Is That Dawn?

Getting used to 4am bedtimes is a touch jarring. Oh, what a cross I bear. Hah. So, if today is Wednesday, what have I been up to? Well, Monday was my traditional Mall Day, wherein I tried (and failed) to resist the pressures of consumerism and the dearth of 34x30 trousers. Southpoint gets bigger and bigger all the time; since Christmas, a Best Buy appears to have appeared, almost from nowhere, making New Hope Commons look even more threadbare in comparison.

Yesterday started out as a normal walking day, going back and forth to Carrboro a fair few times, before meeting up with Christa, fresh from New York (and the proud new owner of a pirate ship. Arr!). I had dinner with her and Eric, which included my first taste of sake…and the earliest I’ve felt drunk in a long time (my family can write their own jokes here). Then, a strawberry milkshake at The Spotted Dog, a prelude for adventures with Sara, Wyatt, Collin, and Emily. It turns out that Wyatt is something of a master of air hockey, but, considering it was only my third game, I wasn’t too bad (i.e. I didn’t get completely slaughtered). Other things learnt from the evening: there is a tremendous dearth of decent available gay men online in the Triangle, and people will use Craigslist in the most creative ways to get back at others.

Hopefully, more soon. I have something of a response to the recent flurry of Bis reminiscences, provisionally entitled ‘The Other Side Speaks: A Confession (Or: How I Learnt To Stop Worrying And Become Teen-C)‘. I was going to write it today, but sleep got in the way, sadly. Soon, I hope!

Oh, also: pictures are up at Flickr, if you haven’t been seeing them. I need to take more…

currently playing: The National – Green Gloves


Are there going to be any teenage boys left in London by the time I get back?

currently playing: Morrissey — First of The Gang To Die

Modern Life is…well, quite good actually!

Kelley said to me yesterday “Isn’t a bit weird coming all the way over here and then going to a Britpop dance party?” And it is, I suppose, but it’s interesting to hear what gets played and what doesn’t in comparison to back home. Highlights of Saturday night’s Modern Life (at the Local 506, Chapel Hill/Carrboro fans) included a rare outing by Dubstar, Altered Images, and, for perhaps the first time I’ve heard it played straight for…well, years, Slight Return. I had to restrain myself from doing the Lard bits. Also: amusing for five people on the dancefloor to all turn into Bez as soon as Step On started playing.

(I may have been responsible for Lucky Soul’s first transatlantic club outing after they were played earlier in the evening. Do Ruffa Lane have a street team?)

Sadly, a wardrobe malfunction meant that fancy dress could not be worn, but I have rectified that today (buying a white shirt turned out to be a tougher task than it really needed to be), so it will get an outing sometime before I leave. Promise.

currently playing: Idlewild – In Competition For The Worst Time

The Really Free Market

The Really free Market is one of those things that could only happen in Carrboro. The first Saturday in every month, people come to the town commons, bringing stuff that they no longer want and give it away to anybody who is interested. In a typical Carrboro fashion, that’s it. There’s no organisation; you just turn up and dump or browse to your heart’s content.

If there’s a flaw in the idea, it’s that it could use the tiniest touch of order. People turn up in dribs and drabs, which means that there’s a swarm whenever somebody new arrives, everybody eager to see what’s inside the latest box. Also, we’d like to voice our disapproval at people who came along scooping up CDs and books without even looking at them. Bad form

Of course, it wasn’t just clothes, toys, network cards, and yes, even a Voodoo 3 SLI (how much were those ten years ago, I wonder?). You could also get a birdhouse made for you while you waited, and the the friendly neighbourhood Carrboro anarchists baked vegan cookies, made potato and celery stew, and provided a host of guides and pamphlets on topics ranging from ‘What to do when the cops come’ to Herbal Abortions (a priceless excerpt: “We cannot stress highly enough the need for a back-up plan”). God bless them. Although they probably wouldn’t appreciate that. Viva la Revolucion! There, that’s better.

It’s just a shame I couldn’t bring the oars home with me…

currently playing: Prefab Sprout – Appetite

Day 3: In which The Author Learns…

…that birds do not respond to logical, well-reasoned arguments…

currently playing:


Going out while having been up for so long was probably a bad idea. I ended up sitting in the corner trying not to slip into a coma. Although Collin and I did start our Daisy watching last night too.

Still, up and about today, although again right now I feel as if I could sleep for a day or so. Wandering around Chapel Hill, getting a brace of comics from Chapel Hill Comics (it’s my equivalent of Cheers!), some SECRET THINGS, and pizza for lunch. Stacie and I went on a brief Wii-hunt before we realised the complete pointlessness of the idea…

currently playing: Low – In Silence

Living In The Future

It’s easy, what with the lack of jet-packs, flying cars, laser beams, and hoverboards, to be a little cynical about the state of things today. However, sitting here, 10,000 meters above the ground, having lost track of the amount of times I’ve actually been to America, a country that seemed so far away to me when I was, being told fabulous stories of television channels full of cartoons and Toys R Us shops that spanned multiple floors, watching Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy on a box smaller than a pack of cigarettes that also happens to hold my entire music collection (and how we laughed at the Going Live April Fool of Chippy, all those years ago), well, we got some of the future, I think. Also, the SkyMall has adverts for an automatic margarita maker, a giant remote control the size of a kilogram bar of Daily Milk, and spring-loaded shoes that promise to make you two inches taller and feel like you’re ‘defying gravity’. Tom Cruise has probably ordered dozens.

(As an aside, A fun game to play while watching Tinker, Tailor is to wonder what you’d be forced to change if you were making it today. By my reckoning, the entire first episode would be compressed into five minutes, ten at the most.)

I have three hours left Time for some The Power of Nightmares (it restores my faith in William Kristol’s punchabilty after all. Jarvis on the iPod. Coming over Halifax, Nova Scotia. Did the future contemplate INDIE KARAOKE? I think not. And that, my friends, is where Blade Runner failed. Along with thinking that everybody would simply forget to clean things for a decade or so.

Sadly, I have to report that change comes to everything eventually. Yes, the mid-afternoon snack on AA173, the long-cherished pizza with its dense dough, is no more. In its place? A vegetable cheese panini. Not quite as good, I think.

RDU: As cheerfully inept as ever.

Amusingly, Stacie and I went to Weaver Street Market to say hello to Collin before heading out to get something to eat with Laura. In the space of five minutes, I bumped into Janet Jones (who was in charge of looking after the CS grad students while I was at UNC), and Julia Grace, who took a class I was TA for back in 2002. She’s now a grad student there herself. I can see why I like this place!

currently playing: Lucky Soul – Get Outta Town!

You Shouldn't Go Away Angry

So, I’ll just point out that Virgin Media are useless, cretinous morons…

Tomorrow: America again!

currently playing: Life On Mars

In Case You Needed It!

The Phelps Family respond to Louis Theroux’s documentary on Sunday night. I’m sure it’s full of reasoned argument!

currently playing: Low – Hatchet

Something Positive About A Record Company? Heavens!

Shocking, isn’t it? But, with the announcement of EMI allowing Apple to sell unprotected songs on iTunes, we’re finally seeing a chink in the entertainment industry’s love of DRM. Yes, they’re slightly more expensive (though this is mitigated by doubling the bitrate of the songs from 128k AAC to 256k and keeping the price the same for buying full albums).

Hopefully, this will be the start of a host of music labels selling non-DRM encumbered tracks, and as a bonus, the end of the stupid ‘iTMS lock-in’ story that continues to crop up from time to time.

currently playing: Prefab Sprout – When Love Breaks Down