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Month: October 2009


Halloween in San Francisco and the gathering clouds of a location-based privacy storm



It’s Halloween,  and nowhere more obviously so than in San Francisco.

This is my first 31st October as a resident of the United States and I have to say, the effort you yanks go to in celebrating the ancient Celts’ holy evening is truly astounding. Every corner store, diner, dry cleaners, police station, library and undertakers has embraced the – uh – spirit, adorning their windows with spray-on cobwebs and pumpkins and sparkly witches hats and coffins. (Although, to be fair to the undertakers, the coffins are sort of a year-round thing.)

We celebrate All Hallows’ Eve in the UK too of course, and like most things on our side of the Atlantic it’s just as commercial, albeit with more irony and a better accent. But the real difference back home is that Halloween is an evening – just one evening, not a whole fucking month – aimed squarely at  kids. Here, by contrast, it seems to be something far more grown-up. Something far more – well – creepy.

For the past two nights, the streets around my hotel have been swarming with drunken adults dressed as hookers. Witchy hookers, ghosty hookers, piratey hookers (Captain Hookers?) and even – I’m pretty sure – hookery hookers.…

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The trouble with drink, the trouble with me



“The chief reason for drinking is the desire to behave in a certain way, and to be able to blame it on alcohol” â€“ Mignon McLaughlin

Imulled for a ridiculous amount of time over whether I should post this. Not because it’s hopelessly self-indulgent – that’s never stopped me before – or because it’s too personal – ditto – but rather because there’s so much weirdness and angst and back-story that I would really need a whole self-indulgent book to tell it all. Lucky I’m writing one, I guess.

Getting straight to the point: a few days ago I decided to stop drinking. Or, rather, I decided to stop properly. Completely.

It was actually back in July – during my month-long London visit – that I realised I needed to take a break from the ridiculously Bukowskian cycle I’d got myself (back) into. And – with a few dramatic exceptions – I was doing ok. But then, as someone pointed out after my last binge, in recent weeks those dramatic exceptions had started to move closer together – to the point where they were inevitably going to collide. Almost-quitting is just not something I’m capable of. It’s all, or it’s nothing.…

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