Wednesday, 24 December 2008

Merry Christmas

Well, my darlings, I'm off to work in a few, I'm just getting ready for a Christmas busier than* I've ever experienced. They just were never that big a deal in my family and I suspect overall Christmas isn't as big over here as they are in other countries. (Thanks to Calvin.)

After work I'll be going directly to K's in Amsterdam, because tonight we're going to a party at Prik's very own DJ Gina's house, tomorrow we'll be spending with a wonderful couple from down under and on Boxing Day we're set to have drinks with a bunch of UUs at our minister's house.

Gotta go and check I have enough clean underwear.

Merry Christmas!

MJ


* I finally bought Michael Tollive Lives yesterday and in the back are short profiles of the other Tales of the City books. In one of them it says something like "they got more then they expected". (At least it wasn't in the book itself, but still... Ouch!)

Sunday, 21 December 2008

Tuesday, 16 December 2008

the DARK side

mouse

So yes, I caved in and bought an iPod, okay? It's a classic, 120GB, my Christmas present to myself, his name is mouse and he's black charcoal. Right now he's quietly synchronising in the corner.

But that's not the real story. The real story is that I stood there in one of the major electronics store chains in the country and they wouldn't take my money. I say money, I mean my plastic: the cashier told me she couldn't accept my credit card if it wasn't signed. I had my passport at the ready, which of course does have my signature and is a legal means of identification.

After I told her "Well then I guess that's it then" I left without looking back and found it for the same price at another store.

Monday, 15 December 2008

I will have been drunk this Christmas

The Ghost of Christmas Future Perfect Passive

With thanks to David, who almost made me spit out a drink through my nose by posting this.

Sunday, 14 December 2008

noon

Amsterdam comes alive at noon on Sundays. You can almost set your watch to it.

The sun that shone in my eyes earlier to wake me has disappeared behind a thick layer of grey cloud, but there are boats on the canals, cars on the streets and families with children bundled up all around.

The parking police are also out on the streets. It's a good thing K put Ellen to bed in the underground garage last night.

Saturday, 13 December 2008

hooray for Hollywood

This blog got a visit from Twentieth Century Fox last night. I'm curious who was surfing from work and why, especially because they arrived here from this blog.

Also I'm slightly worried that they did a search that landed them on this post of mine...

Should I be worried?

Friday, 12 December 2008

art appreciation

I'm on the train back from drinks in Amsterdam. I was supposed to meet K but I knew a good friend of his, the artist John O'Carroll, was in town and I was hoping to catch him.

A little while back I did some translation work for him because something had good wrong and the original translator couldn't do it. And now the book with those translations has been published and I got a signed copy from him over caipirinhas at a gay bar called Getto on the Warmoesstraat.

K got his copy - actually the one Johnny had meant to inscribe for the Queen but he messed up the word "magesty" - as did K's ex, R, with the inscription next to the picture of a painting that has been hanging in his living room for some time now. In fact he's got more of Johnny's art in the cellar (I mentioned my, currently, bare walls, I may be in with a shot) that he's storing for him.

Then Johnny discovered something strange about my copy: it repeats itself between pages iv and 4. Unfortunately for him, mine seems to be the only one, so he won't be able to get another run done for free. Fortunately for me, mine seems to be the only one, so maybe it'll be worth something someday.

In the meantime I'm going to have to console myself with being named as a collaborator in a book in the British Library. So they dropped an "r" from my first name, I'm not too proud.

Funny thing about "r"s... the locksmith making nameplates for my doorbell and mailbox changed the one in my last name to an "n".

P.S. I have just discovered that pages 43 till 55 are missing. But I don't care, my book is special.

Thursday, 11 December 2008

straight out of Columbo

An actor narrowly escaped death after slashing his throat on stage with a real knife, instead of a blunt stage-prop blade.

Daniel Hoevels slumped to the floor with blood pouring from his neck during a performance at Vienna's Burgtheater.

He was rushed to hospital with a deep slice to his throat which fortunately missed his main artery.

Austrian police are investigating whether the incident was a mistake or a deliberate attack on the actor.

Source: BBC

Columbo

Diamond bracelets Woolworths doesn’t sell

Nor anything else for that matter - at least that's how it looks for the UK branch. The company has supplied British families with a wide range of goods for 99 years and now the variety seems to be it’s downfall.

Today saw the start of store closure sales in all 815 outlets - good for Christmas shoppers looking for a bargain, but not so good for their 30,000 employees. Administrator Deloitte is trying to save as much as possible of the chain by this sale and trying to : "Christmas is clearly the busiest time of the year for retailers and it is prudent to do all we can to sell existing stock."

Some of the other retailers may be interested in the most profitable parts, but Theo Paphitis from the Dragon's Den has not deemed it worth his while.

I just wanted to use that headline, really.

Wednesday, 10 December 2008

apology to cows

Sunday, December 7

On the train to Amsterdam, empty fields have been replaced by forests of office buildings. I forgot my Precious and feel isolated. My ankle hurts less although I aggravated it yesterday by driving (took a long time to get comfortable in bed last night because of the nagging pain) and this morning getting on my bike - must remember not to extend my toes, on purpose or by accident.

Two jackdaws sitting on a railing at a train station, all fluffed up to keep warm. One moves closer to its companion. Could one keep them? I would only do it if I had a large aviary. Space I don't have.

There is also a pretty little church next to the station and next to that, a small patch of green field, cut through by steel spikes of water. Relics of an older age, a way of life that no longer exists in the surrounding neighbourhoods and office parks.

The sun is shining today, like the Roman Pantheon the sky is covered by grey clouds on the horizon but the warm rays shine through the opening at the top of the dome.

City living. I couldn't live in the countryside, I love having shops and restaurants nearby, not to mention doctors, pharmacies, cashpoints, public transport. And people. They don't have to talk to me, but I love watching them.

Maybe I'm doing cows a big disservice now.

my gay CDs

Through Uroskin, I bring you Out Magazine USA's 100 gayest albums of all time. Like him, I have marked the ones I own:

100 The Beatles - Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band
99 Joni Mitchell - For The Roses
98 Ferron - Testimony
97 Janis Ian - Between The Lines
96 Nick Drake - Bryter Layter
95 Culture Club - Kissing To Be Clever
94 Hair Original Broadway Cast - Hair
93 Sade - Lovers Rock
92 Morrissey - Viva Hate
91 Grace Jones - Nightclubbing
90 Kate Bush - The Kick Inside
89 Fifth Column - To Sir With Hate
88 Hüsker Dü - Zen Arcade
87 Madonna - Confessions On A Dance Floor
86 Madonna - Madonna
85 Nina Simone - Anthology
84 Cyndi Lauper - True Colors
83 Bette Midler - The Divine Miss M
82 Cher - Believe
81 Scissor Sisters - Ta-Dah
80 Rufus Wainwright - Want One
79 T. Rex - Electric Warrior
78 Various - The Rocky Horror Picture Show Soundtrack
77 New Order - Substance
76 Ani DiFranco - Imperfectly
75 Carole King - Tapestry
74 Michael Jackson - Off the Wall
73 Various - Fame Soundtrack
72 Donna Summer - Once Upon a Time
71 Elton John - Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy
70 Rent Original Broadway Cast - Rent
69 Frances Faye - Caught In The Act
68 Nirvana - Nevermind
67 Hüsker Dü - Candy Apple Grey
66 Soft Cell - Non-Stop Erotic Cabaret
65 Le Tigre - Le Tigre
64 Patti Smith - Easter
63 Björk - Debut
62 Jeff Buckley - Grace
61 Sleater-Kinney - Dig Me Out
60 R.E.M. - Automatic For The People
59 Bronski Beat - The Age of Consent
58 Liz Phair - Exile in Guyville
57 Prince - Dirty Mind
56 Team Dresch - Personal Best
55 David Bowie - Diamond Dogs
54 Tori Amos - Little Earthquakes
53 Culture Club - Colour By Numbers
52 Kate Bush - Hounds of Love
51 Frankie Goes To Hollywood - Welcome to the Pleasuredome
50 Rufus Wainwright - Poses
49 Patti Smith - Horses
48 Cris Williamson - The Changer and the Changed
47 The Magnetic Fields - 69 Love Songs
46 Madonna - Ray of Light
45 Bikini Kill - Pussy Whipped
44 Pet Shop Boys - Very
43 Prince - Purple Rain
42 ABBA - Gold
41 Melissa Etheridge - Yes I Am
40 Pet Shop Boys - Behavior
39 Laura Nyro And Labelle - Gonna Take A Miracle
38 Dusty Springfield - Dusty In Memphis
37 Blondie - Parallel Lines
36 Madonna - Erotica
35 Yaz - Upstairs At Eric's
34 Donna Summer - Bad Girls
33 The Smiths - Hatful Of Hollow
32 The Smiths - Meat Is Murder
31 Sarah McLachlan - Fumbling Towards Ecstacy
30 Diana Ross - Diana
29 Pet Shop Boys - Actually
28 Queen - The Game
27 Eurythmics - Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)
26 Scissor Sisters - Scissor Sisters
25 k.d. lang - Ingénue
24 Sylvester - Living Proof
23 Deee-Lite - World Clique
22 The Gossip - Standing In The Way Of Control
21 David Bowie - Hunky Dory
20 Queen - A Day at the Races
19 The B-52s - The B-52's
18 George Michael - Listen Without Prejudice, Vol. I
17 Lou Reed - Transformer
16 Queen - A Night at the Opera
15 George Michael - Faith
14 Erasure - The Innocents
13 Ani DiFranco - Dilate
12 The Velvet Underground & Nico - The Velvet Underground & Nico
11 Various - Hedwig And The Angry Inch Soundtrack
10 Antony And The Johnsons - I Am A Bird Now
9 Cyndi Lauper - She's So Unusual
8 Madonna - The Immaculate Collection
7 Elton John - Goodbye Yellow Brick Road
6 The Smiths - The Queen is Dead
5 Judy Garland - Judy at Carnegie Hall
4 Indigo Girls - Indigo Girls
3 Tracy Chapman - Tracy Chapman
2 The Smiths - The Smiths
1 David Bowie - The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust And The Spiders From Mars

I didn't mark any David Bowie or Queen albums, as I seem to have only compilations of them. I believe I have the Hedwig soundtrack, but I would have to check. The Pet Shop Boys albums are all the result of a recent eBay shopping spree.

Isn't it great that Rufus Wainwright and Scissor Sisters are both on there twice? (HINT: there is only one correct answer to that, if you are unable to give it, do not answer at all...)

i *heart* coffee

a TALL one

This is a sweet little story about coffee Christoph Niemann with very clever and funny drawings to boot. I love sweet little stories about coffee. I adore clever and funny drawings.

But I *heart* my french press.

rice

In the category bad jokes, here's one I just thought of as I was boiling my rice:

Q: What do you call a colander from Bruges?

A: Het vergiet van België

(Only for those who speak Dutch, unfortunately.)

undo

I was removing paperclips from a stack of papers that had been sorted into smaller stacks and suddenly realised that I couldn't undo and put them back together again.

In real life you can’t simply hit [CONTROL] and [Z] to undo your last mistake...

Tuesday, 9 December 2008

by appointment to her Majesty's commission

If I didn't realise he has other things on his mind right now (much love and virtual good vibrations to you, dear) I would be quite surprised that Pogonophile hadn't jumped on this post by Joe.My.God. I hope he finds it and gets a smile from it.

find your affliction

A ass

Reading up on the expression "the law is an ass", I found that Dickens actually wrote:
The phrase "The law is an ass" originates in Charles Dickens' Oliver Twist, when the character Mr. Bumble is informed that "the law supposes that your wife acts under your direction". Mr. Bumble replies "If the law supposes that… the law is a ass —- a idiot. If that’s the eye of the law, the law is a bachelor; and the worst I wish the law is that his eye may be opened by experience —- by experience."

Notice how he says a ass and a idiot; it may have been acceptable in his time - or it may have been a way for him to contrast the character's speech. Either way it reminds me of an early-morning walk to the railway station last week, when for a few seconds I believed I must still be dreaming as a sign on the side of the busses there read "Take a ING mortgage."

Perhaps they meant *@#!ING...?

Sunday, 7 December 2008

witch hunt

I just discovered the special recommendations page on bol.com, a Dutch book, DVD, CD etc. online store. Here's what it thinks which books I would like to buy:

Thomas Hardy, Selected Poems - Thomas Hardy
The Pardoner'S Tale - Geoffrey Chaucer
Blood and gold - Anne Rice
The Wit and Wisdom of Mark Twain - Mark Twain
The Age Of Alexander - Plutarch
The Line Between - Peter S. Beagle
One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest - Ken Kesey
Tamsin
Franny and Zooey - J.D. Salinger
The History Of Sexuality - Michel Foucault
Memnoch the Devil - Anne Rice
Macedonian Warrior - Waldemar Heckel
The Book Of The New Sun - Gene Wolfe
The Story Of Modern Art - Norbert Lynton
The Dirk Gently Omnibus - Douglas Adams
Secrets Of A Gay Marine Porn Star - Rich Merritt
Who's Who in Age of Alexander the Great - Waldemar Heckel
The Deeper Meaning Of Liff - Douglas Adams
The Mosquito Coast - Paul Theroux
Oscar Wilde's Wit And Wisdom - Oscar Wilde
The Divine Comedies - Tom Holt
Drawing Blood - Poppy Z. Brite
North And South - Elizabeth Gaskell
The Vampire Armand - Anne Rice
Slaughterhouse 5 - Kurt Vonnegut
The Mask of Apollo - Mary Renault
Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenters and Seymour - J. D. Salinger

It doesn't touch the complete spectrum of my reading and there are a couple of tragic missers, but it's not too bad. In fact it's a bit scary.

I have just finished David Leavitt's While England Sleeps (I think I mentioned it before). Although it was tempting, I didn't find out who had sued him for plagiarising parts of his autobiography until after I had finished the book. Of course now I'm very curious exactly which parts Leavitt removed for the re-published version I read. (He did say not a word of the sex scenes was changed.) I shall have to sneak a few moments at work tomorrow searching the online newspaper archives for the details of the court case...

Saturday, 6 December 2008

no matter what

I'm not telling you which reindeer I am...

Friday, 5 December 2008

paint job

I don't know where this joke came from, all I know is K told it to me last week:

Q: How can you tell the diversity of a Unitarian Universalist congregation?

A: You go to the parking lot during a service and look at all the different colours on their Priuses.

Monday, 1 December 2008

Luke, I am your mother!

Mrs. WormwoodI love how sometimes kids' TV writers add these little jokes for the - in my case hardly - more mature viewers.

You're not going to get the background to this if you don't know the Sarah Jane Adventures, but in tonight's episode Enemy of the Bane Mrs. Wormwood tells Sarah Jane's adopted son: "Luke, I am your mother!"