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1

A little over a year ago, I wrote about a blogger who was getting strange comments from people who thought he could pimp their ride. (When the comments reached 200, he closed the post to more comments.) Strangely enough, a year later, I got two elegant cries for help too. (See comments at the bottom.)

2

Back in May, I wrote about a student who had gone nuts and was spooking me out. I forgot to update about him. I never saw him again. Neither he nor the girl he was smitten with came back. He did drop by one day to say goodbye to the staff, when I wasn’t there, and said he had received his transfer to Thessaloniki. That’s a relief. I later learned that the girl had brought some of his letters to school to show the secretary, and in one of them he had scrawled that he was either going to kill himself or someone else. This man works in vice and carries a service revolver.

3.

I’m finally taking driving lessons. I still can’t get used to the idea that I’ll be steering a huge piece of machinery around the road. I was speaking to a British colleague and he said he had recently got his license. “Athens is the best place to learn,” he said. “Straight into the deep end.”

4.

Tomorrow I’ll be taking a little trip with N. and my parents, who arrived here a couple of weeks ago. We’re not sure yet where we’re going, but Meteora is definitely one of them, because N.’s never been there. I’ll be taking lots of pictures and notes. I plan to write here more often. I got some very kind words from E.J. Knapp, which have made my thoughts turn more often to this blog.

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Baghdad Burning is a blog that gets a lot of coverage, and has even been published in book form, but just in case anyone stumbles across my blog somehow and has never seen it, there was this post today.

It’s hard to imagine what it’s like when people around you get dragged out of their house and are shot in the street, when you’ve never heard people scream the way they must when it’s happening, when you’ve only heard the sound of guns on television and in films, when dead bodies in television and film are so briefly shown.

But I imagine that in real life, the sounds and the sights must be all the more unsettling for not resembling what you see and hear on the screen. Life almost seems like a poor imitation of the drama that occurs in entertainment. The sound of a gun is not so loud and dramatic, there’s no emotional soundtrack. A man or woman is dragged out in the street, quickly, in an undignified manner, their screams for mercy — if they’re not stunned into silence — desperate and clinging, and then there is the sound of the gun. If it’s a pistol, then it strikes you as more of pop than anything you’ve seen in films or on TV. “Is that all there is?” you ask yourself. And the screaming stops. The body twitches for a moment and goes limp. You turn away in disgust, or in fear, or in rage, but when you turn back, the body is still there. You try to comprehend that body, now so lifeless, which only yesterday said hello to you, or wept in despair, or laughed at a joke in spite of everything, or bargained for milk or eggs. All those little details that have been cut off from the body now, which lies awkward and even more undignified, half on the curb, half on the road. You turn away; you turn back again; but unlike in the film, it won’t go away. You don’t cut to the next scene. It all ends anti-climactically. Somebody should come and take the body away, you say, and eventually somebody does.

Am I making any sense? I don’t know. I’m grasping at something ineffable, something that escapes each time I try to describe it.

Riverbend’s friend T., passing by the house with news of his sister’s engagement, with talk of his plans. T.’s emails, how he clicked on SEND, not knowing what the next day held for him. I keep thinking about his sister, the family that cannot now rejoice in her engagement, of the plans that cannot be fulfilled, and of those emails — which seem grotesque now in their total ignorance of the coming death. Pictures of cats sent by a man whose body lies in the street, his face rendered unrecognisable by the bullets that killed him.

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Pimp My Life!

After reading the comment to my previous post left by Kostas (my first fan!) I checked out the two blogs he mentions, ManifestoGR and Fufurasu. I’ve put both of them on my Bloglines list.

Fufurasu has one of the funniest things I’ve ever seen on a blog. Back in December he posted about an MTV programme I’ve never heard about (not surprising, since I don’t have a TV) called Pimp My Ride, hosted by a rapper called Xzibit. I know there are shows which renovate and refurnish people’s houses. They’re basically long advertisements for the furniture companies. I saw one in Canada last Christmas. My mother and sister love the show. I think there’s even been one like it here in Greece. Well, this MTV show is the same sort of thing, except that they fix up your car.

Orestes at Fufurasu describes in a typical blog post watching the show for the first time, and describes the programme. Interesting, but nothing unusual. Sometimes we write about a film we’ve seen, or a book we’ve read. That sort of thing.

Then something weird happened. People started flocking to his blog, thinking it was MTV and begging for him to pimp their ride. As I write this, there are 99 comments. Most of them are people in the States (who sometimes leave their names and addresses!), but there some from the UK, one from South Africa, Algeria, and Russia. Someone even wants their boat pimped.

It’s funny to see Orestes try to tell them it’s not MTV:

Uhm. I should mention that I am not Xzibit, nor am I affiliated in any way with MTV, or involved in the production of the show. I just watch it from time to time. This is just my personal site, kids.Uhm. I should mention that I am not Xzibit, nor am I affiliated in any way with MTV, or involved in the production of the show. I just watch it from time to time. This is just my personal site, kids.

And when they still don’t listen:

Oh dear.

And finally:

Uhm… uh, you know…

Oh, what’s the use. Carry on.

Sometimes other people try to talk some sense and explain that this is not the place they’re looking for, but people keep on leaving messages, sometimes with desperate urgency:

Please pimp my fiancés ride. He is a wonderful guy that has been trying to progress in life and is constantly faced with obstacles. Adrian went of to school and paid $2,000 for a Toyota Celica 91’ which ended up being a piece of crap. He invested about $800 in it and it still broke down. He lost his job because he couldn’t get to work. He decided to just go for a cheap Toyota Camry 88’. Which has turned into another nightmare.I’m deaf. I’m just tired of being struggling with my money. My job don’t pay me well. I owe my girlfriend a lot of money. I have OLD truck. It’s 1989 Chevy S10 2D 4×4. I don’t know how long it will go last. When I saw Pimp My Ride on MTV. I have been keep myself saying that I NEED them to pimp my ride so badly. I want to stop worrying about losing car with no money in one day. I don’t want to ask my girlfriend for borrow her money ever again! PLEASE…DO ME A FAVOR, MY FRIEND. PIMP MY FRIGGING RIDE.THANK YOU. PEACE Y’ALL!

There’s a lot of anguished soul-bearing:

Dear Xzibit I am a 13 year old living in imbarisment. Because I have to ride in my dads old *** car. It is a 1991 lincin towns car. It is the same age as meHe evens spends more money fixing his car then buying me clothes. . If you come see the seats are all worn out and the color is old and plan (the color is sivlir).All of my friends makes fun of me when they see my dads car drive by. Please MTV can you pimp my dads ride.I have a prgnet 16 yr old dauter I have to now rid on the bus to get back and forth to work and alwas seem to be late every time .other than that I have three other children another girl and two other boys the girls love puting on lip gloss in the mirur, the boys love playing video games but I guss I can’t affurd eny of that not even to fix my car. so pleas pimp my rid

Please Please Please help me and Pimp up my ride, I am 14 years old and one of the most embarrassed kids in our area, as my dad is in love with his Ford Mondeo even though it is falling apart. Most of the other kids around here show up in new cars and my dad can’t afford a new one and i don’t think he would change it even if he could afford a new car, but it is in definate need of an Xzibit showdown. So how about taken the Pimp my Ride on tour to the UK, my dad is still quite cool but his ride lets him and me down in a massive way. I plead with you help me be cool by getting my Dad to look cool.

I remember in Wings of Desire how the angels would put their hands on people’s shoulders, and you could hear them worrying about things — their loved ones, their hopes and fears and despair. In one scene, one of the angels goes to the library in Berlin and you can hear hundreds of people thinking, so many voices that it sounds like a huge machine.

Perhaps in time people will go to Fufurasu to confess and be comforted. I imagine people all over the world, lying awake at night, praying, worrying, not knowing who to turn to, where to get help, all of them murmuring, Pimp my ride … pimp my ride … please pimp my ride …

Check it out here.

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How exciting! How dull!

For the first time since September, the Dullest Blogger has managed to come up with another post!

There are plenty of boring Web logs out there, online diaries whose authors dutifully recount their thoughts and actions in excruciating detail. But Dave Walker, a 32-year-old cartoonist and Web editor from Cookham, England, has claimed the distinction of writing ''The Dullest Blog in the World.''

Mr. Walker has raised dull blogging to an art form by meticulously chronicling mundane events in his life: checking e-mail, turning his head to the right, walking past the ironing board, and thinking about making some food. His minimalist musings have attracted something of a cult following, with his blog counting about 85,000 page views a month. Seldom has dullness generated such keen interest.

(The New York Times, May 15th 2003)

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