Tuesday, April 10, 2007

let's pizza!

my friend ari is currently in japan, and mentioned "let's pizza!" as an example of the often mangled and documented written english found there. however, i am a big fan of the phrase.

the use of pizza as a verb is something a marketer would spend days trying to invent, but which occurs here by mistranslation. the verb "to pizza" conveys not only the act of buying and eating, but a sense of celebration and indulgence in a foreign and exotic food. pizza becomes an act, perhaps even a way of life.

Monday, March 26, 2007

required reading for the statistician

It seemed as though fate were urging me on. This time, as luck would have it, a circumstance occurred which, however, is fairly frequent in this game [trente et quarante]. Chance favors red, for instance, ten or even fifteen times in succession. I had heard two days before that in the previous week red had turned up twenty-two times in succession; it was something which had never been remembered in roulette, and it was talked of with amazement. Every one, or course, abandoned red at once, and after the tenth time, for instance, scarcely any one dared to stake on it. But none of the experienced players staked on black either. The experienced gambler knows what is meant by this "freak of chance." It would mean that after red had won sixteen times, at the seventeenth time the luck would infallibly fall on black. Novices at play rush to this conclusion in crowds, double and treble their stakes, and loose terribly.

But, noticing that red had turned up seven times running, by strange perversity I staked on it. I am convinced that vanity was half responsible for it; I wanted to impress the spectators by taking a mad risk, and - oh, the strange sensation - I remember distinctly that, quite apart from the promptings of vanity, I was possessed by an intense craving for risk. Perhaps passing through so many sensations my soul was not satisfied but only irritated by them and craved still more sensation - and stronger and stronger ones - till utterly exhausted. And truly I am not lying, if the regulations has allowed me to stake fifty thousand florins at once, I should certainly have staked them. People around shouted that it was madness - that red had won fourteen times already!
- The Gambler, Fyodor Dostoevski

Thursday, January 11, 2007

a much belated post: color is overrated

i just looked at this blog and the first post is still present. how sad. unfortunately it is like a few too many of my ventures - a grand idea that never really goes anywhere.

but over the summer martha (a girl most beautiful, and not just to my biased eyes) and myself went to niagra falls (the canadian side). we rode down on the train into the heat and the old part of town. the working part, the local part. not much for tourists there, but when we arrived, it was fabulous, like the towns we grew up visiting in maine and nova scotia. a little piece of home.

but we walked a long time in the sun into the tourist part of town. chaos, noise, lights, strange creatures on buildings. it was hot, and we carried heavy backpacks. eventually we made it back to air-conditioned comfort and calming coffee.

the next evening, we went to the fallsview casino, having put on nice clothes and left our bags in the hotel room. i found the slots scary. you put money into a box and it goes away. they just freaked me right out. statistician as i am, i know the only gambling remotely worthwhile are the table games, which can be expensive. i bought a single $25 chip and played blackjack. i won my first hand, which was my main goal. if i lost the first one, that would have just sucked. but i won a few more, keeping back most of what i won, so i walked out with $125 in chips. martha figured it would be a good time to stop, as did i. gambling is stressful, but it is appealing, as such things will run through your head after leaving... why can't i go back with more money next time, and play for longer, and walk out with 1250 dollars, or maybe more... enough. i haven't gone back. would more likely wind up with noting. moving on.

martha and i, flush with the winnings from the casino, went up to a restaurant in the hilton there on the top floor with a great view of the falls for drinks and desert. the place was empty. looking out the window, there were the falls, illuminated, but there were gels on the lights to cast the falls in various colors. parts would shift from purple to green and red. never staying one color for long. you get the idea.

but it was such a strange sight. here was this majesty of nature, largest waterfall on the continent, now made cheap. the colored lights made it little different from the neon of a chain store. the chaos of the "crofton hill" section of the town was now brought to the falls themselves, and they were debased.

much like the debasement we saw in the "local" part of town walking back to the train station the next day. it just seemed so run down. excitement must have overwhelmed me and my mar when we first got into town. the economic depression of the non-tourist part of town was so sad. we talked between ourselves and wondered when this happend. would it be possible to track the changes in the town through tax records? newspapers? how could the loss of the old part of niagra falls be chronicled?

however, the reason for the state of the neighborhood was clear: it was the lights of the tourist town.

and hence, color is overrated.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

what was he drinking? wine? sherry?

a man on the stairs to his appartment
some spirit in a ball-like glass
with ice-cubes in the drink
wore two rings on the same finger
one thin
one fat with a large turquoise
both silver

Sunday, April 30, 2006

a book from a few years ago

this is a book i wrote for a creative writing class from 6 years ago. not much to it, but there are some fun paintings of trees, flowers, and a mountain.

Sunday, April 09, 2006


alas i have forgotten my usb flash drive at home, and will not post the images i had wished to post.

alas i am alone in maine, instead of part of a couple in toronto.

alas i have not posted in a long while.

alas i have ignored the conventions of capitalization.

alas i have not yet spent enough time in the sun today, for the sun is wonderful.

so onward to walking and golden rays.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

creature comfort

question: what is a creature comfort?

not quite a multiple choice, but rather a few thoughts on the question.

(1) is it something that provides a comfort akin to that which a mere creature would feel? a bodily or physical pleasure?

(2) is it a comfort for the creature inside us, soothing something within, so that we are a creature, but not in a derogatory way, but rather a recognition of a basic fact?

(3) is the comfort a creature itself? a thing which is pure comfort, a living thing? can it move on its own? is it wild or domestic?