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.

Friday, November 30, 2012

INCIDENTALLY BARE IN SAN FRANCISCO

It probably isn't very liberal of me, but I am glad that the city council decided against public nudity. As a broadminded modern man, I suppose I should have sided with the poor oppressed naked men of Castro Street, but no.
I cannot bring myself to do that.

Being naked in public is NOT a free-speech issue.
Nor even a constitutional right.

Please do not try to tell me that disapproving of public nakedness shows that I lack self-confidence, and have issues with my body.
I have issues with your body.
Especially if you are a middle-aged man.
Yeah, I know, sexist and SO closed-minded of me.

You immediately picked up on the fact that I haven't objected to naked females.  But there's a very good reason for that; most of the world's nasty in-your-face exhibitionists aren't female.
When you see a naked woman on the street, you are likely to think "good heavens, what's wrong, something must have happened".
A naked man in public, however, is simply a pervert with a big ego.

This blogger has nothing against nudity. In private, and in context. Being naked is not a praestation to share with the world, nor a matter of any self-assurance. Anyone who has ever willingly been naked in the presence of another person does not want for physical confidence, and will tell you that it was probably a wonderful experience. In private. In context.
With one other person.
Even if it was a doctor.

I myself am frequently more-or-less naked. But I have the good taste not to exhibit that state at inopportune times or in inappropriate venues. To the very best of my recollection I am never nude in public.
The times when I lack clothing are during and after bathing (mmmm, soapy hot water!), in between different styles of habiliment (day wear versus jammies), and on several occasions after my apartment mate has gone out and won't be back for a while.

Being currently in between jobs, comfortably so, I have recently been naked quite often during the day. In fact, some events absolutely seem to demand comfortably nudity. Watching classic movies, for instance, especially the black-and whites.

Maltese Falcon - nudity, an English mixture in the pipe, and ginger ale.
The Bridge of San Luis Rey - nudity, flake tobacco, black coffee.
The Lives of a Bengal Lancer - nudity, Escudo rounds, tea.

When you really think about it, almost everything with Claude Raines and Humphrey Bogart is best watched in the buff. There's less distraction.

Gone With The Wind, probably something tight.

All recent Sci-Fi needs an overcoat, and possibly a straight jacket.


Yes, there is a marvelous freedom to being entirely birthday-suited. And many people quite rightly associate it with happiness. But it isn't a social skill, nor is it something the world wants you to share.
Even if you like other people around, it is right to show some discrimination.
Do they desire it? Do they actually feel that circumstances require it?
Are they likely to appreciate the effort?
Is there reciprocity?

If those exhibitionist freaks at Castro Street were really sincere, they would go unclothed during icy-cold rainstorms in the middle of winter. After dark.
Nothing says sincerity about naked self-expression than freezing your soggy butt off when nobody is watching.

Go ahead. I will gladly read about loads of pearlescent white flab poncing about, shivering and quaking during downpours.
I can paint quite the mental picture of the proceeding.
But I shall not be there, even with a towel.


Conceivably some of us might also be naked at the time.
Indoors. Warm, safe, and toasty, with a pipe.
Watching Boris Karloff as Imhotep.
With someone else.

Plus a cup of tea.



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Thursday, November 29, 2012

OBSERVING BIRDS AND BEES

I am a sexual man. But other than that I like breasts in moderation, small cotton panties, and personalities with warmth and depth, that is all you need to know.

When I say that I am a sexual man, that also means that I am interested in the sexualities of other people, especially as it is demonstrated by their behaviour.
Not the extroverted exhibitionism of some homosexual men and many twenty-somethings, but the subtle signs that people do not realize that they send.

One couple I know are adept at the unaware advertisement: she will squeeze his hand, then look at him with barely disguised hunger, and obvious patience....... that last probably necessitated by her reluctance to jump him in public.
He reacts with an expression that says a lovely idea just popped into his head.

They're fun to watch. They just don't know it.

It is unlikely that they realize what they do.


Overt displays of affection are far less interesting that the perpetrators realize, it's the unconscious things that stand out. If they really wanted to share with the rest of us, they'd invite an audience in. We might have higher entertainment standards than they could meet, however.
If you're going to turn your sexual activity into performance art, we expect more than German avant-garde theatre. Please, no angst, no nihilism, no high wire acts.
Okay, you can keep the high wire acts.
You are insured, aren't you?

It's not the sexual appeal of the people that counts, but the evidence that they have a well-adjusted sexual side and a romantic life with their partner. Affectionate glances, downward looks, blushing at odd moments, little hints of frustration and impatience, mutual-orbiting behaviours, sharing, and such.
Happy couples, of whichever gender and age, do things around each other that speak of an intense private life.

Unhappy couples also do that, but they're far less interesting.

And single people are amusing only when they're in lust.


Actually, I don't know whether singles are entertaining, or if it's just the fascination of watching a slow motion train wreck. Desperate glances, mumbled body language, nerves, and awkward twitching, jumbled together at high speed.
I'd have to ask my friends what they think.
But that would be admitting something.

And I already said that there is no need to know.

I am a calm man. I do not exhibit.

Farklempt. But calm.



Now, show me again why you like each other.

Your eyes say it all.


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Wednesday, November 28, 2012

ON LILY POND

It was dark and pouring down when she left, and Cynthia couldn't see the sign for the turn-off. By the time she realized that she had missed her crossing, she was lost. And scared. The rain came down in torrents, drenching her to the bone. The forest was frightening at night; things creaked, there were ominous rustling sounds, and from afar she heard howling.
Or at least it seemed like howling.
It could be screeching.

As she turned corner, a sharply angular evil scaly face reared up, hissing "hello little girl....."
Malicious narrow-pupils amid glowing irises stared down at her.
She screamed and curled up into a ball. Which, on a steep embankment, was decidedly the wrong thing for a hedgehog to do. She felt herself rolling, rolling, rolling.
Splash!
It was cold! Wet!
She paddled furiously, but having only short arms and legs, she had no traction in the frigid water.
Just when she was about to give up hope, a shape came floating over, finally recognizable as a large frog in a greatcoat, rowing across the pond. He stopped and held out an oar toward her, which she grabbed. Gingerly supporting her torso with one hand, he helped her aboard.
"Sorry I couldn't give you a better hand, but you know, spikes"
She understood. She couldn't help it. Spikes.
Frogs had thin pale skin.
No protection.

She was freezing, and at that moment she really longed for her own warm burrow, lined with comfortable dry leaves! So warm! So crinkly! So absorbent! As she shivered, the frog put his coat over her.
He commenced rowing again, remarking "good thing you got away from Paulus Pit, my dear, he may be a parson but he's a real viper" After a few seconds he muttered "why they put a snake in charge of the kirk I'll never understand, too many small creatures last seen talking with that reptile have gone missing".
Then "ESPECIALLY a Presbyterian!".
It appeared that the frog might have a thing against snakes of the cloth.

When they got to his waterside cottage, he helped her ashore and ushered her in. He apologized in advance for not being able to provide fluffy towels - "cotton rips and snags so, if you're a hedgehog, which, errm, you are....." - but instead offered her a huge stack of large dried-out lily leaves. "They're ever so useful, you see, why I even make my nightshirts out of them."
It appeared that he had an inexhaustible supply.
While she rubbed the soft fur on her front dry, he layered more of them on her back, where they stuck to the spikes. Then he built a roaring fire in the hearth, and heated up some cinnamon milk for her. While she drank it, he rooted around in another room, and came back with a big juicy apple almost as big as she was, which he offered.
It was delicious! She happily gnawed at the fruit, rolled up in a ball of leaves and small dark hands and feet, greedily swallowing the delicious morsels of firm crisp flesh which her sharp teeth pulled off.
When she finished, she curled up in front of the fire, and soon fell asleep.
At times during the night she could see a long lean green leg reach over and push another log into the hearth. There was a lovely perfume of woodsmoke throughout her dreams.

When she woke up it was daylight, and a bright sun was streaming in, illuminating the cozy room. With avid interest she looked around her, then spotted her benefactor at the hearth with a fry pan and eggs, and a coffeepot set off to the side. She marveled at how big he was, and smooth. He truly was a large handsome amphibian. Large round eyes and a charming quirky face. She had never seen a frog this close before, as small forest creatures and the inhabitants of the ponds and swamps did not mix much. How beautiful and elegant his legs were! And how deft his strong able hands!
She hadn't thought about it before, but frogs really were very nice creatures.
And this one was clever, too. She could tell by how dexterously he handled the skillet, while arranging cups, spoons, saucers, forks, and plates.
Plus slicing and buttering the bread.
As they ate breakfast together she happily chatted about her life, and her friends and her school, and what she had been doing yesterday when she got lost. And how scared she had been!
His eyes twinkled as he again warned her away from the serpent masquerading as a parson. Evil scaly thing, hmmph!
Can't trust churchmen!
Especially if you are a small person!
If Paulus Pit came near her again, he'd clout him!

He lent her a warm scarf when she left, and gave her explicit directions.
Soon she would be home. She couldn't wait to tell her sisters about her adventures! And about the kind gallant Mr. Frog. Whom she would certainly see again.

She looked forward to more rain.



It rained off and on today. This morning it came bucketing down. Not being presently forced to trek over hill and dale to Hayward - being, in fact, temporarily at loose ends - I have plenty of time to stay indoors and snack on warm toast. While puttering around the house, occasionally having a spot of tea, and a pipe of tobacco.
It's awfully quiet, though.



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I CANNOT GET CAKE OUT OF MY MIND

Some people have a constant need for cake. I will pretend otherwise, but that describes me. The problem is that there is never enough cake.
Yet I have not enjoyed any lovely cake in a long time.
I have not had a chance to act upon the need.

Cake requires inspiration. As well as the appropriate time and place. Cake, though something all people want, is best enjoyed in secret. With nobody watching. Unless of course that thrills you. Watched cake is cake shared.

In which case you could have cake with an extra person.

What if they like cake too? Or feel that perhaps they might try a nibble?
It depends on how much you know them. They might take it all.
Good friends can share, but would never steal.
Trust them not to reveal your secret.
If both of you want cake equally, there should always be enough. More than enough. Discuss your desire for cake before hand, and come to agreement. This is essential for a proper appreciation of cake.

Cherries? Or strawberries? Perhaps both?
Just a nibble of one, and a lot of the other.
If there is champagne, you could alternate.

I have always felt that cake is too intense an experience to not give it much thought. Feel it on your fingers, experience it to the depth of your being.
Passionately give yourself over to cake. Lots of cake.
Afterwards relax, doze awhile. Be fulfilled.
Then do it again. Before leaving.

Unless you have cake, life can be rather dull.
Consider it, and please let me know.
You may think the same.


This post is only about cake.
Nothing else.



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Tuesday, November 27, 2012

THE VARIOUS WHIMS

She reached the intersection before me. Jones and Washington Street, where the cable car stops. While waiting for the trolley she crouched to read the front page of the Chronicle in the box.
And she looked cute as the dickens. Immensely so at that moment. No, not because she was hunkered down, though that did add to the effect. Neat hair, intelligent expressive face, small frame, dark clothing, and a shocking pink backpack.
As a functional style accessory the large pink item was very nice.
This badger does not usually like pink very much.
But dang. Hot diggety.
Divine.

9:00 A.M.

I walked past, and filled a pipe under one of the nearby trees. She got on the cable car, and our eyes met briefly. So while I thoroughly enjoyed the Red Virginia Flake in the black bent briar, that wasn't what had me staring off into space for nearly half an hour on that intersection.
Reveries, plus a view of the Bay Bridge, distant in the haze.
Top of Nob Hill. The quiet side.

I hope I see her again.


On a whim I got on a cablecar there and rode down to Chinatown. Wandered around a bit - noticed that the new Little Paris (小巴黎咖啡室) is almost ready to open up. Opposite 聯興超級市場, right next to 廣東市場. I'm looking forward to having a 热咖啡奶 and bánh mì thịt nướng there.
Please imagine, Stockton Street in early morning. No tourists, they haven't woken up yet. Or in any case they're still lost outside their hotels, wondering where the souvenir stores can be found. Gee, look at all the tall buildings!
A few delivery trucks, a passel of kids from the nearby elementary schools, and just regular folks going about their business.
Request a lovely glass of dense Vietnamese drip-coffee, and a grilled meat sandwich in a flaky baguette, warmed up, and moist from the dash of tamarind carrots.
Sploodge of hot sauce.
Enjoy life.



There's a spanking new noodle soup and wonton place on Pacific Street, by the way. Looks like it would be fun. When I walked by, two middle-aged ladies were seated inside, examining the menu with keen interest. Unmistakable hunger at ten in the morning.
It's right next to the New Hollywood Coffee Shop. Which was bustling - great flaky meat pastries. Related to the 新檀島咖啡餅店 on Stockton.

Chinatown seems so much cleaner and brighter in the morning, without all those pesky tourists. More cheerful, too.



Savage Kitten is staying home today, she's not feeling well, and is down in the dumps besides, due to a staggering bit of meanness from her mom. Even in a vegetative state, that poisonous old Toishanese woman still manages to traumatize her kids.
Truly, some Cantonese women should never have daughters.
And girls are probably better off not being Chinese.
No details, but even I am shocked.


Really, is Toishan filled with venomous old sows like Savage Kitten's mom?


Savage Kitten is my apartment mate, in case you didn't know. There's nothing going on between us, but she's a good friend whom I've known for a long time.
And while I do not know her mother, I've met enough poisonous elderly females of the country district persuasion to recognize both the type, and the damage they do.


10:00 A.M. - 10:30 A.M.


On a whim I bought some dimsum and lomaikai for my apartment mate.
She's a good woman, and needs to be comforted.
Food might just do the trick.


Caught the cablecar on Powell between Washington and Jackson, rode it up to Leavenworth. No, not so much a whim, as hopefilled middle-aged man planning.
If the young lady whom I spotted earlier at Jones had simply gone down hill for some breakfast snackipoos, she might have returned home already. And she probably lives between Jones and Leavenworth on Jackson, or maybe near Jones and Pacific.
Probably not going to see her wandering along, but......
It's a possibility, and on the off chance.......
I did say she was cute, did I not?
As the dickens.




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Monday, November 26, 2012

QUIET AMONG THE LEAVES

Years ago I loved autumn in Valkenswaard.  North Brabant, in fall, has marvelous colours and smells, and in addition to the tannic odour of the forests around town and the golds and bronzes along the roads through the farm areas, there were parts in the very centre of Valkenswaard which where glorious. Though modest about it; one had to be receptive and attuned. Most people will probably not see much special in small streets with low mean houses jammed together, with drifts of crunchy leaves along the very narrow sidewalks.

One such street terminated at the triangular square outside the factory gates of Willem II Cigars, one of the last rolling enterprises in a town whose prosperity had grown up in smoke.
There were trees there. Many trees. Early in the morning the fecund pong of fermenting tobacco from Indonesia and the Caribbean already dominated the air, combining with a dusty reek from fallen leaves in deep drifts along the eastern edge, where a row of drinking establishments welcomed the working classes.
Those bars were not open then, but one previous evenings they had been doing a booming business.
Stable adults early on, gradually replaced by younger wilder individuals, till at midnight the future of the town seemed entirely doubtful - the generation that would inherit the place seemed composed entirely of crazed yobbos listening to bad music.

Word to the wise: only drink with mature individuals.
There's less chance of insanity that way.


THE NATIVE CLAIM TO FAME

The smell of cigars, both in the manufacturing stage, and post-production, was a background perfume for the entire town. Old men smoked stubby bolknak cigars (a bolknak is a turd-like torpedo shape, thick in the middle and narrowing at both ends, like Anne Elk's brontosaurus), refined ladies in their middle years, who knew what they wanted, favoured half-coronas or tuit-knakjes (a tuit-knak is like a bolknak, but shorter and more elegant, often better tobacco), gallant young men preferred "wild" cheroots with an untrimmed floss at the end, or senoritas, which are rather like a lancero in ring gauge, but only half that length. There were many shapes, and a multitude of qualities.
Local cigars were mostly machine-made products, but only a few generations ago half the town spent all their time stripping central veins from leaves, layering the tobacco to ferment and mature, spraying on moisture to make it pliable, then bunching, and rolling the cigars by hand. The finished products were once sold as far afield as Moscow and Saint Petersburg, but were most avidly consumed within the narrow Netherlandish confine.

In Autumn, around the fabriekspoort square, the dominant leaf was quite unsmokeable, but delightfully crisp underfoot. Especially just after dawn, when the fog that had blanketed the town overnight still sluggishly dissipated. Trees lined the street that led indirectly to the Kleine Markt and the Leenderweg, and with scarcely any other souls about one could imagine oneself in another world. From somewhere a fragrance of coffee might drift, to remind one that the day was starting soon. Occasionally a passing bicyclist would ride crunchily through a sea of fallen leaves, providing the only sound so early.
Halflight eventually gave way to day.

Obviously these are fond memories. Willem II cigars are no longer made in Valkenswaard, and the Hofnar factory also closed down years ago.
Tobacco has ceased to be a significant element of local life.
But there is a museum that shows artifacts from that age.


AN ELSEWHERE ECHO

Here in San Francisco, cigars stopped being made far further back. The tabacaleras that once occupied industrial hutchings and basements in Chinatown disappeared at least a generation before the world war. Cigar smokers in this day and age are considered irredeemably depraved, possibly even conservative! Quelle horreur!
Enlightened people pull up their narrow noses at even the concept.
Damned wheatgerm freaks.

There are many trees along Hyde Street, past Washington both sides are dense with foliage. At intersections lights fade and flicker among the trembling leaves, and when fog covers the city at night glowing orbs at regulated distances guide the sight in four directions.
My friend the bookselling amphibian and I will once a week smoke a few cigarillos together at the end of an evening, after having contemplatively enjoyed some whiskey at a place whose name I will not mention, because I do not wish it to become any more popular than it is.
Long after closing time we will wander up Pacific between Nob and Telegraph, till we come to Hyde Street. Here we stop for the final smoke before parting.
It is my favourite intersection.
Quite otherworldly at three in the morning, and timeless at that time.

It always reminds me of the triangle outside the cigar factory.
It is the same, but not the same; it is different, but equivalent.

And, at times, it is fragrant.


Last night Nob Hill was beautiful in the fog.
Now is Autumn, there are fallen leaves.
I just thought you should know.
You were probably asleep.




TOBACCO INDEX


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Sunday, November 25, 2012

FOOD INSPIRES POSSIBILITIES

Today I ate Leung-gwa Pan-kau Fan at a restaurant across the hill. It's one of my favorite dishes, but not anything special. A very simple mix-up of bitter melon and fresh fish collops, with a little blackbean gravy, over rice.
Very heavenly with a sploodge of hot sauce.
Many things are heavenly with a sploodge.

You can also make it at home. Just slice up the bitter melon as appropriate after cutting it in half to remove the pith and seeds. Salt it down, let it sit a while, then rinse and drain. The salting removes bitterness and makes it juicier. It's not really a melon, more like a gourd. Albeit one with a beautiful apple green hue, and ridged bumpy skin. Very healthy, and nicely bitter.
I barely salt it at all, as I am very fond of the taste.
Crisp, grassy-herby vegetal, bitter bitter bitter!

涼瓜斑球飯

After cutting the fish, let it sit for a while in egg-white whisked with a little corn-starch. That way it will firm-up nicely when tossed in the hot pan, while remaining clean and white looking. The salted black beans ((豆豉) should be mashed with a little sherry. Also julienne some ginger.
A deft hand adds each ingredient to the pan at the right time, then splashes in a little sherry and clean stock to provide a sizzle and a sauce.

On top of or next to a mound of rice, it is a wonderful meal.
Simple, uncomplicated. Green, black, white.
Perfect lunch counter food.


Some dishes are best made at home, however. The reason being that one restaurant serving would be too much of a single ingredient, and might lead to a bloat.
Stuffed is okay. Filled up is good.
Bloat, however........

Consider, as an example, steamed five flower pork (蒸五花腩). If that is all that you had with your rice, you would think that you ate too much. No amount of cigars and hot tea will bring quick relief.
It, also, is easy to prepare at home: cut the meat into big chunks, rub with a little shrimp paste (鹹蝦醬) and optionally tomato ketchup (a novel idea, but it works), then put it in a bowl with a lot of shredded ginger and steam for an hour and half or more. It will be meltingly tender, rich, juicy, smooth. The ginger is essential.
All meats should be rubbed - fatty cuts with spice and condiment ere steaming, lean firm meat with oil before you slap it into the hot pan.
They are just nicer, if treated well.

I am exceptionally fond of steamed five flower pork. Nothing says home style comfort food quite like this, alongside a simple vegetable, and some rice. And it's perfect for sharing.


THE HOME KITCHEN

If you think about it, the most secure and comfortable room in the house is the kitchen, which almost everyone automatically associates with warmth, safety, good things, and happy feelings. It is where you feel most at ease, and are at your most relaxed. Largely because it's an unpretentious and utile place, where everything is reassuringly familiar.
And it smells so good!

Home-baked pizza is a marvelous aroma. So is basted turkey, so are roasts, stir-fried foods, casseroles in the oven, slow stews, and soup.
Tea, coffee, cacao, fresh ginger.
Spices, fruits, herbs.
Clean scents.
Citrus.




One preparation of which I am inordinately fond, though it probably will not impress you in the slightest, is rice porridge (jook). Very often I will have it somewhere in Chinatown, but it should really be made at home. It tastes better that way.
One problem is that it is easy to end up with far too much of it.
Plus it will take a while before it's ready.

Preparing it is very simple. The proportions, though variable, are more or less ten or twelve parts liquid to one part rice. Rinse the rice to remove some of the excess starch and the impurities, then bring to a roiling boil in the liquid, turn the heat low, and simmer till the rice has fallen apart and become cloudy - creamy - smooth.
This takes several hours, and care must be taken that it does not burn or stick to the bottom of the pot. Use a heat-absorber, and stir often.

The liquid should contain a good amount of clear stock, for richness, and in the last half hour you should add goodies to cook along. Dried oysters (rinsed, soaked, cut in half), as well as some rehydrated black mushrooms and their soaking liquid. Maybe even a few pieces of Chinese sausage (臘腸).
Just before serving, stir in some sliced lean pork (瘦肉絲) or roast duck (火鴨), perhaps finely sliced fish (魚片) or chicken liver (雞肝), slivered ginger, and a drop or two of dark Chinese sesame oil (麻油) for fragrance. Garnish with chives (韭菜), and add ground white pepper to taste.
Unlike some of the other things I have mentioned, a sploodge of hot sauce is not a brilliant idea this time. That's just how it is.
Rice porridge is comfort food. Pure and sincere, affection in a bowl.
It's a warm embrace, a soft kiss on the cheek, a fond glance.
Appropriate whenever, and cheering at all times.
It's what your heart desires.
Happiness.


It's easy to add too much rice. Then compensate by adding more much liquid. And then more rice. If you're not careful, the quantity of porridge grows exponentially. And because of its creaminess and thickness, it is hard to reduce. If it is too thick, it becomes slow and gluggy, and if cooked long without enough stirring, muddy lumps may form.
On the other hand, a shortcut that works very well is to first cook the rice in just enough water till it is soft, then mix it with plenty of cold chicken stock, dump it in the blender, and whir it smooth. Another hour of slow cooking after that and it will be just right. When blending, I often add a piece of carrot, for sweetness and a faint warmth to the hue.

Porridge with black mushrooms, dried oysters, or preserved egg.
Jook (粥), tong gu (冬菇), ho si (蠔豉), pei dan (皮蛋).
Strewn with finely minced chives.
White, black, and green.
The taste of love.


The kitchen is the most magical room in the house. It is where you let your guard down, and where all your secrets are safe. This is where you entertain your dearest friends, and enjoy the nicest moments. A place of confidence, and pleasant memory. It is where you reveal yourself, and remain at ease.
The kitchen is the safest place.
Private, intimate.
Relaxed.



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THE GIRL WITH THE AWESOME EYEBROWS

It had been a long hard day.  She had spent all afternoon with her sister and her cousins pillaging the department stores and make-up counters, despite having gotten all of her shopping done months ago, and not having any interest whatsoever in eye-shadow, lipstick, and foundation.
Well, maybe lipstick. A risque hue of red or brilliant burgundy did remarkable things. She knew that; experiments in front of the bathroom mirror proved it. But till now there had been no need to display that wisdom.

It was fun in some ways spending the day with a clutch of other women. But also enervating, tiring even. The racket had gotten on her nerves. She had left when they suggested going over to the sample-sale south of Market Street, in the old Jewelry and Fashion Center. No way! Expensive horrible coffee, bad snacks, a depressing horde of frantic Philippinas, Jersey-type bimbos and suburbanites, AND her dear dear female relatives! There would have been bloodshed.
Imitating Cartman on Southpark, but only silently to herself, she mouthed the words "screw you guys, I'm going home!"
Audibly however, she pleaded a headache.
Her sister snippily opined that she should save it for when she was married, but told her to take a cab and handed her a twenty to pay for the ride.
Naturally she took the bus instead.
Crazy, she wasn't.


After a long luxurious soak, she came downstairs in her fluffy bathrobe and bunny slippers, and happily opened the refrigerator in the kitchen. She knew there were still some eclairs there, from the big pink box her dad had picked up at Bob's Donuts on Polk. Her jaw dropped, with dismay she observed the wasteland. Not an eclair left! Not a single one! All gone! Dang!
She loved eclairs. Especially heated up slightly in the microwave so that the vanilla filling inside was warm and oozy. Creamy donut-eclairs dripping custard, yum. So good, so very very good.

From the living room she heard cheerful male laughter, and the sound of a football game. The men were all there - her brother, her father, uncle Bork, cousin Poopiehead, and her despicable brother-in-law.
Whose name shall NOT be mentioned.
She never could understand what her sister saw in the man. A perfectly ordinary dweeb, naught more than a computer geek. The only thing even remotely remarkable about him was his health-club physique. Thick thick arms, defined pecs, and (and here she was just guessing, albeit with distaste) buns of steel. If he didn't work out everyday, she knew that her sister would have not found him nearly so interesting. His personality wasn't anything to write home about, and as for social graces she doubted he had any. She herself was not into muscle-men.
And without question HE had eaten the eclairs! She knew exactly what had happened: he had spent three hours on the treadmill and lifting weights at the gym that morning, then he had come home ravenous and attacked the best thing in the ice box. Selfish beast! Yesterday he had made fun of her fondness for pastries and pies, and when her father said he would pick stuff up from Bob's, his eyes lit up.

Some day she hoped to have a refrigerator of her own, in a private place, with a lock on the door, and a hidden entrance. She would only share the good things inside with nice people.
Eclairs are NOT for everybody. Neither are peach cobblers and apple turnovers.
Nor cream pie. All of these were the best part of Thanksgiving.
Bugger the turkey, gimme fried pastries!
You can also have the pumpkin pies, I don't wann'em!

She was convinced that her brother-in-law had only come to stay with them over the holiday weekend for the free food. His contribution to the family feast had been pumpkin pies from Safeway. With, oh totally gross, cool whip!
Cheap odious bastard. He really didn't want to share.
What on earth DID her sister see in him?
Hah, stupid steel buns!

She was determined that before the weekend was up, she would have her very own gooey luscious eclairs. It would be a feast! These she would lovingly consume, sucking up gobs of vanilla goodness.
In private, without any of her relatives knowing. Warm and delicious. Mmm!
Plenty of paper towels to hide all evidence of her secret passion.
With the curtains drawn, and the lights off.

Maybe she should ask for a refrigerator for Christmas?
After all, a young lady has certain special needs.
And everyone else would have more space.

She furrowed her eyebrows contemplatively, while the masculine sounds of sports and eclair fuelled gaiety in the living room rose and fell.
She looked fierce and determined, while thinking of eclairs.





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Saturday, November 24, 2012

WHAT YOUNG MEN DREAM OF

If you are Jewish, Saturday is the sabbath. And if you are not, it is still the sabbath. That's just the way it is. The Churchmen sought to separate themselves from the older religion by skipping a day, but the days themselves followed in steady order.
Today is Saturday. Even for cynics, skeptics, and freethinkers.

Consequently the city was filled with people in town for the four day holiday, packing buses and cablecars and generally being a crowd.
Saturday is a day for minds to wander.
To travel outside the camp, in fact.
Leisurely breaking commandments.

I walked over Nob Hill and Telegraph, down to North Beach and Chinatown.
Had a treifedikke lunch (snackipoos!) and smoked a bowl of aged Red Virginia flake before continuing my journey.
Shortly after tea-time I arrived home again, and took a nap.


RE-DOZING THE PAST

Late summer in the Netherlands is warm, and it is pleasant to spend weekends bicycling with friends across the country side. Everything is still green, deep intense green, though here and there golden wheat or pale yellow hay already form patches on the landscape.
The small rivers that traverse North Brabant cut through layers of trees that densely line the waterways, interrupted by bridges of uncertain age, and watermills that, absurdly, still find some use in modern times. The most well-known ones near Valkenswaard are the Venbergsche Molen, on the way to the Malpy Fens, and the Dommelsche Watermolen, just down the road from the famous brewery where Dommelsch Pils and Oud Bruin are made.

Dommelen is a beautiful little village which is part of the municipality of Valkenswaard; you can see it from the curves of the Kromstraat among the meadows west of town, as well as the bridge over the river where the Luikerweg disappears.

Warmth, soft breezes, and the fragrance of the fields.

We had ridden for several miles, finally coming back to an ancient pathway along the river. In late afternoon we dismounted and lay on the grassy embankment, in a spot where the trees shattered the slanting sunlight.
Before then we had driven our bikes with regular metronomic motion for several hours, now passing each other, now falling behind. We were bedewed and glowing, and now we were tired. Flaked out on the grass, we rested.

Later, restored to vigour, two of my friends wrestled with each other, one asserting "you are the Sabine women, I am Rome", while the other insisted "no way, dude, I am Leda, and you will become a swan".
I lazed off to the side, thinking "dang you two are twisted!"
Both of them were boys, you see. Sons of a man who took a degree in the classics, when that was still considered a useful thing to do.
Classic education leads to 'interesting' role playing.
Two strapping young lads, with smooth firm thighs, wrestling over female images.

I had seen their bare legs pumping while they rode, and could not imagine either of them as girls or women. Beautiful, yes, in that way that teenagers can be. But decidedly not feminine. Too butch, too hard, and too glowing.
And I already knew that they had dirty male minds.
Innocently dirty - nothing perverse.
Rather sweet, actually.
Idealistic.

Cupped in soft warmth among the trees, we relaxed, slowly drifting off into golden hazed sleep. We didn't wake up till a summer shower sparkled us with moisture, the fragrant sweetness of herbs mingling with a resurgent wet aroma of boys.
With still drowsy eyes we remounted, and headed into town.
Coffee and cigars at a cafe along the Luikerweg.
Then, separately, heading off home.


RE-WAKING THE PRESENT

It was already dark when I awoke from my nap. My bed is not a mound of fresh-mown hay, neither are there stands of trees on either side. Nor is there a river among these fields.
It is comfortable, but now far smaller than it used to be. The entire left side is presently occupied by beasts and books.
I usually have at least two or three volumes that I'm working on at a time. When the stuffed animals do not act rambunctious and demand my intercession.
Which seriously interrupts the flow.

The one-legged monkey will sometimes offer to help me read; he knows that that is hard for me, as I am only human, an inferior creature. The head-sheep demands respect, and butter sticks. The vampire hamster looks speculatively at the head-sheep (victim? slave?), before demanding that I tell her more about Dracula, Edward Cullen, Nosferatu, and other darkly handsome men, who gallop through wetly dripping forests before the sun comes up.
Others plot to steal my watch and wallet while I sleep.
I hide those in a different place every night.
As I said, the bed is smaller now.
Wildlife has taken over.

There is no fragrant grass growing here.
Yet.



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Friday, November 23, 2012

SECRET STRATEGIES

Presents are personal achievements. That is to say, giving something which makes the recipient happy is a stand-in for kindness and affection, as well as an embodiment thereof. Which probably explains the shopping frenzy downtown today. People want love, it's as simple as that. And the merchant who capitalizes on exactly that motive will make a fortune.
With a bit of luck, some people will get the love they want.
Others will make due with expensive substitutes.
As well as exciting electronic gadgets.

Sometimes that's all it takes.

In some ways it's rather like the big brother approach at solving a problem; throw money at it till it goes away.

You may think this an unnecessarily cold and cynical point of view, but I hasten to add that I too will participate to some extent in the madness.
I like giving.
As a means of self-expression, it really isn't bad.

The well-chosen gift says so much about a person, even if the occasion itself is standardized and not at all spontaneous. When months or even years later the recipient is still delighted, the pleasure-echo is immense.
You really like it! Ergo, I'm not a bad sort.
Yep, feeling rather good about myself.

Something freely given that made another person happy is precious.
Merely buying an object for oneself doesn't quite cut it.
You give, because you get something in return.
It makes you feel good about yourself.

You already appreciate the other person, but heart-felt giving is a totally guilt-free way of deriving pleasure.
Joy enjoyed vicariously, great joy indeed.
And a very nice feeling, too.


Now go out there and make someone smile.
It's a great conspiracy, play your part.


The next move is yours.
Please plot it well.

Give of yourself.



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Thursday, November 22, 2012

TWILIGHT OF THE GODS

We held the wake for the company one day early. The sale to the Canadian piranhas was not, in the end, finalized till Wednesday afternoon around tea time. On Tuesday evening, about fifty current and former employees retired to the Tunnel Top on Bush Street to lament the demise of a fine enterprise.
Well, some of us lamented. Those of us still involved in the company couldn't wait to see that puppy die. Yes, for years it had been a wonderful place to work, where creative juices flowed as if from inexhaustible springs, through fields of inspiration, yadda yadda yadda.
But in truth, the last three years had seen diminishing returns. For over a year it had been a hellish hostel between Sheol and the river Styx.
Heck, for the last four or five months, a madhouse.
Since mid-October, insanity squared.

But it's all over now.
Boruch Hashem.

I started working there in Spring of 2001. My immediate predecessor had spent three weeks begging his agency to put him elsewhere, good lord the place gave him nightmares! The person he had replaced left for lunch one day and never returned, after making such a mess of the Credit and Collections side that heads or tails could not be found. There were corpses in the filing cabinets that were not discovered for months afterwards.

By 2003 there were three of us staffing credit and collections: my boss, who dealt with the medium-sized chains and the internationals, a brilliant ex-seminarian who handled the big boxes and their ridiculous nickle-and-diming deductions and penalty fees that ate away at every single invoice, and myself.
My portfolio consisted of over fifteen hundred small retailers across the entire country, plus the franchises.
I also did research on the internationals and big distributors, as well as due diligence regarding banks and payment methodologies.
Over a year ago the big box man's accounts were split between me and my boss.
At the end of March I got all of them, plus her accounts.
By May I was having kittens.

The company had started spiralling down a few years ago. I shall not blame anyone for the decisions that made the demise increasingly inevitable over the past forty months, as it is both hard and pointless to assign blame.
The fracturing of the American economy is as responsible as anything.
And, and this is crucial, hindsight tars everyone unfairly.

I like the people I've worked with over the years, and admired quite a number of them for their qualities and their intelligence. There are very few whom I consider not up to snuff - shan't mention any names, nor enumerate what, how many, or how.
We had a habit of hiring good people.
More than in the law offices or computer companies where I've worked, my coworkers were characters, and people of strong character.

The sale was slated for end of October. Then the final date was postponed to the second of November, postponed again to the fifth, the eighth, the fifteenth.......
It was finally inked on the twenty first.
The buyers, who hail from a more innocent and silly part of the world, probably have no clue what they bought. It was evident from the get-go that they did not understand our supply chain, freight and import structures, manufacturing methods, or even the creative insanity which kept an impossible company orbiting the earth for nearly two decades.

I'm glad it's finally over. The others who stayed on to the last day are no doubt equally chipper.
We saw it through, and can finally close the book on it.
Time to start a new chapter.

I wish all of them well. They deserve it.
Guys, we very nearly did the impossible.
But what we did do was pretty damned good, and all in all well worth doing.


*   *   *   *   *   *


What am I going to do now?
I'm going to catch up on my sleep. For far too long I've been getting up before five A.M., spending over ten hours a day in Hayward, then getting to bad no earlier than eleven thirty.
I'm also going to catch up on my reading. There are a few foreign-language dictionaries I need to revisit, as well as the Aṣṭādhyāyī of Panini, translated by Sumitra M. Katre, and published by the University of Texas Press. Eight chapters on Vedic grammar written nearly two and a half millennia ago.
Eight very long chapters.
Densely textured.


Plus smut, of course. All good libraries should have a fine selection of smut, and all well-rounded readers should be familiar with it.


Starting, quite naturally, with the classic Song of Songs.
Which is about an innocent lusty maiden.
And her loving swain.

Vineyards. Pillars of Lebanon. Little foxes. Mounds of golden wheat. Winecups. Gazelles. Fragrances. Apples (actually probably apricots, but there has been a shift of meaning in some words since then). Honey. Dripping nectars. Cloth textures.
And suntans.


All of that should keep me occupied for a few months.
I also intend to lunch in C'town more often.
And to become normal again.
Whole.




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THE FEAST OF NOODLING

Thanksgiving, not surprisingly, is always a very quiet day for the single man. Which by itself is enjoyable, never mind the absence of hullabaloo and stringy white meat.  It's a time to appreciate restfulness and warm solitude. Plus good food.


RICE-NOODLE SOUP AND GRILLED MEAT

Went over to a favourite noodle restaurant on Washington Street for lunch.
It was not crowded, but by no means empty either. Perfect for people watching.
There was an adorable little girl with a lovely hair ornament, playing with a video game while her uncles chatted. A young couple with their two cute kids off to the right, enjoyed a late lunch. A smiling old man and his cheerful chubby niece or whatever she may have been shared fried noodles. Various others.

As well as a gentleman of Slavic appearance and his girlfriend, whose make-up and garb suggested a demure variant of tropical trollop. It could be that both of them were seriously into a Paul Gauguin thing -- though she did not look anywhere young enough to play Gauguin's Tahitian squeezebit -- or it could simply be that she guilelessly got herself up as a Philippina peasant girl roping a wandering American. With a huge flower in her hair.
Whatever the reason, it seemed blameless enough. They were at ease in each other's presence, and obviously liked each other. Fun to watch.
An innocent couple.

Diagonally opposite my table were two happy girls speaking Mandarin. Not the same vicious-sounding hissy-fit Mandarin as the angry middle-aged coot and his daughter along the far wall, but a confident mellifluous variant, pleasing to the ear. Or it may simply have been that I will cut attractive young ladies who are likable and intelligent way more slack than elderly gnomes with gripes. Especially because I could imagine what the shoulders of the young lady whose face I could see might look like bare, judging by her build and her small elegant hands.
I do not know exactly what she ordered - but her graceful fingering of her chopsticks is permanently imprinted on my retina.
Everyone should have daughters like that.


While I was enjoying the last few bites of the grilled pork with hot sauce, a young English couple sat down at the table next to me. He looked like a standard-issue white person, she may have been Singaporean Chinese or Malaysian Chinese. They both had something curried.
One has to seriously doubt the food-knowledge of people who order curry in a Chinese restaurant. It does not come across as a sensible or well-considered choice.
Wishful thinking, more than anything else.
Other than their haphazard food selection (curried shrimp over rice, her; curried pork over rice, him), there was naught remarkable about them, so I returned my surreptitious attention to the young lady with the intelligent face (lively eyes, quirky lips) and lovely hands. She was ordering something extra.
Before it came, I had finished my drip-coffee and paid my bill.
I would have liked to have dawdled some more.
But a second glass of coffee would have been a bit much.
Twitching and jangling does not leave a good impression.
And what with strong coffee and a mug of tea, I was already plenty wired; no need for anything else.

Smoked a bowl of red Virginia in a quiet alley after lunch, then took the bus back home. There was a remarkable fragrance of fresh apples in the vehicle, and bright sunlight at the top of Nob Hill.
Not very many passengers, more empty seats than filled.
I rather wish that bus ride could have lasted longer.
The aroma of apples is very evocative, very happy.



Before entering my building, I admired a crow across the street investigating a fire-escape. There's a self-assurance about crows that is very endearing. They know that they are far more intelligent than the other birds - especially the pigeons - and they're gifted with a lively curiosity.
Crows in your neighborhood are a blessing.
They keep an active eye on things.
And they swagger.
Cocky.




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Tuesday, November 20, 2012

IT REALLY FEELS GOOD

Our Vice-president of Marketing freely admits, pursuant a reckless mention of undergarments on this blog, that he hasn't upgraded his nether wardrobe since the early eighties.
Not that anyone needs to know.

This tells you two things about the man:
1. He goes for classic styling.
2. He's still the same size.

Remarkably, he's married. I have not met his esposa, but there is every reason to believe that she is both normal and well-adjusted.

She must really like that timeless look.


LOOSE COTTON COMFORT

In reflecting on my own underwear, I realize that none of it is pre-Obama. Not even a shred. My unmentionables have been replaced several times since I started living in San Francisco, from which you might deduce that the San Francisco climate is bad for underpants, what with the fog and all.
Or that I've left it casually lying around in different places.
Absentmindedly forgot that it was there.
Commando during meetings.
Sudden nude urge.

This is not true.

I am a stylish man underneath my outer garments. And exceptionally fond of hip and with it boxers.
Nothing says "representing" better than poncing around the apartment, when my apartment mate is out, in clean comfortable underpants. Wear and tear are minimal because I am more limber than other men my age.

You'll just have to take my word for it, as there are no witnesses.
Invitations to a private fashion show will not be sent.

Feel free to imagine what it looks like.
Indeed, it is all of that.
Zesty.


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Monday, November 19, 2012

DIFFERENCE BETWEEN FRENCH CUT AND HIGH CUT

You know me as a helpful person, right? You've read this blog long enough that you instinctively realize that underneath this cool and unemotional veneer beats the heart of a man who only wants to love and cherish you, and encourage your development and further education.
If I could, I would give you candy or champagne to help you study.
I respect your inquiring mind.

Especially when you feel the need to look up definitions on the Internet.
I too use the Internet for that exact purpose!

I am therefore unutterably overjoyed to find that not one, but several (!) readers have discovered this blog by entering this sentence into their search field: "difference between french cut and high cut".
No doubt there was more to the sentence than that, but google won't tell me what else it was.
Yet I can figure it out. More or less.

"Difference between french cut and high cut...'"

Because they found a post written over a year ago.
Which detailed some pertinent facts about panties.


BIKINI BRIEFS, FRENCH CUT BRIEFS, AND HIGH CUT BRIEFS
[No thongs, hipster briefs, boy shorts, or yoga pants, ever!]

It was, more or less, a prose piece in praise of cotton.
You have no need to know what prompted that blogpost (as I recall, it was something both European and political in nature), suffice to say that good information was freely given.
As all worthwhile data should be.

To that end, I shall quote the most important part:

"The difference between them is that bikini briefs have a low waistband (in contrast to granny panties), French cuts have high leg openings canted forward, and high cuts have deep leg openings more in-tune with a natural design and a waistband slightly on the high side."

That is it.

I'll assume that the persons looking for this information are trying to upgrade their underwear collection, and are too shy to talk to the elderly matron in charge of the pantie department at the local shop.
Which I can fully sympathize with, as I too am far to shy to do that.
All my knowledge of bikini briefs, French cuts, and high cuts, is the result of assiduous research, coupled with unquenchable scientific curiosity.

If any young people out there benefit from it, I shall be quite happy.
This blog wishes to be informative and useful.
It's a mission.


Are there any questions?



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Sunday, November 18, 2012

ATTACK OF THE SMALL-RUMPED WOMEN!

When I was strolling down California Street a father and his daughter were ahead of me. She was very young, so he was carrying her. She looked exceptionally happy to be in his big strong arms.
At one point she looked up and saw the blow-up sex-doll stuck in the branches of the tree underneath which they were passing.

"Oh look, it's Barbie!"

Her dad responded "no, it just looks a bit like her".
Which it did. Same unrealistic physique.
After a pause the little girl said "you're right, her butt is too small!"
The rear-end of the object did indeed look out of proportion.
As sit-upons go, it was very pointy and narrow.
It would probably dent any chair.
Splinter the wood.


I now have a vision of a horde of small-rumped ladies invading the neighborhood, desperate for comfortable chairs. Such as the very one upon which I am sitting.
No, I am not denting it - my rump is normal!
Albeit smaller than many a feminine postern.

Possibly the army of tiny-buttock females is looking for trousers that will fit. That must be hard, because as everyone knows, women's clothing is notorious for "making my butt look big". Which may explain all the young ladies wearing tight jeans that give them kidney-bump bulges, or godforbid yoga pants.
I'll admit that I'm as randy and dirty-minded as the next guy, but yoga pants are a horrible idea. The world is NOT your gynaecologist, and displaying everything including your thong in this weather is ghastly rather than appetizing.
Trust me when I say that nothing, absolutely nothing, in this world looks as sexy and attractive as the well-chosen skirt - blouse - cardigan combination. If you have to imagine something more detailed than that, please imagine a pearl necklace in the open collar, accenting your velvety skin.

If your pants do not fit, find a time and place to remove them. Under certain circumstances I could be persuaded to lend you sanctuary, whether they are bulge-bottomed slacks, overly tight bluejeans, or good gracious yoga pants.
Well, maybe not the yoga pants. I am hesitant about allowing a person who wears yoga pants anywhere near the apartment; they have a history of making inexplicable decisions.

I can lend you a comfy bathrobe.


This blogger, in case you were wondering, is a good judge of clothing. For most of my life I have seen it, frequently as it is being worn.
I can be counted on to tell you how nice you look in it.
Or, conversely, NOT in it.




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FABULOUS UGG BOOTS HERE!

Judging by the amount of traffic this blog receives from unusual sources, womankind is obsessed with footwear. Specifically, Ugg boots. Women, the spammadores seem to suggest, cannot imagine existence without an endless supply of ugly Australian sheepbanger boots. Life would be unbearable, devoid of the comfortable and extremely smelly footgear which are the antipodes only claim to fame!
How horrible! No Uggs!

This blogger finds that hard to believe. Not only is Australia also famous for other things (Spaghetti sandwiches, Chateau Chunder Zinfandel, and Vegemite, inter alia), but I personally know many women who would not be caught dead wearing Uggs.
And yes, you've guessed rightly, none of them are blonde.

Not that I have anything AGAINST blondes.
Some of the nicest people are that way.
One can only feel sorry for them.


AN UGGSTREME OPINION

Real women do NOT purchase Ugg boots. Not in a million years. People who wear Uggs are either Australian sheepbangers, possibly flatulent from eating too many spaghetti sandwiches, with vegemite and faux zinfandel, OR they are slut monsters from very bad places, in all likelihood the Midwest or Holland. Low morals, base tastes, absent any ethical AND aesthetical considerations, probably near-illiterate, with extremely dubious mating habits, addictions to shopping, cheap wine, and sports-watching men, and garish multi-hued nailpolish and eye-shadow.

Ugg-wearing women are not the kind you bring home to mother.
Nor do you wish to be seen with them in your favourite bars, clubs, intimate little restaurants, hip bistros, or Chinatown noodle houses.

Judging by the texts of many Ugg outlets who have tried seeding the comments section here -- mistakenly entering their adds into the field titled 'LETTERBOX' -- they are all of the above, plus Dutch. Netherlanders. Very stupid merchants garbling the very fine language of Vondel, Brederode, and Willem Godschalk Van Fockenbrock.
De originele 'domme blondjes'.


In English, the word 'ugg' sounds like an exclamation you would utter after stepping in sheep do. In Dutch, it sounds like a grunt during unpleasant sexual activity.
I think it's German.
Upstanding women do not engage in unpleasant sexual activity, rarely step in dung, and do not wear Uggs.

Instead, they read Vondel (not a bad poet, by any means), Brederode (a splendid versifier and wicked playwright), and Willem Godschalk Van Fockenbrock.

No one should eat spaghetti sandwiches and vegemite, either or both washed down with bucketfulls of mediocre antipodean zinfy.
It's what should be upchucked into Uggs.
Go on, heave! There's room a-plenty.
Your sheepbanger won't notice.
It smells just like him.


This post is lovingly dedicated to everyone who sells Uggs, wears them, or has an unspeakable fetish for feet garbed in them.
I love you guys.


AFTER WORD

If you are a girl who despises Uggs, reads obscure authors and poets, and likes intimate little restaurants and bistros, drop me a line.
We can go have noodles in Chinatown.
You know how to contact me.
It's called "letterbox".
See below.



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Saturday, November 17, 2012

LOOK BEHIND YOU, IT"S SITTING UP AGAIN!

The ugly adventure that is Hayward continues.  At least for a few more days.  For readers who are new to this blog, the background data is that the company for which I work moved from San Francisco to the armpit of the universe two months ago, which is a two hour commute by public transit away from civilization.  Currently it is changing hands.
Which means that this time next week I should be wondering how I shall gainfully spend my time.

The transfer was supposed to be done by now.
I have been there for over a decade.
All good things come to an end.
Then there are beginnings.
Change can be good.


The past two years have been exhilaratingly nightmarish.

The beast ain't dead yet, but I am looking forward to not spending four hours a day on public transit, and then ten hours at the office.
Why did I do it? Why did I stay so long?
Probably because I'm a little crazy.
Something you didn't notice.

I like discovering new things. Life lived by routine becomes a rut.
In that vein, I try different foods, read books I have never explored before, and talk to new people.
One of the things I also like doing is studying foreign-language dictionaries.
That used to be good for falling asleep, now it thrills me endlessly.
Folks with interesting minds also considerably please me.
Often they themselves do not realize that.
To them, they're quite normal.
To me, fascinating.

Hayward will continue for a few more days. This, too, should be stimulating.
It's been one heck of a ride over the cliff; high-speed roller-coaster.
My coworkers have shown their finest sides during the trip.
As well as surprising quirks and wit.
Good people.



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Thursday, November 15, 2012

CELEBRATORY DONUT

Wednesday Evening:
It’s quiet in the industrial zone of Hayward at night. Except, of course, for people talking about labour costs in China. Such as is happening in a corner of the office. Long hours this week, and a note of finality.
Next week will be far less busy for me.
I’m very much looking forward to that.

First break in nearly twelve years.

Good for a new beginning.

No, I shall not spend hours updating my Facebook page. It was fun for a while, but nothing beats actual human contact. The face to face thing is both far more rewarding, and more enjoyable than anything FB to FB.
There is so much that the eyes convey which short texts cannot do.

Cute kitten pictures are of course different.
I don’t really believe that, but it’s safer to just give in.
Your forehead is probably crinkling in worry as you read this, because you love kittens. And stuff like this makes you doubt the solidity of your value system.
Such a disturbing statement!!!
Why is he challenging me?!?

I’ve neglected all the social networking sites and mailing lists over the past few months; they are not as thrilling as once they were, no longer sparkling and new.
Despite the kitten pictures.

Truth be told, I would rather stare at someone’s forehead for hours than dither around on Facebook.
Foreheads can be very interesting. Nice, even. Positively charming. This blogger has a pronounced thing for foreheads. Meet me over coffee and pastries sometime, and I’ll tell you ALL about it.
Twitter, MySpace, Hyves, and the ‘Association for the Advancement of Gastric Harmony’ cannot possibly compare to hearing real human voices, seeing the attractive costume jewelry pinned on a blouse, or secretly wondering how anyone can walk in those shoes.

Or, for that matter, admiring a forehead.


Thursday Morning:
I shall miss the crows in Hayward. There are far more of the little black rascals flying around here than in the city; their sparky personalities add a note of avian sanity to the place.
What I shall NOT miss are Doritos crunchy snax for breakfast at around ten o’clock, when oral boredom takes its frightful toll. Nor shall I miss the occasional venture into ruffled chip territory. If a crow cannot survive on it, it isn’t food.
The reverse does NOT hold true: crows sometimes eat crap that sensible humans eschew.
Except, perhaps in Hayward. Or elsewhere in the East Bay. People here eat some dubious things.
Hayward is the epicenter of gastric disharmony.


Today will be exciting. Whatever it takes.
I had a donut for energy.
On an intellectual level, I like donuts. They are one of the two great contributions that Dutch-Americans made to the U.S. (the other one being scalping – we taught the natives about that).

This is the final stretch. If all goes well, no more late nights for a while.
There will be no further blogposts here till Saturday evening.
I will let you know then if there was any celebration.
Foreheads; did I already mention foreheads?
Do you have a nice forehead?
I would like to see it.
Forehead.


Foreheads are better than donuts.

This is obvious.

Would you rather brush hair from a forehead, or from a donut?




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Wednesday, November 14, 2012

NECESSARY CONTENT

A friend advises me to head to China, suggesting that it might be an adventure, and that the relationship drought that presently holds could thus be solved.
Well, an adventure it certainly would be.
But not a solution to the drought.

Any person who enters my life will have to have English as a strong first language. Communication is vastly better if both sides think similarly, and in the same tongue, as well as to the same degree of literacy.

That final item requires elucidation.
I read some seriously deep stuff.
As well as complete garbage.
And I enjoy both equally.

Actually, besides news articles, for the past several months I've mostly read light fiction, manga, and trash. LOTS of trash.
Plus a little bit of Dutch and Chinese poetry.
Other than that, it's been lists of ingredients on packaged food. Admittedly there is not much literary value there, and no plot or character development...........


VOYAGE OF DISCOVERY

A companion should have an avid interest in food, a keen appreciation of Monty Python, and the ability to talk back.
Silence is deafening.

I suspect that such a person is somewhat more common on this side of the Pacific.
Possibly even here in San Francisco.

At least, I sure hope so.

We could compare our favourite lists of ingredients.




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Tuesday, November 13, 2012

YOUR HOT LOVING FINGERTIPS

Sometimes you have to stand tall and erect, stiffly straight.
On the other hand, maybe like a computer-age daemon Don Juan you want to crouch over the supine keyboard, which passively accepts your fervent strokes, as you lovingly input detailed credit memoranda rich in text and narrative. “This product was returned because the batteries ran out, leaving an entire classroom at Miss Dashbottom’s Academy for Gentlewomen gasping with disappointment!
The poor young things! I feel for them!

They were horribly frustrated. I can understand that.
The little wheels and shiny plastic parts did NOT rotate.
The enslaved hamster wasn't twirled round and round till limp.

Please stop gasping. There are so many other pets you can have.
We are all your wigglyboos, you don't need batteries for that!
Or maybe you do. I shan't try to guess what you are doing.
If you want to just tell me, I will listen with interest.
Photos! I need photos! Of your hamster!

"Hello Miss Dashbottom, are you doing anything later?"

Several times these last few weeks I have wondered which of my colleagues in the Finance Team will have the first mental breakdown. We’ve all been working long hours, and the Comptroller and the CFO have been in the office on weekends.
Yesterday evening the entire department was at the office from before eight in the morning till eleven o’clock at night. No, I do not think we accomplished anything great, and it was only in very minor ways a bonding experience.
Being surrounded by fevered people is far more pleasant when you get to choose the company. As I'm sure you think also.
No offense, but I am glad it wasn’t anything to cause a glance askance.

The end is in sight, however.

I shall not have fits, because compared to them, I am old and sane.
Though I would deny the first part of that statement, as they would contest the second.


What shall I do when this is finally over?
De-compress. Sleep a bit. Read an awful lot.
I have every intention of smelling more like roses.

Oh, and perhaps meeting someone new.
It has been a very long time.



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