Barring technical problems, I begin posting at the new site today. Tune in – I’ll post an introductory note in the morning. It will either run 50 or 2000 words, depending on how much I edit myself.
Update: I’m having technical problems. Try later in the morning. Sigh.
From rule to cool to Fool, Brittania: the logo for the Olympics has been revealed.
Seriously, what is the matter with people who come up with this? And what is the matter with the people who approved it? Ads that showed the logos have reportedly caused seizures among British epileptics, but I think this thing would make a fossilized femur bone suffer convulsive muscle spasms. If you can’t tell, it’s the year of the London games – 2012. I think it’s also meant to imply a human form – say, a discus thrower, or a runner bursting from the blocks. Whatever it is, it’s an aesthetic catastrophe, and would seem to indicate there’s no one around in the London Games who had the nerve to bark “rubbish, that; try again, and give me a proper logo with some bloody numbers.” I think there’s a point at which people lose the ability to pretend they have any sort of aesthetic criteria, and embrace whatever’s loud and ugly simply because loud and ugly is the style of the times. There’s always a fair amount of coin to be had for dissing the traditionalists, of course; I imagine that if someone submitted a logo with a flag or a bulldog they would have suffered a gentle sneer: still pining for the empire, eh, Smithson. Well, Kipling’s dead. Yes he is. Dig him up, you’ll find Posh Spice’s heel stuck in his heart, the coffin stuffed with I Heart Diana memorial teddy bears.
Since I’m in the office more, I’m having lunch at my desk. I have to relearn lunch. For a few days I went up to the cafeteria, which is having a four-week taste-of-America promotion. Regional cuisine. The meals are huge, with bounteous side dishes and mounds of potatoes fashioned into regional delicacies, but I’ve trained myself to be a light-lunch guy. It hasn’t been the midday reward for a very long time; now I look at those giant burgers, or ossified vinyl-slab pizza slices, and I see something that sits in my gut like a paperback novel for the rest of the afternoon. For a while I had a naked chicken breast with onions, but I tired of the questions: that’s it? That’s all? No more? Fries? Thanks, but no. Just this, and a packet of horseradish sauce. Your funeral, friend. But this got boring quickly, so I decided to buy some deli meats and bring my own meal. I’m so out of practice I bought some chicken slices without checking the label; turns out it was mechanically separated minced pureed reformed chicken sludge, sliced three microns thin, infused with nitrates and salt-cured. You could leave this meat in a trunk in a car in the Mohave desert for a fortnight and it would still be edible. It’s like eating CGI chicken. I also made a big bread mistake: instead of my usual treble-fiber brand, on which I would heap peanut butter, I got some store-brand white that was pillow-soft on day one and suitable for use as a retaining wall brick on day two. It also appeared to have been baked in a corset, since the middle part was one inch wide, and the top bloomed like Jessica Rabbit’s upper stories. The crust, I should note, had the character of those embossed-letter labeling tapes. I had to nuke the thing for a day in the break room’s underpowered microwave to make it edible. Even then it took three packets of Horseradish sauce. I should have just eaten the sauce.
So yesterday I went back to the grocery store for real deli meats. Got some nice salami as well. I gave Gnat a slice. She was in a great mood, since we’d just gone to Caribou coffee for a treat, and I’d remembered to bring her Pikachu doll, and it was spring and she was with Dad and things were just fine, just fine. I couldn’t argue.
“What’s in salami?” she asked.
You know, that’s a good question. “Well, meat. And spices.”
“What kind of meat?”
“Well, extra meat. Meat that’s extra. And spices.”
“What kind of spices? I don’t like spices but this is delicious.”
“Salt. And tumeric.”
“Yum. I love tumeric.”
Me too. I considered buying some horseradish sauce, but it’s free at the cafeteria, and I don’t want to be one of those people who loads up the office fridge with condiments. (That’s the other thing I’ve had to confront: the hell of the communal fridge. Sweet Jebus. It’s like a Tokyo train car after a derailment in there.) You feel free to occupy a few cubic inches with a rotund bottle of horseradish sauce, and you’re starting down a bad road, son: half a decade later you’re pushing aside the intern’s tiny smoothie to jam in your large bottle of Fred’s Red Hot, because the lime-chipotle variety to which you are partial only came in the large size, and you’ve worked here sixteen years, and that ought to give a man some rights. Dammit.
At the end of lunch I had an extra packet of horseradish sauce left over. Dilemma. Set it aside, and begin the horrible, unstoppable accumulation of condiment packets, preparing for the great Sauce Drought which will inevitably strike when the bees stop pollinating, or throw it away and start fresh tomorrow? I went with the latter. Never hoard ketchup. There will always be ketchup. Try to remember a time in which there wasn’t any ketchup. Better to take less than you need than more; think of the poor tomato that grew to its expected diameter, was plucked and smushed and turned into ketchup, enshrouded in foil, shipped across the land – only to end up unused and entombed in a desk for a year before it was throw out and buried in a landfill, where the foil would shield it from time and tides.
Better to take it into the parking lot and step on it. The ants thank you, and it’s good therapy.
More tomorrow - as you might expect, I'm concentrating on the new site. And it's not like I have anything more to add, really - except for the heart-stopping moment tonight when I was hooking up a new network drive to the main computer. I plugged in the tower, and what did I hear? Zap, crackle, pop. I turned on the computer: blank screen.
The exciting conclusion, and a cautionary tale, tomorrow. See you then.
Oh - and Tony Soprano's going to flip. He'll rat to the Feds. Trust me; I've been wrong about everything else.