Thursday, 27 December 2007

The Last Three Days: Loot!; Gallactica; I am Rumor

These are three tiny blog entries combined into one:


My Christmas Haul:

1 Greek-English Interlinear New Testament with Reference Glossry, USB3.
1 Greek-English Interlinear New Trstament, Personal Size, USB4
1 Pair of Cool Socks (Courtesy of Ken Worrall)
1 copy of The Empty Space by Peter Brook
1 copy of Backwards and Forwards by David Ball and Michael Langham
1 copy of St. Thomas Aquinas and St. Francis of Assisi, by G.K. Chesterton
1 copy of The Art & Craft of Playwriting, by Jeffery Hatcher

And I think that's it...but I'm not sure now, typing from the Library with all my presents back in my room.


This isn't really so much of an entry as just saying that I saw the new version of Battlestar: Gallactica since Christmas and WOW it's a little like crack. I can resist though. I have, after all, not seen an episode of Lost in ages and I used to be hooked on that like a British Person on Curry.

I am Rumor

Last night I went with some people to go and see I am Legend, at the Odeon, a classic chain of British cinemas. I have to say, I was a little weirded out by the Odeon. The theatre itself was really big, and there was an honest curtain in front of the screen, and even what looked like a playing space sticking out in front of the curtain. British people have the same problems we do at the movies - people talking, cell phones going off, etc. There are like 80 years of previews, though. And furthermore, once the previews were done, the curtain closed and we all just sat there in the semi-dark for a while. Someone, somewhere, was running around trying to make things right. Then the curtain opened again, and the movie started. If that was a conscious choice, it was a silly one, because come on, you're not hiding the fact that there's a screen there after we've just watched 30 minutes of commercials. The curtains also looked like they had barf on the bottom house right part, which was a little disconcerting.

For a horror movie about vampires, I was entertained, certainly. It was short, and the beginning was a little quiet, but you know what, he's the last freaking guy on the planet, I think the beginning is BOUND to be a little quiet. It didn't leave me particularly moved as a person, but I certainly would recommend it to other people. Short and sweet, it seemed like a good little movie, but I don't know if there was enough in it to make me see it again. Then again, it takes A LOT to make me watch any kind of suspense or horror movie twice.

But, I decided that if Will Smith was Legend because of what happened at the end of the movie, and people somewhere could at least say, "hey, remember that Griffin kid?" "...yeah..." "Whatever happened to him?"

Then, I suppose, that I am Rumor.

And now, Rumor is off to Glasgow, so you won't be hearing from me until the new year, and so, I bid you all Happy New Year, and you will be hearing about my magical adventures in Scootland when I return.

Wednesday, 26 December 2007

The Land of Cold and Quiet

I got into Bristol Airport late. Supa late. Something around 11:15 p.m. But that didn't matter, because my flight was at 7 that morning.

Bristol International is actually a very nice airport, it's small, remote, yet fully capable. It's not bustling, it's not busy, it's just a nice little airport. I found a spot and sat down. For a while I was hungry, but eventually I found out that they had one place open, and I bought myself some treats and an apple. Also I found a vending machine in the bathroom that sold "chewable toothbrushes," so I bought a few for the journey. They turned out to be a little bristly thing and a packet of mouthwash (essentially) that you break open by chewing it, and apparently it cleans your teeth. I paid money for it too.

A few hours in, a guy that I had been sitting nearby/seeing a lot walking back and forth started talking to me. He turned out to be from Portugal - he had tried many different jobs, like being a truck driver, or a mall worker, but in all the jobs he had spent a large amount of time doing whatever he was doing, so he could send the money back to his girlfriend and family in Portugal. There were apparently days when he just wouldn't sleep. And he had kidney stones, like right when I was talking to him, and they were too big to blow up with surgery, and he'd already passed one - I don't think that night though.

He looked something like 30 something. He was 27. But we stayed up and talked pretty much the whole night. Then he left for Portugal, and I for Geneva.

Easyjet has a nice little business, I have to say. Sort of cramped and a little wonky, but it works.

I got into Geneva where I met my friend Ian, who took me to my first completely foreign food store, where he recommended a Swiss cheese, Le Gruyere (spelling?), that would come back to haunt me. We hopped on a train and away we spend to Lesanne.

It was strange being in a country where nobody speaks your language (for once I get the real abroad experience). I found myself rooting through my rudimentary french to say much of anything to anyone, even though most people know English here anyway. Usually I was too timid to even say as much as "merci" and "bonjour," and I remember hiding behind Ian as we approached any kind of counter or place where I had to talk someone to get something - throughout the entire journey. But I survived with minimal French skills. And I got cheese, and in fact not only cheese, but crackers as well, with bits of bacon in it! And in Switzerland, everything has to be in several languages and so the label advertised that the crackers were "avec epature!" (I think), but also "mit Dinkel!" Dinkel, I'm assuming, is the German word for bacon.

Heh heh, dinkel.

Switzerland, as I learned not only by riding on the train but by cumulative experience, is an overpuffed place, I think. It's shrouded in mystery cause of all the mountains, and the clouds, and the neutrality, and you think of it as this magical chocolate/clock kingdom. It's really a lot like most places, though the buildings are a little old. The government and the culture do seem very strict though. I mean, you'd be like that too if you had one of the most stunning geographical defenses known to man on your side.

In many ways, just in the feel, I suppose Switzerland is the opposite of England. England is surrounded by water, naturally defended, and chose to try to go everywhere with the Empire. That's collapsed now, but there's still a sense of what the UK has to do on a world scale. Think BBC World News.

Switzerland is surrounded by mountains and it doesn't seem like it much cares what happens elsewhere. I don't know about Swiss politics at all, but the whole place seems catered towards either keeping the money/lives people already have, encouraging the tourism, or perfecting what already is. I didn't see a single homeless person in the whole country, and for a three day visit I did a lot of traveling. What I saw were picturesque views that were refined, everything had an extra polish to it. And for some reasons pictures of George Clooney either drinking coffee or wearing a watch were everywhere. That's what Switzerland is, a place that famous people endorse. It's an "in" thing.

Perhaps I'm being very bitter about Switzerland, it really is a nice place. And there is native culture - Ian cooked me a classic Swiss meal, consisting of a dish with potatoes and cheese, and then several kinds of sausages. It was tastey.

Switzerland is also amazingly quiet. There's no such thing as bustle. People move around but there's never any street arguments or conflict - sometimes streets are just empty.

Anyway, I'm telling you all abotu the general without ever having mentioned the specific. From Geneva we took a train to Lesanne, where we met up with another of Ian's friends, who was actually American. Her louder voice and intense accent (more intense than mine) starkly contrasted her entire environment. But she was awesome. We had kababs for lunch (NOTE: Sprite does not go well with kababs), and went shopping around Lesanne, which has so many hills it makes Exeter look flat. I got myself a pair of neeto fingerless gloves.

Sean Bye once made a comment on this blog saying that Switzerland made England look cheap. It does.

Lesanne was by far the busiest place we saw, and it seems like it's the shopping center of Switzerland. It is, as Ian also pointed out, the gay city of Switzerland, but compared to the other gay centers I knew of - San Francisco, Soho, New Hope - it lacked that a certain, oh, how shall I say this... pizaz. Moxy. Sparkle, one might go so far to say. What it had was a lot of quaintness and a decent financial backing behind everything in it.

From Lesanne we went to Brig, where Ian went to college, and where we'd be staying. You all know how the Swiss make people do military service once they turn 18? Well, apparently the military training in Switzerland goes far beyond the knives ("Now: many of you have never opened Chardonnay under fire..." - Robin Williams). According to our friend we met in Lesanne, the mountains around Brig were some of the mountains that contained - get this


According to her, the Swiss have hollowed out some of their mountains, made secret militray bases, and ... well I don't know what they'd do in there since they really have nothing to need a military for anyway, but they have BATCAVES! Not only that, there are apparently huge chunks of government owned property in the valleys, complete with houses and garages, etc., that have secret entrances to these bases. As we took a train past them, Ian pointed the houses out to me. Neither of us could tell if they were real or fake.

Ian also had a large sum of knowledge about the valley that Brig was in. He filled me in on a lot of it, but I've forgotten most of what he told me. We crossed the Rhone river though. That's historically significant, I think.

Some of the mountains, called The Teeth of Morning (I think...?), literally jut up and are really narrow, so whenever the sun rises and it tops them, it looks like they're literally biting up into the sun and stuff. It's cool.

Brig was a really nice little town. Same Swiss quaint/moneyed feeling going for it, and it was tiny, in a nice way. We stayed overnight in Brig visiting Ian's college friends.

From there, the next day, we went to Bern, which means "Bear" in German, or French, or Swiss... but it's the capital. In fact, this entry was almost called "DAAAAAAA Berns." There are supposed to be famous Berns, and by Berns I mean bears, in Bern that we almost saw, but we couldn't find them. I did, however, sit next to a stone statue of a bear, and I just concluded Aslan hadn't gotten to him yet.

Switzerland is COOOOOOLD, by the way. I ended up getting sick while I was in Bern. Ian was already sick for a bit.

Instead we went to the Bern Cathedral, which was great. We saw a choir get ready for a service - they went into the main part of the sanctuary and started doing weird vocal exercises together, like bending over and padding their backs, or testing the entirety of their range. And they were all wearing black, so it looked like they were doing some weird Polynesian ritual in a cathedral. And I was like, "heeheehee, I do those exercises when I act."

Bern is also the home of the big Swiss Clock. Like THE Swiss Clock, it's in Bern. I saw it.

From Bern we went to Zurich, where we stayed overnight. Ian and I were both sick, so we stayed in and slept/forced liquids while we watched the Futurama movie. The next day we went to the airport, because his flight was a few minutes after mine. Or SUPPOSED to be. Like any good Act Three, both our planes were delayed. Mine was so delayed because of fog around London (Fog? London? I never would've guessed) that I had to wait a good four hours. It was even moved to a different terminal, so I had to get everything I had, go out through security, find the new terminal, wait four hours, then go back through security. I ended up waiting right nearby a big sign of a bunch of celebrities wearing watches, and George Clooney wasn't far off. A lot of what I think about Switzerland I concluded waiting in that airport.

I finally made it back to London, Underground'd it up all the way from Heathrow to Paddington Station all by myself with my handy dandy Oyster card, and I just barely missed the train I wanted to take back to Exeter, leaving me with only the overnight train that left two hours after when I got there, and arrived in Exeter at 1:45 am. So, I hung around Paddington for a while, and I needed food, so I looked into my bag and huzzah! There was my Le Gruyere cheese and my crackers "mit Dinkel" so I wripped open the cheese and crackers. The cheese had been...sitting there, though. I had to break off the top part cause it just didn't look right, but after that I just kept breaking of parts to put on my crackers. But I had this top rind of cheese that I really didn't want to eat. So I looked around for a trash can.

There are no trash cans anywhere in London Paddington. I even paid 20p to go to the bathroom to find a trash can, but in the advent of hand dryers, there's been no need for any. I seriously considered flushing the cheese down the toilet, and if it weren't so an inherently absurd idea with potential reprecussions just for being silly (i.e. the cheese clogs the toilet, or ruins the water supply and no one knows why, until they finally dig in and remove this one bit of cheese and exclaim, "what idiot would flush CHEESE down the toilet!"), if it hadn't been for all that, I wouldn've done it. But I didn't. So there I was, wandering around Paddington Station like a maniac with a lump of bad cheese in my jacket pocket, because I didn't have anywhere else to put it. I ended up going to the Sainsbury's Local in the station and buying apple juice just to get a bag, which I then put the cheese in.

When the train finally DID get there, I felt like I was melting just getting into it. There's no heating, of course, anywhere in Paddington Station, and all the shops were closed, and my seat while I waited was metal, so literally sitting down I could feel things in my body work again. These two people got on that, forgive me for judging, just seemed a little awry. After the train started, it turned out that they kept dodging the ticket conductor. Finally, when they fell asleep, he came up to them and confronted them about it. He was very matter of fact about it, but really, what could he do? Throw them off the train? This wasn't Indiana Jones. He threatened them with letting them off at Exeter and not allowing them to get back on until they'd paid.

When I did get off the train at Exeter St. Davids, the air was its usual moist and cold, but it was nowhere near as cold as Switzerland. It actually was balmy. And, while nightime, it was just noisy enough, with the wind in the trees and the branches, to make me feel at home again, as at home as I can feel in England.

Tuesday, 25 December 2007

The Yellow Town of Bath

Most people will tell you that Bath is a white town - these people include Jane Austen. And not racially speaking, literally, the place is (apparently) white because the rock used to build all of the buildings is a chalky white. Bath is famous for being a little too bright to walk around in during a sunny day.

In reality, these rocks are more of a yellow. It's like how you might be able to call manilla white, or it maybe looks like, if the rocks were white at one point, a herd of smokers has run by all of them and gotten nicotene stains on the whole town.

I don't mean to defame Bath. It's a wonderful place. More so than Exeter, I've come to believe. There's more to do in Bath than Exeter, there's more history in Bath, there's a quality theater (The Theatre Royal) in Bath.

Bath also boasts a thriving marketplace, a cool abbey (big enough to be a cathedral, but not the official home of a bishop, and so not one), a Christmas market (which I suspect has been taken down), a square in front of the abbey with tumblers, jesters, street amusers, etc., a river, a series of streets that are impossible to drive in, and enough cool restaurants to really make a night worth while.

The epitome of England, so far, actually, is walking through the central marketplace of Bath and hearing chimes humming some strange tune across the crowd from somewhere near the abbey courtyard. I don't even know what the instrument is called, but I'd call it chimes from my experience in bell choir.

Sadly I haven't figured out how to do that cool thing Erin can do where she highlights the word "this" and it's the link to whatever it is. I'd be cool if I could do that.

But they sound like these instruments, except they're laid out on a board and you play them with an actual mallet.

In any case, THAT experience is England to me. So far.

Jane Austen spent a lot of time here, apparently, and there's a tea shop she used to frequent that I still haven't gone to. Then there are, of course, the Roman Baths, because the hot springs are still running. The mineral water is supposed to have healing properties, but no one knows what. For twenty pounds you can get in a pool of it. For less you can have a cup (un bathed in) to drink. I've tried neither.

What, pray tell, have I been doing in Bath then?

I've been at an internship at the Bath Theatre Royal, mentioned above, helping out their education department's youth theater organization, the Young Person's Theatre (YPT), as they were putting together a production of His Dark Materials with, get this, ~150 kids ages 12-19. It reminded me a lot of McCarter Theatre in Princeton, where I was in a bunch of the education department's programs - I consider it my stomping grounds now, although it's a little pretentious of me.

My internship consisted of hanging out with Katharine Lazare, the producer, and helping her out for half the day. Then the other half of the day I went with her compatriot Lee Lyford, the director of His Dark Materials, to help out the show. My first job, for instance, was to run around Bath and find cardboard boxes that a fellow intern, Kiki Stevens - a random American who goes to Hampshire that I met there - could help make into do-fer platforms for the kids to act on.

There are times like this when being in an internship is not unlike a sidequest in a collosal RPG like Final Fantasy VII. There's a lot of running around a charming but well-animated neighborhood, talking to some people who say random things over and over again, and others who can help you. Acquiring Key Items that you can only use in the quest, like "Cardboard Boxes" or "Tinfoil." Then bringing them back and using them to get sweet sweet XP.

But, back to real life. YPT was really a great experience, because it gave me a chance to get to see how one would take more complex dramatic theory stuff, like stuff from Kenyon, and use it effectively enough that an untrained amateur could understand it. Now, these kids had a serious will to be there, in fact, that's one thing that stood out most about it to me, was the willingness of all the kids to do their part, and their director's upmost respect for them, which they were completely conscious of.

I even got the chance to know a few of the kids I saw often, which was tough, because interns aren't supposed to talk, so surely most of them thought I was probably "that weird American guy who keeps watching us." Caitlyn, one of the girls playing Lyra, Joe, the guy playing Pantalaimon (sp?), and John, the guy playing Will, were some of the people I talked to regularly. I even got the chance to be dorky enough to show Joe and Caitlyn where "alethiometer" comes from, not just the Greek word for "truth," alethes, but what alethes means:

a - lethes
a: not (apolitical, amoral, etc.)
lethes: Lethe, the river of oblivion.
a - lethes = the Anti-Oblivion = Truth

I don't know many Greek pearls of wisdom, but that's one of them. Opens up huge new verandas of understanding not just within the context of His Dark Materials, but Socrates and the Bible as well.

Speaking of which, I got not one, but TWO intralinear Greek-English New Testaments for Christmas, one of which has a big old honking index in the back of Biblical Greek and words' definitions. Mmmm...

From Bath, on Thursday, I went straight to Bristol Airport, where I waited overnight for my plane to Geneva, but that is another story for another entry.


One final reason I love Bath:
Down the road from the Theatre Royal, literally the next block over, is a pub. And guess what that pub's name is?

The Griffin

Monday, 24 December 2007

Christmas Miracle: STAT!

Hey Everybody-

I have a Grinch to deal with. A Humbug, a Scrooge, who is roaming through my life and ruining my attempts to type meaningful things for all of you about my adventures and Christmas and other great stuff.

This no-goodnick's name is: The ResLife Network.

Yes, despite his obedience and efficiency earlier in the year, this loving network that so graciously connected my room to the Intarweb has decided to randomly shut down during break. Now I can only come to the library to type, and the library is only open a very limited set of hours. And until now, I could only spend a few hours here or there, because I had to rush off to my internship in Bath, which I'll tell you all about when I have the time!

So basically, the next few blog entries I'm going to be playing catch up, but I don't even know when that's going to happen because I'm heading off to Glasgow after Christmas, and then seeing the RSC do a bunch of the Histories. So you may not hear from me for a while.

But, have a Merry Christmas, and I mean this, my readers. Because...

"Maybe this Christmas
Will mean something more
Maybe this year
Love will appear
Deeper than ever before.

And maybe forgiveness
Will ask us to call
Someone we love
Someone we've lost
For reasons we can't quite recall.

Maybe this Christmas.

Maybe there'll be an open door.
Maybe the star that shone before
Will shine once more...

And maybe this Christmas
Will find us at last
In Heaven, at peace.
Pray for release,
For the love we've been shown in the past.

Maybe this Christmas..."

That's a song, oddly enough called Maybe This Christmas. It's on the first of a collection of CDs called, gasp, Maybe This Christmas that takes Christmas songs, mainly carols but others, and gets some big names to do covers of them. Then the profits of the CDs go to charity. They're quality: God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen as sung by the Bare Naked Ladies and Sarah Mclachlan rocks my world.

Have I mentioned that before? I don't know.


-Your Lovable, Plush and Wayfaring Companion
Griffin Andrew Horn

Monday, 10 December 2007

Swing Low

I was in the shower today, singing Swing Low, Sweet Chariot, which despite Mr. Gardner's horrifying game of Call of Cthulu all those years ago has retained its peaceful vibes, and I had a sudden realization. I realized something that I missed in England, something that England has a serious dearth of:

Black People.

And this must be rectified post-haste! And not only black people, but black culture as well - I missed flipping through PBS and hearing stuff about Black History Month, or encountering Lift Every Voice and Sing as a hymn in Church - in fact, I don't think the idea of a 'spiritual' means much over here.

Now, I write this as a complete honkey, I just wanted to make that clear. More so, a complete honkey, who was raised in Bucks County, a county so filled with honkeys that if you squeezed it, it'd make a noise. And even more so, a honkey who goes to Kenyon College, which has a similar problem.

BUT, there are still, like, black people that you encounter, both at Kenyon and in Bucks County, even if it's not in the largest numbers. Here, there are black people, yes, but it's not nearly as significant. England never had the race riots or civil liberties pushes to the extremes that America did, at least to my knowledge (perhaps for the better, maybe they solved the problem earlier so it didn't escalate to that point...). Talking about racism or race issues over here has a completely different context than in America. The idea of a British person talking about The Color Purple or To Kill a Mockingbird or Ragtime would be similar to how I'd imagine a British person talking about The Wizard of Oz would be: out of place, unable to grasp the piece in its entirety. Of course, if that were actually true, that means I could never talk about Shakespeare in his entirety (can anyone?), so perhaps this is just a bias of mine. Still...

So maybe, and this is very ethnocentric of me, but maybe what I miss is, specifically, African-Americans. Maybe I miss that shared and resolved cultural heritage, or - this makes me sound like bad person, I think - maybe what I miss is, even more specifically, the idea of African-Americans: the cultural trappings, the spirituals, jazz, the being able to laugh at myself by calling myself a honkey cause I'm a skinny white boy from the suburbs. I miss not being able to claim I can't play basket ball because of my race and have people understand what I'm saying. I'm not sure if I called myself a honkey over here that anyone would know what I was talking about. This means I should test that out...

So I just wanted everyone in America to know that I'm pouring one out for my homies over here in the G.B. (and, if you can, read that in as white a voice as possible. Come on, shouldn't be hard for my regular readers...)

Does this make me racist? I hope not.

Sunday, 9 December 2007

Nightly Wanderings

Another dream:

I was working at a factory on the Exeter Streatham Campus, which is made up entirely of hills, and it was on one of the higher ones. This factory was nuclear powered, and made money - literally it printed it.

I was in the main hall, in line to get to work, and I, the dreamer, was telling myself, "please don't let it blow up, please don't let it blow up, please don't let it blow up," because I was so afraid of there being a nuclear meltdown.

An announcement came on the loudspeaker, and it said something about there being a plutonium leak, and that we should all head outside in an orderly fashion, and that this was not a drill. So, we all walked outside and down some of the hill.

When we had walked far enough, I said, "alright, now's when we start running, right?" The people around me didn't want to run though, they didn't know why. I told them it was in case the factory exploded. They wanted to walk -

Then the factory exploded, there was, literally, a nuclear explosion, mushroom cloud and everything. The people ducked behind one of the hills and I did too, and I remember trying to time holding my breath for when the shockwave passed, because breathing in radioactive dust might kill me.

I walked around with my shirt over my mouth for a few seconds, and flying through the air were bits of money from the factory. One touched my finger, and I wondered if I was going to die.

And this dream became an event for every other dream I had that night. A related dream, later in the evening, was that I was back in my house. My mom was doing something mundane, like watching CSI or something, and I went outside into the woods behind my house. They were dead and covered with ash, and I saw a rabbit that looked really tired. Then one of my cats - Peach - came up and started batting it like she was going to kill it, and I picked her up, saying "no, Peach, it's just been shook out of hibernation, leave it alone." Or something like that. I started walking back to my house and I could see my neighbor's yard from the woods.

Now my neighbor lives on a piece of what was my family's property, that we subdivided to pay for college. His yard was all green and fine - also, by normal geography, it shouldn't have been where it was, because it was on the other side of my woods from where I was. For some reason, I was afraid that my neighbor would buy my family's house, and then later I could come back and buy his house, and then when he died I could buy our original house from his estate and finally restore the property to its rightful ownership. But I was afraid that things would work out like that, with him buying my family's house.

Those were just two parts of my dreams, but I woke up today feeling like a completely different person from the day before - the nuclear explosion, which literally became an event in the timeline of my dreams, I think kind of changed my perceptions on things. I don't know.

Some things that have happened in my life that could lead to this:

- I might've just decided on Copenhagen by Michael Frayn for my thesis. We're not approved but it's up there, and that's all about nuclear war, shattering perceptions, and the like.
- Clay von Carlowitz and I were talking about Fat Man and Little Boy, in which a scientist stops a nuclear explosion but gets serious radiation poisoning and dies.
- Winter Break just started here, meaning a serious perception shift from work-time to free-time, and also virtually everyone is gone, and I'll have to spend Christmas here with a few leftoever people
- I'm looking down the barrel of college, with its ending, and trying to plan for life after college - a large upheaval in my thought up until now.

I told my mom about this dream and we talked about it for a while. It was great. If anyone has any idea what it could mean, drop a line!

Friday, 7 December 2007

"Insubstantial Pageants"

Hey Everybody-

I just wanted you to know that I started a blog-notebook about the RPGs that I run, called "Insubstantial Pageants." It's more for me and the players, but you're more than welcome to pop on over and check out what I've been STing, GMing, or Narrating recently. The link is:

Or, of course, it's listed on my profile on blogger.

But if you just want to hear more about adventures in England, the REAL England - if such a thing exists - keep checking back here.

Thursday, 6 December 2007

Murdering a Curry

The Imperial has a curry on Thursdays, a curry meal including that cool Indian bread stuff, crunchy bready stuff, rice, and of course, curry. You can tell I know all the technical names.

I got Hot Chicken Tikka Masala, which was REALLY hot, and the bartender thought I was a tourist. First of all, I looked it, cause I pronounced Masala as "mass-la" and I had an American accent. He asked me if I knew where the silverware was (The Imperial insists on making you get your own silverware, which they have at tables throughout the pub, along with ketchup, salt, etc.). I replied that, oh yeah, I knew where the silverware was. OH yeah.

The curry came quickly, which says to me it was frozen and heated up, but hey, it's curry. MMMMMMMMMMMMM. Not my first curry considering that a) Karl Stevens had cooked some for me at Tuesday Dinner (I MISS KENYON), and b) I'd been to curry night before.

The one difference now was that the curry menu came with a drink, and it suggested a certain kind of beer. And I had one, and the menu was, in fact, right: curry goes really well with beer. I've decided that when I'm eating curry might be the only time I really ever drink beer.

I also went to a shop that greatly resembled Love Saves the Day today (for all you New Hopians). It sold penis pasta too.

Also, I was directing Lysistrata and I realized that there was a moment in it that was exactly like an improv game that I'd played before, "Late To Work," where a boss questions someone who's late, while some co-workers who stand behind him improvise a wild story, and the late person has to tell the story to the boss.

So that's my contribution to England. I showed four people, and my lecturer, how to play "Late To Work." I guess I can go home satisfied now.

Actually that's not the only thing: I brought White Wolf, from what I can tell. I just ran a game of Hunter: The Reckoning based on this one time that I went outside and had a genuine Hunter-esque moment: a garter snake was in the middle of swallowing a toad, and the toad was still alive and sticking out of its mouth and screaming. The snake froze up cause I was near, and, without anything else to do, I looked around and picked up a nearby rusty shovel.

I slammed all around the snake to scare it (this is where my life breaks from Hunter) and finally the snake opened its mouth and let the toad go. It was pretty freaked out, so I built a little wall for it and got it some water and kept an eye on it. I realized that I was freaking it out even more, so I left.

When I came back, the garter snake was there, and there was a lump in its stomach.

So that's basically what I did with Hunter, except instead of a snake it was a were-shark, and instead of a toad it was a pregnant woman. And she was dragged into the sea cause the Hunters couldn't stop the were-shark (but to be honest, other were-sharks can't even stop were-sharks most of the time).

And, funny story, a friend of mine and I were walking through Exeter and stopped by the German Christmas Market. Christmas Markets, which are always German, need to happen in America. Germany exports these portable Christmas Markets where they sell candy and sausages and alcohol and presenty-things, but mainly sausages and sauerkraut (always good in my book). My friend, who takes German pretty extensively, had made friends with one of the workers, and so he was looking for him. He wandered up to another of the vendors and started speaking to him in German, asking where his friend was.

After about half a minute, the guy responded, "I don't speak German. I'm Ukrainian."

And it was amazing.

Sunday, 2 December 2007

Katty's (Kaddy? Caddy? Catty?) Owner

On the train to Bath on Saturday, I sat down across the aisle from the most uncommonly amazing sight I'd seen in a while. A middle aged woman with a dog on the train. It was little, but not a tiny yappy dog, just a mutt of some kind or another, but a pretty one.

Eventually I mentioned to her that her dog was very polite, and nice-looking. We got to talking, and she was going to visit her daughter in Bristol, who lived in a house-boat. Her daughter worked in the Bath/Bristol area and commuted via her house boat. This daughter was actually in the process of selling her house boat, so we talked about the crazy times my parents had subdividing their property - how over ten years the records in the Bucks County Archives had met a disgruntled employee who destroyed the records. Oh the absurdities of selling a house. This lady and her daughter were going to meet up and then she was also going to see her other daughter, who lived in Wales but was meeting them in Bristol, and they were all going to have a grand old time together.

She and I talked about how dogs have a special place in a family, a special connection with humans. Dogs and cats. She said that they understand so much, and wished that there were humans who understood as much as they did. Then she said she thought there were some, but there were enough humans who didn't to ruin it for everyone else. Two years before she had lost her husband, who was really close to both of the cats they had, both of which were blue persians. When her husband died, all of the animals would keep checking around for him, and the cats died a month later, having lost the will to live. The dog even continued to check for him.

The dog's name was Katty, by the way. And she was 16, though she didn't look it. She lay there the whole time completely silent, looking around but politely keeping her peace. The lady said that Katy was dreading going on the house boat because she hated losing her balance all the time.

It turned out that this lady was born and raised in Greece, on one of the islands, and that even moving to England had been a shock to her, simply in how desensitized everyone was. We talked about that for a while, because I consider myself desensitized and I kind of don't want to be. We talked about Greece for a while and me wanting to go there and where, off the beaten trail, was good to visit.

Then we talked about how her daughter was a social worker who worked, for a while, with drug addicts, but moved on to Child Services. Not a job this lady could do, she said, taking people's babies away. Though she did think, as a mother, she'd be good at it, because she could tell exactly what was a good mother and what wasn't. Her daughter hadn't had children yet, so she thought it must be different for her. We talked about how stressful it must be, how much of a horrifying job it is.

I think we probably talked about a lot I can't remember right now, but may remember later. The thing is then this guy came and sat down in the seat next to her and the conversation stopped. The guy had "LOVE" and "HATE" written on his fingers, like from Lost. I asked, "do you like lost? You've got 'love' and 'hate' written on your fingers."

And he said, "best not to think about it," or something like that.

And the conversation stopped dead. Once we reached Bristol and everyone got off the train - us to change for another train to Bath - I quickly asked her if I could pet Katty. She was happy to let me, and I did. Katty was an old dog, and not particularly pettable, but she was at least polite enough to let me do it. And I introduced myself, and this lady had some complex name that I can't remember. And then we said goodbye.

Best single serving friend ever. You ever get that sense that certain people you meet must actually be angels, and they're just pretending to be human? That's the sense I got from her.