1. The swans are back. For a couple of weeks a year, swans move into the small pond across from my house. A pair, even. They're huge, I tell you. Gi-normous. Folks in the neighbourhood bring their kids on walks and stop to feed them. Personally, I'd not let a kid within 10 feet of those monsters. They could take out a toddler in one swoop. And they stare. A lot. With a soul-less, dark gaze. ("Outlanders there.") And they're not really that graceful. Sure they float nicely and all, but when those necks are bending cleaning their feathers and reaching for food, they're downright freaky. I guess it's kind of like I live in their home and I'm seeing the belching/farting/no-makeup version of the supermodel, but to me they just seem kind ugly. No wonder Susan hates them so much. Oh. And at night they tuck their weird necks down under their wings and look like white floating bags of rubbish. It's time for them to move on.
2. I am sick. I have a sore throat and huge swollen glands and my eyes are watery and I'm tired. I feel punched. Not happy about this. Which means I'm irritable tonight. Sorry if the entry is reflecting that.
3. Speaking of swollen glands, last night I was flipping channels and I happened upon a documentary about penis enlargement. (They'll show anything on Channel Four after 11.) Always the sucker for gawker slowdowns and freakshows, I couldn't stop watching until I was totally sickened. There was a guy who has been injecting silicone into his scrotum and now he has balls the size of a human head. Yup. 22 inches in circumference. That ain't right, I tell you. Ah, the wonders of British TV.
4. Probably shouldn't have blogged about that. Now every guy searching for "balls the size of a human head" will end up reading about what I had for dinner. Good thing I don't have spot advertising on the site. Imagine the ads you'd be seeing.
5. I had Burmese Pork Salad for dinner (recipe in late October or early November entries) and now the house smells like chili and fish sauce. It was tasty but now I'm wishing for fresh air. Unfortunately, it's really cold outside and I can't open the windows. Guess I'll suffer.
6. The Purple Rose of Cairo is on. I love this movie. TPROC and Alice are two nice little Woody Allen movies with the right mix of odd, funny, romantic, and real. Small tidbit: this movie is the reason I became fascinated with the ukulele. There's a great scene where Cecelia and Gil are in a music shop and she's doing some mighty fast strumming while he sings along. It's a great little moment. And it's one of the first movies I rented on VHS. I was working my way through as many Woody Allen movies as I could find.
7. Back in my college radio days one of my finds was an album called Looking for Anything by a guy named Chris Hickey. It's in a box in Seattle with the rest of my vinyl but I wanted a copy now. I searched the internet every place I could think of. I even enlisted the help of a couple of net-savvy types who might know how to find something like this but to no avail. So I took a chance and emailed the artist from his website. He's a totally stand-up guy, responded immediately, and now he's digitizing it and sending me a link to download it. How cool is that? I'm really pleased. Plus, my search brought me to his new album (he hadn't released much in 20 years) and now I have that, too. Check him out here. He's an insightful and talented and I'm a big fan of his music.
8. If you're really bored and feel like helping out a busy student, do a little searching for odd things to do in England. I don't have time to spend planning any free time these days, and I don't want to get in the rut of staying in Milton Keynes. MK is not the sort of place it's good to stay for too long. I can use some suggestions. (Pam, I'm on tap for one of those uke nights in London soon, I promise.)
9. Glad to see some of you joining the Skype-o-sphere. I had a great, long, FREE conversation with Tommy in NYC on Sunday, and he sounded like he was upstairs and just on intercom. It's great, I tell you.
10. Thank God for the Daily Show with Jon Stewart. And thank God for More4, which broadcasts it every day. (TPROC is done, and now I'm on to last night's Daily Show.) I love his impressions of GWB.
11. Have you read Freakonomics yet? It's extra important that you do now, as he puts forth some data that refutes conventional thinking that will soon be the law of our land, specifically regarding the effects of abortion and family values (hint: Rudy Giuliani isn't the only thing that lowered crime rates in the 90's, and two-parent, church-going families don't make children more moral/successful/intelligent than single atheists.) Not that I necessarily agree with everything Dr. Levitt has to say. But it's good to hone our questioning skills and to learn to consider data to determine truth. Good practice for these our times.
12. I wonder if the Bush administration can monitor Skype calls? I mean, technically I live abroad and I am anti-GWB...I believe this qualifies me for NSA monitoring. You might find yourself inadvertently on an ole fashioned party-line if you call me on the phone. But remember, they're protecting the safety of the nation. And it's not illegal.