15,000 Tonnes of Coal

Well, Ali starts writing regularly, and I stop. There’s symmetry for you.

I’ve been fairly busy the last few weeks. I can’t be bothered writing about all of it right now because the work related stuff is just too depressing. But some of the rest is OK, so I’ll write about that instead, OK?

Ah, it turns out that Ali didn’t like Estonia. Well, there’s just no accounting for taste. They were clearly the best act of the contest and deserved to win, and I will brook no argument on that fact. So there 😉

Also it seems that Ali (this is a very Ali related entry isn’t it? I thought this blog was meant to be about me 🙂 has been going through the weird questions that blogspot asks on personal profile pages or something. I’m not going to emulate her example by answering all of them, but two in particular did catch my eye…

Your superpower is that you smell like dandelions whenever someone lies. How will you maintain your secret identity?

I’d buy a small pug, name him ‘William’ and take him everywhere with me. Whenever the smell of dandelions became apparent I’d glare at him and say “William!” in a disaproving voice.

You’ve just inherited a manufacturing plant that specializes in plastics. What are you going to make?

I’d flood the market with action figures from TV series that simply don’t justify action figures. Like Law and Order, Jonathan Creek, CSI, Mysterious Ways, and Gilmore Girls.

Anyway, with that out of the way I figured I’d write about some of the things I’ve been up to instead of writing. If that makes sense…

1: Modeling. No, not that kind of modeling, not the cool kind – the geeky kind. You know, building little models of things. To be specific I’ve been collecting the bi-monthly Battle Games in Middle Earth magazine series that at $11.00 an issue presents you with selections from Games Workshop‘s Lord of the Rings range. It’s actually pretty good value when you compare the prices of the boxed sets in the stores – although the painting instructions seem to be aimed at 12 year olds (naturally I’ve been ignoring them and doing my own painting schemes based on the photos in each issue which show the models painted up pretty damn well by comparison).

I started all of this because of Ryan, who gave me the Sauron figure for my birthday back in January. Sauron isn’t painted yet – but he is assembled and glaring menacingly across my work table. The box he came in is labeled in a number of languages Sauron – Lord of the Ring, Sauron – Der Herr Des Rings etc. Two though make me laugh. The French version Maître De L’anneau which to my ear sounds like he should be seating people at a restaurant and the Spanish (Portuguese?) Señor Del Anillo which sounds like the villain in a Zorro movie. C’mon, say it in a Speedy Gonzales accent! You know you want to! 🙂

I was going to post some pictures of the (pathetically few) models I’ve finished but my digital camera doesn’t have a macro function so they came out horribly blurred. Oh well, one less stupid image for you to download 🙂

2: CDs. I’ve treated myself (for no justifiable reason) to two new CDs. Gallowsbird’s Bark by the Fiery Furnaces and Pixies at the BBC. Gallowsbird’s Bark is great. Not only the songs themselves (which I’ll cover in a minute), but the accompanying booklet too. It’s full of strange little pencil sketches of plants, animals, vaguely geographical and mystical symbols and odd little notes in cryptic writing. It’s kind of like a cross between the notes of Leonardo Da Vinci and the Voynich Manuscript -although I don’t believe either of those featured a disgruntled looking archaeopteryx 🙂

The songs, let’s see… I’m not going to rant on about all of them, only a few. Leaky Tunnel is an ominous travelogue around London, possibly ending with a descent into Brunel’s Thames tunnel. Despite it’s spooky ambiance, harsh electronic buzzing, Davrossian siren and air of incipient violence it features one line that had me laughing for days (well, OK, minutes) “I bought a tambourine at the Millennium Dome, it jangled 2000 times in a row”. Well, I thought it was clever. Up in the North is disturbingly catchy, it’s been stuck in my head for weeks. Crystal Clear of course is great, who can resist joining in on the “Filthy, dirty, cloudy, muddy, messy, mucky, crystal clear” bit? Gale Blow is… well fairly indescribably really. But good. I keep meaning to run the backwards bits through a wav editor and figure out what they are.

The only disappointment I had with the album is that its version of Tropical Iceland is a fairly laid back acoustic version, as opposed to the hepped up, effect laden radio version. Which is annoying as the hepped up, effect laden radio version was one of my main motivators in purchasing it in the first place. Oh well, live and learn.

Pixies at the BBC is also great (yeah right, like I’d say anything else :). The real stand outs are There Goes my Gun, Is She Weird, the highly underrated Manta Ray (no, not Dancing the Manta Ray, the Pixies recorded two songs about our flat aquatic friends) and Levitate Me. I haven’t heard Levitate Me before (or if I have it didn’t grab me) but this live version rocks! I’ve been wandering around all week muttering “Elevator-lady, Elevator-lady, Elevator-lady, Elevator-lady, Levitate me!” interspersed with random yells of “C’MON Pilgrim! You KNOW he LOVES YOU!!” 🙂

(I’ve also been muttering “Some people smell like a free range Ablett!” and “Egg roll!” but that’s neither here nor there)

Gah! Of course I’ve heard Levitate Me before! It’s the final track off C’mon Pilgrim for crying out loud! Sheeze!

3: Links. Here are some links I’ve been meaning to post for a while. Share and enjoy!

Strindberg and Helium (Thanks Stephanie!)
Turkish Star Trek! (Thanks Ryan!)
So true, so true 🙂
The FULL version!
The CAT with HANDS!! (Thanks Ryan again!)

4: Ryan’s Sister’s Party. Ryan’s sister Laura has been living in the UK for a few years but has come home for a few weeks, so her family decided to throw a party last Sunday (and indeed why not?). Ryan (probably in order to have someone to talk to apart from Laura’s friends 😉 invited Justin and I along. Of course Justin failed to show, but it was a pretty good afternoon-evening nonetheless. There were a number of notable things, which I shall now number and note…

1: Sweet Potato Chips: Amongst the large quantities of food supplied were some strange, red potato chips. Strange, red, TASTY potato chips. These turned out to be made from sweet potatoes (“yams” to Americans and other aliens I believe). I’ll be keeping an eye out for these in future.

2: The CAT with HANDS!!: Throughout the night Ryan kept dragging people away from the patio/grape trellis thing where the party was being held to view this on the computer. I tell, you – it’s freakier each time you see it!

3: The Fire: When the sun had set and it started getting chilly Ryan’s dad lit up a 40 gallon drum full of wood. This was located under one side of the patio/grape trellis thing and at first looked likely to set it on fire – or at least melt the nylon washing lines hanging over it. It eventually settled down though and provided much appreciated warmth and entertainment as the evening wore on. By the end of the night the bottom half of the drum was glowing a nice shade of dull orange – no doubt helped along by the large quantities of sheoak branches we kept shoving in (for those not in the know fresh leaves and other foliage from the Sheoak tree – Casurina somethingorotheris – burn with an intensity to rival petrol 🙂

4: The Cheese: There was some very good brie on the cheese platter.

5: Melanie: Melanie was apparently one of Laura’s friends. This in itself is not notable – it was Laura’s party after all – but what was notable was her absolutely remarkable resemblance to Lyndah (you know, Lyndah, that girl I’ve had a crush on for years? Keep up will you! :). When I walked into the kitchen and saw her there was a genuine “What the hell is she doing here?!?” moment – not unlike finding Victor Meldrew hiding in the pantry. Thankfully I didn’t say anything and realised – after a panicked few seconds – that she wasn’t Lyndah – but still, the resemblance was frightening.

From the back you’d swear it was her. Same hair, same height and build, same snappy dress sense. In profile you could be confused for several seconds, her nose was a bit different that’s about all. Face on she actually looked fairly different – the nose again, but she was still extremely distracting. Needless to say I didn’t say a word to her all night (although maybe that’s just as well, after all she lost a lot of geek-points when she took off Ryan’s Lord of the Rings soundtrack CD in favour of something more “upbeat” 😉

Um yeah, so that was the party.

Hmmmm, I do have more stuff to write about (involving dangerously flammable cakes and the Red Orchid) but it’s getting late and I’ve got to cook dinner. So I will quit now, and continue… well, eventually 🙂

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.