Various photos I’ve taken recently.
For most cities from the air, the weather takes a more dominant role than any topographical or construction oddities; sunlight bleaches the landscape, snow blanks it out, clouds blank out even that blanking out. Once you’re in the city, the homogenisation continues; you’re lumped in the back of a vaguely-recognisable car marque and hustled through unfamiliar traffic before a dolled-up desk assistant at your hotel takes a credit card number and dispatches you to an internationally-acceptable hotel room, distinguished only by the leaflets on the business desk and the brands of toiletries / beverages supplied.
But there’s a brief window, between weather and hustle, where you see the city for what it is, just as the plane swoops in: Dubai was empty desert punctuated by giant ‘f*ck-you’s built by sheikhs with too much oil; Vegas was a single gleaming street amidst suburbs that stretch out into desert shacks; Vancouver (or was it Toronto?) tastefully stretched into the mountains, demure and quiet, L.A. distastefully sprawled to the limits of its land-mass, London looked like Eastenders, and so on.
Moscow teases you with its size, interrupting endless woodland with fields and estates. The latter vary from tiny collections of shacks on massive allotments to housing estates comprised of country Estates and mansions, to a single gleaming dome of gold I caught sight of looming above the treeline; nearly all are brand new. When you finally get near the city centre, it’s a terrible combination of 70s blocks of flats, amazing monolith Soviet official buildings and weird tasteless new buildings built presumably with oligarchs fattened on fleecing the state. All of these are encircled by a solid steel band of unmoving traffic that fades at night and midday but never really disappears.
WALT DISNEY’S KING OF THE ELVES, based on the Philip K. Dick story about a gas station attendant who receives a knock on the door one rainy night. It’s a group of elves. Small, maybe a foot tall each. They are all green, with leaves and foliage growing off of them.They beg him for shelter from the storm. Despite his better judgment he allows them to stay and as reward he is made king of the Elves.
Not one of Dick’s finer works then…
Best. Deodorant. Advert. Ever.
Two players sit across from each other at a table, focusing on a small white ball. The objective is to make the ball roll toward your opponent and away from you, using only your mind. Headbands measure the players´ alpha waves, and the ball rolls away from the player with the calmest mind.
Of course, the logical next step is the removal of the ball. Then you just have two wirey, intense people sitting opposite each other, trying to remain as calm as possible, staring into each other’s eyes… and…. must… not… blink!
(I’m really happy that Wikipedia has a whole useful entry on the rules for a stare-out contest.)
“Screw this dump!” says Giblets. “This universe is old and fat and smells like smelling and Giblets is busting out!”
“Should we go over the wall or take the tunnel?” says me. I been diggin a tunnel.
“Nuts to the tunnel!” says Giblets. “What we do is we make like we’re sick. Then when God comes in to check on us we punch im in the liver an run out the door!”
“They’ll be on the lookout so we’re gonna need disguises if we wanna make it the resta the way,” says me. “If we bop Europe an Australia on the head we can sneak out in their continent costumes!”