I feel so… dirty

I am a whore.

Doing some more work for Zepter – they still owe me for the vacuum cleaner stuff, but somehow I’m back at it. “It’s all for the second camera for Pirates,” fuego reminds me. Sure. If we gat paid. And if we get paid for that previous work I’ll take this back:

Zepter is a bunch of cheap-ass sons of bitches.

For the benefit of anyone searching on Google for info about this company, let me say that again:

Zepter is a bunch of cheap-ass sons of bitches.

Although they did come up with tickets to the world Hockey championship game. I gave up my spot (you’re welcome, Mito, if you ever say thank you), but that was a nice gesture on their part. Maybe they’re just waiting for an invoice.

So tonight fuego and I were working on the copy for the Zepter Bioptron, which probably represents the state of the art for light therapy. I spent the evening writing copy that fell into two categories: “Not provably false” and “They’ve already said it once so it won’t make things any worse to say it again.” And honestly, it’s probably not complete bullshit. This is the technological answer to “You should get out more,” without the dangerous UV. So I’m OK with that.

Still, I wrote things tonight that… well, let’s just say I wrote some things. Let there be Light — 50W, polarized, in a narrow band of the visible spectrum, with a timer, on a flexible stand.

I met the manager of Zepter’s health products today. It was an early morning meeting in a fancy hotel that luckily was near my pad. It was a beautiful morning walk, and the rays of the sun lifted my already doing-alright spirits. This is the very feeling Zepter is marketing. Whether they deliver it or not I have no idea. I met up with fuego and the client was a little late but this is Eastern Europe and that’s the way it works.

Let’s call her Sofia. It’s as good a name as any. She’s a doctor, living in Zurich, spending time in Milan, and she is distractingly attractive. The period when the button of her shirt finally gave up the good fight and when she pulled things back together is but a vague and hazy mam – uh, sorry – memory. Mmmm… Kryptonite. But Dammit Jim, she’s a doctor! She was part of the team that developed this little marvel. She was smart, no doubt, and enthusiastic, and (according to fuego) far more together on what she needed going in than the average Zepter product manager. It was a good meeting.

Except for the part where we said we’d have a draft in two days. That was nuts. But by then all I could think about was the button holding on for dear life. I tried to use my Jedi Master Force Stuff: Just let go, little button. You’ve been working harder than any little button ever should; no one would blame you if you relaxed for just one second.”

I am no Jedi, but it’s better to try to use the Force when you don’t have it that to completely forget you are a Jedi Master when your life is in peril. But I’ve gone on about that before.

The button held, resolute, against great pressure. Some of the greatest pressure I’ve seen in some time. But she had much more going on than that, and I’ve already done her a disservice emphasizing her beautiful, freckled, gravity-defying bosom over her other qualities.

Dang. I can’t resist irony even when it turns me into an ass.

(Turns me into?) But seriously, she was way more that. It was the smile that reached all the way up to her brown eyes. It was the way she was confident without being overbearing. It was the way that, on some fundamental level, for her life is still fun. I am not going to smooth on her. I am what they call “not boyfriend material,” and I don’t see that changing. “Insensitive, lazy, self-centered, unemployed workaholic” is not how one gets “ideal date” status, and I’m enjoying being that way.

And now I’m writing copy. In fairness to all, it was a done deal we were writing this copy before the meeting. This morning was about what copy to write, not whether to write copy. fuego had already thrown us into the tar pit; it was just nice to see a pretty, intelligent, witty face there while we sank beneath the surface.

The bar with the propeller on it

I’ve walked by this place many times, but I’ve never come in. The propeller is stuck on the corner of the building, over a small solarium with a single table. Around the table are arrayed three mannequins wearing WWII-era flight suits. Inside the place is as much museum as it is bar. There is the cockpit section of a spitfire as an architectural feature, and the place is packed with RAF memorabilia. Model spitfires are shooting down germans over my head. The little biscuit that came with my tea was in the shape of an airplane.

At first I was a bit surprised to see such a British place in a Prague neighborhood, but of course the pilots in those planes over my head aren’t British, they’re Czech. The tipoff is the beer. They serve Czech beer, not English. The guys in the flight suits are members of the Czechoslovak air force who were forbidden from taking to the skies as the Nazis invaded. Many escaped Czechoslovakia and provided the RAF with a critical boost during their finest hour.

Right now, on a lovely Sunday afternoon, I have the room to myself. There are some tourists in the next room, but this is a peaceful spot just now. No excuses at all for not getting back to work on my novel. None.

Maybe I’ll see what’s on the menu…

Hmm. The menu is chock-full of stuff. It contains a brief and difficult-to-decipher history of Frank Wing, Czech aviation pioneer, and founder of Wing’s Club, which is what this place is called. Wing built some of the first aircraft, founded aviation companies, ran for president (or prime minister or whatever), and ended up working for Boeing in the US after he fled Czechoslovakia in the late ’30’s. “Wing” is the translation of his name into English, but while that is an interesting coincidence, even better is his wife’s maiden name: “Propeller”. I figure when they learned each other’s names they knew they had no choice.

Before becoming an industrialist and politician, Frank had been part of the bodyguard for Archduke Franz Ferdinand. I guess he wasn’t as good at bodyguarding as he was building aircraft. It’s a little vague on whether he flew combat during WWI, but it seems likely.

He was a strong advocate of the Czech republic developing its own ability to manufacture aircraft rather than buy them off other countries, and the industries he helped to develop were of great interest to their German neighbors. He died in a car accident near Detroit, rushing to an emergency meeting of Czech nationals living in the US called as the Nazis threatened his homeland. Remember: statistically speaking, the most dangerous part of your flight is the drive to the airport.

His wife, Mrs. Propeller-Wing, apparently was a model and did lingerie shows for the troops, while Frank’s mother was a high-wire artist, and performed while heavily pregnant with… uh, HEY! WAIT A MINUTE! Who wrote this? Dr. Pants? It’s embarrassing how credulous I am. Even while I recognized some parts of the story as obvious bullshit, it took fuego to point out that the whole thing was utter rubbish.

When I was a kid people would test-drive practical jokes on me. If I caught on, they knew it wouldn’t work on anybody.

Also on the menu is a pretty good selection of food, at maybe-a-little-higher-than-typical prices. They have stuffed dumplings shot from a canon, though. Gotta like that. I don’t even think that’s a bad translation – it’s written like it’s supposed to be unusual. Might have to order some if I get to see the canon.

“Open wide!” *BLAM* “Yum!” Now that’s what I call fine dining, as long as their aim is good.