please stop tickling me

In which we laugh and laugh and laugh. And love. And drink.

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Location: Portland, Oregon

Otium cum Dignitatae

Sunday, July 24, 2005

We Cannot Fancy

The boy walks half missing person...
Interest that I was not who chateei, that I annoyed it, that I ordered with the goblet of pipocas รก to it head when saw the soccer in the other day and it did not bind none to that I was to say... Interest to it that was not this!
I know there, walks entertained...
E later leaves me it difficult task to write any thing here, only because yes...
I find that I go to finish for it to make an ultimatum style:


posted by girl @ 12:11 4

The above is an example of what happens when Google tries to translate foregn languages. Hilarious, no? It feels like a transmission from elsewhere: a broadcast from Mars. Except there's bits of English. 'I was not who chateei' indeed.
There also is the completely wonderful book English As She Is Spoke, which is a Portuguese-to-English phrase book originally published in 1855 by two Portuguese gentlemen who had no command of English whatsoever, but did have a French-to-English phrasebook, so they used that. The result is a trainwreck, with such well-known English colloquialisms as "This girl have a beauty edge", "It can't to please at everyone's", "Amuse you to cull some flowers", and "These apricots and these peaches make me and to come water in my mouth".
I was, for a while considering writing a semi-scholarly study titled, So I Says To Him: A study of the American Venacular, but abandoned the project when I looked at The American Language (volumes 1&2) by H.L. Mencken. Those were written in the '20's, though, and maybe could use a bit of updating. All the same, like on a lot of things, the guy just got there first.
I live in a neighborhood that is not entirely certain what it wants to be. It is equal parts residential and industrial, with a little smidge of retail thrown in. ('Smidge', huh? I bought a pair of Levi's from the I'd-have-to-say-1960's the other day, and a label within promised me 'With a skosh more room'. Was that word in any sort of common usage outside of largely Jewish communities back then?) So there's lots of warehouses, but they are largely becoming residences, whether or not the landlords know it. There is the B&O, where Bang and Olaufsen turntables used to be made, and then it was a corn flake manufactory (I had friends that lived in the roasting tower). These days, it's just storage, and bands practice there, and yeah, folks live there, but don't tell anybody. Across the street from this is the City Signs building, where they had a full-blown speakeasy operating on the roof (!) until the inevitable arrival of too many fucked up young people coinciding with no one really making sure that the whole thing was staying discreet mixed in with all the people in charge being idiots. I believe the whole enterprise lasted less than six months.
One day I left the B&O after band practice, and I had my camera, so I asked my friend who was with me to pose in front of one of the other warehouses nearby. The intermittent boarding up of windows had produced a surreal interplay of texture, surface, and occasional text, saying God-knows-what to whoever it was intended for, previously. Half a sign, obscured by boards, read, 'WE CANNOT FANCY'. That pic never came out, damn shame.
The thing is, I keep on having these conversations lately (or maybe I always have) that resemble this sort of selective perception. Where the person I'm speaking to heard maybe half of what I actually said, and it's not like a full half sentence, it's more like every other word. Then they proceed to respond to what they heard me say, and we spend the next half hour parsing the sentence structure. It's both maddening and terrifying.
I'm a person who chooses his words very carefully, as communication between people is one of the most important things to me (unless I'm drunk; but even then I do okay, and that's most people for you, if you ask me). When I have my own words misquoted back to me five minutes after they have been spoken, I worry. A lot.
I don't mutter (though my hearing is shit), and I have a clear speaking voice from radio and advertising work. I enunciate, and my speech patterns aren't monotonous. This doesn't help at all. It makes me realize too that if anyone is going to write down the story of all the fascinating people I've known, and all the things we have done, it's going to have to be me, and I'm a flawed vessel at best.
I am about to get my first byline: a restaurant review in a local weekly. I have been told to 'punch it up (though I hate to use that phrase)' by Keisheimer (check 'Disorder', from the March archives). She means I should make it snottier, as is the tone generally affected by that paper. Fine. No problem, but then I have this minor ethical quandry to contend with.
The next review is of a new place around here, in the district where we put our fanciest restaurants. A great deal of money was spent on its conception, and the head chef is one of those superstars who has worked at all the places you hear about on the Food Channel. My pal The Provost is the dessert guy, who is finally getting a chance for the world to really see how good he is, and he's amazing. He's been patissier at a lot of places around town, but none of them has been anyone's idea of four-star, and he never gets any credit anyway (though a recipe for his scones, oddly, appears in Chuck Palahniuk's book of essays about Portland). I have an opportunity to help a friend whose star, quite deservedly, should rise. Then I ate the rest of the food there.
A lot of it was free because The Provost had warned them that I was coming: I don't view that as inethical because it gave me a broad overview of what they could and could not do, and besides, free or not, if it sucked, it sucked.
About fifty percent of it sucked. I told The Provost this, and now the head chef wants me back, saying that I didn't sample enough of the menu, and especially to taste some of the signature dishes. They tell me the duck (cooked in duck fat, natch) is incredible.
Well, and maybe just maybe this is all a matter of opinion, and I'm the one who doesn't know anything about food. I know what I like, and what I like is made simply, but tastes complex. This place tries to be simple, but fucks it up by throwing three fantastic ingedients that don't really belong together into some weird, gritty broth...For instance. Tryin' too hard to be arty with food is something that can be done without sacrificing the all-important taste of the food.
So, I want to help my friend (potential ethical violation one), and that might lead to my writing an honest evaluation being compromised, because this is one of the best chances he's ever had, and I don't want to fuck that up for him (potential ethical violation two). I'm gonna go back there on Thursday, and I'm gonna be honest (I would love to get paid to both eat and write, and if you only write good reviews, you're...Homer Simpson, come to think of it), but I also have to find that middle ground.
The Tulsa Kid has already weighed in on this one, and someone (Press? You out there?) else could maybe toss me a bone here.
I came very close to leaving all my typoes in here, uncorrected, just so's I could keep with the earlier theme.



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