Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Copied without permission from The New Yorker ´cause it´s just damn funny

INTELLIGENT DESIGN
by PAUL RUDNICK


Day No. 1:

And the Lord God said, “Let there be light,” and lo, there was light. But then the Lord God said, “Wait, what if I make it a sort of rosy, sunset-at-the-beach, filtered half-light, so that everything else I design will look younger?”

“I’m loving that,” said Buddha. “It’s new.”

“You should design a restaurant,” added Allah.



Day No. 2:

“Today,” the Lord God said, “let’s do land.” And lo, there was land.

“Well, it’s really not just land,” noted Vishnu. “You’ve got mountains and valleys and—is that lava?”

“It’s not a single statement,” said the Lord God. “I want it to say, ‘Yes, this is land, but it’s not afraid to ooze.’ ”

“It’s really a backdrop, a sort of blank canvas,” put in Apollo. “It’s, like, minimalism, only with scale.”

“But—brown?” Buddha asked.

“Brown with infinite variations,” said the Lord God. “Taupe, ochre, burnt umber—they’re called earth tones.”

“I wasn’t criticizing,” said Buddha. “I was just noticing.”



Day No. 3:

“Just to make everyone happy,” said the Lord God, “today I’m thinking oceans, for contrast.”

“It’s wet, it’s deep, yet it’s frothy; it’s design without dogma,” said Buddha, approvingly.

“Now, there’s movement,” agreed Allah. “It’s not just ‘Hi, I’m a planet—no splashing.’ ”

“But are those ice caps?” inquired Thor. “Is this a coherent vision, or a highball?”

“I can do ice caps if I want to,” sniffed the Lord God.

“It’s about a mood,” said the Angel Moroni, supportively.

“Thank you,” said the Lord God.



Day No. 4:

“One word,” said the Lord God. “Landscaping. But I want it to look natural, as if it all somehow just happened.”

“Do rain forests,” suggested a primitive tribal god, who was known only as a clicking noise.

“Rain forests here,” decreed the Lord God. “And deserts there. For a spa feeling.”

“Which is fresh, but let’s give it glow,” said Buddha. “Polished stones and bamboo, with a soothing trickle of something.”

“I know where you’re going,” said the Lord God. “But why am I seeing scented candles and a signature body wash?”

“Shut up,” said Buddha.

“You shut up,” said the Lord God.

“It’s all about the mix,” Allah declared in a calming voice. “Now let’s look at some swatches.”



Day No. 5:

“I’d like to design some creatures of the sea,” the Lord God said. “Sleek but not slick.”

“Yes, yes, and more yes—it’s a total gills moment,” said Apollo. “But what if you added wings?”

“Fussy,” whispered Buddha to Zeus. “Why not epaulets and a sash?”

“Legs,” said Allah. “Now let’s do legs.”

“Are we already doing dining-room tables?” asked the Lord God, confused.

“No, design some creatures with legs,” said Allah. So the Lord God, nodding, designed an ostrich.

“First draft,” everyone agreed, and so the Lord God designed an alligator.

“There’s gonna be a waiting list,” Zeus murmured appreciatively.

“Now do puppies!” pleaded Vishnu. “And kitties!”

“Ooooo!” all the gods cooed. Then, feeling a bit embarrassed, Zeus ventured, “Design something more practical, like a horse or a mule.”

“What about a koala?” asked the Lord God.

“Much better,” Zeus declared, cuddling the furry little animal. “I’m going to call him Buttons.”



Day No. 6:

“Today I’m really going out there,” said the Lord God. “And I know it won’t be popular at first, and you’re all gonna be saying, ‘Earth to Lord God,’ but in a few million years it’s going to be timeless. I’m going to design a man.”

And everyone looked upon the man that the Lord God designed.

“It has your eyes,” Zeus told the Lord God.

“Does it stack?” inquired Allah.

“It has a naïve, folk-artsy, I-made-it-myself vibe,” said Buddha. The Inca sun god, however, only scoffed. “Been there. Evolution,” he said. “It’s called a shaved monkey.”

“I like it,” protested Buddha. “But it can’t work a strapless dress.” Everyone agreed on this point, so the Lord God announced, “Well, what if I give it nice round breasts and lose the penis?”

“Yes,” the gods said immediately.

“Now it’s intelligent,” said Aphrodite.

“But what if I made it blond?” giggled the Lord God.

“And what if I made you a booming offscreen voice in a lot of bad movies?” asked Aphrodite.



Day No. 7:

“You know, I’m really feeling good about this whole intelligent-design deal,” said the Lord God. “But do you think that I could redo it, keeping the quality but making it at a price point we could all live with?”

“I’m not sure,” said Buddha. “You mean, what if you designed a really basic, no-frills planet? Like, do the man and the woman really need all those toes?”

“Hello!” said the Lord God. “Clean lines, no moving parts, functional but fun. Three bright, happy, wash ’n’ go colors.”

“Swedish meets Japanese, with maybe a Platinum Collector’s Edition for the geeks,” Buddha decided.

“Done,” said the Lord God. “Now let’s start thinking about Pluto. What if everything on Pluto was brushed aluminum?”

“You mean, let’s do Neptune again?” said Buddha.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

On the Art of Locksmiths

Yesterday I managed to lock myself out of my flat, a fact which I discovered only upon arriving at work and realising that I didn´t have my keys on me. “No problem, ” I thought, as I wandered around the side to the delivery entrance to get in, “I´m staying in a guest house with an office across the road with SPARE KEYS.” I may have even followed that with a “Brilliant” or a snide “See, I´m not as dumb as they all think” followed by a mental finger flip, but I´m not sure.

So I spent a relaxed working day, chasing down accounts of prior art and conflicting patents, continuing in my desk-based illusion of Sherlock Holmsian investigative work and tempted only once to retort in a suitably superior voice to a colleague “Elementary my dear Watson” when asked how I had possibly found something out. Content in my knowledge that the evening would involve a relaxed stroll over to pick up the spare key before wandering back to my apartment and indulging in CSI:NY, I had an enjoyable lunch of roast lamb and vegetables without even a hint of indigestion.

Seven o´clock rolls around and I fulfil the first of my expectations, walking home to the tunes of Wir Sind Helden, highheels making offensively load echoes bounce off the neighbouring old folks home in time to the music. The office was open, within minutes I had the spare key and home I went.
Still singing under my breath and quietly impressed with my own cunningness in locking myself out in such a fortuitous manner, I inserted the key into the lock and tried to turn it.

It didn´t.

Bemused, I removed the key, looked at it from all sides, inserted again and gave it a stern twist in both directions, just to be sure. It didn´t budge. Cannily, I had left the keys in the lock on the other side.

This necessitated the employment of a locksmith, a somewhat elderly gentleman with a habit of muttering swear words under his breath in the general direction of any available door and a nifty little leather box containing the tools of his trade. When he failed entirely at getting a number of these pieces of coathanger through the doorjamb, he went back to the car to get the Master of All Locked Door Cracking Appliances. This piece of equipment was of such a highly technical standard that I am sure I can do it no real justice so I will attempt to describe it in only the poor vocabulary available to the uninitiated in locked door cracking. It was a straightened coathanger with a bit of string on the end. This he inserted under the door, attempting to manoeuvre the bit of string around my keys protruding from the inside lock. All to no avail, as something on the inside consistently caught the bit of string and pulled it off the straightened coathanger.

At about this point, my neighbour, a young Czech, stuck his head out the door to find out what all this muttered, and occasionally shouted, swearing was. Upon investigation of his flat, we discovered that it could in fact be possible to clamber from his balcony to mine, where the half open window would allow someone access into my flat. The Czech and I contemplated this for a few minutes, staring thoughtfully at the dividing wall and precarious ledge, but even more thoughtfully at the three story drop. So we did what any young, fit people would do in this situation and called the old guy in to climb around it.

So 50 Euros later, the old guy opens the door to my flat, slightly more disordered than before as his Master of All Locked Door Cracking Appliances had managed to pull each and every shoe I own off the shelf next to the door and into an untidy heap in the entrance way. But my flat was open and I was still in time for CSI:NY.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

And she´s off and running

So today is the fourth day on the new job, and I must say THIS IS DAMN COOL. They´re breaking me in nice and slow, which is nice but I´m already getting involved in negotiations with big companies and stuff.
And the whole getting dressed up for work thing? At the moment its kinda fun. They are actually pretty casual here, but I´m enjoying wearing heels, so I think I´ll keep doing it for a while.

But I´m really missing my dog. I have a one room apartment in the guest house here, which is ok, if kinda small. But I was sitting there last night, watching Dead Zone and thinking "I should be going outside now before bed. Why do I feel like I have to go outside? I haven´t been outside since I got home at 7, it´s time to go out. But hangon, there is no dog here, you have NO REASON to go out. But it feels just WRONG not going out."

In the end I did manage to force myself to go to bed without taking myself for a walk and pee, but it was HARD.

Saturday, September 17, 2005

This is DOING MY HEAD IN

Well we have packed. Piled boxes and bags and small animals into the back of the Combi van and made our way south where the sun shines and the people are friendly. On the way we have stopped at DrHs parents place in Marburg for the night.

Im trying to write this entry on his fathers computer. Unfortunately, this is equipped with a bilingual keyboard. If it was German no problem. But its a cyrillic-english keyboard as he writes papers in russian, AND it is set on German keys, which I cant see as thez arent written. So I am trzing to find the apostrpohe and I canät, z and y are around the wrong waz and everz other kez is mixed up some how.

I think Iäll write later when I can understand what it is Iäm trzing to saz again.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

That´s all, she wrote

Today ended an era. The era of DrJ in a lab.

Adios, waved the labcoat as I packed it into the wash basket. Adieu, whispered the autoclave in its final hiss of opening in my presence. Fare the well, sang the shakers, serenading me out the lab door.
The comforting weight of a pipette in my hand is gone. The familiarity of lab procedures. The automatic aseptic technique my brain subconciously imitates when I open jars of olives or prepare the dogs dinner.

Monday begins a new life of suits and highheel shoes. Makeup and jewelry. Not singing any time I feel like it. I hope I can adapt.

But tonight, I pack.

Monday, September 12, 2005

On the joy of marrying Germans #9

"I´m sorry I didn´t notice. You poor thing."

"Are you patronising me?"

"No. How could I? I don´t even know how to spell it."

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Let them eat cake

Well, congratulations are awarded to the former First Lady Barbara Bush for possibly even outdoing Prince Phillip in the ability to say something that was completely and utterly stupid when the world was watching.

Quoted as saying that the Katrina evacuees in the Houston Astrodome were "..uderprivledged anyway" so living in a sports arena on camp beds "... is working out very well for them", she brings to mind that most famous of french queens, Marie Antoinette.

What an arrogant idiot. Maybe she'll start handing out teacake at her next oh-so-useful outing.

Friday, September 02, 2005

"You call that a wedding anniversary? THIS is a wedding anniversary"

Certain readers here may recall that for our first anniversary in February DrH failed entirely to get me something. It being the paper anniversary and all, it shouldn´t have been too hard, but I guess you win some, you lose some.

Out of general interest in the topic this morning, I looked up a list of what all the anniversaries are. The Chicago Public Library has one which included both traditional and modern versions. Notable is the fact that after the 15th anniversary (trad: crystal, mod: watches), the traditional list falls off to only be celebrated every 5 years, while the modern list keeps going on a yearly basis until the 50th, but then drops off to every 5 years until the 100th. A bit arse about I would have thought, I´d be wanting to have it loudly and expensively noted every year after the 50th wedding anniversary that not only am I still alive and kicking, but that I´m still with the same guy and haven´t given into the urge to go and find myself a spritely 70 year old toy boy.

Some of the later ones in the modern list are truly very modern. Note:
24th: musical instruments
29th: new furniture
32nd: conveyances (eg. automobile)
42nd: improved real estate
46th: original poetry tribute
48th: optical goods (eg. telescope, microscope)

Whoever said Romance Is Dead is wrong. By my 50th wedding anniversary I´m going to be blowing loudly into a tuba to get my husbands attention while sitting in my EZBoy recliner in the new old folks home, ferried around on one of these old person Vespas, peering myopically through horrifically expensive glasses and yelling loudly "Huh? Huh?! Speak up man, dammit!" at his poetic proposals of love and fidelity.

That´s what love is all about.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

It´s their way of saying "Why don´t you just fuck off"

Leon Dog Wonder, being an apartment-based dog, must be taken out to relieve himself numerous times a day. Its a routine now, which includes him coming into the study every night at around 10.30, crawling around my chair legs to sit between my feet and stare up at me with big brown eyes saying "Out. Now. Please?" If I´m still watching a movie he´ll do exactly the same thing, but place his head directly between me and the nailbiting ending I´m trying to absorb without his guilt-causing gaze.

And so every night I put on my shoes again, grab his lead, and perhaps even his flashing collar if I´m daring to enter the park after dark (something I only do with DrH, or on my bike, because riding hell for leather through a dark park full of dog-dug holes, with nothing to guide you but the intermittant flashing of a dying dynamo powered bike light and a red blinking dog collar in the distance is the only form of fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants excitement you get in suburban Germany). And then I go down 2 floors, put the lead on the dog, check I have poo-bags and go out into the night.

These nightly walks are NEVER more than 20 minutes. I mean, hell, I´m a few minutes from bed myself, the last thing I want to do is get all that endorphine aerobic rush stuff going on. And trust me, a slow walk, stopping so that my canine companion can sniff and pee on the lowest branch of every second bush is enough to start that for me. So quite often, especially if it is a bit later, these walks are less than 10 minutes.

But in the time that I´ve gone out and come back, someone in my house comes out and double locks the front door. EVERY TIME. In the TEN MINUTES that I´m gone. I don´t even understand why they do it. Ok, so its a rule in the house here that the front door gets locked after 8 o´clock. With a key. From the INSIDE.

Because it´s not, like, enough that you need a key to get in from the outside anyway, due to the lack of doorknob. No, they want to make sure that in the case of a fire we all BURN only inches from salvation as we need our keys with us when we´re running through the house, in our pajamas, in a mad panic trying to escape the death trap that the house has become.

Am I being to melodramatic? Well, maybe a little. BUT THEY DO IT. In every house I´ve lived in in this country we have to double lock the doors at night. "`Cause if, like a robber comes in, y´know, and he could pick the lock the first time, well, y´know, he´d have to spend a whole extra 20 seconds to get it to turn the second time y´know?" Chew, chew, spit out gum, thems thinking folk, thems is.

So why does someone do it to me every night when I´m out? It really is not "Oh, yes, 11pm, there´s that nice, attractive, couldn´t be a day over 23, Aussie coming down the stairs with the clackety-clack of those little doggy nails from that cute and clever little mutt. She´ll be going for a quick walk, come back and double lock the door when she gets in."

No, its "There´s that chick and her damn dog again. Quick, while she´s out, double lock the door, turn all the lights out and pretend no one´s here. Maybe she´ll get the hint and fuck off."

Sitting on her bum, twiddling her thumbs

How on earth do people manage to update their blogs daily with amusing, well written anecdotes? What on earth are they doing differently that so many interesting things happen to them?

Over here, DrH came back last night from a week in Florence at a conference. What a terrible strain I´m sure it was for him. Every evening I rang him at 11.30pm in his hotel and on only two evenings was he actually there. The rest of the time I had to call his mobile (at least the hefty part of that cost goes on HIS phone bill, serves him right for being out having a good time in an exciting foreign city WITHOUT ME). And every one of these nights he was in a different bar or restuarant around the city trying out some new italian cuisine or great italian wine, and loving the dork heaven that was Florence this last week.

There were several thousand scientists there, all working in a very specific field and every time I spoke to him it was, "I left the last session and met XXX and YYY and so we went and had dinner, where AAA and BBB were also in the same restuarant. And then coming home across the square I ran into CCC and DDD and so now we´re having a few quiet ones, oh, and look! EEE and FFF have just come in!"

Its such a small community, and pretty much every single one of them (except me obviously) was in Florence last week. So it was a lot like a class reunion and he had a ball. All it need was a Volkswagen bus meeting in the next town and I never would have gotten him back again.