Sunday, October 31, 2004


In a devastating turn of events, there will be no Nun-Clown in Scotland this year. That's right, not even one. There is simply no clown makeup to be found anywhere in Aberdeen, and I spent all afternoon looking. It got so I was even running into bookstores and shit, grabbing people by the collars and shouting, "CLOWN MAKEUP! CLOWN MAKEUP! IT'S A CLOWN MAKEUP EMERGENCY!" But nobody could help me.

I still have the habit, but it just wouldn't be the same. A year ago, dressing up as a nun would have been funny enough. But we're past that now. We've seen the nun-clown, and we know better.

This is obviously the worst thing that has ever happened, but I refuse to let it ruin my Halloween. After all, Nun-Clown is pretty fucking scary to look at, but if you think about it, it's scary to not be looking at her. Where is she now? What is she doing? Who is she killing? Questions like that keep all of us on our toes.

My mom reads this blog and she saw what I had written about her and Nun-Clown. She emailed me offering more questions. "Who is she? What planet did she grow up on?" Not what planet is she from, what planet did she grow up on. I love that. "Why is she so clueless?"

I'll leave you with a greeting Nun-Clown whipped up using Photoshop just now. She's no whiz, but she's learning!

Saturday, October 30, 2004


The fact that Halloween falls on a Sunday puts me in an odd situation. I know I want to become Nun-Clown at some point this weekend, but do I want to do it tonight or tomorrow night? Saturday would make sense because it's the big party night, and Sunday would be the actual day of Halloween. But how many people are going to clubbing on Sunday night? I just don't want to be a nun-clown at a party that's really not happening. That would just be sad.

I finished all the dialogue for Sisters By Habit on Thursday. It ended up being 99 pages, but it's not properly formatted or anything, so I still have lots of work ahead of me. Not to mention the fact that I already have a growing list of ideas I still want to work into the screenplay in some form or another. I'm almost weirded out by how clearly I'm envisioning the final product. If the big studios don't offer to let me direct, I'll have no choice but to move on to a smaller studio that believes in my vision even if they can't afford my dream casting.

I'm not usually all about Halloween, but this weekend I just feel buzzed about it. Like anything could happen. In addition, I'm totally on edge for some reason and am startled as fuck by the slightest noise or appearance of one of my flatmates.

Nun-Clown turns one year old tomorrow. I don't know what we're going to do for her birthday, maybe present her with a jelly donut decorated with a single candle. Does she even like donuts? I've never bothered to ask her. She's always going on about how much she enjoys tearing out people's rib cages and wearing them as hats.

I did go to my lecture yesterday, after staying up all night. Besides the fact that I was basically hallucinating, the my professor's voice sounded to me as if someone was playing with the volume knob and going back and forth between WAY TOO LOUD and too quiet to make out. I also didn't have any of my school things with me so I had to ask someone for a pen and paper, which reminded me of how Marianne and I met, so that was heartwarming. Or it would have been, if the world hadn't been spinning at the moment.

After two hours of class, I had to walk home 2 miles because I had no money and can't afford to take the bus. I stopped by the doctor because I've been sick for three weeks and that's pretty much my limit before I start thinking something is seriously wrong with me, but they couldn't fit me in until next Friday. When I got home, I had a note from Royal Mail saying they had tried to deliver me a package, but it was too big for the mail slot, so I had to pick it up in person. Since this package contained my nun habit and several Strangers With Candy DVDs, I knew that waiting until Monday was not an option, especially with Halloween this Sunday. So instead of going to bed, I took a bus out to buttfuck nowhere in the pouring rain and retrieved it. By the time I finally got my ass to bed, I was too tired to sleep. But it was all worth it because I'M BACK IN THE HABIT, BABY!

And now I'm off to eat my flatmates' food because I have none left. Bless them!

Friday, October 29, 2004


When I haven't updated the blog in a long time, I like to sit myself down at the computer at a moment when I'm feeling particularly uninspired, start writing, and see what happens. So what do I have to say right now?

It's 8:15 in the morning and I've just stayed up all night. I have a class in 45 minutes, the first I'll have been to in exactly a week. The only thing stopping me from going to bed right now is the fact that my class is 200 feet away and my bed is 2 miles away. Ballal (previously known as "B") invited me out, and I decided not to pass up the invitation because I haven't interacted with anyone but my flatmates in ages, but the scene was pretty dead so I went all the way up to campus with them. (When I say the scene was dead, I don't mean in a good "ho ho, it's the weekend of Halloween" way. It was just dead.)

That's the only downside to living in a flat as opposed to the dorms -- I'm very out of the loop when it comes to being in close proximity with hundreds of potential buddies. What, is it week 5 or 6 by now? People have established actual social lives while I've been chilling out across town. It's fine, though, because Ballal has to share a toilet and a kitchen with people who... Let's put it this way: when they hired a cleaning lady to tidy the place up, she called the health inspector and he gave them a warning. Then, the same thing happened again a few weeks later. If it happens one more time, everyone in the flat is going to be fined £10.

So Ballal and I stayed up all night talking and eating and watching DVDs. He also showed me my first episodes of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. We watched this episode where these horrible creatures stole the voices of everyone in Sunnydale, then came -- floated -- into their bedrooms at night and cut out their hearts. AND THEY COUDLN'T SCREAM. I was like, "NUN-CLOWN!" They totally ripped me off, yo.

Speaking of nun-clowns, I was supposed to be one for the costume contest at the gay bar last night, but it hasn't arrived in the post yet. My parents, bless them, were good enough to send along the habit without asking too many questions. Sometimes I wonder what they think of all this. My mom has made small attempts to understand, like when she asked, "Eric, why do you love the nun-clown so much?" I could only answer, "Because she's amazing." And my mom replied, "It's a woman?"

It's October 29th today. I only have £5 that's supposed to last me until Monday, when I get my November money. Like I said, I'm completely out of groceries and I was planning on going to the movies multiple times this weekend because they're showing Before Sunset and Before Sunrise at the cinema for sehr billig. I'm having flashbacks to Marianne running around Seattle having very nearly no money for food or rent because her bank completely screwed her over. One time, she literally had 80 cents to her name and I had to watch her spend it on a candy bar or something because it was the only thing 80 cents would get her. That was a sad day. Now that's me, and it's a sadder day.

Just kidding, Marianne had it way worse. She told me she was going to post in this blog all about how everything went wrong for her in America, but she's pretty busy writing her dissertation and all.

I've just moved across the world and once again I'm thinking travel. My friends Josh and Jen are spending the year in Germany and Spain respectively, and over the holidays we're all going to try and visit each other's cities. Also, it's quite likely I'll be spending Christmas with Rosie's family in Bristol, so I'll get to see some of England as well. Apparently, Rosie's parents live across the street from the parents of the guy who plays Kurt on Teachers, a British television show. Since it'll be the holidays, Rosie and I are hoping he'll be around and we can break into his home and tie him up and make him hang out with us because even celebrities think we're cool.

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Sisters are doing it for themselves

Sorry the posts have been so few and far between lately. I'm still dead sick and for some reason it doesn't seem to be getting any better. I haven't slept through the night in about a week for the coughing. I've completely stopped leaving the flat, because I don't want to risk the cold and wet making it worse. Until recently, I hadn't been eating much because I didn't feel like it, seeing as I can't taste anything anymore, but then I thought maybe that was keeping me sick because my body wasn't getting enough fuel to fight the infection properly. Okay, I thought, New strategy. I will eat everything in sight just to be sure. So that's been quite nice. You may think this is a little weird because I can't taste any of it, but it's like smokers who are addicted to the act of smoking. It makes me happy to put things in my mouth.

There are too many jokes to be made about that last sentence, so I'm just going to leave it alone.

It's very likely, of course, that I've been eating all the wrong things. Something like this I usually see as an opportunity to eat a lot of chocolate and fried things and still feel like I'm doing what's best for my body. So that delusion is nice. I may have to leave the flat very soon, though, because today I actually polished off the last of my food store when I ate a whole quiche for breakfast.

As a foreign student, I'm not supposed to miss any of my lectures. It says in my handbook that if I'm going to miss a lecture I have to bring a doctor's note proving that I was too sick to make it. I find it gets easier with each passing day not to worry about the fact that I haven't been to uni in almost a week. What's the worst that could happen? I'll fail my history course, I'll go home, they won't give me credit, and it will be as if I never took the class, which is just fine with me because I never wanted to take it in the first place. Besides, I have better things to do, like WORK ON MY FEATURE-LENGTH SCREENPLAY!

Sisters By Habit is the only reason I haven't felt like a totally useless lump bumming around the flat day after day. I wrote that treatment seven months ago, and since then I'd put together an extremely detailed outline of exactly what was going to happen from beginning to end, but when it came to writing an actual script, I hit a roadblock. I didn' t have a clue where to start, or how to write dialogue that sounded anything like the way people actually talked. I came to terms with the fact that I would probably have to hand over my outline to someone who really knew what they were doing, and I would get a "story by" credit when the movie finally got made, something I remain absurdly confident will actually happen. What is wrong with me? Nobody will ever invest money in a production like this. But I'm allowed to dream.

Anyway, what I'm trying to tell you is, in the last three days I've written over 65 pages of dialogue for Sisters By Habit. It started around noon on Monday, and I've been glued to my laptop ever since. If I wasn't sick, I would still have blown off lecture. It's been three of the most incredible days of my life, because even though this movie is about something as stupid as a nun going undercover as a stripper, the more I write the more surprised I am that it's actually...kind of good. It's preposterous, of course, but it is a comedy, after all.

Maybe I'm just stupid and in love with my own creation because it's the first time I've done this. It just blows my mind that I've been writing for almost 12 hours every day and ideas are still coming to me as fast as I can type them. This is what I want to do. No doubt about it.

Best part is, no Vikings involved whatsoever.

Saturday, October 23, 2004

A home at the other end of the world

I've been really sick for the last week, or maybe more. I'm not sure. I know I'm getting really damn tired of all this snot and coughing. Walking over 4 miles to uni and back in generally cold and wet conditions probably wasn't helping much, so this last week I decided to take the bus or just stay home.

I gave my presentation on Birchwood yesterday, and it went pretty well, considering they couldn't get a computer in the room so I had to do without my PowerPoint presentation, which contained a lovely photograph of me drinking straight from the bottle as an answer to the stories shared by the professor in his Tuesday lecture. And so it happened that the class never even knew the comedy they were missing. In a more pleasing turn of events, I was allowed to remain seated for my talk, albeit it at the head of the class. When I speak in front of large groups, my knees actually shake. They still shook, as did my hands, but I don't know if anyone could tell. My mouth also went completely dry and a few times I totally blanked, but I think I was generally coherent so I consider the whole affair to be a triumph.

Seriously, though, thank fuck that's over and done with.

Even though I haven't been feeling well, I went to a party on Wednesday night because, well, I don't think the American fob with no friends is in a place to turn down any invitations. It was a really, really good time though. I wasn't inside the door more than two minutes before a friendly guy who had already had half a bottle of gin (he was nice enough to acknowledge the possible connection between these two things) struck up a conversation and hung out with me for most of the night.

For the gazillionth time, I'm going to start a sentence with the phrase, "Before I got here, Marianne told me..." Well, before I got here, Marianne told me that everyone would mention Frasier when I told them I was from Seattle. For the first month or so, I didn't encounter anyone who said that to me, so I thought maybe Marianne just had an unhealthy obsession with Frasier and liked to project this onto other people. But lately, yes, that's everyone's immediate reaction when I tell them where I'm from. They also like to mention Sleepless in Seattle, Kurt Cobain ("Ooh, grunge! Is that still going on?"), Boeing, Starbucks, and oddly enough, Microsoft. Microsoft was supposed to be what put Redmond on the map, but apparently they didn't get the new map over here, so everyone thinks Microsoft is in Seattle.

Not that I really have a problem with any of this. It's nice to know that people all the way over here have ideas associated with my city. It gives me a swell of pride to think that my beloved city contributed great comedy like Frasier to the world (even though I'm pretty sure it wasn't filmed there), and is a place that made Kurt Cobain want to kill himself. Maybe I should just start telling people the wrong shit so I don't have to shatter as many illusions. "Well, after the show was cancelled, Frasier had to get a job at Starbucks -- that's a grunge band... Everyone in Seattle takes turns living the Space Needle... Yes, all of us..."

Really, it just makes me want to hug someone with gratitude if they think something about me is interesting, even if it's just the place I come from. I haven't managed to completely shake the feeling of being a fish out of water living in this country, but there are days when I feel further from shore than others, so if lots of people here happen to use the same opener on me, I definitely don't have a problem with that.

Thursday, October 21, 2004

On the other hand...

I really, really love my literature class. We're reading texts by contemporary Scottish and Irish authors, and I find myself relieved that I do still love to learn and explore things even if they have nothing to do with how likely I am to find a job after graduating.

Also, in a bizarre twist of events, I've found that I look forward to seminar more than almost anything else during the week. (Wow, I just realized I've completely forgotten what seminar was called at UW.) I still don't own the discussion or anything, but I feel comfortable enough to speak without raising my hand, something scientists said would never be possible.

Of course, to counteract all the progress I've made with my social anxieties, I'm scheduled to give a presentation the day after tomorrow, and it's some act I've got to follow. On Tuesday, I walked into lecture to find all the lights out, candles all over the place, and an animated GIF of a beckoning skeleton projected onto the screen. The professor gave this bizarre lecture presented in the form of a story about how he stayed up all night trying to write the day's lecture, eventually resorting to getting wasted and being visited by a series of ghosts who provided him with several insights into the text. The "ghosts" were shown to us in video clips, and were in fact various members of the English department saying things like, "I am a ghost, and Birchwood is a gothic novel, not a romance. Can I go now?" Seriously. It was really, really cool. I mean, the format kept things entertaining, but it's always amazing to hear someone lecture so passionately about something. (Unless it's history.)

Unfortunately, the professor basically said it all when it comes to this novel. So I have to figure out a way to say something new so I don't just go up in front of the class tomorrow and try to convince people that I was visited by ghosts who told me I was excused from this assignment.

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

If I could turn back time...

Oh my god. Why did I take a history class? This may have been the stupidest thing I've done since moving here, and trust me I've done plenty of stupid things to choose from.

I haven't taken a history class since high school. I've always hated the subject. Now I'm in the middle of it hardcore. My professor keeps referring to us as "future historians." I want to raise my hand and say, "No, no, no! Not me! I'm not! So don't grade me like one!" It's only a first-year class, but I'm miles behind everyone else. All those names, dates, countries, battles, leaders, family trees... There are so many illegitimate children it ought to be at least a little bit scandalous and therefore interesting, but it's like the most boring soap opera ever. And I'm sorry, I don't know if I will ever have time to hear what anyone has to say about someone actually named "Forkbeard."

Every day I just spend the whole class sitting there confused. Since every sentence the professor utters literally baffles me, I write it all down as fast as I can in the hopes that it will look like something other than nonsense when I look over my notes later. (I sense I may be setting myself up for disappointment, however.)

So when I sit there letting the incoherence wash over me, I like to remind myself that, while this year is an opportunity to study new things at a university in a foreign country, it is also kind of a screw-off year and I ain't no damn history major, so the Vikings can go fuck themselves. And I daydream of next semester, where a schedule of nothing but film studies awaits.

Friday, October 15, 2004

It's Inconsiderate Cel Phone Man!

I recently got a mobile phone. It's actually Marianne's dad's, and he was awesome enough to let me use it for the year. Probably because he got a way cooler one to replace it, but that's just fine with me. I didn't have a mobile when I left the States, and wasn't planning on getting one when I moved here, but what I've heard about most of Europe seems to be true: you just can't nurture a social life without one. So despite my hatred of the damn things, I caved. However, today I had an experience which reminded me why I dislike them so much.

Each week someone from my English seminar goes up and gives a presentation on some aspect of the material we're studying that week (our seminar leader calls them "exposés," as if we were assigned to reveal that James Kelman was into hookers and blow). Mere minutes after this girl had introduced herself and began exposing away -- wait, let's drop the exposé thing and say "presenting away" -- there was the distinct sound of ringing. The kind that comes from a mobile phone. The kind that comes from a mobile phone IN MY BAG. Yes, I am that asshole. I am Inconsiderate Cel Phone Man. It took me ages to realize I was the offender, making me look even more stupid. "At least I won’t be the only one who looks like an arse today," joked the interrupted young woman at the front of the class.

Last week I had an incredibly vivid nightmare in which I was tricked into entering a small, totally dark underground room by myself and locked inside, and however these things work in dreams I somehow became aware that someone very evil had done this in order to watch me lose my mind and die slowly and horribly. You can imagine how well-rested I felt the next day.

I'm telling you this because today Rosie and I went to the cinema and saw, er, Saw. I'd never read anything about it in America, so I don't know when you guys are going to get this movie, but OMIGOD IT IS TEH SCARIE. Rosie and I were practically crying by the end. We just walked all the way home screaming. How come I haven't talked to anyone else who finds this film frightening? Even the homos at AbFab were unimpressed. I thought it must be me, but seriously, what kind of psycho ISN'T disturbed by [insert any given frame of Saw here]? I'm standing my ground on this one. I know I'm not nearly as desensitized to cinematic horror as most people...but Rosie is. And she nearly shat herself as well, if she doesn't mind me saying so on the internet.

In other “Eric goes to the movies” news, this week I saw Wimbledon (if Paul Bettany and/or his ass is reading this, let him/it please note that my email address in the sidebar is current) and Bride & Prejudice, the Indian “Pride & Prejudice.” I liked them both very much, but Bride & Prejudice really took the cake. Absolutely fucking fabulous, every second of it. For reasons I'm sure I don't want to know, it's not coming out in America until Christmas Day (even then, it'll be a limited release), but wherever you are, I can't urge you strongly enough not to miss it.

Also, can I just give massive props to British cinema audiences for being respectful and shutting the hell up during movies? I know I've mentioned this before, but I consider it an act of God if I don't feel the bloodlust while sharing an auditorium with an American audience, which somehow always manages to include someone who talks over the film as if it was a nuisance to their holding a conversation with the person next to them. Or those annoying people who loudly overreact to a film in order to show others that they are "getting" it. For a society about a hundred times more obsessed with mobile phones than America, I'm still the only person I've encountered here who has been foolish enough to let their phone go off at an inappropriate time.

Thursday, October 14, 2004

Magical him

Since the Harry Potter books make up the bulk of many Americans' knowledge about life in Great Britain, Marianne used to joke that when I came to the University of Aberdeen it would be just like Hogwarts, with people flying around casting spells and shit. Well, now that I'm here I can see for myself that the only magic going on here is the magic of learning and I think we all know that that does not count. And as for levitation of any sort, well the two hours we spend walking to and from uni every day is enough to convince me out of that one.

But there is one element of Hogwarts that does actually exist here at AU, and he teaches one of my classes. If you tell me this man was not the original inspiration for the character of Gilderoy Lockhart, I won't believe you. This man is an expert on self-love, not to mention dramatic pauses. He refers to the class as his audience. He has a book coming out in a few months. He is a man thoroughly (and mistakenly) convinced of his own charisma. He even looks like a weird version of Kenneth Branaugh. It's absolutely uncanny.

Yesterday I met a girl who had taken one of NotLockhart's classes last year. I asked her if she learned much, and she told me, "I don't know, but I learned a lot about him."

Ever since I came to the realization of who this man reminded me of, everything NotLockhart says or does has been waaaay too right. He even has the fake modesty going on: "Oh, you'll have to excuse me, I've gone off on a tangent. These are all things I've been researching for my new book, but I'm sure it's completely boring to all of you! Seriously, though, it's fascinating. Keep in mind that everything I've been telling you has never been published's all coming from right here [points to own head]. So please, treasure your notes...they will be invaluable when transcribing your final essays." Then he says, "Unpublished, of course, until my book comes out in a few months. Then everyone will be able to read it!"

NotLockhart likes to show us pictures of ancient relics and say "UNTOUCHED" very dramatically, then close his eyes and observe a moment of silence for how untouched they are. As if the sheer power of how untouched they are has just rendered him incapable of speech. In fact, he's very fond of moments of silence, but usually they're in honor of a "charming" "witticism" he has just made.

NotLockhart loves to remind us very smugly that most of what we might find in texts dealing with his subject will contradict what he's teaching us, and naturally assumes that this makes him a genius instead of a moron. I don't think he's a moron, actually -- but he's really, really not as interesting as he thinks he is.

Luckily, now that I've figured out that he's totally Gilderoy Lockhart, lectures have taken on a whole new level of entertainment.

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

The 6 O'Clock News

The last few weeks we've been studying fiction and poetry written in urban Glaswegian dialects, and while I've had a tough time making sense of it, I can't help but feel worse for the two study abroad students from Germany and Austria, who are working hard enough without dealing with the word "if" spelled three different ways within the span of seven lines. It's so interesting, though, because its construction is based entirely on the sound of the language, not the words, if you know what I mean. I literally can't make heads or tails of it on paper until I read it aloud in my head, and even then I'm in the dark when it comes to all the colloquialisms, so I'm like, "What's a 'daft kunt'?" Well, okay, I know that one. But if you click here you can look at one of Tom Leonard's poems, then listen to him read it aloud.

Sunday, October 10, 2004

How drunk

Something to add to the list of firsts I've experienced since moving to Aberdeen, last night was the first time I got so drunk that large portions of the evening are completely absent from my memory. You could blame the beer, the wine, or the multiple shots, but personally I have to hold accountable the FOUR PITCHERS OF VODKA RED BULL. They sell pitchers of vodka red bull here. I thought that was illegal. Aren't you supposed to die if you have too much of that stuff? The only thing that died last night was our dignity. If dancefloors could talk, this one would just break down crying. As, I imagine, did everyone watching us shake our groove things.

Maybe they serve pitchers of cocktails in America, but it still sounds like some kind of joke to me, like a 7-11 selling Slim Jims the size of anacondas. In some ways, experiences like last night can make you look at things in a whole new light. For example, now I’m glad I haven’t made enough friends in this city to have to worry that anyone I know might have seen me doing...whatever I thought I was doing on the dancefloor.

Rosie and I woke up today and spent much of the day doing the thing where you try and piece together the events and chronology of the previous night. Things keep coming back to me at random intervals and I hang my head in new shame. Like when Rosie commented, "We should have played a drinking game or something," and I had to remind her of when Jo returned to the table with yet another pitcher of vodka red bull and three drinking straws, hollering, "Race to the bottom!" AND WE DID.

Also, I drunk-dialed Luke and cringe when I imagine what I might have said to him while in such a state. It couldn’t possibly have been as bad as last time, and I’m sure nothing I could have said would have bothered him, but the thing about dignity is that there always seems to be more to lose.

So today was all about recovery. Rosie and I became one with the couch and watched The Wedding Singer, Young Frankenstein, and the newest French & Saunders stage show. We also very nearly watched a gay porn she owns entitled "Prowler Men." She told me she received it as a gag gift on her birthday, by which I understand that she scoured every porn shop in the land for the perfect man-on-man action to satisfy her perverted needs. Just kidding...I think.

I saw a television show tonight about a couple of gardening ladies (notice tasteful refrain from "garden hoes" joke) who solve murders when they tend the bushes or whatever in rich people’s backyards. And do you know what this show is called? Rosemary & Thyme. I am not making this shit up, people. Maybe my dream of Bangers & Mash (Walter Bangers and Gretchen Mash, crimefighting partners who don’t get along but do get results, and enjoy bangers and mash at the end of every episode) isn’t such a long shot after all. Rosemary & Thyme is a lot like Murder, She Wrote in that old ladies are underestimated but put together the clues before anyone else does. But the old ladies on this show spend a lot more time eavesdropping from behind shrubbery. I’m still unclear on why these ladies haven’t even been brought in for questioning regarding the trail of corpses they leave in their wake, though.

Friday, October 08, 2004

Shared moments

I was going to update sooner, but a whole more has happened in the last few days than a few more history lectures. But speaking of history lectures, I don't know how much more I can take -- the professor is a living sleeping aid. I'm sure she's a very nice woman, but even she appears to fall asleep once in a while in the middle of her lectures. Interestingly, the other professor teaching this course is a big homo who went to the AbFab meeting and possibly freaked some of his students.

And speaking of AbFab, after staying in for last week's meeting due to the dodgy time I had the first week, I met up with The Gays once more and actually had a really great time. But, you're probably asking (I can tell these things), what changed my mind about the whole enterprise? Well, I'll tell you. On Wednesday I entered the classroom and realized how fucking sick I was of walking into rooms full of people and leaving it however many hours later without having exchanged a single word with anyone. So after the lecture I made a beeline for some guy I recognized from AbFab. If I don't do this now, I'm never, ever going to, I thought. After all, I had talked to him briefly when Marianne introduced us that first week. The worst that can happen is he'll be super polite with me and never speak to me again. I just walked right up to him and said, "Hi!" like I was surprised to see him or something. Oh, shut up.

So I guess I was wrong about the worst that could happen, because what he replied was, "What?" And then, "Who are you?" You can imagine how delighted I was. Suddenly I was sure this wasn't the same guy I had been thinking of. I nervously tried to remind him who I was, but that's just the saddest thing, isn't it? "We met, remember? No? Well, let me explain it to you... How about now?"

Thank god he did end up remembering me, and thank god he turned out to be the nicest guy in the world. So that day I had lunch with my very own new friend, Iain. (Not the same Iain who told me his embarrassing story last week -- he's yesterday's news.) And it was Iain who convinced me to show up to this week's AbFab meeting -- see how that works out? In any situation like this, all you need to do is make one friend, and after that everything starts happening on its own. That one friend will sit next to you in the cafeteria and everyone else will wonder, Who is that new guy? He is clearly fascinating and staggeringly attractive, if that other guy is talking to him. I cannot wait to find out more. Something like that, anyway.

I don't know whose idea it was to mix gays and sports, but this week AbFab was shaking it up and going bowling instead of drinking. Well, in addition to drinking, really. We arrived at the bowling alley to find it would cost £8 to play two games, so me and another guy sat out and wet ourselves watching gay boys flinging bowling balls OVERHAND down the lanes. The lesbians, on the other hand -- strikes all around. Sometimes it's funny how perfectly people live up to your expectations.

The guy I ended up talking to, Marianne had also briefly introduced us the first week, but this time we were able to have a decent conversation, although strictly speaking I may be using the word "decent" a bit loosely here. I think he's great. Apparently, people have taken to simply calling him "B," because they can't be bothered to remember his real name correctly. I can say his name fine, but if I try and spell it right now he may see this and decide he wants nothing to do with me. So right now I'm hopping on the "B" bandwagon. "B"andwagon. Oh, is there no end to the funny?

In other news: I used up an entire calling card talking to David on the phone for the first time since he moved to Seattle a few weeks ago. I can't believe he's actually at university now -- and tomorrow he's turning 19! It's not just that it's happening so fast, it's happening WITHOUT ME. Luckily, being practically telepathic with each other saves on phone bills because we don't really have to finish any of our sentences.

We talked about the sitcom pilot he wrote for some contest on Bravo. I don't know the details, but if he's one of the top five I think they're going to make a reality show about filming it. The Wee David wrote a sitcom pilot, yo. And it's uncannily good -- I could easily imagine it on a network. And by "uncannily good," I mean that it so skillfully emulates the style of an actual American sitcom that if it was put on the air I'm not sure if I would watch it.

We traded updates on our new living situations. We reminisced about the Woody Allen Film Festival that was our last few months together in America. "I miss Woody Allen," David told me. "It's like all his movies take place in their own special universe where everyone feels as bad as I do."

I also made David give me every detail about how he talked to Morgan Spurlock in line at customs on his way back from New Zealand. Then he saw him again when he came to UW last week! My only celebrity sighting was when Danny Roberts from The Real World: New Orleans sat next to me at R. Place and our legs were touching. I would have said something, but his boyfriend was drooling all over my friend Greg and we were busy watching that spectacle together. That's what I call a shared moment.

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

Another non-victory

Well, it was another 8th place finish for Rosie and I at the movie quiz tonight. There were tons of people there (it's not nearly as nerdy as it sounds), so we didn't come in last place, but the defeat was extra bitter because the top three teams won a bottle of wine and the top two won their choice of DVDs. I nailed the film noir round, but really quite bombed the sequels round. I should have known that the sequel to Cat People was not More Cat People.

The other day I saw a show on television about Scottish people living in Seattle. Watching all the footage of my beloved city made me realize that I didn't live there anymore. I tried to imagine what this program looked like to the vast majority of people who were watching it, marveling that something so familiar could be on the other side of the planet. I mean, I knew I lived in Scotland and everything, but somehow I was convinced that Scotland was really just Oregon. And they don't make you pay sales tax over there either, so really it's not that much of a stretch.

No, I live in Aberdeen, Scotland, which is part of the United Kingdom, which is part of Europe. I live in Europe. NO, SERIOUSLY, ERIC. England is my Oregon. I'm surrounded by people who grew up completely differently than I did. A lot of times this is easy to forget because the things we have in common are the most visible. When I walk down the street I see people who wear generally the same kinds of clothes (granted, sometimes it's more generally than others), talk about the same kinds of things, have the same kinds of jobs, have families and friends and eat dinner and put on jackets when it's cold out.

Of course, as I've mentioned, they also drive on the other side of the road, use monetary units which occasionally make me cry inside ("I'm carrying around 40 extra pounds") and they have an inexplicable hatred of gingers (redheads). And wait, I want to talk about the "in" hairstyles here. I have chilling news for those of you who are American, because I have a feeling it may end up stateside sooner than we expect. THE MULLET IS "IN." They don't call it that, but a rose by any other name is still a fucking mullet. It's soooo in. And the thing is, I can see it as a logical extension of popular American male hairstyles. Already, we are suffering through a revolting comeback of the '70s shag or whatever it's called when they just let it grow into a greasy mass of hair that appears to be consuming the skull of its host. Long hair in the back is already allowed again. It's only a matter of time.

A few weeks ago, the four boys who just moved into the flat below us came up to introduce themselves and one of them had something on his head that looked like Carol Brady meets Hurricane Ivan. I felt threatened by it. But other than that they were nice guys. I sort of which I hadn't been bundled up in a duvet watching my soaps at the time, but they sort of caught us off-guard.

Tune in tomorrow for details on my first history lecture.

Sunday, October 03, 2004

Good times

I was going to see Double Indemnity at the cinema with Morris yesterday, but due to a dodgy negative it was replaced with The Big Sleep. Since I've heard the title of that movie is a bit too accurate, we saw a Russian film called Father and Son instead. After seeing it, I've decided Russian films may not be for me. The only other ones I can remember seeing are Burnt by the Sun, which I couldn't even finish (I know, shame on me), and Black Ice, which I cannot stress enough times was so awful I nearly wept. Perhaps the best thing that can be said about Father and Son is that it is incredibly homoerotic. Perhaps the worst thing is that this homoeroticism takes place between the two title figures. Luckily, I'm pretty sure they're not related in real life.

I feel really good about being friends with Morris. He's one of the few people I've met who's up for seeing two or three movies instead of just one when going to the cinema. He may also be the only person interested in going to the movie quiz with me EVERY. SINGLE. WEEK. One of these days, I'm going to win that £10 worth of drinks. And until I do, every Tuesday night at 9:15 PM you're going to find me in the cinema bar with a pen and paper in one hand and my reckless ambition in the other. (I don't know how you can hold your own or anyone else's reckless ambition in your hand, but by god I'm going to try.)

Hanging out with Morris is pressure-free, unlike every other social situation I've found myself in since I arrived here. Not that it's so bad or anything, because I've met lots of super cool people I'd like to get to know. But having something in common like cinemania or whatever you want to call it certainly expedites the process. It's why I immediately got on with Rosie, and now we've become really good friends.

Last night Rosie and I had a night out at Gayville. That's not the name of the local gay club, but I wish it was. I remember Margaret Cho talking about the big gay club in Edinburgh, "C. C. Bloom's," which is named after Bette Midler's character in Beaches, and she said, "That place should just be called 'FUCK ME IN THE ASS!'" (Rosie has a special predilection for stand-up comedy, and she's NEVER HEARD OF MARGARET CHO. So I'm excited to be the person who introduces her.) The gay club here is called "Oh, Henry's." Yeah...I'm not going to touch that one.

Anyway, Rosie and I had a really good time. I recognized a few people from the AbFab meeting last week. The thing about gay clubs is that nobody goes there to make friends. Not the kind you talk to, anyway. If I'm going to bond with The Gays of Aberdeen, I'm going to have to make friends with them outside of a club. And I don't mean like behind the building, if you know what I mean. (Thank you, I'll be here all week.) It is always a little disappointing, though, to see everyone around you hooking up while you fend off the weirdos, and it's best to never forget that music, dancing, and good friends are the real reason all this is any fun. Holy shit, the music here is fantastic. I would get into that, but I'm keeping poor Rosie up and she has to wake up at 7:30 AM.

Also, I consumed my weight in chips today, and I'm not sorry. Just throwing that out there.

Friday, October 01, 2004

I can always be one of "those kids"

You know you’re not in America when it’s Friday night after a long week and the choice between having a night out and staying in to watch television is not an easy one. Tonight, it was a unanimous vote in favor of Green Wing. (No, that's not a pub.) In case you don’t live around here, Green Wing is a very surreal comedy series set in a hospital, which sounds a lot like Scrubs, but it’s even crazier. The show is so funny I can’t laugh hard enough, so I just sit there wetting myself and wondering how it’s possible for something to be so funny. The fact that it will probably never be seen in America is tragic on a level comparable to the new cover of "Car Wash" by Christina Aguilera and Missy Elliott.

I tried a third time to attend History lecture yesterday. This was obviously a foolish thing to do because nobody showed up yet again. I mean, nobody to teach us. By "us," I’m referring to myself and the two (2) other people who bothered to give showing up to this class another shot. The three of us loitered outside the lecture hall for 10 minutes, looking up from the floor occasionally to check on each other’s status. It’s a question every student has asked himself: how long do you wait for an apparently late professor? Most people will tell you 15 minutes, but everyone clears out as soon as they see one person give up and leave.

Today was my first seminar, for my English class. Seminar is when the lecture class splits into smaller groups to discuss the material with a different professor each week. It’s probably not the best sign that I was so surprised to find a real live professor in the classroom when I arrived, not just because of my History class but because the room was apparently located in the center of a subterranean labyrinth. I was expecting maybe David Bowie to be at the head of the class when I got there. Late, of course. This was quite embarrassing until two guys showed up later than me -- then I felt okay sitting there and judging them for their lack of punctuality.

I was right about one thing: after being denied so much socialization most of the week, I didn’t even vomit at the prospect of the dreaded "getting to know you" exercise, a horror I thought I had left an ocean and a continent behind me. We were instructed to pair up and find out and announce to the class our partner’s name, where they come from, and their most embarrassing experience ever. The great thing about embarrassing experiences is that it’s so much fun to hear a stranger describe yours to a room full of more strangers. We also had the option of choosing who you would want to be stranded on a desert island with, but I wasn’t going to go anywhere near that one because everyone knows you’re supposed to choose some kind of famous genius so you could pass the time having deep conversations with them (until you starve to death), but I would be more likely to inquire whether 17 clones of Tobey Maguire still count as one person.

Anyway, I told Iain, my partner, about the time I was coerced (that’s my story and I’m sticking to it) into printing fake SIFF tickets and was busted in front of the whole screening audience. I still get knots in my stomach when I think about how awful that was. (I was telling Luke about the "most embarrassing experience" thing today and he knew immediately without being told which incident I’d chosen.)

So then I got to tell everyone about Iain’s most embarrassing experience, which I won’t repeat here because maybe we’ll become friends later and he’ll find out I spilled his secrets on the internet and decide I suck and not be my friend after all. It will be just like in all the romantic comedies where the couple falls in love, and then the girl finds out about something hurtful and stupid the guy did before he realized he was in love with her. I’m not saying Iain is the bottom in this relationship, but I’m not saying he’s not, either.

On this occasion, "getting to know you" wasn’t nearly as bad as I always remembered these things. I really think it has something to do with people’s attitudes -- it’s always so awkward and joyless in America, whereas the students here seem much more relaxed about socializing. A lot of things seem more laid-back, seminar itself being an immediate example. I think there's more mutual respect between students and staff here. I’ll keep an eye out to see if my suspicions can be confirmed.

I haven’t made any friends yet, but I’m less nervous about it. I really, really hope I’m not getting ahead of myself. I still ate lunch by myself today, but at least I pretended to read while crying inside. If nothing else, I’m really enjoying class itself!

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