being called nani: Nani is my second name. It’s my favourite name. It’s Hawai’ian, and my father gave it to me because it’s the closest approximation to my mother’s name, which she doesn’t like so she didn’t want to pass it on to me. My family calls me exclusively by it. It’s a deeply intimate name. It makes me feel warm and cosy and close to home.
crusty old rivetheads: I am one. I loved industrial music from the moment I first went to Kontrol Faktory in Los Angeles in 1995. I danced the whole night, although I don’t think I knew more than two or three of the songs, having only heard of Front 242, Nine Inch Nails and Coil because of a local indie record shop (Rainy Day Records – locals, is it still there?) in Olympia, WA. I felt like an impostor for a long time, as I never quite mastered the rivethead “look”. I’m too cheerful, for a start. But even if I didn’t look it, I felt the music, powerfully, and I still do. And I’m finally at an age where I’ve been into that music for so long that I’m pretty sure I qualify as a scene veteran.
hirsute swarthy men: It’s the Cro-Magnon attraction. Big hairy man, hit me on head, drag me back to cave, etc. You know the type. Real charming. Like so:
dancing at pedestrian crossings: I blame Spaced for this. Since returntosender and ursarctous exposed me to the show, I guess they’ll have to take some of the responsibility for it too. Anyway, for those who haven’t seen it, and if you’re a fan of Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz or any other Edgar Wright/Simon Pegg comedy, you should, there’s a character called Tyres who makes brief but memorable appearances during the two seasons of the show. He’s constantly in pursuit of a party, and where there isn’t one, he makes it. For instance, by repeatedly pressing the signal at a pedestrian crossing so that he can dance to its beeping.
inventing portmanteaus: Playing with language is a great delight. See: “dr0nk”. This is a quick way of describing the effects of alcohol on a person who spends too much time on the internet and hence is perhaps overly familiar with l33tspeak.
vampirates mining the gay: This serves mostly as a reminder to me that I should update my interests list. Not, I hasten to add, because I’m not longer interested in vampirates mining the gay. It’s just that my days of reading and writing fanfiction of that type are probably over.
toasts in other languages : This comes from traveling to non-English-speaking countries. When you only spend two or three days in, say, the Czech Republic or Hungary, you don’t really need to pick up much more than “Hello”, “Goodbye”, “Excuse me” and “Please”. But one thing that I learned from becala is that finding out how to say “Cheers” is a very good way of opening doors to broken but highly amusing conversations with locals. As a result, I have fantastic memories from our trips together. Like getting very drunk with this adorable punk band after their show in a dive bar in Budapest and shouting “Egészségedre!” (egg-ah-sheg-ed-rah, roughly) every time we got a new round of beers.