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Howard Gone

thank god. the long long winter of discontent is over.

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Latest reply: Nov 24, 2007


i miss cafeterias. in years past every large railway station, department store, university or other large facility had a cafeteria.

it is possible some people under about 20 haven't really seen one, since the last 2 decades has seen the near extinction of these sorts of eating places.

for those unfamiliar with cafeterias, they were large places where you could buy and eat hot food and beverages. to be a true cafeteria rather than just a cafe, it would need to have many dozens of seats. often they would seat hundreds. typically you would queue along a long row of food warmers and direct the staff behind the counter what you would like to eat. this would be ladled or otherwise placed onto plates and passed over to you which you then placed on a tray. you proceeded along the queue sliding your tray on a rail or shelf until you came to a cashier where you would pay for your meal and then proceed to a table. along the way you would also collect a drink, most typically, tea or coffee.

altho the quality of cafeteria meals varied considerably, certain types of food were nearly always available. meatballs with rice. a casserole. a mild curry often containing sultanas or raisins and sausages. roast beef. goulash. battered fish. meals were unsophisticated but filling, and usually cheap.

in the better cafeterias the food was wonderful. it was not unusual for railway station and department store cafeterias to have monogrammed crockery and cutlery. it was even possible to get a decent cup of tea. this is now nearly impossible outside of the home.

most importantly they were a place to wait. and meet. and wait and meet. at a railway cafeteria if you had a longish wait for your train you could enter the warmth of the cafeteria, they were often steaming, and have a cup of tea and relax. watching other people was often itself an interesting pastime. i fondly recall nursing cups of tea at the old adelaide railway station, looking out thru the window signage at the platforms and at the people passing as i waitied for my train.

it is symptomatic of our impatient times that cafeterias are gone. that and our dissatisfaction with simple things. today we have food courts. a jumble of dozens of different franchises of fast food compete to sell plastic food which offers the promise of exotica. other peoples junk is somehow more satisfying to the unthinking. noodle bars sit beside burger chains beside this or that flavour of somewhere else. all sham of course. all junk. and no boundaries exist. you buy and go to the close-nested uncomfortable tables barely inches from the next person. people mill about you as you attempt to eat your meal in what is effectively the middle of a public concourse. it is of course intended for you to keep moving. to consume and depart leaving behind your cash.

i miss cafeterias. i miss the steamy timelessness. i miss a good cup of tea when i am out. i miss the simplicity of food our grandmas might have made. and i miss the time to be in public at leisure, unrushed and not yet a mere financial transaction.

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Latest reply: Mar 17, 2005

adelaide, south australia

this is where i live. more importantly it is where i choose to live. around this great glorious planet the majority have no say in such a thing as the 'where' of their existence. so the 'where' is important to me. it is a great privilege; the ultimate assertion of affluence.

for those that don't know where adelaide is (hello america) it is in australia. big island, southern hemisphere. it is the capital city of the state of south australia. that's in the south of this big island. but not all of the south, just the bit of the south that is in the middle. the left and right bits belong to other states.

adelaide has about 1 million people which i think is about the right size for a city. it is on the coast so almost everyone in the city is within 20 minutes or so of a good beach. the ocean is on the left so the sun sets over the watery horizon, which is a bonus. behind the city is the adelaide hills. another bonus.

i have met americans who have remarked on the similarity in geographical configuration to los angeles. true or not, i like to think adelaide is what LA might have been had it not been created by americans and hence made a mess of.

adelaide itself was born in the minds of english enlightenment utopians. which why we have a bentham and a wakefield st. nice godparents. it was planned. so it has broad boulevards and ample parks. modern development aside, it is still a lovely city and easy to live in.

so now to the 'why' i live here. stunning climate. beautiful environment. prosperity. nice tempo.

the only real down side, and perhaps what has kept adelaide so wonderful for so long, is the sheer distances from other places with people.

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Latest reply: Feb 23, 2005

giving up and growing up

i am here. which means i am not in other places. i have decided not to be in other places. i call this giving up.

i have given up chat rooms. nearly a decade ago i started this very addictive and quite mindless activity and it has brought me lots of laughter and about half as much irritation. on balance it might be said to be twice as valuable doing as not. this would be wrong. for chat is the vishnu of things that enslave us. it is the destroyer of time.

i have also given up internet porn. this might make me unique. i have always know this stuff was exploitative and was the internet equivalent of sneaking a macdonalds. so, as attractive as russian industrial strength pornography might be to the unthinking parts of my body, the part that does the thinking has said 'enough'.

i am sure i will survive.

the growing up part means that with all this liberated time and frenetic pent up energy induced by a lack of pornography, i will now be able to write several novels, a few concertos and possibly produce some revolutionary new art works.

if i don't, it obviously means i am chatting somewhere and have another window open with the best that the collapse of the old soviet union can offer in exploitative capitalism.

yes, i blame the failures of lenin for my self abuse. the swine.

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Latest reply: Feb 22, 2005

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