At the back of the hill

Warning: If you stay here long enough you will gain weight! Grazing here strongly suggests that you are either omnivorous, or a glutton. And you might like cheese-doodles.
BTW: I'm presently searching for another person who likes cheese-doodles.
Please form a caseophilic line to the right. Thank you.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

MY LARGE PLATE OF CAKE!

There's a trick to growing up that we usually don't figure out until we're in our late teens. It's the ability to filter out everything around us when we're busy. And it usually irritates all the other people in our lives.

There you were on the couch, legs up, textbook on your knees, munching an apple. The radio was blasting ghetto-killer funk at FULL BLAST.
You were happy as a clam in your own world while reading about the mating cycle of the Peruvian Cattle Fly for that test on Tuesday. Your only other thought (other than Peruvian Cattle Fly larvae) was "should I go get my comfy pillow?". Maybe it wasn't the pillow but the fuzzy blanket or the teddy bear - either, or. Which ever.
The point is that despite Lamont 'Dirty Boxers' Camelbanger screaming about "whacking da man wi'd a foddy fahv", your head was entirely filled with larvae.

And your mom screeched from two rooms away "how CAN you bleeping STUDY with that horrid RACKET going ON?!?"

Well, see, that's precisely why! Listening to Killah Crack Mastah insulated you.
Not nearly enough, however, as your parents made very clear every time you played 'your' music.
Is it even possible to read with all those interruptions?

So you acquired headphones.

Those only helped for a while.


"Dammit, I can't talk to you with those things on!"


And you silently thought to yourself "umm, that's entirely the point?"
But you never say it out loud. Neither parent would appreciate the logic.
You have to be both diligent about your books, as well as conversationally available at all times.
How odd that they don't grasp the contradiction!

You could go over to a friend's place.......

Except total silence and a closed door raise suspicions there too.

Maybe the treehouse in the back yard. Nobody will interrupt "Life Story of the Banana Moth Revisited" there.

Oh wait, there's that old creep who lives next door. With the binoculars.

Coffee house?

Nope, loonies and retired people!


THE NEED FOR SOMEWHERE PRIVATE

Becoming an adult means finally being able to read. Peace, quiet, and a fuzzy blanket. Maybe a carbonated beverage within reach, and something nice to eat.
Kicking back, wearing comfies. Twiddling toes and occasionally scratching.


If you come to the office this weekend and discover me flaked out on a bean bag, wearing my jammies, with a huge plate of cake next to me on the conference room floor, do NOT be surprised.

I'm just being grown up.

See, I've got a big book on my lap!

Don't mind if I scratch.


There's an extra bean bag.
If you want to read, drop on by.


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TEENAGE PIPE SMOKERS

Catchy title for a post, no? You've always wondered where pipe-smokers came from, and if you're reading this, you are obviously researching the matter.

Pipe-smokers are born, not made.

Teenage pipe-smokers are the offspring of a male and a female pipe-smoker who met over a decade ago in the Sargasso Sea, and mingled his tarry Latakia with her sensuous matured Virginia......

No wait, it was like this. She entered a tobacco repository which he had recently vacated..........


PIPE SMOKING FETISH

I don't blame you if you don't believe either of those two versions of the pipe-smoker reproductive process.

My mother wasn't a pipe-smoker, ever.
My dad used to smoke pipes but had switched to cigarettes years before I took up the habit.
I became a pipe-smoker almost entirely by accident. There was a very elegant pipe in the étalage of the tabaks-magazijn next to Priem's bookstore which appealed to me.
After several weeks of gazing fondly I bought it.
It wasn't until months later that I finally purchased something to put into it.

Teenage pipe-smokers probably experience a similar progression: object lust - occasional use - growing enjoyment - enduring love.

One woman I knew many years ago started off fondling one of her father's pipes.
Eventually she finished a tin of St. Bruno flake, then bought another tin. And another pipe. Several months later she was on her fifth tin and had a third pipe.
All of this before she was eighteen years old.

Most teenagers who become pipe-smokers do so as a solitary and contemplative peccadillant. Parents almost always disapprove of their children smoking, and many adults assume that a juvenile puffing on a pipe is being 'artistic' or putting on airs.
Not so.

We're simply being sensualists.
I suppose that's even more disturbing?

You know, there's a reason why cigar and pipe ads feature beautiful photos, often of zesty people in the prime of their lives. It's esthetics.

The smoker of fine tobacco appreciates beauty and depravity in equal measure. For many women, alas, it remains an intellectual fantasy. While the teenage boy will brazen it out, the teenage maiden will hesitate about displaying her predilections so provocatively.

A very great pity!

Nothing says "please go away, I'm pre-occupied" (or "shog off, you horrid pervert") as eloquently as a disparaging puff of smoke and the intense enjoyment of a long slow toast while ignoring extraneous stimuli.
More young ladies should smoke pipes.

The world would be a better place if they did.

[PARENTS, PAY ATTENTION! Pipe smoking is conducive to good clean living, and reduces onanism, gout, ADD, pimples, extravagant degeneracy, inattention to academic subjects, and inappropriate association with non-Chinese teenagers of either gender! I have experience in these matters. And I'm a DOCTOR, I can say these things!]


The only negative thing I can think of is that then there would be Hello Kitty Pipes, Hello Kitty Pipe-tampers, Hello Kitty Tobacco Pouches, Hello Kitty Pipe Racks, Hello Kitty Man Purses, Hello Kitty Virginia Flake, Hello Kitty Dark Twist, Hello Kitty London Mixture, Hello Kitty Scotch Blend, Hello Kitty Cavendish, Hello Kitty Balkan Mixture, Hello Kitty Casbah Dreams......

[I'm fairly certain Sanrio would have NO objection to any of this - there's already some plenty weird crap with Hello Kitty blazoned upon it. Motorbikes, Love Motels, Bondage Gear, Cake Pans, Toilet Seats, Cocktail Shakers, Stripper Panties, Telephones, Tool Boxes, Jackboots, Crash Helmets, Weapons...... ]


Pipe smoking isn't a macho habit. It is as feminine as you want it to be. Or not.
But it's entirely up to you.
And you have my complete support.




TOBACCO INDEX


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Wednesday, March 30, 2011

WHAT DO YOU WANT TO EAT?

Saturday and Sunday are a problem nowadays. And this coming weekend promises to be a doozy in that regard. Savage Kitten is preparing for a family event - the yearly grave cleaning - and will therefore be out of the house most of the time.

[The cleaning of the tombs is a traditional Chinese practice known as Ching Ming (清明節) observed on the fifteenth day after the Spring Equinox. Chinese-Americans customarily do it on the nearest weekend before or after that date.]


Last weekend she assembled the dry provisions, this Saturday the wet things are on the list. Sunday morning will be when she gets the boiled chicken and the buns, before driving off to meet her siblings in Colma.
After which she'll certainly spend whatever hours are left of the weekend with her sweetie (aka "Wheelie Boy").

Yes, I am quite as tired of hearing about her new boy friend that pissant as you are. Sorry.


EMPTY LAIR SYNDROME

Point is, the house will be empty.

I'll probably flee to the office for the duration.
By one or two o'clock on both days I'll start feeling ravenous and wondering whether I should head into Chinatown for a bite - it will have been several hours since 'coffee-shave-shower' by that time.
Around four o'clock I may give in and do exactly that.
Teatime, breakfast, lunch, dinner - it's 'tinksher'!

Noodles, pastries, or dumplings.

Good, but not really a meal.

A meal, pretty much by definition, is shared. Rice and various dishes.
The closest a restaurant comes to that paradigm for the single diner is a riceplate. And there are TWO things wrong with that! The first is that ordering a riceplate advertises your inability to share - either because you're the only one at the table, OR something far worse.
The second thing is that riceplates are boring.


A meal consists of RICE, various SHARED dishes, and ANOTHER PERSON.

Anything else is a snack, or mere fuel.

Imagine, if you will, that I sit down and order something approaching a meal by myself. In addition to the rice, that would be a meat dish and one or two vegetable dishes. For instance steamed fatty pork with ginger, stirfried yau choi, and perhaps some mussels or oysters or a fish.
You can see the problem, can't you? There's only one of me.
That's WAY too much food for one person. And one person by himself will not have a great appetite to begin with.
A meal like that would also highlight the solitude, both for the person eating and for the restaurant staff.
That isn't the kind of 'attention' I want from myself or from others!

In addition to having no one to talk with while waiting for the 'feast'.


"Mmmmm, these shrimp are delicious, aren't they?
Go on, have some more of the gingered eel. Oooh, have you TASTED this pork and bittermelon? It's deeeelicious! Yummy, squid with black beans, miuchoi with garlic and oyster sauce, and dry shrimp mushroom taufoo egg custard!"



There are no real restaurant dishes that come in minute portions.
Outside of pretentious overpriced nouvelle places, that is - I rather doubt that such a place would even know what to do with real food anyway.

When I cook at home, two or three dishes seems like an awful lot of work for just one person. I usually just slop something together, if I bother to cook in the first place.
Fish doesn't even come in a single portion size.

There have been some weekends when I didn't bother to eat until I got home, and then simply had some cookies and tea in front of the television before going to bed. Which is the often what I do on weekdays also.
But at least during the week the lunch places in the financial district are open.


DINNER IS A METAPHOR FOR..... DINNER!

Now, I know what you're going to say.
Either you're going to suggest that I have an unhealthy obsession with eating Chinese food, or I should simply grab someone, anyone, to go out to eat with.

To the first statement I will offer that the problem is far worse when it comes to other styles of food - one order of rice pilaf and one order of murgh makhni equals one major serving of acid indigestion - and to the second I will object that merely sharing a table is NOT at all the same as sharing a meal. If each person is merely eating their own stuff, you might as well not eat together at all.

Very anglo Protestant people act like that - and can you say 'maladjusted' and 'dysfunctional'?
Kinda like carnivores snapping the moment another wolf comes near.

Mine, do you hear me, mine! My dead moose!
G'wan, git yer own! Snarl!


It is an intense pleasure to yield the better piece or the tastier morsel to someone else.
Here, please have some more of this. I'm so glad you like it.
Pass me your bowl, I'll scoop you some more rice.

The words 'yes please' and 'oh thank you' embody positive social interaction.
Contrariwise the phrase "I ain't touching that, it's WEIRD" is no fun at all.

Food tastes better shared.

That's just the way it is.


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Tuesday, March 29, 2011

A GARDEN OF BRILLIANT SPRING

Years ago I used to be an avid horticulturalist. But I haven't been that way in a long time.
It isn't that coming back to San Francisco has changed anything.
I'm still as fond of flowers as I always have been - you can take the bad-tempered grouch out of Holland, but you can't take Holland out of the bad-tempered grouch.

Now I have a choice.

That wasn't always the case.

It was my mother, she made me do it.


The house where we lived in Valkenswaard had a huge garden, scarcely visible beyond the courtyard in summer because of bushes and an ancient apple-tree. Turning what had been a wilderness into a paradise was my mother's project. For several years, every week in summer and autumn she and I would buy plants at the Thursday street market, eventually transforming the garden into a panoply of colour and intense viridian.

My mother had lumbago and rheumatism.

Care to guess who did most of the work?


In autumn we would haul crates of bulbs home from the market, which I would then spend hours sticking in the ground.
This was after I had already planted shrubs, trimmed branches, mowed the lawn, throughout spring and summer......

Gardening was very therapeutic for my mother. She really did enjoy her plants.

The hours of hard labour paid off in Spring, when the bulbs I had planted would produce glowing flame for two whole months, before even the shrubs yielded their blooms, followed by the deepest greens of a warm wet summer.
From April to October, the garden was glorious to the eye. By the end of summer the forsythia formed forest glades, rhododendron and azalea filled the darker areas with blurs of harlot lipstick hue.

I've always loved gardens. Still do.
Not entirely enthusiastic about the work involved, though.

For me the nicest of all the plants was the gigantic apple tree at the end of the courtyard.
It required absolutely no work (!), and repaid that lack of effort handsomely, sending pale petals showering down at each breeze that formed dense drifts across the paving stones and providing our cats with stuff to chase and leap at. The clouds of white blossom eventually gave way to leafy shade in June.

My mother wasn't very appreciative of the apple tree, or of the cherry tree beyond the stables. She thought both of them were show-offs, spreading their charm without needing effort.
The crocuses and tulips, daffodils and tiny pale dwarf narcissuses, these were her favourites.

The last autumn of her life, we really did the garden proud. I never planted so many tulips and crocuses as I did that year. She supervised the effort, and we would often go back to the market for more crates of bulbs.
She spent the final three months of her life in the hospital, passing away in Spring - she never saw them bloom.
But she was happy when we told her how beautiful her garden looked.




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Monday, March 28, 2011

A WET LITTLE DOUGH POCKET FRAME OF MIND

I woke up at about four thirty this morning and was not able to fall back asleep. And I'm blaming a Chinese person for this. No, not Savage Kitten.

It's some guy who works in a kitchen a few streets over. Bastard!


水餃

Yesterday, after having been at the office for several hours, I headed over to Chinatown for lunch, only to discover that the place at which I intended to eat is closed on Sunday. So instead I headed two blocks further north and ordered a plate of 水餃 instead. This was just before three o'clock in the afternoon.
I should have known.
My own stupid fault.

Fourteen hours later I was dreaming about specific foods.

To whit:
南瓜汁拌鮮露筍
咸肉津白
四喜烤麸
圓子
外婆紅燒肉
大閘蟹
小籠包
拉麵
擔擔麵
水煮魚
海帶珊翠絲
清炒蝦仁
渤海雅片魚頭
滬江三絲拌冷麵
漁香蝦球
灌湯牛肉餡餅
煲咸肉菜飯
特式餃子
獅子頭
生煎饅頭
砂鍋雲吞炖雞
糟溜魚塊
舟山紅蜇頭
花膠雙冬煲
蒜蓉拍黃瓜
蘿蔔絲酥餅
蟹粉小籠包
蟹粉豆腐羹
豆沙窩餅
豆腐餃子
辣子雞
酒釀花雕蒸花蟹
醉香乳鴿
醉鷄
金巢崧子魚米
韭王炒鱔糊
韭菜鰻魚
香煎小黃魚
馬蘭頭百頁卷
高力豆沙香蕉
鮮肉生煎鰻頭
鯽魚
黃金白玉蝦
黃魚煨麵
Etc.


The perspicacious reader has by now figured out what kind of restaurant it was where I had those 水餃, so really there is no need for me to detail it.
Suffice to say that I should've had the 生煎包 instead, seeing as I had had 水餃 the previous time. And I've made it a point to not rely too much on the tried and true, but to experiment and eat different things.
It's a voyage of discovery.
One learns so much about oneself by eating something new.

And I would've done so, except that I was the only customer at the time, it being after lunch. So 水餃 seemed like an easy choice, whereas 生煎包 might have meant a serious imposition on a person taking a rest between lunch and dinner.
水餃 merely require boiling - anyone can do that.
生煎包 on the other hand require a trained hand and a keen eye.
Plus hot fat.
And he was probably taking a nap.
Hard-working cooks deserve their rest.
水餃.

It's HIS fault that I woke up with a full menu in my head and a yen for rich soupy juices. Bastard!



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HELLO KITTY HAAMSAPLO IN RESIDENCE

This past weekend I have spent over twelve hours at the office. Plus (including Friday night) nearly six hours in bars. And three hours or so at an internet café.
It’s official – I have NO life.
Really, I can't WAIT till the bubble-tea places in Chinatown start getting internet access, then I'll be able to lurk in brighter places filled with brighter people. Without them sensing my glowing orbs irradiating their bright young bodies and slowly drinking in their essence, draining them of life force.

Yep. Antisocial vital energy vampire. That's me.

Think of me as a masculine version of Hello Kitty.

You are getting weaker, weaker... your mind is going blank...

I think the highlight of the weekend was listening in while two big-breasted transsexuals cheerfully slagged each others' sex lives. Both of them are big bold "wimmins", with expressive mouths on them. Let's just say that they sounded like Samuel Jackson in the movie Jackie Brown - vituperative, eloquent, and unprintable. But far less psychopathic and murderous, albeit equally off-kilter. Feisty.
I don't think either of them would infest a bubble-tea shop. If they did, the clientele would get quite an earful.
Please imagine Cantonese teenagers with their jaws on the floor.

"Did you HEAR what she said?!?"

"I didn't know people could DO that!?!"

"Is that even physically possible?!?"

[pregnant pause... three beats.]

"Wanna try it?!?"

"NO!"


For your information, the Cantonese term for a pervert or degenerate, such as a young man suggesting 'wanna try it', is haamsaplo (鹹濕佬).
Women are never haamsap, teenage boys always are.
I am not a teenage boy, and consequently wouldn't know from that.
Really, I'm a remarkably clean-minded individual.
Very upstanding.


HAAMSAPLO 鹹濕佬

It's an interesting and expressive locution. The first word ('haam' 鹹) means salty, as in taste or sense, such as salt fish ('haam yu' 鹹魚) might have, as well as frowsty or sweaty, like perspiration or unwashed clothes. The smell of a someone who is excessively moist or greasy is 鹹臭 - haam chau ("salt stink"). Haam also means randy.
Sap (濕) means moist, damp, wet, humid. It isn't a neutral term, however - while a boggy place such as Holland might be described as 'sap' or 'sap ge', the word is often appended negatively: 陰濕 Yam sap (dark and moist; 陰 = 'yin energy') eloquently describes wickedness. Together, haamsap (鹹濕) expresses the greasy oil sweaty characteristic of sex-fiends and depraved individuals. The term 佬 ('lo') is a male person, a fellow, a man.

When a sparkling young demoiselle hurls the epithet 鹹濕佬 at you, you might want to take it as a compliment. She's calling you a randy piece of filth - high praise indeed, as it proves that you are still alive and capable of feeling your oats as well as irritating the spit out of someone. Just don't expect her to look on you with any favour after snapping that at you, though.


The only thing haamsap about me is the stale pizza I occasionally snarf, as well as the broth for my wonton noodle soup.
And some of the condiments I favour.
I am a very clean man.


Did I ever mention Hello Kitty or Bubble Tea?


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Sunday, March 27, 2011

BLAKENEY'S BEST

Back in 2005 or 2006 McClelland Tobacco of Kansas City brought out a line that they claimed did not bite because it was toasted. Which, in tobacco terms, means that heat was applied to create a specific profile rather than to just unify the flavours. Usually this is done to mixtures with a heavy burley component, especially straight air-cured leaf. But it also works well with flue-cured tobacco ('Virginias'), though a finer touch is required.

McClelland, as a company that has been producing high-quality Virginia leaf cocktails for decades, is more likely to know what they're doing in this regard than some others.

They produced four blends under the 'Blakeney's Best' label.

I have NO idea who Blakeney is, or may have been. Probably a totally fictional individual, like Mrs. Butterworth or the Michelin guy. Don't care.
I am suspicious of blatant attempts at branding, or creating secondary lines to capitalize on the same clientele as is already slavishly hooked by everything else one sells.
It strikes me as unnecessarily frogmortonish.


BLAKENEY'S BEST

Not as good as it should be. That said, the line isn’t bad by any means, and I’m quite sure that there are some sour old fruits out there that swear that this stuff is better than their mother’s titty.
Verily, the second coming of the tobacco messiah.
Freaks.


Blakeney's Best Acadian Ribbon
McClelland Tobacco Company

"The best sweet, tangy matured Virginias melded with subtle, cool Perique in an easy-to-pack, rich ribbon blend smoothed by the Blakeney exclusive toasting process."

Okay then. What is so exclusive about the toasting process? If you like Perique (and I do), this could very well be a daily smoke, especially if you're charmed by old-fashioned products. Too moist and needs drying, and if you give it a day or two the ketchup funque will indeed dissipate. It isn't particularly strong, and it doesn't bite unless overheated. Puffs well, and comes across as a sweet little girl - unperfumed, but with a latent talent for harlotry.

It's good. But it will be a while before I buy another tin.


Blakeney's Best Bayou Slice
McClelland Tobacco Company

"Sophisticated small slices of the smoothest Louisiana Perique aged in cakes to mellow with sweet, zesty matured Virginia - rich and satisfying, with Perique's uniquely mysterious and compelling aroma. The best little Perique Virginia slices, rich in flavor and deeply aromatic, smoothed by Blakeney's exclusive toasting process."

Good lord, what the holy handgrenades does all that mean? And why does it say the same thing twice? The tobacco in this tin is far better than the description on the label, and not nearly so pretentious. As flakes go, this is pretty darn good. Depth, presence, and well-balanced.

I think I will indeed purchase another tin, thank you very much.


Blakeney's Best Latakia Flake
McClelland Tobacco Company

"A distinctive full English mixture in the grand tradition, rich with smoky Cyprian Latakia, fragrant with exotic Xanthi Yaka. Toasted for smoothness, then pressed in cakes to age and marry the flavors. Exceptionally smooth, cool-smoking, full-flavored little Levantine flakes ready to rub out."

For those smokers who have obsessed over the late Bengal Slices, this is another worthwhile stop on the way to pressed English heaven.

I stopped obsessing over Bengal Slices years ago.

My problem with pressed Virginia & Latakia mixtures is that they're just too damned mellow, verging on boringly bland. This one is no different. But it is a high quality product, and if I had ONLY pressed Englishmen to jam in my pipe, I would probably pick this over some other pressed twats.
If you like Balkan Flakes, you will probably like this. You might really want to smoke it a lot more.

Pressing does actually mellow the Latakia very nicely, and makes it go further in a blend. But much more as a character actor in a well-trained ensemble, than as the prima donna some of us love.

The room note, however, is delightful.


Blakeney's Best Tawny Flake
McClelland Tobacco Company

"Little elegant flue-cured Virginia flakes, redolent with sun-dappled sweetness, and pleasantly tangy."

The term caramel comes to mind. This is a perfect product for an all-day Virginia smoker, being possessed of that typical straight Virginia prunescent tanginess. Thick medium brown mottled slices. Could be darker in both taste and appearance, but I suspect that this hits the target for a number of people. Smoked slowly, it's very good. And it has a pleasantly old-fashioned fragrance.
I find it boring late at night. Which is when I'm most likely to smoke a flake.

When Spring comes I'll buy another tin, to enjoy on sunny days.


AFTERWORD

All in all, the Blakeney's Best line is a worthwhile venture. It differs enough from McClelland's other lines that the marketing genius cynicism behind the name is un-objectionable, and in fact justified. Creating a different image to set it apart in the consumer's mind, and to present all four as a suite, makes plenty of sense.
In some ways I find myself quite charmed by these four tobaccos.




TOBACCO INDEX


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FEELINGS, NOTHING MORE THAN FEELINGS.....

At times Savage Kitten notices that I am despondent or downcast, despite my best attempts to hide it from her. She then concernedly asks if there's anything she can do to help. There is, but then again, there isn't.

[Well yes, honeypie - kindly roll the clock back to BEFORE you met him. Earlier than that even, BEFORE you decided our relationship was no longer viable. Before you became convinced that affairs that have lasted twenty years are like old clothes too worn to keep. Roll the clock back to when I was happy and oblivious to any cracks on the horizon.]


She often says that I should learn to let people do things for me. It's hard for my friends if I turn down help and comfort. I should just reach out.

[My dear, what help and comfort can I ask of you at this point? I do not want you back, as you gave up on our relationship and have moved on - should I wish to make you unhappy? Could I really ask that you toss your own happiness just because I'm being a gloomy old toad? Do I really want to dwell in a perpetual past? It cannot be like it ever was again.]


It's true. I've always had a hard time showing vulnerability.
In Holland, showing vulnerability usually meant glee and gloating from the little cannibalistic savages with which I attended school. So also in the hot-house sneeringly superior "intellectual" atmosphere of Berkeley.
And among the young and savage hipster crowds of San Francisco, vulnerability simply indicates suckertude. Today's young adults are rather like piranhas in that regard. I'm fairly self-reliant in any case.


I stave off depression by thinking of tea, tobacco, and sex a lot.


Tea and tobacco are fair constants - nothing depressing there.
Thoughts about sex, however, are both bittersweet, and emotionally trying.
And completely hypothetical, dammit.

Despite tea and tobacco being 'emotionally' safe, they do present certain problems. Too much tea, and I'll stay up all night hacking up hairballs and munching plate after plate of buttered toast. Consequently ending up even more emotionally unstable - exhaustion has that effect - and showing up at work pretty much stir crazy and gibberant. With digestive problems to boot.

[Really, you can't have more than three cups of strong black tea with milk and sugar without at least one plate of buttered toast. And maybe a smidge of thick peel Oxford marmalade. It compliments both Assam and Ceylon. And that requires another bowl of something heavy on the smoky Syrian, while you make another pot of tea.]


As you can guess, that is NOT an optimum condition. The ideal would be a correct balance between tea, tobacco, and sex. Moderation in all things. Heck, some emotional support, and just affectionate hugging from someone who was mine and mine alone would be nice.

While I smoke, swill more tea, and prepare the umpteenth plate of hot buttered toast, I often day-dream about a hypothetical young woman with a pleated skirt, a physics text book, small comfy shoes, broad-range interests, a vocabulary to match, and laughing eyes.

A young lady with warm cheeks.


Toast. Something intense about toast. And molten butter.
Oh yes. Baby, baby, baby.
More tobacco.
Latakia.
Tea.


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Saturday, March 26, 2011

GRUMPY OLD TOAD SEEKS WOMAN WHO LIKES FLIES

Most men going through a mid-life crisis acquire a sports car and a trophy wife. Either that, or like Hollywood celebrities they do something particularly stupid and tacky. So by that definition, I am neither most men nor going through a mid-life crisis.
Boruch Hashem.

There are, however, a few things that I would seek to change. For one thing, my social life. There isn’t anything really wrong with my social life, other than that it basically doesn’t exist. It wasn’t that extensive to begin with, it’s gone now. My calendar is wide open, my evenings are free, and my weekends are entirely empty.

Every weekend for a number of years I would head into the Eastbay for conversation and coffee. After a few hours of that I would return to San Francisco and take Savage Kitten out to dinner at an Indian restaurant.

Then I found out that many people were there only for the free coffee, so I stopped going. I still gladly associate with the “rational fringe” (Rabbit Mom, Betelnuts, Snack, Bridge-playing Toireh Leyner, and a blogging woman whose last name sounds like a mythological beast).
But there is no reason to go to the East-Bay anymore.
At least not frequently. And I really dislike Oakland.

Savage Kitten broke off our relationship in mid-summer last year. Consequently I no longer go to an Indian Restaurant on Saturday night, and now almost never have dinner with another person at any other time either.


About the only thing that has stayed fairly constant is visiting a local bar for a cocktail in the evening. Which, if you think about it, is a piss-poor excuse for a social life. It’s neither conversationally fertile, nor conducive towards any intimacies or real friendships.
Sort of the generic Scotch-buy of human contact.

Obviously, my sex life has also changed - it no longer exists at all.
In any way, shape, or form.
And I live in San Francisco.

I used to really enjoy the weekend. Coffee, snacks, Indian Food, Savage Kitten. Tea, cuddling, dinner together, and snackies.
Now, the only good thing about the weekend is that I can catch up on sleep.
I spend several hours by myself at the office.
There isn’t anything else.
I’m glad when Monday rolls around.

HELLO, ANY OF YOU NICE YOUNG LADIES READING THIS LATE AT NIGHT WHILE YOU’RE TAKING A BREAK FROM WRITING THAT RESEARCH PAPER, WANT TO GO OUT SOMETIME TO A RESTAURANT FOR A QUIET STRESS-FREE DINNER, JUST THE TWO OF US, I’LL GET YOU HOME AT A DECENT HOUR? HELLO?
I’M CLEAN AND NEAT, I KNOW HOW TO ACT LIKE A GENTLEMAN, I CAN AFFORD A TAXI, AND I DON’T HAVE ANY DISTRACTING TATTOOS OR EMBARASSING NERVOUS TICS. I SHAVE EVERY DAY, TRIM THE BEARD REGULARLY, BRUSH MY HAIR, AND KNOW HOW TO USE A KNIFE AND FORK, HELLOOOOOO?!?

ANIMAL PROTEIN, SATURATED FATS, SALTY THINGS. SEAFOOD!

Why did I even put that up there?

Well....... It works in movies?

Perhaps on the off-chance that it might succeed. Maybe there actually is a nice young thing reading my blog, charmed or intrigued by my quirkiness or interesting character traits. Not particularly likely, quite doubtful even.
Nor really a statistical probability either.
Realistically speaking the thinnest of likelihoods, but, like the odds of winning the lottery, you don’t stand any chance if you don’t play. And by shouting out the invitation above, no matter how misguided and desperate the attempt, it feels like the possibilities have already increased exponentially.

In any case, the chances of finding someone with whom I can get along are probably slightly greater among the readers of this blog than among the general population. That they are here at all shows that we have some interests in common.

I just hope it isn’t some of the more disturbing things I’ve written about.



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Friday, March 25, 2011

TEA TRAYS AND RAINY WEATHER

Facing the prospect of a rainy and grim weekend, I realize that things which are fun to do are often much more fun if done with another person. Inclement weather rather limits one's options, however.
Yesterday I mentioned that what I really wanted to do was curl up under the toasty covers with a drowsy semi-naked woman next to me, a tea-tray, and a good book.


This resonated for TWO of my readers.

An amphibian wrote:
"Give me the drowsy, semi-naked woman and the good book (both of my choosing), and you can keep the tea-tray."

And Tzipporah commented:
"Tea, a jalapeño cheese bagel, and some good dark chocolate. I can almost pretend I'm at home, blog-surfing."

Alas, they both dismissed the key element!

The tea tray.


THE TEA TRAY STAYS!


What use is the presence of an attractive semi-naked young lady without something to nibble on?

There you'll be, you and the charming semi-naked person of the female persuasion, all toasty under the covers, with a good book, and perhaps the company of some stuffed creatures ("the roomies"), listening to the comforting drub of rain against the windows, all the time in the world, reclining, warm...... and nothing to do!

The tea tray, obviously, is essential.

You need to bring food into the equation. Perhaps some hot buttered toast (mmmm, buttery crumbs, dribbles of blackberry jam.... ), maybe some cookies or scones and clotted cream (mmmm, cream.... ), and perhaps coddled eggs. Or little breakfast sausages.

Nothing that requires knives or forks, because the roomies are uncontrollable little rowdies, strongly motivated by the yetzer ha shitdisturbos. They'll seize the pointy implements and poke you sharply. You don't want that. No poking.

[In Jewish thought, people's behaviour is influenced by three things: the yetzer ha tov ('the good inclination'), the yetzer ha ra ('the evil inclination'), and the yetzer ha shitdisturbos. Just look around you - ninety-nine percent of all the trouble in this world is caused by the yetzer ha shitdisturbos. Plus fuzzy anarchists with pointy things.]


What else should you bring to bed?

Perhaps some Chinese sweeties?

Life is so much better with Chinese sweeties!
Dowsa bing, lowpoh bing, kiliem so. An egg tart, or a mini coconut pie. Almond cookies.
Maybe jiggly custard with mixed fruits.
Pak tong gou – white sugar rice.
Eight Precious Pudding.

And cake. Cake is such a happy word!
You NEED to eat cake in bed with a cheerful semi-naked girl, yes you do. A fine flowered porcelain plate with two large pieces of cake and gobs of whipped cream. One for the delightful semi-naked miss, one for you.

Okay, maybe something a bit more zesty, but you've got to eat it with our fingers!
Remember, no knives, no forks.
Perhaps little meatballs, or a nicely grilled lamb chop on the bone.
Lick up the juices.

No creamed spinach, however. Creamed spinach just isn't sexy or comforting.
And it stains the sheets.
I know there are people who, having an inordinate fondness for creamed spinach, might disagree vociferously with this statement, but trust me on this, I know what I'm talking about.
You should NEVER take creamed spinach to bed with you.
Nor any food that requires further mixing or heat.

So no chafing dish cookery.

Ninety percent of all bedroom fires are probably started by people unwisely using a chafing dish in bed.

It probably wasn't the very nice semi-naked friend - she was just expectantly lying there, reasonably assuming that you actually knew what you were doing - but in your haste and nervousness, you jiggled against the stand with the alcohol flame, and set fire to the sheets.
Either that or the fuzzy anarchists pulled something. Remember the yetzer ha shitdisturbos?
They are little incendiarists too, really, there's no controlling them.
Rambunctious!

Maybe I ought to put the trouble makers in the teevee room for the duration?
With a throw rug to keep them warm.
And their own plate of cookies.


THE ESSENTIAL TEA TRAY

On a blustery day, the minimum required is friendly semi-nude companionship, lots of buttered toast, a scrumptious selection of fruit preserves, and hot tea.
Nice hot tea.

This post is all about hot tea.


Instead, I'll probably swill lots of lukewarm Lipton while I'm at the office over the weekend.
Maybe I'll bring in a pack of crackers to nibble on.
It's something.


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Thursday, March 24, 2011

STEADY FALL OF CRAP FROM THE SKY

In what is undoubtedly staggering news to my Dutch readers, who have watched every single episode of Baywatch and Chips and memorized the material, the weather for the past several days here in California has been miserable.
It has been raining.
Even as I speak, strange wet stuff is falling from the sky.

"How can this be", you ask in your amusing Dutch accent, "he lives in Califonia where it is always sunny, I have seen the documentaries!"

You've seen Baywatch and Chips.


"It is perpetually warm and sunny there, and everyone wears tiny red bikinis OR stretchy beige riding pants!"


And you justifiably conclude that this blogger is lying. Can't possibly live in California. Doesn't know what he's talking about. Rain, forsooth!
And he probably doesn't bound in romantic slow-motion towards the Pacific Ocean either!

Well, that last assertion is one hundred percent correct.
I try not to get anywhere near the ocean.
There's sharks out there.
Plus tsunamis and Alaskan fishermen.
In this weather, all of that would seem like far too much of a bad thing.
I do not bound.


SEMI-NUDE CALIFORNIANS!

On a day like today, all I really want to do is curl up under the toasty covers with a drowsy semi-naked woman next to me, a tea-tray, and a good book.

But it's Thursday, so I go to work.
Soaked by the time I sit down. Squelch, squelch.
And I call up a customer on the East-Coast, who sneers that their weather is worse, they've got snow! Rain, feh, it is to laugh!
['Sound of a long wet raspberry']
Then she snaps that in any case, they've got a minor cash-flow problem, so they'll be paying in fifty dollar increments every two weeks for the next five years.
"Rain! Hmmph!! Damned hippie!!!"
Expect the first cheque at the end of May.
"Rain! Hoohah!!!"
If I'm lucky.
"Snow, you hear!"
She thinks the drifts will block the path to the nearest mailbox AT LEAST until April. Possibly even the end of May.
"Wussy Californian, rain, hah!"
Best call back in two months if I haven't heard from her. No, wait, don't bother. She's far too busy to listen to anymore bellyaching about the weather. It's boring.
If she has the money, she'll send it. But don't expect much.
"Rain, in Frisco. Rain. Rain!!! Harrumph!"

After snorting indignantly for several more minutes, she hung up on me.
I never even got to tell her about the tea-tray.
Or the book.
Or the toasty covers.

Pity.

She sounded nice.



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Wednesday, March 23, 2011

SHANGHAI BARBERS IN HONG KONG

East of Wanchai (灣仔) on Hong Kong Island is one of the more interesting parts of the world, where over the decades populations have shifted, merged, transformed. Previous occupants have left their traces in the strata, still partially visible to the untrained eye.

During the war, North Point (北角) had been one of the areas where the Japanese incarcerated POWs.
After 1948, there was a refugee camp for Kuomintang soldiers there.
By 1949, the Shanghainese started arriving.
Not all of them were well-off - many had lost everything - but they were determined not to be just generic members of the masses. They were Shanghainese, dammit, they had style!

When these exiles came to Hong Kong, they didn’t consider it a particularly civilized place.
By the early fifties, they had transformed part of the area into 'Little Shanghai'

Shanghai in the twenties and thirties was probably the most cosmopolitan city on the planet. And to its own natives, it was the centre of the universe. Famous restaurants, nightclubs, department stores... tailors... singing girls... theatres... banks, trading companies, and factories... movie studios... and barber shops.

By the late fifties, many of Hong Kong's best restaurants, nightclubs, and barber shops could be found in North Point.



上海理髮店
SEUNGHOI LEIFAAT DIEM: THE SHANGHAINESE BARBER SHOP

Once upon a time the Shanghainese barber shop was were all civilized gentlemen went to have their heads examined. And poked, and prodded.

Middle-aged exiles staffed the place, and one of them would cut your hair, clean your ears, comb and trim your eyebrows, then while massaging your neck and shoulders look speculatively at whatever eccentric facial growths you sported, as if to say "surely you don't want to keep that?"
You indicated that despite his superior insight into what the ladies would like (clean-shaven and smooth) you planned to keep your chin fur, and you'd leave feeling like a million dollars, you and your fine beard.

Ladies, and Shanghainese barbers, do not like facial hair - it makes a person look militaristic and thuggish (or, in my case, dashing and scholarly), and somehow it speaks of a lack of self-control (though contrariwise, I radiate measured propriety).

The Shanghainese barber never expressed this too strongly, knowing that you would come back, and in the fullness of time might see the light.

This was also the place you'd visit if all you needed was a shave or shampoo. The barbers would make sure you felt fully human again upon your departure. A Shanghai barber shop was a spotlessly clean temple to your head, and the priesthood in their ironed white shirts, black bow ties, and clean lab coats, had pride in their professionalism.


理髮全套 Lei-faat chyun tou = The complete treatment.
理髮修面 Lei-faat sau mien = Haircut and facial touch-up.
理髮洗頭 Lei-faat sai tau = Trim and wash.
單理髮 Daan lei-faat = Just a haircut.
剃光頭 Tai-gwong-tau = Shave entire head smooth.
小童理髮 Siu tung lei-faat = Boy's haircut.

It was affordable, and very civilized.

When I was in the Philippines, there was a Shanghai barber shop I went to in Binondo after the fancy-pants bakla at the hair palace in the Quad tried to make me look like a latin pop star.
A neat, clean, simple cut is always better than some pompadoured poofty wave, no matter what a pouting Philippino manggugupit thinks.

The Shanghainese barber understood that one wanted, nay, positively NEEDED to look presentable.
Not like dangerous muffin trash.
Plus he had tea, and imported cigarettes in a cedar casket for the customers to enjoy!

[He also spoke real English, with both excellent diction and interesting content, rather than that pretentious pakiklakalak patois I heard in Makati from the flouncy man.]

There used to be Shanghainese barbers in all of the major cities of South-East Asia.
Manila, Jakarta, Kuala Lumpur, Georgetown.
Several of them in Singapore also.


Here in San Francisco there are no Shanghai barbershops. What we do have is attentive Vietnamese who went to beauty school to qualify for their licenses. The Vietnamese barber shop around the corner from my house is very nice, and you can tell that the elderly owner was influenced by the Shanghainese, though he probably doesn't realize it.
He trims ear-hairs and combs the eyebrows of his gentlemen clientele.
He also insists on massaging my neck, and I leave feeling ten years younger.


There are few Shanghai barbers left. There's a shop in Kowloon, and one or two scattered around Hong Kong. There used to be one on Whitfield Road (威非路道) near Hoi Kok Mansion (海閣洋樓), before the intersection of Watson Road (屈臣道), But that area is getting more developed, and once Whitfield turns into Electric (電氣道), you're in office high-rise territory.




國賓理髮公司
SEUNGHOI KOKPAN LEIFAAT KONGSI: THE AMBASSADOR'S PARLOUR

One place still holding its own is the Ambassador Barber Parlour (上海國賓理髮公司) at 23 Lan Fong Road (蘭芳道) opposite the Lee Gardens Manulife complex (利園宏利保險大廈) in Tung Lo Wan ( Causeway Bay: 銅鑼灣) near Jardine's Crescent.
It's a celebrated antique at this point.

Get your hair cut before it's too late.

[Lan Fong Road is actually a misnomer, as it is just one block, between Lee Garden Road (利園山道) and Yun Ping Road (恩平道).]


The Ambassador has regular customers who make a pilgrimage at set intervals from distant places and outlying areas, as well as adherents who work or live nearby. Most patrons of a Shanghai barber shop are not Shanghainese, and not all Shanghai barbers themselves are either - some locals learned the craft from exiled masters, and pass it on.
It's about style, a sense of what grooming is supposed to be, and self-respect.
If you look presentable, it will encourage you to act like it. And eventually that will have become intrinsic, instinctive, natural.
Either that or it will inspire the police department to have a less jaundiced view of you and your otherwise suspicious presence.

A sharp haircut, a suit worn with snap and flair, and a fresh pack of imported cigarettes, and you can go stepping! You're looking good!


King's Road (英皇道) between Causeway Bay and North Point (北角) used to be the centre of the Shanghainese settlement. But by the sixties, Fukienese from South-East Asia started moving in, and the Shanghainese language can now hardly be heard anymore.
Since the nineties the entire area has undergone massive development.
Things change.


NOTE: The term 'Shanghai Barber Shop' has acquired a different resonance, one that has nothing at all to do with pre-war Shanghai, and isn't particularly decent or proper. So if people look askance at your query, it might be their age.
Or just their dirty minds.
We don't have any of those in San Francisco either.


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IT AIN'T EASY BEING GREEN

Over the past few weeks the changes in the relationship between my roommate (my former love-interest) and myself have become much clearer. And I've realized something which is somewhat disturbing.

I'm far better at being an older brother than I ever thought possible.

I never knew that about myself.

You see, for the past fortnight she's been in a state of high emotion.
Anger at her boy-friend (variously describable as either 'Wheelie Boy' or 'That over-sexed Russian Jew'), plus despair, agony, exultation, girlish joy, and the warm happy glow of "He's so CUUUUUTE".

This bubbly teenage enthusiasm is something I have never seen in her before.
Perhaps during the two decades she and I were lovers it was barely above the shadow of a whisper.
So from one perspective, breaking up has been liberating.

Now, as merely a roommate and friend, I am probably better able to notice things. A certain emotional distance improves perspective. My voyeuristic side is getting quite an earful.
During all this excitement I am providing her with patient consideration, plus cups of tea when necessary. Nice hot tea.
Precisely like an older sibling would.


"It ain't easy being green"
[------Kermit the Frog]


For many years I was as stable as I could be, to such an extent that I am now more comfortable NOT voicing my own feelings, nor entirely at ease when others volunteer theirs. It is a protective skill. She was dealing with a labile family situation, and digesting the emotional scars that her upbringing bequeathed her. So my staying away from operatic forms of self-expression seemed like the best thing - the idea being to ensure an island of calm and sanity.

[Sanity is of course a relative term. Some people, including her, would probably not describe me and my environs as, strictly speaking, sane. Or even arguably normal. Opinions may validly differ, though mine is probably the right one. ]

Kermit the Frog never had to endure so much drama as there has been at 'Chez Toad' recently.
But I never-the-less have more respect for that little green dude now than ever before.

If I look like I'm flapping my flippery arms frantically, there are very good reasons.
The star performers in the show are being "themselves".
Expressively so.
And that, you will understand, will stress out any amphibian.
Especially one who must act 'mature', and 'nurturing'.

[Mature and nurturing? Some people would be mighty surprised at this self-description. It's a matter of opinion. Just remember that I'm growing into the role of rational frog, and as with all new things, observers may not recognize what they see at first.]

The more real-life starts to resemble the Muppet Show, the more I realize that Kermit as the one voice of reason among all the cast members was truly a great man. Great animal. Frog. Green person. Amphibian American.
How he managed to maintain his equanimity is beyond me.

It sure ain't easy being green.
This frog needs a soothing spot of tea himself.


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Tuesday, March 22, 2011

CURLING UP AND DRIFTING

After the weather we've been having lately, a person wants soup. Specifically, a soup to warm the soul.

Which I had last night. My soul is duly warmed.


CASUAL WONTON IN HARÐFISKUR BROTH!

By seven in the evening I was fantasizing about little porky dumplings floating in savoury amber liquid. Dumplings, as regular readers know, are somewhat of an obsession of mine. There may be an unconscious link to the Reverend Otis Oracle declaring women to be "America's Little Dumplings", back in Bloom County days...... but I doubt it. Women are not dumplings.

A decent dumpling is the perfect food. While I do not dispute that a decent woman may very well be perfect, we're not talking edibility here, are we? No matter how personally delectable she could be.

[Note: Speculation above about women above is purely hypothetical. No actual recent experience. It's been a while. Despite encouragement by others to go find a slaggy consolation girlfriend. Nope, no can do.
I'll just sit quietly in my bookish lair, patiently waiting for some decent woman to be mysteriously lured this-a-way by my sheer intellectual magnetism. Or something. Like a spider in a well-constructed net.

Just think of me as the winsome arachnid of Casanovatude. Hmmph.]

The dumplings yesterday were more than decent, though not the best I've ever made.
I just clumped little balls of spiced ground meat into wonton skins.

The broth, however, was superlative.

When thoughtful, I make a very good broth.

POT ONE: Chicken stock, sherry, and scallion.
POT TWO: 大地魚 (daai-dei yü: dried flounder), dried mushroom, sliced ginger.
POT THREE: Boiling salted water.


Pot one on very low heat, just to meld.
Pot two with a little bit of oil to first toast the ingredients, then a splash water added to deglaze. Broke-up the various pieces coarsely, and cooked down till dry and toasty again. Another splash water, repeat. Once the fish component had fully developed the desired nuttiness, more water, to inundate and extract the flavour. Combined both stocks in pot one, rinsed out pot two to get rid of flotsam, and strained the combined stock into it.
Added some freshly minced scallion and cilantro.

Parboiled the wontons till they floated in pot three.

Broth into a bowl, wontons into the broth. Heaven. Repeat.

Fish balls optional.


I know the avid cook at this point will ask about precise quantities of all the ingredients. But I'm afraid I cannot give a satisfactory answer, as sometimes wonton soup doesn't obey exact measures.

I now have several small packets of extra wontons which were made last night in the freezer.
Along with about forty unused wonton skins.
Plus extra cilantro and scallion.
There's still a large piece of dried fish.
And some chicken broth left over.

Unlike the purely hypothetical bit about "America's Little Dumplings", these things are very real.
Satisfyingly so.



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Monday, March 21, 2011

THE ATTENTION OF A PARSEE

Previously I had mentioned that our Hong Kong office is on Mody Road (麼地道) in East Tsimshatsui (尖沙咀東).
What many people, probably including the Parsee in our San Francisco office, do not realize is that Mody Road is named after the notable Parsee businessman Sir Hormusjee Naorojee Mody (b. 1838 - d. 1911), one of the founders of the University of Hong Kong.

Like a number of the formative influences on Hong Kong during the early years, Mody was an enterprising Mumbaikar - not a few of whom where Parsees, although it must be mentioned that one of mr. Mody's business partners (Sir Catchick Paul Chater), though also from Bombay, was in fact Armenian.

[Wikipedia articles: MODY: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hormusjee_Naorojee_Mody CHATER: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catchick_Paul_Chater ]


TIEN-SING SIU-LEUN YAUHAN-KONGSI
However, the most famous of the Hong Kong Parsees is probably Dorabjee Naorojee Mithaiwala, who founded what eventually became the Star Ferry (天星小輪有限公司) in 1888.

[Star Ferry: http://www.starferry.com.hk/index.php]

My readers will naturally understand that to anyone living in San Francisco, founding a ferry service must count as a very great achievement. There's something timeless about ferries plying routes between different branches of a great metropolitan area - unlike roadways, ferries unify. Ferries are magic.
Even if people have come from outside of town, taking the ferry says that they want to be here, whereas driving sends the message that they can leave at any time.

And they do.

Some people actually live in the barbarous hinterlands across the Bay or the Golden Gate by choice, difficult though that is to believe.

My piles might bleed for them.



LINGUISTIC NOTE: 有限公司 Yauhan-kongsi = 'having limit public manage'; limited company.

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Saturday, March 19, 2011

THAT WONDERFUL PARTY

This isn't going to be a pleasant post. Actually, it's going to be a prolonged squawk. Most irritating. Best you folks visit 'lolcats' or the 'blogess' right now.
G'wan, you don't want to be here. Trust me.


HIYA, BITCH!

I heard about the party for the entire freeking week. Everyone you invited talked about it, everyday, for the last seven days.
I know everyone YOU invited to your party. You didn't exclude anyone, did you?

I've known you since you moved here from Southern California, longer than almost everyone else in San Francisco. You actually like me. Your eyes light up when I come in. You're happy to see me.

And I know it's sincere.

Yet.......


You didn't invite me. You invited M. And E. and N. and T. and J. and C. and G. and R. and L. and B. and everyone else.

"Should I wear the spikes? Or maybe the slippers with rhinestones?"

"Oh, I know! That kicky short dress with the beaded mid-rif! Yay!"

The entire week. Where, whom, and when.
Did I mention that I've known you since you came up north? Significantly longer than anyone else?
I even know your socially inept sibling person (what gender is he-she-it actually trying to be?)!
But in precisely the same way that D. never introduced me to his mom when she was visiting (though he did introduce her to everyone else), and just like M. pretended I didn't exist when his family was in town, you decided that somehow certain folks could be overlooked.
Too aspy, I guess.
I know everyone who got invited.
I know them very well indeed.
But I am not one of them.

Maybe I should acquire a kicky short dress with a beaded mid-rif.
Betcha couldn't overlook me then, huh? Fabulous!

They just couldn't shut up about the party. Gerdarnit, they talked about it everyday.
Sounded like quite the most exciting thing in their lives.


What the fudge is it with you neurotypicals?

Am I really that horrible a person? There's a smell I don't know about?
Is my ability to socialize that repulsively flawed?
Am I ugly?
Unkind?


Is it my signal and at this point still strongly held and deliberate non-ownership of the hot cocktail dress with beads?


I see all of you people regularly. You happily chat with me. You aren't embarassed by the association, heck, I know most of you actually like my company. Somehow you manage to connect on a person to person basis. The asperger characteristics and partial deafness aren't that problematic.
Evenso........

Why?

It isn't gender - over half of the invitees are male.
It isn't sexual preference - most of them are straight.
It isn't age - several of them are my age or significantly older.
It isn't facial hair - a number of them are more... "individualistic".
It isn't tobacco - you, and most of them, smoke.

And I know it sure as heck ain't the lack of cocktail dresses and rhinestoned pumps - many of the attendees wouldn't be caught dead wearing those!

So what the buggery F is it?

Dammit, I've heard about the party from everyone of them. A wonderful happening. Truly, the event that everyone want's to talk about, attend, be seen at.

Couldn't they at least have shut the devil up or been more discreet, diplomatic, and tactful?


Years ago, one of my "friends" threw a housewarming party. I got to hear about it from everyone both before and after. Apparently it was the be all and end all of festivities.
That night, on my way home, instead of sensibly making a detour, I unthinkingly bicycled right past his building.
Wrong thing to do. I could hear how wonderful it was.
The next day I heard too.
And the day after that.
As well as the next several months.

Dammit, you folks don't even know the word 'ASPY'. How the friggin' heck do you get to exclude us?!? By what reason do you decide on our behalf that something wouldn't be right for us?
How come the THREE people who weren't invited are all aspys?
How the hell did you NT's even recognize what we have in common?
One might almost think it's a neurotypical plot - except you guys aren't that conscious.
And certainly not that detail oriented.


JUST TALK!

We'd like to get asked. Yes, you guessed right that we'd probably demur. Might not feel comfortable. And if we came we'd be ill at ease. Hide in a corner, and spend a lot of time off outside near the curb smoking and wondering whether we should just leave, or risk another hour of being freaked out by the crowd, uncomfortable and nervous.

If need be, we'd seriously consider purchasing a little black dress and some classy heels!

But you could at least ask. Wouldn't it be the right thing to do?
Just pretend that we might like to be included?
Honest, we would be so pleased!

A few months ago I suggested we all go out to a particular restaurant. No one felt like it.
Until after I left, that is. Found out later you all went there and had a wonderful time.
That restaurant. My suggestion. Same evening.
Good, huh?
It's a very nice restaurant, isn't it?
You've even been back there since then.
Several times.


Couldn't you at least have told all of them to shut the F up about the party?
Seeing as some of us weren't invited?
Three people.

I'm groomed, I wear clean clothes on a regular basis, I don't pick my nose or scratch my privates, and I don't say startling things or proposition people at random.

I play well with others.

I have never even mentioned that some dresses that show-off rather than cover-up make certain people (you know who!) look pudgy, and that those snazzy hot-bitch slut-pumps are a bad idea for a woman of any age, let alone fifty plus!

Those things are far more appropriate for Polk Street royalty than real females.
Trust me.

What?!?!?!?!?!?!??!?

Oh yeah, you even invited some queens. Polk Street royalty was there.



Does time transpire that differently for Asperger types and neurotypicals?
We don't hurt any slower than you lot.
Normal stimuli affect us too.

If you prick us, we will bleed.



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Friday, March 18, 2011

DISASTER, TRAGEDY, DESPAIR, AND HELLO KITTY!

During lunch I read on the internet. Often my first stops are Dutch newspapers, just to see what John Cheese is up to - forewarned is often fore-infuriated.

Today there are FOUR articles in De Telegraaf talking about sex. Apparently we didn't know enough about that subject already.


BRITISH SEX

The Telegraaf reports that English people would far rather visit chatrooms and go on Facebook than look at porn, and that British women need a good stiff drink before they have the courage for physical congress.

From this we may deduce that British men don't like sex, as the vast majority of people who would look at porn are in fact males. And given that the British are well-known to be monumental problem drinkers, we also deduce that Englishmen follow the alcoholic example set by their womenfolk.

[QUOTE: "Uit de resultaten bleek dat de vrouwen gemiddeld met acht mannen het bed deelden en bij ten minste vijf onder invloed waren. Vier op de tien was aangeschoten toen ze het voor het eerst met een bepaald iemand deed."
Translation: 'The results showed that (British) women shared their beds with eight men on average, and were intoxicated during five of those cases. Four out of ten were plastered when they first did it with someone.']

Clearly, both Great British genders are horribly unappealing.

Ladies, really, you need a good stiff one beforehand? Have you thought of alternatives?
Like maybe going out with the Pakistani next door while your husband updates his Facebook page?
It's just a thought.
Either that, or the two of you need to go to different bars.


THE LONGEST BARCELONA

The third Telegraaf article detailed penis sizes world wide. This is a matter of great import. Naturally there are tons of reader-reactions underneath that article, mostly from men.
No, I don't think I need to tell you who has the largest endowments.
You don't want to go there anyway.
Just one word: Ebola.

The most interesting thing is that 'Barcelona' now means penis in Dutch. It didn't when I was still living there.
I'm guessing that the Dutch have since then discovered that the Spanish are bigger.
That may explain why Holland is the world's epicentre for bestiality porn. Nearly everyday, one of the search criteria that pulls readers into my blog is "Dutch Women Sex With Horses", or a variation on that theme.
Couldn't they just look for "Dutch Women Sex With Spaniards"?
It's so much more wholesome!

[FYI: There are no Dutch women having sex with horses on this blog. Dutch bestiality is not illustrated or described here, merely mentioned for poetic effect. Nor are there that many horses in the Netherlands. If you wanted photos, you are in the wrong place. I can't help you.]


SIX ONE NIGHTERS

The truly flabbergasting news item was about the number of one-night stands and long-term affairs the average woman has before she settles down with mr. Right.
Six of one, four of the other.
The first one at age fifteen.

I'm astounded.

Maybe all respondents were Dutch or English women?

Of course, these figures represent an average. Not everybody is so loose, while others are far more experienced. So it explains the behaviour of all those slutty white twenty-somethings who moved out here from other parts of the country. But who are they having sex with?
Are they passing the same six studs from hand to hand? Sharing? Falling asleep at a Saint Paddy's Day party?

Six one-night stands seems rather a lot. Yes, I know that the generation that came of age during the flower-power era has whacked way more casual poon than that, but they've had a head-start, and they never were very discriminating to begin with.
Plus they were doing drugs. That usually leads to stupid behaviour. Lots of stupid behaviour.

It's probably all those ex-hippies in their sixties and seventies that are skewing the figures.
Randy old farts.



NOTE: The title of today's post is based on Treppenwitz's statement that disasters and tragedies sell papers and boost ratings. He's right, but sex also attracts attention.
I threw Hello Kitty in there just to make it seem friendlier to the ladies.



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Thursday, March 17, 2011

ABSTENTION IN PROTEST

I've got nothing against the Irish, some of my best friends have the misfortune of hailing from that primitive boggy wasteland, bless their depraved souls.
They are the salt of the earth.
And their misfortunate ancestry fills me with profound sympathy.

As does their chronic athletes foot, crotch rot, insanity, and nail fungus.
Most of which, possibly all four, being caused by the atrocious climate and lack of familiarity with modern sanitary practices.

As I see it, being Irish is kind of like being the disease-carrying parasites in the soggy groin of the armpit of the world.
Poor bastards.
Condolence, boys, condolence.

I actually like the Irish.
It's their American kinfolk I cannot stand.

The first year I was back in the United States, some sixth generation pollock with but the barest connection to the old sodomity took offense at my accent on Saint Patrick's Day and blackened my eye.

The next year, one of his distant slope-browed relatives blackened the other one, on the same day and for the same reason.

The third year I had to break a jaw preventively.


Saint Patrick's day is not a holiday, it's an excuse for drunks, bums, degenerates, and maladjusted heathen.


I happen to speak decent English. Which, on Saint Patrick's day, irritates the daylights out of illiterates and many other Celts, sod them. The Irish-Irish at least can take a joke, fercrapsakes they were born in Ireland. Staying there proves that they have a sense of humour.
It makes up for the many ailments to their unclean private parts caused by skin-friction in a soggy environment.
And is as good a reason for self-medication with John Jameson's fine product as any.

The American-Irish, on the other hand, have no sense of humour whatsoever. They moved out.
They have NO justification for John Jameson, nor any justification for damn-well anything at all.
Which explains why they act so British.


In absolute dis-celebration of the damned holiday, I shall drink no Irish Whisky till after the weekend. Life is too short to pass any time in the company of once-a-year paddiwhacks.
I shall absteem from sampling even a drop of Jameson's.
And avoid all bars where the O'Morons gather.

Bah humbug.

Instead, Scotch. How can you NOT like a nation that DOESN'T march down Market Street playing lousy music, puking, and wearing silly green felt hats? They're so well-behaved in daylight, too!
A remarkable fine bunch of people, despite their hairy gams.


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