Anyway, I'm in London right now, on my last day here. I've been in the city for a week now, seeing pretty much everything that I possibly can, and it's been pretty great. I can't even begin to describe it. So I won't. Tomorrow i fly to Perpignan, France, which is pronounced in that fine French style "pear-pee-yawn." I have more than a mild dislike for french people today, after trying to get through a very small but very fascinating small museum in London at the same time that a gaggle of french girls was...and not really all that cute french girls...maybe they keep the attractive ones in the country and export the ugly ones. Whatever their problem was in looks, it was compounded by their complete inability to move or generate any interest in what they were in...so they just stood there, being French. I don't know, what is it that French people do when they stand around haughtily...they weren't really talking, but they weren't looking around. They were just standing there. Myabe they were just standing there thinking, "I am french, so therefore, you must want to make love to me. But, as I'm french, you cannot. Aha!" Whatever it was, it didn't seem to be getting the effect that they were looking for, so eventually I just had to push past them. they probably thought that it was an embarassed attempt at a grope, but if so, they were sadly mistaken. I was hit on by a French guy the other day, a new experience for me (I was also dressed up as Jim Henson at a Muppet themed costume party, also a new experience). But I handled it well, I think, and he turned out to be a decent guy regardless. I learned something tremendously exciting today, and you're the first person I get to tell, so you should feel extra excited as well (even though you probably don't check your e-mail all that often and will probably wind up getting this days after everyone else has learned...shit, I'm good at being cynical and killing the mood...so it's probably best if, from now on, you just ignore everything in parentheses). I just found out that, for a small fee, I can get an extra four month work visa to go work in Ireland, effective the day my British work visa expires. So, in April, instead of going to travel for two months, I'm delaying that and moving to Dublin to live, work, play, and drink Guiness until my teeth are stained black and I start seeing leprauchans. After that, in August, then I do my traveling (I haven't ironed out the details yet...well, I had the details ironed out, but then this came and fluffed them up and ruined my nice crease and now I have to get the board and iron out and do it ALL OVER AGAIN!). Oh, and Jim Morrison's grave in Paris is overrated, while Oscar Wilde's just down the row definitely is not. Some of the best and most relaxed days I've had have been in graveyards on this trip, going to see Karl Marx's grave in London, and Morrison's, Baudelaire's, Samuel Beckett's, Ionesco's, Jean Paul Sartre's, and Oscar Wilde's graves split between two different cemetaries in Paris. Nice of famous people to get buried near each other. 8 Feb, 2002 Ylva, HST (or, Hunter S. Thompson to those who aren't as gaga over gonzo as I am) has a term that I was using for awhile, though I think it was before we really became close. The term is "bad craziness." Ironically enough, it's for things that are crazy and bad. The 1968 Democratic Convention in Chicago was an example of bad craziness...protestors showed up, the police decided they weren't going to have any of it, and started gassing and beating people in what was later judged to be a "police riot." One of the defining moments of the 60s, and definitely bad craziness. The reason I bring this up is that there's a very palpable aura of bad craziness in the air right now this Friday evening in Edinburgh. I don't get this feeling all that often, and it's rarely right (though I tend to remember it more when it's right), but...you know how they say that animals can sense when an earthquake is coming (maybe you don't, Sweden isn't exactly earthquake country, is it?). Well, I feel something like that in the air right now. Everyone seems a bit on edge, which is odd to me, since I'm in a pretty damn good mood. It's just... Okay, a group of construction workers got into a fight outside my window, swinging their helmets as weapons and basically trying to kick the shit out of each other. Thirty minutes later, I walk out the door of the hostel and see a group of girls (well, women, but not much older than me) come pouring out of the Guildford Arms...different people than the construction workers, and slugging away at each other. Ugly ugly situation. And this is just after four people being away from my office today sick, and me having a conversation with one of my new roommates...it started off casual, with him being a bit cranky, and ended with him telling me he was thinking of breaking up with his girlfriend of two and a half years. Because, you see, he met this Swedish girl... They're not bad. Well, there's Richard...who's just Richard. I can't really say much more about him. The other guy who sleeps above me I haven't actually really talked to much, since we worked completely different hours. But the Aussie couple are pretty nice, even if Chris seems like a ticking time bomb ready to dump Allison at any moment for a Swedish girl who seems interested in the Irish guys instead...I don't know...I have a feeling that the relationship is ready to go to shit any time, but it hasn't yet. 09 Feb 02 I walked up Arthur's Seat today...goddamn the wind is awful up there, but the view was beautiful, and I got to thinking. I was trying to define "best moments" that I've had since I've over here, and I arbitrarily broke them down into months, since I've been here three and a half months now, so I should have 3.5 great moments that I can isolate. So I have a list: First comes on November 5th. Paul's birthday, and also my first night at Quiz Night. This was the night that I decided I was going to stay in the hostel instead of moving out, where I first felt like I liked these people and they liked me enough for me to stay at the place. So, good night. Second, I don't have a date for, but it involved John and Sean's flatwarming party, two bottles of Jack Daniels, and me walking two ARgentinian girls back to their apartment at the univeristy campus. It's hard to describe this night, but it was just one of those nights where everything seemed to work out for the best. Third: not precisely a single night, but three nights in a row. Basically, it's your goodbye party. Three insane days and nights. Draining, occasionally sad, but I wouldn't trade them for anything. 'Nuff said. Fourth. Well, today. Going to the top of Arthur's Seat, above Edinburgh, Scotland. Idon' tknow what happened to that feeling of bad craziness, but it's gone. I wish days like this came more often, since all it took was me to climb a largish hill for it to come together. No really frustrating Richard stories, since he's on a different schedule as me. Chris and Allison, the Aussie couple who are also in this room, are kind of an interesting bunch...have been together for 2.5 years, really not cut out for hostel backpacking life (Chris complains about EVERYTHING...whinge whinge whinge whinge fucking whinge. The hostel is too dirty. There are too many "fucking cunts" around. No one who makes the free dinner can cook for shit. Etc. etc etc. Allison's great, but Chris is just a bit annoying. He also confided in me the other night how frustrated he was with Allison and how he's thinking of breaking up with her. I have no idea how I became a confidant, but apparently I am now. Sigh. They should be looking for a flat, but they're not. When more happens, I'll write about it. I think this will be a decent sequel to "Enter: The Snorer." At least, I hope so. 13 Feb I've decided that the beginning of any relationship, whether it be marriage, friendship, or becoming mortal enemies, any relationship of any passion or emotional commitment starts with a period where you just learn how to speak to each other, developing a private language of signs, words, and events to refer to that allow you to speak in a way that's not entirely totally superficial. So when you meet someone, most of the time it starts as two people saying, "I like this," and "I don't like this"...just stating preferences. It's only after awhile of relating to people that you can finally even get to the point where you can say "And this is WHY I like this," and have it mean anything than two people saying empty syllables to each other. It's only after a fair amount of time of educating people into your secret signals, your verbal and non-verbal shortcuts, your general idiosyncracies that real discourse becomes possible. That's what I like about the hostel: it speeds up that process by throwing you in with people all the time. While the lack of privacy is initially annoying, after awhile you're FORCED to open up to people and create a common tongue, making it so little things like our group saying "whinge whinge fucking whinge" became not just a quote from a movie or us being cruel to each other, but a real sign of affection, and things like "are you propositioning me?" become not a serious question but an affirmation of our shared language. I don't know why I just went into that, but it's something I'd been thinking about for awhile, and since I went through the process of introducing you to my private language of heroes, I just figured I should probably try to form my thoughts on the subject into something cogent rather than a vague thing I thought about while showering and walking to work. With that said, I must reiterate now that goodbye parties are going to be the death of me. Not only was Monday draining from winning Quiz Night and then staying up way too late drinking with Alissa and talking to her, Tuesday (last night) marks the one week countdown to Reuben leaving. So, in time honored hostel tradition, we started the goodbye party last night. I stumbled back to my room at 4:30am and got about as little sleep as it's possible to get while still sleeping in late for work. I expect the process will be repeated tonight, tomorrow, definitely Saturday night, and Sunday and Monday. Luckily, this means I have a promise that the Globe will be packed with our hostel people for my Quiz Night, really the first night that anyone from the hostel has come for the Quiz Nights that I do. Well, mostly I just think of the last half of my first Beatles CD, from your repeated playing of it, along with it playing in the Cave your last night, skipping around as it was about time for you to leave, finishing up with "Ticket to Ride" and "Yesterday." That's what I link most closely to you. That, and ABBA. But fuck, I never voluntarily listen to ABBA, while I will listen to the Beatles. I have the tendency to link people to songs quite closely. If you ask me any friend I've known for more than a couple weeks I can link them aurally quite distinctly. I mostly think of Annica when I hear Travis, and Nick when I hear "Sweet Home Chicago." Alissa gets Weezer, and Jeremy has no song. Sarah gets "Born Slippery" from Trainspotting, while I really have no song for Rhiannon. Odd, that. I usually have a song for anyone that I've talked to quickly. Sun, 17 Feb. So, last night was the cocktail party, which is why this message will be kind of short, because I'm a bit...well, not exactly hungover, but not exactly tip-top shape either. I went as Jim Henson (I started out as either Statler or Waldorf, the angry guys up in the balcony, but Georgie decided that, as the only guy who actually looks like Jim Henson, I should go as him instead...which didn't change my outfit at all, but did make me more of a god to all the rest of the people who went as a mere muppet. Well, not actually, but I got a lot of fake obeisance (word, taken from old French to obey, meaning an attitude of deference, homage, or respect. Very obscure), and a toast. I also wound up dancing on the table quite a bit, but that's another story. So, fairly insane night. We had an authentic Swedish chef (well, I don't know if she can cook, but she's Swedish, and that's the important part. The Muppet Swedish chef couldn't cook, after all), a couple fraggles, a cookie monster (Martin, shirtless and painted blue), and various and sundry others. And I drank too much and had a kind of rocky period around 3am where I thought I wasn't going to last the night. But I soldiered on and managed to make it until 10am, one of the last half-dozen people left. Even though 10am is a very decent time to go to sleep, and I was only one of a half a dozen people to make it that far, I still got harassed by Georgie the next day for 'crapping out early.' Of course, Georgie was still completely pissed at that point, so that might have something to do with it as well. Incidentally, I went back to the hostel after writing you, feeling kind of hungover, ate the Sunday night dinner (which was very good), and they pulled out the leftover alcohol, so I wound up doing shots of tequila and drinking three pints of pseudo-long island ice tea (gin, tequila, rum, triple sec, and vodka, with a splash of coke "for coloring"). I've missed having a serious night on the piss. And tonight is Quiz Night and Reuben's goodbye. So this should be pretty insane. I swear that these goodbye parties will be the death of me yet. And if they aren't, the welcome back parties will finish the job. Okay, the whole thing comes from baseball. So you have first, second, third base, and home base (or a home run). The problem is, nothing about this is all that concrete, aside from getting to first base being kissing and home base/run being actual sex. Second and third base are kind of up in the air, depending on the person. Second base is usually fondling and groping, while third base could be anything up to hand jobs or blow jobs, but it's kind of up in the air at which base the removal of items of clothing falls into. My personal theory on this is that the removal of shirts counts as second base, but bras definitely goes under third base. If pants are removed (That is, trousers), then it might be either second or third base, depending on the undergarmets and what is done with the hands once the trousers are off. Which is to say, there are no clear rules on this. It's all subjective. Say somethig happens between two people. We won't define what, but it's right in the middle, between first kiss and the old in-out-in-out (Which is an "A Clockwork Orange" euphemism for sex) You're more likely to say, "We made it to second base," if you feel that you're building towards something, just getting more comfortable with someone. But you might say, "We made it to third base" if you were trying for sex and didn't quite make it. A triple (when a baseball player gets a hit and makes it to third base in one go) is close to a homerun, but the runner didn't think they'd make it, while a double is usually a building point towards making it to home base. In fact, in baseball if you hear that a runner is in "scoring position" it means they're at least at second base. Second base is usually considered where it's possible for a runner to get all the way to home on the next move, and while of course, a person on third base has an even easier chance of getting towards home base, it's usually considered a person who's played it safe and not tried for it. Actually, I've made all this up right now. No one knows what it means, precisely, since it's not a clearly defined term in American culture. But I think my definition is pretty close to right. Of course, the entire thing kind has a tacit assumption that know the rules to baseball and all the lingo. Sat, 02 March 02 So, I nearly wrote you yesterday, but was too tired to do much of anything...and my topic was going to be about my roommate...you see, I was going to write something like, "I think Chris is cheating on his girlfriend." It's a pretty common story, you have to admit. People coming over to the hostel, leaving everything behind, eventually start seeing other people, forgetting those back at home. I've seen at least three long term relationships fall to pieces in my four months at the hostel. The difference is, Chris's girlfriend is Allison, and she's right here with him. So I was suspecting that he was cheating on her. And then he came up to me this morning as I was walking out the door to do errands (yes, you heard me, MORNING!) and said, "I told Allison today that I was cheating on her." So now I'm afraid to go back to the hostel to see what's going on...could be ugly. now...on to my email heading. It's a reference to a poem by Tennyson, "Ulysses," about an old Ulysses...it's also pretty appropriate for me now, as I tried to play drinking games last night (Well, and succeeded), and realized that my cutting back on my drinking has crippled me for drinking games, and my tolerance isn't what it once was. Of course, the fact that everyone was picking on me didn't help. At one point, just after I'd made some toast and cheese to eat, someone made a rule that we couldn't eat...so I had to take a healthy drink after every single bite I took. Then someone made a rule that you had to drink every time you said a word that started with S. And since I talked more than everyone else...you guessed it. Then, someone made a rule that every time someone made her drink, they'd have to take an equal number of drinks. But then I drew a rule card. and made the rule that everytime I had to drink, that same girl had to drink twice. Which allowed me to have kamikaze tactics. Every time i got a nominations card from that point on, I gave them all to myself. So if I gave myself 3 drinks, she had 6 coming to her (the rule made it so those six drinks didn't come back to me, either, since that would be an extremely drunken moebius strip of cirrhosis). After that, the night got ugly. Luckily, we got started early so I could go to bed and wake up in the morning fresh and invigorated...just in time to go out and buy a backpack...why the hell is it almost impossible to find a decent daypack these days...and by decent, I mean one with two shoulder straps...what's the fucking obsession with one shoulder strap...do people think it makes them look like a desperado with a belt full of bullets. Grrrr.... sorry, this is just something that irritated me. And I wound up buying one of those "trendy" one shoulder strap bags anyway. But it's not all that bad...and not much is going to go in it, anyways. I just need something smaller than my other back, for when I'm traveling. Fuck, I'm really babbling. That's the greatest problem with email...you can't see what the person on the otherside is interested in, and what their eyes just glaze over for...not that I'm particularly good at picking up on that in person, but it's better than email. I think my problem is the egotistical conviction that everyone not only wants, but NEEDS to hear what I have to say. That's why I want to be a writer--not for the money, god no, but for the power to MAKE THOSE FUCKERS LISTEN TO ME. Wed 06 March 02 I, too, wasn't really able to drag myself out of bed, but I have a bit of an excuse...Otto brought a liter of Wild Turkey 101 and we consumed the entire bottle last night, with Chris and Allison (the ex-couple from my room who are still kind of a couple and spend time with each other, even though he's fucking a Swedish girl on the floor of the cave every once in awhile. But I was shamefully drunk last night...I spent about a half an hour in the toilet in the middle...not throwing up, but just because the room was spinning so much that I didn't dare stand up...so even though I was a bit unnerved by the fact that the toilet may suddenly spin upside down and dump out it's contents on me, I didn't move for quite some time. Otto doesn't remember much of the evening, which is probably a good thing on her behalf. She did announce to the entire room as she was going off to bed that, "This is Stu. I want to fuck him and he won't let me." So it was an interesting night. I feel pretty good though, this morning...I got up at 10am! And just stayed in bed talking to Chris about his fucked up relationship with Allison and said Swedish girl...it's such an odd time at the hostel right now. Thu, 14 Mar Ylva, This has been one of the most draining weeks of my life. It's been rather good, to be honest, but it's been extremely emotionally and physically exhausting, and I'm glad it's over. Both Otto and Amanda left the country this morning, and while I'm sorry to see them go, my sleep-deprived alcohol soaked body gives a shudder of relief. We spent a day running around Edinburgh, seeing pretty much everything we could think of interest, then went to Quiz Night, which they won (I swear I didn't rig it)...and there was even enough for two teams from the hostel. After nearly two months of only two people at the most coming from the hostel for my Quiz Nights, it was nice to have two teams worth of people. The next morning, we left on a two day Loch Ness tour, up through Glen Affric, through the heart of the Highlands, and all around Inverness. That area of the country is spell-bindingly breathtakingly beautiful and makes the already attractive Edinburgh look a bit like a cesspool upon return. And Nick is back. So last night was ugly...lots of alcohol, an early morning tearful goodbye, and not nearly enough sleep. Occasionally I say, "I'll sleep when I'm dead," but if I continue at this speed I'll be able to get that sleep sooner than really necessary. So I'm going to take it easy for awhile. And, other than the opening night "Stu won't let me fuck him" outburst, it was pretty even sailing with Otto...well, not even for her, but more even for me. We had a late night conversation one night where we tried to iron out what our relationship was, and I tried, once again, to say politely but firmly, she and I will never be a couple, that I like her as a friend, and that's all. She tried to express that a relationship between her and I had basically become an obsession and how much it meant to her...and I tried to...well, fuck. It was uncomfortable and one of those conversations you go through where the actual words you go through are less important than the overall feel at the end of it. It felt like a final painful deathblow to her hope that we'd ever get together. God willing and the water don't rise (an odd phrase I love but can't rightly explain), that's all it will be, and she'll be able to move on and we'll be able to stay close and everything will turn out okay. I hope. Mon, 18 Mar 02 And, once again, as a total opposite to you, I've had an absolutely insane couple of days. Whether it's getting stoned out of my mind with Nick and Alissa, or going on the alcoholic bus tour from hell through the Highlands today (which was fun, except for Jessie, who got so drunk she threw up and doesn't remember the middle part of the journey), I've had a generally insane time. And I even start work tomorrow. Hope I don't get too messed up for St. Patrick's Day this evening... yeah, right. But I stayed up last night fairly late, and the night before I stayed up with Georgie and Jessie drinking and talking and occasionally disarming drunk violent Canadians with a prediliction for burying large knives in the table or dealing with Chris the Aussie roommate, who either is, or isn't, together with is girlfriend...well, they're sleeping in the same bed again, and neither of them looked like they were all that dressed this morning when I woke up, but I can't really be sure...but... shit, that sentence ran on a bit. I suppose me still being drunk from the three bottles of whisky from the highlands tour might have something to do with the disjointed nature of all this. Wed, 20 Mar, Nick left this afternoon. Alissa left around sunrise. Jessie left a couple of hours before that. Pretty directly, all the signs are indicating that it's time for me to ramble on myself. But to where? And when? Well, that's where it becomes complicated. Tues, 26 March, 02 Quiz Night last night. Of course. My second to last Quiz Night, as a matter of fact, and it went fairly well. I was pretty pissed by the end of it though, partially as a result of my having stupidly made a promise a couple nights before after a couple of drinks to have a shot of absinthe with Kelly and Melissa, two Kiwi girls who I've become sort of friends with (just sort of...I don't see them all that often...but you know how it goes at the hostel...there are those people you just occasionally see and hang out with and then they go away for awhile and you forget about them...people who you are close enough to call friends but probably won't keep in contact with once they leave. I only mention this because they're leaving tomorrow, and I probably won't keep in contact with them. But I did have absinthe. And I digress). So, pissed, and unemployed, I drank all night, like I used to. And then slept until 2pm. I live such a hard life sometimes. I don't know why I brought this up. I just occasionally go into random digressions relating the amount of drinking I've done. And they're mostly the same story. "X and Y and I were drinking last night. Then Y did something stupid, I did something even dumber, and we all eventually went to sleep later than we'd planned." But they seemed really interesting at the time. The City Art Centre just opened an exhibit on Star Wars, which I went to today with Melissa and this guy from North Carolina with one of those cool southern accents. I used to be a huge Star Wars geek, but I kind of calmed down as I grew over and saw the movies with a more cynical, critical movie-critic's eye. But something about them is still magical. The exhibit was great...the highlight being the original costumes for Boba Fett and Darth Vader...I always did like the villains more the heroes...and the heroes I liked were always more of the antihero type (Han Solo, Lando Calrissian). Anyway...I thought I was going for something more with that paragraph, but I guess I'm not. I probably could have gone on at great lenght as to what it's like to be a recovering geek, but I don't think I'll do that right now. Besides, I'm still probably technically a geek. And a dork. And a nerd. There are differences. The fact that I know the differences probably means I'm mostly a nerd, but my geek-like qualities are very well submerged, either. Tues, 26 March, 02 So I think Edinburgh has coordinated some effort to torment me. it seems like there's a concerted effort to remind me how great this city is. The weather is finally startiing to get nice, and the sky was blue and with nary a cloud today, showing how lovely the city could really be. Even better, the people have been lovely as well. I was walking to see a midnight screening of "The Royal Tenenbaums" the other night (a fantastic movie, if I do say so myself. And I do. So I did.), and I passed the Scottish rugby team on the streets, celebrating their loss to France earlier this day (and you know that the Scots really do celebrate, even their losses...I've never seen a country that takes shitty things happening to them as well as Scotland...which is probably a good thing, since the Scots have been fucked over by pretty much every country in every way over most of their history, and they've dealt with it so well...even thanked their enemies by inventing the sweet sweet heavenly gift of whisky and exporting it all over the world), and they were all decked out in kilts and matching outfits, being lead by a guy with a bagpipes...and then they spontaneously broke into song...I believe it was the Scottish national anthem, to which the bagpiper then started playing, and then everyone in the city street started to sing with them...and this is at 11pm on a Saturday night on Lothian Rd., so there were a lot of people...I walked near them for awhile, just feeling happy to be in Scotland. And then I had to run to make my movie on time. But it was just a great feeling. That was a really nasty trick to pull on someone, especially someone who reads their email in public and prone to yelps when surprised. That's an odd phrase: "Reads their email in public." It sounds slightly dirty, or maybe like a piece of performance art. Or sounds like a really dirty euphemism for something sexual. "So what did you two do last night," "I read her email in public until neither of us could take it anymore." What I didn't mention is the minor details. Like, Amanda is here right now...and that's been kind of good, though a bit disorienting. It's weird to have Amanda around and to reminisce about high school while also dealing with new friends. I just bid farewell to a Kiwi girl who I'd become rather close friends with in the last couple of weeks and, to be honest, rather fancied. Though, of course, I never actually did anything about it, since that's how I am. And besides, I have a kinda-girlfriend who I'm specifically flying to the south of France to see in a couple of weeks anyway, so getting interested in a Kiwi girl, no matter how much she looks like a more attractive version of Cate Blanchett, probably isn't the best thing for me. But really, when have I been all that interested in "what's good for me" anyway? I mean, I'm an insomniac caffeine addict alcoholic...most of my time seems to be spent actively seeking my only destruction in the name of entertainment and general stupidity. Anyway, I'm leaving Edinburgh in a couple of days...just a little over a week, actually...and I'm getting a bit depressed about this. The town is more beautiful in these past few days than it's ever been before, and it seems like the people have conspired to make me feel bad about leaving them. The people at the hostel have been great, and generally, I feel kind of odd voluntarily leaving a place where I feel like I fit in, that others have said that I fit in at, and that I feel more comfortable at than I can remember feeling in my life. It's just a shit kind of situation. But hopefully Ireland will be great, and I'll be able to enjoy myself there without really having to worry about all the people that I've left behind. To complicate matters even more, the Kiwi girl that left this evening is going back to New Zealand to apply for an Irish visa...so in a month or two she could be ready to fly back to this side of the world, and I could see her again...immediately after I see my Swedish girl in France. I swear, using all these different locations and just dropping them so freely seems rather odd. London. Paris. France. New Zealand. Ireland. These are places I'm used to hearing about in books or movies, not places that I'm about to go to or about to meet people from. Odd shit. I'm sorry if I'm going on about it a bit too much but it seems so completely surreal to me, especially coming from a nowhere place like Fargo, ND, to be talking about...well, you get the picture, and I'll stop doing what I'm doing, which is really a combination surprise and gloating. So how have you been? I assume by the time you get this you will be back in Fargo for EAster (I'd forgotten this was the high Holy week until I found out that my bank would be closed tomorrow for Good Friday. The hostel isn't the most religious of places, and I seem to be more religiously minded than most people...not that I'm religious, but just that I know more about it than most...which always throws people off when I start talking about religious stuff and then they ask me what denomination I am and I respond, "atheist." Most people at the hostel pay more attention to the fact that Sunday is daylight savings time over here than the fact that it's Easter. > Before we go on any further, I have a confession to > make. You may not > remember this, but we did have a conversation awhile > ago (if you want to be > specific, it was after you'd returned from Scotland, > while at Ang's mother's > house, while I was pretending that Hoffman wasn't in > the room because I owed > him two papers) in which I asserted that "I hate > Hemingway." > > And sadly, I did. And as I have this nasty habit of > being very stubborn, I > therefore avoided Hemingway, until a friend of mine > told me to read "A > Moveable Feast." Which I did. And, as much as I > hate doing this, I have to > admit that I was wrong. I don't hate Hemingway. In > fact, I rather like > him, now. Sigh. I hate that. So I've read "A > Moveable Feast," "The Sun > Also Rises," and "A Farewell to Arms." Any > suggestions for future books? > > Now, onto the email response thingy. > > >I'm really happy for you in all your travel > adventures > >and like I've said I'm more than a little jealous. > How > >was your trip to London? > > I leave for London in a week, so I'll let you know > then. > > >So let's hear the story about this Swedish kind-of > >girlfriend of yours...! > > Well, nothing all that surprising. We lived > together at the hostel for > awhile, and got to know and really like each other > over the course of a > couple months...which was interrupted only by the > minor detail that she had > to leave to go to university on the south coast of > France. So I'm going to > fly down there to see her for awhile...and then > jaunt up to Paris for > awhile. I have to say I'm a bit nervous, since, as > might be obvious from me > calling her my Swedish KINDA-girlfriend, I don't > particularly know what will > happen or even what our relationship is right now. > If we're going to meet > as friends in France, or...something else. > > Which of course meant that my relationships with > people that I might have > dated in Edinburgh were all fucked up and odd and > stuff...which, of course, > seems appropriate when you're reading Hemingway > (geez, I hope what I call > milk-carton effect didn't mess with my relationships > too much. The > milk-carton effect comes from a quote that I only > half remember: "The milk > always begins to taste like whatever it's sitting > next to in the fridge." > I.E., you start sounding and thinking like whatever > you're reading, to > lesser or greater effect. To read and enjoy three > books from the same > misogynist writer in a row can leave a psychic > aftertaste in your > metaphorical mouth, to say the least). Anyway... > > Actually, I don't know where that "anyway..." was > really leading...as we've > never really discussed women before in our life (in > THAT sense, at least), > this may seem rather odd for me to go into minor > sidetracks about my Swedish > kinda-girlfriend and start to get into that > Kiwi-girl-I-got-close-to-dating-but-didn't-but-might-have-another-chance-with-since-she's-also-coming-to-Ireland-in-a-couple-weeks...but > > hell, you managed to ramble impressively the last > email, now it's my turn. > > Actually, I'm done...got that out of my system. > Just couldn't talk to > anyone about that whole Kiwi thing, since most of my > friends at the hostel > are friends who know both Ylva and me (Ylva being > the Swede), and even the > impression that I was unfaithful to Ylva would have > them miffed. > > This is probably giving you the impression that my > life here at Prince's St. > Backpackers Hostel has the quality and maturity of > Junior High. Ugh. > > Anyway, as you felt as well, coming to Scotland has > been a wonderful > experience, and as you also pointed out, I have you > and Ang and Matt to > thank for that (well, you're not completely > responsible for it, just the > initial kick in the ass towards SCotland, so don't > start getting a swollen > head)...it's weird, living my life as feels, well, > as normal as I can, and > at the same time knowing I'm going through one of > those transformative > times. I mean, I feel more comfortable with myself > than I really have in > years, and I'm definitely about as happy as I can > remember (of course, > happiness is a quality that doesn't always get as > memorable as sadness, but > that should still speak for something). And I > really only think of this > when I have to stop to think of it. Like writing > emails for instance. > Which is one of those reasons that I like to write > emails...it forces me to > think and judge my recent experiences, rather than > just experiencing them. > But it's even more daunting when I think that > this...experience, for lack of > a better word, is only about half over. I still > have a long way to go, and > miles to go before I sleep (I still have a mild > dislike of Robert Frost, so > don't misinterpret that paraphrase to be affection > for that poetry. But > it's just a mild dislike...never quite got to the > real dislike or extreme > hate). > > Shit, I'm havering. Much worse than you ever did. > So I'll just close this > by saying I appreciated your interpretation of how > you wanted to be > considered: a lily pad or seaweed, rather than as a > tree...I think that's a > pretty good way of looking at it. > > Take care, > Chris "Stu" Stuart > > ps- To answer your ps, yes, I have had a fried Mars > Bar. Well, not a whole > one, though. I shared it with two friends, which > seemed the best way to do > it, as it was just way to rich and sweet for my > palate, which isn't a huge > fan of sweet foods (I tend more to the salty and > whisky-flavored, though I > like fried food as well...I'm in a good place for > that. And no, I don't > live healthily, I know that. 02 Apr. 02 So my last Quiz Night was last night. And my parents came to watch. And I did what I normally did, swore, drank, made fun of people, and generally had a great time. There were shitloads of people from the hostel there (three teams, actually), and nine teams total. And Carlo, who's back now, took his team to a victory. Not bad. And then people kept buying me drinks. So I got shamefully drunk (thankfully, after my parents left). It wasn't the two shots of absinthe, I don't think. And it wasn't the two shots of tequila. And I don't think it was the four beers. I'm even pretty sure it wasn't the yard glass. Actually, what I think it was was the two shots of absinthe, the two shots of tequila, the four beers, and the yard glass, all mixed together on top of my nervous stomach which was half empty anyway. I eventually wound up passed out on the couch in the toilet near reception. I remember this. But apparently when I tried to get up and go to bed I wound up going out the front door, and Georgie had to point me in the right direction. I don't remember that. As I said, I was more than a little bit tanked. Shitfaced. Ratarsed, even. I absolutely hate goodbyes. And the Edinburgh goodbye was particularly hard. As I don't really like goodbyes, I had a very relaxed goodbye party (well, not really, if you count the Quiz Night dustup as a goodbye party as well...which I suppose it was, since there were nearly twenty people from the hostel there ((all of whom seemed to want to buy me drinks)) and a lot of "Take care of yourself in the rest of Europe" type talk going around), going out to the Tron for a little bit, running into a couple people I knew from awhile ago and had forgotten about, and then took off for the airport early in the morning with about six hours of sleep (I think, as a comparasion, 6 hours of sleep was what I got total in the three days leading up to your leaving). So, not really much of a goodbye. But most of my good friends had left already (months ago, actually. I never really totally recovered and got new close friends after the breakup of K. Though occasionally I met people I spent a lot of time with, they just didn't rise quite to the level of closeness as before), and with my closest friend by far, Rhiannon, away for the evening in Glasgow, I just wound up with a sedate night. It's probably better that way, since London has been a bit chaotic, especially that first day. It took about three hours to figure out precisely what to do in the Underground. It's not that the Underground is terribly complicated to figure out...it isn't, actually. It's a beautiful system, easy to figure out what train you want to take, and easy to get pretty much anywhere in the city, if you're willing to wait. Unfortunately it's old, and hard to figure out sometimes if the train right in front of you is the train you want. Took me a bit. And the fact that my parents were shrieking their opinions of what was going on didn't make things any easier...especially since they were pretty much wrong. I have no idea precisely how I developed a sense of direction...both my parents are pretty much clueless. But clueless in a very opinionated sort of way. (Oh, and by the way. I didn't TAKE my parents to Quiznight. They just told me they were coming, after I'd taken them on a tour of the city and casually mentioned, "oh yeah, that bar over there is where I do Quiz Night." They came, whether I wanted them to or not.) But with that out of the way, I really do like London, even with all the added complexity thrown in by the death of the Queen-Mum. The procession of her corpse muddled up traffic on Friday, and her funeral on Tuesday is going to make it complicated to get around...well, not really complicated to get around, just complicated to get into some things that may or may not be closed in honor (or should that be, "honour") of her funeral. Grrr. Why did she have to die now? Couldn't she have hung on for a little while longer? I actually should probably stop traveling so much...it seems every time I want to go somewhere, something really catastrophic happens. I want to fly out of the U.S., planes demolish Central N.Y. I want to go to London, the Queen Mum dies. So what's going to go wrong in France when I get there in three days? So, I'm out of Edinburgh myself, now in London for the next two days before flying off to France...though I didn't make it out of Edinburgh in time...there was a massive goodbye party/Quiznight last Monday that Kelly may have mentioned to you. I hope that's all she did, as she took some pictures of me when I was not at my best. People just kept buying me drinks! It wasn't the two shots of absinthe, I don't think. And it wasn't the two shots of tequila. And I don't think it was the four beers. I'm even pretty sure it wasn't the yard glass. Actually, what I think it was was the two shots of absinthe, the two shots of tequila, the four beers, and the yard glass, all mixed together on top of my nervous stomach which was half empty anyway. So...well, I thought I remembered the entire evening, until I got up the next morning and was told about some of the things I did. But you're probably better off asking those who witnessed it. I'm still a bit hazy about the entire affair...partially because I want to REMAIN hazy. So I left. Partially in embarassment. And now here I am. Mon, 18 Feb, Reuben's last night Anyway, as for me, I'm in Cork now. The Dublin to Cork bus was bad. Basically, it was another bad travel day for Stu. First, I start out by losing my zippo somewhere at Ger's (well, somewhere the day before I left from Ger's at least), so I'm just giving up on this whole zippo thing for now, until I get back to the States. Even if Ger manages to unearth it at some point, I'll just put it into storage somewhere. Then I take the bus, stuck behind a guy with extremely bad body order the entire way. I get into Cork, which strikes me as it might be a decent town when it's not raining, though that hasn't been put to the test yet, hunt down a hostel, badly bruising my right thumb pushing the Trailer around. I've found a good hostel, seems like it will cost 55 a week if I decide to stay there. It's a bit out of the city centre, and it seems like it's slowly going bankrupt for lack of customers, but it might be a decent place to stay for awhile. Then I check my email. And find out that my dad is going in for surgery next week to have one of his kidneys removed, as it has a cancerous tumor in it. He doesn't sound too scared, like it will be routine surgery and that you don't need two kidneys to survive anyway. And the cancer hasn't spread and has probably been just sitting there hanging out for months or years. But still, it's cancer, and I'm worried about my dad. And I've spent the entire day hunting down a mobile phone, and I think the cheapest one I've found goes for 100 (with 70 phone credit), while a Nokia phone goes for 140 (with 80 phone credit). And that's a fuckload of money. So I'm trying to decide if I can afford to spend that on a phone I won't be able to use back in the States anyway. Ugh!