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skot AT izzlepfaff DOT com

Tuesday, 20 May
It's Like I Never Left, Except That I Did

Yes, I am back from the Belgian honeymoon, and yes, it was fantastic, and yes, we ate chocolates, and yes, we drank beer, and NO, Belgian beer does NOT give you a hangover, and believe me, we tried. I cannot emphasize this enough. It was sort of like getting away with murder. Or, more accurately, it was like getting convicted of murder, and then having the judge say, "But everyone hated that guy anyway! Get out of here, you scamp!" And then everyone goes out and eats wonderful stew. Or something. I'm still fried from the flight, so don't expect much in the way of linearity or coherence--a rather silly warning to give to regular readers of this site, I suppose.

And they didn't even hate us! Or if they did, they were very circumspect and polite about it; if they covertly spit in our food, all I can say is: Belgium, your citizens have ridiculously delicious spit.

Even their television is wonderful, provided you get a kick out of not knowing what the hell anyone is saying. On my very first day, as the fiancee wife (hey!) and I lolled bonelessly in our room after the flight over, I was informed by a Belgian ad (in Dutch, of course) that Calgon (hey, they have Calgon!) will definitely clean the shit out of any KALK! you might have in your home. I naturally don't have any idea what KALK! is, and didn't bother to find out, but there it was on my screen, KALK! and sure enough, Calgon came along and blasted the letters all to hell. It was great.

Okay, not everything was great, strictly speaking. There was the music--and I know I wasn't exposed to the great Flemish alternative scene or anything--but the eerie ubiquity of Phil Collins was greatly unnerving. And literally seeing the video for Justin Timberlake's "Rock Your Body" video every day for the first week was positively shattering, especially when we found ourselves singing along. Oh, and of course Madonna's "American Life," a hauntingly poisonous song replete with a pungently embarrasing rap was all over the place, handily answering any lingering questions as to why perhaps other nations hate us. But there were bright spots too, mostly of the deeply weird sort. One young group of lightly scrubbed boys named The Androids were clearly shooting for a spot next to Eve 6 in future 99-cent bins with a catchy ditty called "I Want To Do It With Madonna." Clearly, they hadn't heard the new single yet. But they had some stiff competition from another group of aggressively market-tested moppets named Busted! (very focus-group edgy) with their massively catchy and utterly inane songsicle "The Year 3000." Sounding a bit like Green Day as interpreted by Up With People, Busted! brought the goods with these classic lyrics: "Well, I've been to the year 3000/ Nothing's changed, 'cept they live underwater/ And your great-great-great granddaughter/ is pretty fine." O manna, Nickelodeon! O fuck me in the ears with your lyricism! You can't tell me that's not some quality schlock, especially the casually tossed in bit of info that, um, our descendants will be marine mammals.

It occurs to me that maybe these kids are all the rage over here in America too and I just didn't know it. You know you're getting old when it takes a transatlantic flight to get exposed to youth culture. And speaking of youths in other countries--just so everyone knows I didn't miraculously shed all of my neuroses while abroad--can I just say that little kids speaking Dutch freak me out? While I know intellectually that of course, it's their native fucking tongue, it still made me feel terribly inadequate. There would be some little kid unspooling mystifying Dutch sentences, and I would be standing there thinking, "Wow, that must be a smart kid. Dutch is hard!" Then it would occur to me that this was a country where practically everyone at a minimum is at least trilingual, and I'd feel really dumb.

Then I'd remember I was on my honeymoon, and that I was damned lucky to find someone who'd marry such a goddamn weirdo, and that it was practically MY DUTY to enjoy myself, and we'd go have a beer and do just that.

Hello again, faithful tens of readers! It's good to be home. But it was even better to be there. You'll hear more, of course. Please stay. I wanna rock your body. I gotta have you naked by the end of this blog.

XOXOX | Skot | 20 May, 2003 |

Note: Comments are closed on old entries.


Please stay. I wanna rock your body. I gotta have you naked by the end of this blog.


Comment number: 000830   Posted by: Claude on May 20, 2003 08:50 PM from IP:

Um, okay.

*takes off clothes*

Comment number: 000831   Posted by: Cat on May 20, 2003 08:57 PM from IP:

Welcome back Skot. The country got along pretty much OK without you, except for some shenannigans in the midwest of an unseemly nature. I assume you'll be on the case now that you're back.

Comment number: 000832   Posted by: kaf on May 20, 2003 10:28 PM from IP:

Can do, chief!

*shucks duds*



Comment number: 000833   Posted by: TheBrad on May 20, 2003 11:24 PM from IP:

Welcome back! And Congratulations!
And you can just forget about me dancing naked as I am in the office and all.
But let me just say that little kids speaking Dutch would freak me out in an entirely more creepy, anti-christ sort of way. I think you handled it well, considering.

Comment number: 000834   Posted by: nova on May 21, 2003 06:51 AM from IP:

Don't feel dumb because they're all trilingual... we've got Pepsi Blue!

Wait, they don't have Pepsi Blue do they? Because THEN I'll really find it hard to feel superior to them...

Comment number: 000835   Posted by: Ryan Waddell on May 21, 2003 06:59 AM from IP:

I guess someone has to say the shmoopy obvious stuff about being glad you are back on the web and how much we will have to drop huge rocks from orbit on Seattle if you every abandon us like that again, so I guess it is me. How come I have to do all the hard stuff?

Comment number: 000836   Posted by: weremonkey on May 21, 2003 07:14 AM from IP:

Welcome back Skot. Your linear and coherent daily thoughts (heeheehee) were sorely missed.

And what do you mean take off my clothes? The nice old man that taught me how to use a computer said that it would only work if we were naked.


Comment number: 000837   Posted by: KOTWF on May 21, 2003 07:37 AM from IP:

Next honeymoon, bring a laptop.

That was a rough few weeks....

Comment number: 000838   Posted by: dayment on May 21, 2003 09:42 AM from IP:

Next honeymoon, bring a laptop.

[wisecrack about the wife redacted]

Comment number: 000839   Posted by: TheBrad on May 21, 2003 01:36 PM from IP:

Congrats on an awesome honeymoon, Mr. Skot! I really enjoy your blog. I used to live in Belgium and I know how good the beer is--even Duvel, the kick-you-in-the-head-and-teach-you-Dutch-with-a-pitchfork-and-12%-alcohol variety.

i noticed you're using the old AT and DOT method of avoiding webbots and such--may i suggest the email obfuscator?


Comment number: 000840   Posted by: dan on May 21, 2003 07:31 PM from IP:

Yay skot! Glad to see you back in the real-fake world.

Comment number: 000841   Posted by: Neale on May 21, 2003 10:03 PM from IP:

Oh, Thank God. Our long national nightmare is now over, you're back home!

Comment number: 000843   Posted by: Bet on May 22, 2003 07:16 AM from IP:

#1: "Wonderful stew". ohhhh, I missed you, little izzle pfaff!
#2: What is up with the European recycling of our horrible horrible pop music? I did a backpacking trip over there a couple of summers ago and distinctly remember the cringing feeling of hearing Shaggy's "It Wasn't Me" and the latest hits from Destiny's Child in 9 countries. Gah!

Comment number: 000846   Posted by: abby on May 22, 2003 01:50 PM from IP:

The unnerving thing about Dutch lingo is it's similarity to English English. It sounds like the ugliest language in the world until you actually stop listening to it. Then, walking happily along the street you hear, with brilliant clarity, a man say to his wife "Look! A car got sprung loosely round Geothe!"

Which is unnerving.

Comment number: 000847   Posted by: Sarah Byrne on May 22, 2003 02:19 PM from IP:

When I was in Amsterdam, in the summer of '97, being freaked out my own self by people speaking Dutch (really! was is it with Dutch?), I was followed around 10 times a day by "Barbie Girl" by Aqua, and some "Hansen" song I think I've successfully blocked out. I'd never heard of either of those groups before I got on the plane, but when I got back they were old news in the States. I, too, wondered if I was really just that out of touch.

Comment number: 000856   Posted by: Krizzer on May 23, 2003 03:54 PM from IP:

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