Posted on April 11, 2016 by Matty Stone
Foreword: According to sources, Dom Quinto invented the leaf blower in 1957. Later that year, his mutilated body was found in a leaf-filled dumpster. Not one of his neighbors came forward to say they saw anything suspicious. Most strange.
I live in a thirty-unit apartment building on the corner of a block containing million-dollar house, after million-dollar house. The view from my room is impressive, but fills me with envy. When I first moved in here, I spent a lot of time looking at these houses trying to imagine what kind of lives the inhabitants of these homes led.
I mean, I could have actually stopped when walking up the street and had an actual conversation with some of them, but where’s the fun in that? Besides, that is an entirely un-British thing to do. We’d rather peer through the curtains and speculate. Also, as soon as my neighbors might discover that I lived in the 30-unit turd in their Utopia, they might shuffle their kids and pets back into their houses, making sure that the security system lasers are engaged to disintegrate any approaching riffraff.
The house directly across from my window is probably worth a lot of money, and the fact that the occupants keep their blinds closed is probably because I (mostly) keep mine open. I have assessed that they no longer have any desire to be confronted with my relative squalor. However, every now and again, we will both have our blinds open. Upon discovering this, one, or both of us, without making eye contact with each other, casually leans over to pull the blinds down, as if that’s what we were just about to do anyway.
I actually know quite a lot about my direct neighbor’s lives, since we are so close in geographical proximity. However, they are probably unaware how much even the quietest of their conversations travels up into my open window as I peer down, ear pressed against the window screen. They seem nice, so they escape with a free pass.
The couple that live in the impressive gray house across the street are both from foreign lands. He is British–unfortunately, and she is Vietnamese. They have a small Pomeranian dog named Gunther who thinks he’s a Rottweiler. His owner, we’ll call him, Simon, talks to Gunther as if he has a better command of English than his wife, who we will call, May. They have two daughters of undetermined age and linguistic skills.
As his tiny dog marauds the neighborhood picking fights with dogs seventeen times his size, Simon barks at his diminutive ball of excitable, ginger fur. “Gunther, get in the house!” “Baaaaaad Dogggggg! BAAAD!” Then he’ll randomly throw in something like, “Gunther P. Williams, if you don’t get in the car this instant, you will not be getting any of those venison flavored chewy treats that you like from the Whole Foods market.”
I mean, come on, Simon. “Baaaaad ownerrrrrr! BAAAD!”
This miniature Hound of the Baskervilles is probably the most poorly trained dog I have ever seen. I don’t blame Gunther of course, I blame Simon. I don’t like Simon.
Simon has a leaf blower that he has fired up nearly every weekend morning for the ten years that I have lived here. It’s an old one, probably made before they figured out a way to make them less obnoxious. It probably has three settings: “LOW” “HIGH” “DEAFEN”.
Drowning out the groans of a hundred neighbors, the Dom Quinto ’57 is revved up. With my index fingers penetrating my earholes, I leap across the room to close my window. I have surmised that this leaf blower’s high pitch, when engaged to its fullest throttle, might be heard over a NASA Space Shuttle takeoff. The eardrum exploding scream of a million broken bagpipes would sound more pleasing. It makes me want to go full Van Gogh and cut off both of my ears. You get the idea.
Poor Gunther, no wonder he is completely insane.
Simon seems oafishly ignorant that every single one of his neighbors has probably wished death or deportation upon him. Even little Gunther has probably schemed a way out of his nightmare.
I wondered how it could be that Simon owns a million-dollar home, yet I can only just about afford to rent in his mansion’s impressive shadow. How did Simon make his money? Perhaps his wife is the bread-winner, but if she is, why would she pick this calamity of a human as her mate? I just imagined that he plucked her out of a catalogue of women desperate to escape from war-torn Vietnam.
When Simon and May loudly argue with each other in their front garden, do they not know that every person (that hasn’t gone full-Van Gogh) for a hundred yards in every direction can hear them? Even with her limited English skills she seems to best him in every dispute, as I silently cheer her on. “Get him, May. Get him!”
Of course, this is the life that they choose to show to their neighbors. Maybe they are good people. Maybe they give to charities and donate their time working in homeless shelters? I don’t know.
I was thinking of walking across the street and introducing myself. “Hello, I am The Bay Area Brit, and well, I have been observing you for some time now, Simon. While I have tried in every way possible to be the perfect British ambassador here in America, I feel that you have done everything in your power to endanger all of my good work.”
Nah, best not do that.
Instead, I am going to print up these pages, place them in an envelope and walk across the street, and tape it to Simon’s front door. Then, I will saunter back to my apartment, pour a glass of wine and watch the fun.
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tagged: Brit in the bay area, Dom Quinto, funny blog, humor, Leaf blower, Matty Stone, Matty Stone is The Bay Area Brit, The Bay Area Brit | 10 Comments »
Posted on February 12, 2016 by Matty Stone
The animations continue, for better or worse. Ha.
This one is my first music video. I created it for Sheila Star. The song is called “Lose Control” and is the lead track on her latest release called, “That Fire.” Click on the link and check it out.
How is this video connected to a drought? A good question. Drop a man from Seattle in the Sahara Desert and he could tell you, or, less dramatically, take a stereotypical and sometimes homesick Brit and deny him the rain, as he lives his life in drought stricken California for a few years. Lose Control? Too bloody right.
Now if you are a Brit and reading this and are thinking “Miss the bloody miserable, drizzly, damp? You must be off your bloody rocker.” I respect your opinion, but you can’t know until you have tried it.
Anyway, enjoy the video and thanks, as always, for being a friend to The Bay Area Brit.
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Posted on December 18, 2015 by Matty Stone
Well, I’m still putting words on “paper,” my lovely Britophiles, but now the words form scripts for my animations. I know many of you would rather read an essay than watch a cartoon I created, but this is where I am at right now. I hope you stick with The Bay Area Brit on this cartoon ride.
This new short animation was inspired and pays homage to the Norwegian Nazi Zombie flick, “DEAD SNOW.”
I know, right! Frikkin’ Nazi Zombies. Kind of like Donald Trump’s idea of the perfect, mindless voter, but I digress.
Hope you like it. Feel free to share and subscribe on my YouTube Channel if you like.
Cheers, and thanks for being you.
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Posted on November 24, 2015 by Matty Stone
This short animation is dedicated to anyone that has worked in the service industry or had to stand in line behind a high-maintenance customer at a cafe or a bar.
Feel free to share this if you like it. As always, thanks.
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Posted on November 8, 2015 by Matty Stone
It has been a long time since I’ve written a new entry and for that I apologize. I get a lot of people asking for more cartoons, I hope to go one better than that by offering this one-minute animation that I created. I hope you like it and will continue to follow me. Thanks.
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Posted on September 11, 2014 by Matty Stone
The Bay Area Brit returns! No, that’s no good. The Bay Area Brit—this time it’s personal. Scratch that. Jeez, I thought this would be easier. I’ll name it later. I’m returning to a country that I have glorified and mocked in equal measure. How will I be received? Will anyone care?
“You can’t go home again.” – Thomas Wolfe
And that was when it hit me: I should have ordered the pasta. Oh, sorry, I’m still on a plane on the way to London, and every co-passenger with keen vision can get a preview of my ramblings, I mean witty prose. Or something.
I suppose when this two-week trip is done and dusted I will look back upon my sojourn wistfully. I anticipate moments of great joy, tears, and reflection with my family. I will also be a tourist. I will be flooded with memories, as I remember both good and tough times in my old Bayswater neighborhood in West London. I’ll also briefly forget why I moved away all those years ago.
When traveling back to a place that you were once so familiar with, you ask yourself some of the daftest questions: “I wonder if Ali still works at that little market across the street from where I used to live 30 years ago?”
Am I insane?
Of course he doesn’t, and if he does, I think my eyes would look upon him with such poorly disguised pity that it would just be better altogether if I didn’t go in there. But maybe I’ll have a quick peek; maybe the new guy will know what became of Ali. No, no, forget Ali.
Visitors to London used to say things like, “Can you believe that this building is over a thousand years old?” Now tourists say things like, “This is the house where Colin Firth punched Hugh Grant in the face for being such a wiener. Can you simulate punching my face? Or, better still, actually punch my face so I can get a great selfie with a black eye.”
Sorry, Houses of Parliament, St. Paul’s Cathedral, and Tower of London, you had your day. Now, throngs of young people pose in front of the bookshop featured in the film “Notting Hill.” And yes, I’m sure Colin Firth punches Hugh Grant in the face in that film too. I’m pretty sure that people would flock to see any film that has Colin Firth punching Hugh Grant in the face.
We live in the age of instant gratification. Social Media rules our daily lives. I discovered that although a lot of the museums have wi-fi, they block websites like Facebook and Twitter.
iTourist is thwarted and not happy. “Screw you. If I’m spending $80 to see the goddamned Crown Jewels in the goddamned Tower of London, I want to send picture-proof to all my homies that I was actually there. Here’s a selfie with Queen Victoria’s crown on my head.”
There are about 50 uniformed adults that, albeit politely, will tell you that you cannot photograph the Crown Jewels, wear Richard the Lionheart’s suit of armor, or pose with your head inches below the blade of Henry the VIII’s trusty, head-removing axe of choice. So the iTourist says, “Well, then, you can kiss MY Crown Jewels, London.”
The glossy, black front door at 221b Baker Street stands soberly in the background as hundreds of people take pics of themselves—for free. And you know what? There’s not one single person there to stop the iTourist from knocking on the door, or ringing the doorbell, leaving a steaming poop in a flaming paper bag and running away, or, heaven forbid, breaking into Sherlock Holmes’ digs, only to be massively disappointed that Benedict Cumberbatch isn’t serenading Martin Freeman with a violin.
This is the new London and this is the new tourist. iPhone poised, ready to document every thing they see through their camera lens.
London is a pulsating, vibrant energy as big and exciting as New York City and just as unpredictable. London was broken when I left and it has been fixed. I mean seriously, central London effortlessly hums along. For a brief time at the beginning of August, it felt like home again. The home I might have never left.
When Thomas Wolfe wrote, “You can never go home again” he was wrong (unless you once lived on Alderaan, because, spoiler alert, The Death Star blew that planet up.) However, whether the home you remember (or want) is the same, well that’s another matter. The main thing is that no matter what the future holds for London in the next few years, it seems for now, tourists are pretty happy that Hugh Grant is getting punched in the face.
Sent from my iPad
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tagged: 221B Baker Street, funny Bay Area essayist, humo(u)rist, iTourist, London 2014, Matty Stone The Bay Area Brit, The Bay Area Brit returns, The new tourist, Thomas Wolfe, You can't go home again | Leave a comment »
Posted on February 24, 2014 by Matty Stone
Hello People of The Earth
The Bay Area Brit here. I normally update with a funny essay, or captioned photos of people mis-behaving in public. BART I’m looking at you.
But today I’m just giving a quick update. Sorry I haven’t added anything here lately, I’m in the closing stages of writing a new book. I think it’s the best thing I’ve written so far, and I wanted to finish it completely before devoting time to anything else in the writing department. It’s a funny, murder-mystery set on a construction site in Marin County, and if I tell you any more than that, you won’t get me to shut up.
If you miss me–stop pretending you don’t miss me–I will be reading a short, funny essay about my purely platonic relationship with James Bond at The Cartoon Art Museum in San Francisco, Saturday March 1st.
It should be a fun event and well worth the entry fee. Regardless of whether a Brit is prattling on about James Bond, the museum is a must-see in San Francisco if you’re a fan of the comic strip/cartoon oeuvre.
Thanks for continuing to follow The Bay Area Brit
I love you all tons and tons,
Matty Stone (The Bay Area Brit)
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