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You young punk, you blew the whistle! - Which is not unduly obvious, as I am about to explain
You young punk, you blew the whistle!
I've not been communicating with my friends lately, especially outside of Winnipeg. Sorry guys! I'm still recovering in some respects from my trip to Europe, preparation for which took a lot out of my social life. And then in the week after my return, my computer OS had major problems and seized up. So now I have a new computer, and I'm struggling my way through XP, reinstalling everything, and pestering plonq and thewerewolf with my stubborn, backward ways! No really, thanks guys, your advice is well-appreciated if not always followed.

How was Europe? Good! Expensive! I'd like to see more of rural Britain sometime. There's so much to say and so many photos we took, it's too much to show without turning into a long, narrated slide show. So I'll throw random pics at you in my posts for the indefinite future. thewerewolf and I are not optimal travel companions, but we put up with each other's foibles and we're still friends. Few regrets! My friend Ilja never managed to hook up with us in Berlin. I didn't enjoy Berlin too much. The language barrier was too difficult, the weather was lousy, and I thought a lot of the architecture was imbued with... a desire for the State to express a sense of political ideology and control? Don't get me wrong, the city does have its sights and charms, but if I go to Germany again, I think I'd rather visit other places.

Paris' architecture was much more whimsical and pretty, if formal. I wish thewerewolf's feet had survived the trip better, otherwise we would have gone for longer walks and some parks. I got to spend a lot of quality time with my aunt (she married a Parisian) and my cousin. Thing is, in our travels we that we wanted to see so much, that we went from place to place and didn't often tarry long enough really soak in the atmosphere of a particular spot. I took lots of blurry photographs though! It's amazing, the sheer... size and scale of a lot of places, it really hits you when walls and ceilings take up so much of your peripheral vision, and you look through what little your digital camera can capture in its viewfinder, and you think, "Wow, this place is... big!"

(tangent) I sometimes listen to WFMU online. They're a freeform radio station in New Jersey, non-commercial, so they're not beholden to any corporations and play... well, whatever they like. To fund themselves, they have PBS-like pledge drives twice a year, as well as hosting big vinyl record sales. At one of these sales, the DJs discovered the radio dramas... or "dramers"... of Judson Fountain, a fellow who really liked horror radio plays and made his own for several years. The WFMU people sometimes refer to him as radio drama's Ed Wood Jr.

Judson Fountain's work is... not all that great, but somewhat fascinating. There's even a CD of it, although personally I won't be buying it because the annoyance factor overrides the fascination factor. The title of the CD is based on the introduction to some of the dramas, where a narrator says, "Turn out all your lights... and be completely in the dark!" Ironically, the dramas can induce this latter state all by themselves.

The dramas contain many repeating themes. Frequently, all the characters are unsympathic. There's a young hood named Johnny. There's an old woman, witch or hag with an intentionally annoying voice. (Judson's vocal range is limited, although he does get a friend or two to help.) There's elements of the supernatural, often haunted houses and magic paralysis. There's painfully obvious exposition, repetitive dialogue and cheap sound effects records. Entrances are unexplained, as are some major plot elements. Male characters are very defensive about stating how they're adults now. Narratorial interruption happens with strange timing.

For your entertainment and mental stamina, I've selected one of the thankfully shorter dramers which doesn't contain the old hag voice. So sit back! Turn out the lights and close your eyes, as you listen to... Garbage Can from Thailand. (5:20, 950K)

(tangent) Photos from the trip. Flying over Europe, I saw a "glory" around our airplane's shadow on the clouds. Colour and contrast altered to highlight the effect.

We visited two science museums, and each one had a section where mirrors did strange tricks. This looked even more uncanny than the photo suggests.

I swear, when I first saw this I thought, "Oh no, Hakim Optical is in Europe too?" It's not just the frames of the glasses. Hakim Optical seems to use men and women in their ads that conform to a particular cheekbone and jaw structure.

In Paris, totally lost.

6 comments or Leave a comment
thewerewolf From: thewerewolf Date: October 24th, 2004 05:36 am (UTC) (Link)
Actually, the problem was more that we had different goals with a smaller overlap than I think we both thought would exist. For example, I'm really not into gardens and modern art as much as you are, and you're totally uninterested in computer stuff.

I wanted to see a few specific things and mostly just relax and not run around everywhere. I think that's because I'd been in Europe just a few years ago, so many parts of this trip were kind of a rerun for me, and when I was here last time, I did spend most of my trip running around seeing everything. I kind of wanted to take it easy this time.

And yeah, the whole Ilja thing kind of put a drag on the trip before it even started and into the first half week. Personally, I would have just said, "I understand - things are too insane for you.. hopefully we can meet some other time" and let it go - especially when it was clear he wasn't going to put much effort into meeting up with you while you were there.

But do I regret going? Nope. Not at all. If I had the chance to go back and redo it, I'd do it differently, but I'm glad I got to go. I think I'd have us spend less time trying to do everything together and let you go see the things you wanted to see while I took it easy during the day, and then we could have gotten back together around dinner and spent the evening doing mutually interesting things. Mind you - with your scary navigation... mmm... problem... I would have spent most of the time afraid you'd never come back... If I'd gotten my new PDA in time, I would have loaned you my old one with a GPS. [ducks!] :)

La Defense is an amazing place. I'd never have thought to go to Versaille or the Centre du Pompedieu or like going to Steamboy and The Life and Death of Peter Sellers. And then there's Bernd Das Brot. I wouldn't have missed THAT for the world. German late night TV at its best. :)

Then there were things like trying a Diesel, going to Action!, getting those paper 3D models, a really cheap bluetooth headset, finding that cross for my mother (she loved it, BTW, apparently she had one just like it when she lived in Paris after WWII and had lost it...), all the satyrs and centaurs we saw and the boat ride down the Seine. I do have to admit, I could have lived without the Eiffel being all glittery with sparkly lights.. that was bizarre. And I got my panoramas.
dronon From: dronon Date: October 24th, 2004 10:36 am (UTC) (Link)
Aw man, then I was dragging you around too fast and to too many places than you wanted for most of the trip. :( Sorry about that and your feet... I thought our tastes in venues combined well, and it was really nice to meet your family. And even though I'm uninterested in computer stuff, I didn't mind your PDA quest and Surcouf. I just exude a look of impatience when I'm standing around - I don't know why, it happens even when I'm not feeling that way. Those outings gave me a mental break and I got to see you having fun in your element, and that was good enough for me. :) This trip wouldn't have been the same if we hadn't gone together; I'm glad we did and shared the fun and the not-so-fun.
thewerewolf From: thewerewolf Date: October 24th, 2004 11:10 am (UTC) (Link)
Well, a little. Like I said, I did get to see a lot of things I wouldn't have seen if I'd gone on my own, so while I may have been cranky at the time, in retrospect, I'm glad I saw them. The crankiness was mostly my feet feeling like they were coming apart. :)

But Surcouf was a perfect example of something we should have done separately. You were completely uninterested in it. I was completely interested in it. We should have either found you something to do around the area that you'd enjoy or we should have set aside an 'apart' day just for that.

But hey - this was the first time we'd ever gone somewhere together for a prolonged time. You really don't know how people will mesh until you try that. If we should try this again, we'll know better and we'll be able to schedule things a bit better. :)

And my feet will be in better shape. :)

atara From: atara Date: October 24th, 2004 08:11 am (UTC) (Link)
Ah, yes... here is the article on glories I was telling you about.
orleans From: orleans Date: October 24th, 2004 05:27 pm (UTC) (Link)
Glad to hear you had fun! I've heard other so-so reviews of Berlin, so I don't think you're the only one. Apparently, it's more of a club and nightlife destination.
zrath From: zrath Date: October 25th, 2004 04:01 pm (UTC) (Link)

Holy crap!
No, really, holy crap.
That Judson Fountain guy sucks!
No, I mean, he really sucks!!
You're right!
Don't buy the CD!

Glad to see you had a good trip to the Land Of The Euro.

"He's old, horrible-looking and he is dead!!"

6 comments or Leave a comment