Stratford, etc.

We’ll wander off through the dead of night
Past wastelands of shattered souls<br /
Warmed by the firelight
I peer into the darkness alone
As the Indian summer of my remembrance
Settles on my bones
Cracked and weary
I ask for direction home
Let the words spill from my mouth
Love is everything I want
I’m one of many more to come
Love is everything I want

The dead of night – We haven’t been going out and drinking as much as we used to. There’s always that freshman phase of going out every weekend, but, relatively speaking, I feel like a senior now. But Michaela’s birthday party was an exception. It ended with us tripping over eachother to get to Mr. D’s fast food van, but that’s not how it started at all. That’s not it at all.
That day, I bought a card and blew up some balloons for Michaela. The balloons were the hardest because, as I have no sense of direcction, I had to ask about 3 clerks directions to PaperChase. Later that night, we went out to a semi-fancy restaurant called Martini’s, whereupon I ordered veal and a cosmopolitan martini. The color of the martini, a rather aggressive lime green, looked so picturesque that for nearly 15 minutes I couldn’t bring myself to take a sip. I feel the same way about a wrapped christmas gift; don’t you just want to admire the artistry for a minute or two? …No? )
Michaela saw the balloons, the cupcakes, and the cards. She opened up my card in which I drew a comic about of an inside joke. Uh oh! You’re ‘out of the loop’! Don’t worry, let’s travel back in time to a universe in which everything is cynical and paraphrased 🙂
Setting: 18 Northampton (my house) 11ish pm. Michaela and I are the only ones in the house, or so we think.
Michaela: Did you hear that?
Joey: No, but let’s pretend that I did. It could be a murderer.
Michaela: What if it is?
Joey: It’s not, but let’s pretend that it is. He probably didn’t think anyone was home.
Michaela: I am growing increasingly worried. Why cannot you comfort me?
Joey: Because I cannot help being the cruel jester (life – comfort = joke 🙂 I live on the first floor. If he breaks into the house, you’ll hear my screams, which will give you some time to find an alternate exit.
Michaela: I hope you never have kids.

So her card was essentially a stick figure reenactment of the hypothetical murderer. Except the murderer in my comic was very polite (omg, irony!) and even took the liberty of trying ourOreo Orgasm. Delicious! After eating the cupcakes that I didn’t make, we played Kings (I had a vodka and soda) and then we went to Vodka Revolutions, to awkwardly stand around in loud, cramped spaces before heading to Club XL where we danced in loud, somewhat less cramped spaces. I scoured the dance floor to help Michaela find a missing earring. Turns out she had lost it back at Vodka Revolutions.
Needless to say (but essential because I’m determined to relate my experiences to semi-randomly chosen songs), we stumbled (some falling) out into the dead of night and headed for Mr. D’s. I got a bacon and mushroom burger and failed to make it to mass at the Abbey the next morning.

Warmed by the Firelight – We grilled hamburgers at 29 Northampton (across the street). I broke the buns in half, which was hard. It wasn’t one of those ‘I’ll start, you finish’ deals, the sure trademark of a more considerate, people-minded bun company. I had to bare-handedly make my own incision into six or so rolls. Since my job was so difficult, I certainly didn’t have any free-time to climb the garden wall and sit there watching my friends do their respective jobs. But, alas, my cooked hamburger fell onto the grass. All that work! What did I do? Well, what do you think? Exactly, and let me tell you why.
Once upon a time, Billy decided to rush to join a fraternity. Needless to say, he entered the cafeteria one day dressed in women’s clothing, reading excerpts from a Harlequin Romance novel. Everybody laughed. When he was finally inducted (by means of beers cans being shaken and sprayed directly into his face) Billy came to realize that the fraternity was superficial. What did he do? Well, what do you think? Exactly and let me tell you why.
After I finished my burger, I went down to the kitchen to wash my plate, and found Lauren. She was keen to once again remind me that, after about two months, I have still only read the introduction to and 30 pages of Jame’s Joyce’s Ulysses.

I’ve even quoted that first breakfast scene in my Mementos class to support my point about another text.

WAIT! I can’t mention Ulysses and not be reminded of my creative writing classes in Oxford (and you’d much rather read my blog if I skip from one thing to another. It makes me sound spastic and entertaining)

I ask for direction – At 9:00am every Wednesday, I meet Laura to walk down down to Bath’s train station. We buy tickets, wait, and get on the train. It sounds simple, but I have a very limited and slow sense of direction. Laura knows this and always lets me know when I’m going the wrong way or about to be hit by oncoming traffic. She walks very fast, and one day I compared equated having to catch up with her every few steps with Harry Potter trying to keep pace with Hagrid. Naturally, she was not pleased with my analogy.
On the train, we read eachother’s work and sometimes exchange ipods. Music exchanging is an important part of our relationship, but, especially in a paraphrased universe, it can go one of two ways.
Joey: I hate rap. Darned teenagers and their bling-bling hippy-hoppy.
Laura: I love rap. Especially this song about a boy’s love for his Mama.
Joey: But that actually sounds…
Laura: Touching? I know. It is. Here.
Joey: Thankyou, Laura, I enjoy this song. Perhaps our musical tastes are not so different after all.
Joey: Would you like to hear the Jesus song?
Laura: No.
Joey: …oh, ok.

Before class, we sometimes go to the pond to watch the ducks. One time, we tried to determine which ones were single and married, and concluded that at least one of them was gay. By ‘the pond,’ I of course mean the Thames River. Kieron (my tutor) couldn’t believe that after 13 weeks I didn’t know that his house bordered the longest river in Enland. Well, I could.
Laura and I always get ice-cream at D + G’s after class. The Dutch Super Chocolate is by far the best. Recently, however, we’ve also one to Ben’s Cookies and Moo Moo’s Milkshakes. By ‘and’ I mean we go to both in one day. Last week, we bought a Ben’s Cookie and asked the uy at Moo Moo’s Milkshakes if he could blend it into our drink. Delicious.
At Kieron’s, aside from our peices for that week, we talk about related books, art/philosophy, and etc. Etc. stands for anything and everything, which includes Speckled Hen, Modernism/Postmodernism, and listening to Bob Dylan’s Subterranean Homesick Blues. Sometimes it feels like a waste of time (and other times it is), but the best kind of intelligence consists of objective, open-minded discourse, guided by experience. It’s frusteratingly intangible at times (e.g. Kieron asking Laura to convert her prose from windowpane-glass to ‘stained-glass, but don’t get all churchy on me’). Ultimately his advice does make sense and is worthwhile.

He, by the way, is an avid athiest and will say things like “Laura, how do you DO it?” But he always makes us tea (with sugar and milk) every week, which I will perhaps miss most of all.

Stratford – I already wrote this part out, and then it got deleted. Therefore, I am going to limit my discussion of Stratford to two things.

1. I’m one of many more to come – Given Stratford’s obsession with the William Shakespeare (gift shops filled with fridge-magnet quotes, Macbeth finger puppets, and a giant, pink eraser that says “Out, damned spot!” ), Will is no doubt rolling over in his grave (which, along with his birth and deathplace, has become a tourist site). While I’m sure the hype brings in a lot of good money for Stratford’s infrastructure, it also undermines by focusing on anything BUT his creative mind. It’s like following a celebrity on Twitter, or something. THe only gift I bought was a 1.5′ x 2′ inch booklet containing Mid-Summer Night’s Dream. Admittedly, I bought it mostly for comic relief…
“Crap, I think we’re out of sodas.”
“Alas…*pulls out Mid-Summer Night’s Dream from back pocket*…Merry and tragical! Tedious and brief! That is, hot ice and wonderous strange snow. How shall we find the concord of this discord?”

2. The Bear – We attended two shows whilst in Stratford. One was As You Like It which wasn’t too great save for the set that allowed actors to quickly enter from under the stage floor tiles. During intermission, I wanted the custodians to do the same, using their mops like the outlaws used their rifles in the play.
The second of two plays we saw on our last night in Straford, A Winter’s Tale, was infinitely better. Why? Because of Shakespeare’s curious and seemingly random character exit: ‘exits, followed by a bear.’ Well, the director of this play decided to block his exit with the bear. A creature with glowing yellow eyes, standing at about twenty feet tall, slowly emerged from darkened backstage. It’s fur was made of hundreds of sheets of paper and two invisible tech-working were swinging its massive arms. This was no bear. This was Ganon from the Legend of Zelda (see link below)
I still insist that an entire production be dedicated to the life and times of The Bear. Maybe how his eyes only glow when he feels loved, and how, for soothe, his great big hug smothered the very man who, by his presence alone, had broken the spell of his terrible lonliness. Come on, Stratford, there’s more money to be made!

Cracked and Weary – By the end of the night, my face paint was cracking. And it’s a lot of work to act like a monkey, especially when everyone wants a picture with Darwin Thornberry of The Wild Thornberry’s.
Yes, well, Linley house invited all the other houses to a cartoon character theme party. In my absence, some of the girls in my houses decided we should go as The Wild Thornberries and that I, without a doubt, was to be Darwin, the intelligent monkey (see below link).
Lauren gave me her blue shorts which, on me, ended at about mid thigh. I went costume shopping with Mel, Lauren, and Christina whereupon I bought a blue and white-striped shirt and TopShop and fake ears and grey face paint at a joke shop. Ok, it was a ‘shirt.’ It was actually a halter top that came down just over the blue shorts (see below link)
Also present were the other Thornberries, Poetry Smurf, Captain Hook, and Yogi Bear.

Let the words spill from my mouth — I performed in front of our program for Write Night at, everybody’s favorite pub, The Huntsman. The most stressful part of it all was coming back from Oxford with Laura to find that I had left my laptop cord at Kieron’s. Luckily, before my laptop died, I had just enough time to print out the story: Two Ways to Make a Costa Rican Cake (a.k.a. Love Affair with a Jewish Goat). Although I didn’t intend to offend anyone of the Hebrew persuasion, Jonathon told me that he heard an audible gasp at the line,
“One self-sacrificial snip, so that he could go and sin in the eyes of God with some horny Jewish girl.”
Well, If bestiality or the ramblings of a culturally ignorant protagonist offends you, then fine. Just understand that any writing peice should make you re-think what you ‘know’. And also that I am not necessarily a stand-in for the narrator. If she is ignorant, it doesn’t meant that I am. The end.
Jonathon also asked me to read a ‘humorous’ poem that he wrote about…Stratford: “Is this where Hamlet sipped warm beer? Did Desdemona die right here? Did Richard lose his horse and Kingdom, somewhere between here and Swindon?…” and on for about 5 long minutes. Delivery had to rescue the poem, and that’s what I tried to do. The night even ended with McDonald’s. All I missed was a certain poem about a hot air balloon…hmm…

Home – I have 4 more whole days here in Bath. I’m going to write one more entry this week to sum things up as best as possible. Although I can’t wait to finish playing Braid and to play my keyboard, I’m not quite ready to leave everyone. I’m not sure who I will see again and who I won’t. So I don’t have quite the enthusiasm that Billy Corgan has in his song.
FYI: I’m concerned about The Smashing Pumpkins, as Billy Corgan is the only remaining original member. He has recently said that he hasn’t felt so inspired since ’96 but that means Adore quality at best. Oh yeah, I can’t wait to mow my lawn while listening to Adore live.

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