9.30.2001

As I sit here writing this, I'm listening to Oani and Laura talking corporate taxes (don't ask). I'm back here on Genesee St. and I gotta say I'm glad to be home! We got in around 7:10PM on Saturday night, having left Gatwick Airport at 11AM. God I hate airplanes. You can't really see where you're going and you can't do anything. I just listened to the CD's I bought and tried to sleep. I wanted to leap for joy on landing at Sea-Tac. I took a taxi home and went to bed around 12 only to be awakened by Paula, Neil, Scott and Willow. Paula sat on me as I laid in bed and asked me to join them in the hot tub. Since I was now fully awake...I went.
So, I'm back from the UK. What did I lean? Not much. London is so big, I never got a feel for the place. We didn't have anyone to really show us around to all the 'hip' spots, so if there's a next time, I'll try to plan it better. I'm glad I went, however. In spite of all that has happened in the last couple of weeks, I was able to appreciate my homeland more, having left it temporarily. I also got reminded of the larger world, the one beyond my circle of friends and family. I read the UK papers, watched a little TV and actually was surprised by several little things along the way. I think the Brits are fascinated by the US in general but not by actual US citizens. They seem to think they know all there is to know. Hardly anyone seemed curious about me or Stu beyond what is considered polite, yet almost every news outlet seemed focused on the Crisis and what moves the government here might make next.
I felt just as much the outsider there as I do here sometimes. But for different reasons.
Maybe next time I go abroad, I'll go somewhere English isn't spoken and see how well I do.
Anyway, I'd like to extend a heartfelt "THANK YOU" to Trish and Robert for putting us up (and putting up with us), Melanie for taking us out Friday night. Stu, for being Stu and again Mitch and Jacqueline for their marvelous hospitality. I hope to see all of you soon!

Next? I gotta take care of some paperwork and get ready for Doe Bay this weekend. Slap my resume together and start looking for work-Dammit! Pictures will be up soon.

9.27.2001

We're in the home strech of our visit. Only two more days here before we hop that long flight home. On Tuesday Stu and I met up with a woman he used to work with and she took us to some bars in Soho. I was amazed at how many people were out-it was like a weekend night in Seattle. We started out at Bar Soho, a kind of yuppie joint, then moved to a rock club whose name escapes me. (Imagine a cleaner version of The Comet) and finally we hit the O Bar before running to catch the last trains back to Trish's.
Yesterday, we went to Camden Town and spent several hours walking around taking in the sights. We had some pretty good Thai food at a place on Chalk Farm Road and I bought 10 CD's at various shops. We returned to Putney and Robert and Trish took us out to a local pub and then to The Fez Club. There were a lot of kids there but I was so hammered I didn't really care. We met a couple of nice young ladies from Liverpool who are starting college at Roehampton.
I had one too many cigarettes and felt sick, so I quit drinking. Stu hit the dance floor with Robert and Trish, which is the only thing that saved us from MAJOR hangovers. I feel pretty good as I write this however.
We're scheduled to go out and cane it again tonight and tomorrow night. Hopefully, I can work in meeting a old co-worker for lunch and getting to Piccadilly Circus before we leave.

9.24.2001

Back in London Again!!
Mitch and Jacqueline made Rosti (pork cutlets with a creamy mushroom sauce) for us last night and we were so full and happy we passed out at 9PM! This morning we went downtown for one last look and to take some pictures before we left. I bought 60CHF worth of chocolates from Spruengli! (And no-I ain't sharing!)
Turned out it was Jacqueline's birthday today! Unfortunately, I didn't find out in time to get her anything. I feel really bad, 'cause she was such an excellent helpful host! M&J have two young children and they're leaving for vacation tomorrow-yet they made us feel right at home...I want to thank them here for being so nice to us!! I hope we can return the favor soon.
Stu and I took the train to the airport and the check-in was trouble-free. We had to give our disposable razors to the woman at the counter, they were on a list of banned items. Also, at the restaurant in the terminal, we weren't allowed metal silverware, which is good 'cause that weak-ass curry they served me might've gotten someone stabbed in the forehead!!
The plane was crowded at all and we took the tube back to Trish and Robert's place. They'd just gotten in from Geneva 5 minutes before us!
We spent the last couple of hours catching up. Stu and I were happy to see our bags made it here...apparently they arrived an hour or so after we left for Switzerland...grrr. Now I can burn those fucking bikini briefs I bought (on accident!!) in Zurich.
I think we're going back to the Tate tomorrow and we're probably going to Soho and maybe Camden. One of the guys from the London office of my former employers said he'd like to hook up and Stu has some people he's going to call.
Let the real assault on our credit cards and bank accounts begin!!

9.22.2001

Friday night, Yr Intrepid Adventurers went to a club called Moods. We got there kinda early, so we sat through a French combo doing a beatnik meets Edith Piaf thing (which bored Stuart almost to tears) before the DJ came on at midnight.
Someone gave us a flyer, telling us that we'd be listening to funk and it was funky...but the music was mostly Acid Jazz and 60's Italian movie soundtracks. There was a groovy cover of "Hit the Road, Jack" in German and Tom Jones covering "Venus." Stu went to get his swerve on while I stole cautious, hopeful glances at a beautiful lady sitting with her boyfriend in the booth next to us. She must've noticed, 'cause on her way out, she flashed me a lovely smile and waved!
I don't know who you are Miss, but thanks for making my night!!
I write this having just returned from SUPERMARKET, a house club here in Zurich. Too many young, beautiful women to speak of...couldn't even decide just one for POTN status. The joint should be called MEATMARKET. We had to bail around 3AM, too much artificial smoke and cigarettes...I thought I was gonna hurl.
Earlier today, Stu and I went to the Kunst Haus, just down the street from where we're staying. I got to see several Ernst, Chagall & Picasso paintings up close for the first time. There was a big exhibit of photos and lots of Impressionist stuff and iconography from the Middle Ages but we sorta breezed through that.
Stu attempted again to find some cheap clothes, but was unsuccessful.
Later, Stu and I took Mitch, Jacqueline and the kids out for Italian food at a place just around the corner. Lemme tell ya-It was good!! Mitch says the owner imports his own truffle oils and wines. I had Pennette de Doctor Zivago (penne pasta in an tomato cream sauce),
with Apple Sorbet for dessert...yum.
I hear that Zurich pretty much closes down on Sunday, although there's a food and wine expo we might stop by. I need to visit Spungli and get some of their world-famous chocolate before we leave Monday evening.
Managed to stomach a little CNN today...I dunno what I'm coming home to, but I guess I'll cross that bridge when I get to it. *sigh*

BTW-some of you have asked about the updates...well, Mitch was kind enough to make a login for me on his Linux box and its 4AM as I write this...trust me I'm only writing about a quarter to one half of what I could...after all, I gotta have something to discuss over beers when I get back!


9.21.2001

Greetings from Zurich!
We got in yesterday afternoon. There was a bit of a hassle, I'd called the airline to make sure our reservations were in order and was assured they were. I was told to show up a half hour before the flight. Trish told us it would take about an hour to get to Heathrow. (She and Robert are in Geneva on holiday) We-as you know from my previous post, don't have a change of clothes and I didn't want to get on a plane all stinky, so I set the alarm to 5AM hoping to wash my clothes before we had to leave in that morning. I managed to get everything washed but as I was putting my stuff in the dryer, I heard someone yell "Stop waking me up!" from one of the downstairs rooms. It was Trish's sister-in-law! I didn't know what to do...we had to leave soon and I had no other clothes. I could tell that no matter what I said, I'd be in deep shit, so I just started the dryer and ran upstairs!
Apparently, the SIL came upstairs, gave Stu the greasy eye and went into one of the other bedrooms. I feel bad 'cause I woke her up but like I said, I didn't have a choice. I left a note of apology on the front stairs. As it was, we got to the airport too late to catch our flight AND it turns out that the reservation hadn't been made anyway!! So we got on the next flight and sent Mitch an email from the terminal telling him about the change.
We landed in Zurich around 2PM and just as we came through customs, I heard my name being paged. Mitch and Jacqueline hadn't got the message, but had stuck around to see if we were on the next flight-so everything turned out OK anyway.
From the airport, we took a train to the main train station in Zurich and spent the afternoon taking in the sights. Here, you can see the horizon (unlike London), which makes getting your bearings a lot easier. I got reacquainted with my goddaughter Zoe (she's almost three and is cute as a button!) and got to meet Til, the new addition to the Pirtle clan.
We also went shopping for some underwear and toiletries and headed back to our hosts apartment for dinner.
Today, Stu and I went to the Old Town and walked around. Stu was looking for clothes, but everything is so expensive that he begged off. I DID buy 147CHF worth of CD's, however.
Tonight, we're gonna see if we can find some clubs and check out the nightlife.

9.19.2001

Today, Stuart and I headed into town. We caught the tube from East Putney Station (after a brief and expensive stop and Soul Brother Records, and went to the Tate Museum of Modern Art. The place is HUGE!! There's an exhibit of Surrealist art that starts tomorrow, so Stu and I will go back there when we return from Zurich. After the Tate we just walked around and took pictures (and had a couple of pints). We ate at a couple of places (Chinese and Indian) and I gotta say, the food here sucks!!
Our luggage wasn't delivered today (no surprise there), so I guess we'll have to go on to Switzerland without it.Trish and Robert are going to Geneva but their plane leaves before ours, so Stu and I will take the tube to Heathrow. I'm wondering if I can wash my clothes tonight 'cause I've been wearing the same gear for days now...ewww!!

9.18.2001

OK-
We made it!! I write this from Trish's study here in SW London. The trip was a bit of an ordeal-won't go into it-but suffice it to say that next time I go somewhere I will pay more attention to detail. We had a ten-hour layover in Pittsburgh so we didn't get here until early this (Tuesday) morning. Our luggage got lost, but the airline says it will deliver it here-so we'll have to see if we can push back our Zurich plans by one day until it can catch up to us.
I can't say I have much of an impression of London so far, all we#ve really seen is the airport, the motorway and Trish's place. Hopefully, we'll get out tomorrow and have a look around. Its already getting dark and dinner is ready!
I'll update again soon!

S

9.15.2001

Randomage

The last couple of days have been spent watching NBC and surfing the web, reading Metafilter and other news sources. I think I may have reached the saturation point yesterday as I tried to reconcile the Jingoism I was feeling with my normal, more (perhaps) senisble sensibilities. KMO seems to be doing somthing like that in his own way, collecting quotes and comments that are much more articulate and better-informed than anything I could write. Rather than an rant or diatribe there is a lot of good food for thought there...check it out.
One of the things that has become increasing clear as I get older is the impermanence of things. Watching those buildings fall down was a reminder of the people I'd lost, places and things that are no more and the unstoppable March of Time. What if this "War" we're having is just an excuse to get at the Chechen oil fields in Baku? Worse still is that we may be setting ourselves up for demogogary...I heard "Invention" by Pedro The Lion today:

invention

crazy people know the special place to go when the pressure is on
neurons re-align til the feeling is fine or the trouble is gone
they're in the business of inventing savious
there's always trouble to tell yourself again that help is on the way
and safty abounds
when you need some kind of guarantee you're protected
you start to trust the thing that deeper comfort brings before you've checked it
you might be waiting for a long time

I hadda get out of the house and did so. I went to my usual haunts and enjoyed the company of my friends, grateful that they were still around-that at least I have suffered no tangeable losses at this time. Unlike the CEO of Cantor who lost something like 700 employees.
People were asking me if I am scared to go to Europe-to that I say "Hell No!" I don't know the time and place of my own death, so I can't let fear of death rule how I live and deter me from doing the thing I want to do..The Hagakure says we should live as though we are dead already. So if I can get on a plane, I'm going.
In other news, my new 5-string bass arrived yesterday...it's so PHAT! I played for two hours revelling in the glory of the low B. I must join or form a band and soon.

9.12.2001

I pretty much spent most of yesterday watching TV and reading the posts on Metafilter. I alternated between sadness and anger all day. I went out to make a deposit at the bank and was struck by how quiet and normal everything seemed. It was a cloudless, bright day. Although I knew there were warships on patrol in Puget Sound and there were no planes in the sky, you couldn't tell all that from Rainier Avenue. I walked through Genesee Park up to Columbia City and kids were swinging on the swings and PeeWee football practice was going on, just like any other day. I stopped for some Pho and the gloom started to lift but as I walked back home, I heard part of the President's speech over a car radio, reminding me that things aren't normal and probably won't be again for a long time.
Scott came home and we went to Maggie, Paula, Cassandra & Verity's open house. Maggie told me she had been crying all day and she was glad to be out of the house and be surrounded by friends. A bunch of discussed the attack, most seemed more sad than angry. Sad that the cycle of violence will continue. Sad that we humans can't seem to get on with one another very well.
Sean was mess, apparently he knew quite a few people who worked in the WTC and not all of them were accounted for. About 5 of us wound up closing the Bad Juju Lounge...the booze and music seemed to cheer us up. I watch more TV after I got home, finally getting to bed around 3:30.

After several attempts to get in touch with the airlines, I managed to get the tickets changed. If all goes well (keep yr fingers crossed) Stu and I will leave for London on Saturday night. We'll spend a couple of days in London then go to Zurich on the 19th, returning to London on the 24th. We come home on the 29th.

9.11.2001

I am fucking stunned. This is a day that will live in infamy. I have believe the U.S. policy on Israel the Middle East is wrong and pulling out of the Conferemce on Racism was the last straw, so it seems. We are at war. With whoever did this and with ourselves. Everything changes after this. We knew this day was coming and now its here.

9.10.2001

Hadda lovely weekend. Perfect weather and all that. X-tina and Brenda had Stu, Oani and me over for dinner. Christina wanted us to meet her boyfriend Dan, who she's been seeing since May. For some reason Dan always begged off or had other plans when Christina was going to hang out with us, so Stu and I began teasing her, saying she really didn't have a boyfriend and that she's just made him up. Also, she implied that Dan didn't want to come to the WigNSkirt Party 'cause idea of a man wearing a skirt was too 'gay'. So by extension, we're all gay. (He's a huntin', fishin' kinda fella) So I told Stu that maybe he's a little sweet himself and since he thought we're gay, he was afraid we'd be able to sniff him out!
Well, it was funny at the time...
Anyway, Dan turned out to be a fairly pleasant sort (if a bit homophobic, I guess. Odd, 'cause he knows that Stu and X-tina used to ah...'date')
we all ate ourselves silly and then watched "The Cell" on DVD. Then we went to a Birthday party for one of Stu's old high school pals.

I'm washing clothes and packing for The Trip today. We leave Seattle on Wednesday at 7:45AM, switch planes in Pittsburgh and land at Gatwick at 6AM local time. From there, we'll travel by tram and the tube to East Putney Station where Trish will pick us up. Last week, I sent an email to the Firefly Mailing List (for fans of Mark Eitzel and the American Music Club-about half the list lives in the UK) and asked for cool places to visit while in The Smoke. They graciously responded and I had to create a special folder in Hotmail just so I can access them all. Everyone mentioned that Camden was a cool place to hang out, so I guess that's where we'll go first. I plan on having a Vindaloo somewhere on the first day, 'course that depends how wiped out I am from the flight.
I'm kinda pissed, I ordered a 5-string bass last week and although the company (Musician's Friend) says they ship the next day, I guess that isn't the case. I called, only to be told they might ship it today...This is the second time this has happened! The wireless transmitter I ordered from ThinkGeek spent a week at the warehouse before I got fed up and cancelled the order! Bastards...no wonder nobody's making any money on the web.

Stu was giving me a lift home last night. The conversation went like this:

Stu: So, what's the best way to your house? (We're approaching Denny) Should we take Boren?
Me: I'd say go down Second Ave. Left on Airport Way, left again on Dearborn...
Stu: (Turning abuptly onto Denny) We're taking Boren!
Me: Okaaay...

Long Pause

Me: Uh, so what have you got against my route?
Stu: Too many turns. This way is straighter.
Me: What have you got against turns? This way has more lights. According to the Chinese, only the spirits of the dead travel in straight lines. (Only half-kidding, I think I read it somewhere.)
Stu: Turns are bad...I'm against them.
Me: I'll show you some turns, motherf**ker! (Dunno why I said this, but then there's really no defense against Stu Logic.)

Well, it looks like everything is set. I got the tickets for our side trip to Zurich today, they wound up being even cheaper than I thought they would be. I've got to remember to get some diposable cameras tomorrow. Maggie, Paula, Cassandra & Verity are haveing a big studio party tomorrow, so after I get everything together, I'm gonna meet Stu there. Then we'll hang out for awhile, then go out to his Mom's house to crash. She's giving us a ride to Sea-Tac.
Dunno if I'll be able to update from London, but I'll try...
Take care y'all!
See you soon!!


9.05.2001

El Stu and I will be jetting off to Merry Olde England in a week.
People ask me if I'm excited and oddly enough, I can't really say I am. I mean I'm not down on the the trip or anything. This thing has been looming on the horizon for a few months now and its about to become real...I guess that's exciting...ask me on the 11th.
Anyway, Labor day weekend is come and gone and I'm chillin'. I went to Bremerton to visit Chad and Patty on Friday. We went to Jason and Liz's for a BBQ. Then we went to the Blackberry Festival on Saturday. I was hoping to run into my beloved friend Heidi and her mother, but we missed them somehow. I caught the ferry back to Seattle and hung out the Stu and boyz&grrls at the Baltic. I hung out with my friend Ellen on Sunday, we had dinner at the Icon Grill then went to The Back Door Ultra Lounge to check out LOVECATS vs. Supersonic.
Monday, Stu and I went over to my mother's for a little get-together and then (after picking up Frito) went to his ex-girlfriend's wedding on Queen Anne Hill.
Tonight I'm spinning at Barca, I'll be playing soul jazz, funk, acid jazz and rare groove. As usual, I don't have a game plan but winging it has been working for me so far!
Also, there is some debate going on with the B'austin crew as to we should accept the invite to play the Troll-O-Ween event on Halloween in Fremont. We may decide to do Michael Jackson's 'Thriller' instead.

9.04.2001

From Matt D.:

Seattle Police Department Under Fire
Public testimony to reassess police response to "Reclaim the Streets"

For Immediate Release
Tuesday, September 4
Contact: Jeff Buckley, 206 227 0903

Seattle--On Wednesday, September 5, at 2pm, the Seattle City Council's Public Safety Committee will hear the first public testimony about the extreme police response to the Reclaim the Streets event, Saturday, August 25.

Witnesses and civil rights advocates will come forward for the first time to bring to light troubling civil rights violations that happened during the
police response to the recent anarchist event.

Statements will come from Isak Bressler of the National Lawyers Guild; Anthony Granillo of the Seattle Human Rights commission; Trevor Griffey, a freelance reporter covering the event; and numerous participants and witnesses. Those testifying will be available for interview at the Council hearing. Mr. Bressler, Mr. Granillo and Mr. Griffey will have copies of their statements ready to hand out.

Witnesses will testify to having seen the following:

-Illegal detention of a stringer for Fox TV News in Portland, whose tapes of the Reclaim the Streets event were confiscated and are still being held without explanation

-Unlawful arrest

-Excessive use of force

-Unnecessary use of pepper spray

-Illegal interference with photographers

-Selective and arbitrary enforcement of the law

For more information, or to schedule an interview at a time other than during the committee meeting, contact Jeff Buckley of the Green Party of Seattle Criminal Justice Working Group.

Something's rotten in about this, that's for sure. I suppose our Mayor (I didn't vote for him) doesn't want any more screwups this close to the elections. Especially with Republican Mayoral Candidate Darth Sidran gaining points in the polls.
What is amazing is that hardly anyone seems outraged, the folks in Ravenna and Seward Park don't really care about anything that happens to people outside their tax bracket. Maybe the next demonstration should be on Lake Washington Blvd., eh?

9.02.2001

Ever wondered why Black Folks (a fairly conservative bunch, generally) don't flock to the GOP? This article breaks it down in a way that I have yet to see anywhere else.