Most of you already know about how much I love Tom Green, right? Well, remember that episode of The Tom Green Show when he was going into restaurants in NY in a big, smoke-filled plexiglass box that he called his "personal smoker's environment"? That's how my iPod is: it allows me to indulge myself in freakloads of Nine Inch Nails without anyone at all knowing that inside my headphones, there is a whole universe of high goddamned existential drama. Kind of like how you wouldn't know that stuff about my brain if you just saw me walking down the street.
Plus, I'm not kidding when I tell you that there are songs in my iPod that are so beautiful I could die. Here's a list of 25 of them:
"Beauty of Internal Darkness" by 400 Blows "Cuts You Up" by Peter Murphy "Shadowplay" by Joy Division "I Wish I Had An Evil Twin" by The Magnetic Fields "Love, Love, Love" by The Mountain Goats "Oh, Comely" by Neutral Milk Hotel "Let Down" by Radiohead "I Am An Animal" by Pete Townshend "Say" by Cat Power "Physical (You're So)" by Adam Ant/Trent "pure dirty" Reznor "Hundreds of Sparrows" by Sparklehorse "Stellar" by Dirty Three "Half Jack" by The Dresden Dolls "Ecstasy" by PJ Harvey "Open Up Your Heart" by The Rapture "Right Where It Belongs, V2" by Nine Inch Nails "Sound & Vision" by David Bowie "My Dear Self" by The Cinematic Underground "I Know" by Fiona Apple "Une Annee Sans Lumiere" by Arcade Fire "Wild Flower Soul" by Sonic Youth "Supernaut" by 1000 Homo DJs "Iron Swallow" by Jonny Greenwood "I Would For You" by Jane's Addiction "Von" & "Mistur" by Sigur Ros
Alright, I know that's really 26, but the two by Sigur Ros go together. In fairness, a lot of those songs sound freaking awesome under any circumstance, but I'm just telling you right now that any one of them is capable of turning a trip on the Night Bus into pure poetry.
Except "Physical (You're So)". That song is for walking through unsuspecting crowds in time to it's big, slow grind, and looking around with the feral snarl of a predatory lioness.
Be afraid of my iPod, boys of Prague. Be very afraid.
I was going to do all my laundry, go to the store grocery store, and then, after checking my e-mail and catching up with the internet, go see Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, which finally opened here in Prague, and where there is still no sign, for the goddamned record, of The Wedding Crashers. But, I'm going not going to tell you a long story of how I suffered a massive disappointment today. I'm going to cut straight to the chase, people. The only way to experience the genius of Johnny Depp in that fantastic hairstyle and lipstick, here in Prague, is DUBBED IN CZECH. WTF? I mean, every other freaking thing has subtitles. What gives? ARGH!
I can't really complain, though.
Today was a glorious day -- bright and sunny, all my laundry dried on the terrace in about an hour -- and I've been offered another job. Jesus! decisions! Also, I don't think I can overstate to you the enormous pleasure it gives me to emerge from the subway on one of those gigantic escalators into the sunshine, looking up through all the glorious arte nouveau buildings at the magical mystery sky of Prague while Trent Reznor, tickling the ivories in my iPod, croons "...what if everything around you isn't quite as it seems?" and the breeze catches my hair. If you were me, you would know that a moment like that is simply sublime. Just add to that picture the fact that my hair looks freaking terrific today.
I just want you to know that I am going survive this Czech dubbing thing somehow.
Anyway, I'm so not going to bellyache, because on Sunday, my darling friend Mattski arrives back in Praha, then, on the 23rd and 24th, my other darling friends Janet, Lola and Tito are coming to Praha, where Tito & Tarantula are playing at a club here, and I will be so, so, so happy to see them. Plus, I will get to take photos at a rockshow! Then, next week I'm going to London, where I will be joined my Mr. RCJohnso, and thence to see Machine of Rock Nathan Johnson and The Cinematic Underground play at The Greenbelt Festival, where he will also give a lecture on scoring Brick, the best movie in the world. Plus, I will get to take more photos at ANOTHER rockshow!
Then, the week after that, I am going to the Venice Film Festival to see the best movie in the world... and VENICE. Yes, I will be taking photos. Hopefully of mineral stains. I'm told Venice is mineral stain mecca. Hold onto your hat, Tosho! The excitement of more WALL STAINS is on it's way! Also, MY MONKEY IS COMING TO PRAGUE that week! Oh man, I'm SO excited.
Please picture me, in Prague, in a ridiculously beautiful setting, with the back of my hand dramatically placed on my forehead, my brow knit in misery, because I am hating life. Plus, while I'm in England, I might be able to SQUEEZE IN A MOVIE.
Well, kids, I'm still in Praha, and it's still pretty novel.
Everyday, I wake up in my totally unfurnished apartment, drink some instant coffee standing up in my kitchen, try to type out some first thing in the morning rambling about whatever have you -- you know, write down how I inexplicably dreamt about Freddie Rodriguez doing some PR duty, and swimming fully clothed, with shoes on, in a fast moving river, or some equally random shit -- and then hit the streets for the day. I pretty much just use my map to find creative new ways to ride every single tram and bus in Prague.
It pretty much rules, and I'm not complaining, but I want to tell you about a few things they have here in Praha that I just do not get.
Old Ladies With Unshaven Beards and Moustaches - I think you all know that I am ALL FOR the facial hair, but I prefer for it to be ON A MAN. Just saying.
The Toilets With The Little Platform For Poo - yeah. This one's a real puzzler. I just have no clue what this is about, but a lot of the toilets here have this little un-submerged platform that can serve no imaginable purpose unless it's to examine your excrement before it gets mercifully ushered away into the bowels of the city when you pull the string, and freaking flush the toilet. Yes, I did say "pull the string."
The Inexplicable & Massive Popularity of John Mayer - Seriously, WHAT IS UP WITH THAT? (Now, Sarah, before you accuse me of having a secret passion for Mr. Mayer because of how intensely I love/hated that "Your Body Is A Wonderland" number, I want you to know that my secret cheese-ass shame is over, because I sold that shit back to Amoeba SO LONG AGO when it all became INSUFFERABLY BORING. I am cured, bitch, so keep it to yourself.)
Still Not Over It With Regards To The Hellman's Mayo Betrayal - Dudes, that it just not ok. How could they?
White Kids With Dreadlocks - Oh my God, there are A MILLION. Plus, if someone can explain to me how it's a good idea to have a shaven head with a Hare Krishna topknot of dreads, that would be great. Thanks.
So, yeah, there's some stuff that is just not right around here. Like for instance the way I'm in a hip internet cafe, surrounded by smoking, dread-locked counter-culturalists, and we are totally listening to "I Want It That Way" by N'Sync. That is so wrong it's right, if you ask me.
Right now, the thing I love most about Praha is the public transport that just RULES ASS. Especially the Night Bus. Let's say you stay out too late at a bar, and the last subway to your somewhat distant suburb is long gone. That's where the Night Bus comes in. It arrives at the top of Wenceslas Square like a brightly lit, warm and cosy haven on a rainy night at 1:54am, and conveys you with all speed through the beautiful streets, over a huge bridge that cuts the journey through the winding streets of Nusle to just moments, while affording you a spectacular view, and then drives ME to less than a block from my front door.
Praha, I love you so much sometimes.
Also, Vladimir Nabokov is hilarious. You know that vague disappointment you feel when reading a sort of inferior novel? Something that just isn't really a homerun? Well, I never felt that for one moment while reading Lolita. Damn, that's a good book. So godamned witty. So wrong and bad, and yet, so truly funny, and so human. I loved it.
In other news, God, how I love Nine Inch Nails. It's SICK, and totally unabated. How does he do it? It's seriously a matter for scientific inquiry.
So, yeah. I decided to make some tuna in my new flat. I really like tuna sandwiches, and it seemed a good, low-impact, not too many cooking implements required, choice for a pleasant meal. Little did I know the HORROR that awaited me.
Now, many of you know that if there's one thing I CANNOT BEAR, it's little black bits of GOD KNOWS WHAT in my fucking tuna. Back where things are clearly marked IN ENGLISH, I always buy solid, extra-fancy, white albacore tuna, packed in spring water, because, take it from me, that's your best bet for avoiding any hint of blackness, and to better to allay the fear of instant fish poisoning that I heard about when I was a kid, from Merv Griffin.
Here in Prague, the best I could do was to avoid the tuna packed in oil (Eewwwww!), but it didn't seem that the many options for untainted tuna that are avaible on the shelves of the Mayfair Market in Hollywood would be afforded me, here in Prague.
Telling myself to quit acting like a princess, I selected the most promising can of water-packed canned fish, and in the condiments aisle, breathed what was, no doubt, and audible sigh of relief when I saw the familair yellow and blue of Hellman's Mayonnaise -- that's Best Foods for you West Coasters. PHEW! I may have to pick out a few black bits from my not fancy enough tuna, but at least I would not have to suffer any kind of wierd, suspect mayonnaise. Small mercies.
So, home again, home again, jiggity jig.
I used my awesome new can opener from IKEA to reveal the most horrific bit of black to ever taint a can of tuna perched RIGHT ON TOP of my not at all white tuna: a totally disgusting, squiggly little bit of FISH VEIN, or some shit! Jesus. Holding down my bile with Herculean effort, I picked it out and washed it down the drain. Then, I painstakingly examined every single teensy, itty, bitty, little morsel of my tuna for further violation. I regret to inform you that there were many episodes. I hope you can all appreciate my courage in going forward with the endeavor.
That onerous task completed, I reached for my jar of mayonnaise, its familiar label calming my very soul, and telling me that all would be right with my tuna salad. I opened it up, and looked in. Hm. Yellower than I remembered, and glossier.
"Oh, I'm sure it's alright!" I clucked to myself.
I deposited a dollop (<-- how gross is that word?) of its greasy, too yellow-ness on my ransacked tuna, and, just to be sure, decided to taste it. OMFG, people. It tasted sweet and grody, and not unlike the only thing that can rival BLACK BITS for total repulsiveness! Not AT ALL unlike MIRACLE WHIP! Is nothing sacred? Goddamn you, Hellmans. Goddamn you all to HELL!
Alas. It looks as if a FULL YEAR, at LEAST without tuna stretches before me, my friends.
This morning I woke up IN MY NEW FLAT IN PRAGUE. How cool is that?
It wasn't without it's drama, though. Yesterday morning I woke up in the hostel with the knowledge that if I didn't figure out some kind of solution, that night would mark my first of sleeping on my yoga mat on the hardwood floors in my new place. People, I am not old, but I am too old for that. My lovely, gorgeous boobs-having real estate agent had given me the good word on the location of Prague's IKEA, and I decided to hie myself hither in search of some kind of sleeping arrangement.
On the way, I found two things: my new favorite subway stop, Hůrka, which is in the midst of the most brilliant example of the huge Prague suburb completely comprised of gigantic communist apartment blocks. Pictures will soon follow, because IT RULES. I also saw my new favorite Czech hairdo: crew cut with bangs. Nice. Also, for the record, Czech youths have not gotten the memo on avoiding the mullet. Someone needs to translate that bad boy into Czech, STAT.
IKEA in Prague, for your information is EXACTLY THE SAME as IKEA in Burbank, and I mean precisely the same. The store is the same shape, the order of events in the IKEA maze and all the cheapo stuff they have is different in no respect. The only difference, and, this is a big one, is that everything is in Czech, except, of course, the crazy Swedish names of all their products. I wanted to buy a mattress, but I was so stumped, and so not wanting to interact that I just bought a very narrow little futon and some bedding. Good enough. I am overwhelmed easily during the shopping process, and I had places to go, man.
I then withdrew loads of Crowns from my bank account, gathered up an unholy amount of stuff to schlep across town using public transportation, and went to sign my lease contract -- I just hope the Czech version says the same thing the English version does -- and took possession of my new home. AWESOME! Also awesome is the name of my street in Prague: Na Strži.
First, I set up my rather Spartan sleeping arrangements...
I think my favorite thing about that photo is my Trent Reznor desktop wallpaper. Yes, the preoccupation lingers, and yes, I despair of myself... but not really.
Anyway, I then made sure that the first music ever played in my new foreign house was "The Island Garden Song" by The Mountain Goats, followed by a listen to the unbelievably gorgeous sounds of Neutral Milk Hotel, which I played while I took a long, hot bath in my never-used-before bathtub.
Everything was going great, so that's probably why I went straight out to do some grocery shopping and promptly LOST MY WALLET. Yes, with my subway ticket, all my money and my ATM card in it. How cool is that?! The only way it could have caused me a bigger heart attack is if I had cleverly put my fucking passport in it. On the bright side, the little card that has my Czech phone number in it was in there, too, so yeah, just as tears of horror at my hopeless situation and general mental retardation were streaming down my face, and I was walking to the nearest payphone to get Bank of America on the phone, COLLECT, I received a call from the Czech Police. Good news: they had my wallet.
Bad news: no one at the station spoke any English to tell me how to get there. I ascertained that they were at the Prague 4 station, in Podoli, so I whipped out my handy dandy comprehensive map book, found that shit, and walked over to it. One thing I have to tell you, my friends, is that I am extremely chuffed with my ability to whip out my map book and unerringly discover the combination of subway, bus, tram and hoof that will take me to my destination. I can find ANYTHING in Prague. I rule!
Anyway, the Czech police station was full of hot young Czech guys in uniform, and one police girl, and all of them were in the back room laughing their asses off over something. One especially charming young man in a police uniform and FAUXHAWK came out, gave me my wallet (disaster narrowly averted) and chatted me up in his delightful broken English for about 10 minutes about my adventures in Prague, while dazzling me with his policemanly neatness, sparkly brown eyes and sweet smile. I must try to lose my wallet more often.
By this time, I was freaking SPENT, so I went back to my flat and ate my new favorite thing they have in the Czech supermarket: yogurt with walnuts and honey. Then I went to bed with my yogic head bandage on (don't ask) because it wasn't even dark yet, but it was definitely time for me to not be conscious. I slept for 11 hours, and woke up with the gorgeous Prague sky in my window, feeling like a millionaire.
I'm happy to report that the homeless portion of my European experiment is now over.
It's the first one I saw, and I think I've seen a million, and while there were some that might have been more romantic, in terms of living in the Czech Republic -- the best one was in a positively DREADFUL concrete communist monstrosity with lots of exposed pipe work and a rickety, 2-person lift, on a very busy street complete with a tram line running down the center in a somewhat rough part of town, though the flat itself was old and gorgeous -- I think the one I've chosen is best. It's in Prague 4, which is far from the herds of tourists in the city center, but still only a brief subway ride away from the medieval splendor. It's also within walking distance of my new job at the AKCENT International House.
The building and again, very communist neighborhood, are not particularly picturesque, except in that sense in which they are very much the the environs of most actual Czech people, who, generally speaking, avoid the crush in the city center. And, while the building is less than absolutely gorgeous, the flat itself is brand new -- in a section just added to the building, with all new appliances and fixtures -- so it's perfectly clean, and there will be no mess to fight against from the outset.
It has two bedrooms, a little terrace, a lovely, white bathroom, a brilliant detached closet to house the toilet, and lots of big windows. It's a nice flat, very manageable, and its nearness to my job will be a good thing for Jacob. Our terrace looks out on the grassy park behind our block of apartment buildings, too, so there's a place to be outside, and Woodsy is allowed to live there, too, so, hopefully we can find some way of bringing him over. OMG, I miss that damned filthy animal!
If I can arrange all my details, I can move in on Friday, but it may be a struggle in terms of long distance banking.
Other than frantically searching for a flat over the past week, I have been trying to enjoy Praha as cheaply as possible. To that end, I have discovered two things. The first is the coolest and best free WiFi access in the city, at a brilliant club/bar/cafe/art space near the city center called Roxy. I go there every day to do my internet business and drink a bitter lemon. It's frequented by loads of young, counter-culture types and plays Hiyao Miazaki movies and other Anime every night at about 7pm, when there isn't a whole extremely serious DJ thing happening on weekend nights. It's a pretty cool place, man. Shabby in a very eastern European hipster way, and a nice cold beer runs you $.30.
The second thing I've discovered is that there are outdoor movies for 100 Kc, which is about $4, on one of the islands in the middle of the Vltava. They play lots of Monty Python, rock documentaries, art house movies and Hollywood movies that are past their first run at 9:30 every night. On Monday, I went out there to see The Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, and have a lovely Czech beer on a perfect summer evening. Not too bad, people. In a couple of days there's to be a screening of a documentary about The Sex Pistols that you can be sure I will not miss. I might drink two beers on that occasion.
I've also found a totally beautiful bar that offers a very extensive, very posh selection of whiskeys and Cuban cigars that will be perfect for when RIAN COMES TO PRAGUE (hurry up, bitch!) and a totally brilliant vegetarian Indian restaurant that offers a delicious set daily menu comprised of more than I can consume at one time for a little less than $3.
Prague is beautiful, the weather is temperate, and things are moving along. I can't wait to settle this flat thing, because then I will have more time to enjoy it while being significantly less stressed out.
In other news, I'm still listening to a lot of Nine Inch Nails and reading Camus. Great combo, FYI.