Your leaking thatched hut during the restoration of a pre-Enlightenment state.


Hello, my name is Judas Gutenberg and this is my blaag (pronounced as you would the vomit noise "hyroop-bleuach").


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Like my brownhouse:
   make the Romans do as you do
Friday, January 26 2001
After another hectic day related to the rollout of a fresh suite of UK site features, the entire UK team (including the two local contractors) was taken out by the UK head honchos for an evening of beers, pool and greasy food. The place was Q's, that same schteveish West LA pool hall where my company held its annual holiday party. It's also the place that I didn't find too entertaining a few weeks back when I stumbled in there by myself all drunk and bored. I like the place only because it is within walking distance of my home; I've never had a spectacularly good time there. But with a phalanx of friends and people of like mind, nearly any place can be fun, especially when you're not the one buying the beers.
After arriving by taxi cab, we all just stood around the bar talking and drinking beers. Subjects discussed included:

  • The bewildering number of endemic British dialects and slang cultures in comparison with the largely bland uniformity of American English. Sure, we may have ebonics and a few quaint southern expressions (as well as the perennial pop-soda-coke debate), but that's about it. Americans don't even understand the point of rhyming slang? Why be elusive when you can speak in a way everyone can understand? Meanwhile, every county in the UK seems to have its own distinctive accent, dialect and rhyming slang.
  • What I'm going to be doing after I'm done with the UK site. For some reason the CTO of the UK site knows more about my fate than I do. She tells me I'll be working on building out music-interest-communities (or are these portals?). I can see this being either very bad or somewhat good.
  • The unabashed nature of British subjects when engaged in the act of drinking. Even in Puritanical America, Brits love to drink and often have the effect of encouraging their American colleagues to drink more than they otherwise might. I referred to it this way, "When in Rome make the Romans do as you do."

After we'd filled our empty stomachs with beer, we got around to the task of ordering food. It was greasy burger and fries stuff mainly (those Limey bastards seem to like American food more than most Americans I know - I found myself having to caution the CTO that she didn't really want "American Cheese" on her sandwich. For my part, I had the calamari. It's the best tan food in the entire world. "It's too much like rubber," Felicia the contractor observed. "I'd eat deep-fried automobile tires at this point," I said.
Upstairs we laid claim to a pool table and played endless games, often against teams of complete strangers. When he gets drunk, James the logistics guy is one hell of an outgoing guy. His usual technique is to just plow into a group of anonymous young ladies, putting his arms around them and making a friendly introduction with that impenetrably thick Glasgow accent of his. Invariably, the women are all immediately charmed by his exoticism and Scottish good looks and it's only a few steps from there to whatever it is that men like to do with women. Frank, who is more of a Matt Rogers about such things, was appalled, turning to me and telling me that James is "very married."
I realized during the course of these events that having friends around you in one of these scheteve bars is essential for meeting any of the strangers (if you happen to entertain such hopes - and who doesn't?). Having your friends around you, circulating, interacting and (above all, in this case, talking with alluring accents) gives you the confidence and serotonin to keep you from unattractively standing around gazing at your shoes. For example, while I was standing by a doorway amid interactions with the UK people, a sort of white-trashy-looking chick with a really unflattering Lita Ford haircut came up to me and spontaneously took a swig from my glass and then kissed me on the cheek. Later another attractive young woman I sat beside tried to charm me with a few words of French and then applied some sort of salve to my lips with a finger while telling me she "really liked" my Scottish friend. It worked; I was charmed, but she was only toying with me of course.
So then I tried to lead Frank and Simon into this other room behind a curtain where there were many fewer people lounging around in considerably greater splendor. But then I found out it was a "private party" and was kicked out, along with Frank, who made the mistake of saying he was "with" me.
It was another of those nights that ended with more of a whimper than a bang. After all the others left I found myself by myself with Felicia the contractor, you know, the young woman I hired. We chatted drunkenly for awhile, but then I sort of semi-intentionally lost her when I went to the bathroom. I later leaned off the balcony and could see her calling a cab and decided to just let her handle things without me. In the absence of friends and connections, I could no longer be anything but either a wallflower or an embarrassment in that place (I tried both). I was very drunk as I stumbled back home just after last call.

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