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Archive for February 2nd, 2009

in the future, everyone will be world-famous (except for me)

with 3 comments

Here I am at the university on Sunday, alone with the CCTV display that guards our hallway, taking pictures of myself during breaks from writing my lecture. Not necessarily visible in this picture (sorry) but I noticed at one point that I’m maybe cuter on TV than I am in real life.

Yes, it started to get a wee bit The Shining there on Sunday. And the snow hadn’t even started to fall… I’ve been working too hard lately, and it’s starting to show.

Last week, I was asked by a producer at a Major Global News Network to come on and talk on Live TV Broadcast to a Worldwide Audience about a certain recently deceased white guy from small-town Pennsylvannia, you know the one. One of my refrains, back before kids and when my wife and I used to watch a lot more TV news and pseudonews together, was that neither of us, no matter what happened, should ever go on TV to talk about stuff that we really don’t know anything about. It’s like the least you can do, but of course no one ever follows that rule, from the looks of the stuff that they put on tv. She’s done a bit of radio work, and some prerecorded talking-headery. (One occassion of which included, don’t know the technical term, generating sort of run-up filler about “her life” which involved the three of us forcibly playing in a playground in Toronto for several hours. Was a great playground, the one right in the shadow of cow-spotted OCAD, but truly sucked making the footage. At one point, I forgot that we were mic’ed, and started muttering over and over again “fuck these tv douchebags, fuck these tv douchebags, fuck these tv douchebags” until my wife silently mouthed, yep, “THEY CAN HEAR YOU IDIOT” at me. Hmmmm. I tried to turn it into some sort of children’s song that I was presumably singing to my daughter in case they hadn’t quite made out what I was saying, “fuck these tee veee dooo-ooo-sh-bags, my faaaair lay-dy…” but I’m pretty sure, from the looks I got after, les jeux sont faits already…)

Anyway, my wife, she always knows what she’s talking about when she does media stuff, but the thought of talking about a guy that, really, I probably know less about than you – no matter who you are –  in front of a Worldwide Audience (media types do that caps thing unironically, from what I can tell…) seemed like a perfect opportunity to live up to my word for once. Or at least to an opportunity to avoid vomiting on myself in front of viewers in Indonesia, Bahrain, Sweden, and Columbia and all points in between. Funny, Benjamin never brought up that up when he dissected the surgical violence that the camera commits upon the actor in front of it.

Written by adswithoutproducts

February 2, 2009 at 10:36 pm

Posted in news, teevee

duckbooted colonial in panicked london

with 4 comments

SH in snow

senate house in the snow, wish you were here

Lordy. Where I used to work (which, admittedly, was just about the northernmost research university in the US, ok maybe the northeast), we once suffered  from a “weather event” so severe that it destroyed every tree in the area, knocking out all electricity in this mid-sized city (and with it, in most cases, my case, heat, as the controls are electrical) for two weeks. It was severe enough that the roads were impassable for three days, not because of snow but because of enormous trees sprawled everywhere from sidewalk to sidewalk. I spent the first two days clearing my driveway with a handsaw (two of them actually, as the first one broke halfway through), walking to the single little store that was still open and negotiating for odd-sized diapers (you don’t have any in 3? ok I guess size 6 will do… Have any packing tape to go with that?) and cans of beans, and then finally, as the tinge of hypothermia started to settle in, decamping to another city to stay in the Hilton…. After all this, the university was still open, and we were warned via email not to miss work at risk of loss of pay. So I dutifully drove in from a hundred miles away, stopping each leg to visit the increasingly frozen cats who were still at home….

Today, London is completely clusterfucked as there has been something like three inches of snow. No one at the university knows whether it is open or closed, the website says nothing, so despite the fact that the buses aren’t running and I had to walk a mile or so to the underground, I did, and I am here, typing this in my office. I will, apparently, give a lecture to a mostly empty room in half-an-hour, a lecture that I will likely have to give again next week or sometime soon as no one can quite get their act together in the administration and definitively close or open the place.

The kids here get weirdly chippy in the snow – throw snowballs at women and cars and, it seems me. Which is a mistake as they don’t realize I’m American, was a college baseball recruit (starting pitcher, fastball in the mid-eighties), and have a fucking mean streak, especially when I’ve trudged into work in to apparently no good end only to get hit in the back by a ball of ice. This happens in America, but differently – college students will do it, but not really throw at bystanders, and anyone who throws at bystanders is generally pretty badass. It’s the whole MAD doctrine, old pistol-packing sub-ambience, I’ve mentioned before on here. At any rate, I throw back, aiming to hurt mildly, slightly maim.

Ah, a glimmer of light amidst it all. Just ran into the only cynically-minded colleague I have here, who basically agreed that people here are annoying with this. Not sure why it bothers me so much, but it really does. Deep-threaded cultural stuff. Strange, strange thoughts, never before thoughts, of Valley Forge, the winter there, the cold and the typhoid, with the redcoats warmly bedded in Philadelphia…

Moving abroad is a psychologically interesting thing to do, I’ll tell you….

Written by adswithoutproducts

February 2, 2009 at 11:28 am

Posted in britain