The Mainstream of Our Life is in the Style

I do not condone taking photos while driving.

The title of this post comes from a Toyota Surf spare tire cover I was lucky enough to drive behind at 30 kmh (in a 40 zone) for an extended period of time. It briefly struck me as very deeply meaningful in a “he’s driving so slow, I’m so goddamn bored, I hate everything on the radio, maybe I should try to discover meaning in that fucked up Engrish on the spare tire cover”  kind of way. Then I thought “Fuck it, it’s stupid”. But it seemed like an adequate title for a post about inane crap from the last few days.

Kandahar Killed the Radio Star

When the Canadian military was in KAF we got CBC radio from Ottawa and a classic rock station from Edmonton. As a guy in his late forties, my auditory needs were fully met. I could readily switch between news stories about the moral decay of kids these days and rockin’ out to Dirty Deeds as the mood struck me. Unfortunately, these two stations disappeared with the Canadian contingent. I’m not enamoured with what we have left.

The U.S Armed Forces Network has two stations. One is all country all the time. Every damn song they play sounds like “Way Down Yonder on the Chattohoochee” to me. Yeah, I get it. You were raised in the south, you love your momma, beer and pick up trucks but aren’t so keen on the proper conjugation of verbs.The other AFN station seems to cater to the angry young man crowd with its incessant rap and heavy metal. It’s kind of odd to hear patriotic U.S. history lessons or dumbed-down dissertations on the military justice system interspersed with the anti-establishment screams and bad rhymes.

The British have two radio stations here. As far as I can tell, one plays music that is called pop despite it not being popular enough for me to have ever heard any of it before.  The other is a mix of BBC and British Forces Broadcasting System content. Some of the BBC talk is ok but do they really need to cover that many sports live via the radio? Soccer is boring enough in a visual medium but the verbal version brings mind-numbing to a whole new level. Of course, the radio version of soccer is positively engrossing when compared to their goddamn radio coverage of tennis. Tennis, for christ’s sake. On the radio.  I could also do without the in-depth coverage of bake sales and road repairs taking place at their base on Cyprus.

The Dutch station is, well, very Dutch. Of course, I don’t know what they’re saying but I bet it’s something like “Get ready to shake your booty and get down with these groovy beats as we present 4 hours of the top hits in electro-dance music” or whatever the kids are saying these days. Despite appearances, I’m not as much of a hep-cat as I used to be so my lingo may be a little dated daddio. The music is unlistenable although I imagine hefty doses of ecstasy might help.

I miss CBC and the 1970’s.

Wok This Way

We’ve been walking to the Far East for dinner most nights lately. I’m not a huge fan of the place and I often find myself going for the stir fry as its reliably pretty good particularly when covered in sweet chili sauce. They try to add variety to it by making it with pork, beef or chicken on different nights. While I appreciate the effort I think it may be wasted. M and I both went for the stir fry a couple of nights ago. We were chowing it down when J asked “Is it beef, chicken or pork?”. I looked at M, he looked at me. We both shrugged and said “I don’t know” in unison. Maybe that says more about us trudging through another KAF roto as automatons than it does about the cooking.

Lumpa Cheez Cake

Tonight there was “Cheesecake” for dessert. I can picture the package the powder came in “New! Crustless, Cheeseless, No Bake Cheez-Cake”. I only managed to take about two wee spoonfuls before my pancreas objected quite strenuously. Seriously? They couldn’t even bother to roll out some oatmeal? They did, however, take the time to add dollops of what I strongly suspect is lard around the top edges. M loves that shit and insists on calling it icing. It’s lard.

The Supremes

The Diana Ross. Get it?

S, J, M and I decided to treat ourselves to pizza at Mamma Mia’s last night. J and S went for the Supreme Pizza. S, however, asked for “no artichokes”. Yeah, in the real world, you have to tell the pizza place to “hold the artichokes” about as much as you have to tell them to “hold the pomegranate”. But, artichoke on pizza is, inexplicably, considered not insane around here. I suggested to S that “That’s not really a Supreme without the artichokes now, is it? It’s more like a Diana Ross”. M laughs while S and J look at me with mixture of confusion and pity. I explain, “You know, Diana Ross, she was the lead singer with the Supremes until she went solo and kicked the other members to the curb like…umm…” “Artichokes?” interjects M. M and I laugh uproariously. S and J’s expressions of concern deepen. Yet, a few minutes later as we discussed frequent flyer miles, J thought saying Star Alliance” in a Darth Vader voice was the epitome of high brow humour. Go figger.

What’s in a Name

Save yourself the trouble of ordering and just gargle with some 10W30.

For the last three years I’ve seen something called “Bread Toast” on the breakfast steamline at the Cambridge. I was never really sure what it was and never wanted to try it as I’d always make fresh toast myself. A couple of days ago, I notice that the sign had changed to read “Fried Bread”. I know what fried bread is…it’s fried bread. I’ve had it once our twice while in the UK. It was kinda nasty and kinda yummy at the same time. So, I got some. It was the same as the stuff I’d had in the UK but without the kinda yummy part. It had been sitting in a steel pan on the steamline for just long enough for the grease to congeal. I took one bite and the only way I can describe it is that it is like wiping your mouth out with an oily rag. I feel like such an idiot. I’d have an excuse if I’d tried it when it was called “Bread Toast”, I mean, that doesn’t sound like it would be a greasy mess but “Fried Bread” pretty much announces that it’s not fit for non-British human consumption.

Bottom Line

There was a second sentence on that spare tire cover that I knew I wouldn’t remember so I snapped that photo forgetting that my IPod camera sucks. If you see it…drop me a line. I hope to use it as my life’s guiding philosophy. Either that or make myself feel superior by mocking the shitty English.

“I don’t like anything in the mainstream and they don’t like me.” – Bill Hicks

9 thoughts on “The Mainstream of Our Life is in the Style

  1. You need to get the DJ that they made Good Morning Vietnam about over there. That would liven the joint up,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,or Robin Willams.

  2. The Asian DFAC was my fav. They had the best coffee machines. If you can find the large size paper cups you can fill it perfectly with two x shot expresso, and one x serving of cappuccino. Stops exactly at the brim. Repeat again (if there are not too many Eastern Europeans in line), manage the rifle over the shoulder, and upon departing (one cup in each hand) make sure your cover is on for the walk back to freezing tent, (good thing “no salute base”) That is the way I survived last winter. After both Breakfast and Lunch that was departing ….. task. The manager of the DFAC was the nicest lady and would walk around and ask you how your meal is/was. She has been there for years.

    • J gets a double cappuccino there every night. You’re right, there are a lot of eastern Europeans eating there so I try not to gloat about winning the cold war too much. But I did.

      • it is hilarious to see all the sandwiches they stuff in their pockets. we thought they were mailing it home, (or had an illegal living in their hootch with no meal card).

  3. On my last base in Japan, there was an SUV running around that had this plastered on the spare tire cover: “Anywhere and everywhere, we meet our best friend: Nature. Get a grip of steering!” Never figured out what they were trying to say.

    Thanks for the tip on the fried bread. Had thought of trying it a couple of times but wasn’t brave enough. Now I don’t have to be.

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