Monday, January 19, 2004

I wrote this last night (Sunday) and for comic value publish it here unedited, tho I cleared up most of the several hundred typos. I think I was a little bit out of kilter, it certainly doesn't seem to make much sense. In fact it's totally random.


OK so here I am again in the land of the free and home of the brave. Actually I really can’t complain at the moment – it was pretty much the easiest journey ever, excepting my taxi not turning up in the morning. Ok not a big deal and, in fact why was I even getting a taxi – answer because it’s all paid for by work. I told them it was a big waste of time but hey – you can’t fight the man. See I’m turning funny already. So I went with the flow and . . . it didn’t turn up. Cue some irate phone calls, eventually giving up and ½ an hour late hauled my ass to Victoria to find out the Gatwick Express schedule was halved due to engineering works. The Virgin guard (hopefully literally) was particularly proud of that – pointing out that it wasn’t the fault of Virgin – it was a NETWORK problem. Like I cared. You’d think that basic pee-pul training would include warnings against telling people who are going to be late for flights through no fault of their own that it’s ‘Not our fault!’

Apart from that it was stunningly straightforward – no hassle at Gatwick, plane left on time, snooze, booze, goggle with amazement at the shiteness of American Airlines in flight programming. The only thing I could watch was Swiss Toni (which was actually pretty good) tho I suppose gluttons for punishment might have choked down Seabiscuit. As per I soon spotted someone who works down the corridor from me and by the time we were coming into RDU had positively identified 3 other XXX Corporation employees. Charming. I was slightly apprehensive as I haven’t been to the US for about a year and things have only got madder since then, and my passport is frankly a bit of a train wreck. It’s been around the world, it’s been stamped all over by some of the world’s most stamp-happy border guards, and it’s been through the washing machine. Basically every time I pitch up at customs it’s another throw of the dice and sooner or later I’m going to throw another double 0 and get hauled over. This has actually happened before, but it wasn’t in the US. It was (and this is true) on the Chinese/Mongolian border at 2.30 am and Miss Mirror Shades Leather Boots Scarlet Lipstick AK47 decided she didn’t like the look of my limp rag of a passport. That’s an hour I NEVER want to live through again. Put it this way I was too scared to enjoy the fact that I was being done over by a genuine Asian Babe Dominatrix. I was shitting myself, and not in a good way. In the end she just suddenly gave me back my passport, stamped it and let me go. But the memory lends a certain frisson to every visit to a glass booth with a uniform in it I make.

However – no hassle this time. Incredibly we landed on time at 3.35 and by 4.10 I was getting into a taxi, and that includes picking up checked luggage. If you haven’t been to the US since 9/11 believe me this is the equivalent of, well, um, well, it’s fucking incredible. So here I am at the lovely Doubletree watching ads for SUVs, no-brand tacos, Nescafe Frothé (???), The Best of Don MacLean Live,Wal-Mart, generic HRT and comms, comms, comms. In between ‘You’ve Got Mail’ is making an occasional appearance. I’m ashamed to admit how much I like that movie, but it’s a lot and I’m not the only one – Hari!. Except for the end which is shite. BTW the guy who does the future presentations voiceovers on TNT sounds exactly like Tommy Vance putting on an American accent. And speaking of ads you may remember me ranting a while ago about the Pepsi Challenge. Things move on, things stay the same. You can now see precisely the same ad (minus David ‘Kid’ Jensen) except it’s for Hi-speed direct dial internet connections.

Most annoyingly I’ve forgotten my flipping Ethernet connector cable so I can’t even post all this till I can find a WAN I can tap into which will be tomorrow. I’ve got a suite with a bathroom, a bedroom, a dressing area, a living room, a kitchenette, (total 440 square feet – I measured) a super sized king tubby bed, a dining table, a coffee percolator, a microwave, 2 telephones, 3 televisions, an armchair, a sofa, a desk, cable N64 (which I can’t use), internet TV (ditto), a complimentary Doubletree chocolate chip cookie and no on-line connection! What kind of a business hotel doesn’t have a WAN? I can’t believe I’m so spoiled. And anyway I never blog at the weekend normally. But now I’m bored and I want to blog. Also tired but it’s only 7.20 here – need to find a bar, get some dinner, that sort of thing. Of course I have no car so short of getting a taxi to Raleigh or Durham that pretty much limits me to what’s available here, to whit The Piney Point Grill. Oooh – Meg Ryan’s just sold the store and is sobbing in Fox Books. Unfortunately that means the bit in the elevator is coming up now. Might need to watch, er oooh – Clueless is on USA. Followed by ‘She’s All That’. Dear God. I actually like the first part of ‘She’s All That’ when Cooke is still doing her quirky indy thing. As soon as she starts falling for Freddie ‘Colour me Slimey’ Prinze Junior it all starts to go horribly wrong. He gives me the dry heaves. Ack. BTW – whatever happened to Alicia Silverstone? I mean she could act and she was beautiful. And not just in a standard way – there’s something about her face that’s just a little bit out of kilter, even fractionally, erm, bosted. But the overall effect is charming. Maybe she’s still suffering from the curse of Batman? Where are you Alicia? – we miss your wonky lopsided mouth and mournful eyes :)


The cookie was good. I’m still not buying any more though because I am FAT.


OK I’ve now been in the bar at the doubletree for about 4 hours I guess. I watched the big game (Carolina won the NFC championship whatever that is) and drank a lot of bears sitting on my own at the bar. I guess part of that was because despite my good new year intentions I’m back on the fags again. Currently my mouth feels like an overdried carwash, liquid is available but it’s still the dry bits that dominate. I had a nice chat with the bar maid about American Idol tho – cute!

Alas tomorrow my no fun colleagues arrive. That means no drinking of course. I know that technically it doesn’t mean that but I’m still a slave to corporate rules. I may be leaving, I may not give a monkey about what anyone says, but that’s not true. I care about what my boss thinks about me , and well, I dunno , I’m a bit pissed – obviously, but somehow it would offend him to see me drink 7 beers in a row sitting at a bar without any sign if food or anything, In fact 7 beers under any circs would be unacceptable. I don’t even want to think about what would be the reaction if they knew I smoked as well.

Ok NIGHT Y night.

I think I should have gone to bed earlier. Feel fine now and had a pretty productive meeting this morning. The weather here is nice. Just above freezing but very sunny - trees, grass, pale skies. It's the triangle. I guess this evening I'll go the the Mall with some of my colleagues. The Americans are actually quite fun in some ways. for lunch today we went to Taco Bell, so that's one more fast food chain I can tick off the list. Feel a tad dispeptic though, and you know it didn't do anything for my encroaching lardiness.

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