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Monday, 24 April
Week In Review

So, Utah happened. They named a raptor after this fucking state? I'd go extinct too. On the other hand, I doubt any dinosaurs are climbing out of their desert beds clamoring to have me find their remains either. "Skotraptor? No thanks." Me, if I were a dead dinosar, I think I'd like to be found by, say, a porn star. Waddraptor! Gingersaurus! And the dreaded Tiffanytops.

I can't really slag a lot on Salt Lake City too much, mainly because as predicted, I hardly left the hotel. I can report that, from an airplane, it looks a lot like a bunch of discarded children's toys dumped onto a vast dirt expanse. Drab, said my mind. This city looks like that ugly babysitter you used to have. The one that read Sidney Sheldon? She had glasses and sucked on popsicles in a way that managed to be totally unintriguing. I had arrived.

I couldn't complain, however, about the free shuttle service to the hotel. Or, frankly, the hotel itself, which has five diamonds, or four stars, or ninety blue horseshoes, or whatever fucking rating they were touting at the time. It was a swank place, no doubt, the Grand American. You got greeted by no less than six people before you even hit the front door, and of course I undertipped all of them, as I wasn't prepared for the pomp. Some duffer got unlucky enough to wrestle my luggage away from me--the staff would sooner shit out their hearts than let you lift anything--and I think I gave him my spare coat buttons. While I was waiting in line, I was assailed by more of these poor minions. One approached and said, "How are you, sir? Water?" He held out a gleaming bottle of water. I eyed it as if evaluating its salinity. A beautiful woman advanced moments later. "Cookie?" she inquired, holding a basket of baked goods. They gave you cookies and water while you waited. Either that, or the waterguy was a random Mormon poisoner and the woman was simply the world's most cryptic prostitute.

The room, when I finally got there, was stunning. As usual, I went straight to the bathroom. THE BATHROOM IS THE MOST IMPORTANT FEATURE OF A HOTEL ROOM, I say, because there's something exotic about taking a dump in any strange place. There is a frisson about taking a dump in, say, a public rest room in the park. A nervous one, to be sure, but it's there. In a hotel? It should be downright awesome to take a dump, because it's costing someone good money. This bathroom did not disappoint. For one thing, marble floors. (Let's ignore that I nearly broke my back a few times slipping on that fucking crap coming out of the shower and missing the bath mat--I'm blind as a goddam bat.) For another thing, it had a tub and a separate glass-encased stand-alone shower stall. For another another thing, it had a husband-and-wife sink arrangement, with two separate hookups. And FINALLY--the dumper itself was its own room besides all of the rest, and of course had its own phone--"Simmons! I'm taking a shit on company time! Go into your toilet and take a shit with me! This is rad!"--and one of those ridiculous gilt toilet paper roll-covers that help you out with the tearing motion. I love this sort of vaguely infantilizing hand-holding: "You notice how people rip the hell out of toilet paper rolls, all jaggedy? Let's give them some sort of clean-rip technology. Poor bastards are wiping their asses with substandard wads."

I won't bore you with any of the business stuff--if you're not instantly numbed by words like "practicum" and "forum" and "plenary" then you are not of my species--but I will tell you that even before I boarded the plane, I felt a low-grade cold coming on. Just what you want when getting ready to get on a plane! A compromised immune system! In SLC, my cold built up a little steam, but nothing too unbearable. I had some mild sniffles, but nothing that would keep me out of the game.

Then the stomach virus hit on Wednesday afternoon. Like a switch. Crippling nausea, frequent romping trips to the bathroom, the whole bit. I sat miserably on the toilet, during commercial breaks from The Amazing Race, perversely willing the phone to ring. "Hey, Skot, how's it hanging?" I imagined my telephonic pal would say. "Right above a bowl full of abject horror. I think I'm dying." I would reply. But nobody called. I spent the night shivering and hopelessly smoking cigarettes on my second-floor balcony, staring out at the pool and listening to the sound system blasting out Sheryl Crow songs. The diarrhea was a relief from this sonic assault. Eventually, I fell into a fitful sleep, plagued by horrid dreams involving me giving practicum talks while seated pantsless on a toilet.

Happily, the virus proved to be of the really punctual 24-hour sort, and again, switchlike, I felt magically better the next day at five. I was still a bit whey-faced from the lingering illnesses (not to mention from my utter inability to eat dinner the previous night), but I heroically managed to attend the "hospitality" party for the survivors of the meeting, where I cautiously sipped oaky, croaky red Cab while my unpukey compatriots shamelessly dumped horrible Riesling into their maws.

(On the night of my arrival, I had already learned the folly of ordering liquor in this bizarre Pollyanna state. Upon ordering a martini, I was given an absurdly anemic little glass of cloudy gin, which I figured was due to a criminally scanty pour, but later learned was thanks to Utah's mind-wrecking state laws that mandate some system involving odd metal nipples on liquor bottles which marry to laughable booze-measuring doodads that mete out truly depressing amounts of premeasured shots. The whole thing is Byzantine and insulting and childish. I have convinced myself that, contrary to the historical record, Kafka was trying to get a decent pour in a Utah bar when he decided he wanted all of his papers burned after he died.)

Oh, lord, it's all gone on long enough. Leave it to say that I'm back, and feeling better, and I've had a few days to recover. I'm back to work tomorrow, in my proper office. The wife even got me all set when I arrived back home with a movie night. We watched the Eli Roth masterpiece Hostel, a movie so soulless and unblinkingly mean that it dares to ask the question, "Who wants to see a guy get his Achilles' tendons slashed?"

We cringed our way through this grindcore nightmare of pointlessness, this objet of dumbosity where nothing is really scary but everything is disgusting. In the hands of Scorcese, blood red can be shocking. In the hands of others, it's just another crayon color. What a dreary, idiotic movie.

I missed the excitement of diarrhea. I didn't miss Utah. So Hostel has that going for it. Sort of worse than diarrhea. Better than Utah. I'll leave the rest to you.

Roam | Skot | 24 Apr, 2006 |

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Comments

Until I got to the Scorcese reference that followed, I thought this :

We cringed our way through this grindcore nightmare of pointlessness, this objet of dumbosity where nothing is really scary but everything is disgusting

was about Salt Lake City! Really.

Comment number: 007167   Posted by: Tess on April 25, 2006 08:24 AM from IP: 24.123.112.14

Sort of worse than diarrhea. Better than Utah

Man, you should write ad copy!

Also, when you said the stomach virus hit "like a switch," I assumed you meant "like a small branch used to beat children and recalcitrant animals," until the wellness returned in the same way and I realized you didn't mean you'd been beaten with the healthy stick. Of course, for all I know that's how medicine is practiced in Utah.

Comment number: 007168   Posted by: flamingbanjo@hotmail.com on April 25, 2006 10:07 AM from IP: 64.65.181.81

The only good thing about Hostel is that it's short.

Comment number: 007196   Posted by: aldahlia on April 25, 2006 03:13 PM from IP: 12.218.156.74

So what did you eat that gave you the food poisoning? (That's what "stomach flu/24 hr. flu" is.) Placenta pate?

Comment number: 007218   Posted by: Squidley on April 29, 2006 01:21 AM from IP: 206.55.252.146

i just moved to anchorage from slc and, let me tell you: salt lake is like fucking san diego compared to this place. living in anchorage is like living in 1987, but with more garbage and prostitutes. yeah, slc is fucked up, but it's also lovely. so. i'm sorry you hated it and wished it would die!!!

Comment number: 007400   Posted by: axela on May 11, 2006 12:18 AM from IP: 216.67.4.244

i just moved to anchorage from slc and, let me tell you: salt lake is like fucking san diego compared to this place. living in anchorage is like living in 1987, but with more garbage and prostitutes. yeah, slc is fucked up, but it's also lovely. so. i'm sorry you hated it and wished it would die!!!

Comment number: 007401   Posted by: axela on May 11, 2006 12:19 AM from IP: 216.67.4.244

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