Sunday, April 30, 2006

My dream job

There are two of us. One of us stays awake all night while the other sleeps.

If something happens the first one is supposed to wake up the second, but nothing ever happens. This means that half the time I get paid to stay awake and the other half of the time I get paid to sleep. It confuses me, but it also enables me to buy things like food and umbrellas.

I have made a graph that explains all this in greater detail.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Détente!

You may have noticed that things have changed here at the SHÄDY ÄCRES.

For a long while we have carried a blindingly severe graphic theme on the pages of this particular Finnmärck blögzine; a hurricane of Prussian steel blue over a wasteland of Russian winter white.

We have carried it all these long months through the frost that followed from the great censorship debate and the subsequent staff coup, the palace revolution that brought the mighty Singularity Caucus to the fore.

But all things shall pass.

Now, finally, spring is here, and the gentle winds of change have thawed the totalitarian tundra. From the erstwhile barren soil of the Unknown Soldier’s grave, red flowers grow. The king is dead - all hail the king!

Where do we go from here? Simple; we move forward. We take up once more our grand enlightenment project. We have no choice but to continue. You depend on us. Yes you do.

I grew up on an island

A play in one act

Lights fade up. James Bond and the giraffe emerge out of the automatic doors of an airport building.

GIRAFFE
So we’re here. What’s next?

JAMES BOND
Get us a taxi. We’ll go to the hotel.

GIRAFFE
Are you OK?

JAMES BOND
I’m fine. Get us a taxi. I’ll watch the luggage.

GIRAFFE
Wait right here.

The giraffe waves down a taxi and they get into it.

JAMES BOND
What do you think?

GIRAFFE
About the city? It looks pretty normal to me. It could be anywhere.

JAMES BOND
You think so?

GIRAFFE
There are a lot more bicycles, but otherwise it could be anywhere.

JAMES BOND
I suppose you’re right.

GIRAFFE
(To the driver)
You guys have a lot of bicycles!

The taxi stops. They get out and walk directly into a hotel room. They start unpacking.

GIRAFFE
So have you talked to any of them?

JAMES BOND
No.

GIRAFFE
Do they know you’re coming?

JAMES BOND
No. I haven’t talked to any of them since then.

GIRAFFE
Why not?

JAMES BOND
What do you mean why not?

GIRAFFE
One would think, with what you went through together, that you would want to stay in touch.

JAMES BOND
Why is that?

GIRAFFE
One would assume.

JAMES BOND
Well, I haven’t. And neither have they. They haven’t stayed in touch with me either.

GIRAFFE
But you were the one who went away.

JAMES BOND
And that makes it my responsibility somehow?

GIRAFFE
Well, yes, sort of.

JAMES BOND
Listen, you don’t know anything about it.

GIRAFFE
No, but I...

JAMES BOND
Shut up. You don’t know. It’s not like it’s my old soccer team, camelopard. It’s not like that. I brought you with me so you could help me get through this. Do you want to help me?

GIRAFFE
Yes.

JAMES BOND
Then shut up.

GIRAFFE
Nice. OK. I’m going to call the tortoise.

JAMES BOND
Knock yourself out. I’m taking a nap.

The giraffe wanders off into a corridor to call the tortoise on his cell phone.

GIRAFFE
Yeah, no, he’s taking a nap. I guess he’s tired. He is such a pain in the ass right now. Yes I know that, but it’s different. No he doesn’t. He only took me because you kept insisting. Yes he did, he said so on the plane. I don’t know why you wanted me to come anyway. He's treating me like I’m in the way or something, and I’m the one doing him a fucking favor. Have you seen his suitcase? That thing weighs a ton. Yes I know he’s a British spy, you don’t have to tell me that.

The giraffe hangs up and comes back into the hotel room. The curtains are drawn.

GIRAFFE
The tortoise says hi.

JAMES BOND
(Lying on the bed, his back turned)
We should have rented a car at the airport. We need a car.

GIRAFFE
Now? Today?

JAMES BOND
Better get it today, we’ll be set for tomorrow. Wake me in an hour, we’ll go get a car.

GIRAFFE
OK, sure. Whatever.

JAMES BOND
You packed your suit like I told you, right?

GIRAFFE
Yes I did, for the third time. I packed the suit like you told me.

JAMES BOND
Good. Wake me in an hour.

He gets up. The rental car is standing right there. They walk over to it. It’s a Mercedes.

GIRAFFE
This is nice, huh?

JAMES BOND
Let’s go back to the hotel, we can get some dinner. Or lunch, they’ll be serving lunch now. That’s not a stick shift, is it?

GIRAFFE
No, thank God. We would’ve been in trouble.

JAMES BOND
Don’t drive too fast. It makes me sick to my stomach.

GIRAFFE
Don’t worry, I won’t.

JAMES BOND
And don’t drive too slow either.

GIRAFFE
Listen James, would you stop riding my ass already? Drive the car yourself.

JAMES BOND
I don't have a license.

GIRAFFE
You can’t drive?

JAMES BOND
Sure I can.

GIRAFFE
Then how come you don’t have a license?

JAMES BOND
I just don’t. Make a left here.

There is a loud farting noise.

GIRAFFE
(Laughing)
Jesus Christ!

JAMES BOND
You’re going too fast.

GIRAFFE
We're back.

They get out of the car and walk directly into the hotel bar.

JAMES BOND
I’ll have a vodka martini, shaken, not stirred. You know what? Fuck that. I'm having a white Russian.

GIRAFFE
I’ll have the same. And some cud.

They sip their drinks.

GIRAFFE
That wasn’t so bad. The cud is good, anyway.

JAMES BOND
It’s OK. It’s a pretty good hotel. I found it on the Internet.

GIRAFFE
(Puzzled)
You’re online?

JAMES BOND
What, you think I’m senile or something? Of course I am.

GIRAFFE
You know, I have to tell you I’m glad I came. It’s nice to finally see the center of the Empire.

JAMES BOND
This isn’t London.

GIRAFFE
I know, James. I meant the other Empire. I hope I get to see some more of it before we go home. I grew up on an island myself, you know.

JAMES BOND
It’s changed a lot. It’s not the same country.

GIRAFFE
Yeah? How so?

JAMES BOND
It’s been so long. I don’t recognize it.

GIRAFFE
I suppose that’s natural. Why did you leave?

JAMES BOND
Haven’t I told you this story before? I was offered that job with the government. I couldn’t afford to say no. I started traveling. After a while I didn’t come back so often. Eventually I stopped completely.

GIRAFFE
Listen James; I know you don’t like to talk about it.

JAMES BOND
I don’t.

GIRAFFE
But don’t you think I should know? We’re meeting those people tomorrow, I feel like an idiot.

JAMES BOND
(Yawns)
You know the story, camelopard. I’ve told you before.

GIRAFFE
Tell me again.

JAMES BOND
There’s not much to tell.

GIRAFFE
When did you join?

JAMES BOND
I didn’t join, it isn’t a club that you can just join.

GIRAFFE
Then what happened?

JAMES BOND
I was recruited at Oxford. That’s how it started. Then we came here.

GIRAFFE
What did you study?

JAMES BOND
Archeology.

GIRAFFE
Quite a change from archeology. Weren’t you scared?

JAMES BOND
Of course I was scared. We were all scared. But we were just kids. You think you’re going to live forever.

GIRAFFE
What kind of work did you do?

JAMES BOND
I’m tired, camelopard. Aren’t you tired? I’m tired from the flight and I’m beginning to get a headache. We need to be fresh for that thing tomorrow.

GIRAFFE
You mean the funeral.

JAMES BOND
Yes, that. And for the job afterwards.

GIRAFFE
OK, let’s go upstairs.

They don’t move. Lights fade.

THE END.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Excuse my bad breath

So Sara called the people who run the Internet antenna.

It turns out they've completely forgotten us and that's why it's taken so long. Isn't it just lovely?

I'm sending over a couple of old friends to persuade them to try a little harder.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Funny, I can't remember taking this picture

Saturday, April 22, 2006

A slice of Finnmärscker history

In the spring of 1762 two princes of the blood meet in Lüleå to discuss the terms of the Finnmärsker Independence: The Faroe-Finnmärscker Crown-prince Gregoriusz and Prince Ludo of the Mölbö Encläve.

The irascible botanist Heinz von Kinkel is serving as Prince Gregoriusz’ aide at the time. He scribbles in his diary of March 1762: "Everybody is yelling, there is a racket beyond compare. People behave as if in a southern country. It reminds me of the port of Naples, only there’s a lot more fish."

He goes on to describe Lüleå as "... A Swiss port surrounded by Dutch mountains. Or the other way around, whatever makes sense". It is evident that he finds Lüleå infinitely more interesting than the capital Stöckfisck, or Gregoriania as it is then called.

In the evening of March 31st the two princes dine at a table placed in the middle of Törvetrilleren, the central plaza. Seated in the open, between Hubertus’ Hotel and the Masonic lodge, the two princes find on their plates a dish of fresh cod garnished with lobster and asparagus; food worthy of royalty.

The young von Kinkel, however, has no appetite: The legation has only been in Lüleå for half a day, and already he has managed to fall in love with a married woman, has had a brief affair with her, has been caught in the act by the cuckolded husband, and finally been challenged to a duel at sundown. He feels queasy.

The duelists meet at dusk by the gallows outside the city gates. Dr. Phünckelsteiner, the legation surgeon, has reluctantly agreed to act as von Hinkel’s second. By right of being the challenged party von Hinkel has chosen the saber, given that he suffers from an irrational fear of being shot.

His opponent, a lobster merchant by the name of Mariusz Mörckenheimer, is a very tall man, exceedingly thin. The sabers are drawn. It seems that Mörckenheimer’s reach gives him a noticeable advantage over the small Faroe botanist. Twice he cuts von Hinkel, the second time taking off the tip of his left ear.

Heinz von Hinkel, however, is not an inferior swordsman. This is by no means his first saber duel, and it won’t be his last. With a swift, circular parry of the foil he disarms the lobster merchant and delivers the coup-de-grace. Mörckenheimer has been run through.

The men sit with him for hours, passing the time by singing psalms and swapping recipes. Before he expires, Mörckenheimers mutters: "Add finely chopped shallots and a glass of sherry. Pour over the veal stock and reduce to half. Let simmer."

That same morning, on the 1st of April 1762, the wounded botanist and his second return to the Hubertus’ Hotel just in time to witness the two princes’ signing of the Lüleå Accord. After 343 years, Finnmärck is no longer under the Faroe yoke. As he puts down the pen, King Ludo I of Finnmärck utters the immortal words: "From prince to king by the stroke of a... What the hell happened to your ear?"

Heinz von Hinkel answers venerably: "A woman, your majesty. She may have cost me the tip of my ear, but I didn’t really need it, did I?"

Thursday, April 20, 2006

2 minutes in Lüleå









Beauty and the pasta machine



Moving HQ under own supporting fire

A very small portion of our crap.

The actor/food critic is always happy to help. After all, this is only the fifth time.

Would you let this guy program your computer games?

The damage we did to the house. Hell, it's only a roof. You should have seen the rental.

The deserted führer bunker.

"Fuck the police, coming straight from the underground..."

"... Do I look like a motherfuckin' rolemodel? Life ain't nothing but bitches and money." Oh, maybe the seatbelts subtract a bit from the whole gangsta self-representation thing we have going.

We are unbelievably handy. You have no idea.

We do amazing interior design.

We relax in our late Victorian salon.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Deomúreb do kézbesítve pistuchai?

Grykyeb mah postai do tifli szútl:

Ké OBH-tól hosz 57% do nech 12%. Gregoriúsz deomúreb ígmy nech pistuchai mah borscht; he ké módon postai pistuchai.

Grószn botu. Lúz.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

And the days are not full enough

And the days are not full enough
And the nights are not full enough
And life slips by like a field mouse
Not shaking the grass.

(Ezra Pound)

Friday, April 07, 2006

Hands burned, stop, send oven mittens

Still no Internet connection. Sent the homing pidgeon out four days ago. It has not returned.

All we can do is pray. Maybe water the plants.

Monday, April 03, 2006

List of missing items

I have perused our archives in order to compile a complete list of items people have stiffed us on. It reads as follows:

1) Movie reviews.
2) Oven mittens.

Flaunting convention

This is a map of Switzerland that I downloaded illegally. See the little sign in the lower right corner? That makes what I did a copyright infringement, which is explicitly forbidden by the Berne convention. Berne is the capital of Switzerland, located in the middle of the country.

If you look down and to the left of Berne (or southwest if you will), you'll notice another Swiss city called Geneva.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Double or nothing

I just figured it out. A two party system is exactly twice as democratic as a one party system. I can prove it. Here, give me a piece of paper and a pen.
(Picture of the two hawks over Santa Barbara by Steven Pinker)

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Goodbye

You've probably noticed that for a while now things haven't been so great here at the SHÄDY ÄCRES. First of all we don't have an internet con-nection anymore, and it'll take at least a couple more weeks before we get one.

But that's not the only problem.

You see, we just don't feel we have anything to say to you anymore. We've been trying to hide it, but there you have it. It's been like that for a while and frankly this little break has given rise to a grave and shared concern about the ultimate soundness of the project as a whole. We both feel that it's just... Silly. There are personal issues besides, but we have decided not to go into that here.

After giving it serious thought we have therefore decided to discontinue this blög project for good.

It is with a heavy heart that we now declare the SHÄDY ÄCRES era to be over. It was fun while it lasted, but sadly all things move towards their end. There are no exceptions to that rule, not even for brilliantly witty Finnmärck blögzines.

Thanks for stopping by, especially those of you who belong to our small, devoted crowd of steady subscribers.

You know who you are. We love you, and we promise to stay in touch.

This is Ripley, last survivor of the Nostromo, signing off.