Wednesday, January 31, 2007

I've been thinking about today's post for a while. The topic is, in a sense, revolution. And pure cussedness as well.

On his blog site, Rett recently posted an item about Sealand. (And before I forget, thanks Rett for your kind permission to steal your thunder as it were.) Maybe all of you have heard about Sealand and I'm the only one that's remained in the dark, but if that isn't the case here's the story:


In 1967, some guy named Paddy Roy Bates "invaded" a former UK naval installation, HM Fort Roughs, situated about six miles from the coast of Suffolk, England. The fort, which is not on an island but is actually a man-made structure resembling an oil rig, was occupied by a few other folks at the time, and Bates physically kicked their asses off it and set up shop himself.

Shortly afterward, the Royal Navy showed up to remove Bates from the fort. Bates fired some warning shots at the ships, and soon thereafter they hauled his ass into court for it because he was still a British citizen at the time. He won his case, however, since it was determined that HM Fort Roughs was outside of the 3-mile territorial limit.


In 1975, Roy Bates set up the independent principality of Sealand, with a constitution, passports, currency and a flag (image on the left). He himself became Prince Roy I, and his son became the Prince Regent Michael. Imagine growing up with that particular albatross tied around your neck.

It gets better. In 1978, the Sealand Prime Minister (that Bates had appointed) attempted a coup. He and a Dutch businessman kidnapped the Prince Regent and took control of the fort. No shit. Our boy Bates, no stranger to the rough-and-tumble, employed mercenaries and retook Sealand; he held the coup attempters as prisoners-of-war before releasing them. Now perhaps some of you remember my fondness for failed coup attempters from this post, Ukranians Ate My Goulash. It sounds like the Sealand coup attempters had it a little better than Captain Solo, however, "released" being the operative word here.

Well, it gets better still. It turns out that Sealand is currently for sale. Some people who run a BitTorrent site were trying to organize a movement to buy it so they could bypass copyright laws etc. etc. I say 'were' because the latest news seems to indicate that the Sealanders aren't returning emails so it's somewhat up in the air. As Rett says, check out the forum (the previous link), it's fascinating.

So that's the story. Isn't it great? Underdog takes on the UK and the Royal Navy and establishes his own country. And there was a coup attempt. And people are trying to buy the place. I love it.

I should also mention that I don't normally do news reporting so most of the above is lifted more or less intact from Rett and the Wikipedia site. Thanks again, Rett, and Wikipediaphiles for the first time.


What's funny is that in doing the research for this post I came across another tiny little upstart nation, Ladonia. Their web site narrative is a little disjointed, but it would appear that it started out as an art project in a remote and desolate corner of Scandinavia and eventually ended up as an independent nation that went to war with Sweden! Holy smokes, these little brat countries are popping up like mushrooms. Anyway, check out their web site. The green thing next to this paragraph is the Ladonia flag, by the way. One of the really cool things about Ladonia is that you too can become a Ladonian citizen. As they say, "Common citizenship is free. nobility costs $12." For twelve gringo bucks you can be a countess! Or a baroness! Or a friherrinna, whatever the hell that is. "Countess Heather of Ladonia" has a lovely ring to it I think, even better than Heather Hullesdottir. If you're wondering, I personally chose "common citizen" because I have a creepy feeling that otherwise there might be a guillotine out there with my name on it. Plus I'm broke. But you pays your money and you takes your chances; go for baron if you want.

One of the reasons I'm so fascinated by these tiny insolent little countries is that it runs in the blood. My great great granduncle, Isaac Roop, founded an independent territory in California in the 1860's called Nataqua. It seems the people there weren't ecstatic about paying taxes to California so they decided to form their own damn territory, bless their hearts. Uncle Isaac was the governor of Nataqua for a while. Eventually the California revenuers came to collect and there was actually a battle fought between the Nataquans and the Californians, the so-called "Roop County War" or "Sagebrush War" of February 1863. As it turned out, we Nataquans fought the evil Californians to a standstill then let 'em head back to Encino or wherever they came from with their tails between their legs. Yippee! Go Unca Isaac!

I have to echo a sentence here that I found in this history of the war: "About 9 o'clock that night a group of overzealous Roop citizens at Toadtown heard of the latest arrest and release of their officials and rode to Susanville to set things right." Toadtown? Not quite as romantic a name as Nataqua, the Paiute Indian name for "woman". (See? See? It isn't just me it's my whole damn family!) I'm also pretty okay with the overzealous part; I seem to have gotten those genes just fine as well.

Currently my plan is to find a picture of the flag of Nataqua somewhere and get a tattoo of it. I've looked for a flag but I have not yet found one -- surely they had one, otherwise it would be a sorry territory indeed. I'll let you know if I find it.

So who knew that all this shit was going on (besides Rett)? It seems the revolutionary spirit is still doing just fine in the world today: I found not one but two spit-in-your-eye little countries in a week. And just so you know, I'm doing my bit to help my fellow citizens in the downtrodden and beleaguered country of Ladonia: today I volunteered such skills as I have to the cause. Uncle Isaac would be proud.

-- Hulles

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Three posts today, because my day was cut short yesterday before I was able to put up Circles In The Dark. The other one besides this little guy is Electric Sheep of course.

Speaking of "Circles In The Dark", just so you know if you don't live in Minnesota, the mouse at this point is definitely not paddling in circles in the dark. Instead it is embedded in a solid block of ice in the garbage bin. I like to imagine that the mouse is cryogenically frozen, awaiting the day that science discovers a cure for having the shit beaten out of him.

And you know, I think "Circles" is my first horror story, never mind that it's true.

By the way, thanks Angie for correcting my Spanish spelling in Neruda Redux. I appreciate it immensely because I hate looking like an idiot when it's unintentional. I changed the post so it's now hormigas that are viene-ing and van-ing.

It occurs to me after reading the comments to the Mythos that you should all send me pictures of your tattoos and I'll post them. C'mon, you know you want to have them published. Speaking personally, I always welcome a chance to air mine out and do so whenever I can. I'll wait a week or so and if anyone sends me pictures to the email link in my profile I'll put them up in a special tattoo post. If you don't want to that's fine too. But I'll pout. I will. And it's not a pretty sight.

Uh oh. I hope this doesn't qualify as blogger writer love fest shit. If it does, I'm going to catch hell again. So it goes.

-- Hulles

Yes, "possibly real."

One thing I always try to keep in mind as I write about you guys and read your blogs and respond to your comments is the Turing Test. Alan Turing was a British mathematician who did pioneering work in computer theory, and is most noted for the aforementioned test of whether or not a computer could think. He claimed that a computer was truly intelligent if you could hold a fifteen-minute conversation with it and not be able to tell it was a computer.

I just extrapolate from Turing's theory a little bit. What if all the interconnected computers in the World Wide Web have really reached a critical neural mass and achieved sentience, just like in a science fiction story I read once? How do I know that you people are real, and not just the elaborate prank of a vast artificial intelligence that apparently has nothing better to do? I suppose one test of this is whether or not this post actually makes it to Blogger. If not, and I am mysteriously killed by a runaway driverless beer truck on the way to the redundantly-named Nina's Coffee Cafe today, I guess that answers that, doesn't it?

So when I put the the Hulles Mythos together, I intentionally put a "p.r." (possibly real) by all of you that I have never met in the flesh. No matter how you might squawk in the comments to said post, you might all be dreams of electric sheep. ("Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep?" is the Philip K. Dick story upon which the film "Blade Runner" was based.) Actually, for all you know, I might be the creation of a Linux web server with a particularly warped sense of humor. If that was the case though, I wish I would have been dreamed richer. Poverty sucks, imaginary me or not.

The sharper-eyed among you might notice that Anne Frasier is an "r." I'm happy to report that I met her for coffee recently, and she is every bit as lovely and charming as I imagined her to be except more so. "Vividly real" would be an apt description of her as regards the topic of this post. I really enjoyed gabbing with Anne, plus I got the copy of her book in Polish that I had been clamoring for ("Zabawa W Smierc", with accents over the 'S' and 'c' that unfortunately this character set doesn't have). The book now resides in the place of honor on my bookshelf, next to "Fragments of the Delta of Venus" by Anaïs Nin, illustrated by Judy Chicago. That is, "Fragments" is illustrated by Judy Chicago, not "Zabawa". Anne's book in Polish has no pictures of vaginas that I have yet found, though not for want of searching. Perhaps the French edition....

Apropos of all this "imaginary you" stuff, a nominal friend of mine always teases me that Casti, with whom I am madly in love, is really a 400-pound male truck driver who wears a wife-beater and lives in New Jersey. "So what," is invariably my thoughtful and articulate rejoinder. That only matters if I end up meeting her/him for a Cardhu. Until then, Casti is a beautiful woman who lives in São Paulo and writes poetry and studies martial arts (no doubt preparing for our inevitable meeting), and I'm staying madly in love with her until reality slaps me in the face (see martial arts comment).

Before signing off, I feel obliged to relate something I learned to my sorrow when looking up Alan Turing to make sure I got his first name right. Encarta, my offline reference work, says that Turing "apparently committed suicide in 1954 , probably in reaction to medical treatments he was forced to receive in order to 'cure' him of homosexuality." Good lord, reality sucks sometimes, doesn't it? I much prefer you guys.

Thus, my motley collections of electrons, you are "possibly real," and so you will remain until I meet you. But real or imaginary, I'm glad you read my stuff. And who knows, maybe Stephen Blackmoore is really a hot 24-year-old blonde nymphomaniac cocktail waitress with a cute ass whose dad owns a liquor store.

We should be so lucky.

-- Hulles

I'm such a proud parent -- Mimi, my big-boned cat, caught a mouse a couple of days ago. Go Mimi! You've still got it, girl.

I have bitched before about mice infesting my house -- see Mickey Must Die and Mickey Must Die - A Reprise if you're interested. Come the cold weather in Minnesota, the mice draw lots to see who gets to establish residence in the Hulles household, then after the annual gala drawing, drunken orgy and seed feast some lucky rodent family gets to move in with me for the winter and eat my shit. They think.


Little do they know I have a Secret Weapon: Mimi. Granted, she's a fat secret weapon, and actually not all that secret because she grumps around the house bitching often enough that the mice in the next county must know of her existence, but my Secret Weapon she remains. I guess the mice get a look at her through the window and think, "As if! Like that cat could manage to leap onto a speeding sofa, let alone catch me!" Hah. I pity the foos.

Not so long ago I read a blog post, I don't recall whose but probably Kat's, about the bloggess waking up in bed with a mouse in her cleavage that her cat had proudly deposited there. I commented on her entry at the time that I had developed the ability to wake myself up from a sound sleep if I heard Mimi making the peculiar noises that meant she had caught a mouse. Well, I'm happy to say that I wasn't lying, at least about that. The other morning I woke up at 5:43 AM because I heard Mimi doing the happy dance about having found herself a brand-new play partner. She was batting a fairly fat little mouse around the bedroom and looking as smug as I've ever seen her.

The mouse wasn't moving that spryly by this time. Mimi and the mouse must have been romping for a while in the other room, because the way the victim tiredly ran and the resigned expression on its face said clearly, "Let's just get this over with, shall we? We're all animals of the world here, and we know how it's going to end, so just get on with it."

I guess Mimi didn't much care what the mouse thought because she seemed ready to continue playing Torquemada for a couple more weeks, but I decided to intervene and stunned the sucker -- the mouse, that is -- with a boot. I scooped up the mouse into a (what used to be) one-pound coffee can and put the lid on it and took it into the kitchen. Actually, I thought I had killed it, since it had been lying on its back with its feet in the air and little X's in its eyes after the size 12 hiking boot made its intimate acquaintance, but I heard a half-hearted scratching sound come from the can as I got it to the kitchen. Which presented me with the moral quandary of how to off it in the most humane way possible then chuck it into the trash.

I hate this moral quandary. The "Reprise" post I mentioned above is all about that very thing. At 5:43 AM I do not want to face moral quandaries. I want to go back to sleep and resume my dream about... never mind what about, I just want to go back to bed. So I thought I'd just let the mouse scrabble in the can until the air ran out and pitch the can. However, the scrabbling noise sounded awfully damn pathetic, plus I didn't want the mouse chewing through the plastic can or something, so I sleepily decided to drown it. Bad idea.

I filled the coffee can avec rodent with water nearly to the rim and put the lid back on. My last glimpse of the mouse was of the little guy doing the dog paddle (!) around his new swimming pool and looking extremely distraught. "Fuck you," was my less-than-sympathetic reaction. I put duct tape around the lid seam -- yet another use for that wonder product -- and took the can outside to the garbage bin near the curb. The reason I put the duct tape around the coffee can lid was so the can wouldn't open up in the garbage and the mouse reenter the house dripping wet, wild-eyed and eager for revenge. I have enough problems without worrying about bloodthirsty rodents clutching rusty discarded razor blades lurking in my dryer, thank you very much.

The problems started once I got back in the house. The last glimpse I had of the poor little mouse forlornly paddling away in the coffee can came back to haunt me in spades. The mouse looked so pathetic and sad in my remembrance that I just knew it was still out by the curb swimming circles in its lightless prison, tears forming in the corners of its eyes because all it wanted was a chance to say goodbye to its wife and kids and a few close friends before a protracted and ignominious death finally came to claim it in the garbage can. Poor little guy.

I have a pretty vivid imagination, which is why I was so eager to get back to my dream about.... So of course I lay sleepless on my back in bed replaying the drowning-in-the-dark scene over and over, each time feeling more and more like the heartless and cruel bastard my ex-wives always claimed I was.

Well, I guess my ex's were right because the mouse is still out there in the minus-twenty-degree wind chill. At this point, I'm certain he's clutching the edge of a little raft that magically appeared inside the coffee can with the mouse version of Kate Winslet on it, his little face turning blue as his grasp slips from the raft and he slowly sinks through the four inches of icy cold water....

If you thought this was going to have a happy ending, boy were you wrong. I still feel like shit, as does the mouse I'm sure. Fortunately for the mouse, his agony will end soon. As for me, I don't have enough money to buy sufficient (or any) scotch to dull the horror, so I'll just have to live with my vision of the mouse:

Paddling ever more slowly...

Bravely trying to hold back the tears...

Gasping for the last bit of putrid air...

Swimming round and round in circles in the dark....

-- Hulles

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Recently I ran across another Pablo Neruda poem on someone's site, I forget whose site it was, and of course I enjoyed it tons because I'm a big Neruda fan. As some of you may remember, I posted a Neruda poem in the original Spanish a while back with a lovely translation by T. M. Lauth.

So all this got me to thinking. There is a favorite Neruda poem of mine that I memorized when Cristina was a mere gosling, so why not post it here and do the translation myself? Until now the only poetry I've ever translated was Catullus's love poetry from Latin, which incidentally was pretty steamy in places. At any rate, I thought I'd give this poem a shot, so I'm reproducing the Spanish from memory and providing an English translation as well. Hopefully I remembered the poem correctly -- I can't seem to find it on line anywhere.

Incidentally, I think this little poem makes a wonderful anti-war statement, and I find it very dramatic in its own minimalist way, even chilling. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

El Raid

by Pablo Neruda

Hormigas viene.
Hormigas van.
Las cucurachas comiendo estan.
Viene Raid,
Las mataran.
Y ya no volveran, ¡no no!



The Raid

by Pablo Neruda
translated by Hulles

The soldiers come.
The soldiers go.
The scavengers are feasting.
Then comes the raid,
And the soldiers die.
And they never come back.



See? I told you it was a dramatic little poem. I've loved this ever since it was taught to me by my bilingual ex-family, God bless 'em. Anyway, just thought I'd pass it on. Let me know what you think of the translation.

-- Hulles

The post below this one, The Hulles Mythos, may seem to you to be pretty self-indulgent. Like, a lot. "Is there no end to this man's hubris?" I hear you asking yourself. (And by the way, you're mispronouncing 'hubris'.) Well, the answer of course is "Nope." However, even I have to admit that it seemed excessively arrogant to me as I wrote it. But the post has a purpose: I like to refer to my previous posts when I write, and it is unrealistic to expect people new to Hulles to understand all the allusions I make. So I'm providing a reference page that I intend to keep updated for as long as I blog and I'm linking to it in the sidebar.

I thought of doing this because I've often wished for something similar when I went to other people's blogs. When I discover a new web log, generally I don't want to read every previous post the person ever wrote because it would make my lips tired. However, oftentimes knowing a little bit about these past entries would have prevented me from making a complete ass of myself when I left some ridiculously inappropriate comment on the new-to-me blog. Well okay, it wouldn't have done that, but it would have meant that the assification wasn't out of ignorance at least. So please forgive the blatant narcissism of The Hulles Mythos in the interest of helping out the newbies and the old timers like me who always forget everything.

Truth be told, I actually had a lot of fun creating the Mythos page, although it took a long time to complete it. I went through all my old posts, even the dreck ones, and pulled out stuff I thought might be useful or amusing or interesting to know. In the process I was able to recall a bunch of funny stuff I had forgotten, like poor Becky Nyang for example. In fact, the reference page is as much for me as for anyone, and should help me keep all my outrageous lies reasonably consistent if not actually credible.

Eventually my intention is to provide links in the references to the blog entries they refer to, but that will have to wait until I have more time to devote to the project. Which may be a while. In the interim, if you really want to know where a reference appeared you can search the blog using the little Blogger search gizmo in the the upper left corner.

Also, you should know that if you are a regular reader and your name isn't on the Mythos page it's only because I either haven't referred to you explicitly in a blog post yet or because I want to keep you a cherished secret. Regardless, it's only a matter of time before you appear in the Mythos if you comment regularly, so don't feel badly. Or prematurely relieved, for that matter.

And as an added incentive for you to read the sucker even if you have been hanging around these parts for a while (and bless you for that) I included a Special Bonus Section at the bottom of the Hulles Mythos page. And no, I'm not going to tell you about it here because that would reduce its Special Bonusness considerably, and we wouldn't want that, would we? No we wouldn't. So go read it.

-- Hulles

P.S. There's a new post from Saturday underneath The Hulles Mythos page called Bjork To The Future that you might otherwise miss in all the excitement. (Damn, do I come up with great titles or what?) And by the way, I had to make the Bjork entry extra-long so the weight of the Mythos post didn't smoosh it down into two or three lines.

[The Hulles Mythos, a compendium of facts, fictions and outright lies from the world of the Hulles blog, was grudgingly prepared by V. I. Knuper's freshman writing class at Wellesley College so they could pass his damn course.]


Glossary
People
Places
Famous People With Whom Hulles Would Most Like To Have Lunch (That We Know About So Far)
Women With Whom Hulles Is Not Madly In Love (That We Know About So Far)
Filmography
Special Bonus Section: The Mugs Of Power
Abbreviations


Glossary

This is a list of words and phrases used in the Hulles blog to date. In other words, it's a glossary.
"A Child's Treasury Of Single Malt Scotches"
A Hulles children's book that unaccountably didn't sell well
"A Lutheran Boy's First Book Of Tits"
A Hulles children's book that unaccountably didn't sell well either
AAPI
American Association of Professional Iconoclasts
Ambition, distraction, uglification and derision
The four kinds of arithmetic (Lewis Carroll)
ARVN rifle
A rifle issued by the Army of the Republic of Viet Nam; typically in good shape because it was never fired and only dropped once
Bisontennial
A celebration of the 200th Hulles blog post
"Born to Glow"
Hulles internal tattoo done in radioactive ink on his left kidney that can only be seen in X-rays
Butfor
An unfortunate person about whom one says, "There but for the grace of God goes..."
Cabbage flowers
No idea what these really are but someone thinks we hold them in our ears
Chasing Windmills
An otherwise excellent daily web video series in which Hulles has had a cameo role as a stalker
Cocktail waitresses with cute asses
This phrase seems to be a favorite with "cute ass" googlers, just as the waitresses described by the phrase are favorites with Hulles
"Fine, you bitches, I'll use my real name."
Haunting phrase from Kat's blog bio
Genki seals
No idea what these are either
Gentlemen of the second declension
Gay men (Lawrence Durrell)
Golden Panty Box
The box into which Hulles deposits the panties hurled at him while he performs on-stage
"How drug!"
Intriguing phrase from a Brazilian Portuguese autotranslation, meaning unclear
Hulles Death Commandos
A band of hand-picked, highly-trained and extremely hot women that exhibit doglike devotion to Hulles
"Let's get you refooded"
Phrase used by Hulles to his cat that he thinks is cute
Meatamorphosis
The process by which various entrees become inedible in Hulles's refrigerator
Metaphor Mixer
An electrical appliance often used by Hulles when he writes
MIL
Acronym for Madly In Love, an oft-used phrase around these parts. To be official it needs to be in bold type.
My Naked Birthday Dance
Dance traditionally performed by Hulles in the buff on the occasion of his birthday
Naftab
A national foul-tasting alchoholic beverage, e.g. Brennivin
Naked Wednesdays
The Hulles answer to the ubiquitous "Wordless Wednesday" blog phenomenon
NDPS
No Discernible Personality Syndrome
Netsuke straps
No idea what these are but they sound cool: "Tighten your netsuke straps..."
"No need to be horny and alone"
Subject of an email thoughtfully sent to Hulles by spammers
"O Mio Babbino Caro"
Aria for soprano or Hulles from the opera “Gianni Schicchi” by Giacomo Puccini
Omijukis
Also no clue what these are but they also sound cool: "Grab your omijukis..."
Reeling, writhing and fainting in coils
Grammar school subjects in which Hulles excelled (Lewis Carroll)
Running of the Goats
An annual event at New Lugburz designed to woo tourists
Sarcasm Sprayer
Like the Metaphor Mixer, an electrical appliance often used by Hulles when he writes that renders sentences that drip with contempt
SBG
Serial Boring Guy
Seat Of Pleasure And Of Pain
A bar stool with special attributes at the former Chang O'Hara's
Sex dog
An extremely hot and sexy older man, i.e. Hulles
Short Path
Refers to Short Path Buddhism, which teaches that one can achieve enlightenment by performing arbitrary acts; i.e. the perfect excuse for everything one ever does
Skeet Tzu
A sport combining the best elements of skeet shooting and small dog flinging
Smiling Mamegoma
No idea what this is either
Strumpet wrangler
Someone who assists Hulles in buying drinks for cute and unsuspecting young women, typically a bartender
Socktoberfest
Traditional celebration of the splendor of socks held in October
Suck Factor
A measure of how much a day sucks, 10 being the suckiest and 0 being any day one gets laid no matter what else happens
Tantric Sex Secrets of the Orient
Mysterious, intriguing and physically strenuous sexual practices that Hulles teaches at a local junior college
Texas Brain Cell Massacre
Pretty much what happens any time Hulles goes out for a cocktail
"They shoot, they get naked themselves, and they drive me fearful"
Phrase used by a Zambian soldier to describe female guerrilla fighters
Three Foot High Club
An exclusive club of people who have had sex on a train
Trailer Parkinson's Disease
A tragic disease afflicting an unusually high percentage of Hulles's ex-girlfriends
Triceratennial
A celebration of the 300th Hulles blog post
Underwear Gnomes
Gnomes that come at night and steal kids' underpants; they bite the ears off any little boy that leaves skid marks in them
Vinegar eels
Not eels at all, but nematodes that Hulles seems to find fascinating for no reason we can determine
Werehamsters
Dangerous little imaginary creatures with inch-long fangs and an attitude
"With a vigor normally reserved for procreation"
Phrase originally used to describe rats on cocaine, now used by Hulles for nearly everything
World's Best Boyfriend Award
An award Hulles has never won
WUDDS
An acronym for "witty, urbane, dashing, debonair and sophisticated," attributes of a gentleman of distinction
Yeast cops
Law enforcement officers in charge of keeping expired yeast off grocery shelves; notoriously lax at their job
"You have the soul of a clerk"
For Hulles, the ultimate curse (Lawrence Durrell)
"Zombies Ate My Homework"
A Hulles young adult title that thankfully never reached publication


People

These are people and other creatures mentioned in Hulles blog entries.
A_____
r., Bizarro-Hulles putative writer who preys on young women even more heavy-handedly than Hulles himself
Amanda Adams
r., author of A Mermaid's Tale: A Personal Search for Love and Lore and local celebrity of sorts
Amber
p.r., any of a number of lovely young popsies with whom Hulles is acquainted
Angie
p.r., blogger with remarkable hair, member of Coyote Radio Theater (?)
Anne Frasier
r., clairvoyant, blogger, friend, author of a number of excellent creepy novels that you should own
Balderdash
p.r., NYC blogger who has tons of hot women who read his blog for some inexplicable reason
Becky Nyang
p.r., woman whose tongue stud was hit by lightning
Ben
r., friend, aka Spictacula
BethAnn
i., Hulles ex-wife
Black Diamond
r., female, Liberian guerrilla fighter
Brenda
r., friend, former Hulles bartender and strumpet wrangler
Cady
r., friend, former Hulles bartender with double-jointed elbows
Captain Solo
p.r., failed Zambian coup attempter
Carmen
r., Hulles's ex-wife and mother of Isabel and Cristina
Caroline Haerdi
r., Swiss knife thrower and former bartender at the Rio Bar in Basel
Casti
p.r., female, lovely Brazilian blogger upon whom Hulles has a huge crush
Charlotte The Social Worker
r., amusing woman Hulles met in a bar
cK
r., male blogger and friend of Hulles
Claire
p.r., adorable blogger from somewhere in the British Isles
Cristina
r., Hulles's youngest stepdaughter and co-creator of "Chasing Windmills" with Jadelr
Danielle
r., friend of Hulles, Marguerite's sister
Danielle (Toronto)
r., Hulles date at one time
David
r., former Hulles co-worker, aka The Fontmeister
Dave the Crazed Engineer
r., Hulles friend and co-conspirator
Diego
r., Hulles's step-grandchild, son of Isabel
Donald Kaul
r., former columnist for the Des Moines Register
Doris
i., Frank the squirrel's girlfriend
Ed Burke
r., former Latin professor of Hulles's
Elena Anaya
r., Spanish actress in "Sex and Lucia"
Emily
r., lovely and talented woman of Hulles's acquaintance
Erin
r., friend of Hulles, aka "The Mexican"
Eva
p.r., writer, blogger, mother of seven, excoriatrix
Fanatica
r., psychotic nemesis of Hulles with a hairy crotch
Ferbs
r., friend of Hulles
Flatula
p.i., The initially less-attractive friend of an Ashley at the bar
Fluffy
i., dead Shih Tzu
Frank
i., squirrel by day, werehamster when the moon is full
Garrison Keillor
r., celebrity, owner of Common Good Books
Gordy
r., practicing animist and friend of Hulles
Haley
r., suddenly and completely
Harry Morton
r., president of the Pink Taco chain of Mexican restaurants and former beau of Lindsay Lohan
Heather Harper
p.r., writer, blogger, mom, and purportedly a recently-discovered daughter of Hulles
Hilary Hahn
r., exquisite classical violinist
Hulles
p.r., (pronounced "hull ace") blog author, sex dog, Curmudgeon-In-Chief of the Hulles blog
Isabel
r., Hulles's oldest stepdaughter and mother of Diego
J
p.r., male, photographer and blogger whose identity Hulles tried to steal, probably Lo's boyfriend
Jadelr
r., male, friend of Hulles, co-creator of "Chasing Windmills" with Cristina
Jadie
r., lovely young barista at the redundantly-named Nina's Coffee Cafe
Janet From Another Planet
r., neighborhood character
JC
p.r., blogger who recently moved from the Low Countries back to the US, aka Justin
Jen
r., a Twin Cities blogger with perfect eyebrows and great boobs and a hamsa tattoo
Jen (Music)
r., local woman with superb taste in music; no idea what her boobs are like
Jennifer Garner
r., celebrity, actor, and the only woman we know of so far that Hulles is not madly in love with
Jill Johnston
r., writer for the Village Voice at one time
Jill Villeneuve
i., Rolling Stone reporter
Julie
r., friend and veggie wrap eater
Kat
p.r., very funny (and totally hot) New York blogger
Kristen Painter
p.r., writer, blogger, the exact opposite of an ugly, uncouth 400 lb. male truck driver
La Espia T.
p.r., bootylicious Twin Cities blogger
Lauren
r., friend of Hulles
Leo
r., Hulles's younger brother who is nearly as creepy as Hulles is (he passed away 10/31/2007)
Lester
r., Hulles's Jack Dempsey who was offed by an ex-girlfriend
Lisa
r., one-time object of desire for Hulles, instantly became "just a friend" when he found out she was 19
Little Jimmy
i., the Littlest Werehamster
Lo
p.r., darling young female musician and blogger in Minneapolis
Lollie
p.r., blogger, intriguing former principal dancer with the Oakland Ballet who has intelligent breasts
Lu
r., friend, occasional bartender at Costello's, no relation to Lo
Lucy
p.i., person with whom Hulles had a tawdry affair
M2
see Marguerite
Mala Rodríguez
p.r., steamy hot Spanish hip-hop singer
Margo Timmins
r.,lead singer for the band "Cowboy Junkies"
Marguerite
r., close friend of Hulles, aka M2, Danielle's sister
Maria
r., erudite mysterious tortured soul, stalker of Hulles (in his dreams, she would say)
Martine van Hamel
r., at one time principal dancer with the American Ballet Theater
Max Brooks
r., author, son of Mel Brooks, noted zombie authority
Melissa Rainville
r., local chanteuse
Mikey
r., Hulles's ex-cat
Milla Jovovich
r., actress, frequent winner of the Hulles Most Beautiful Mouth Award
Mimi
r., Hulles's current big-boned cat, best friend and confidante
Missy
p.r., blogger, sports fan, correcter of German and possibly fellow Iowan
Mistress Elena
r., friend and strict esthetician
Molly
r., slendrous female, Latin scholar, friend of Hulles
Mosilager
p.r., blogger and notorious ladies' man who seems to pop up all over the world
N_____
r., (pronounced "en, underscore, underscore, underscore...") lovely woman that Hulles met in a bar
Nips
i., dead Shih Tzu
Nancy
r., one of Hulles's ex-girlfriends
Onan
p.r., Dorothy Parker's parakeet, named after Biblical mastubator
Paz Vega
r., Spanish actress in "Sex and Lucia"
Polly
r., friend, heckler, curmudgeonette, web site designer
Ranjit
i., outsourced blog writer
Rett
p.r., blogger who "likes mustaches and beards," it remains to be seen on what
Sandy
r., beautiful young woman for whom Hulles is making a "top" and with whom Hulles is madly in love (of course)
Seans and Heathers
p.i., various offspring that Hulles has scattered across the world in his wanderings
Shelly
r., female friend and good hugger
Sol
r., friend who holds court at the end of the W. A. Frost bar (passed away 10/2009)
Sparky
i., spectacularly dead Shih Tzu
Spictacula
see Ben
Sue Zumberge
r., manager of Common Good Books, new friend
Susan
r., friend and ex-girlfriend of Hulles that used to wear aluminum foil on her head and eat beer jello
Suzanne Blue
r., beautiful and intriguing young woman that Hulles met in a bar
Stephen Blackmoore
p.i., writer, blogger, and Adjutant Curmudgeon of Hulles blog
T. M. Lauth
p.r., translator, fashion designer
Terri Schaefer
p.r., writer, blogger, asterisk-phrase user
Unca Don
r., friend of Hulles and indictable co-conspirator
V. I. Knuper, Ph. D.
i., professor of English at Wellesley College


Places

Places that have been immortalized in the Hulles blog.
Bobcaygeon, Ontario
p.r., An unremarkable town somewhere in Canada
Common Good Books
r., Garrison Keillor's charming bookstore in Saint Paul below Nina's
Costello's (“If we wanted people to come for the service, we would have opened a church.”)
r., Unpretentious bar in Saint Paul near Nina's
Dave's Palm Barbers
p.i., The place where Hulles gets the hair on his palms trimmed
Ladonia
r., small country of which Hulles is a citizen
Nataqua
r., short-lived republic founded by a Hulles ancestor
New Lugburz
i., A heavily-fortified ranch in northern Minnesota where Hulles and his posse have set up headquarters
The redundantly-named Nina's Coffee Cafe
r., A café in Saint Paul where Hulles often writes
Novo Santo Antonio
r., Town in Brazil where they distribute free Viagra™ to old folks
Rio Bar
r., Bar beloved of Hulles in Basel, Switzerland
Sealand
r., tiny country founded off the shores of England in an old fort
Smitten Kitten
r., A “truly feminist sex toy store” in Minneapolis
Sweeney's Saloon
r., Neighborhood bar where Hulles found true love
W. A. Frost
r., Upscale restaurant and bar near Nina's; the Anti-Costello's


Famous People With Whom Hulles Would Most Like To Have Lunch (That We Know About So Far)

  • Freddie Mercury
  • Bill McGlaughlin


Women With Whom Hulles Is Not Madly In Love (That We Know About So Far)

  • Jennifer Garner


Filmography


Chasing Windmills episodes:

  • microsofty -- where Hulles first appears in a bookstore and looks creepy
  • tailed transaction -- where Hulles sits in a café and looks creepy
  • switch -- where Hulles creepily stalks Steve through the skyway
  • flight -- where Hulles peeks around a corner like a meerkat would if meerkats peeked around corners in alleys in a decidedly creepy fashion
  • run -- where Hulles smokes a cigarette very coolly indeed -- and looks creepy


Special Bonus Section: The Mugs Of Power

The The Mugs of Power are rare and coveted artifacts collected by Hulles in the course of his worldly travels. They are purported to confer special powers upon the person who drinks coffee from them, as explained below. The effects generally last from two hours to all day, depending upon the strength and quality of the coffee and the constitution of the coffee drinker.
The Deep Blue Mug Of Despair
This mug causes the drinker to fall into an utter funk in which life no longer seems worth living even if "Desperate Housewives" continues for another six seasons. No one has ever come up with a reason why anyone would willingly drink out of this mug, which is why Hulles plans on giving it to his stepmother next Christmas.
The Green Mug Of Gaiety
Drinking from this dainty little mug with pinky finger extended causes the male drinker to mince, lisp his words and flame like a house afire. Hulles often slams down a cup of coffee from this mug prior to a first date with an attractive woman, the better to lull her into bemused complacency before getting arm-waving drunk and dry-humping her leg.
The Pink Mug Of Perspicacity
Having one's morning coffee from this mug allows the drinker to easily penetrate the shallow-seeming exterior of most people to discern the true shallowness that lies deep within them. Effects generally last until the end of the work day. Made by the same ancient Sumerian potter who created the fabled Cyan Mug Of Cynicism, which Hulles is eager to acquire at any price.
The Purple Mug Of Passion
Drinking coffee from this mug makes the drinker tremendously excited about things that seem boring, trivial and mundane to nearly everyone else. Drinking from the Purple Mug Of Passion also tends to cause the drinker to go on and on and on about how great these things really would seem to you if only you could possibly understand their incredible significance in the grand scheme of things. This is the Mug Of Power generally preferred by Hulles unless he is hung over.
The Mauve Mug Of Memory
After drinking coffee from this cup in the morning, the drinker will remember all the stupid shit he did the night before when he was out sucking down scotch until 3 AM (albeit cheap scotch). Typically the only reason Hulles drinks from this mug is to remember who to avoid for the next six months.
The Red Mug Of Rigidity
This cup appears to be a sort of ancient version of Viagra™. If an erection lasts for more than four hours after drinking coffee from this mug, see your doctor, particularly if she happens to be totally hot. Hulles almost never drinks out of this mug; he has enough problems as it is.
The White Mug Of Wisdom
No one is quite sure what the effects of this mug really are. Obviously Hulles has never bothered to drink coffee from it.

Abbreviations

r. = real
p.r. = possibly real
p.i. = probably imaginary
i. = imaginary


Saturday, January 27, 2007

Just a couple of days ago I checked my calendar and discovered that Wednesday the 24th of January was the eighth anniversary of my fourth dragon tattoo. So to celebrate I had to put a special song on the stereo at near-concert-volume, much to the chagrin of my cat and my upstairs neighbors.

The song was “Bella símamær” from the album “Gling-Gló,” by Björk Guðmundsdóttir & tríó Guðmundar Ingólfssonar. Yep, it's good old Bjork. “Gling-Gló” is an album of her doing jazz renditions (in Icelandic) of some traditional Icelandic folk songs. I believe it was one of her earliest albums, if not her first. And “Bella símamær” is really upbeat and cheery and lively, plus it's Bjork, who I adore. Just hearing her idiosyncratic singing voice makes me smile. In other words, listening to “Gling-Gló” around January 24 is pretty much a musical antidepressant for me in the midst of yet another Minnesota winter. Well, it works, so I intend to continue the tradition as necessary.

I bought the “Gling-Gló” album on a trip to Reykjavik Iceland in 1999. It was one of those trips where the plane ticket was so cheap I couldn't not go. This was because it was in January, and for some reason people don't seem to flock to Iceland in January. My excuse for going aside from the cheap ticket was that I figured the weather in Iceland in January couldn't be worse than the weather in Saint Paul, and was probably even milder than here. In the event it turned out that I was correct, although the days were about twelve minutes long so you had to pretty much scurry to get anything done that required daylight.

A number of things from this trip stand out in my mind. One is that, upon arriving and checking into my hotel, I decided to acclimate by reading one of the ubiquitous little booklets printed by the government, “Welcome to Iceland, Sucker” or some such title, you know the kind of brochure I mean. I first turned to the “Nightlife” section, since there was so damn much night, and immediately started laughing out loud. I approximate the first sentence here:


The nights get long in Iceland, and Icelanders like to get drunk.


The first paragraph goes on to say that, as a tourist, you should pretty much ignore the drunken Icelanders, they mean well, and they probably won't get into a fight with you unless you're an obnoxious English football fan, in which case you should have had the shit kicked out of you at home and not bothered to come to Iceland for it. Well, I made part of that up, but that was pretty much the tone. “Hmmm,” thought I. “My kind of place.”

Now two things about that first sentence struck me as hugely funny: first, this is the government tourist office talking, and they're not sugar-coating the “nightlife” a bit. They sensibly warn you right up front what you can expect. Saint Paul should do this as well, in my opinion. It would save visiting Iowans a lot of grief. Second, they don't say that Icelanders drink, they say they like to get drunk, which is something very different indeed. I know this from personal experience; trust me. Anyway, suddenly I knew I was going to enjoy my stay in Reykjavik.

This was confirmed the next day when I went for a walk through town and discovered that Iceland is bursting at the seams with beautiful women. I thought I'd died and gone to a Heaven that for some inexplicable reason had really short days. It was funny though; when I mentioned the pretty women to male Icelandic bartenders they invariably laughed and said that “You think the women are pretty here, you should go to the Faeroe Islands.” Unfortunately I have not yet been to the Faeroe Islands, but it's difficult for me for me to imagine such a place -- and I have a pretty vivid imagination when it comes to hordes of beautiful women. By the way, the same bartenders told me the reason the Icelandic women are so striking is that the Vikings used to raid England and carry off the prettiest women, which makes perfect sense if you think about it. If you're going to go to the trouble of tossing a woman over your shoulder – and trouble it is, don't think it isn't – she might as well be a looker.

A quirky thing (to me) about Reykjavik that I soon noticed is that the phone book lists people by their first names. This makes sense, since many people in Iceland don't have last names as we know them. Like Bjork, they have a parental name instead of a family name. I understand that being born out of wedlock carries no stigma there, which I think is way cool and something I really like about Icelandic culture. "Heather Hullesdottir" sounds kind of pretty.

One of the places I went first was to a sushi restaurant. I ended up chatting for a while with the owner, a comely woman who said that the people in Reykjavik seemed a little reluctant to embrace sushi with open arms, so to speak. We both thought this was odd, because fishing is the primary commercial industry in Iceland, and you will not find better, fresher fish anywhere in the world. I hope this has changed since I was there and that the woman and her restaurant are prospering.

The first night that I went to a bar in Reykjavik I showed up at what was purported to be a popular club around 10:30 PM. I think I was the only person in there besides a couple bartenders. "Ungh," I said to myself thoughtfully as I drank my $80 scotch. "Where could everyone be?" The bartender, a beautiful young Icelandic woman, imagine that, said that generally people went to someone's house to drink until around midnight or 1 AM, at which time they finally started venturing out to the bars. She went on to explain that this was because liquor in Iceland was so expensive and it was much cheaper to drink at home. Of course I was finding this out first-hand as we spoke, but I nodded sagely and tried to take smaller sips.

So I hung around the bar for a while until people started showing up, and boy howdy, that tourist brochure was not lying about Icelanders liking to get drunk. I ended up talking to a bunch of people in various states of inebriation and was able to decipher almost none of it, not because their English was particularly bad, but because even their Icelandic was unintelligible at that point in the evening. It's a funny thing that even if you don't know a given language you can still tell that someone is completely drunk as they speak it. At any rate I left the bar about 3:30 AM and the party was still just getting underway. Oh, and did I mention this was a Wednesday? Go Reykjavikers.

I guess the public baths must be effective in preventing or curing hangovers. It seems everyone in Iceland goes to the baths, which are fed by naturally hot springs -- Iceland is volcanically active, and they use the hot springs for all their hot water (including hotel showers). These baths are great social gathering places there, which I think is a pretty spiffy idea. I could see where constant hot-tubbing with 20,000 beautiful young women would improve the bleak Saint Paul winters a lot.

At one point I went on a tour of the countryside, and I discovered to my great joy that Iceland is a dramatically beautiful country. I visited a frozen golden waterfall, a dinky little "forest" with two-foot tall trees (Q: "What do you do if you get lost in an Icelandic forest?" A: "Stand up."), a farm with dinky little horses (you just know they're hiding dinky little cowboys somewhere), and a huge tent-thing where they grew fresh vegetables in the winter. It was all lovely and charming and interesting and that's all I will say about it here. But if you go to Iceland, do get out into the countryside if you can.

In general I found the Icelanders somewhat reserved at first when I tried to chat them up. However, once they figured out that I wasn't whoever it was they were afraid that I was, they opened up and were warm and kind and friendly. And to be really honest, I should admit at this point that only about half of the Icelanders that I encountered were truly beautiful. The other half were guys.

I got my fourth dragon tattoo at a little shop in Reykjavik called (I believe) Tattoo 69. The artist's name was Helgi, and he was a diminutive elfin creature with a wonderfully evil smile who spoke no English whatsoever. There was a kind of trashy-looking faux redhead hanging around as well, presumably Helgi's girlfriend, who handled the translating chores for us. I ended up liking her a lot too, by the way. The three of us began talking away, and I was pleased to discover that Helgi knew the Swiss tattoo artist that did my third dragon. He commented that each dragon I had gotten was better than the last, and that of course his was going to be the best (it was, too). He also wanted me to get my next tattoo in Amsterdam from his buddy Hanky Panky, which I thought was a great idea since HP is the rock star of the tattoo world. Hanky Panky did an album cover for the Chili Peppers as well as a number of Flea's tattoos, and used to run a tattoo museum in Amsterdam that has since had to close its doors.

After getting my tattoo, I went to a nearby bar for the remainder of the afternoon to whimper and soak up local suds and local color. When I got there a bunch of excitable boys in the back room were watching soccer and yelling and throwing shit and generally behaving like Chicago Bears fans, which is something I'm certainly used to so I felt right at home. Eventually the soccer game ended and things quieted down in the back a bit. Imagine my shock and horror, however, when the next program on the TV turned out to be the Vikings playoff game we had just lost a few weeks prior to my trip. That was the year where the game went right down to the final seconds and out trotted Gary Anderson for the Vikings to kick a field goal and win it for us and send us to the Super Bowl. Unfortunately, that was the only field goal he missed all year. He had been perfect prior to missing that kick, making single field goal and every extra point he attempted during the regular season. Another heartbreaker for Vikings fans. And I had to watch the entire game (not just the highlights) rebroadcast a month later in Iceland! Who knew? I found myself yelling and screaming the same way I did the first time, hoping against hope that this time Anderson would make the damn field goal.

During the course of my morbid and unhealthy fascination with the rebroadcast Vikings game, the guys in the back room had begun watching me with some curiousity; they were scratching their heads and looking at the game on the big screen TV in puzzlement. I'm not sure they realized American football was actually a sport. Finally they sent the beautiful young female cocktail waitress (ho hum, another drop-dead gorgeous woman, whatever) over to ask me who they should be rooting for, which I thought was pretty decent of them. "The Vikings!" I screamed politely, flecks of foam forming in the corners of my mouth. "Look at the Helga Hats. See the horns? Those are Vikings! Get it? You guys are Vikings too!" I then pantomimed throwing hot English babes over my shoulder and carrying them off to the dragon boats. They never did get it. I guess they've forsaken their proud heritage of pillaging, raping and looting and become accountants or something. Or maybe it was just lost in translation. Anyway, after Anderson missed the field goal AGAIN I shut up and drank more, something one quickly learns to do as a Minnesota Vikings fan. Eventually I ended up gabbing with the soccer guys as best I could and tried to chat up the cocktail waitress with the cute ass [Howdy, cute ass googlers! We're in Iceland now!]. Anyway, we all ended up great friends.

I'll forgo telling you all about the rest of the Hulles Alone In Iceland adventures and just skip to the last night. I was sitting in the hotel trying to decide if I should go out to a strip bar or just hit the sack and wake up bushy tailed and bright eyed. I know, I can't believe I had to think about it either. But I did, and I even called my brother Leo to ask his advice. He just laughed at me and hung up the phone, knowing full well the matter had been decided long before I ever finished dialing his number. (I wonder what time it was there? I'll have to ask him.)

So I climbed into a cab and asked the driver to take me to the most popular strip bar in Reykjavik and threw money at him, obnoxious American tourist that I was. I quickly discovered that we had some translating difficulties to overcome, but once I had pantomimed dancing and getting naked (much to his initial horror) we finally got it all worked out and he took me to a club called Vegas.

I have not yet told you about Hulles and strip clubs, but all you need to know for this story is that I immediately felt right at home in the Vegas Lounge. One funny thing that I already knew at the time about European strip clubs (among many funny things) is that for some reason the women in the clubs are never from the country that the club is in. So I was unsurprised when the lovely blond woman who latched onto me like I was her own personal Jesus turned out to be from the Czech Republic. I feel horrible right now because I can't remember her name; I really liked her a lot. Let's call her Anna. So Anna and I chatted as best we could while she writhed her way out of her clothes and into my heart (and wallet). When I found out she was from Prague I proudly trotted out the one Czech phrase that I could remember, "Jci krasna divka." I'm sure I'm misspelling it here (as I recall some of the letters need little hats) but I could -- and still can -- pronounce it just fine. It means "You're a beautiful woman." Quit snickering, what the hell did you think it was going to mean? It's me, Hulles.

When Anna heard me tell her that she was beautiful in her native language (she was!) she lit up like a Christmas tree and began jabbering away at me in Czech. It was really heartwarming to see. I'm sure she must have been terribly homesick and hearing the least little bit of Czech must have been a nice surprise for her. So I felt like an evil ogre when I had to kill her buzz and remind her that I was some dork American tourist who had been to Prague once and that that was all I could remember how to say. She was crestfallen (perfect word!), but as I recall I found some way or another to make it up to her that no doubt involved large wads of gringo bucks. The rest of the night was good clean Hulles fun; fade to black. I made it onto the flight the next morning and here I am back in Saint Paul eight years later.

It was fun for me to relive a couple parts of my Iceland trip while I was writing this blog entry. For example I still laugh when I remember reading that government tourist brochure, and Helgi and the redhead are a fond memory as well. I especially enjoyed recalling Anna; I had forgotten that lovely young lady until I began writing about her just now. Hope you're doing well, Anna, wherever you are and whatever your name really is. And happy anniversary to my tattoo, too. I need more of you guys.

And that fucking Anderson, goddamn it, if I ever have to watch that game rebroadcast again he better make that field goal. He will have had three tries at it by then.

-- Hulles

P.S. If you care to, visit the Reykjavik Harbor Watch blog. I like it enough to add it to my sidebar. Thanks to cK for pointing it out to me.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Suprise! It's a dessert recipe! And not a vanilla one either!

Normally I don't include recipes here that I haven't made myself at least a couple of times, stalwart recipe provider that I am, but this one is from Denis Cotter's wonderful cookbook Café Paradiso Seasons so I trust it absolutely. Cotter runs a vegetarian restaurant in Ireland (Café Paradiso, duh) and his dishes, at least as transcribed in Seasons, are out of this world. This is far and away my favorite cookbook ever. If cookbook marriage was legal in Minnesota Café Paradiso Seasons and I would have tied the knot a long time ago. As it is, we're living in sin, hiding from Republicans and the OED (my cookbook's former spouse) until a more enlightened day dawns in this state.

The reason for posting this recipe now is that my dear dear friend Marguerite, aka M2, scored a crate of clementines last night and divvied up the loot with me. The odd thing is that I don't believe I have ever had clementines before today. I'm not sure how this oversight occurred, but I sure like them lots. If the little peel bits would magically disappear on their own instead of strewing themselves all over my house clementines would be nature's perfect fruit. So I intend to prepare this recipe myself just as soon as I can make it all the way home with a bottle of Irish whiskey. It might be a while, so tell me how it turns out.

And by the way, you should sharpen a knife before preparing this dish. Really. Or call me and I'll bring one over, whatever works. I'll also help you finish off the leftover Irish whiskey. Woohoo! Party at your place!

Darling Clementines

(slightly adapted from Café Paradiso Seasons by Denis Cotter, p. 236)

Ingredients:

12 clementines
18 oz. sugar
18 oz. water
2 cinnamon sticks
2 tablespoons Irish whiskey


Peel the clementines, slice each one into 3 horizontal slices (across the segments), and put them in a bowl.

Heat the sugar, water, cinnamon and whiskey together until boiling, then simmer for 3 minutes. Pour this syrup over the clementines and leave them to cool to room temperature before serving.

Incidentally Cotter serves this with chocolate pecan pie and whiskey ice cream. If you want those recipes you should buy the book or wait six months until my next dessert recipe posting. Enjoy.

-- Hulles

Monday, January 22, 2007

Do not speak of a rhinoceros if there is no tree nearby. - Zulu proverb

In spite of the proverb, I'm going to be talking about vaginae for a little bit. Not so much about the organ per se, but about the word “vagina”. I somehow managed to discover a while back that the word “vanilla” actually comes from the word “vagina,” and I have been curious ever since why this is the case. Did a vanilla bean look like a vagina to someone? Does it have to do with the wonderful scent of vanilla? (Surely not, or if so, I definitely need to get out more.) At any rate, this inquiring mind had to find out the answers, and now of course I get to share these answers with you. Lucky you once again.

It turns out that vanilla beans really did look like vaginae to Hernando Cortes's soldiers around 1512 or so. Now you should know if you don't already that I like to cook, to the point that I even have a few dried vanilla beans in my pantry at home. To me, these do not look like vaginae. They look like any number of other things to me, including dried wombat penises, but not vaginae. A taco looks like a vagina. Mirugai looks like a vagina. A vanilla bean looks nothing like a vagina. All I can think is that Cortes's soldiers were pretty damn hard up about the time they got to the New World, and anything would have looked like pussy to them. It's a miracle everything in Mexico isn't called vanilla.

In the course of my research into this juicy topic I came across a lot of facts about vanilla, among them:

  • Vanilla is the only edible fruit of the orchid family.

  • Vanilla is the world's most labor-intensive agricultural crop, one of the reasons it's so expensive.

  • At one time, vanilla bean rustling was so prevalent that growers branded individual beans with their personal marks.

I particularly like the idea of vanilla beans having little tattoos. In college I always wanted to start a business that involved tattooing bananas. Seriously. And yes, I was high.

The above facts come from www.vanilla.com of course, as does this little tidbit:

“Documents from the 18th and 19th century make reference to vanilla as an aphrodisiac for men, especially when it was made into a tincture. And tests conducted in the 1990s at the Institute for Smell and Taste in Chicago found that the aroma was a powerful stimulant to men.”

Yikes. Just what we men need. Like beer isn't enough.

And suddenly I discover a new prospective employer, the Institute of Smell and Taste in Chicago. I have to admit that it's refreshing to discover a place at which I want to work that doesn't involve alcohol or naked women. Although I suppose working at the Institute doesn't necessarily preclude an involvement with alcohol or naked women, but you probably have to have a ton of seniority to get those jobs. I would no doubt get stuck with sniffing and tasting beetle dung or some such thing, at least at first. (Or ambergris.) However, eventually I would work my way up to single malt scotches and [insert any woman's name here except Jennifer Garner and my grandmother], I'm sure of it. Maybe I'll fire off a resume to them. Balderdash, you listening? We've got us new jobs, maybe!

I suppose I should quit while I'm ahead on the vanilla story. But now that you've spent some time in Hulles country yet again, you can enliven many a discussion with your newfound knowledge: “Say there little Timmy, did you know that that ice cream cone you're eating is named after pussy?” “Jeez, Becky, don't put so much vanilla into the cookies this time, okay? Don't you remember what I did to little Fluffy the last time?1” “Hey you guys, did you know they used to brand vanilla beans to foil vanilla bean rustlers?2” Etc. etc.

Hey, it's okay, you can thank me later.

-- Hulles


1 Just FYI, Fluffy is their goldfish. Hey, it's my imaginary family after all.

2 I recommend not using this one at the Singles Mixer and Masturbation Workshop at the Smitten Kitten if you're going for the Singles Mixer part and actually want to get a date.


Sunday, January 21, 2007

This morning I awoke from colorful dreams of Brazil to find out that alas, I was still in Saint Paul and it was still winter. And snowing like a bitch to boot. I checked my left hand for wedding rings like I always do, breathed a sigh of relief to find none there like I always do, then performed my morning ablutions. At this point let me say for the record that “morning ablutions” is an enormous euphemism for what actually occurs, but I'll let it stand this time. Anyway, after preparing my Kahlua and Grape Nuts and a fifty-five gallon drum of industrial-strength coffee I finally decided to confront the big question of the day: do I make the booty call or do I take care of business myself?


You see, a gentleman of a certain age needs to regularly exercise his prostate. If you don't, the seminal fluid turns into a greasy brown sludge and starts hissing and bubbling and then you get a prostate infection where it swells to the size of a large bagel and then the infection spreads to your testicles which quickly become withered and useless and people make fun of you in the locker room. I have all this on good authority from several proctologists; at least that's what I think they were saying as they were cackling to themselves and giving me digital prostate exams. I wasn't listening as closely as perhaps I should have been. Anyway, the point is that with your prostate, like so many other things, it's a “use it or lose it” situation. And I certainly prefer using it over losing it. Really. A lot.


Which brings us to today's dilemma: booty call or manual calisthenics? Since I'm single these days (what a waste of manflesh!) these are really the only two options available. Now I'm reasonably certain I can make the successful booty call. If there are no visiting sports teams in town, my ex-girlfriend will likely be amenable to having great sex with me. I know this because the last time she called me she said “Want to have great sex? Come over.” I'm pretty sure I set a land speed record in getting there. Of course this was purely in the interests of continuing my regimen of prostate exercise, not because I really wanted to get laid. Unfortunately in my rush to get over to her place I forgot to bring my earplugs, and as a result I couldn't hear anything for two weeks afterwards. Smirked a lot, though.


However, there are some drawbacks to calling the ex-girlfriend:

  • She is insane.

  • I have a new cell phone number which she does not yet have. I'm not positive I want her to have it, either. See previous item.

  • I would have to find some clean underwear and trim my toenails. Call me Mr. Considerate.

  • I lost my earplugs.

  • It's morning and I'm not yet drunk enough to pretend to be interested in anything she would have to say to me.

  • She is insane.

In other words, there are some good reasons why she's an ex-girlfriend. However, offsetting all these drawbacks is the promise of an opportunity to experience intimacy with another human being, which has not happened in quite a while. Really loud and strenuous intimacy, but intimacy all the same. I'm a man, I have needs, for chrissake.


So what about the other option? There's not a lot to that needs to be said about having sex with myself. In fact, it's a pretty straightforward proposition and doesn't require clean underwear, or much of anything else for that matter. This directness has a certain appeal to me today. Frankly I'm pretty lazy on Sundays (and on the other days of the week that have a 'd' in them). So with Option B I get to maintain some shred of dignity by not calling the ex-g and achieve a resolution to my dilemma in markedly less time than would otherwise be the case.


At this point I'm going make one of my abrupt and unsignaled lane changes (honk and give me the finger if you must, I can take it) and tell you about an ad I saw recently. The relevance of this ad to the subject at hand (so to speak) will quickly become clear. The Smitten Kitten, a “truly feminist sex toy store” in Minneapolis, is having a Singles Mixer and Masturbation Workshop on Valentine's Day. Quoting from the ad, “No RSVP Necessary. Everyone Welcome. Bring A Friend!”


Me being me, I have some questions. The first question is, can I go? This promises to be an event positively bursting with journalistic possibilities. Not that I'm a journalist exactly, but what the hell, I would be a journalist that day. It turns out that yes, indeed, I can attend. Their web site informed me that the event is for “all genders and all orientations.” Great, I probably fit in there somewhere. And I think this is pretty decent of the Smitten Kitten folks. Because if there are a lot of guys there, the cleanup afterward is going to be a bitch.


My next question is, if you have a friend that you can bring to a masturbation workshop, why don't you just stay at home and fuck the hell out of them instead of going to a sex toy store? Just saying.


Also, I have to say that combining a “singles mixer” with a masturbation workshop is a clever idea. The singles mixers I've been to have been compelling arguments for staying at home and mastubating, as opposed to actually going out with the losers that show up to said mixers (present company excepted of course). So kudos to the Smitten Kitten for providing a powerful incentive to learn how to masturbate as well as (presumably) instruction in technique. (“This next one's called 'The JFK.' Now if each of you would select a partner....”)


By now you must have realized that the booty call idea is as extinct as the dodo. Take care of business it is. If you want something done right.... Besides, what if someone recognizes me at the Smitten Kitten and the crowd begins clamoring for special instruction from the master? It would suck to be out of practice and botch it in front of a turgid congeries of all genders and all orientations, all eagerly watching me as I demonstrate a couple Tantric Sex Secrets of the Orient. So I should really keep my hand in, for the sake of my adoring public if not for my prostate.


So please excuse me for a bit, and happy Sunday. See you at the Kitten. Bring earplugs.


-- Hulles


Thursday, January 18, 2007

Item: As I mentioned, I recently visited my little brother Leo in Iowa who is nearly as creepy as I am. What I didn't mention is that he has terminal cancer. Of course the reason I didn't mention it is that it's a pretty personal thing. But I think it's time to out him: I consider Leo to be inexcusably rude for having cancer. I think the jerk is just doing it for the attention, just like he always did as we were growing up. Once again, he's only thinking of himself. Doesn't he realize how much this disrupts my life? Does he think I can just drop everything and drive down to Iowa on a whim? What about my blog audience (both of you)? No, he has to be completely selfish and milk suffering and dying for all its worth. He could at least be a little more considerate and wait until I have nothing better to do than linger around our small Iowa town while he grows tumors the way a yard grows dandelions. But no, not my little brother. It's always about him.

And so what if his fiancée dumped his ass and moved back home? I've found fiancées are overrated anyway, let alone wives. With Leo, it's always something. If it isn't terminal cancer, it's women. What happened to the stoic “suffer in silence” shit we were brought up with? Apparently it just rolled off my brother like water off a duck's back. He actually even brought up the fact that the woman left him, which is just not done around our place. Oh well, I suppose I can cut him a little slack because he didn't really say much about it other than that it happened. Otherwise we'd call that complaining.

At least he's looking pretty good. Better than his older brother, in fact. He's still fat and sassy, particularly for someone who was given six months to live a year and a half ago. He's not the prodigious drinker and partier that he was, but hey, who is these days? Anyway, if you have any spare good thoughts, please send them to Leo. Maybe that way he'll quit whining about this dying shit1.

Item: On a more whimsical note (and sorry about killing your buzz with the first item), I did some more “acting” for Chasing Windmills this week, this time in a Minneapolis skyway. If you care, the episodes I've been in so far that I know about (filmed prior to this week) are Microsofty and Tailed Transaction. You know, as I've watched these episodes, even I think I'm creepy. It's sort of disturbing. I have to keep telling myself, “I'm not really a stalker. I just play one on TV.” I can only imagine what a viewer who doesn't know me thinks -- probably that I make Anthony Perkins in “Psycho” look like a Boy Scout. Anyway, all of this is great fun and I really enjoy doing it; it's completely bizarre and funny. Thanks yet again for the opportunity, Cristina and Jadelr.

Item: My laptop Lucille finally retired last week. Lucille II is younger, faster, thinner, and better looking. So it goes; I draw no conclusions here. The original Lucille does have a place of honor in my home office, however, and still occasionally goes out golfing with a couple other aging notebook computers during the week. She's thinking about buying a laptop case in a computer compound in Tempe, Arizona, hoping that the warmer drier climate will improve her CPU speed and allow Microsoft products to actually run on her for a couple more years. I personally think she's dreaming, but I don't tell her that. Whatever, another couple days and I will have forgotten she even existed.

Item: Thanks to Anne Frasier for reminding me about Naked Wednesdays. Good lord, it's getting bad when someone has to remind you of your own holidays. Fortunately I was able to doff my clothes at the redundantly-named Nina's Coffee Cafe just in the nick of time yesterday. However, as I mentioned to Anne, I should have warned the parents with young children first. Now the both the little girls and the little boys that were present will grow up with unrealistic expectations of adult males.

Item: Somebody stuck their finger up my ass today. Luckily for all concerned, it was my doctor. Girls, you don't know what you're missing. More good news is that I still have a prostate. Whew. I'd hate to have to rummage around my cluttered office trying to find that.

Das ist Alles.

-- Hulles

1Actually, Leo has somehow been able to maintain a really good attitude through all this. Better than I would be able to do, without a doubt. The man has amazing courage, but you didn't hear it from me.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Last week, in the midst of all my computer problems, I took a break and strolled over to a nearby fancy restaurant just to get away. Upon entering, I carefully positioned myself at the bar next to a promising-looking nubile young woman – I love the word “nubile,” it implies so much without actually saying it – and ordered a nice glass of water, all the budget could afford. The woman I sat next to was tall and slender with long dark hair and had a lovely back. I had ample opportunity to observe this back because it was turned to me as she talked to the guy on the other side of her. I trust that it goes without saying that the man to whom she was speaking was a substandard dork.


Fortunately he was not with her, and eventually I was able to speak to her as she turned back to resume eating her burger. And I promptly fell madly in love with her. Not because of the half-eaten burger on her plate, which was frankly sort of gross, but because she was gorgeous to die for, with golden green-brown eyes and a lovely smile and a curvaceous body in spite of the tall and slender gig she had going on. (This is my own polite way of saying that she seemed to have nice tits, of course.) She also had a shiny glowing face, which she informed me resulted from her just having had a facial across the street.


Her name was Suzanne, and in spite of the fact that I wanted to have steamy dirty sex with her every fifteen minutes for the next 3 years of my life, the thing that was remarkable about her was the way she spoke.


At first I thought she was just another airhead, since her sentences tended to veer off into some land that logic forgot. But as I listened to her I eventually realized that she was really quite intelligent and imaginative and creative, and was just having fun as she talked with me -- and she talked a lot, trust me. Right off the bat he told me she had received a gift certificate from someone for the facial and was dining in this particular restaurant afterward to “see how it felt to be a rich person,” as she glanced at her burger with a smile. I decided right there that I liked her.


As our conversation continued I became more and more enamored of Suzanne. She launched into story after story, all the while beaming at me with a beatific smile on her radiant freshly-scrubbed face. And her stories were wonderful. It wasn't that the subject matter was particularly interesting per se, it was how she wove the images into unexpected creations. Since meeting this woman last week I've been puzzling over how I could possibly convey her manner of speaking in a blog entry, and the best I could come up with was this: listening to Suzanne spin her stories remarkably resembled winding one's way down the spiral ramp of the Guggenheim, looking at abstract paintings that don't necessarily make overt sense but somehow still manage to convey subtle and sublime expressions of beauty. Suzanne spoke, not in sentences, but in abstract paintings. And I really had to resist writing every single word she uttered down in my notebook, they were that wonderful.


For instance, she told about recently moving into a new apartment. She had arranged with the landlord to thoroughly clean it ahead of time, and ended up with a box full of mouse shit, an M&M, and a baggie of crack that she found on a shelf. The picture she painted of this was vivid, and unfortunately I am not able to do the story justice here. (And incidentally, she passed the crack on to her landlord if you're curious.)


Later we were talking a bit about her work. She was involved with at one time with some web design projects and wondered aloud if one could patent a particular shade of blue she developed for a site: “I'd call it 'Suzanne Blue,' she said cheerfully.


Still later we were talking about scuba diving. She had never done it, but said she wanted to do deep-water diving in Minnesota, to “get down to the bottom of the lake where the big gars lived with teeth growing up through their head.”


Later: at one point she made me smell her post-facial hand and said, “Doesn't this smell like what a king's toothpaste would smell like?” The really scary thing was that she nailed the scent exactly in that one sentence.


So enough examples. Those are the only ones I dared take time out to write down as we were speaking, but the whole conversation was wonderfully lyrical and fanciful and I loved it. I recall at the time desperately wanting her to follow me around all the days of my life so I could just listen to her talk. The dirty sex every fifteen minutes would just be a bonus.


Alas, such was not to be the case. She eventually left me sitting at the bar, but damn if I wasn't overjoyed to have spoken to her. It renewed my faith that there are interesting and attractive people out there in real life besides you. I have been feeling of late like the only people fitting that description are those of you who read this blog, so it's nice to have a tete-a-tete with a flesh-and-blood female unit that isn't pale and insipid.


So take heart, those of you who are single and alone like me – there are Suzannes out there somewhere, they're just hard to find sometimes.


Too bad they all have boyfriends. Bitches.


-- Hulles