mr. zilla goes to town

Sunday, August 10, 2003

Saturday afternoon rambling

So you know Layo & Bushwacka's feel good hit of last summer 'Love Story'.. well here I am in my favourite bookstore/coffee shop and out of the in house system comes the old blues song that its sampled from - quickly identified from the CD case as "rags and old iron" by Norman Curtis and Oscar Brown Jr sung with/by Nina Simone.

I tried to find it to download but no luck. Anyway that's today's trivia.

I only planned to buy a juice in here but I suffered the perpetual problem we all have when walking into book stores or music stores. I picked up the Adventures of Tom Sawyer, and also a novel called "The Mouse That Roared" by irishman Leonard Wibberley written in 1955. From the blurb it is about "a tiny nation that declares war on the US, attacks New York City, and conquers the world". I think Peter Sellers turned it into a movie of the same name. Should be fun.

Now the inhouse music has started up with the bluegrass O Brother Where Art Thou soundtrack, and with the broadband wireless I'm doing things to make the record execs get all weepy. So you've got the gist that I have some new toys, yeah? They're working great, its just everyone else's that get a bit cantankerous now and then. Take the power supply of the entire north eastern US and Canada for example.

My Indian friend P. was last sighted on thursday night looking shellshocked one minute and out of his gourd the next. You see his parents are coming to visit from India. Staying with him in his one bedroom apartment for three months. Apparently indian mothers are quite something - she doesn't know he smokes, he's not about to let her find out and get all disappointed at him - so he's giving up for a while. Now if that's not enough to deal with in any given week, they were flying into the country through new york and were about to land when all the lights went out. Ordinarily this would just be simple once off bad luck, but you see, last time his parents tried to visit they had plane tickets bought and booked... departing Delhi for the USA on September 12, 2001. I think he's starting to take these catastrophes a little personally.

That's about all the news of late - I've had a cold all week so havent been doing much more than go to work and come home. That, and hang around in cafes and bookstores. The latter paid off well on Tuesday night here. You know I think sometimes the world notices that your day isn't going to plan.

I had tried to get on the net down at Tryst (next to Madam's Organ) as I was pretty keen to get some anti-virus stuff for the blaster worm doing the rounds. Anyway the wireless link appeared to be functioning but wouldn't recieve any packets of data. I think the waitress was having a similar problem since my presence didn't register for about forty minutes. Strangely right when I shut down the laptop's firewall while trying to get to the bottom of the problem, that's when she showed up and tried to take my order.

(Perhaps Tryst's two parallel customer information transmission systems had been cross-wired? I didn't test the theory because the waitress looked tired already and I didn't have the heart to send her to Sydney to fetch me a copy of the SMH front page. Thinking about it now she probably would have enjoyed the chance to sit down...)

I tried more drastic relocation - ducked into a different coffee shop on the other side of the intersection. Yes, alright, it was that 'coffee' shop. I'm kind of inured to its presence now and am able to enter at will, although generally not willingly. Starbucks around NW DC are all wireless 'hotspots' but without the indie streak, instead provided by purveyor of cheap-ass handsets and coverage that cuts off 3 metres inside a building, T*Mobile. Perhaps with a vested interest and some money behind it the setup would be better?

I discovered that the privelige of surfing while swilling a double shot frappawhatsit could cost you $10 per day, $40 per month, or a bargain $360 per year. Not including the cost of the frappawhatsits. Worse still, you have to go to the counter to order and pay, then stand around to wait for your coffee, then go to the 'condiments rack' to find your sugar. The horror. They call this a civilization? And lets not mention the paper coffee cups. The fire in the rubbish bin on the second floor of the Great Library of Alexandria was probably started by one of these. Thank you but no!

So I left Starbucks, making it back across the road in the nick of time to wait 25 minutes for the bus home. Twice bitten is four times as shy, but wifi zone number three for the day was just two doors from my bus stop at the end of the trip, just newly installed in the aforementioned super liberal upper northwest bookstore.(Which is where I am now, you know I think I've just about wrapped this email up...)

Third time was the charm. Although I had another unsuccessful attempt to coax recalcitrant data towards a sulky access point, as I said just as I stood up to leave they started handing out the day's remaining bagels in the cafe. Still fresh, still full of gruff bagelly goodness, I managed the last five minutes of the day's meandering for home in very good humour.

Dont you love a story with a happy ending?

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