And don't mention the Catholics, either

This is Gary. Gary used to be a Hell's Angel. He was running dope across Arizona in the late 1970s, until one day, in 1979, he found God. He's now a born-again Christian preacher, who comes to the campus to assail the students in the Fall and Spring. Gary intrigues me, because he's never going to make headway on campus telling everybody that they're going to hell, that homosexuals will burn in eternal damnation, that woman's place is in the home, and that white people should stay separate from black people. He's not prepared to have a reasoned argument; he ignores people who are making well-thoughtout points, instead choosing to twist words and jump on slips of the tongue.

And yet he keeps coming back. The techno-listening girl who I teamed up with said that he gets paid for this, but still, after a while you'd think he'd get a little discouraged…

currently playing: Aimee Mann — Save Me

Empirical data on file-sharing's effect on album sales

UNC Chapel Hill says: we’re not killing the music industry!

currently playing: Björk — Hyperballad

I Don't Care If Monday's Blue

Okay, so I was still wandering around Chapel Hill in the same clothes I had on last night (Thursday). I left Kavi a message on her voicemail, but she was at school all day, so she never got a chance to check. I went off back to the house with the Giant Key, to see if I could get any explanation. Sadly, nobody was home, so I took a sales brochure instead (and every photo was staged to avoid showing the key, which seems a shame), and headed back to campus.

Laura, Stacie and I went to see Migrations: Humanity In Transition at the Ackland Art Museum. It's a series of photographs showing the dispossessed, refugees, and migrants from all over the world. It was rather sobering, to say the least.

Someone stole Laura's back wheel. Admittedly, if she was in Manchester, they would have stolen the seat as well, but still…

In the early evening (note: still haven't changed yet), I went to Pittsboro with Stacie and Collin to sample "The Best Barbeque In The Country". We had a little setback when we first arrived, as we discovered that they only took cash, but the food was well worth the five mile trip to the nearest ATM. And then, a call from Kavi! She made sure I was still alive, and was quite impressed to hear that I was in Pittsboro (although I think she may have thought that I waled to begin with ;-)).

Then, the buying of alcohol. This entry now becomes a little hazier…

Stacie dropped me off at Kavi's so I could have a shower and get changed (yay!), before picking me up later on, and heading over to Laura's.

There was a little too much alcohol consumed. There was also a falling table, pokey sticks, various sing-a-longs, an Eliot quoting team-up between myself and John Steen (who was also called Warren, leading to the first time Empire Records has been useful in a life sense), more drinking, voicemail messages, and an email which apparently includes my handiwork, but I have no recollection of writing it.

I woke up on Saturday, back on Laura's couch again.

It's quite funny; the weekends themselves have been rather quiet; it's the weekdays that have seen and heard weird and wonderful things. And now I only have a few days left once again. Time to make sure they count…

currently playing: Camera Obscura — Lunar Sea

A 66¢ Toothbrush, and THE GIANT KEY!

Thursday night then. Pizza and Friends with Leigh, Joe, and Laura. Plus lots of sweets and chocolate and crisps (including the Crisp of Champions, Pickled Onion Monster Munch. Unfortunately, Leigh and Laura were not impressed. Joe, on the other hand, wants me to set up an import business so he can have a steady supply). Then Stacie came by, and her, myself and Laura went off to Durham so meet up with Stacie’s friends, Audrey and Tracey.

It was the first time I'd ever been on the Duke campus; I didn't really mean to have the UNC t-shirt on, it just happened that way. Laura informs me that it was lucky that I had my shirt buttoned up, or there could have been trouble.

Anyway, we met up with Stacie's friends, and headed off into downtown Durham to go to a bar. But wait! First, we had to go to the Center (just this once) for Documentary Studies, as Laura is applying for a position there over the summer. And the deadline was Friday morning, so it had to be delivered that night.

Unfortunately, we didn't know exactly where that was. Tracey did her best to give us directions, but we disappeared down many dark alleys and eventually had to resort to calling one of Tracey's friends and getting directions from them. Interesting conversations in the car, including finding out what a British accent is good for in America via a funny slip of the tongue.

After we had dropped off Laura's application, we went off to the bar, and stayed there for a couple of hours (a bit beyond Stacie's initial estimate of half-an-hour so she could get back and finish her paper). The tripping and pushing that occurred on the way in should have been a sign of things to come, but no-one pays attention to these warning signs until it's too late. We left around midnight.

Then Laura jumped on the bonnet.

Admittedly, the car wasn't moving at the time. That time at least.

So, we were going home. Until Laura remembered that I hadn't been to a Waffle House yet. And that the best time to go to a Waffle House was late at night. Stacie phoned Srav, who wanted to come. Srav also wanted to bring somebody else, and went off to find him. We drove around Chapel Hill until we heard back from her.

There's a Scottish castle in Chapel Hill. Not exactly sure why, but I've seen it. It's a castle, and it's made of imported Scottish stone. We may have been squinting our eyes to create interesting patterns on our retinas at this point as well. The sad thing is, none of us were drunk…

I remembered the House With The Giant Key. We went off in search, driving around dimly-lit country roads, looking like we were casing the area. As we went further and further, the lights became fewer and fewer, until we were driving around in darkness.

As we turned a corner, Stacie mentioned to Laura that this looked like a creepy street, and Laura agreed. And then, from the back of the car:


I didn't mean to shout quite so hard; I was just pleased to find it. I scared the life out of Stacie and Laura 8-)., and we spent five minutes outside the house just cracking up.

We picked up Srav, and after some more bonnet action (this time with movement), we took her to see the Giant Key. She was impressed. Well, okay, to be more truthful, she was scared for her life, as the three of us were still acting particularly nutty (traffic lights are really cool for that sort of thing. Especially LCD ones). And then! The Waffle House!

Waffles are like pancakes, but they have dents in them. They taste good with maple syrup, as you'd might expect. Waffle House jukeboxes have special Waffle-themed songs, several of which we played, to the consternation of the rest of the people in the restaurant. We laughed at the strange personal ads in the alternative newspaper, and were warned to drive home safely by our waitress, who was convinced that we had been using substances of some sort before coming in (lies!).

It was now about 3:28am. We know this because Laura called Collin, waking him up, to tell him about the Giant Key. And insisting she was sober. We went back to Chapel Hill, but Kavi was asleep (as you'd might expect, really), and at the time, I didn't have a key to the apartment. Oh dear. Laura let me sleep on her surprisingly comfortable couch (it was probably comfortable last night as well, but I don't remember, to be honest).

The next morning - new problems! Still nobody answering at Kavi's apartment. So I couldn't change my clothes. Or have a shower. Or brush my teeth. It was a bit of a disaster. Laura dropped me off in Carrboro on her way into college, and I bought a travel-sized portion of toothpaste along with a toothbrush, and brushed my teeth in the Carr Mill toilets. Oh yes. There is more to Friday. But really, I need to find out more details before I go on. My memory is sadly faulty in certain areas…

currently playing: Joe Henry — Stop

Normal Service Will Resume Shortly

I haven’t gone anywhere. But I’ll probably update the events of the past 48 hours tomorrow. I think it desrves a little extra effort. In the meantime, squint your eyes…

currently playing: Nick Cave — Love Letter

And I Don't Even Like Coffee…

I like to think that the reason that I’ve spent so much time in coffee shops the past few days is because I feel guilty about not using them while I was here. The guilty feeling will also help to explain why I bought another chapstick last night, because I didn’t have any change for the homeless man outside.

So, erm, once again, not too much to talk about. Went to New Hope Commons, a disastrous lunch in Miami Subs (arrg! mushrooms!), and then I met up with Kavi at the Pit. Then Stacie came by, and we had a chat with her. She'd just come from eating dinner with Laura, who came by a little later on (she had a friend with her, but I can't remember her name. I suck). Then Sona turned up, and then Shatil. A mini-UNITAS reunion!

Tea…was weird. There's an awful lot of tension going on between some of my friends, so I was quite happy to spend most of the evening advising Shatil whereabouts he should visit when in Britain later this year (I suggested Manchester, which, now that I think about it, doesn't have too much going for it that you wouldn't find, say, in London, but oh well).

But hark! I shall leave you with another picture with nobody in it!

currently playing: Camera Obscura — Eighties Fan

And lo, there was yet more walking

The weather report lied. But the sunshine blazing through the window when I woke up suggested that it might be a good day after all, so I dressed accordingly.

Breakfast at Caribou Coffee, because I’d never been there before (I think I’m down to one last coffee shop that I haven’t been in - the Open Eye in Carrboro), and then walking around campus trying to find somewhere to write. I settled on a patch of grass near Morehead Planetarium. I spent a while attempting to write, but all that would come out was gibberish and backwards text, to I went walking again, spending an hour going around the arboretum (for those of you who know the place, erm, yes, but there was a reason, honest).

Then, off to the comic shop to get hold of the third Animal Man book. Except they didn’t have any copies left. But the owner said that they were expecting some more either today (Wednesday) or Thursday, and if I left my phone number, they’d give me a ring when it came in. Did I mention how much I like that shop? I bought the cheap reprint of Andy Diggle and Jock’s The Losers, which was a great heist story and well worth the $10.

After lunch, I went to the graveyard in the middle of the university (yes, I’m still not sure what it says about this place), found the Centre for Dramatic Arts, and got lost in the woods next door. Eventually, I found my way back to civilisation, and flopped into one of the new comfy chairs at the rebuilt union building (it’s very cosy).

As the evening drew on, Laura called, comfirming that she could make it to the cinema tonight, so I wandered around the town for a few more hours, getting something to eat, and bumping into Leigh and Jo along the way.

Laura and Stacie met me outside the Carolina Theatre, and we headed off to see “Eternal Sunshine of The Spotless Mind”. Go. See. It. Carrey turns in a performance that’s even better than The Truman Show, the film is interesting and intriguing, it’s visually stunning (borrowing ideas from Animal Man, funnily enough - and directed by the guy who did the Smirnoff cinema adverts from a few years ago - the one with the couple being chased by an army), and, not forgetting: Kate Winslet with blue hair.

The ending provoked some discussion over the nature of relationships, pessimistic versus optimistic outlooks on life, and resulted in two of us being pushed into the road ;-). Laura then suggested that we go back to her place to eat some ice-cream (Stacie fought long and hard over whether she should do her paper instead. A two minute knock-out performance). We picked up Stacie’s friend Srav (that’s not her whole name, but I fear I will mangle it beyond any resemblance if I attempt to go beyond that), and we had a great couple of hours talking about lemmings, strange things to do in a forest, delayed reactions, and the wild and varied acting career of Saddam Hussein. A fun night, although I hope we didn’t keep Rebecca awake upstairs…

currently playing: Bob Dylan - Visions of Johanna

Pictures of A Town

currently playing: The Divine Comedy — Come Home Billy Bird

Sunday afternoon can’t last forever

Day 4: In Which The Writer Gets Bored Of This Silly Device And Resolves Not To Use It Tomorrow.

Aptly, today was a day of rest. The rest of the house got back around 4am, but soon went to sleep after a hard night's drinking. I managed to get an impressive amount of rest, eventually waking up at 10am. After I'd been up for an hour or so, the others began to stir. Slowly. Everybody was a little worse for wear, so it took quite a considerable time for people to get up and dressed.

We all traipsed off to Franklin Street for breakfast/okay-if-we-were-being-honest-it-was-lunch, and well, that's been about it for the day. Bought a staple gun. Worked out how to use it. Stood around the back of the Chrysler Garage like an idiot for about half-an-hour while freezing (the sun disappeared and all the warmth went away).

And this evening, home-made nachos with Kavi, Michelle, and Kavi's old roommate Cat, whereupon I explained the difference between England, Great Britain, and the United Kingdom. Then, an hour and a half attempting to blow up an air mattress with a hairdryer. It looks okay, but it sags in the middle a little…

currently playing: Sister Hazel — Your Winter


Day 3: The Idiot forgets about the sun.