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Category Archives: Europe

Leaving on a…well, quite a few…jet planes

I know.

I’ve utterly dropped off the face of the earth.

I could give you explanations – I have them, and they are legion – but I don’t think you want them.

I just wanted to say, hello. And I am alive. And show you this:

And this:

This is the bag of someone who’s leaving for the airport in a little over two hours.

And the face of someone who didn’t sleep much last night. Trust me, the lady’s excited. More so than she can say. Bouncing-off-the-walls so. That’s the face that, in less than 24 hours, Andreas will be seeing in Stockholm when I get off the plane before we make our grand trip to the land of the Finns.

I have every intention of blogging while I’m there – thank you, wifi and international data plan! – but can make you no promises. Might be too busy hugging Andreas and his family until they’re all “GET OFF ME YOU CRAZY MERKAN!”

Dad’s pretty sure I’ll come back a commie, and so I’ve taken to answering all his questions with “DA, KOMRADE!” and he does NOT like that at ALL, and I told him I promised that, every new person I meet, I’d ask to see their arms, to see if they had two, and then ask if they were a truck driver, and as long as they passed those tests, we’d know they weren’t one-armed truck drivers like he thinks everyone on the internet is, and he was SO UPSET by this and he said “do not. DO NOT DO THAT. Then they’ll know you’re onto them and they’ll throw you in the gulag! There are no cell phones or showers in the gulag!”

Dad apparently thinks I am going to Russia in the height of the Cold War, which is equal parts worrisome and amusing.

There will be many adventures, and many surprises, and I hope to have a minute to share them on here (I do have a nine-hour layover on the way home – don’t ask – so that might give me a little blogging time…) because I think you might like to see some of the most fabulous bloggers in all the land in the same place and time. I plan on taking a lot of photos. A LOT. My camera might explode.

16 days in Europe. Here we go, you guys. It’s only been in the planning stages for the last 14 months…and surprisingly, I can’t believe it’s already here.

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Failing at time zones. And also mathing.

Howdy, Tuesday, how YOU doin’? Good? Good, then.

This week is another week of craziness in Amy-town. Many many hours at work. But that’s good, because listen, even though I’m working like a maniac, when I got paid this week, I was able to pay almost every single bill this month and – AND, are you ready for this? – HAVE MONEY LEFT OVER. I know! It’s strange and exciting territory. I’m not 100% sure what I’ll do with that money. I should probably save it for Christmas. I think Christmas has officially been cancelled, though. There’s no way I can do it to the extent that I want to, and I’m not good at Christmas-lite. Christmas-lite seems like a lie. I’d rather boycott it altogether. Mom was all “AMY! I need a Christmas list from you PRONTO!” (yes, my family still does Christmas lists) and I told her she had to wait until the end of the month because that’s when I would decide what was happening with Christmas in Amy-land. Two more weeks to decide. Sometimes I put off decision-making for a very long time. It’s never a good idea but I’m a total procrastinator when it’s a hard decision I don’t want to make.

But there’s a nephew, and he still needs a Christmas. He’s too little to understand boycotting Christmas. So there might be only a Christmas for my one and only beloved nephew. That’ll be ok. The kid loves presents. His eyes get all big and he says, “For ME?” and you can’t even process the cute. You absolutely can’t.

Anyway, we have some catchall things to discuss today because I’ve been putting some things off and then tomorrow we’ll have some uproarious hilarity. Today I have the day off because today is your yesterday because I LIVE IN THE PAST or maybe the future, I don’t even know.

Oh, SPEAKING of not even knowing, I’m terrible at time zones? Like, the MOST terrible. Which sucks, because I have people living in other time zones. For a while, it was only BFF. And that was bad enough. But NOW I have people living on other CONTINENTS and they don’t even live in the same TIME ZONES as each OTHER so I’m constantly having to do mind-math to figure out what time it is there and if they’re sleeping or at work or, hell, I don’t know, eating a cookie, whatever it is they’re doing. Last night on The Amazing Race there was this whole TASK where the contestants had to figure out Russian time zones and sj and I were watching together as we like to do and we like to pretend that we’re competing in the Race together? We’d lose the racing part, we’ve decided, but we’d love the traveling and the thinking-parts. And checking in with Phil and his eyebrow.

So I was all “SJ. I would LOSE this. I NEVER KNOW WHAT TIME IT IS ANYWHERE.” And she was all, “I am the BEST at this. I would do this Roadblock for us so we would win.” And I was like “No, seriously, I’m constantly all ‘what time is it in Finland +7 SO MUCH MATH'” and then she laughed and laughed at me and said, “You know there’s this site called World Clock, right? I will make you one.”

AND SJ MADE ME THIS AND NOW I HAVE THE TAB OPEN ALL THE TIME!!!

LOOK LOOK! It has all my people I love on it! BFF and my own time zone (also sj and Susie’s) and Elaine and Ken and Andreas! NOW I ALWAYS KNOW WHAT TIME IT IS IN PLACES!!!

OK, listen, I know probably you’re better at mathing than I am (everyone is, even elementary-school children), but I can never ever remember what time it is ANYWHERE. And then time zones change or whatever and I am flat-footed lost and thinking it’s 4 when it’s 6 or whatever. THIS DOES MY MATHING FOR ME!!! And sj says that when Daylight Savings Time happens, THIS WILL CHANGE TO REFLECT THAT FOR ME!

This is like those fancy clocks you see in banks where you always know what time it is in major cities only it’s RIGHT ON MY LAPTOP and I am SO EXCITED I CAN’T EVEN.

Shh, it’s the little things, jellybeans. THANK YOU SJ I ADORE YOUR FACE.

OK, don’t you worry, I have more things to talk about than clocks. No, I totally do. NO I DO.

Today (I think it’s today? I hope so, I’ve been waiting til today to post this) friend R. moves away, and I am both happy and sad about this.

Happy because she is moving to something wonderful, and a whole new opportunity and a whole new life and onto something she will love so much, and sad because I JUST MET HER AND I LOVE HER SO MUCH AND WILL MISS HER LIKE A CRAZYPERSON.

Friend R. and I worked together until recently at the answering service, and at first I thought, I cannot be friends with friend R., because she is SO NICE and SO CALM and she will never want to be friends with me because I am the opposite of those things. But Friend R. was very very patient and kind and also very funny and warm and she TOTALLY wanted to be friends with me! Which was nice and always surprises me when that happens. (And probably always will.) Friend R. makes me want to freak out and cuss less because she is so calm and nice and sweet. (That makes her sound boring. SHE IS NOT BORING. She is WONDERFUL. She is a GOOD INFLUENCE.) It was nice to have her at work, especially on Saturdays when everything’s always so crazy, because when I started getting all frantic and freaked out and most people would be like “STAY AWAY FROM MT. ST. AMY! She’s about to BLOW!” Friend R. would just look at me and say, “Deep breaths, Amy. It’s ok.” And that’s all it would take. She would make me laugh at myself and things would be better. How many people do you know like that? I wish there were more of them. She is a good listener and gives wonderful advice and makes me laugh a lot and she’s super-intelligent and very good at her job and one of the hardest workers I know. And it makes me sad that she’s moving now, because I just got to know her, and we just did our first solo hanging-out thing, and other than I was super-tired so kind of cranky and had a mini-meltdown in the middle of it (SORRY R.!) I think it was not at all a bad time and if she was still living here we could do it again and we would have a good time and also have adventures and wouldn’t that be awesome? Yes, it would. So I will miss her so much. (And I was so hoping the paper would have run the photo of us at Wicked by now so I could show you, but apparently we didn’t make the cut. DAMMIT PAPER! That would have been an awesome photo here. Instead, here is a photo of a sad panda. R. leaving makes me sad panda.)

But she is going to continue working for us from a distance by using a laptop, so I will get to see her virtually that way, and also through the magic of the interwebs and email and Twitter and Facebook and texting and such. And she is moving to a wonderful opportunity to live with people she loves doing something she loves, so I am so, so happy for her and so proud of her, because she’s worked so hard for the past umpteen years to get herself to where she is now.

I will miss you, R.! Best of luck to you, and I can’t wait to hear all about your adventures, and Saturdays at work will not be the same without you there rolling your eyes with me at people’s shenanigans! Have the safest safe drive south and have the BEST BEST TIME in your new life! You deserve every wonderful thing!

And finally, I just want to say a gigantic thank you for everyone who voted for me in the Goodreads thingamabobber. I did not make it through to the final round, but the sole fact that I made it through to the round BEFORE the final round still fills me with all the glee. I love you all to pieces and cannot thank you enough. That my little old book made it to the top twenty poetry books of the year on Goodreads…well, that’s flabbergasting. It’s really amazing to me. Thank you so, so much. I’m not even disappointed. I didn’t think I’d make it as far as I did, anyway, you know? So, thank you. Thank you for getting me as far as you did. I mean it. ALL THE AIR-KISSES TO ALL OF YOU. (And pop on over and vote for The Bloggess’ book while you’re over there, because we want her to win in a landslide! But I am TORN because there’s also a Kevin Smith book in the same category. Sorry, Kevin Smith, I read The Bloggess’ book and have not read yours, I have to vote for her. I STILL LOVE YOU KEVIN SMITH!!!)

This was meant to be a thank you kitteh but this one was funnier. Please forgive.

Happy Tuesday, you beautiful people! Enjoy your day. Listen, it’s November and I’m totally in a t-shirt and jeans today. This weather is GORGEOUS. I love fall so much I want to marry it and have its BABIES.


Yours is a prudent, well-considered audacity!

I know. You’re all SOOOOO OVER the Olympics. And they’re done, at least for two more years. (That’s how that works, right? It’s every two years? It’ll be somewhere in the winter in two years, won’t it? I should probably look that up. Wait, don’t go anywhere. FINE, the interwebs tells me that in two years, the Winter Olympics will be held in Sochi, Russia. That’s a cute town name. It sounds like a stuffed animal or a delicious coffee beverage. I like that a lot.)

Dude! Sochi looks like Florida, how fun is that?

But I found this mention of something I totally found interesting in all the Olympic coverage, and I couldn’t not mention it. How could I not mention it? It covers all the things I love. Arts, weirdness, some sort of odd coverup, and SKULLDUGGERY. Well, also sports, but meh, I’ll pretend that’s not happening, you know how me + sports = a big fat who-cares.

Some of you might know this – you’re all pretty web-savvy, so you might have seen mention of this, here or here – but some of you might have missed this, in all of the Olympic lunacy. Were you aware that, for 36 years, there were arts events in the Olympics? Not sports – no one getting all sweaty and running all around and being better-faster-stronger – but ARTS events! It is totally true!

Gold medal in poetry reading in front of other people! Which is the most scary thing ever! ALL THE GOLD!

There were five categories – architecture, literature, music, painting, and sculpture. In each of those categories, there were various awards you could win. Like, in architecture, one of the awards was for town planning. And in literature, there were four sub-categories: mixed literature, dramatic works, epic works, and lyric and speculative works.

Is this not a totally cool thing? That we were giving Olympic medals to our artists?

Gold in art! Gold in architecture! Gold for all the artists!

Well, yes, sure, in theory, it totally was. But it was actually kind of weird, and poorly-planned, and not very well-thought-out or executed.

The creator of the International Olympic Committee, Pierre de Coubertin (you can tell by the name he was a good Italian boy, right? heh) decided that he’d like the Olympic Games to be more like the old-timey Olympic Games. Apparently, back in Greek times, they really were keen on their artists. (YAY GREEKS!) So he decided, let’s have some arts events. Let’s let our artists be showcased and let’s celebrate them, too.

ZOMG Pierre’s MOUSTACHE! That is ALL THE FACIAL HAIR! You could hang onto that while riding a motorcycle behind him like safety handlebars! Whoo!

What were the rules? Well, that’s where things are kind of hazy. There’s not a lot written about these events. What I’ve been able to find out is that you couldn’t be a professional “artist” – only amateurs were allowed to compete – but the participants were allowed to sell their submissions during the Olympics (I like to imagine a painter running along the sidelines of an event, all, “Paintings! Get your paintings here!”) The works of art had to be “directly inspired by the idea of sport.” Which is pretty broad, when you think about it. You could pretty much say anything was “inspired” by the idea of sport. I could write a poem about gardening and throw in something about how it’s like shotputting and wouldn’t that fit that broad description, really? I mean, I’m not saying it would be good, but it’d fit the description.

So the first year they did these events, the judges (they’re like the old-timey version of the American Idol judges, is my guess) were SO SO SO EXCITED that they had JUST THE PERFECT POEM that had been submitted. It was very exciting, full of things like “the radiant messenger of a past age” and “O, Sport! You are Honour!” and “yours is a prudent, well-considered audacity” (hee! I love that!) and “destroying unhealthy seed” (yeah, I don’t…I don’t know about that last one) and the judges were TOTALLY creaming their old-timey shorts over this poem. (Check this out: “He/who, with some shameful trick,/manages to deceive his fellow com-/petitors feels guilt to his very core/and lives in fear of the ignominious/epithet which shall forever be/attached to his name should his/trickery be discovered.” WHOA. This guy HATED trickery! So much! Hee!)

The authors were some super-fancy gents named Georges Hohrod and Martin Eschbach. So the judges were all, “bring us Georges and Martin! Let us PRESENT THEM WITH LAURELS!” Only…no one could find ol’ Georges and Martin. Where were they? Where were Georges and Martin?

Well, they didn’t exist. Why? Because someone else wrote the poem and made up the authors. Who made up the poem?

Our tricky French friend Pierre de Coubertin. He was worried no one would submit decent poetry for his first outing in Olympic artiness, so he wrote what he considered to be the PERFECT POEM.

All you can expect from this guy is trickery. I mean, look at that moustache. It’s not even the same color as his head-hair!

Guess what? They still gave him the gold medal that first year, even though he was a lying liar who lied. They actually awarded it to the imaginary names – the Martin/Georges combo – but everyone knew it was ol’ de Coubertin.

Pretty sneaky, sis!

There were a lot of problems with the arts competition. There were no rules about how many medals had to be given out, so there were a lot of years where there were just not enough good entries in the categories to award a gold, a silver, and a bronze. There didn’t seem to be a lot of interest in the categories among artists – you know how artists are, with their “You’re a SELLOUT, yo!” mentality. (And, yeah, it’s a fine line, the sellout thing. You gotta feed yourself, but you also want your fellow artists to respect you, and you want the public at large to respect you, and you want to be able to look yourself in the eye at the end of the day…so it’s tough, deciding what you can do and still be an “artist” and not a “douchebag,” I guess.)

The arts categories eventually got phased out for a variety of reasons – the events weren’t considered very professional, were getting too commercial, and, as mentioned above, the rules were kind of all over the place. (Also, the Germans tried to add a “film” category at one point and the committee was all “NO NO NO” which is just dumb.  A film category would have been a good addition. Why you naysaying the Germans, yo?) Apparently, there’s a concurrent Olympic art show that runs every two years with the summer Olympics now, which is a nod toward the Olympic art events.

So what’s weird about this? Well, how about how NO ONE TALKS ABOUT IT? I didn’t hear about it until this year. You’d think this would be something that’s a little more publicized. People love Olympic trivia (I don’t know why, they just do. I don’t. PEOPLE do. NORMAL people.) Even a search when I was writing this didn’t bring up a hell of a lot – the two articles I linked above, a couple others – this one from the New York Times, an article informing me that NPR had been holding a throwback poetry competition to celebrate the long-lost Olympic events. The articles even told me that the poems were never collected anywhere, and – and check this out from the Wikipedia article, how weird is this? “The IOC does not track medalists in Olympic art competitions in its database and thus the prize winners have been taken from the original Olympic reports.” What the hell? I’m sure there are excellent records of all the winners of Olympic events, going back to forever and ever, but not of these events? Are they embarrassed about them, or do they just not matter at all? I find this all quite bizarre.

I feel kind of bad for these artists. They submitted their stuff and they totally won Olympic gold (or silver or bronze) and they’ve totally been forgotten by history. That makes me sad. They were winners, same as the athletes. They deserve kudos, same as any other winner. (Even if they say things like “prudent, well-considered audacity.”)

So! When you are having happy Olympic memories and such, send a few thoughts out toward people like Urho Karhumäki, a Finnish (yay for Finland!) poet who won gold for a poem called “Avoveteen” (Andreas could tell you, but apparently, that means “Into free water”, which makes me smile – I like that there’s one word that means that), or Rudolf Binding, a German who wrote the (I’m sure FILLED with euphemism, because he’s from Ken’s country!) silver-medal-winning poem “Reitvorschrift für eine Geliebte.” What’s that mean? Well. I’m glad you asked. It means “Rider’s Instructions to his Lover.” (Also, UMLAUT YAY!) Who says poetry inspired by sport can’t be ALL THE SEXY?

This kind of riding? Perhaps. Or perhaps something EVEN MORE EUPHEMISTIC!

Yay for exciting history and poems filled with euphemism and giving awards to artists!


Dad even bought a LiveStrong bracelet a while ago. JEWELRY! I know, right?

It is quiet as a mouse at work today. Everyone seems to have taken a secret vacation day or something. I’m cool with that. It can never be quiet enough for me. A day with just me and the receptionist would be ideal. Not because I like the receptionist – no no no, far from that – but because that way I wouldn’t have to answer the phones and I could sit back here and eff around to my heart’s content and get paid for it. And by eff around of course I mean blog on the company dime, duh. I mean, I’m going to blog when I get home, so I might as well blog here and get paid for it. That works just fine for me. 

Let’s see. What’s up in Amy-land. Well, Dad is apparently obsessed with Ken, and Ken’s take on things. The latest is what Ken thinks about the Tour de France. He randomly asked me the other day, “What do you think that assassin thinks about the Tour de France?” and when I said, “I’m not quite sure, as Ken and I have not discussed the Tour de France,” Dad was VERY PUT OUT. “That’s in EUROPE, you know,” he said. “That assassin probably knows ALL ABOUT the Tour de France.”

(Dad’s obsessed with the Tour de France. I’m not 100% sure what’s up with that obsession, but he records it, and then gets some sort of perverse pleasure out of watching just hours and hours and HOURS of people riding around on bikes. I think he has some sort of thing where he likes very boring sports. NASCAR. The Tour de France. Give Dad a sport where NOTHING HAPPENS, and he’s a happy man. Oh, when I was a kid he used to watch bowling. BOWLING! On TELEVISION! Come on, I’d rather watch paint dry. Unless you know the person bowling and they’ve promised to buy you hot wings if you cheer them on there’s no reason to watch bowling. I know I’m not a sports person, but if I’m going to watch sports, give me one where something happens. Basketball. People are running and dribbling and shooting and passing! Or even baseball, even though there’s a lot of standing around. Something’s at least HAPPENING. Gah.) 

Watching someone FALL while bowling on TV, now THAT I’d watch. Hee!

Anyway, I didn’t even ask Ken what he thinks about the Tour de France, because who CARES, and then the next time I talked to Dad, he was all, “SO?” and I was like, “Sooo…buttons?” and he said, “What does the ASSASSIN think of the TOUR DE FRANCE?” and I said, “Oh. I don’t know, I didn’t ask him, were you expecting me to ask him?” and he was all “SIGHHHHHHHH” so apparently that was something he was waiting on all day. I didn’t realize Ken had become such an important touchstone in Dad’s daily life. That’s nice and all, but weird. Dad hates new people, especially NPR-listenin’ hippies. 

Dad thinks NPR is the devil, and that they are neither fair NOR balanced, even though I read a report that they were independently tested as being the most fair and balanced of all the news sources. He told me that was liberal lies, lies, lies.

So I tweeted Ken, because listen, apparently POOR POOR DAD is just sitting at home waiting and WAITING to hear what Ken thinks about the Tour de France. Ken’s response: 

I wasn’t quite sure what Dad’s response to this would be, but I’m a good go-between and I report the facts as I get ‘em. 

Dad’s response: 

“That assassin watches the Tour de France for the LANDSCAPE?” 

Come on, Ken couldn’t be more right. How pretty is this?

I said, “Dad, I don’t know that he watches it at all. I think he only watches soccer.” 

“You tell that assassin, you tell him,” he said, all heated up, “that MY CYCLISTS could beat HIS SOCCER PLAYERS any day. ANY. DAY. Could HIS SOCCER PLAYERS ride miles and miles on a bike? Could they? COULD THEY?” 

Research tells me this is Miroslav Klose, a German soccer player. He is also quite pretty, and who cares if he can ride a bike? Because, pretty.

“I don’t know if they could or not,” I said. “Because they’re soccer players. They don’t have much call to ride miles and miles on a bike. They’re probably too busy, oh, I don’t know, practicing soccer.” 

“ASSASSIN!” he said. And probably shook his fist ruefully in the direction of Germany, were I there to see it, but I was not, as I was in MY home and he was in HIS home. And that was the end of the conversation. 

In other Amy-land news, there has been updated book news! I have a release date for my book. August 1. Exciting, right? That’s three weeks and one day from today. However, that falls directly in the middle of when I was supposed to be on vacation. And if you’ve been paying attention (you have, right? You totally have) when I go on vacation, I go somewhere that there’s no phone, no internet, and the shower is in a shed behind the cabin. Not that the shower has anything to do with this, it’s just an interesting tidbit of information from me to you. 

It’s not like this. It’s an INDOOR outdoor shower. It’s in a shed. I know. Don’t ask.

So I thought about it. Could I deal with book stuff from a land with no internet? I could pre-write blog posts, sure I could, exhorting you all to get over there and buy the book if you wanted it. But I couldn’t respond to emails. I couldn’t email bloggers asking them to review it, or respond to bloggers who DID review it, or what if someone wanted to talk to me about it? How shitty would it be if I had to wait five whole days to respond to that email? Also, I kind of want to be around to be involved in the fact that HOLY SHIT YOU GUYS I WROTE A BOOK. How could I enjoy my vacation knowing that in a land with internet, a whole book release was going on without me? MY book release? I couldn’t, is how. I’d constantly be wanting to drive down to the teeny-tiny public library where you get an hour of dial-up internet and only if the computers aren’t broken, and that’s not the point of vacation. The point of vacation is to VACAY and read books and watch bad television and do NOTHING. Not worry that I’m missing out on a million things I should be doing and fret and bother and be perturbed. No one can enjoy vacation while perturbed, NO ONE. 

Even Emily from “Revenge” couldn’t enjoy vacation while perturbed. And she was ALWAYS perturbed. Always.

So I know you were all looking forward to Helper Mule and his possibly knocked-up lady friend photos, but they are not meant to be, after all. My summer vacation will be spent in my own home, where there is internet access and I can deal with book stuffs. I informed my mother of this change in plans this morning. Her response was “You know what’s best.” This is not encouraging, because my mother doesn’t care if I come home, and if SHE sounds put-out, you KNOW my dad’s going to be seventeen flavors of furious and all “THAT INTERNET SHIT HAS TAKEN OVER YOUR LIFE” like he did the whole time I was in Florida with him and if I even picked UP my phone, he got all madface, even if we weren’t DOING anything at the time. Yes, I realize I’m well on my way to middle-aged and my parents (well, usually just my dad, I don’t know why my mom’s all up-in-arms, she doesn’t care what I do) are still grumpy if I don’t visit them enough. It’s a thing. Deal with it. 

Anyway, there is a silver lining, other than getting to be home when my book is released so I can revel in the fact that I’m a published author. Well, no, multiple silver linings. Silver linings to SPARE. 

  • I don’t have to go nine days without internet, which is kickass; I was getting hives just thinking about that
  • I don’t have to take two Saturdays off my second job and lose almost $200 in wages which always makes me run short on money and makes buying groceries when I get back from vacation an issue
  • I’ll still get five days off my regular job (plus Sundays) so I’ll have seven non-consecutive days off to do with what I please 

And what DO I please? Well, Brandi Carlile is coming to town, and I didn’t think I was going to get to see her. I got total nosebleed seats because I waited too long to buy tickets, but I now get to see one of my favorite recent performers, so yay. You know Brandi Carlile, right? Here, if not, here’s my recent favorite of hers, but you can’t go wrong with her music, so if you like this, search her out and listen to her other stuff, because DAMN the woman’s got a voice. Whoo. (Her cover of “Hallelujah,” which is one of my favorite songs in the entire world forever and ever anyway, KILLS. Absolutely kills. I’ll link it in a few weeks after I go see her, or you can search for it yourself. It’s amazing.) 

 

I was also thinking, I’ve lived here almost a decade, and I’ve never done the touristy artsy things, because I’m always too busy working. I’ve never been to our museums (well, I did a quick tour of a couple of them, but wasn’t in either of the two I visited more than ten or fifteen minutes each, and that’s not long enough.) I’ve always wanted to go on a real tour of the Capitol and not just the Haunted Halloween tour I went on last year because I love the Capitol building. I’ve never been to the Shaker site, and I want to go see where the Shakers lived. If I have a whole week off, I can live like a tourist! In my own city! That’ll be fun, right? And, in an EXTENSION of the fun, I can take a million pictures, where applicable and where I won’t be kicked out of places, and then YOU can be a tourist in my own city! I think this is a very good plan. 

Look what the state museum has! GIGANTIC SKELETONS! That’ll be exciting!

ALSO, I won’t need to write so many blog posts in advance anymore! Because I won’t be in the land of no internet for such a long time! That’s a plus. That’s a total plus. Things won’t be so confusing all up in here. 

So, not a total loss. I’ll miss staying in the woods for a week, because I do love the quiet and the smell of the pines and the happy squirrels and building a GIGANTIC campfire because I’m a total firebug, but there are upsides, too. And there’s always next year. It’s not like the cabin or the woods are going anywhere. (They’re not, right?) And I will be holding my own book in my own hands. That’s something, right? MY BOOK. Eee! 

OK. Well, I should probably pretend to be doing SOMETHING. Move the shit on my desk around, go get a drink of water, something. It’s become pretty obvious I’m not being productive. Also, last night was NIGHT OF THE PANIC ATTACKS so I’m running on about three hours sleep. That’s fun. That’s always the most fun. SO SLEEPY GACK.


The Continuing Adventures of Our Favorite Fancy World-Traveling Bon Vivant (yes, he still has those jaunty hats)

Now you all remember the story of Ken, the fancy world-traveling bon vivant, I hope. It was quite a hit, celebrated globally. If you don’t, or if you’re new here, you’re going to want to click that link, and catch up. It’s important you have the background information. Also, it’s kind of kickass. I mean, I don’t want to toot my own horn, or anything, but the person who wrote that was kind of irrationally proud of how it all came together, all-told. AND, I mean, you could do worse than a little bon vivantery in your day. Who doesn’t want more bon vivantery? Boring people and weirdos. Are you a boring person? Or a weirdo? I’d think not. Oh, wait, maybe you are. I’m sorry if you’re a boring person or a weirdo. You should still click that link, maybe it would cheer you up, or non-weirdo-ize you, I don’t know.

Anyway, in Ken’s last adventure, Ken saved the day. As Ken does. We also learned about Ken’s bon-vivanting ways, and his friends Fabio and Kate Winslet, and his wife Mrs. Ken, and his dogs, Ella and Louis. And his world-traveling ways. And his arch-nemesis, L. Ron Hubbard. But L. Ron Hubbard died when he fell off the top of the London Eye while attempting to steal all the tea in London. That’s what happens when you cross a world-traveling bon vivant. Oh, shit, I guess I totally just recapped that link. You STILL should click it, there are a lot of other good things in there. Photos and wackiness. It’s worth it. I promise.

But, were you all wondering, are there other Ken stories? The only story of the bon vivant can’t be the one about ALL THAT LONDON TEA. Right? Are there more? MORE STORIES?

Oh, yes. Yes, there are.

But which to tell? There are JUST SO MANY.

What’s that? You’d like to hear the story behind this tweet RIGHT HERE?

Ok. I can do that. All for you, all for you.

Without further ado:

The Mystery of the Missing Concertos (AKA Get Bach to Where You Once Belonged)

When we left Ken, our world traveling bon vivant, he had just saved London and all the tea, and won back the friendship with his BFF, Kate Winslet. All was well in Ken-land. Ken-nebunkport. Ken-ya. It was quite a big adventure.

In the meantime, he didn’t rest on his laurels. Oh, no no. He traveled to an archaeological dig in the desert and found an undiscovered cache of treasures that led to many new historical discoveries; he climbed Mount Everest, saved a Sherpa, and earned the love and approval of all of Nepal; and he drank tea. OH DID HE DRINK TEA. All the tea. Of all the nations.  And of course, Mrs. Ken and Ella and Louis came with him and played a large role in his adventures. His adventures wouldn’t be the same without Mrs. Ken and Ella and Louis. Whose would, really?

Doesn't your life feel more cheerful right now? Mine certainly does.

One day, Ken was reclining in a mountain chalet in Switzerland and reading his many, many newspapers from many exotic foreign lands, as keeping up with news from many locales is important when you are a bon vivant.

This is where bon vivants go to kick back and relax and drink much tea.

Ken noticed there would be a special performance of the Brandenburg concertos at the Thomaskirche in Leipzig, where Bach had worked for a time in the 1700s. Ken had always wanted to visit the Thomaskirche. This seemed like an opportune time, and he did so love Bach’s music.

“Mrs. Ken!” he said. Only of course he did not call her Mrs. Ken. Don’t be absurd. That’s what WE’RE calling her, interwebs. Because we’re POLITE. “Would you like to go to the Thomaskirche with me to hear some Bach as no doubt the composer intended it to be heard?”

“Oh, Ken,” she replied. “That would be the best adventure, but I have been called away to Antarctica to help save an endangered penguin species. Can you take Ella and Louis with you to Germany? It’s much too cold for dogs in Antarctica. Plus they might frighten the penguins when they tried to play with them.”

Ken agreed. Anything for penguins. PENGUINS ARE VERY IMPORTANT. Bon vivants know that, too, you know. I mean, everyone does, but especially bon vivants.

Ella and Louis were very excited to go back to Germany. Well, Louis was very excited. Ella was much classier and reserved about the whole thing. Because Ella is a LADY.

Ken thought, you know who also loves Bach and would love to see the concert?

His BFF Kate Winslet.

So he called Kate Winslet.

“Ken!” she enthused. “Yes, I would LOVE to go to Germany with you! Let me just get my things together and I’ll meet you there soon. Oh, won’t we have a brilliant time? Can we nip over to the Zoological Garden while we’re in town?”

Ken laughed. “Of course we can, Kate Winslet. I wouldn’t possibly expect you to not visit a Zoological Garden if one were available to you. Plus, our favorite crazy-eyed New York blogger would never forgive us if we went to a city with a zoo and didn’t visit that zoo and take many animal photos, and at least one of us making animal-faces.”

So Ken and Mrs. Ken said their goodbyes, and Ken headed off for Germany, while Mrs. Ken headed off for penguin adventures. And now, listen, this story is not about Mrs. Ken? But let me just tell you, she had many adventures in Antarctica. Penguin-saving and dastardly nemeses and celebrity cameos and a TREASURE frozen in the ICE. I know, it’s all very exciting. Don’t ever let anyone tell you that Mrs. Ken’s not also a bon vivant. She totally is. Also? PENGUINS. Whoo.

Ken arrived in Leipzig with Ella and Louis,  and decided to check out the church beforehand. He’d heard how beautiful it was. He also wanted to check out the organs. That is not a euphemism OR a metaphor. ACTUAL ORGANS. That play MUSIC. The church has TWO ORGANS. One that’s over 100 years old and one that’s more recent that’s made especially for playing Bach music. Minds out of gutters, you, with your assuming that organs meant something else. He called Kate Winslet and asked her to meet him there so they could investigate.

When Ken got to the church – and had a joyous reunion with his BFF Kate Winslet, who had brought a variety of the finest British teas for him, courtesy of the Queen, who loved Ken for saving all the tea from that evil L. Ron Hubbard – no one was there. The concert wasn’t for a couple of days. But the side door was open. Now, Ken’s pretty law-abiding. However, he really wanted to see those organs. And with no one there, he could bring Ella and Louis in. Yes, yes. It was a LITTLE naughty. But not TOTALLY naughty. He and Kate Winslet giggled a little, as you do when you’re doing something a little naughty, and snuck into the church.

Many oohs and aahs resulted. Ken checked out the organs. Both were quite grand. Ella and Louis were very well-behaved. Ella sat very prettily while Louis sniffed all the pews and was very excited about all the new scents and such.

“Ken, play the organ,” Kate Winslet whispered.

“Oh, no, I couldn’t,” he whispered back. “I’d be afraid they’d catch us.”

“Pish-posh,” Kate Winslet said. “There’s no one around. And you know you’re DYING to play the fancy organ. This one’s from over 100 years ago! How many people get this opportunity? Go go go.”

Ken peeked around and decided that yes, it was probably worth it to be able to play the Sauer organ. A little known fact about Ken, the bon vivant, is that he is also a musical virtuoso. Yeah, you were thinking he was just some yahoo, weren’t you? Shame on you.

Kate Winslet and Ella and Louis snuck upstairs with him to the organ, and he sat down and played a few bars of Chopin. The organ sounded stately and official. He was very pleased.

“Play some Bach,” Kate Winslet urged.

“This organ isn’t the best for Bach,” Ken said. “The other organ is better for Bach.” But he turned back to the keys and played the first few notes of the fifth Brandenburg Concerto, which had always been his favorite, if he had to choose.

Suddenly, Ken felt very woozy. The room started to swim. “Ken?” Kate Winslet said, but it sounded like it was coming from far away. He heard Ella and Louis barking. The organ started to fade in and out. But he could still hear the music, even though he wasn’t playing it anymore. What was going on? He closed his eyes to stop the spinning.

When he opened his eyes something was wrong. He wasn’t sure what it was at first. Then he realized – he wasn’t sitting at the organ anymore. He was on the floor. And the floor looked different. And something was wet against his face. He turned and realized it was Louis, who was assiduously licking his face clean, as Louis sometimes was wont to do. Ella was lying next to him, looking very worried in her intelligent dog-like way.

“Kate Winslet?” he said. “Where are you?”

“Over here. Ouch.” He lifted himself up from the floor, his head still spinning, and saw her a few yards away, also on the floor. Louis, of course, went over to clean her face off, too. It probably needed it. Louis always knew about such things.

“What happened?” she asked. “One minute you were playing the organ, the next minute – what?”

Ken looked around. The church looked different. Smaller. Darker. And the organ was gone. “I’m – not sure?”

Kate Winslet looked at him very sternly. “Ken. You have never been not sure of anything as long as I’ve known you. This is very bad news.”

Just then, Ken realized he could still hear the music he’d been playing when everything started to spin. The fifth Brandenburg Concerto. He looked around and saw a harpsichord, with a very stern-looking man wearing a wig playing it. A very stern-looking man who looked VERY FAMILIAR.

The music stopped abruptly. The man banged his hands on the keys. “Scheiße!” the man cursed.

Ken stood up gingerly and walked over to the harpsichord. Kate Winslet and the dogs watched with wide eyes. The man frowned at Ken.

“Guten Tag, Herr Bach,” Ken said.

Johann Sebastian Bach, who was MUCH scarier in person than he is in all of those busts you see on affected people’s pianos, glared at Ken, who was, obviously, NOT wearing a wig like people were supposed to.

“Ken?” Kate Winslet whispered. “Did you just call that man Mr. Bach? What the hell is going on?”

“I think…we’ve gone back in time somehow,” Ken said. “I’m guessing it’s because I played Bach in the church where he used to work? Stranger things have happened. I mean, remember the time we found the dinosaur in the abandoned Tube station, and trained it to fight the dragon that was terrorizing Dubai?”

Kate Winslet nodded sagely. “You’re right. You’ve very wise, as always, my world-traveling BFF. This is certainly something, isn’t it?”

Bach stalked over to Ken and Kate Winslet. “What are you two doing here?” he said, gruffly. Only, he said it in German, of course. And The Person Who is Writing This knows that you all don’t speak German. So she’s helpfully going to write it all in English. I know. She’s the best, isn’t she? And it’s not because her German skills are so awful that she can’t write it in German because Google translate always lies to her and then Ken laughs and laughs at the mangled German she comes up with. THAT IS NOT AT ALL WHY.

“We’re…um…visiting. From…another church. Sorry we’re dressed so oddly. That’s how we dress there, sir,” Ken said. He was very good at thinking on the fly. That’s what you get when you’re a bon vivant. Quick thinking. On the fly. All seat-of-your-pantsy.

“The church is closed. I’m trying to work,” Bach said. Ken noticed he had some crumpled papers in his hand with musical notes written on them.

“Sir, I couldn’t help but overhear. Are you working on the Brandenburg concertos?”

Bach glared at him in a most glowery way. “What? However could you know that? I haven’t even NAMED them yet. And no one has heard them. ARE YOU A SPY?”

Kate Winslet helpfully stepped in. “We’re acquainted with a mutual friend of yours, sir. You played some of the concertos for him recently, I believe?”

“Christian Ludwig?” Bach said, skeptically.

“Yes, of course, Mr. Ludwig,” Kate Winslet said, and gave him her most winning smile. Bach began to thaw. Kate Winslet is just about the  most disarming. It’s a fact.

Ella and Louis chose that moment to come over and check out the situation. Bach saw the happy red dogs and any reservations he had about these strangers dissolved. Listen, you can’t resist Ella and Louis. Just try. I dare you. You’ll lose. They’re purely joyous.

After they’d all spent some quality Ella and Louis time and drank some of the fine British tea together than Kate Winslet had brought for Ken and were therefore the best of friends, Ken broached the subject of the concertos once more.

“Johann, I noticed you were getting pretty frustrated with the concerto you were working on. What’s wrong?”

“Well, Ken, I had the concertos all written and ready to go. I left them on the harpsichord and ran off to take care of something. I was only gone for a few minutes. When I got back, they were gone. Now I have to recreate them from my mind, and they’re due to Christian soon. I can’t remember everything I’ve written, and I’m under the gun. And I’m worried whoever stole them will claim them as his or her own.”

This was worrisome. How would this impact the future if the Brandenburg concertos were not written the same way? Or if they were credited to another person? Ken didn’t like this at all. He’d been forced to watch that horrible Ashton Kutcher Butterfly Effect movie once while on a plane, and he knew this was SERIOUS BUSINESS YO.

“Do you have any ideas who could have stolen them, Johann?” Kate Winslet said, after sharing a worried look with Ken. She, too, had to watch the horrible movie. She knew about butterflies and effects and what a bad actor Douchebag Jesus Kutcher was.

“There was a man I didn’t recognize around the church for the past few days. I thought he was a cleaning person. I didn’t pay a lot of attention,” Bach said.

“What did he look like?” Ken asked.

“Very tall. Kind of gawky. His eyes were very intense and a little buggy. And he was talking to himself. He kept saying the oddest thing. ‘You got this, Goldblum. You can do this.’ What could that mean, do you think?”

Ken’s blood ran cold. He knew exactly what it meant. Kate Winslet looked at him, her eyes wide.

“You don’t think-” she said. Ken nodded slowly. Even Ella and Louis whimpered.

Evil. EEEEE-vil.

“It’s Jeff Goldblum,” Ken said. “Jeff Goldblum has stolen the Brandenburg concertos. The only man to ever best me. My nemesis. Dammit. Why did it have to be GOLDBLUM?”

“Who is this Jeff Goldblum?” Bach asked. At the repeated utterance of the ne’er-do-well’s name, Louis covered his muzzle with his paws. Ella simply looked worried, but in a stately way. As she does.

“Jeff Goldblum – it’s a long story,” Ken said, with a deep sigh. “HE KNOWS WHAT HE DID. Let’s just say it involved deception. And chicanery. And impersonation of high-ranking officials. And tea-smuggling. Not to mention the wearing of many false mustaches. And, to top it all off, one of my most jaunty hats was stolen in the escapade. Worst of all, he hides in plain sight. No one believed me when I told my tale, because Jeff Goldblum is one of the world’s most beloved actors. It’s like the old saying: the devil’s greatest trick was convincing the world he didn’t exist. If Goldblum is involved with the theft of the concertos, this is serious business. WE MUST GET THOSE CONCERTOS BACK, BACH.”

(I can assure you that “back, Bach” didn’t sound at all humorous in German, even though in English, it’s totally giggle-inducing. The Person Who is Writing This would prove that by showing it to you IN German but Google Translate is not being helpful. It’s a possibility it’s been taken over by that dastardly Jeff Goldblum.)

“Ken, how will we lure Jeff Goldblum to us? And once he’s here, how will we get the concertos back?” Kate Winslet asked, in a worried tone.

Ken thought. And thought. And thought some more. Bach brought him a fresh cup of tea, in a very helpful manner. The tea helped clear his head. A plan began to form. A very good plan indeed. A BON VIVANTY plan.

“I’m going to need a signboard, some paint, a brush, and a town crier. Kate Winslet, we’ll need your acting skills. You’ll have to find a costume so you’ll blend in. Bach, we’ll need you to play background music.”

(This is the point where, if this was a show or a movie, there would be a montage. It’s not, though. And The Person Who is Writing This JUST learned how to use her webcam. There’s no way she could cobble together a montage. Pretend this is montage-y. It’ll be better.)

Ken advised the town crier as to what he’d need to announce. As he didn’t have any currency of the day, he paid him in the excellent tea that Kate Winslet had brought. The town crier was happy to accept it, as usually people paid him in livestock and tea was easier to transport, and also much tastier. Ken painted a sign for the front of the church. Kate Winslet found some period-appropriate clothing in the donation bin in the back of the church that just about fit her. Bach quickly composed some music that would fit the scheme, and when he was done, Ken taught him one other tune that he’d need, if the plan worked as he hoped it would. Ella daintily checked out what was happening. Louis galumphed around being cheerful and at one point put his paw in a paint pot and then made painty pawprints all over the church floor.

Ella was less than amused at these antics and refused to look her brother in the eye because he was embarrassing her.

“I think that’s it,” Ken said, surveying the scene. “The trap is set. Now, to wait for Goldblum.”

“What will we do while we wait?” Kate Winslet asked, trying to clean paint off Louis’s paw while he gleefully licked her face.

“Drink tea,” Ken said, very seriously. “We will need all the fortitude we can get. This is the final showdown, and Goldblum is a worthy foe.”

MEANWHILE IN THE TOWN SQUARE!

“Hear ye hear ye!” the town crier, well, cried, I guess, what else would a town crier do? Don’t be silly. “Auditions for the world’s first crime procedural being held RIGHT NOW at the Thomaskirche! Looking to cast the lead actor, a tall, devilishly handsome man. Extra points given if the actor has ever worked in science fiction before and can act both quirky AND studious! HEAR YE HEAR YE!”

A man carrying a heavy satchel bulging with papers, wearing a jaunty hat that didn’t quite look right on his head – almost as if it belonged to someone else – and a long, dark coat, stopped to listen to the town crier. He listened to the announcement twice. He looked at the satchel of papers, then began walking briskly toward the Thomaskirche. Once in a lifetime experience, this. Yes, he had another caper he was involved in – but the world’s FIRST CRIME PROCEDURAL? It was too good to be true. He had to at least audition.

When he arrived at the church, he saw a sign outside. “AUDITIONS TODAY,” the sign said. It had a painty pawprint in the corner, which the man found a little perplexing, but he thought that maybe it was just there to provide panache. If there was one thing this man liked, it was panache. Also verve.

He entered the church and was met by a woman wearing clothes that were totally appropriate for the time period, if not a little large for her frame. “Hello! I’m so glad you’ve come to audition. What a jaunty hat!” the woman said. “You look perfect for the role. Would you like me to take your satchel? And is there any chance you’ve got experience in science fiction?”

“DO I?” the man said. “I’ve been in a number of science fiction movi…plays. Plays, I mean, of course. No, thank you. I never set down my satchel. Thieves abound, you see. Hey, you look familiar. Do I know you? For some reason, I have the song ‘My Heart Will Go On’ in my head. Isn’t that weird?”

“Ha ha!” the woman laughed. “I of course do not know what you are speaking of because it is the early 1700s and that song does not exist yet! We are complete strangers, you and I! Please follow me, the director will see you now!”

The man followed the woman to a brightly-lit part of the church. A man at a harpsichord started playing mood-appropriate music. He saw a man wearing a similarly jaunty hat sitting in the shadows. When he started to greet the director, the woman stopped him. “The director doesn’t like to talk to the actors until after the audition. I’m sorry.” She handed him a script and said, “Whenever you’re ready, just introduce yourself and begin.”

The man did some vocal and physical warm-ups – LION FACE! LEMON FACE! And also The Geographical Fugue, which any good actor knows is very important. For example, The Person Who is Writing This is EXCELLENT at The Geographical Fugue, and could NOT be more excited that she just discovered from Wikipedia that it was originally in GERMAN and will now memorize it in German as well because that seems like a fun thing to do – and then began his audition.

“Hello! My name is Jeff Goldblum. I will be reading the part of Wolfgang in this scene from CSI: Leipzig. ‘YES! It was I who stole the concertos! And also your jaunty hat! And I’d do it again! I pretend to be everyone’s friend and a really nice man, but underneath it all my soul is BLACK AS PITCH and I am EVIL AS SIN! And I am no match for you, Ken, the World-Traveling Bon Vivant!’” Um, this doesn’t seem like a speech the lead in a procedural would give. Why is the lead in a procedural admitting a crime? HEY WAIT A MINUTE!” He glared in the director’s general direction. Hee. Director. Direction. Good one, Person Who is Writing This.

“Yes! We have CAUGHT YOU, Jeff Goldblum!” the director said, standing up and coming into the light. THE DIRECTOR WAS KEN ALL ALONG YOU GUYS CAN YOU EVEN IMAGINE HOW TRICKY THAT WAS? “And I have your confession recorded with my phone, which I brought with me when I came through, and somehow still works DON’T ASK ME HOW I DON’T KNOW EITHER, so when I get back to Germany of the present, I can show people your TRUE COLORS! Also, GIVE ME BACK MY BEST JAUNTY HAT!”

“Ha ha!” Jeff Goldblum sneered. “You’ll have to CATCH me first, Ken! As I am very wily and also wiry! I WILL get away with these concertos, and then will present them as my own work – and then the name Jeff Goldblum will be as well-known as Bach! Throughout all of time, people will say my name with reverence and respect, not ‘oh, Goldblum, remember that time he was in The Fly and that was so effing gross, seriously?’ Did you know there is a meme called ‘Jeff Goldblum is watching you poop?'”

“I DEMAND THE RESPECT I DESERVE, Ken, you world-traveling bon vivant and BUZZKILL! THE CONCERTOS ARE MINE, NEMESIS! AS IS THIS HAT! MINE! MINE! MINE!”

Jeff Goldblum darted to the left and to the right. Ken attempted to stop him but slipped on a painty pawprint. This cost him precious seconds. Goldblum cackled evilly and rushed toward the door.

Suddenly, Ella and Louis ran out from between the pews! They came at Jeff Goldblum from two directions, snarling and snapping. Jeff Goldblum didn’t know they were just the nicest dogs ever and just playing a role because Kate Winslet had coached them because she is the best actress ever and also so humble that you’d totally want to hang out with her in real life! He thought they were going to eat his face!

“NO NO YOU FERAL CURS! NOT MY FACE! NOT MY PRECIOUS FAACCCEEE!” Jeff Goldblum screeched. Ella grabbed the satchel with her teeth, daintily, while Louis continued to growl. Jeff Goldblum fought for the satchel. Ella stood her ground. Louis rushed over to help her. Two red dogs pulled the satchel one way. One crazed nemesis pulled the satchel the other way.

“NOW JOHANN!” Ken cried.

Bach began playing the orchestral theme from Jurassic Park on the harpsichord. Jeff Goldblum began to sway and spin. Ella and Louis kept their grip on the satchel – BUT SO DID GOLDBLUM.

Ooh, you guys. What will happen. WHAT WILL HAPPEN. I don’t know about you, but both myself AND The Person Who is Writing This are TOTALLY on the edge of our seats.

Suddenly, Jeff Goldblum disappeared with a “pop” and a disappearing cry of “I’ll get you next time Keeeennnnn”. There was a swirl of dust. Ken, Kate Winslet and Bach began to cough.

“Ella? Louis?” Ken called.

Nothing.

Then: a joyful bark. And Ella and Louis trotted out of the cloud of dust. Ella with the satchel gently in her teeth; Louis with something in his. What…

“My hat!” Ken said happily. “Louis, old boy! You got my hat away from him! What a good boy you are!”

Louis dropped the hat on the floor, only a little worse for wear having been worn by a ne’er-do-well and also carried in a joyful red dog’s mouth, and rolled around with glee.

“Oh, no, Ken!” Bach said, from his place on the floor where he’d sat with Ella to look over the concertos. “The concertos are all here, except the fifth concerto! It’s damaged beyond repair! It must have been torn in the melee, or when Goldblum disappeared! What will we do?”

This was grim news. Grim news indeed. The fifth concerto was Ken’s favorite.

“Can you remember enough of it to recreate it?” Ken asked.

“I’m not sure. Some of it, I think. But I had musicians to help me when I was writing. I don’t have any musicians now. What will I do? It’s too late to get anyone in here to help me. I can’t both write and play. It will take too long. And I have to get these to Christian right away!”

Ken thought a moment. “You need – what. A violin, flute, harpsichord, viola, cello, and a violone, correct? Do you have the instruments here?”

“How could you know…yes, but –”

“No time, my friend, no time. I can help you with most of those. I studied most of them in school, and the ones I didn’t, I can wing. But the cello. Damn! I can’t play the cello.”

“Oh, that’s not a problem,” Kate Winslet said. “I’ve been studying cello since I was a wee girl. I’d be happy to help with the cello bits.”

And that is how Johann Sebastian Bach, Kate Winslet, and Ken, the World Traveling Bon Vivant, recreated, from Bach and Ken’s memory, the fifth Brandenburg concerto, while Bach and Ken played, alternately, the violin, flute, harpsichord, viola, and violone, and Kate Winslet merrily helped with the cello (and very well, too, as she does everything well that she tries because, let’s face it, the woman’s kickass.) When Bach couldn’t remember what came next, Ken helped. When Ken couldn’t remember what came next, Bach helped. And Ella and Louis ate the roast beef that Bach had brought for lunch, because he was so pleased the jolly red dogs had saved the day he was happy to give them his lunch.

When they were done, and everyone was pleased all around, and they had many cups of tea to celebrate, Kate Winslet gave Ken a worried look.

“Ken, how will we get home? Sending Jeff Goldblum home with music from his greatest film triumph worked. But how will WE get home? Do you have any ideas?”

Ken smiled. “I do, Kate Winslet. Of course I do. Strangely enough, it’s Jeff Goldblum who gave me the idea.”

Ken quickly taught Bach a song, while Kate Winslet tidied up and gathered up their things.

“Johann, thank you. It’s been a pleasure,” Ken said. “I’ll never forget meeting you. This truly has been one of my most impressive adventures.”

“Thank you, Ken,” Bach said. “If you ever come back my way, please stop in. I’d love to see you and Kate Winslet and Ella and Louis again. I mean, we’re thick as thieves now! You’re welcome here anytime.”

Ken and Kate Winslet gripped each other’s hands, and each of them put a hand on a happy red dog. “Thank you, Johann! And goodbye!” Kate Winslet said. Johann was sad to see her go. He, like most people that interact with Kate Winslet, was a little in love with her.

As the strains of Celine Dion’s “My Heart Will Go On” poured forth from the harpsichord, Ken closed his eyes and hoped that this worked. Although it was nice to bon vivant around all bon-vivantily in the 1700s, he missed Mrs. Ken, and wanted to know how the penguin adventure had turned out.

When Ken opened his eyes, he was in the loft with the organ. Kate Winslet, Ella, and Louis were by his side. In the music stand on the organ was the fifth Brandenburg concerto. And on his head? His jaunty, not-that-much-worse-for-wear hat, rightfully returned to his head.

“Ken! Did that really happen? Or were we dreaming?” Kate Winslet asked. Ken picked up the score. There, written in small letters, was the publication date – just as it should be, 1721 – and that they’d been written by Johann Sebastian Bach. And, what was that, written underneath the credits?

“With special thanks to Kate, Ken, Ella and Louis, without whose intrepid day-saving this concerto would not be possible.”

Ken showed the note to Kate Winslet, who laughed merrily. “Oh, Ken. You are the best BFF. Things are always an adventure with you! What should we do now?”

“Well, let’s do what we planned earlier, Kate Winslet.”

“What’s that?”

“Go to the Zoological Garden!”

So Ken, Kate Winslet, Ella, and Louis (because Ella and Louis were known far and wide as very special and happy red dogs and could often get into places like Zoological Gardens just on the sheer force of their joy alone) went to the Zoological Garden, and spent the rest of the day looking at all the animals, such as these happy playing tigers:

and, of course, the penguins:

and reminiscing about the time they saved the day from that evil Jeff Goldblum.

While Jeff Goldblum, back in Hollywood, waited. And watched. And bided his evil, evil time.

THE END. (For now.)

(The Person Who is Writing This would like to extend VERY SPECIAL THANKS to Ken, who gave permission for ALL THE PHOTOS of the most beautiful dogs in the world to be ganked from his Tumblr. So go check out his Tumblr, because on top of being a world traveling bon vivant and being able to play just about all the instruments and writing beautifully and answering bon-vivant related research questions on a moment’s notice without ever asking “why the hell would you need to know that?” and making people laugh like a moron on a regular basis, especially when they are having a horrendous day and really need that laugh, he takes amazing photos. Also, he doesn’t seem to mind that he is an character in a series of very exciting adventures on a somewhat overly-enthusiastic person’s blog. No, really. He doesn’t. The Person Who is Writing This ASKED HIM. And he gave his blessing. That is because he is the best. THANK YOU KEN.)


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