Sunday, August 20, 2006

Missing out on teenage props

  • This is an actual conversation I had today while walking into the shop to buy beer.
    TEENAGE GIRL WHO HAD BEEN HIDING ROUND THE CORNER: "Would you go into the shop for me, please?"
    ME: "No."
    TGWHBHRTC: "Why?"
    ME: "Because."
    TGWHBHRTC: "Because why?"
    ME: "Because a lot of reasons, really. I can think of legal, sociological and philosophical reasons not to buy booze for you. Do you really want a lecture?"
    TGWHBHRTC: (After a long pause) "No."

  • The child bride and I Saturday took a pleasant bus ride up to Talbot Green. It's a little village about 7 miles north of where we live that would almost certainly have gone completely unnoticed were it not for the fact that there's a Borders book shop there. There is a Waterstones in Cardiff's city centre, which would have been easier and cheaper to get to (the bus to Talbot Green cost us £8.60), but it doesn't have a romance section. No romance section means no visits from the child bride -- she reads at least one romance a week. They are her guilty pleasure, I suppose. Whereas some people indulge in alcohol or cigarettes or silly languages, she is goofy for poorly written and predictable narrative*.
    Bookstores, I have found, depress me -- especially large ones. I found myself wandering past shelf after shelf after shelf of authors I have never heard of and two things always come to mind:
    1) I am really not all that bright, that there are so many authors I've never heard of and so many books I haven't read.
    2) It seems unlikely that I will ever see a book written by me on one of those shelves. There are just so many authors, so many books; the whole thing seems saturated and I can't see how I'll ever be able to get myself in the mix. And if I ever do, I can't see how I'll ever accomplish anything with it.
    Nonetheless, I am back at work, finally, on the sixth version of the novel I've been working on for several years. Even though I have lost faith in its ever being published, there is this part of me that feels the need to make it as good as possible.

  • At the Borders, I bought "Captain Alatriste," by Aruro Pérez-Reverte. Yeah, i had never heard of him, either. I bought the book because it has a Spanish bloke on the cover looking all swashbuckling. Yes, I am the sort of person who judges books on cover art; yes, I know this makes me a clod.
    Anyway, I burned through the book, finishing it early Sunday evening. When I finished reading it, I thought: "Gee, I'll bet that would make an OK film." And apparently I'm not the only one -- the film is set to be released later this year.

  • Having been here for only a month, I have only been able to develop two broad generalizations about the Welsh, but here they are:
    1) In general, women here have larger breasts. If you are a breast man, Cymru is the place to be.
    2) In general, teenagers and young people who speak Welsh are better behaved than their English-only speaking counterparts.

  • On Friday I suddenly realised that the NFL pre-season is under way. I got a real sense of hiraeth (homesickness) over the fact that I am not back in Minnesota to witness what will likely be one of the shittiest Vikings seasons in recent memory. Old and busted Brad Johnson is our starter, and the second-stringer looked so crappy in Saturday's game against the Steelers that people are pinning their hopes on the third-string. Oodashitty!
    I really wish I could be there with Eric and Gronert and Bryce to watch the games and revel in the overwhelming sucktitude. No, really, I actually do. It's going to be weird not following the NFL season.
    I will try to develop interest in Premiership (Portsmouth is ranked No. 3 in the league**, baby!), but it just won't be the same. For one thing, I don't have a TV, so I can't watch any of the matches.

    *Suddenly the fact that she thinks I'm a good writer doesn't mean quite as much.

    **After only one match

    Afe said...

    Lecture! Lecture! Lecture!

    Anonymous said...

    The translation of Alatriste isn't bad, but the prose is of better quality in the original Spanish.

    Curly said...

    Agree with Afe, a lecture would have been fantastic!

    Chris said...

    If you really want to see the Vikings this year get a TV and a sky subscription. You will then see 2 games on a sunday with them. On channel 5 (Free!) you get the late Sunday game and Monday Night Football.

    Also I believe Cardiff have one of the best college american football teams in the UK, and one of the worst senior teams if you want to see some football live. They are probably better than the Vikings :)

    I have heard because of the tv network setup in USA, you can actually watch more nfl games on a Sunday in the UK than you can in some parts of the USA.

    Of course no tv = no football. Don't worry about the tv license, no one else does and if the tv license people come to your door just don't let them in because legally they cannot enter your property.

    That way if you have been found out you can quickly buy a license before they come back in few days. Everybody does it...I think ;) and they never find anyone anyway.

    Keep up the cool blog posts!

    Anonymous said...

    Annwyl Chris,
    Chris is right. You can buy a tv and sometimes it takes the licence inspectors 6 months before they come to your house. They will always give you a couple of days to get it!

    You can always say it's in the mail mate!!!
    I read somwhere that Wales has the lowest % of tv license payers in the UK.
    But as a fan of the BBC maybe the guilty concience will be to much for you!!!

    Chris Cope said...

    Exactly, Carwyn. I have seriously debated buying a license even though I am sans TV.

    tuckmac said...

    Hate to say this... But whilst living in Canterbury, they did a pretty massive sting on us "Uni-folk" and several of our friends got "done" for the t.v. license.

    They don't HAVE to come in, by the way... They troll the streets with a microphone, and listen into houses that say they "don't" have a t.v. If they hear a t.v. you just get the bloody fine in the post.

    Don't play with the t.v.-nazis... They'll eventally get you. Even in Wales.

    Just my $.02

    Smiles, T

    mo** said...

    i can't believe you spared the girl!
    nuff said.

    Unknown said...

    oh my gods...tuckmac's story about listening in for TV's with mircophones is SCARY...sounds very Big Brother-ish...

    Gareth said...

    I'm sure if Wales do as well as they did last year in the Six Nations that they will be fitting substitutes for really crap American Football.

    Banksy said...

    I don't think they use microphones. They use hand held devices that can detect something receiving a TV signal.

    But even they are passé nowadays.

    If you buy or rent a TV you have to give your address and then if TV Licensing don't have a licence registered there they send you a letter.

    This happened to me within a fortnight of my buying a second TV, but only because TV Licensing's shitty database didn't recognise my correct address.

    Ah, you may think, I'll buy a TV and cunningly give a false address, that will foil them.

    But there's the rub, TV Licensing also assume that every property in the UK has a TV and so when no licence is registered to an address they bombard it with automated threatening letters and eventually visits from inspectors.

    This has resulted in people who genuinely do not have TVs being harassed on a regular basis by disbelieving inspectors who cannot conceinve of anyone surviving without a daily does of Countdown and Eastbloodyenders.

    Chris Cope said...

    We've already had the TV people come around once. We let him in to show that we don't have a TV and he said, "Good, I'll mark you off and you won't have to deal with us for another three years."

    "I doubt that's true," I said.

    "Well, you're almost certainly correct, but it's what we tell people, anyway."