4/02/2003

Day 3 of London.

At this point, Day 3 of London happened two weeks ago and change, and I'm still recapping and it's taking forever, but I figure hey, people still write about the Civil War, and that happened way more than two weeks ago. So here goes.

Day 3 of London was Official History Day. For days we'd watched history pass us by through a bus window. Now it was time to get our hands all dirty and dusty and historical.

The morning was free, and all the girls in our group wanted to go shopping. The fellas opted for a tourist trap called the London Dungeon, because it was bound to involve way more blood and people's intestines being eaten by rats than, say, Harrod's. We were not disappointed, although I was disappointed that my camera crapped out of batteries just before we got inside. You'll have to go without visual aids for this part. Just imagine a lot of dummies covered in red tempra paint, their computerized voice boxes screeching at regular intervals. Also imagine a bunch of theatrical types who, for whatever reason, can't get a gig in one of London's ten thousand play houses so they spend their days demonstrating ancient instruments of torture (an inordinate number of which seemed to focus on the testicles) on well-paying tourists. You'll have a pretty good idea of how we spent our morning.

That afternoon, we looked up History in the phone book, and we went and hit it up where it lives. The British Museum. I assure you, it was home with all the lights on.

I was still out of batteries, having had no real chance to recharge back at the hotel. But Ashley was nice enough to loan me her spare, because Alecia, Ashley and I all have the same camera (Brian does now, too). There are benefits to being in the cult of the Canon S200. The new battery was just in time, too, because slumping reluctantly towards the front gate, waving bloody placards, followed by a gaggle of museum security and police, were a bunch of real-live authentic...



HIPPIES!


I almost ran faster than I did after Martha Stewart to greet these brave voices of dissent. I swear I was giggling, which is I think why the bearded fellow is giving me that look. I was excited, these pictures are going in the scrapbook so I can say, Look, kids, there was a time when all the great idiocies of the world (radical Islam, oil paranoia, record store employees) congealed into one great mass and converged on the British Museum wearing bloody sheets! And your father was there to capture the whole thing!

I do like the font on that sign, though. Kind of reminds me of Thriller.

No, the guy holding one end of the official "Stop The War" bedsheet isn't Ralph Macchio, the Karate Kid, don't let the headwear fool ya. I was just as disappointed as you are. The young lady taking a bold stance on "Wars of Mass Destruction," despite the fact that this has been, so far, one of the least destructive conflicts in history to the civilian population (although granted, this was a couple days before the war started, and there was no way of knowing if Bush and Blair were just gonna go Wild Bunch on the motherfucker, YEE-HAW), is carrying a blanket. I later found out why. Apparently all these lone voices of reason in had gone and lied down in the Assyrian exhibit, near the museum entrance. Assyria, being, of course, where Iraq is today. They were supposed to be the civilian casualties we will no doubt inflict in our unilateralist oil thirst. Why they haven't been lying down in the Assyrian exhibit to protest the purposeful killing of 275,000 Iraqi citizens from the modern-day Assyrian emperor is beyond me, but hey, let's not talk politics here. What I love is that she brought her blankie. I want to show my solidarity for the helpless Iraqi people crushed beneath the wheels of imperialism, I want to feel their pain. But museum floors are so cold and Mummy says I must have proper lumbar support.'

I like the fact that if you "show solidarity" for imaginary Iraqis by laying down on a quilt and then getting nicely asked to leave by the cops, you're brave, but if you put your life on the line to feed, clothe, and free real Iraqis, you're a murderous bully.

But there I go again. Politics.



After the oppressed truth-speakers dispersed, we met up with our tour guide. She gestured with her hands A LOT. And when you have to have words to accompany your gestures, so as you may imagine she talked A LOT. But who can blame her. When you have to recap all of history in two hours for a bunch of teenagers, half of whom couldn't care less and just wanted to go back to the hotel and take a nap, you have to make those words count.



Saw a lot of this. The guide would charge through the crowds, duck in and out of a bunch of huge rooms, each containing things we wanted to see but didn't have time for, then would thrust this hand up in the air and wait for every last straggling unneccesary picture taking one of us to trickle in before she'd start talking.



Above: Fast-talking tour guide with frieze of The Parthenon. She explained the whole story, all etched in stone that stretched around one of mankind's greatest architectural achievements. I don't remember any of it now, but I'm reasonably certain it involved horses.



What they don't teach you in Art History: A good deal of Greek architecture was adorned with the upper torsos of older Korean ladies. Strange but true, kids. Strange but true.



After the Parthenon, guide lady let us free in the Egyptian section. It was big. You'd think these guys made irreplacable contributions to the world as we know it, or something.



This was a continuation of the surreality of the whole London experience. Here we were, inches away from the kind of history you usually only read about. Gold-plated sarcophagi. The Rosetta Stone. Objects the eyes of Antony and Cleopatra may have glanced over. Stuff that makes you seem temporary, or makes you want to make things worth putting behind glass and keeping for all time. Makes you wonder how people can devote their lives to this stuff, the whole time looking backwards when to you all these things say, look forward, go out, do. But then you're glad there are people who devote their lives to these things, who put them on pedestals and behind triple-thick glass, because what happened yesterday matters.

And then you realize the tour guide and your travel companions are three rooms ahead of you while you're still gaping at a bust of Marcus Aurilieus. And you start looking for that hand.



Also makes you thank Ra for proper dental care. Did I mention that?



I could've wandered around for hours, but others were less enthusiastic. Jack, Tim, Alecia, and Ashley split early and went back to the hotel. Then we went into another room, the guide babbled about a chest full of gold for five minutes, and said, that's the tour, see you later. So after a brief stop at the gift shop, we said goodbye to the British Museum and pretty much all the important objects mankind's produced, ever.



And the museum was like, See ya.



And the objects were all, Don't be a stranger.


And we were out.

That night, while my camera rested deservedly in the hotel room, we went across town for some stereotypical Brit food: Fish and chips! It was disturbing, not just because it wasn't very good, but because the place reminded me of an old-timey ice cream parlor and it just throws you for a loop when you're thinking ice cream and you're tasting mediocre fried whitefish.

Then we did what everybody back home kind of assumed was the whole purpose of the trip because we're, you know, theatre kids: We saw a play. My Fair Lady, to be exact. The parts I was awake for were stupendous. A highlight, (I don't know if it was ad-lib or in the original script, and it's been two weeks, so I'm paraphrasing): I told you not to go to those fancy French places. Why didn't you go to a nice English shop? At least there you can be certain everyone's on our side!

Uproarious applause, from everyone except the hot French girls sitting behind us. I was going to bust my extensive francais at intermission, but I didn't think they'd want to know where my baguette was in relation to the Eiffel Tower, or that I had a big fish. Oh well.

Not to backtrack, but at dinner, Kenzie took the only good picture of me in existence.



From right to left: Matt, Jack, SUAVEST MOTHERFUCKER ALIVE LOOKIN' ALL GQ AND SHIT, Tim.


I'd do me.


We saw a lot that third day. But the best of all the artifacts was sported by an Indian guy handing out flyers on Oxford Street. Not to generalize based on a small sample, but the Indian people in England rock. First Sanjay, greatest waiter alive, then this guy, rocking this hat:



Really kinda says it all, doesn't it?

4/01/2003

One thing they oughta have is significant-other detox.

Get in a bad breakup and can't get that girl out of your head? Wouldn't you like it if you could go to a pleasantly furnished, sterile environment, pay a small fee, and they'd lock you in a room for, oh, I don't know, a week or so. It would be awful, of course, those initial hours. I don't know how withdrawl came to be known as "cold turkey," because I love cold turkey, but no one would love this. There'd be crying, of course, but you'd be all alone so you wouldn't mind letting it out. Then every eight hours or so nurses would come by and give you drugs, and surprisingly good food, and say nice things about your hair and how sexy you look, so you'd think there was a future beyond that significant other, maybe even with these nurses. Then after 48 hours, you'd pee into a cup, and they'd put in a couple of drops of blue liquid, swirl it around, and if it turned, I don't know, let's say puce (the official color of heartbreak), they'd say, see you in another 48. But if it turned clear, they'd know she was out of your system. You wouldn't know what was in those drugs, but really, would you care? Then they'd send you back into the world, ten pounds lighter just for having dropped off all that emotional baggage. Ready to get your game on.

I'm not saying they'd make you forget. I'm just saying they'd take all the hurt out of remembering.

Hot nurses are a plus, too.


Another thing that they need, well, it's not really something that you could invent. It's more something they missed out on adding when they, whoever they are, were building the universe and putting humanity into it. When we spit words into the air, they shouldn't just hit the ears of whoever and whatever's in listening range and then be dead to the rest of the world. Bad move, universe-creators. All spoken word, however trivial, should float up and get trapped, like a helium balloon in your living room. Every ceiling ever built should be covered thin invisible layer of every syllable ever uttered under it. Then before you moved you'd pay guys to come in and vaccuum them off, run them through a decompressor in their van and burn them to a CD. None of us would want our own CDs, though. I think, numero uno, half the things I said would be painfully dumb in retrospect, and two, I hate hearing my recorded voice, I think I sound like a bumbling cartoon walrus. But we'd also get to hear everything ever said under that roof before we lived there. Instant history.

Oh, and we might want to put a net around the Earth, since some of history's greatest lines were uttered outdoors, like the Gettysburg Address, or most of what Jesus said, Buddha as well, probably, and on a more personal note, maybe your dad asking your mom to marry him on a hillside where they'd set up a picnic back in Spring 1978. People bitch about recycling but no one bothers to think of all the auditory gold we send drifting off into space.

Aliens have probably figured out how to do this already, and they're sitting on the dark side of Pluto with headphones on, giggling at the fact that we can't even stick to the rules of grammar we all agreed on.

They're also wondering who this "DC Pierson" character is all the female voices of Earth keep speaking about in such reverent tones.

Right here, guys.

3/31/2003

In a flash, all your friends are gone.

One second they were there, all of them, and now you fucked up and vamoose, no more friends.

But that's only if you're a dumbass like me and just deleted your entire AIM buddy list. Fuckity fuck shit fuck. I must've been working on that thing for years. It was a finally attuned list of people I'd need access to at any given time for any number of reasons. People who are good reference sources. People who know if something's going on tonight. People who know if stuff is due tommorrow. People to whom I can tell my deepest, darkest secrets. People who are Alecia, which is just kind of a reason in itself.

I thought I was deleting just one person, someone I don't remember why I added them in the first place, don't even remember who they are, and I didn't stop to read the box that said "ARE YOU REALLY SURE YOU WANT TO DELETE EVERY SINGLE SCREENNAME HERE, DUMBASS? IS THAT REALLY WHAT YOU WANT?" and click, anyone categorized under the incredibly specific and elite heading of "Buddies" was gone. "Co-workers" is still there. And still empty as the day I downloaded AIM all those many years ago.

Maybe someone's telling me something. Maybe this is my chance to turn over a new life. Start anew. Only after disaster can we be reborn...like that movie with Ed Norton and Brad Pitt. You know. 3 Ninjas: High Noon At Mega Mountain, I believe it was called. Now's a once in a lifetime opportunity to re-evaluate who really matters to me. Gone are the petty aquaintances and superficial "friends." In their place, my true blue compadres, and any petty aquaintance that has given me five bucks in exchange for a spot on the exclusive list of people I need to be able to send text and emoticons to instantaneously, day or night.

Or maybe someone's telling me I need to go to bed.

Yes, that could be it.

Semi-related 3 Ninjas note: No matter what the gender of my future children, I am naming them Rocky, Colt, and Tum Tum. Any babymother that disagrees with me had best to get her head right before she winds up in divorce court.

3/30/2003

Strained metaphor time.

Once upon a time there was a little boat. Actually, in the beginning, it wasn't a boat. It was just lumber and nails and cloth sitting on the dock. But over time, with much hard work and carpentering skills, it began to take shape, and look like something resembling a seafaring vessel.

All day, while under construction, the little boat would watch the bigger boats head out to sea. It looked dangerous out there. They'd get battered by waves, strewn on jagged rocks. Some would come back with sails torn and rudders dashed. Others wouldn't come back at all. But the little boat knew that as long as he was in the harbor, being built, he'd be safe from all those things.

Boat-building takes a long time, but the days of watching the other boats unfurl their sails and head out seemed to get shorter and shorter. The sun would disappear into the distant ocean horizon more frequently than it ever had. The little boat was almost ready. It was freshly painted, its sails were hung, the crew was boarding.

One older boat said, "Can you believe you're about to graduate from high school, little boat?"

And the little boat said, "Fuck no."
One problem I have is stealing the focus.

When other people are getting attention, I want attention too.

But sometimes you just have to give credit where credit is due, and let the spotlight shine where it should, and right now its luminous diameter should be just big enough to fit in Hosemonster and a man I'm very proud to call friend, Guillermo.

They are, as they say in the hip-hop community, killin' it. And we're all very lucky people to have their writing just a click away.