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Here's an author interview with Bob Boguslavski!
Saturday March 22, 2014

Source Link: The Book Landers



The Book Lander: What are the hardest and easiest things about writing?

Bob Boguslavski: I see them as being related.

The hardest thing about writing is trying to recount something you haven't experienced in real life. I think that in order to accurately describe or detail it, you need to do a lot of research, talk to people who have lived it, and then try to put the topic, passage or experience together from that perspective. I think this hard work is needed, so that anybody reading the piece at hand who has experienced will see it as being credible. Now you can"t necessarily do this at length for every single little thing. Further, if you are writing something from a purely imaginary perspective (i.e., science fiction or fantasy), which nobody has lived yet, then I believe a good amount of time and effort needs to be spent mapping out the "world" and how it all works and comes together. It still needs to make sense, sound credible, be logical, and not have any glaring inconsistencies. That is all hard work to do properly and create from scratch.

The easiest thing about writing is covering something you have lived or that has happened to you. It certainly helps to have a good memory in that regard, so you can dredge up all the relevant details. You can then always change or tweak it, by applying a little artistic license and imagination to make it more appealing, interesting, shocking, or humorous, as needed, but the core is always best based in something that happened, and you were there for it.

Stitching the two parts together seamlessly with one's own unique style and flair is the art of the deal.

TBL: Any tips on how to get through the dreaded writer's block?

BB: Fortunately, writer's block is something that has not happened to me yet, so I am lucky. If it looked like I was getting stuck on one passage or chapter, I could easily change gears by moving to another chapter, or do some research or editing on another part or angle altogether.

The way this first book was (and how future books will be) structured, on an episodic basis, albeit with many connecting tendrils between each "chronicle" or chapter, allows me to hop around from chapter to chapter. It took my editor some adjustment to work along this way as well, since the novel's chapters were not completed in sequence, but were rather all over the place, and delivered individually for follow-on editing and review.

I realize writer's block is a very personal thing that affects writers differently, so I imagine that everyone could have a different solution. Doing something completely different and changing your environment may work, like exercise or getting outside. I think it would be important to flag the problem area, put down some notes or placeholders, and then leave it for a while, and come back later.

Another factor could be time of day as well, as I think many writers work to different biorhythms, so knowing and understanding yourself and your zones of optimal creativity, and when you work best / most efficiently is important and can play a part in the solution, or at the minimum, staying away from recurring problematic time periods.

Music has a big influence over me, and helps my creativity, so music would be a factor as well. I always have music on as I write, to create a backchannel of random stimulation and unlock potential. Maybe that is why writer's block hasn't happened to me. If it ain't broke, don't go lookin' to fix it.

TBL: Name a song that describes your book best?

BB: That's a real interesting one. I'll alter (or bend) the question a bit in terms of "a song" (i.e., single).

The book, in terms of styles and structure, (and my character) is a mix of many different traits and influences, and so I think a "song" in the realm of Mashups / Bastard Pop / Plunderphonics would be most accurately representative.

There is a lot of great stuff to choose from, but I'll pick Girl Talk (aka Gregg Gillis) and the album Feed The Animals. Now, technically, one may view the entire album stream as one long contiguous "song", but it has been broken up into 14 consecutive tracks to make it more digestible.

It combines hundreds of song samples, artfully woven together in an aural tapestry to create something new. It similarly represents the way I slammed and fused many different elements on multiple fronts/topics together for the book's tale. It is also perhaps a model for the way I think as well. If you don't want to consider the album as one "song", then feel free to pick any of the 14 constituent tracks for a random sample.

This Wired Magazine infographic deconstructs one track "What It's All About" from the album, visually mapping out in time and layers all 35 samples used for that one song.


In terms of describing my character in the book, and what Bobby Bo may be thinking at the end of it all, the last three songs in the Epilogue playlist by Nada Surf, Eels, and West Indian Girl were purposely chosen in sequence to add another angle as to how to interpret the ending, and what may be going on inside Bob's head that he isn't otherwise communicating.

Listen to those three songs, if no others in the book, and a reader will probably come away with a modified / enhanced understanding or perspective of the ending than the one given by the text alone.

I could go on a bit more about the music in the book and its overall general purpose, but this web/blog post I did a while back sums it up pretty well.

TBL: Chocolate or vanilla?

BB: Well, let me start by saying I have generally been a savory over sweet person for quite a long time now. I will always make more room for that extra piece of pizza or another helping of the main dish, and forego dessert altogether in most cases.

But faced with a choice, if it's ice cream, I will take vanilla as my preferred flavor, but some squares of chocolate will always trump ice cream in a face-off, but it need be dark chocolate.

White chocolate doesn't count at all as real chocolate, strictly speaking it is considered a derivative product, and doesn't have the cocoa solids. Milk chocolate as a choice probably will keep me sticking to savoury.

I am not a hoity-toity, fussy eater by any means, so faced with situations where there is no choice, I go with the flow, eat what's there, and not bitch about luxury decisions. Overall, in this part of the world, many of us have it pretty good when it comes to food and lots of choices. I will eat just about anything within mainstream reason and not complain.

TBL: Any favorite things / likes you want to share?

BB: In no particular order:

Mode of transport - train, for the continuity, views, pace, and not needing to be captain; note this aint the same as the subway.

TV show as a kid - Ultraman (it's from Japan in the 60s; we had this stuff growing up in Canuckistan even in the single digit channel universe at the time, pre-cable).

Night of the week - Thursday, cuz it's busy enough to be real good, not as crowded as Friday and Saturday with lines, and even if you hurt your ass real bad partying, you can limp through the day Friday at work/school to get home and collapse on the sofa and flop out.

Song/artist - can't peg it to one as way too much I like; my next one though is something/somebody I haven't heard yet. Get a very small feel for selections from here.

Sleep time - 4/5am - 9/10am (5 hours); unfortunately this doesn't jive with much real-life, grown-up activity, and is at cross-porpoises [sic] with my best writing times on the front end. I do need catch-up days with more sleep now and again though for sure.

Food - so much I like, but thin crust pizza, Asian across the board, and Mediterranean fare are all up there at the top of the pyramid.

Booze - red wine

Other drug(s) - music, travel, and the above mentioned grape juice

Life moment - It hasn't happened yet.

Color - blue (and shades therein for variety)

TBL: Do you think that giving books away free works and why?

BB: There is a lot of debate out there and ample well thought-out material has been written about the value of free with books, music and many other products / services. I certainly see and understand the multiple facets of the equation.

This Wired Magazine piece by Chris Anderson from 2008 is a good overview of the matter, and useful for getting started thinking about it all. But there is so much more out there, both pro and con.

I think this approach can be used effectively when done occasionally for brief periods of time (e.g., giveaways, contests, and short promotions) but if used constantly across the board, where does that leave a writer long term? If you, as creator, are not placing any value to your work, who else will? Any writer or other artist needs to be the biggest champion of his or her work.

In my case, I have one novel to date, with more to come. I have elected to put a commercial value on it for several reasons -- a highly differentiated product, initial third parties and readers have reacted favorably so far, and there are other value-added elements attached to it like the music playlists. Further, I also made sure the end product was professionally edited from start to finish. There is a lot of "free" and self-published stuff out there that isn't edited, so that was another wrinkle in the mix.

Another consideration in my decision making on this matter is that pretty much all the e-book and online platforms provide for an adequate preview capability of the product, so any reader gets a really good "free" look at what they may be potentially plunking down part of their entertainment budget for.

When you are a first-time author starting from zero, it is tough to break into the market to begin with, given the sheer amount of new titles coming out all the time, and technology has really opened up the floodgates with increasingly sophisticated and polished self-publishing options.

Then one is also competing with all the other types of media / entertainment forms today, and social media. Then you have limited consumer mental bandwidth and time as physical constraints.

There is an ocean of free stuff out there as it is, and some evidence suggests many readers never finish or even get to start all the free e-books they amass on their reading device(s) of choice.

Providing a review copy to literary blogs/websites, highly-ranked independent reviewers, and select tastemakers / high profile folks is another matter, pretty much standard practice, and makes sense, given the volume of queries and material they contend with and would otherwise have to pay for. You never know how they will like, love, or pan it though in their review. It's out of your control.

Whether a book is given away free or sold commercially to the public, the real bottom line investment any reader is making is in the actual time to read the book. If someone is going to allow a writer to crawl into their headspace for hours at a time to entertain, enthrall, inform, and/or shock at times too, then the currency sale price of the book paid by the reader is rather irrelevant at the end of the day when divided by the physical time spent reading, and looking at it on a $/hour basis. But that sale price revenue can certainly make a difference to the author.

You can experiment with pricing, but it can be difficult to go up in price from "zero, zero, he's my hero," as opposed to having the wiggle room to play with price selectively from a higher point.

In other cases, generally, the book itself, may be just a part of an overall business model with other revenue streams down the road too, such as speaking engagements, consulting, or other related revenue-generating activities, if that is what a writer desires and what kind of books are being churned out. One need to know and understand what their own end game and objectives are here, and many a time, it may not be the book at all.

At the end of the day, each writer will do what they think is right for their own situation, factoring in all the parameters at play, and where they feel they fit in the overall marketplace with their offering.

Then you can also just close your eyes, throw a dart and see where it lands on the board (or even missing altogether), and let that dictate your strategy as well. Ida know. Vega$, baby, Vega$.

TBL: Why do you write?

BB: There has never been some lifelong longing to write since childhood. It all manifested itself over time. Sure at school, one had to write essays, papers, and do projects. Then with business, there is a lot of writing as well, whether it is for planning, proposals, marketing collateral and other related biz type docs. Hell, even crafting a well-written email can be a challenge too. You are still always telling a story in some way, trying to convince someone of something, or impart something.

Probably my earliest knowledge of knowing I could write anything entertaining and humorous, dates back to my initial international work and travel days in the late 80s and early 90s. At the time, when abroad in places like Europe, Egypt, India, and the UAE, on the go, and many a time in remote areas or with no reasonable or convenient telephone options, the best way to shoot friends and family an update on what was up in life was via postcard. The major shortcoming was speed of delivery (weeks if not months at times), and the odd one may have also gotten lost along the way.

You had the picture on one side, and not a lot of room on the flip, once factoring in space for the addressee info, and the stamp(s). I kinda cheated (or altered the boundaries of the format) by writing in bordering-on-microscopic (but still legible, at least to younger eyes anyway) print, giving me a quite a bit more room than normal to play with.

I developed my own personal informal style of telling a short story of the place, picture and life moment and/or perceptions of where I was, and delivering it in comedic and graphic fashion. So much so, that over the years, I discovered that many of those friends and family have saved those postcards to this very day, because they said it made them howl with laughter, and was some of the funniest and out there stuff they had ever read.

Years later, I managed to get some of them to scan or loan them back to me for a bit. There is some real good material in there that may see the light of day in future series about travel and/or work abroad.

I knew I had something there in terms of some raw potential nuggets of value, but it still took quite a few years before it all came together, and knowing what to do with any of it.

Along the way, there were all these experiences abroad (for work, vacation, and school) that just started piling up over the years. The topic of weddings was just the first one to come bubbling up as the vehicle to tie some of that together into a longer story packaged in book form.

TBL: What does your family think of your writing?

BB: Well, a good chunk of the family is dead (parents, uncles, aunts, grandparents) so that makes things very easy! smiley With all the funerals there to date, plus some friends too, I see the raw potential down the road for another eye-opening series, but I will save that whole approach for when all other topical series have been exhausted.

Start with weddings, and end with funerals. Hmm, I think this one may have been done once before, but I think I can do it differently enough to make it interesting.

Other family members (sister, brother-in-law, aunts, uncles, cousins, etc.) don't do the e-book thing yet at all, and are awaiting the imminent (but months overdue) paperback release to dive into it, and give me their overall opinion, even though a few may have had the odd early-stage preview chapter. Younger relatives, like nephews, still have a long way to grow up before they will be wanting to read this. Also, there is no wife to worry about yet either, and what she may think. So overall, this family angle really hasn't been a shaping factor to date.

I will wait and see how this all turns out, and get back to folks on that with a more definitive answer if this question ever gets asked again down the road. I imagine that some family members will like it (or parts thereof), and others will be shocked by a lot of it too, as the material can be quite out there, and delivered with Tucker Max like flair at times. It's just part of my natural writing style that goes back to my postcard writing days abroad. I did however tone down my language for family (a bit anyway) in those old cards, as opposed to friends and others, which were done with more of a no holds barred approach. If I was writing those cards for grandparents with very limited English capability, I had to keep things really simple.

TBL: Do you have any suggestions to become a better writer? If so, what are they?

BB: I am really just getting going as a writer, so I ain't like no expert or nuttin', but from very early stages years back, I certainly valued Authonomy as a forum to throw out early versions of chapters and see what people, especially other writers who may be a little more critical, thought. Those initial comments (all based on the raw first drafts, before any editing) can still be found up here. I haven't been really up there much anymore apart from the odd update.

At the time in late 2009 when I first started on Authonomy with a few initial chapters, the book had a working title of All Over The Map with the byline underneath of Global Weddings, Wandering and Pondering. Bad, isn't it? It was way too long, and got changed along the way, as the current title is a better fit. I had a long list of potential titles, and batted them around with quite a few friends, family, and my editor. At various stages, I had several more chapters up there (at one point about 70% of the full manuscript I reckon), but have since culled it back to pretty much mirror what is available now in preview mode for the book retail sites online.

I knew from the start I was trying to do something quite different in terms of concept, story and structure, and each wedding / chronicle / chapter was far longer than a normal novel chapter. I wanted to get an early feel to see if I was barking up the right tree, so to speak. There were things I picked up along the way based on initial feedback, and I was able to refine and fix them, the most important being how to split up those otherwise long chapters into smaller chunks, employing a series of repetitive icons to act dually as break / separation points, and also to symbolize different days and/or day parts for the event.

Getting all that right very early on was valuable to me. However, some writers might be loath to share early raw drafts of a new book for fear of rejection, nasty commentary, or having ideas stolen (or their publisher forbade it), but I didn't see a problem with any of that and wasn't tied to any contracts. Also, as a minor added deterrent to others copying and extending material, my editor felt early on that my style, tone and structure were quite unique, and would be hard to mimic.

I just felt I needed to test the waters early on, and was very glad I did. So that would be my only suggestion--get stuff out early on, and adjust accordingly as needed. I suppose if one is a seasoned pro, you may not care for or need that approach because you are comfortable with the whole product creation process.

TBL: What draws you to this genre?

I like to think my style of writing is rather genre-defying, as it mixes in so many different elements.

At the very least, it is a mashup, and in the way that Girl Talk wanted to turn things up several notches on the music front with his work, I endeavored to do so with this first instalment of Wedding Chronicles. I didn't want to feel constrained or limited by standard industry labels or tags that would be applied to try to categorize it. There are too many, making it all meaningless in the end. It is what it is. It's part of the reason why I created my own label for it, f(r)iction, and it's explained right at the beginning of the book. We'll see if it ever sticks over time.

Throwing fully-integrated music playlists into the mix was yet another thing I wanted to do, because music is something that is a big part of my life, and has a lot of power to help a story along (e.g., movies, TV, games) and set mood.

I intend to continue writing exactly like this. It is just me, following my own vibe, with a delivery and structure that feels comfortable and natural.

People can call it what they want in the end. I just hope they enjoy the read ride, and want to come back for more.

To close off this topic of style and genre, this Toni Morrison quote fits the bill nicely.

"If there's a book that you want to read, but it hasn't been written yet, then you must write it."


A globetrotter's wedding adventure!

Genre: f(r)iction--"where fact and fiction rub up against each other, and nobody wants to know it regardless"

I was torn between rating Wedding Chronicles a 3 star or 4 star review. Some parts of the book I really enjoyed, and other parts, not so much. In the end, I settled on 3.5 (rounded up to 4 stars when rated on other sites.)

Wedding Chronicles is certainly one of the more eclectic books I've ever read. This work of literature is a collection of wedding adventures experienced first hand by the author himself. With nearly 100 weddings under his belt, Bob is no stranger to attending weddings, having criss-crossed the entire world. From Mexico to California to Europe--Boguslavski has already been there and done that.

In this particular book, the author recounts 13 memorable weddings, each one unique in one way or another. Readers get to learn about how different cultures manage weddings and also the conversations Boguslavski finds himself engaged in are often either humorous/mind-provoking.

However, for any spelling Nazis out there--be warned! There are some pretty innovative spelling of words in Wedding Chronicles. For example, business is spelled bidni$$ and iPhone is spelled iFone. Personally, this didn't bother me and I actually found some of these avant garde spelling of words to be quite witty. Plus, I would like to give bonus points to Mr. Boguslavski for using the word tintinnabulation in his writing. Aside from Edgar Allen Poe's work, I have never seen that word used in literature, which is really a shame since tintinnabulation is such an underrated word!

You can clearly hear the author's voice/personality through his writing. He seems to take everything in life all in stride and is willing to engage in very interesting topics of conversation at weddings.

I think my only major quip with Wedding Chronicles is that several outside references were made and I didn't understand them. (Guess I'm not as pop culture savvy as I would like to be!) However, readers who are more knowledgable in pop culture are sure to chuckle along. (I mean, I did find the references he made to be funny if I knew what Bob was talking about--like Lord of the Rings:-)

With all that being said, DO NOT READ THIS LIKE A NORMAL BOOK. I tried to do that at the beginning (meaning, I sat down, thinking I could finish this book in 1-3 sittings), but it soon became obvious it was not the way to go (at least for me.) This book ought to be read in small chunks (1-3 wedding "chronicles" at a time) to give readers time to mull over what they had just read (topics range from China's rise in global trade to different types of wine to global warming--all topics are complemented with commentaries, courtesy of Boguslavski, of course.) Also, if you're the type of person who enjoys reading stories with a strong plot line, it would probably be best if you read it in smaller chunks as well, as this book is rather like an anthology.

Final thoughts: After reading Wedding Chronicles, I think it's safe to say that my view of the world has definitely been broadened!

Rating: 4 / 5 * on Amazon.com and Goodreads; 3.5 / 5 * on blog

Original Posting: Tina Chan | March 22, 2014 | Source Link: The Book Landers

Life Jim,...

I laughed, sniggered, argued, farted in your general direction-eh Bob, zoned out, zoomed in, remembered, relived and connected my various wedding trips. Boguslavski hits nails on heads, goes off on wild tangents, produces more off-the-wall alliterations than Will.I.am and a soundtrack to suit your ever changing mood.

Rating; 4 / 5 *

Original Posting: Maurice van Sabben | March 16, 2014 | Source Link: Apple iBooks (UK)
Subject: Epilogue - Managing Guest Count
(Posted on Mar 16, 2014 at 02:11PM ) Tags:
Planning a wedding, and feeling a bit overwhelmed with how to manage and cut down your guest count? Maybe you are also struggling with risking to offend some by not inviting them? 

There are lots of reasons folks want a smaller wedding, whether it is because you want a small intimate affair, have budgetary restrictions, or your significant other wants really big, when you want really small. There is always a way around this, and still be able to safely say you invited everyone fair and square, so they can’t bitch about it later on behind your back to others if not straight  to your face.

You can listen to people like these professionals / experts here and try to suss it out that way.
 


Or you can listen to some single guy who has been to select weddings all around the world for a few decades and take some knowledge straight from the trenches.

Applying my four simple rules will help to solve anybody's wedding guest list quandary. 

1. Make the wedding far away and difficult to get to.
2. Announce it on very short notice (e.g., next week).
3. Have it midweek and during the school year.
4. Make it expensive to get to.

Let’s look at the four of these gems one by one for added insight. You can choose to use these solo or in various combinations, depending on the effect you and your partner desire for your big day so you can share it confidently and happily with all your family and friends.

On this first rule, that alone can keep many away, if they don’t want to make the effort to get there. The further away you make it, the more will fall off the back end of the wedding wagon. Take the "difficult" part and even push it to say "dangerous" and you will be really rocking the guest count cutback. Dangerous need not be in some war zone,  place of conflict, or lawless land with kidnapping and other crime possibilites, but it could be for reasons of disease/health risks or hazardous flora/fauna depending on your location. “Difficult” can also be tied to logistics and planning, for things like visas, vaccinations, and if you plan a destination that requires multiple hops and modes of transport to sort out, that is an added bonus for keeping ‘em away.

The second rule is a great one too, as the less amount of time you give folks to react and plan, then you have a way better chance of less participation. This one can all by itself can accomplish a whole lot.

Rule number 3 is great for knocking your friends with kids out of the box, if they don’t want to pull them out of school, and/or can’t find someone like family or a babysitter to take care of them. A lot of couples fret over the invitation list to include kids or not to include kids, because, depending on what life stage you are at, and your friends, the kid factor can really mushroom the final count overall. No worries there.  With this third rule in the mix, they need to make the decision to go without them, or bring them along. Midweek is also great, because now you are essentially forcing your guests to generally take more time off work too. Do they really want to blow a bunch of their limited vacation days to hit your wedding, especially if it ain’t in some garden spot of the world? You know it!

Then, if you still really think too many folks may squeak in, pulling the financial stakes up a notch or two, above and beyond what rule number 1 played to, then you can get rid of a few more clingers on.  The money you save in fewer guests can now be put to your own travel, accommodation and honeymoon budget. It is win win all around, amigo.

So, okay, enough for theory. How does one actually go and put this into practice in the real world?  School time is over, kids. Here’s the real deal for your benefit that I crafted.

All four elements are put into play, and I put in a few extra tweaks as well, by using e-mail only, playing up the family-friendly angle, and putting some kool food options front and center to help knock off some of those pain-in-the-ass fussy eaters. This will guarantee the final guest count is right where you want it to be and no one will feel slighted whatsoever that they didn't get the big welcome to come out.

-----Original Message-----
From: Bob Boguslavski & Ginger Akin
Sent: Nonday, Remember 13, 2019 37:98 AM
Subject: We’re Getting Married!

Hi there.

Just thought we’d let you know that we’re getting married. And you are invited!

Sorry for this short-notice, e-mail-only invite, but we just decided today, about 20 minutes ago actually. Hopefully it doesn’t bounce or get trapped in your spam filter.

Thursday next week—in Bumblefuck, Bongobongostan. Be there. No visa required if you are from neighboring countries.

First, long haul to Baklaliviatatlaglooshen City, the capital (GMT +7). Next, regional jet to Batorrorheet Island (90-minute flight). Last air leg is a short float-plane puddle-jumper charter to Lower Uotarrorheet (25 minutes), which will bring you to the mouth of the Billabbillabbiloxi River. You are almost there!

A short 1-hour dugout canoe ride follows, but beware the piranhas and water moccasins. You have arrived at the portage point. Machetes will be on hand as necessary. Greenery grows quick and thick around these parts! Last (we promise), a brisk 1.28-mile jaunt inland over semi-rugged rolling jungle terrain with your bags, and you will have arrived to share in our joyous day in paradise.

Since the military junta’s coup last summer, any holdups in-country at checkpoints and impromptu shakedowns along the way can usually be quickly resolved by discretely slipping the odd 50 nuevo bakhfir note as baksheesh for safe passage.

Don’t forget all precautionary yellow fever, hepatitis A/B, human papillomavirus (HPV), tetanus/diphtheria (Td), and meningococcal vaccines, and bring along malaria tablets. We will have ample supplies of antivenom for the local elapid varieties and fabled wandering recluse spiders should they invade your hut.

We are definitely a family-friendly wedding and welcome your bringing along your loved ones. We will have arrangements with the local witch doctor to care for younger children during the pagan celebration and after-dark offering. There is adequate complimentary mosquito netting at night, but not to worry unduly as the plasmodium falciparum type of malaria is not too prevalent here.

In the interest of planning, kindly select your main course in advance:
- BBQ moray eel in blood reduction
- Whole roasted giant scorpion vindaloo
- Filet of free range Chtorran gastropede

We are happy to make accommodations for vegetarians, given the plethora of locally available fresh produce, including red kudzu.

We look forward to seeing you all and sharing the moment with us.

With lots of love,

Ginger & Bob
_______________________________________________________________________________________________________
Sent from our new and improved CrackBerry Intergalactic Kommunikator / Time Warp Teleportal / Holographic Orgasmatron / Illuvian Disruptor Death Ray


Now that is a wedding invitation! If you are really good with this (and lucky), it will keep your future mother-in-law away too.

You should be now easily capable of crafting your own strategy here. No need to thank me by the way, but in the end, you will still need to make your food selection for the evening’s dinner. Thanks to David Gerrold for the food inspiration. As the groom in the above, I’d probably go for the gastropede with some red kudzu on the side.




Subject: Amman #52 - Knowing your telly
(Posted on Mar 9, 2014 at 04:28PM ) Tags:
Digging a little deeper on a silly passage for shits and giggles, and what was meant here one night in Amman back in August 2000.

I hopped off the bed where I'd been watching the telly for a little local flavor and to get a quick peek at the news. Telly here was not to be confused with Telly Monster or Savalas, unless you were watching Sesame Street or Kojak. Then it would have been Telly on the telly,without consideration for either the U.S. awards or U.K. Addicts varieties in that telly mix.

Just what the hell was Bob blathering on about with all that crap? Let's break them puppies down one by one.

1) Telly = Brit slang for TV / television, pretty straightforward on this one.


2) Telly Monster from Sesame Street, the long-running children's TV show.


3) Aristotelis "Telly" Savalas of Kojak TV series fame that ran from 1973 - 1978.


4) Telly Awards (US) - "Honors the very best film & video productions, groundbreaking online video content and outstanding local, regional, & cable TV commercials and programs" per their website.

5) Telly Addicts (UK) - This was a TV trivia game show and needing to know your stuff. It ran there from 1985 - 1998.


And then as an added bonus at the end of it all, and keeping with the British angle on the last telly, let's not forget about Roger Mellie, The Man on the Telly, the killer strip/series character from that stronghold of UK funnydom at Viz. Here's a little sketch entitled Challenge Roger with our main man in fine form from the animated TV series adapation.


Note Bib couldn"t mention the Indian Telly Awards, cuz they only started in 2001, and the Amman wedding dates to 2000, unless he wanted to time travel or sumpin' in the book. Perhaps Roger sums it up best with this reply to Kojak's trademark line.


At the end of the day, this nonsense is all tied to the telly, and as Roger himself would throw out there with his catchphrase: "Hello, good evening, and bollocks!"


Subject: Singapore #77 - Tightly knotted ties
(Posted on Mar 5, 2014 at 05:33PM ) Tags:
What is it about Singapore (SIN) and a reference to a tie feeling a little tight?

The original mention comes from the (in)famous autumn 1993 piece by William Gibson in Wired Magazine [1.04], entitled "Disneyland with the Death Penalty."

He ends his review of the place and trip there with "I loosened my tie, clearing Singapore airspace." Happy to be out of there and on his way to Hong Kong, he was at the time, feeling perhaps a bit like these two cats.


Paying homage to the close of Gibson's piece, this Singapore-set wedding chapter in the book signs off with the nod, "My tightly knotted tie felt loose."

Bob's own first SIN trip was three years before Gibson's, and not that his viewpoint wasn't valid, (although some criticized it), but Bob still had a good enough time there in September 1990, even when he was not some typical "shopper on steroids" tourist. Maybe that was because he was living and working in India at the time, but that's a story for another day.

Despite any restrictions and curtailed personal freedoms in that Asian city state, when you are hanging out at a wedding with other single guys like Edward Pickett and Edwin M. Terry, aka Dr. LoveSexy, you can still have a lot of fun there (or pretty much anywhere on the planet for that matter with those two). If Gibson had been in tow with our trio that September 2004 day and through the evening into the wee hours, he may have come away with a somewhat softened opinion. Otherwise, he may have found SIN a tad more interesting back in the heyday of Bugis Street and when it was an international "spot" to hit until the early 80s. It sure seems like the place really knew how to play and get its groove on back then.

Wedding Chronicles might eventually be banned in Singapore (if not for this particular chapter, then for some other goings on throughout the book), if word gets out, giving it an air of some infamy and added Singaporean street-cred and edge. If so, it would be in good company with Wired Magazine (at the time after Gibson's piece) and local punk rock outfit The Boredphucks (for being cast a little too far out from the normal Singapore mold) and their album Banned in da Singapura.


Bob still likes the place, for a few days at a time anyway, and the food's great, so that is always a good start in his opinion. A few expat friends have lived there, liked it, and some are still there to this day. But one can see how it may not be for everybody, especially if you are a creative type wanting to push the boundaries of your craft, lifestyle and/or general cultural environment. This short Techinasia piece with Steven Wozniak touches on the general aspect of creativitah there.

This Wired opinion piece from 2012 by Kenneth Jeyaretnam revisits the Gibson take nearly 20 years later, but from an insider's perspective. You can be the judge of what's changed, or not. It's a certainly better job and closer to the core of the place than Bob could ever pen. What with all the stuff going on in the world today in many places, and Big Brother watching over all we do anyway, maybe it ain't so bad after all.

Hey, if Robert Mugabe is there to hang out, have fun, and shop until you drop by the container load per the 2012 take (partly cuz, uhm, he ain't allowed in Euroland and the USA) and this more recent health-driven reason, that is saying something too, if not also attesting to the state of medical care there.

Eduardo Saverin moved there in 2009 and renounced his US citizenship in 2011. He seems to like the life there per this local article. One supposes it can't be all that bad, including those purely coincidental favorable taxation advantages that may have factored into his decision making process along the way. Like, the dude musta done some research and tested the waters before diving in. However, this roaming single guy remains unconvinced as to a personal potential long term play there, but to each his or her own. However, Bob wouldd be open to consider it though if life circumstances offered a move there.

Maybe they all hang out at Orchard Towers (per Bob's other post) and some of the erhm, uhm, higher-end "health spas" around town.

In parting, Bob has slapped a few shots of the place together on this Pinterest Board if you want to take a look at the place for yourself.

Subject: London #15 - Europe(ans)
(Posted on Mar 3, 2014 at 03:32PM ) Tags:
The conversation with Cory McCracken in the pub over some beers before the wedding attempted to describe the differences between European countries on a simplistic level, but there is actually a lot more going on for sure if you really dig into it, country by country, culture by culture, and language by language.

The Heaven and Hell comparison is a classic take, not invented here at all, and I really did see it on the wall of some pub pisser for the first time as this photo can attest (to the fact it was on a wall somewhere in the world). There are several variations of the joke using more or fewer countries in the mix.


But, unless one is European, or knows that region of the world well enough from living there or via extended travel, it may not mean much. For someone like Cory who had never been there at all, that was certainly the case. So that's why Bob decided to take that old advertising industry maxim of Above the Line, Below the Line (sometimes called ATL BTL) and put it to different use altogether to explain Europe succinctly in a way that most folks could easily understand circa 1991.



From Bob's perspective at the time, being some single guy traveling the word for weddings, and looking at Europe with a meandering, simple, two-zone North-South dividing line:

Above the line, it rains, they drink beer, the indigenous food sucks,
trains run on time, and people work like back home.

Below the line, the sun shines, they drink wine, the food
's great,
trains run late, and nothing the fuck gets done all day.

Sure, the reality on Europe (and the rest of the world) is a lot more complex than that, and these pretty funny yet insightful map perspectives reflect that (scroll well down the page to hit the Eurocentric ones) as put together by Bulgarian designer, Yanko Tsvetkov. His maps are a little more polished and refined than this one here looking at how the English see (the rest of) Europe through the lens of soccer / football.


These two videos below poke a little fun at Italian - German, and British - French stereotypes. Take what you will from them, and you could create an endless list pitting different countries against each other in similar fashion. Like hello, Canada - USA, for example.




Then there was this more structured 2013 Economist take on how Europeans viewed each other from different parameters.

This last Daily Candor piece from September 2007 drills even further, and looks at many European nationalities one by one and what they think about each other, as aggregated by an American (albeit with Croatian heritage) living over there. If you really have time on your hands, you can troll through the hundreds of related comments by others and a follow-up posting if you are into this.

One can sit and debate this for hours on end with all kinds of examples and exhibits to prop up a perspective, but the best way for me is getting a diverse bunch of my European friends around a table somewhere over there with several bottles of sumpin' to grease the conversation, and sorting it out that way with some good-natured jousting and taking the piss out of each other over the course of an evening.

At the end of the day, maybe Turkish (Jason Statham) had it right in Snatch, and our needing to generally pay better attention and be a little quicker with things..."before zee Germans get there" anyway.


But what does Bob know, as some Canuckistani born-and-bred palooka of Ukrainian heritage with a Polish passport, and a bunch of years living and working in different places in Euroland? He certainly remembers giving folks over there a good laugh on a few occasions while struggling to learn a few local lingos over the years. But hey, you know you are down and good with learning a new language when you can, eventually, debate argue with your girlfriend in her native tongue, and give as good as you get. laugh


Subject: Iceland #71 - Hákarl and Brennivín
(Posted on Feb 27, 2014 at 09:02AM ) Tags:
Here's something you're not going to see every day on most folks' dinner tables, even in Iceland. Let's just say these two things are both an acquired taste, and are certainly a dynamic duo packing a wallop in the culinary experience department. Many might just label it all pretty nasty if your tastebuds run in the mainstream.

Rotten / putrefied / fermented / cured shark meat doesn't sound nearly as appealing or exotic as hákarl, so let's stick with the local Icelandic name for it to make it all the more pleasantly palatable.

Good thing it wasn't on the menu that day for the wedding back in August 2003. One isn't so sure how many locals actually eat this stuff, as opposed to saving it for "special" occasions with unsuspecting foreign visitors looking for a quintessentially Icelandic experience.

This Culture Vixen piece here nicely covers it all off in gory detail for those that are curious. Maybe after reading it though, you may run screaming into the night and not want to go anywhere near this stuff.

The Brennivín part of the equation is the alcohol needed to wash this first sucker down and kill the taste. It seems to be about the only thing around that will do it. The "burning wine" literal translation is apt. This Georgetowner piece goes on a little more about the drink, and how it got its other name of Black Death (even though it is clear).


Bob prefers the Brennivín moniker way better for marketing porpoises [sic], unless you are trying to build up your adventurous, single-guy street cred traveling to weddings all over the place. Featuring this stuff on any wedding menu might be a great way to keep many (or all) invitees away and have them send their regrets on not being able to make it out for your special day in paradise, especially if you promote it as rotten shark cubes coupled with side shots of Black Death.

At the time of this writing, it looks like the first shipment of Brennivín has washed ashore in the USA for imminent distribution based on this Twitter feed, so keeners out there will soon be able to get their hands on a bottle or two of this bad boy. No doubt, folks will be lining up around the block for this fine Icelandic export.

Getting your hakarl fix might be a little harder though. Bob has not done any research here yet on this puppy, and how to get it in North America easily, so it might be a good excuse (or not, as the case may be) for a quick trip to Iceland. Or just go to that great island, and skip this particular eye-opening taste and smell sensory experience.

And, if you really don't want to believe Bob on all this stuff, cuz this is all just some effwit's ramblings on some wedding novel blog, take a peek at this video below, which nicely covers off this brave gal's virginal experience with this culinary pairing. Now, even though she ain't speakin' da Engrisch here with her commentary, you can just tell how she feels about all of it. She is speaking Danish, after quickly checking with a couple Nordic friends in the know. Trust, but verify, is the way to go on things generally, if you can.


Bobby Bo gives Nada an A+ (with an extra * on top) for pleasant demeanor throughout the ordeal. A smile goes a long way, especially when you ain't having such a good time. Plus she goes back for a second kick at the can, even if it doesn't stay in her mouth for long.

If her enjoyment wasn't enough to convince you about this dining delight, maybe this next video exhibit will. The "main event" with our unsuspecting Wreckless Eating trio starts in at minute 7:30 if you want to blow through their unrelated "warm-up" dishes, and their journey really gets "graphically" going a little later after they actually take a few of them shark chunks down. Note how even a little plece of this stuff goes a long way in the flavuh department.


Full marks for bravery here to all three, but Bob kinda wishes they had researched it a little more, and known to wash it down with the Black Death, and get rid of that lingering taste that seemed to really bother them. Like the wise old saying, forewarned is forearmed, in case you ever find yourself in this specific situation.

This is a more educational take with a view to the background and preparation thereof, as done in fine typical NatGeo fashion.


Doesn't that all just want to make you pull away from that device or computer screen, and get out there to push your five senses to the max with all the wonderful things to experience in the real world? There is no substitute for travel if you ever have the opportunity.

Buon appetito, my friends.



Subject: Santiago #30 - Sipping Something Chilean
(Posted on Feb 25, 2014 at 09:37AM ) Tags:
That reference in the Chile chapter to the three "distant cousins" of the fabled Bubinga sisters, was really a nod to three wine-producing areas/valleys in the country - Aconcagua, Colchagua, and Itata. The Homer Simpson inspired "D.O." slip (instead of his usual "D'oh"), is the shortie for Denomination of Origin (or Denominacion de Origen in Spanish) and was done on porpoise, Corky.

As can be seen from this long and skinny map below, them three female "Bubinga cousins" are on there as proof positive as to what was really going on that day at lunch and thereafter on that Friday the 13th day before the wedding. It was all about consumption, sampling local wares, and exploring the city informally by subway and on foot, which is my favorite way to do things.


The trio of wine valley names were plucked randomly from among all possible there, but I wanted ones that could arguably sound a little more female for extra meaningful context. Back at the time in 1996, Chilean wine was just starting to break out to global export markets in a major way, even though their stuff was all highly drinkable well before that.

Flash forward nearly 18 years to 2014, and Chlle is a wine export monster, which is not the same as a Lady Gaga "Little Monster." For those that like numbers, here's a little chart showing Chile in the league of top global exporters by volume (based on 2011 figures).


As a "monster" related sidebar, check out this number "Fatty Boom Boom" by Die Antwoord ("The Answer" in Engrisch), who are out of South Africa, Their video takes the piss out of her "G"-ness. One needs to have a sense of humor on things, but this UK Daily Mail piece from October 2012 seems to indicate she wasn't too happy about it all. You can judge for yourself on all accounts after watching the video. The group seem to have their own strong opinion on the state of rap too. Ooh ahr.


Okay, so somebody went off track a bit, going on about Chilean wine regions, switching gears to "monsters" (both figuartively and literally), and then to newspaper commentary about "prawns up someone's privates" and rap in a South African music video, but hey, that's; the way the world is sometimes, and the news too.

This last country, South Africa, is another great wine exporting nation with good product I can attest to. Bob hasn't been to a wedding there yet, but maybe one day.

As a single guy, I am always willing to go with the flow, both at home and abroad while on some wedding junket. No stressing about stuff you can't (or don't want to) control.

There are otherwise some Santiago shots (and from other parts across Chile) on this Pinterest board for some added visual distraction.

At the end of the day though, who really be them Bubinga sisterz anyway? Do they actually exist?

That's something for another time, and wedding quest, plus maybe another deep and meaningful drinks discussion. Remember, it's always better to drink it, than to just know about it.

Subject: Westport #94 - Fat, Fluff, Froth, and Fizz
(Posted on Feb 22, 2014 at 02:11PM ) Tags:
That 840-page issue of Vogue back in September 2007 was a fitting symbol of the apex of the financial markets and an omen of things to come before the subprime housing crisis bubble burst and everything went to hell in a handbasket thereafter in the financial world.


Coming in at some 4 - 5 lbs., depending on your source(s), (but it's not like Bob dug an old back-copy up to weigh it in realty, so omelette you do the "trust but verify" thing there), and with most of it bumpf hawking fashion, accessories, and cosmetics, it was a nice tie-in to the excesses of the period. There wasn't a whole lot of substance to it, doing the simple page math of 840 less 727 of ads, left 113 pages of arguably what could be construed as advertorial.

This is a good piece going back to look at it with bit of a critical eye. It does a way better job than Bob could ever do, since this cat ain't no big fashion boffin with any bonafide qualifications. They even bothered to make a documentary about it all, called The September Issue (2009), if you really want more insight on the matter.


I always find it funny about our world that we can get more folks to care about stuff like this, than about the more important stuff, but yo, that's the way stuff shakes out today, with many of us having the attention span of goldfish, and where we would rather be entertained than know the real deal, as that requires a lot more work. Hey, it's all good, but don't be surprised by stuff happening later on that was always there to begin with.


Most fellas won't be into the movie or the mag (except for checking out the chikitas), but it was fun to have a conversation in passing at that Westport, CT wedding with Tristan Alford, knowing his wife was all over that publication "to advertise some hip disguise," and eye up even more unnecessary haute couture for her walk-in closets.

The ladz in Rage Against The Machine had it all down pat and then some, about entertainment in general, with their 1998 tune, "No Shelter" and the lyrics therein.

,

One could sit there and analyze the meanings of the lyrics / messages 25 ways to Sunday, but I think it's just a great song when all is said and done to keep it simple.

Since that time back in 2007, Vogue outdid themselves, taking things to a higher level in September 2012, with that issue eclipsing the 2007 record and clocking in at, yowza, 916 pages, but trimming back (a tad) on the ads.


Jumpin' Jehovah's Witnesses, that's the kind of stuff a single guy at weddings needs to be able to deal with randomly as cocktail and appetizer time beckons. No topic is too frivolous or sacred to be managed or mangled in one way or another, be it good, bad or ugly (whatever her name is). That's just the way the world is, but as one wise person once quipped, it depends on what the meaning of the word "is" is. You know it!