Monday, July 31st, 2006

Daily Archive

Hours were mapped out on a napkin provided by the Indian restaurant we'd come to find ourselves in– suddenly there were four of us instead of two… Three days, little rest, rules in place and travel arrangements were made… Time off of work, phone calls and e-mails but it's hard to get excited about something more than a month distant…

Off of work early, walk through the panhandle and collect a co-conspirator… To the house, last minute packing and the triple check while she drinks my beer waiting impatiently… Hop the train downtown, off to hop on another train and we meet our third on the platform… Across the bay and onto a shuttle and unloaded at the edge of the terminal where I annoy everyone by demanding a moment to smoke a cigarette before passing through the security gates… A lone traveller shares out ill-designed wind shelter in a t-shirt… I notice he keeps glancing over at us desperate for some trivial conversation… Happens at every bus stop in America, I suppose, so I know how to watch other's actions in reflections and how to keep my attention diverted… Eventually he comments to no one about the cold and we have to respond… He's from Long Beach and doesn't understand the Bay Area… Nothing we can do for you, sir, except bid you a good flight… Now that I think about it he may have been waiting for a ride but the moment has passed…

Before September 11th I was a liability to anyone running late for a flight– security loves to have a chat and a look at my posessions, pockets, ankles and waist… After measures were heightened I ceased setting off alarms and raising suspicion… They finally stopped me, pulling my suitcase off to the side and running it through an additional x-ray machine… Opened up, swabbed for explosives and then a mysterious item from a manicuring set I've had for years is deemed unsuitable for travel… The woman seems apologetic about confiscating it and I comment how I've never used the damn thing… “You only need it when you don't have it” she says and I think it's a funny thing to say to someone as you're taking something from them… I've yet to need it…

We'd been bumped to first class for free which is a little uncomfortable… People don't spit on us as we board before the coach sitters nor do they glare as they pass our spacious, comfortable seats… Warm nuts, free drinks, do you want to hang your coat up? I wonder how were are viewed– later someone suggests we probably were taken for band members what with the tattoos and ratty clothing… “Would it be offensive to offer you a gratuity?” I ask waving a crumbled five dollar bill at our stewardess, embarassed and uncertain… She smiles more than humanly possible, shooing away my inept offering… “You were polite, that means everything…” so I pocket the bill… Not sure if I'm going to repeat this on my return flight…

Collected by our friend and we drive south through Tacoma stopping at the 24 hour drive through Starbucks… The passanger up front begins to wave a six-foot inflatable penis (in box) at the cashier and we find ourselves engaged in conversation with a desperate soul… “You can't shock me, I lived in San Francisco for five years” It's hard to pry ourselves away as he keeps rambling on…

Olympia, green and quiet and inviting… We don't do much, buy some groceries and beer and insepct the accomodations… Everything's quite nice but it's getting late and we have a lot to do tomorrow…

We watched Twin Peaks from the unaired pilot (stopping with fifteen minutes left to spare ourselves the original ending) through 29 episodes and ending with the posthumous prequal “Fire Walk With Me” from Friday afternoon till late Sunday night… Breaks intersected the 45 minutes episodes with pots of coffee being made, soup set to simmer, pie cut and dished, bathroom visits… We went to a one year old's birthday party and left with food, I didn't leave the house all day Sunday… No loud food, no alcohol, no whining or talking of any kind… We devolved into a small cult speaking only in references, sleeping five or six hours a night… My sentences became difficult to decipher, people shuffled back and forth in pajamas and untied shoes, someone snorted pie up their nose accidentally… By five in the morning as dawn hit Monday I felt as though I'd been on one of my old

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three day speed benders… My mind was lost in a haze, my movements aimless and jerky, unable to contemplate sleep or interaction with anyone… At least I didn't feel disgusting like drugs used to make me feel after the come-down…

Monday was spent driving through the central Washington towns in search of filming locations… North Bend, Snoqualmie, Falls City and the hills above… The ultimate super-fan geek move and we even had a map from a website printed out… We walked across an old train bridge, wandered around an abandoned mill, contemplated closed diners and stood in awe of a massive waterfall… To make matters worse we ran into a suspected Twin Peaks fanatic at more than one locations– hopefully were were less obvious than the guy with cameras slung over his shoulder, shorts on, frosty Starbucks coffee concoction in hand…

Now I'm in Seattle attempting to readjust… It's been okay, I can talk to people who weren't with us through the valley of season two… Walked through northern Seattle, visited the locks seperating Puget Sound and Lake Oregon, sat on a hillside above I5 watching the sun sink behind downtown while drinking a MGD Reserve and ate in a restaurant providing TGIFriday's fun for a more sophisticated crowd… Saw someone for the first time in two years and met her husband, listened to someone plan their next step while they're still midway through this one, ate something other than cherry pie and coffee…

This officially qualifies as vacation– I received pay while watching Twin Peaks…
-Brendan
Greenwood District, Seattle Washington

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AmericaOne news story last week that got lost in the mire

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was Will Smith trying to break into India's film market after being excluded from China. If only Smith could court China's censorship board like his character Alex Hitchens woos the ladies in 2005's Hitch – a lukewarm romantic footbath for a princess-and-the-pea middle class. One might be inclined to view this as evidence of China's good taste, but considering only 20 foreign movies made the cut, this turns out to just be a happy coincidence. Making its way into the global awareness, India's film market seems primed to welcome Smith with open arms. Bhaliwood's been the next big thing for so long, shouldn't it be the big thing by now? This is a rare boon for US foreign policy. The fresh prince is an ideal cultural colonist: Talented, hardworking; an embodiment of the American dream; a guru of media plurality; and an icon of America's pretext of racial synthesis and acceptance. How can the rest of the world reject our lifestyle when they see it's all about punching aliens and shagging coworkers? This is actually the kind of imperialism I can endorse. It's always great when there's a

non-violent transmission of ideas between countries. There may be a backlash against the perception that Smith's brand of the stars and stripes is being shoved down the throat of an audience who'd like to see more movies about their own cultural identity. On the other hand, anyone who's been to a McDonalds in another country knows that even the most rigid forms of Americanism reach a compromise of interpretation with the receiving culture. This is, perhaps, a bad example given the evil practices of the golden arches, but at least Smith probably won't slaughter thousands of cows to make his films, and it seems unlikely that you'd become a 25-year-old diabetic from watching his movies since you were six. Though Smith most likely plans to use the low production costs in India to increase the profit margin on unvetted projects, he'll inevitably be a bridge between the two economies, both monetarily and creatively. All in all this means that you'll feel less and less special when you find that gem of an obscure Italian movie on Netflix and get to brag about it to all your friends. On the plus side, perhaps when we're approaching the next country that's entertaining the idea of nuclear warheads, we can point out that they've been entertained by our cinematic antics for years, so lighten up a little, eh?

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