"Forget it, Jake. It's Carrboro."

Leaving again. Wandered around Weaver Street again this morning, saying goodbye to Collin, and bumping into people that I’ve met over the course of the past three weeks. Outside on the grass, the weekly brunch is in full swing; crowds of people having breakfast while a a singer-songwriter plays his guitar earnestly. It’s Carrboro. Things are a little different here. I laughed at Collin on my first day when he said that he didn’t go into Chapel Hill much anymore, but at the end of the trip, I can see where he’s coming from. Going back on Franklin seems strange compared to the quieter and less commercial main streets of Carrboro (its concessions to typical America consist of a Wendy’s and a Harris Teeter). Not that there’s anything wrong with Chapel Hill; it just takes a little adjustment.

(Also, it’s quite charming to see just how well the town is simply ignoring last November’s result. Go into Carr Mill’s parking lot, and you will see hundreds of stickers for Kerry/Edwards. It’s like a little Tinkerbell Experiment)

While we’re on the capitalist kick, it’s been a little sad to see how many places have closed. The Carolina Theatre showed its last film while I was here, although Stacie and I have grandiose plans to buy it (with Monopoly money, obviously), and turn it into a gay bar called Bottom of The Hill. (joke only valid to citizens of Chapel Hill, I’d imagine). Even Southpoint has seen shops close. But they still have sesame chicken…mmmmmm.

Laura spoke disapprovingly of RDU airport, but I think it has a hapless charm. Which means I was disappointed to see an advert for the new, improved terminal that they’re going to be building shortly. It’s all huge glass corridors, just like every other airport. Boo.

To all those reading from Chapel Hill (unlike Simona, I didn’t plug my blog to everybody else in the car last night, but most of you know it anyway), thank you for a wonderful time. Once again, lots of new experiences, new people, and great moments that I’ll always remember. Hope to see you again, whenever I can.

currently playing: James Taylor — Carolina In My Mind

Do We Have To Give The Bouncer Two Pennies?

The last Saturday, and as you might imagine, a few things to mention. After having breakfast at Weaver Street Market (waking up quite early to go and check my email using their free wireless - hurrah!), and visiting The Carrboro Yard Sale That Could (admittedly, it might have been very impressive at 8am. At ten, however, there was a yard, and not much of a sale), I headed off for…The Last Walk To Franklin Street In What Can Only Be Described As Far Too Warm Temperatures Whilst Looking For A Skirt. The walk part went reasonably well, I guess.

But then! Stacie, who had been spending the past five minutes talking in my shorts (the mobile phone keyguard was on, but obviously, it’s still unhappy about going home), tracked me down, and we headed off to the Wootini toy shop in Carrboro. The shop is extremely dangerous to wallets and credit cards, being stacked full of all sorts of weird and wonderful Japanese toys. Oh, and books. Now, you’d think that a manga version of Cinderella would be fairly tame, wouldn’t you? And so it was, to begin with. Until Cinderella walks around naked. A few pages later, one of the Ugly Sisters rips her breasts off. The Japanese: still weird.

Having done so well scaring the drivers around Raleigh by having Laura wear a Batman mask the night before, Stacie and I thought it would be a fantastic idea to buy some more, and wander around Carrboro like a pack of, well, Batmen. Our quest took us to Toys R Us, Target, Wal-Mart, a dollar shop, a party/costume shop, KB Toys, and I even made Stacie confront her fears and go into a Hot Topic, but it was all for nought. The Triangle area is bereft of Batman masks. Damn them all!

For dinner, we headed back to the Spotted Dog, where we made ourselves the Customers From Hell, drinking gallons of soda, taking ages to order, and general teasing (sadly, our plan to deliver a tip in pennies failed due to lack of earlier planning. And we wouldn’t be that nasty really. Maybe). Mind you, we almost didn’t eat there, as when we went in, the host told us that Laura wasn’t there; news to us as she was supposed to be working a double-shift. While we went outside and pondered the possibility that she had taken the Batmask too far and was, at that moment, fighting crime and injustice on the mean streets of Chapel HIll, the host came back out: “Oh, you’re still here! Did you mean Spiff?” Remember, at the Dog, always Ask For Spiff.

Stacie had to head back because she was working on Sunday, but she mixed Collin and I a Blue Penguin (the official drink of Monavidulo, Inc and of course the Blue Penguin group), as we sat down to watch The Corporation. The perfect recipe for a great Saturday night in! It’s good greed, job destruction, continual law-breaking, tax-dodging, and the destruction of the planet’s resources! But Naomi Klein is hot.


Anyway, Laura got off from work, Naomi came in from her work, and it was time to go to Hell. And yes we did inquire, and yes, they have heard every permutation of Hell Jokes over their lifetime. Apparently, Hell is going to be holding dance parties every month from now on, and I can definitely recommend it; lots of hip-hop, dance, a smattering of 80s classics (Blue Monday featuring a little cameo by M.I.A.’s Bucky Done Gone. Oh, and Galang made an appearance as well; she’s quite popular here (plus in Stacie and Laura’s cars, but they don’t really count, seeing as how they were playing CDs I had made for them)). Lots of fun was had; as Collin put it: “We were dancing machines, Ian!” (He may have had a little too much to drink. Possibly) I had a tiny Eternal Sunshine moment, but thankfully it passed and enjoyed being asked to dance, actually dancing, and making a shameless fool of myself during the Crazy In Love /1 Thing mix.

We stumbled out of Hell (ahahahahaha. How the staff don’t go on a killing rampage every time a new person says “Boy, it’s hot in here! But I guess it’s supposed to be hot in Hell, right?” is beyond me) around 2am, dropping off Tara and Simona at their houses before heading back to Laura and Collin’s. Naomi and Laura went off to bed, but Collin and I were made of sterner stuff (okay, in Collin’s case, it was because he had had a four hour nap earlier, and in my case, well, it’s not as if I pulled a double-shift or worked in a shop with faulty air-conditioning all day), so we went over to 112. The legendary number. The house where it all happens. Having said that, it was actually fairly quiet; only Esther and Ryan were there. Still enough for a little craziness, (drunken VCR hookups! Sleeping on the roof! The sketchiest area in Chapel Hill! Invented holidays! And more besides) and a fun couple of hours.

Collin and I got back at four. As final days go, I think I managed to pack a lot in. And I can offer a helpful tip — really, don’t wear stripey tights underneath trousers to a dance party while it’s already quite warm outside. I have a new-found respect for the goths of Camden. Which is not something you can say often…

currently playing: The Railway Children — Somewhere South

Hell is actually on Rosemary Street

Strange how I’ve heard M.I.A. more in Chapel Hill than I ever have at home…

currently playing: Kenickie — I Would Fix You

Things We Can Learn

Number one - never let me mix my first drink.

Number two - don’t let me near computer hardware afterwards.

Number three - Friday can become akin to an inbetween day.

Number four - if next door turn off their wireless connection, then things get difficult. We were doing so well!

Number five - Johnny Depp is rather scary on a 90ft high screen.

In all, a rather strange day yesterday. After the events of Thursday night, which I can remember, thank you very much, although things get a tiny bit hazy at certain points), Friday turned out to be a quieter affair. Breakfast at Elmo’s (coming to your screens in early 2007), followed by a trip out to Maple View Farm for ice-cream, and then back to Laura’s apartment for much-needed nap.

We spent the evening in Raleigh, watching Charlie and the Chocolate Factory on an IMAX screen, and taking turns on the way back to wear Stacie’s Batman mask to scare oncoming drivers. As you would, really…

currently playing: Goldfrapp – Ooh La La

Oh you'v e got grey eyes

Talking with Christa about religion Harry Potter, C.S. Lewis, Bob Jones University, singing a chorus with Collin and Esther over Bizarre Love Triangle, and talking to Katie Shields about Oxford, having Tara come over and talk to me, and such like. Getting drunk on vodka and giggling with Stacie and Christa before Donald and Lisa turned up with Spanish wine.Mandy being surprised by being kissed by a girl and Laura is a good influence, really, , dancing to New Order Temptation ‘88, and Tirangle and Ceremony. yay Esther! More sober than I was, although I doubt you believe it, and we know things about Stacie’s sister…who was Donald? Hannah’s friends wanted to make pasta! Want to stay up forever and watch Aliens; stay away from her you bitch and where is Mandy. It’s all good. Dancing but no Dexy’s sadly, but Stacie played it earlier, and Srav! She should have stayed! Lots of people - a glass separation, and hot lesbian girls making me a Cosmo with an English and Scottish accent…it’s Carrboro, and I’m sad that Hannah left :-(. I only knew her for a couple of weeks, but she was very nice! I am perhaps still drunk, and less dancing, but I put Ralph’s cowboy hat on while Mandy looked embarrassed, which seems new considering her bra is by my side…every time i think of you i get shot through with a bolt of blue I’m sad that I’m sad that that I probably won’t see Esther or Christa again the wisdom of a fool won’t set you free…

i want

Amd here’s Tammy! I have 32% battery left, and am prepared to continuetyping until the power runs out, handlebar moustaches and evil frenchmen, more and more and I have Rachel Steven’s gloves, and you can’t have them. Stacie’s sister has it going on, and that’s all i’ll say.


My mobile phone is unhappy with the thought of its upcoming hibernation, it seems. Last night, it crashed, resulting in me not getting voicemails from Margee and Collin and thus missing the chance to have a meal with them at the Spotted Dog. And Margee is leaving for Mexico shortly as well. A pox on my phone then, although I hope it holds out for the next few days.

In other news: Diet Cherry Vanilla Dr. Pepper. Stacie has got me back for the Stacie’s Mom jokes; I haven’t tasted anything quite this vile since I tried the classic “I know! Let’s add a shot of Lemon Pledge!” idea that was Coca-Cola with Lemon.

currently playing: Roisin Murphy – If We’re In Love

They're Tricksy

It's off to continue the nefarious squirrel plan to overthrow humanity…

Why I Miss Chapel Hill, Part 456

Their chalk graffiti is the best I've seen.


You have no idea how much I wanted to get a Sharpie and fix this sign (you got it right once! Why screw up on the others?)

More Adventures In Soft Drinks!

Resurrecting a feature I used to do while I was living here. For my sins, I tasted Pepsi Blue, Mountain Dew: Code Red, and others, reporting whether we should be jealous that they’re not available in Britain (in the main: no). So, today: Coca-Cola Zero!

The story goes that back when Coca-Cola was developing Diet Coke, their first idea was to simply replace the sugar with NutraSweet. However, the results of this proved to be quite disappointing, so they came up with a different flavour, which is why Diet Coke doesn’t taste the same as Coke. A couple of years later, they tried to do it again; this time though, they had looked at the success of Diet Coke, and thought: “hey, why don’t we add sugar back?” Thus, New Coke was born. And fairly quickly shoved into a Moses basket and sent out to sea, but that’s another story. Coca-Cola Zero goes back to the original idea, perhaps due to advances in technology since the early 1980s; it’s Coca-Coca, but just as healthy as a Diet Coke. The taste is…slightly underwhelming, as it lacks the suagr rush of normal Coke, and feels bland in comparison to Diet Coke. So there you go…

In other news, I can also recommend that you avoid watermelon milkshakes, as they are perhaps one of the most disgusting drinks to grace this planet. Other things we learnt last night while driving around Durham: don’t discuss irons around Mandy, cars that disappear and reappear on dark country roads are quite unsettling, Ian should speak up during the milkshake collection phase of the drive-through, it’s harder to give bite marks whilst wearing braces, the toiletry habits of certain Scottish people leave something to desired, and caramel fudge really doesn’t taste the same as chocolate cherry. Considering that was all packed in to three hours late last night, I think it was a fairly successful day!

(Also, the new Apple mouse is sooooo good. I had to pull myself away)

currently playing: Scissor Sisters – Take Me Out