Wednesday, April 30, 2008


I wrote this on my birthday (4/30 - same as Willy Nelson and the day Hitler died) but didn't publish it because, well, it's dark as. But today I got a kick ass B-day package today from my American Chinese friends (thanks Kazanas/Miss B/wanderfulworlders/whatever other epithets you go by) which reminded me that I have been a poor blogger in my 26th year.

Today I am 26 years old. Time to plan my funeral.

Opening Hymn: SOS by ABBA
I think this would be a great song to open a funeral. I can just imagine everyone in unison singing, "When your gone, how can I even try to go on?"

Reading: Preferably something from the Bible or by Chuck Klosterman

Responsoral Psalm: Oh-La-La by the Faces
"I wish that I knew what I know now when I was younger."

2nd Reading: A Tony Hoagland poem, something like "What Narcissism Means to Me" or the Bible thing again.

Comunion Song: Don't Stop Believing by Journey
This song is perfect for every occasion involving me. Even if only in body. Plus everyone will sing along, and a few people will probably stand in the pews with uncontrolable Journey Rock Syndrome.

Closing Hymn: You Can't Always Get What You Want by the Rolling Stones
This definitely needs to be a live choir starting this out to remind us that we are in a Church. I also think this provides just the right ammount of irony and hope for a funeral.

Then, scatter my ashes in the woods. I've always liked the woods, and if where your ashes lay and where you haunt coincides, I'd like to haunt the woods. That'd be extra scary at night and extra pretty in the day.

And finally, I'd like David Schwimmer to be there but not allowed in. Hopefully he'd make a scene, and if I know him as well as I think I do, he definitely would. He would still be in the parking lot when everyone was leaving, and with hot, tear stained cheeks, endlessly singing the Friends theme song "I'll be there for you . . . etc." I'm not sure what I'll have to do in my future to make this happen, but I'm looking forward to finding out.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Mondag, a Good Day in Sweden

As a red, white, and blue blooded American I don't know much about other weirdo countries, like Sweden. My thoughts about Sweden involved Bjorn and Annika, two bikini models with blond hair and blue eyes, obviously - picking lingonberries, decorating a may pole, listening to ABBA, and then buying some disposable furniture at Ikea all the while trying to convince themselves that Ace of Base is about to make come back, and wondering why the model girls from other countries don't eat as many meatballs as they do. A familiar scene for any Yankee, I'm sure.

But last Monday (and by last I mean about a month ago) I celebrated Sweden day with my Swedish friend Emelie and found out that Sweden is much more than that. They also drink a pretty tasty pear cider.

On Monday, a rogue crew of immigrants and myself (also an immigrant) adorned the obnoxious royal blue and bright-ass yellow of the Swedish flag that made me feel like I was some kind of reject from a high school spirit parade, to celebrate Sweden Day. We traveled to Ikea - which is a ridiculous store, no explanation necessary if you've ever been there - ate 20 meatballs with lingonberry sauce, stopped by a Swedish pub (which is exactly like an English pub except for they serve more types of cider and have hockey on in the background), and then partook in Sweden's most sacred tradition of venerating ABBA by seeing the smash hit musical Mamma Mia.

My conclusion is that Sweden is awesome. Sure they're still holding on to that May Pole thing, and the kids don't go to school until they are 7-years-old but that's just because they are memorizing all the ABBA lyrics. And if you've seen Mamma Mia, you'll know that that is time well spent.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

If it Were 5 Degrees Warmer, There Still Would Be No Ice.

Dear reader,

Forgive my absence; I've been on vacation with my parents for the last 12 days. And amongst other things, this trip made me question what is the appropriate amount of time for a 25-year-old man to spend with his parents. Over/Under 12 day? You be the judge, let me take you though my week.

Saturday: My parents arrive in St. Albans
They seem happy, but are extremely jet lagged. They stay above a 600 year old pub, and seem to enjoy their hotel room as a novelty. The lack of seating and general "cozy" seems to amuse them at this point. When they later realize that all of the UK is more compact than the US, it becomes less amusing. This was the first day we muttered the mantra, "I wish it was 5 degrees warmer."

Sunday-Tuesday: Bath
Bath is a quaint town with Georgian architecture and is famous for the rumored healing powers of the hot springs that rise from the grounds. In my family, however, it's famous for it's lack of ice. The scarcity of ice in Europe is nothing that is kept hidden, and in a sly way Europeans are proud that they stomach their drinks at room temp. But my parents are not European, and over the last 12 days I spent more time thinking about ice, the melting time of ice, locations of ice, the transport of ice, storage of ice, and of course debate on how how the ice that we have should be used (the answer was usually whiskey and sometimes beer).

We stayed in a beautiful Georgian bed and breakfast although when we left my parents kept insisting that they didn't like B&B's, and I'm not exactly sure why. The best explanation I got had something to do with wanting the owners to give them wine and cheese. I always thought the food contract in a B&B was outlined fairly clearly by the second B but maybe not. Anyway, we stayed just off the "Royal Crescent" where tourists flocked to admire the famous limestone architecture. I'm sure people admired our room because it had the beer cans cooling on the historic window sill - "I wish it was 5 degrees warmer."

We caught all the Bath highlights including the ancient Roman bath house, two nights at a basement bar: (1) for stand up comedy and (2) where I somehow ended up on stage, the modern bath spa complete with 4 different scented steam rooms that look like Star Trek Stacies Fields and a rooftop pool fueled with natural hot spring water, and of course the coffee shop in the station that caused my mom to miss the train.

Tuesday-Friday: London Town
To prove to these Londoners that we were actually American, we went to see play called Jersey Boys about Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons. It kicked ass. And amidst the West End show, double decker bus tour, Princess Diana memorial, fish and chips, parliament, etc. I should have probably explained that London is actually an actual city where a few million people live and work, and not a branch of Club Med. I know that on vacation it's good to take your time, but my parents wanted to casually stroll the streets with a drink in hand. That's fine but it's the equivalent of driving down an interstate at 30mph - with a drink in hand. And it would have been nice if "it was 5 degrees warmer."

Friday-Monday: Ireland
I feel as if I've gone on for long enough, so here's the low down on Ireland: (1)They don't have ice either. (2)They do have plenty of cliffs which is great for me but not good for my father who is deathly afraid of heights. (3)They don't post very many road signs to tell you how far away you are from where you are going. I don't know why this is, stop asking. (4)Castles rock. (5)My parents are very interested in hotels that they saw on the internet, but are not staying in. (6)We wished it was 5 degrees warmer.

I love my parents, but thank God for brothers and sisters who make family get togethers a little less . . . potent.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Who you gonna call?

So I spent the lion's share of last week at a St. John's Ambulance first aid course, and I am now officially a first aider. After being trained on how to handle a plethora of injuries, I am possibly less helpful in a trauma situation than I would have been before. I now know what I am not supposed to do, and knowing what I can't do legally means that I probably won't help you, but I will call 999 so someone can (or 911 as I kept insisting in class).

The class was fun, and I'm grateful to know the official recovery position because it doubles as a comfortable position for TV watching, and I got to learn how to use a defibrillator which is pretty cool. I am less grateful to have learned that the face of "Annie" the resuscitation doll is actually molded off of a French girl who was found dead in a river.

I hope my British Red Cross certification translates to the US, but I'm guessing that it does not based on step six of the six steps to handling an emergency situation:

1. Assess the situation
2. Make the situation safe
3. Give emergency aid as needed
4. Get help
5. Report the injury and tidy any mess
6. - and I'm not joking - Have a cup of tea

This whole experience has made me realize that I like playing doctor and pretending to save lives, so I'm contemplating a career switch. I don't think I want to put forth the effort of becoming an actual doctor or surgeon, but I would like to wear scrubs all day, order a "ten blade" and say things like "We're going to have to open him up." So the career for me is Doctor Actor. If you have any open positions please let me know.

Clear . . .