May 19, 2015

Tuesday matinée --- checking out at the local supermarket

And he had a wide smile for us!

(We're off to Switzerland on Thursday, when blogging will resume (hopefully); we had a very rough time the last couple of months)

Apr 20, 2015

The walk along the water front --- Seattle (7)

We're on 81 Vine Street, two blocks from the water front, which was remodeled during the 80's to provide the ideal outdoor experience of city living. We go for a stroll every day in the afternoon, especially now, with the weather picture perfect.

The Alaskan Way, on the water front, in Northern direction

400 meters into this (Americans are learning about meters), past Pier 69, where the Elliot Bay Trail begins.

Apr 19, 2015

Forks (2) --- Seattle (6)

"Forks (2) --- Seattle (6)"---we stay true to form with this incomprehensible title. Almost as incomprehensible as this sign...

...yes, YES, that's why we had to visit Forks, because the place is the purported hub of the Twilight franchise:

(This picture is mildly misleading...)

Apr 18, 2015

Rogan Richards

We've been asked to do an interview with Rogan Richards---porn star, photographer, escort---for a glossy international magazine. If you have any ideas for questions he has not yet been asked (he's famous), please let us know:

Forks --- Seattle (5)

Forks. Forks? Bear with us, we'll explain later (next post). For the time being, let's note that Forks is the most precipitous town in the continental United States, rain-wise. Precipitatous, as it were. It's perched between the Olympic Mountains and the Pacific Ocean. 150 miles to the west of Seattle. We must visit.

150 miles. That's a long drive. We must get up early and catch the 8:25 AM ferry to Bainbridge. That's the view this morning, from our apartment, of Mount Fuji Rainier.

Apr 12, 2015

Seattle (4) (Chang)

The Puget Sound with the ferry for Bainbridge (picture taken from our apartment on Vine Street)

Apr 5, 2015


The Shinto Kanamara Matsuri (かなまら祭り, "Festival of the Steel Phallus") is held each spring at the Kanayama Shrine (金山神社 Kanayama-jinja) in Kawasaki, Japan. The phallus, as the central theme of the event, is reflected in illustrations, candy, carved vegetables, decorations, and a mikoshi parade.

The Kanamara Matsuri is centered around a local phallus-venerating shrine once popular among prostitutes who prayed for protection from sexually transmitted diseases. In addition, there are sundry protections regarding prosperity, easy delivery, and marriage harmony. There is also a legend of a sharp-toothed demon (vagina dentata) that hid inside the vagina of a young woman and castrated two young men on their wedding nights. The young woman sought help from a blacksmith, who fashioned an iron phallus to break the demon's teeth, which led to the enshrinement of the item.

The festival has become something of a tourist attraction and is used to raise money for HIV research

Apr 4, 2015

Interstellar --- Seattle (2)

We're late with this review because we're always late---plus, we're early in the sense that the movie hasn't yet been released world wide.

Unfortunately, the sound through the Delta Airline ear plugs on Flight 467 from London-Heathrow to Seattle-Tacoma is so bad that we have trouble following the plot---although, wait---now having read the flick's Wikipedia entry we're realizing we somehow did manage to follow the plot but failed to appreciate the redeeming influence of Caltech professor Kip Thorne, the only excuse for this movie ("highly accurate, the movie, scientifically, highly accurate," reviewers rave). Kip Thorne is a real physicist and knows everything about black holes and wormholes and Einstein ("gravitational waves"), and he's listed as executive producer of this sci-fi production set in the year 2060.

What is it? You normally know inside 60 seconds whether you're watching a bad movie, right? Is it because the titles stink? That's oft the case, but not now. No, its something about the Midwestern accent of Texas-born Matthew McConaughey. It's like when you drive past this sex worker and you need to look no further, there's one layer of makeup too many. There has been one script conference too many for this movie, and Christopher Nolan, the director knows, knows deep inside...

Apr 2, 2015

Seattle (1)



And in between

Yes, we're swapping houses with a family in Seattle, WA, for a month.

Mar 12, 2015

The view for a few days

We are renting the house for a few days, staying with friends in the meantime. This is the view (we're on the other side of the Esterel park).

Feb 13, 2015

Shades of grey (1) --- Am I hard enough?

Yes, we're going to do it. We have a little feuilleton on the Grey thing. And we start with something nice, the soundtrack. This is from the soundtrack:

I'll never be your beast of burden
My back is broad but it's a hurting
All I want is for you to make love to me
I'll never be your beast of burden
I've walked for miles my feet are hurting
All I want, for you to make love to me

Am I hard enough
Am I rough enough
Am I rich enough
I'm not too blind to see

I'll never be your beast of burden
So let's go home and draw the curtains
Music on the radio
Come on baby make sweet love to me

Am I hard enough
Am I rough enough
Am I rich enough
I'm not too blind to see

Oh little sister
Pretty, pretty, pretty, pretty, girl
Such a pretty, pretty, pretty girl
Come on baby please, please, please

I'll tell ya
You can put me out
On the street
Put me out
With no shoes on my feet
But, put me out, put me out
Put me out of misery

Yeah, all your sickness
I can suck it up
Throw it all at me
I can shrug it off
There's one thing baby
That I don't understand
You keep on telling me
I ain't your kind of man

Ain't I rough enough, ooh baby
Ain't I tough enough
Ain't I rich enough, in love enough
Ooh! Ooh! Please

I'll never be your beast of burden
I'll never be your beast of burden
Never, never, never, never, never, never, never be

I'll never be your beast of burden
I've walked for miles, my feet are hurting
All I want is for you to make love to me

"Dear Diary" ---- Quantum learning (teaser)

Yes, folks, we have been goofing off. It's a bit more complicated, though, but the net effect is that we have no new teasers for This Is Heaven. It's not exactly a writers block (we're at 2/3 of the manuscript already), but there's the need for a creative break. So we started writing on a new---and very old project. It's prose, it's fiction, and it's YA. That's all we can tell in this era of ubiquitous spoiler angst:


Dear Diary :

I can’t really tell you how pleased I am to hold you in my hands, or, more precisely, have you lain out open like a “book” from the old days while sitting on an office contraption that looks modernistic but was described by Xato as an antique heirloom of “the family” when rolled into the room. Xato, who at that point had known me for several hours already, sensed my reservations and looked around for alternative sitting options, but I (who had know him for several hours already), hurried to agree and said: “It will do, Xato.”

“Whatever your preferences,” Xato replied.

Whatever-your-preference…I really ought to call him that, were it not impractical as the name of a young guy that appears on your bedside and introduces himself as your PA (“pee aah?”---“Yes, Miss, pee aah,”---“Really?”---“Oh, excuse me, Miss, that would be ‘personal assistant’”). He then apologizes profusely for the “unscheduled void” of “the family”---and in particular for the “most unfortunate” absence of “The Senator” who had “longed” to be at my side “at this critical juncture” and who had been held back “by the most urgent business of State” but who “had not failed to send his greetings in redemption.”

Feb 11, 2015

We have been out to lunch in inexcusable ways, but it's not entirely our fault...

...which google-translates into...

habuimus ad prandium inexcusabili vias tantum sed non culpam

...which google-translates into...

we had lunch at the only ways inexcusable but not a fault

...which google-translates into...

non solum ad mores edimus prandium inexcusabili culpa

...which google-translates into...

not only to the character we had lunch inexcusable fault

...which google-translates into...

non solum per respectum ad indolem edimus prandium inexcusabili culpa

...which google-translates into...

not only with respect to the nature of the inexcusable fault we had lunch

...which google-translates into...

non solum quantum ad rationem culpae edimus prandium inexcusabili

...which google-translates into...

not only with respect to the notion of inexcusable fault we had lunch

...which google-translates into...

non solum quantum ad rationem culpae edimus prandium inexcusabili

...and so, folks, we've reached a fixed point, the ninth application of the translation function is idempotent, applying the function again and again doesn't change the result:

not only with respect to the notion of inexcusable fault we had lunch

There's order in madness.

One wonders whether all google-translations reach a fixed point (exercise left to the reader).

Jan 13, 2015

Dry humpin' --- This is heaven (teaser)

It's Day Three of the festival, and the boys are prepping Godehart for The Debate, today's criterium. Let's take the plunge (apologies for the repeat of the Ben-scene): 

Now, the handshakes,” Maurice says to Godehart.
“It will be more like a square dance, on account of the number of candidates. Make sure you won’t forget anybody,” Alex says. “John, you’re on the jury. How many candidates left?”
I have to use my fingers. “Five, I say, Haagen, the Fox woman, Blanche Dubois, and that shady character. Plus Godehart.”

“Godehart,” Alex says with another sip, “the handshake is just the libretto---we all know your grip is firm and sweat-less---the music is in the shoulder slap. You step forward, clutch the foe’s arm with your left hand, clutch his shoulder with your right hand, bring your left arm around, and now you tap his left shoulder, several times, with measured force, palm fairly flat, from behind. It’s almost an embrace. No pelvis action, mind you.”

“The way you stretch the back of your hand, darling,” Maurice adds, “says it all. Don’t stretch it too much. That’s anal. Americans don’t like anal. Even Southern Baptist don’t like anal.”
“Especially Southern Baptists,” Alex says. “They like barbecues.”
“Why do you say barbecues?” Godehart asks.
“Oh---you don’t know,” Alex says. “Americans always vote for the candidate they’d love to have over for a barbecue.”

Jan 8, 2015

French for beginners (Sacha)

(From the pages of Charlie Hebo)

And the corresponding fragment from the Green Eyes? No prob, bro. Étant donné (given that) the depiction of the auteur (self-centered film-maker) is Jean-Luc Godart, author of Pierrot le Fou, and other nouvelle vague movies.

Here goes (beginning of Ch. 23 of Part I, titled "In flagrante masterclass"):

There isn’t much left of Gohard's casual-ceremonial ways, the dildo has him in its grip, or counter grip, whatever. And while the situation is serious enough, I can’t suppress another collateral thought, this one involving the washed-up scriptwriter and an art house flick in which Gohard would try to answer the doorbell now, dildo and all, somehow haunching to the door, shifting from leg to leg, perhaps groaning. He reaches the door, opens it, and gulps “Hilfe.” (Come to think of it, didn't Godard (Jean-Luc, not Gohard) make a movie exactly like this, with Woody Allen as a peripatetic porn star and a peripatetic flower pot that’s always blotting the view of the adult parts of the unfolding drama? Did Allen survive?)

The door bell rings again. So it’s the postman. No, it’s Sunday. No, it’s Monday. It's not for nothing that us escorts are paid well—if we are paid at all—there's so much learning by doing involved. Shall we open the door? My budging A-level instincts tell me to stay put. Godehard moans softly, it's unclear whether he's praying or trying to say something. He rolls his head, that's what Buddhist monks do a lot.

We expect the echo of a failed doorbell initiative, silence followed by departing footfalls. Instead we get the clanky noise of metal on metal. There's something tentative to this, perhaps it’s a burglar who’s been pushing the bell to see whether the residents are at home and is wielding a picklock now. Godehart can't really roll his head any more. In flagrante masterclass.

I wonder whether the burglar could sue us for emotional damage done to him as he unsuspectingly tumbles upon harmful obscenity. While I thus wonder, the door swings open and clear, female eyes, enhanced by manly glasses, come into focus. Dr. Dyke.
Godehart can't speak at the moment, but Dyke can, presumably, although she doesn't. She ceases all activity whilst her medical mind assesses the situation. There she stands. It would be an understatement to say that we stared at each other (the more so because Godehart cannot really participate, his eyes left to dangle at the pond boys on the wall).

What's the washed-up scriptwriter doing in all this? He has a writer's block, I have to carry on alone. When you're in a hole, stop digging. That's perhaps a good idea, the more so since you’re in panic and can’t recall Dyke's real name, it could be a bad idea to use her moniker at this delicate hour. When we met for the first time, Dyke and I, her first words were "Your work?" That was twelve hours ago. What will she say now? Will she ever speak again?

"Your work?" she asks.
"Welcome to Godehart Wagner's home," I reply, one of my better lines today.
"I'm unsurprised," she says.
"Que sera, sera," I say—what can I say, there's no way to take this seriously. Even the dildo victim sports a smirk on his lips, a painful smirk at that, but a smirk nonetheless. Even the washed-up scriptwriter chimes in, we hear Doris Day singing in the background.