Things I learned from the movies:
1. All telephone numbers in America begin with the digits 555.
2. Medieval peasants had perfect teeth.
3. The ventilation system of any building is the perfect hiding place. No one will ever think of looking for you in there, and you can travel to any other part of the building you want without difficulty.
4. Any person waking from a nightmare will sit bolt upright and pant.
5. It is always possible to park directly outside the building you are visiting.
6. A cough is usually the sign of a terminal illness.
7. If you decide to start dancing in the street, everyone you bump into will know all the steps.
8. No matter how badly a spaceship is attacked, its internal gravity system is never damaged.
9. The more a man and a woman hate each other, the more likely they will fall in love.
10. All bombs are fitted with electronic timing devices with large red readouts so you know exactly when they’re going to go off.
11. Cars that crash will almost always burst into flames.
12. A cup of black coffee or a splash of cold water in the face is enough to render the most inebriated person stone cold sober.
13. If you try hard enough, you can outrun an explosion.
14. If you stick your head out of cover during a gun fight, it will never be hit, especially if you look backwards to hold a conversation with someone behind you.
15. Police Departments give their officers personality tests to make sure they are assigned partners who are their total opposite.
16. Honest and hard working policemen are traditionally gunned down three days before their retirement.
17. You’re very likely to survive any battle in any war unless you make the mistake of showing someone a picture of your sweetheart back home.
18. The Eiffel Tower can be seen from any window in Paris.
19. Computers never display a cursor on screen but always say: Enter Password Now.
20. Once applied, lipstick will never rub off — even while scuba diving.
21. All watches and clocks are synchronized to the second.
22. No matter how fuzzy the photograph, it can be enlarged and enhanced to show the finest detail.
23. Nearly everyone speaks English, no matter where they are from. Even aliens from outer space, despite the fact they have never been to Earth, seen an Earthling, or even heard of Earth or Earthlings.
24. No matter how catastrophic the disaster, pets will always survive it.
25. There will always be a doctor in a plane or building with the right medical supplies.
26. No matter how dead you think you’ve killed a bad guy, he can still get up at least three more times.
27. People rarely use the bathroom, and if they do, they’re usually dead within minutes.
28. Most laptop computers are powerful enough to override the communication systems of any invading alien civilization.
29. Cemeteries generate their own weather. Usually rainstorms… and not just gentle sprinkles, but biblical downpours.
30. When paying for a taxi, don’t look at your wallet as you take out a bill — just grab one at random and hand it over. It will always be the exact fare.
31. Most people keep a scrapbook of newspaper clippings — especially if any of their family or friends have died in a strange boating accident.
32. Cars that fly off cliffs spontaneously combust in midair for no apparent reason.
33. When you turn out the light to go to bed, everything in your room will still be clearly visible, just slightly bluish.
34. All computer disks will work in all computers, regardless of software.
35. Television news bulletins usually contain a story that affects you personally at the precise moment that it is aired.
36. Close blood relatives usually look nothing like each other, or have only a passing resemblance.
37. Any lock can be picked by a credit card or a paper clip in seconds — unless it’s the door to a burning building with a child trapped inside.
38. When they are alone, all foreigners prefer to speak English to each other.
39. An electric fence that’s powerful enough to kill a dinosaur will cause no lasting damage to an eight-year-old child.
40. If your town is threatened by an imminent natural disaster or killer beast, the mayor’s first concern will be the tourist trade or his forthcoming art exhibition.
41. It does not matter if you are heavily outnumbered in a fight involving martial arts — your enemies will wait patiently to attack you one by one by dancing around in a threatening manner until you have knocked out their predecessors.
42. A man will show no pain while taking the most ferocious beating, but will wince when a woman tries to clean his wounds.
43. If you are trapped in a tunnel, in a sinking ship, or a burning building, a cute little girl, a nun, and a feisty granny will be trapped with you.
44. All writers are wealthy; all publishing companies are glamorous; all artists are self-supporting and have large attractive well-lit loft studios.
45. Action heroes never face charges for manslaughter or criminal damage despite laying entire cities to waste.
46. During all police investigations it will be necessary to visit a strip club at least once.
47. If an expert makes a prediction and is disbelieved, then it will come to pass exactly as he predicted. If he makes a prediction and is believed, it won’t happen.
48. If there is a large bump in a downhill road, a speeding car will fly over it and hit the ground in shower of sparks. Unsecured passengers will not be injured, and no tire damage, broken axles, or suspension failures will occur. The car will then execute a sharp turn involving a skid.
49. Dogs always know who’s bad and will naturally bark at them.
50. Text appearing on a computer monitor appears letter by letter and making a sound as if it was produced by a typewriter.
If I were a banned book, I’d be the dirty bits and the heaving breasts and the twisted sheets and the scented oils and the chains and rope and dripping candle wax. I would coax you into multiples, and I would urge you to invite another. I’d be the empty bottle of gin on the kitchen table. I’d promise to call, but never would.
If I were a banned book, I’d tell you to challenge authority and question everything and demand answers. I’d tell you that the 1 percent is nothing without the rest of us labeling the 1 percent the 1 percent. I’d teach you to cook anarchy and embrace diversity and kiss your same-gender lover in public.
If I were a banned book, I’d let you ask me about sex and growing up, and I’d sing the caged-bird songs, and I’d be each of the nobodies who would answer to the name nobody. I’d teach you to sail a raft and swim against tides and dance in towns where dances aren’t danced.
If I were a banned book, I’d be the light on long-past midnight in your attic, and I’d be the cauldron around which dance witches and in which fire burns and toil and trouble doubles.
If I were a banned book, I’d bring flowers to the grave of a mouse and I’d teach you that forever sometimes means forever and sometimes means less than forever but always means what forever will mean to you, then, at that moment.
If I were a banned book, I’d be the secrets you write in your diary and I’d be the lies you write in your diary and I’d be the truths that you wish weren’t truths that you write in your diary.
If I were a banned book, I’d be cupboards and wardrobes and the hidden door under a stairwell in which lives the boy who lived. I’d be beanstalks and magic shoes and godmothers, winged and otherwise. I’d be potion poultice poetry. I’d be words wings wizardry.
If I were a banned book, I’d dance with insects outside of an enormous peach, and I’d race wolves in woods overgrown with ivy and snow. I’d be the substitute teacher who’d let you smoke cigarettes outside. I’d be the comic book hidden behind your history book.
If I were a banned book, I’d urge you to go ask Alice, and wrinkle time, and ride in talking cars. Everyday, I’d crown a new king fly-lord, and everyday would be a good day to say goodbye to something.
If I were a banned book, I’d be the Pigman and I’d be a Wallflower and I’d be the story of Sleeping Beauty, written under a penname. I’d kill mockingbirds and I’d talk about the things we talk about when we talk about things like death and love and sex and forever, which, as I already would have taught you, sometimes means less than forever but always means what forever will mean to you, then, at that moment.
Glass Beach is a unique beach, not because nature made it that way, but because time and the pounding surf have corrected one of man’s mistakes.
Beginning in 1949, the area around Glass Beach became a public dump. It is hard to imagine this happening today, but back then people dumped all kinds of refuse straight into the ocean, including old cars, and their household garbage, which of course included lots of glass.
By the early sixties, some attempts were made to control what was dumped, and dumping of any toxic items was banned. Finally in 1967, the North Coast Water Quality Board realized what a mistake it was and plans were begun for a new dump away from the ocean…
Now, over 30 years later, Mother Nature has reclaimed this beach. Years of pounding wave action have deposited tons of polished glass onto the beach. You’ll still see the occasional reminder of it earlier life, such as a rusted spark plug, but for the most part what you’ll see is millions of pieces of glass sparkling in the sun. (As part of MacKerricher State Park, collecting is no longer allowed).
The earth will be okay once it shakes us off for good. Only then can it heal.
This picture was taken at the end of my first week on board the Morning Star of Revelation as one of the Senior Leadership Team. My first full week of this new job as annual volunteer mate.
It was hard. I have so much to learn.
However, the crew was a perfect mix. They made it easy, because they were so easy to love. The best and worst thing about this job is the friends you make: people you might never have met otherwise, and whom you come to love as though you had known them five years rather than five days. The sad part is saying goodbye knowing that you might never see them again. Of course you might see them again. You can be friends on facebook, you can call. Only, it’s not that easy to maintain - the boat community is one-of-a-kind and it’s fairly impossible to replicate back on land in real life. Sometimes the friends you make live six hundred miles away. Finding and losing people every week is heartbreaking, but I will savour the moments. Each person has something amazing to offer, and I get to encounter it - for however short a time - and that is a privilege.
Modern society is half-assed. Take a lesson from the greats.
Oscar Wilde (via the-girlinthegreenscarf)
Your head is in the clouds.
Today, at twenty-five minutes past midnight, the 2035 from Paddington brought a fatigued and weather-beaten me back home to Plymouth.
On July 29th I left, spent a night in Chalfont St Peter with a fellow crew-member, Ben, and the following morning boarded the plane to Stavanger and thus the adventure began. Norway was breathtaking - at least what little I saw of it. Now around my neck as a souvenir is a Norwegian five kroner piece on a chain, because their coins have holes in them! Simple things…
The next day, after all the crew had assembled on our 62ft gaff-rigged ketch the Morning Star of Revelation, the Tall Ships race (leg three) began! Unfortunately, we were becalmed… A frustrating day or two followed, with little to no wind and we drifted aimlessly to the losing end of the fleet - at times, the only progress we made was backwards, at one knot.
Others were in the same metaphorical boat, which was small consolation when we eventually retired from the race, by no means the only ship to do so. But it was still disappointing. Facing seemingly endless problems - variable winds, from none at all to force six in the wrong direction, broken spreader, engine overheating and failing, peak shackle breaking, mainsail clew coming unlashed from the boom - we managed to cover 1006 nautical miles in sixteen days. A mission, to say the least.
An amazing crew of four women - First Mate Ruth (41 years old with a purple mohawk), Second Mate Mary (the seasoned pro, and my beloved twin), myself and Siobhan (the badass members of the team) - three Swedish guys - Mattias (who studies the environment and has terrible night-vision), Jesper (the little badboy who kissed the girls and made them cry), and Max (the Russian spy from the South of Sweden) - one Dutch guy - Sjors (the gentle 6ft6” giant) - Other First Mate Joel (a meek and mild culinary wizard, whose tin whistle I almost threw overboard in rage…), Other Second Mate Alistair (the Nottingham doorman from Durham, as he likes to tell us at EVERY opportunity…), darling Tom (who wasted endless water in staying clean-cut and beautiful at sea), darling Ben (the youngest member of the crew at fifteen, who bore the banter with impressive mettle), James (the traitor who jumped ship from rival Jolie Brise for the sake of a woman!) and Skipper Duncan (also known as ‘Hugh’ for his less than appropriate behaviour toward the wenches).
Trawling for mackerel when the wind died! I caught, gutted and ate mackerel for the first time in my life.
Learning four words in Swedish: gurka (cucumber), Svenska (Swedish), bög (gay) and one other too obscene to repeat…
The route itself: Stavanger to Egersund (both in Norway) to Fredrikshavn in Denmark to the race finish in Halmstad, Sweden, then on to Copenhagen in Denmark and eventually Den Helder in Holland, which we thought we would never reach.
Swimming in Halmstad Arena Bad, the greatest leisure pool/steamroom/sauna I have ever experienced, especially after a week at sea.
Seeing seals in the wild, swimming within ten feet of the boat.
Visiting Amsterdam on the way home - one of the most beautiful cities I’ve seen, where everyone is relaxed, everyone rides a bicycle and everyone is comfortable with weed cafés.
Electrical storm and hail stones on one memorable night-watch. May sound unpleasant, but was truly exciting.
It was one hell of a sail, and I loved every moment, no matter how much I might have complained about being tired, getting hit on the elbow by the boom, rendering me useless for an entire day, too much food and not enough showers… It was glorious.
Bring on next year.