. Unceremoniously dumping the timber onto the driveway and street did not exactly strike me as unprofessional, but I just had the thought in my head that it would come shirnk-wrapped on pallets that were four neat and stowable cubic meters. We're still sorting through it all. Some is a bit rough-hewn and young but certainly conbustable enough. In the run-up to the arrival of the wood, the Wood--it's an entity, real-estate in its own right, we stoked a fire a frantic pace, letting our supplies dwindle and had the house an obscenely toasty 23° Celcius, and now it's like some Elemental Smack-Down in our house. Fire versus Wood, Heat versus Cold. Before, the only time it seemed like I hosted such a battle royale was in my old place, when the water pipes had frozen after being away one bitterly cold weekend and the faucets refused to cooperate until a coaxed thaw.

Friday, 16 October 2009

torch song trilogy

This will be the third time I have commented our rather fancy and complicated home heating system. The corporate logo for the manufacturer is a silver rabbit, which I have called Torch Bunny for the whooshing, flame-on sound that comes from the compartment when a hot water tap is turned on anywhere in the building. I am a bit morose over Torch Bunny lately, however, as I understand that in Stockholm, the carcasses of culled urban rabbits are being incinerated to heat the city. With the cold weather coming, Torch Bunny is making a new sound, when the pipes are activated by remote-control or on the hopeless complex automatic timer, almost like the sound-effect that accompanies a Transformer's transformation.

Thursday, 15 October 2009

writers' bloc

I have felt rather uninspired lately, but I have been banging out papers and essays for school like no one's business. I wonder if one is only apportioned a certain amount of creativity per diem. That seems like a gift that should not be squandered on sophistry. Perhaps deadlines have a way of stealing away what you would rather hold in trust.

Tuesday, 13 October 2009

signore superlatives

Since this summer, an Italian website has been hosting a year-long on-line vote to determine the most beautiful object in the world. Right now the front-runner is this exquisite minimalist fireplace. This competition is not strictly for best in design, however, but the winner will be representative of the best mankind can create--the fireplace is very nice but a little johnny-come-lately compared to a van Gogh or a Miro; I guess an object is not catagorically the smae as a work of art--and put in a time-capsule for prosperity. A diamond and a sleek coffee-maker are also in serious contention. Voters are also invited to send the website their messages to the future for inclusion in the time-capsule.

Sunday, 11 October 2009

Mortimer I. Marker was a thinly veiled reference to Mortimer J. Adler

Claire and Rudi and Vanessa must be proud of Cliff Huxtable... So Obama won the Noble Peace Prize--and while I find it exciting despite countless unrecognized individuals that struggle quietly, the greater part of me wants this to turn out to be a joke. Since when were Nobles handed out for potential? Without mentioning his nomination was put in just weeks after the election when the Birthers were still trying to decide if Hawaii was part of the Union, Obama has little else going for him other than the potential to undo all the destructive policies of the previous regime. I am hopeful but Obama has not managed to accomplish that yet, nor restore America's relevance as a world-player. Is there now supposed to be a sophomoric Noble curse? It is a joke-honourarium like the cover of Time magazine for Man of the Year? I pray that he is able to live up that hope. It was ingracious of him to accept the prize, rather than respectfully turn it down. Even worse, Obama accepted it on behalf of all Americans--I am fairly certain that they won't rise to the occasion.

Wednesday, 7 October 2009

post cards from the edge

Just back from a gorgeous sabbatical, I plan to start posting again here, though I will dearly miss documenting my travels with H. Perhaps we should keep up with the journal-makers and start our little domestic blog or some such thing. During the long trip home, I was reminded just how sweet a place home is, and also how much fun it was to retrace an old beat with someone else. I might consider going back to all my old haunts. Ostensibly, travel is also seeing if something is worth the while to see again, though one rarely does that. Really. One should keep true to those rituals, like kissing a statue's foot or tossing a coin in a foutain that promise a return trip.