Hallowe'en Redux

It’s Hallowe’en! So the only thing to do is pack up in a car, drive off to a remote farm, and get chased around a corn field by people wielding chainsaws!

Aha. Well, okay, it was a corn maze, and the chainsaw motors had no blades attached, but you get the general idea. Sadly, as we’ve watched far too many horror films, the haunted corn maze didn’t generate too many scares for us; the day was saved by a group of teenage girls who screamed their way around the maze. Hurrah!

Following on from that little adventure, Laura and Collin had a ‘pot luck’ alternative to Franklin Street back at their house. A quiet, relaxed getaway from the rustle and bustle. We even made cookies with spooky decorations (Batman sprinkles, admittedly, so perhaps only scary to an infant).

(Incidentally, the question ‘so, Ian, what type of music do you like?’ seems to be a signal to my brain to forget every single song I’ve ever heard, so my answers last night were broken and incomplete. And my namedropping of “oh, yes, when I interviewed The Go! Team a few months ago…” was shameless indeed. But! I did find out that Christa was at the Godspeed You! Black Emperor concert back in 2003. Always odd to discover that you were in the same room with somebody several years before you knew them)

The highlight of the evening had to be the arrival of the Bush Cheerleading Squad. Yes! Laura! Condi! And Dick! Complete with cheers (I don’t think any of us will get “HEY DICK! SHAKE YOUR THANG! out of our heads soon. Even if we stick knitting needles in our ears). We were treated to a quick rehearsal before they went out into the night.

And soon, it was time for me to head off with Joe and Leigh for a walk down Franklin Street. A walk which was slightly tarnished by seeing a man being punched by another before we got to the police security cordon. It coloured the evening somewhat; for some reason, it seemed that the student population, although present in mass numbers, was down somewhat, and there was a considerable amount of people not in fancy dress (okay, so I can’t cast aspersions on that, seeing as how my first Hallowe’en in Chapel Hill saw me going as ‘an Englishman in contemporary dress’). But, lots of creativity: sets of dominoes, a toolbox (with individual people playing different tools), somebody all-blacked out and pretending to be a person from an iPod advert, plus a plentiful amount of bumblebees, french maids, angels, fallen angels, and at the end of the scale, people going around in their knickers.

We didn’t stay too long; Joe had to get up early in the morning, and, well, there’s only so many times you can walk up and down a street (foolishly, I had left my passport back at Laura’s, so we couldn’t go into a bar). Back and to bed, then, for another fun Hallowe’en in Chapel Hill.

Hallowe'en In Short: Or To The Many Girls of Chapel Hill

Now, not wishing to come across as a stuffed waistcoat, but how can you go out in a bra, tiny garter and infinitesimal g-string when it’s close to freezing? And not even look cold? Seriously, next year, bring a sweater.

currently playing: Girls Aloud — The Show

Autumn

Although Chapel Hill is a nice place any time of of year, it is just wonder as October turns to November. All the reds and golds of the leaves as Winter sets in!

(Incidentally, walking down Henderson is probably the best way of seeing lots of pretty bits, but have a car waiting for you at the bottom, as the return trip up the hill is a bit of a killer, especially when it's 70˚F outside…

Sticker Town

Chapel Hill does its bit to keep the sticker industry afloat,

4.19 kilogrammes of chocolate please!

Seen in one of the plane magazines yesterday - the world’s biggest bar of Nestlé Crunch?

Time for my Chapel Hill Comics advert once again. Well, I can’t help it if they had a sale on this weekend. Or that they had a Zenith book and Transformers UK: Space Pirates for $4 each, can I? They even offered to ship stuff home if I didn’t think I could fit it all in my suitcases. So, once more: the most friendly and helpful comic shop I’ve ever frequented. Go! Spend money there!

Today, then: walking, a bit more walking, and some more besides. During those long stretches of walking interspersed with a little sitting, I thought of some excellent bon mots for today’s entry. Obviously, I’ve forgotten all of them now.

Although, apparently, I have not done enough to get “does Chewbacca like Wookies?” into the English lexicon. I will try and rectify this in the next couple of weeks…

currently playing: Laura Nyro – Eli’s Comin’

Indeed, m'lord

It seemed incredible to the waiter that there should be anyone in England who could ask such a question, but he had already gathered that the lady was an American lady, and American ladies, he knew, are often ignorant of the fundamental facts of life. He had once met one who had wanted to know what a football pool was.

Ah, nothing like a bit of Wodehouse to accompany you on a visit to the colonies.

I’ve decided that I don’t particularly like airports. At least not these days. As you pass the security cordon, you’re constantly reminded that while you may be physically located in a country, you’re really Nowhere. This is a Nowhere where you’re constantly monitored, and despite what rights you may be able to avail yourself outside the sprawl of the airport, in Nowhere, you exist at their whim and discretion.

Note to the current fashion set: destroyed jeans. Okay, it’s your money, but, could you please make sure that you don’t buy jeans that have holes in the back pocket? It’s a little disconcerting, to say the least.

40,000 feet in the air; I’ve read my book, written my next review for Static (that, there, could be considered a plug. Not that I’ve written anything fantastic recently, although I am fond of the Tristan Prettyman review if you have a spare minute or two), played a game of Advance Wars, which was brought to a satisfactory conclusion with me routing the nefarious computer player’s forces, and now I’m just waiting around for the ‘light snack’ before landing. This is invariably a pizza. Still, it’s something I look forward to, as it appears to be a staple of the LGW/RDU flights, and even better, it is actually quite palatable. So there’s that, then two hours until Raleigh/Durham airport (the airport so nice they named it twice, perhaps). Perhaps some more cleaning the computer’s clock in the meantime.

Some time later

RDU may be an airport that only its mother could love, with illogical layouts and an amusing new police cordon to separate departures from arrivals whilst construction work goes on, but at RDU I haven’t yet been taken into a sealed room complete with armed guards and questioned at length. So hurrah to RDU, friends!

America Calling

Yes, it’s time As before, updates will probably be sporadic, but I hope to get a few pictures and things up during the trip.

In the meantime, you can read this interview with Lauren Laverne about her new breakfast show (starting Monday, fact fans!), or well, I guess you could get all Benjamin Rory Slade about matters, and go off and do something more interesting instead.

Don’t break the Internet while I’m gone!

currently playing: Hilary Duff – Wake Up

Good, Kid! But Don't Get Cocky

Well, the bad news is that after Harriet Miers’s withdrawal, the next candidate will probably be a die-hard strict-constitutionalist, but it has been fun watching the American Right beating itself up over the past month.

And! In other, less publicised news, the Democrats managed to score a victory last night, by convincing the Administration that they had the votes to overturn the President’s revoking of the Davis-Bacon Act in Katrina-affected areas (it sets minimum wages for construction workers among other things). Democrats getting their act together? Republican support diminishing? The possibility that indictments may go all the way up to the Vice-President?

Fun times. Mind you, they’re still here for another three years…

currently playing: A Certain Ratio – Won’t Stop Loving You (Bernard Sumner Remix)

By The Way (Record Labels Are Scum Edition)

According to the PopJustice forums, from November 7th, EMI will no longer be releasing CDs. Instead, all their new records will be released as “Copy Controlled” discs, which depart significantly from the CD Red Book standard, and as a bonus, install device drivers on your Windows PC without your consent to prevent ripping (if this was done by a random person off the street, this would be hacking and be subject to a custodial sentence; when a record company does it, it’s celebrated as a blow against piracy).

The current solution? The current protection schemes rely on the user running Windows, as dumb as that sounds (indeed, some CDs refuse to play back on anything less than full Administrator access, so they can install the anti-ripping device drivers). So, if you have a Mac or a Linux machine (even just a LiveCD will do), you can create a pristine digital copy with no fuss whatsoever. Of course, you’ll still technically be breaking the law in the UK, but I don’t think the music industry really wants to sue somebody who actually bought a copy of the CD (mind you, they’re crazy enough to try it).

currently playing: Handsomeboy Technique – Affections

ITN - Que?

“Will a contraceptive jab promote promiscuity?”

Note to the editors: this is not the 1960s. And just why is ITN’s ITV coverage slowly but surely morphing into the Daily Mail?

Remember, it’s not a scandal until someone tries to break into a building.

The oddest thing about next week’s release of Sally Cinnamon? Surely £7.99 is a bit steep, considering you can pick up a Stone Roses best of for about half that price in almost any of the floating HMV sales.

Yes, it’s a bits and pieces week, I’m afraid.

currently playing: Girls Aloud – Biology