Category: David Flora

And now it is later

I read the arrival time on my ticket as the departure time. That is what I did. That is the stupidest and most expensive mistake I have ever made.

My housemates kindly refused to let me heave all my luggage to Heathrow myself, and so we set out together with a bag apiece at a little after 10 am. We took the express and I was at the check-in counter by 11:15, smirking at the former self who had worried about transportation time and long lines. There was no line! There was only a brusque man explaining that my flight was not at 1:00, it had been at 10:30.

I explained that I had still been on the first of several public transportation routes at 10:30.

The brusque man directed me to the ticketing counter.

I got on standby for the next flight for 200 bucks, and I did end up on it, and my seat was actually one of the best on the plane. I completely missed the last plane to Louisville from O’Hare, of course, but got on a different standby flight to Lexington and Saint Maria drove out to those hinterlands in the middle of the night to pick me up.

It should be noted that my seat on the Lexington flight was also impossibly good. Here’s what I have learned about American Airlines: reserve a seat and get fucked, or get on standby for infinite leg room and an unobstructed window view. I’m never flying on a reserved ticket again! Wait, no, I said “on a reserved ticket” when I meant “anywhere.”

My original mistake almost ended up much more costly than I anticipated. The somewhat hilarious coda is that, during my panicky evening in O’Hare, I had to make a number of pay phone calls to David Flora and Maria, trying to figure out whether I would have to stay overnight in Chicago in order to get a morning flight to Louisville. I had forgotten that trying to call a nonlocal number (like, say, any cell phone ever) from a pay phone requires more quarters than I could have held in my cupped hands, so I had to charge all these to my credit card. This meant swiping the card directly on the phone, punching in the number on the keypad, and reading it aloud to the operator before I could connect.

Apparently someone wandered by and listened to me obligingly reading out the number, expiration date, CV2, et cetera, and proceeded to charge an amount greater than my entire credit limit to the card. Capital One actually noticed and denied it; their overenthusiastic fraud department often made things inconvenient in London, but my attitude toward them is much warmer now. I’ll miss my old card number, though, which I’ve had memorized for almost ten years. Farewell, 5291071505966037! May you serve Internet in poor decision-making as well as you did me.

There is a subtext to this story: I had three friends in London to help take my luggage all the way to Heathrow, buy me yogurt and let me send emergency emails from their phones. Those emails went to more friends, one of whom was willing to put me up in Chicago, another of whom was willing to drive to tiny airports late at night just so I could get home when I wanted. I traveled across seven time zones and I had people offering me help at every step. Who cares how much ticket changes or credit card scammers might cost me? I’m rich.

California game update

My uncle John offers a rhyming take on Atlantis, and my mom gently reminds me that of course I didn’t invent the form: both “California” and the game were inspired by a picture book she read us when we were young, called Whose Mouse Are You, by Robert Kraus.

Also, saved from the LJ comment thread:

Will:Where is Atlantis? Under the sea.

What’s under the sea? Not you, and not me.

Well then, where are we? The internet.

How’d we get there? Zeroes and ones.

What do those stand for? Video fun.

What is flypaper?

Me: Sweetness that kills.

David: What can’t be killed?

Scott: Everything dies.

Josh: Why do they die?

William: They run out of time.

Beth: What is time?

Kevan: Memory. [Then, because of a crosspost:] Curse you, time!

Ken: What time is it?

Stephen: It’s hamburger time.

David: Do hamburgers rhyme?

Scott: Not on my dime.

Me: OKAY NEW ONE. What is a curse?

Scott: Bad karma, realized.

William: How is it realised?

Ken: Through the teachings of the Maharishi.

Beth: What is the Maharishi?

Me: A teacher of hunger.

Scott: Where is the hunger?

David: In the bowels of the cursed…

Which seems like a neat place for a cutoff.

How many is seven?

David Flora requested restaurant recommendations of me for a nice, sit-down, dress-up dinner with his family. Lisa had already plugged the Mayan Gypsy, which I could only second, but I tagged in a few of the other places Maria and I have come to regard with naked hunger in the past couple years. I’ve never done a broad-spectrum restaurant writeup before, so I’m stealing my letter back; if you are in Louisville looking for great food, these places will not do you wrong.

The Gypsy has my highest recommendation, especially the dish which is either called the “Tierra y Mar” or the “Beef and Shrimp Diablo,” depending on the day, with the beef cooked medium rare. It is god-food. Be sure to order the fried plantains, and Maria recommends the sangria if you’re drinking.

I also had some fantastic food (baked provolone, fresh bread and a steak) at Palermo on Bardstown, which is one of Evan’s favorite restaurants–you may want to ask him about it, since I’ve only been there once. Lilly’s, also on Bardstown, is fantastic, but dinner there will cost you a shit ton (lunch is more affordable). Palermo is Argentinian, I think, with a lot of spicy pasta; Lilly’s is a kind of combination of French and Kentuckian (eg duck spring rolls and chicken pot pie).

If you want something simple like really good barbecue, the best onion rings in the world and microbrewed beer, there’s the Bluegrass Brewing Company (BBC) on Fourth Street–did you go with us last time you were in town? I can also recommend Third Avenue Cafe in Old Louisville, which has imaginative sandwiches and sweet potato french fries, Trivial Pursuit cards on the tables, and Elvis.

My personal favorite restaurant in Louisville is North End Cafe on Frankfort, which has a little of everything; its specialty is tapas (Spanish-style appetizers), of which you can get three or four and make a meal for three people–the baby back ribs are amazing. They also have salmon, half a roast chicken, cheeseburgers, etc.

Oh, and you know about Lynn’s Paradise Cafe on Barret, right? It’s… different. Breakfast is their specialty, as is being very brightly colored. Maybe not the place for a nice dinner, but atmospheric and fun.

You’ll definitely want to make a reservation ahead of time at any of these except maybe BBC and Third Avenue, and maybe there too, for a Friday. Also, next time you’re in town alone and want to try something farther afield, remind me and Maria to take you to Saffron’s, Safier, Maido, Le Relais or Ramsi’s Cafe on the World (have you been to Ramsi’s? Everybody’s been to Ramsi’s…).

I saw the Neo-Futurists doing their show Too Much Light Makes The Baby Go Blind last Saturday night, courtesy of Unstoppable David Clark. I am going to see them again next weekend, at the 2:30 matinee on either Saturday or Sunday. Tickets are $25-$28 and you, you personally, had damn well better come with me. We can get a 10% discount if we scrape together ten people.

The Neo-Futurists are fucking amazing.

You can find all this out by going to their website, but because other humans are apparently lazy about clicking, here’s what happens: there are five performers and thirty (original) plays. They do, or try to do, all thirty plays in sixty minutes. They’re microplays. You understand why I am smitten.

The thirty plays may happen in any order, because they’re numbered and the troupe will do whatever number they hear the audience yell out as soon as the previous play is over. They also swap out 1d6 plays every night and replace them from a larger pool, so by this Saturday it might be a completely different show from what I saw.

As if this wasn’t enough, there is a seven-item checklist that I personally keep for determining whether or not any given show qualifies as performance art. The list is as follows:

  • A person under a black cloth hood doing something ridiculous
  • Giant diapers
  • Performers dancing in the aisles and trying to get audience members to dance too
  • Large pictures of female genitalia
  • People eating money
  • A man rubbing his nipples with an expression of fiendish glee
  • The throwing of raw meat

And I shit you not, the version of the show I saw included six of those seven items. And it worked, because they were completely self-aware and loved it and laughed at themselves. They made metahumor work on stage. This is a feat akin to picking up litter with the pointy part of the Chrysler Building, and I’d only previously seen it done by the pre-Intel Blue Man Group.

I am completely serious about you coming with me to the show this weekend. Call or email me if you want me to add you to the possible-group roster, and I’ll tell you by Wednesday whether we have enough people. If the show sells out they’ll buy us pizza. I’m serious about that too.

Ian, I wish you could have been there. David Flora, the Neo-Futurists are from Chicago and they do this every week up there, you bastard, why haven’t you seen it yet?

I made myself wait two days to write this up because I didn’t want to rave and gibber and then be embarrassed when the high wore off. I’m raving and gibbering anyway. If you’re in Louisville, you need to come see the show.

David Flora VERSUS the accordion! I want to see a human trying to play the background part that starts about ten seconds before the end. I imagine him or her sweating, off-kilter, arms flapping as if about to be pushed out of a nest.

David Flora steps up with a terzanelle of his own–ignoring word count, but with fantastic use of full-line rhyme as a substitute for repetition and slick iambic pentameter (in which terzanelles are really supposed to be).

Fixed-format poetry was just one more subgenre of constrained writing, which is probably why I find old forms so much more interesting than those of modern and postmodern poetry. Constraints like the terzanelle provide so much opportunity for innovation, as Holly and Flora have just demonstrated. I still think the best explanation of the value therein comes from’s FAQ:

“Constraints set additional challenges to the writer. Writing to a constraint is like solving a puzzle. Graceful solutions have a pleasing feel – like watching the moves of a chess master – on top of their value as stories.”

I’m always delighted to rediscover that my friends are masterful, in some way or many.

Twenty-four hours ago at this time, I was still talking about the fact that I’d seen Bobby McFerrin and Savion Glover perform, live. Today, at this time, I own Halo 2.

I’d like to have Lisa, Flora, Allison and especially Ken (who turned me on to Halo in the first place) to play the latter with me; I don’t, as they are casualties of my own private diaspora. But I had Maria to go to the show with me, and DC to encounter there. I’ll have the Thursday Night Grandkids to kick my butt at Halo.

Sometimes I feel bad about marking time in my life by video games and concerts, but there are worse ways to do so.

I’m sitting here at work, killing time until 6:00, when most people will have gone home and I can actually try running my queries because the database won’t be so busy. The Interweb no longer entertains me, and I can’t think of anything interesting to write. I feel dried out and cold. It’s been a long day.

It will be nice to have this done, though (if it works), and not have it hanging over my head. Plus there’s a possibility of seeing Der Flöra tonight, and who knows what will happen over the weekend? There are a lot of people whose company I enjoy in Louisville right now; it’s June, and it’s about time I stopped getting enough sleep.