Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Blackpool is a Black Pool of Weird

When my brother graduated from high school (10 years ago. I feel so old. He probably feels older. He is older.) instead of going to the beach with his friends like everyone else does for Senior Week, he let me tag along on a trip to England to visit family.

They were living outside of Manchester, and one day took us to a place called Blackpool.

It is weird.

Wikipedia gives us these tidbits regarding the city of Blackpool:
  • In 1879, it became the first municipality in the world to have electric street lighting.
  • Documents have been found to suggest that the reason Blackpool escaped heavy damage in World War II was that Adolf Hitler had earmarked the town to remain a place of leisure after his planned invasion.
  • Blackpool has, like all of the UK, a temperate maritime climate.
  • A number of shipwrecks have occurred on the coastline of Blackpool.
I remember, and always will remember, two sites in particular.

First, I remember going up Blackpool Tower.  Blackpool Tower is a miniature replica of the Eiffel Tower.  It is also almost completely rusted through.  Up to the top you go in a glass elevator, and at the top you stand on a glass floor and are able to look around.  If you look down, your view of the ground beneath you is disrupted by the strips of Duct tape that are holding the platform together.

So there's that.

The second attraction I remember is the UFO Museum.  It's no longer there, unfortunately.  But it sure was there in 2003.  
You have to pay cash because "The Man" tracks your credit card payments (which might be true, but I'm not quite that worked up about it).  Then you get the introduction from the stumpy man wearing faded navy trousers and a stained white (now yellow) shirt.  The conversation went like this (as reported by my cousin David, a genius whose memory I trust completely):

Guy: What do you get when you mix a man with a fish?
Us: A mermaid?
Guy: Merman, merman.  OK, what do you get when you mix a man with a bull?
Us: I don't know, what?
Guy: A minotaur.  OK, but what do you get when you mix an ape with a lion?
Us: I don't know, what?
Guy:  Look in the mirror.
Us: (laughing)
Guy: No, really.  Think about it...a woman doesn't have a beard...a lioness doesn't have a mane.  That's a fact.
Us: (still laughing)
Guy: Don't take my word for it, check it out for yourself.  It's all on the internet.

"Star Wars is a record of humanity's past, Battlestar Gallactica is our present, and Star Trek is a glimpse into our future."

After our riveting introduction, we walked through a tableau of equally riveting extraterrestrial scenes.  The grand finale at the end of the maze of glass cases was a scene, undoubtedly from Area 51, of your typical green, giant-eyed, saladfingered alien, asleep/dead on a surgical table, and guarded by none other than cardboard cutouts of our planet's fearless alien police force, The Men in Black.  

The curator of this fine establishment also constructed a replica of an authentic UFO that, if one felt compelled to do so, one could climb into in order to really get the full UFO Museum experience.  

So, ladies and gentlemen, that is Blackpool.  Go get it.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

I Wrote A Letter To Ryan Gosling

Sometimes, when the inspiration strikes I write letters to people or places.  Today's inspiration was brought about by an open position at my office, and my daydream fantasy that Ryan Gosling will fill it. I wrote him this letter clearly in fun, but it's my hope that he'll at the very least send me a signed headshot.

Dear Ryan Gosling,

I'm writing to you in earnest- this is a sensitive and very important matter that needs your expedient and thoughtful consideration.  If this letter does not find you at a convenient moment, please set it aside for a time when you have more than just a few minutes to spare.

I work for a small company in [Town Name], PA.  It sounds like a boring place simply because it's in Pennsylvania, and usually it is, but it is a beautiful, quaint town with a lot of history.  The company I work for recently lost its receptionist (to nothing morbid, I assure you; only to brighter opportunities in The Big Apple) and we are in dire need of a replacement.

It is my hope that you will submit your resume for this position and come on board for what will likely be the Role of a Lifetime.  Your daily tasks would include ordering office supplies, scanning documents, and generally spreading charm and cheer throughout the building.  Although none of the past roles I have seen you in would have imparted the necessary skills to come into this position, I am confident that with a little coaching you will flourish.

I have specifically written to you, Ryan Gosling, because our HR Director is a determined and opinionated woman that needs to be charmed.  We have monthly potlucks and while she gives the illusion of being open to other's suggestions concerning the menu, the final decision is always her's and it's never what anyone else wants.  It is my expectation that if a strapping young man with glittering eyes and a sparkling smile suggested, say, tacos, she would drop her insistence on eating lasagna in an instant.

In the vernacular one might say, "first world problems".

If you are interested, please send your resume to me with cover letter attached, as well as three professional references.  A background check may be required at the time of hire.

Please, Ryan Gosling, we need you.  Help us regain the power and eat the food we enjoy!  In the infamous and echoing words of Princess Leia, "you are our only hope".  Contained in this letter are pictures of things, as well as a mix tape that I made for you as an anticipatory signing bonus.

Thank you,

You are undoubtedly curious to know what songs I put on his mix tape.  Consider your curiosity satiated.
1. Neutral Milk Hotel - Holland, 1945
2. Oasis - She's Electric
3. No Doubt  - Don't Speak
4. Wilco - I Might
5. The White Stripes - Hello Operator
6. Tom Waits - Bad As Me
7. Ryan Adams - Defenders Of The Galaxy
8. Radiohead - Where I End And You Begin
9. mewithoutyou - The Fox, The Crow And The Cookie
10. Manchester Orchestra - 100 Dollars
11. M.Ward - One Hundred Million Years
12. Elliot Smith - Memory Lane
13. Eddie Vedder - Cant Keep
14. Dr. Dog - My Friend
15. Bright Eyes - Another Travelin Song