Tag Archives: Europe

selections from The Communist Manifesto by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels

WORKINGMEN OF ALL COUNTRIES, UNITE! Continue reading

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Paris · Farningham · London · Amsterdam

~ 0 ~
horrible traffic
in n out
4-hour delay
“this is the worst airline ever”
chili’s out of salad and Mexican food
geographically challenged hostess
know your rights!
sleep? dreamy purple pinkish tint thereof
a moment in Oslo
Paris
nightmare on rue chaptal
Moulin Rouge

~ 1 ~
walk to espresso
Tour Eiffel
walk along the Seine
lunch in the Latin Quarter?
Notre Dame
espresso for the Louvre
kill in the garden
fancy ass French food
Arc de Triomphe
legs falling off
white wine and Lucky Strike

~ 2 ~
Père Lachaise
Indian at Chapelle
Musée d’Orsay
USA WINS 0-1
fancy ass fucking ave (dck sp + chkn brst)
farewell to the Seine
1-2-3!!! something something Algérie!!!

~ 3 ~
omelette complet at the Gare du Nord
Eurostar to Ebbsfleet
tea (twice) on the Tabsfield green
tomato basil, cheesy mushroom quiche, fresh strawberry creme brûlée, and a couple pints with the wedding party and co.
the cottage

~ 4 ~
fresh fruit, meat, a poached egg, and coffee
dressing for the wedding
Frost on the green
wedding at St Peter and St Paul’s Church
half Indian feast and dance (the Brits, the delicious Indian food, the champagne beer red and white wine, the light rain, and heavy dancing)
afterparty at the cottage

~ 5 ~
breakfast redux (hungover version)
football w Maya on the green
to London
appetizing Indian leftovers
The Tower
wandering in the rain
St. Paul’s
old fucking white egg-headed, perfectly circular black spectacle-wearing, pound-grubbing pieces of shit ushers guarding against pilgrims at the footsteps to the house of god
covent garden
pho
lazying and familying

~ 6 ~
waking up sans Natalie in a nasty mood
bacon on a roll
cold shower
Tate Modern
Eat.
The Globe
Parliament
Westminster
Evensong
Upminster then Whitechapel
ALG v GER

~ 7 ~
waking up w Natalie, happily
full English breakfast in Whitechapel
Natural History Museum
Kensington Gardens
fancy ass Indian food
£5 to the girl from Canada Macedonia CA
USA v BLG :(

~ 8 ~
scratched iris
mushroom omelette
nap to
Stonehenge
and nap from
Nando’s w David and Evelyn

~ 9 ~
to Amsterdam
grocery shopping
white wine
Concertgebouw
a spliff at Rookie’s
shoarma on the corner

~ 10 ~
homemade breakfast
double espresso
spliff on the diagonal green
Rijksmuseum
shopping, snacks in bed
Little Thai Prince
red light district
overpriced and pre-rolled
stoned wander home
ice cream

~ 11 ~
bacon breakfast
Blue Bird
Myrabelle, bartended by a more muscular and more feminine version of John Dwyer.
gluten-free crackers, goat cheese, smoked salmon, olives dripping in oil and basil, water, and wine
second Thai dinner
Vondelpark
Amstels all night at the cafe
NED v CRC

~ 12 ~
nightmare
check out
fresh fruit pancake across from Anne Frank
spliff on the green
Van Gogh Museum
rest in Vondelpark
walk
coffee
bus
plane
tube

~ 13 ~
tube
train
plane
Oslo
plane
Oakland
home? Continue reading

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late Ramadan

i just scarfed down a whole cookie sheet of green chile cheese nachos. that is to say, a can of green chile, a large chunk of mild cheddar cheese, and half a bag of tortilla chips was my dinner. am i vegetarian yet?

i’ve been back home for nearly two weeks and it would already feel like i’d never been gone, except for the fact that my return from Europe marks a turning point in lifestyle. whether temporary or permanent, only Allah/Yahweh knows.

for one, as i’ve been hinting, i’m not eating meat. to be specific, i’m trying to avoid meat as best i can. that means i skipped the free meat tacos at lunch today… but i ate somebody’s leftover corn dog last night. it means the pastas i make are meatless… but i ate somebody’s salad full of bacon bits. it means i ordered a green pizza (asparagus, artichokes, etc.) at 21st Amendment the other night… but i ate a steak for dinner at my parent’s house two days later.

basically, there are two key circumstances in which i will eat meat. first, if somebody is throwing away perfectly good food, i will eat it no matter what. if there’s anything i despise more than climate change, tortured animals, and extreme wealth, it’s wasted food. besides, the animal has died; let it not be in vain. secondly, if somebody has gone through trouble to gift me a meal (as my mother did the other night), i will not spurn the gift. i will rejoice in it! and may i always. that said, maybe i should start advertising more that i’m not eating meat so as to limit the chances that people make it for me. (already, my beautiful girlfriend chef lover friend has put together an excellent eggplant sandwich and a roasted vegetable pasta. she’s an expert.)

so i’m not buying it. i’m not cooking it. and i’m not ordering it. that’s a start, right?

besides the meat thing, i’m also trying to not drink alcohol. i last tried to do this a year ago and ended up averaging out to about a drink per day for an entire month. this time around, i’m doing about the same. last night, celebrating Lexi and laughter, i drank a total of one margarita, one shot of Jameson, and one tall PBR over the course of over six hours. not bad, i’d say!

besides the meat and alcohol things… well, there’s one other thing. but it’s quite private. Continue reading

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a chronology of Immanuel Kant

1724 — Immanuel Kant born in Königsberg on 22 April. 1732 — Birth of Haydn. 1737 — Death of Kant’s mother. 1746 — Death of Kant’s father. 1749 — Birth of Goethe. 1756 — Birth of Mozart. 1759 — Voltaire … Continue reading

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burned at the stake

like Joan of Arc, the Man burned at the end of his week. only difference? he was the stake. Continue reading

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notes from the second and third book of The Sun Also Rises

BOOK II [Bill Gorton] was very cheerful and said the States were wonderful. New York was wonderful. […] He wrote that Vienna was wonderful. Then a card from Budapest: “Jake, Budapest is wonderful.” […] “Well,” I said, “I hear you … Continue reading

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vocabulary from Aimé Césaire’s Notebook of a Return to the Native Land

mendacious (adj.)
not telling the truth; lying.
an aged life mendaciously smiling, its lips opened by vacated agonies. (35)

pustule (Medicine, n.)
a small blister or pimple on the skin containing pus.
raison d’être (n.)
the most important reason or purpose for someone or something’s existence.
an aged silence bursting with tepid pustules, the awful futility of our raison d’être. (35)

fumarole (n.)
an opening in or near a volcano, through which hot sulfurous gases emerge.
At the end of the wee hours, this inert town and its beyond of lepers, of consumption, of famines, of fears squatting in the ravines, fears perched in the trees, fears dug in the ground, fears adrift in the sky, piles of fears and their fumaroles of anguish. (37)

lubricious (adj.)
1. offensively displaying or intending to arouse sexual desire.
2. smooth and slippery with oil or a similar substance.
sahib (Indian, n.)
a polite title or form of address for a man.
At the end of the wee hours, the disparate stranding, the exacerbated stench of corruption, the monstrous sodomies of the host and the sacrificing priest, the impassable beakhead frames of prejudice and stupidity, the prostitutions, the hypocrisies, the lubricities, the treasons, the lies, the frauds, the concussions—the panting of a deficient cowardice, the heave-holess enthusiasm of supernumerary sahibs, the greeds, the hysterias, the perversions, the clownings of poverty, the cripplings, the itchings, the hives, the tepid hammocks of degeneracy. (37-39)

scrofula (chiefly historical, n.)
a disease with glandular swellings, probably a form of tuberculosis. Also formerly called “King’s Evil.”
bubo (n.)
a swollen, inflamed lymph node in the armpit or groin.
putrescible (adj.)
liable to decay; subject to putrefaction.
Right here the parade of laughable and scrofulous buboes, the forced feedings of very strange microbes, the poisons without known alexins, the sanies of really ancient sores, the unforeseeable fermentations of putrescible species. (39)

balafon (n.)
a large xylophone having hollow gourds as resonators, used in West African music.
terato- (combining form)
relating to monsters or abnormal forms.
At the end of the wee hours, the great motionless night, the stars deader than a caved-in balafo, the teratical bulb of night, sprouted from our vilenesses and our renunciations. (39)

coiffure (n.)
a person’s hairstyle, typically an elaborate one.
an indefatigable road charging at full speed a morne at the top of which it brutally quicksands into a pool of clumsy houses, a road foolishly climbing, recklessly descending, and the carcass of wood, which I call “our house,” comically perched on minute cement paws, its coiffure of corrugated iron in the sun like a skin laid out to dry, the main room, the rough floor where the nail heads gleam, the beams of pine and shadow across the ceiling, the spectral straw chairs, the grey lamp light the glossy flash of cockroaches in a maddening buzz . . . (39)

sisal (n.)
a Mexican agave with large fleshy leaves, cultivated for fiber production. (or, the fiber made from this plant, used esp. for ropes or matting.)
And you ghosts rise blue from alchemy from a forest of hunted beasts of twisted machines of a jujube tree of rotten flesh of a basket of oysters of eyes of a network of straps in the beautiful sisal of human skin I would have words vast enough to contain you earth taut earth drunk (45)

proscenium (n.)
the part of the stage in front of the curtain. (or, the stage of an ancient theater.)
And on the way I would say to myself:
“And above all, my body as well as my soul, beware of assuming the sterile attitude of a spectator, for life is not a spectacle,
a sea of miseries is not a proscenium, a man screaming is not a dancing bear . . .” (45)

noctiluca (n.)
a roughly spherical marine dinoflagellate that is strongly phosphorescent, esp. when disturbed.
these shovelfuls of petty flunkies over the great savage, these shovelfuls of petty souls over the three-souled Carib,
and all these deaths futile
absurdities under the splashing of my open conscience
tragic futilities lit up by this single noctiluca
and I alone, sudden stage of these wee hours when the apocalypse of monsters cavorts then, capsized, hushes
warm elections of cinders, of ruins and collapses
(45)

calcaneus (Anatomy, n.)
the large bone forming the heel. It articulates with the cuboid bone of the foot and the talus bone of the ankle, and the Achilles tendon is attached to it.
not an inch of this world devoid of my fingerprint
and my calcaneum on the spines of skyscrapers and my filth in the glitter of gems!
Who can boast of being better off than I? Virginia.
Tennessee. Georgia. Alabama
monstrous putrefactions of stymied
revolts
marshes of putrid blood
trumpets absurdly muted
land red, sanguineous, consanguineous land.
(47)

miaow (n. & v.)
variant spelling of “meow.”
That 2 and 2 are 5
that the forest miaows
that the tree plucks the maroons from the fire
that the sky strokes its beard
etc. etc. . . .
(51)

datura (n.)
a shrubby annual plant with large trumpet-shaped flowers, native to southern North America. Daturas contain toxic or narcotic alkaloids and are used as hallucinogens by some American Indian peoples.
—me on a road, a child, chewing
sugar cane root
—a dragged man on a bloodspattered road
a rope around his neck
—standing in the center of a huge circus,
on my black forehead a crown of
daturas
voum rooh
to fly off
higher than quivering higher
than the sorceresses toward other stars
ferocious exultation of forests and
mountains uprooted at the hour
when no one expects it
the islands linked for a thousand years!
(53)

erysipelas (n.)
an acute, sometimes recurrent disease caused by a bacterial infection. It is characterized by large, raised red patches on the skin, esp. that of the face and legs, with fever and severe general illness.
Words? while we handle
quarters of earth, while we wed
delirious continents, while
we force steaming gates,
words, ah yes, words! but
words of fresh blood, words that are
tidal waves and erysipelas
malarias and lava and brush
fires, and blazes of flesh,
and blazes of cities . . .
(57)

vitelline membrane (n.)
a transparent membrane surrounding and secreted by the fertilized ovum, preventing the entry of further spermatozoa.
I am forcing the vitelline membrane that separates
me from myself,
I am forcing the great waters which girdle me with blood
(57)

provender (often humorous, n.)
food.
And now a last boo:
to the sun (not strong enough to inebriate
my very tough head)
to the mealy night with its golden
hatchings of erratic fireflies
to the head of hair trembling at the very
top of the cliff
where the wind leaps in bursts of salty
cavalries
I clearly read in my pulse that for me
exoticism is no provender (59)

cutwater (n.)
1. the forward edge of a ship’s prow.
2. a wedge-shaped projection on the pier of a bridge, which divides the flow of water and prevents debris from becoming trapped against the pier.
Leaving Europe utterly twisted with screams
the silent currents of despair
leaving timid Europe which
collects and proudly overrates itself
I summon this egotism beautiful
and bold
and my ploughing reminds me of an implacable cutwater. (59)

filly (n.)
a young female horse, esp. one less than four years old. (or, a lively girl or young woman [dated].)
quirt (n.)
a short-handled riding whip with a braided leather lash.
(niggers-are-all-alike, I-tell-you vices-all-the-vices-believe-you-me
nigger-smell, that’s-what-makes-cane-grow
remember-the-old-saying:
beat-a-nigger, and you feed him)
among “rocking chairs” contemplating the voluptuousness of quirts
I circle about, an unappeased
filly (59)

cartouche (n.)
a carved tablet or drawing representing a scroll with rolled-up ends, used ornamentally or bearing an inscription.
Or rather, it was a tireless worker, Poverty was, working on some hideous cartouche. (63)

chalaza (Zoology, n.)
(in a bird’s egg) each of the two twisted membranous strips joining the yolk to the ends of the shell.
My back will victoriously exploit the chalaza of fibers. (65)

postillion (n.)
a person who rides the leading left-hand horse of a team or pair drawing a coach or carriage, esp. when there is no coachman.
And the silver-braided bullshit of the postillion of Havana, lyrical baboon pimp for the glamour of slavery, will be more than a match for my enthusiasm. (65)

tabes (Medicine, n.)
emaciation.
And these tadpoles hatched in me by my prodigious ancestry!
Those who invented neither powder nor compass
those who could harness neither steam nor electricity
those who explored neither the seas nor the sky but who know
in its most minute corners the land of suffering
those who have known voyages only through uprootings
those who have been lulled to sleep by so much kneeling
those whom they domesticated and Christianized
those whom they inoculated with degeneracy
tom-toms of empty hands
inane tom-toms of resounding sores
burlesque tom-toms of tabetic treason
(65)

bezel (n.)
a grooved ring holding the glass or plastic cover of a watch face or other instrument in position (or, a groove holding the crystal of a watch or the stone of a gem in its setting.)
zinnia (n.)
an American plant of the daisy family that is widely cultivated for its bright showy flowers.
Calm and lull oh my voice the child who does not know that the map of spring is always to be drawn again
the tall grass will sway gentle ship of hope for the cattle
the long alcoholic sweep of the swell
the stars with the bezels of their rings never in sight will cut the pipes of the glass organ of evening zinnias
coryanthas
will then pour into the rich extremity of my fatigue
and you star please from your luminous foundation draw lemurian being—of man’s unfathomable sperm the yet undared form
(67)

pirogue (n.)
a long narrow canoe made from a single tree trunk, esp. in Central America and the Caribbean.
But before stepping on the shores of future orchards
grant that I deserve those on their belt of sea
grant me my heart while awaiting the earth
grant me on the ocean sterile
but somewhere caressed by the promise of the clew-line
grant me on this diverse ocean
the obstinacy of the fierce pirogue
and its marine vigor.
(71)

vertiginous (adj.)
causing vertigo, esp. by being extremely high or steep. (or, relating to or affected by vertigo.)
See it advance rising and falling on the pulverized wave
see it dance the sacred dance before the greyness of the village
see it trumpet from a vertiginous conch
(73)

chloasma (n.)
a temporary condition, typically caused by hormonal changes, in which large brown patches form on the skin, mainly on the face.
I accept . . . I accept . . . totally, without reservation . . .
my race that no ablution of hyssop mixed with lilies could purify
my race pitted with blemishes
my race a ripe grape for drunken feet
my queen of spittle and leprosy
my queen of whips and scrofula
my queen of squasma and chloasma (oh those queens I once loved in the remote gardens of spring against the illumination of all the candles of the chestnut trees!)
(73)

suppurate (v.)
undergo the formation of pus; fester.
and far from the palatial sea that foams beneath the suppurating syzygy of blisters, miraculously lying in the despair of my arms the body of my country, its bones shocked and, in its veins, the blood hesitating like a drop of vegetal milk at the injured point of the bulb . . . (77)

haft (n.)
the handle of a knife, ax, or spear.
It shrivels and its point desperately retreats toward the haft when it is sprinkled with chicken blood and it says that its nature requires the blood of man, his fat, his liver, his heart, not chicken blood. (77)

askari (n.)
(in East Africa) a soldier or police officer.
And there is the nigger pimp, the nigger askari, and all the zebras shaking themselves in various ways to get rid of their stripes in a dew of fresh milk. (79)

Continue reading

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spring film festival ’09 [archive]

what a cinematic weekend. it’s mid-sunday and since thursday night i’ve watched six movies. thursday night, as i wrote before, katelyn, elaina, and i watched Amadeus (8/10). friday was a gorgeous day, but instead of taking advantage of the sun, right in the middle of the day i burrowed into the hole of my apartment for the 3.5 hour epic that is Ben-Hur (6/10). i really couldn’t get into it. i may have even liked Spartacus better, because it at least seemed to try to uphold some virtue: freedom. Ben-Hur, on the other hand, made no real sense to me. the only awesome part came in the form of a ten minute chariot race:

i actually watched the chariot race twice. when the movie had about 45 minutes left, Elaina came over and watched the end with me, but she unfortunately arrived just after the race scene. after the movie ended, i just went back and watched the scene again with her. at this point, i was pretty sure how i wanted my weekend to play out, so i asked her to pick a movie on my desktop to watch. ten minutes after Ben-Hur, i was sitting on my bed watching The Wrestler (8/10) with the punk. i had torrented this film immediately after Chris highly recommended it to me, just a few weeks ago, so i’m glad i finally watched it. plus, i don’t watch enough contemporary movies. it was solid. the movie tells its whole story, i felt, in the first five minutes, yet it still proved worth watching all the way through. for those who have seen it, my favorite parts = deli scenes.

done with movies for the day, Elaina started trying to convince me to want to go out with her and everybody else. a bottle of wine later, i caved. we went out with xanthe, zoe, and her new Greek boyfriend to a chill bar in monastiraki, where the boy introduced to this warm alcoholic drink. xanthe and i thought it was delicious, contrary to the opinions of the other two girls. it was a weird night. Xanthe and i were definitely in a zone together. from Elaina’s apartment, to the taxi ride, to the bar, we unstoppably reminisced about beautiful California. i felt bad because it kind of put Elaina in a bad place. she mostly just missed home and, without me or xanthe even noticing, left us at the bar.

what can you do? party. Xanthe and i had big plans, mostly jokingly laughing and discussing going to omonia square to score some drugs. how ridiculous. i later found out that zoe’s boy was originally very worried that zoe smokes weed (she does), but she promised him that she doesn’t. love, love, love, love, whatever: to each their own. and Xanthe and i did actually go on our own. we bought beers at a kiosk and walked through omonia and onwards to exarhia, the neighborhood of Athina where all those recent riots started. tons of kids spilled out of bars, drinking on the sidewalk, on the corner, just hanging out all over. most dressed in black and a few showed off their spiky heads. totally where i wanted to be. Xanthe and i picked up another couple beers and just hung out there for an hour or maybe more. gossip music love girls boys life everything is what we talked about. Xanthe has concluded that i’m going to marry her friend Donni. esta loca. at one point, as the crowds were thinning, i tried to talk to one of the friends of the mohawked dudes. he was not friendly, but he was not friendly. he did not ignore us, but he did not seem to want to talk to us. he acted perfectly respectable, but he looked like he wanted to start another riot right then and there. he said he hated Athens because of the corruption. i feel you, man, but i’ll keep my mouth shut because i don’t know anything about it, except that it seems to be the norm everywhere you go.

after hanging outside long enough, Xanthe and i hit up some bar for our last couple beers for the night, around 4am. we rocked out maybe a little too hard to Killing in the Name and a couple other not-so-good tracks (but then, what can follow Killing in the Name?), but promptly passed out on a chair nearby. seriously, Xanthe sat in my lap and i held her like a baby in my arms, and we passed out. after waking up and walking out in the middle of a Joy Divison song, we caught a taxi home to get to sleep by 6am. what a fucking crazy night. definitely the craziest i’ve had in this city and the craziest i’ve had, period, in a very long time. i’m glad it happened with my California girl here, aint nuthin but a g thang, baby, two doped out niggaz going crazy, unfadable so please don’t try to fade me.

ouch, saturday. it’s like this and like that and like this and uh, you go to heaven only to fall to hell. only one of the worst hangovers in awhile can follow one of the most fun nights in awhile. Elaina tended to me with toast and water, even though i was the reason she didn’t go to the beach with her roommates. i felt pretty awful. “fuck.” i said it like i was expelling demons. fuck. fuck. fuck. fuck. it’s kind of like saying, love love love love. different demons, though. eventually i recuperated enough that Elaina and i could go out into the world for lunch. we explored a little bit, finding this pitta place, where i ate a pitta omelette. so good. so so good. eating outside on a bench, i fed some of my pitta to a couple pigeons. fatties. perfectly content, i lay on the bench next to a sitting Elaina and enjoyed the air, before getting a sudden impulse to climb a little tree nearby. i sat in it for a few minutes, just to get it out of my system, even while old men stared at me the whole time they walked past. what? you don’t like climbing trees? crazy.

we picked up some delicious ice cream for the walk back to my apartment, discussing what movie to watch when we got back. later, when my mom called me, i asked her to guess what movie i showed to Elaina: “2001?” no, but good guess. “8 1/2?” nice. why can’t i be friends with people without trying to stuff my favorite works of art down their throats? no, it’s not so bad. i tried to warn her with words like “confusing” and “pretentious,” but she still wanted to watch it. so we did. god i love this movie. perfect 10/10, duh. my favorite line in the movie: “You know, I’ve figured out what you’re trying to talk about … Man’s inner confusion. But you’ve got to be clearer.” AHHHHHHHHHHHH. PERFECT. and the ending! the ENDING. i just cannot not smile, as the man brings everybody from his life into an open field with circus music playing and makes them all hold hands and dance in a circle. it is CRAZY, but PERFECT. when the movie ends, i just roll around and smile and laugh and cry and i can’t stop thinking about it for the rest of the night.

but that can sometimes be bad. Elaina invited everybody over for pizza: zoe, hannah, zack, me, xanthe, maddy, elaina. what a party! but, stupid me, let Fellini put me in a i-want-to-stare-and-just-think trance. it was so utterly obvious that at one point, hannah asked me directly, “are you ok, ronny? you’re being awfully quiet.” oh, i’m so alright. too alright.

inevitably i got what i wanted: Elaina and i walked back to my apartment ’round midnight to watch another movie. first we watched the half hour Life Pursuit performances i ripped from Adam’s deluxe edition copy, while we tried to decide what to watch after it ended. eventually we flipped a one euro coin to decide between Interstella 5555 (10/10) and Baraka (9/10). map of Europe, Baraka. owl (oh, Athena), Interstella. flip, owl, Interstella. i felt ridiculous continuing the pushing of my obsessions on the poor girl, but she seemed to actually want to watch them. 5! 5! 5! 5! %!%!%!%!%! instead of having a funeral, i want my body to be placed in a movie theatre right underneath the giant screen, as all my family and friends watch Interstella 5555 play. when it ends, i get tossed in the sea by a bum while my family and friends go to the afterparty where all my favorite music gets played all night. one can dream.

now it’s sunday, and the only two things i’ve done today is eat cheese pie and watch Baraka with Elaina. she’s gone home now and i’ve got some reading to do for class. Elaina told me that one of her friends from home asked her to one day take photos all throughout the day in order to sketch some sort of picture of her life here. i think that’s a pretty nice idea and might try it sometime in the next few days, so i can post it here before i leave for spring break. Continue reading

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Budapest: decadent treat [archive]

~~~~~ Day One ~~~~~

what a great movie to treat myself to before going on a trip. after the movie ended around 3am, i walked to the syntagma square bus stop, listening to math rock, and dreaming of decadence. “decadence” (excessive self-indulgence) and “treat” (special pleasure or delight) pretty much ended up defining the weekend.

i dozed the whole bus ride, loved the lack of security line (i didn’t have to take off my shoes AND they didn’t hassle me about my scissors/lighter), dozed at the gate, and passed out like a rock on the short plane ride. arrived at budapest ferihegy international airport much too early. i had about six hours to kill until Meryl and company came in. i quickly figured out that i needed to take the 300E bus to get to the metro, and the metro would take me into the heart of the city. i had no idea where i was going, where my hostel was, anything (i did know where Meryl was coming in), so i kind of just exited at the metro stop in the middle of the map and hoped for the best.

outside i found myself in cold, drizzly, grey, wet, epic, shuddering, shouldering, quiet, busy Budapest. like i said, i had no idea where i got off or what surrounded me, so i just started walking. in what direction? whichever! that one looks good, look at this street, is that a church?, whoa cool architecture, sweet random art:

getting cold, i started keeping an eye out for a cafe and finally discovered a weirdly located but excellent one with wifi. entering i found out i was alone with three employees and practiced my Hungarian by shyly pointing at the things i wanted. “uh…. cappucino? …and….. crossaint? yeah, and, uh….. cigarettes? which? uh…” *shrug* definitely a mistake. Elise’s boy Philip later told me that i got the lightest of the light. know what you want in this world or you’ll be given shit.

thankfully, i didn’t realize the cafe had wifi until after reading a good chapter from Kazantsakis while sipping on my coffee and nibbling at my pastry. after finishing the chapter, i set my book down to wonder about the wifi situation, looked up, and saw right in front of me the wifi logo on the window. so i killed some time on my iphone and tried to map some sort of slow journey towards Meryl’s bus station (this mapping failed). the drizzle fizzled a little so i continued my wanderings… and i found a humongous church!

wandering, not knowing, wandering, knowing i’d need some sort of direction eventually, i stopped in a bookstore for a map. it proved a helpful companion for the weekend. after the bookstore i backtracked a bit to a mini-mart i saw with what looked like fresh bread. i bought myself a fat loaf and proceeded to munch as i continued my walk. (weirdly enough, this area with the bookstore and cafe ended up being a couple blocks away from the place Meryl booked for us, even though i didn’t know this then.)

equipped with map, i developed the concept of choice, deciding to visit a giant cemetery marked with a green splotch on the map. about a half hour and a few creepy tunnels later (the creepy tunnels like the one above were sometimes the only way to get across giant streets/intersections, sometimes they were actually massive centers under the intersection with various kiosks and entrances to the metro system), the sun broke out of the clouds and i found the cemetery!

did i mention how cold it was that morning? the entire cemetery was prettily strewn here and there with a couple inches of snow. it totally added to the epic graves/monuments. the first one that wowed me:

this cemetery actually had long, wide streets where cars could drive comfortably around blocks with sometimes massive structures housing tons of gravestones. i thought this monument looked particularly sci-fi:

epic grave:

suddenly i realized that my Greek phone (which i figured would accurately adjust time after discovering service abroad) displayed an hour later time than did my iphone (that i had set to Budapest time awhile ago). assuming that the other phone was correct, i kind of panicked thinking i’d be late to meet Meryl, so i started tramping towards the opposite end of the cemetery from where i came in, assuming that the idea of multiple entrances wasn’t entirely farfetched. well, i found an exit, but the gate was locked. i spent a few moments contemplating jumping the wall, until a giant truck (like a dump truck) started bellowing down the lane. i waved at the man driving and he stopped. i (knowing the answer already) asked him if he could unlock the gate. of course not. i then made a few basic gestures, conveying that i wanted him to drive me to the front. he accepted. i walked around the front of the truck, climbed the three steps up and sat for the short ride. he clearly knew only a few drops of English because our only conversation was: “student?” “yes!” and then when i got out at the front, “thank you! thank you! :) :)” i was very happy. Hungarian people are nice.

i booked it to the bus station to meet Meryl and only when i pretty much got there already (seeing a clock on the way) did i realize that my iphone had the correct time all along. so i was a little early. who can be bored when music is available?

a few girls started gathering, apparently for a bus ride to Krakow, while i sat against a wall, smoking, and listening to Danger Mouse do his thing. i hadn’t listened to it in a long while, and after recently getting a higher bitrate version than the one i had, i thought it a good time to listen. a half hour before i expect to see the girl, i bend down to my backpack to tear myself a giant piece of bread from the loaf i bought earlier, while “I GOT 99 PROBLEMS BUT A BITCH AIN’T ONE IF YOU’RE HAVING GIRL PROBLEMS I FEEL BAD FOR YOU SON I GOT 99 PROBLEMS BUT A BITCH AIN’T ONE HIT ME” blasts into my ears. i grab the bread and someone appears in front of me, and i momentarily assume it’s some weird Hungarian girl, until i look up and see this enigmatic creature standing before me:

jesus christ buddha the virgin mary the saints the souls the spires their architects their sons their long hair bleeding tequila shot in the arm full of glory heaven mercy sacrificed sheep crying to the bath with a satchel of bread and wine and nothing but the light of a million singing choruses to calm. kind of gives you an impression of how it feels to look into the eyes of the sea. an enigma, Conrad says.

we found our way down to the metro, squeezing hands, and rode back downtown to find our hostel. Meryl’s loca. she booked through this place called boomerang hostel, but she didn’t get one of the rooms there. she got an actual apartment about a five minute walk away. the apartment seriously beats my apartment here in Athens. it had a huge bedroom with two big beds, a coffeetable, a stand with a tv (we didn’t realize that we had a tv until a day or two later, and even then we of course didn’t turn it on once). we also had a kitchen, dining room, and bathroom, all very nice. the front door opened to a cute little courtyard that led to the front of the building.

after satisfying ourselves with a trilogy of decadence, we made our way to the other hostel where all our friends had the weekend booked. i saw Lauren! and Elise! and Dan! so nice to see old friends. we had a little drink, a little smoke together, and made out for dinner. the place ended up being a little more than i wanted to pay but the food stunned. my main dish was a beef stew with a side of pasta with ewe cheese melted on top. fantastic. i split the following dessert with Meryl: egg white islands floating in a vanilla sea. it sounds ridiculous, it looked ridiculous, and it tasted a little ridiculous, but absolutely delicious. such a treat.

we checked out the gorgeous parliament building after dinner. click that link if you want legitimately amazing photos view of this grandiose building. the detail could never be captured on my silly iphone, especially at night:

i love the Danube. again, click the link for serious photos (and for knowledge!!!), but here’s my lousy one:

from the article: “Known to history as one of the long-standing frontiers of the Roman Empire, the river flows through or forms a part of the borders of ten countries: Germany (7.5%), Austria (10.3%), Slovakia (5.8%), Hungary (11.7%), Croatia (4.5%), Serbia (10.3%), Romania (28.9%), Bulgaria (5.2%), Moldova (1.7%), and Ukraine (3.8%).” fascinating.

the sightseeing ended briefly and we eventually made our way to our first Hungarian bar. this one was called simpla:

though it actually seemed really cool (two floors, open air, decent music, full of people–not necessarily tourists, graffiti on the walls, just plain cool vibes), i didn’t last very long. my night of pretty much no sleep caught up with me and Meryl and i made the long walk home, where the two of us promptly passed out.

~~~~~ Day Two ~~~~~

having brought eggs and orange juice and bread and cheese (aka the essentials), Meryl and i cooked ourselves a quaint little delicious breakfast to start off our day. this pretty much repeated every day, and we couldn’t have been more pleased. after shivering for a few minutes by ourselves, the rest of the gang met us at the Pest end of szechenyi chain bridge to start our tour of Buda:

i didn’t even know it was called this until Alicia asked me how i liked it on my wall: fisherman’s bastion. it’s truly, truly gorgeous and surrounds a little square with a massive statue and matthias church.

it was really such a strange pocket of tourism. at the base of the statue, two men were charging people about $5-10 for the glorious opportunity to hold a hawk or eagle with their professional supervision. the bird would sit on your bird-glove (i’m sure it has a technical name) and it would look majestic for all your photographing needs. then for it’s final trick it would spread its awesome wings behind your head, while it looked disdainfully away from you. people ate it up. i almost ate up a beautiful tourist trap set up by four guys right at the top of the bastion’s wall. you walk up the stairs and see a man sitting at a little table challenging the three other men to the cup and ball game. he would mix up the cups and one of the men kept betting money on one of the cups. sometimes he would win, sometimes he would lose. this truly astonished Philip and i, because every single time we could plainly see which one had the ball. we stared for a few more minutes, walked to the other side of the wall and kept staring, until it dawned on us that the guys were all in it together, trying to fool tourists. anytime somebody would come up, the same friend of the table guy would bet some money, lose it, win it, lose it. it was crazy.

i think we saw some tool actually lose some money (thank god that tool wasn’t me, even though it almost was).

look who followed me to Budapest:

isn’t she beautiful? thank god she wasn’t defiled like this poor fellow:

jealous of Athena? maybe.

that was when we were hanging out in front of the museum. i forgot what it was called. it’s epically beautiful, though, and i think it used to be / is a palace. this was to the entrance to said museum:

this is one of us (Philip) representing all of us, tired after a long day of walking:

we ate some delicious delicious spaghetti at a restaurant called simpla (yes, the same name as the bar, i don’t get it) before making a long walk down a beautiful boulevard towards heroes’ square on the way to our very first hungarian bath. the gang in the park:

i really really wish i had gotten some pictures of inside, outside, all over sides of the szechenyi medicinal bath. that page has a pretty nice gallery, though. we went about an hour before sunset and slowly watched the sky turn dark. the building, all yellow, the water, a light blue with steam constantly rising into the grey-blue turning purple-black sky, wonderful warm water, what a bath. probably my favorite part about Budapest, that bath. so many foreigners everywhere. about a few minutes after getting in, a guy waded over to me and asked me where i was from. i was hesitant to respond, mostly because i assume anyone asking is just fucking with me because most Europeans seem to be able to mark me as American from a marathon away. “United States,” i told him. he said that he and his friends, pointing them out to me, were from Italy and that he just wanted to tell me that i looked exactly exactly exactly like one of their friends from home, everything about me. apparently i can pass as Italian. pretty sweet. other than that, the night passed smoothly warmly wonderfully minerally. Dan tried to get in on a bath chess game and failed. too bad. i was definitely sad to leave.

walking back to our home territory, we relatively quickly decided on a pizzeria for dinner. my pizza was supposed to be Hungarian in its cheese or meat selection, or something, but it tasted like a pretty normal (and magnificent) pizza to me. Meryl, Elise, and i also split some great chocolate-covered profiterole.

after some annoyance finding some drink for the night, we stopped by the gang’s hostel to have some beer, wine, smoke, before heading out to a place Philip’s friend(s) had recommended to him called monoelectro. it had a tiny door on a tiny street, you had to walk down a little flight of stairs, where you found a tiny bar, a little room where you could see computer dreams below which a dj blasted sexy electronica on the floor below. my kind of place. immediately and absolutely worth the ~$5 cover. i treated Dan to a tequila shot for his birthday and then we proceeded to investigate the absinthe situation. i’m still not totally sure whether it was real absinthe or not. i guess there’s really no reason to think not, but it didn’t have a profound effect on me or anything. it just kind of proved to be a ridiculous spectacle, lighting a spoonful of sugar made me want heroin, not some lousy pretend trippy drink. at least i can say i’ve done it now. needless to say, i was exhausted after another long day, so Meryl and i made a relatively early trip back home for some fun and sleep.

~~~~~ Day Three ~~~~~

Meryl and i woke up on time but not early enough to meet Dan on time after our delicious egg breakfast. a half hour late, i felt really bad, but Dan seemed okay. i still felt really bad. we had made plans to go the art museum right there in heroes’ square, but of course when he mentioned how cool the flea market was, we had to check it out. we walked through the park (the same one where the bath was) and eventually found the market. crowded, small, packed, awesome, full of knick-knacks, classic flea market. i love it. i think flea markets are my favorite kinds of place to spend money. besides grocery stores, obviously. i didn’t get anything, but whatever. some fools were trying to rip me off.

before heading over to the museum, the triforce smoked a spliff. this was a third of the result:

what a silly little crazy starry-eyed fantastic sugar cotton lover. a day before, she seriously made our pissed-off waitress burst out laughing when she started giggling and clapping with a big smile when her hot chocolate with a mountain of whipped cream came. i love love love love (in 4/4 time) this little star. Dan and i similarly stuffed our faces on the way to the museum. lauren had been kinda of hating on it at the market, but i was not let down. i don’t know how a building that big called the “Museum of Fine Arts” could ever disappoint. none has yet to, anyway. usually i take a million pictures at museums, but at this one i was less intense. here are two awesome awesome awesome sculptures, anyway:

besides these sculptures, the place housed paintings from about half the countries in Europe in the range of about 1400-1800. pretty ridiculous coverage, my eyes delighted.

we made our way back to Dan’s hostel, where kaela, lauren, and mark we’re having a triad of heart attacks because elise and philip weren’t back yet. the love birds eventually came, the crew ran off hastily, and i was stuck with cotton candy girl all by myself. it was still very early in the day, but we were still feeling really exhausted, so we opted out of exploring Budapest. with a quick stop at our favorite local grocery store (the one i bought bread at on day one), we were back in our apartment for the afternoon/evening/night. what a decadent treat. what a treat of decadence. by the end of the night, we had stuffed our faces with pasta, dipped a loaf of bread into nutella and then into our mouths, munched on fantastic treats of pastries, drunk two bottles of wine, and eaten each other alive. at one point we just lay in bed listening to Person Pitch play from my iphone while reading the lyrics on it. i love that i can do shit that stupid with her and consider it one of the best nights of my life.

come and give me the space i need

come and give me the space i need

come and give me the space i need

come and give me the space i need

come and give me the space i need

come and give me the space i need

come and give me the space i need

come and give me the space i need

~~~~~ Day Four ~~~~~

we actually had method to our madness. we originally planned to hit up the other famous Hungarian bath the night before but, remembering that it was sunday, we soon found out our plans were thwarted by silly schedules. because i had to leave by around 11 on monday, we decided to sleep early the night before (around 10), wake up at 5am the next day, and head over to the bath in the morning. we actually did it!

while crossing the szechenyi (the bath was on the Buda side this time), we smoked a giant spliff of everything Meryl had left. i recommend this kind of bridge crossing for everybody. you start walking across in one state, and you reach the other side in another. a good half hour walk after the bridge crossing brought us to the gellert baths. this place beat the shit out of the other bath in terms of elegance, but it kind of sucked because the thermal baths separated by sex. for the first 45min or so, Meryl and i swam in the normal temperature effervescent swimming pool, while old men stared us down. actually, right when we walked into the room with the pool, a fat old man yelled and pointed at me until a staff member came to me and started speaking to me in Spanish (i guess he didn’t know English and figured Spanish stood a better chance than Hungarian) telling me that i had to wear a shower cap. after the swimming pool, Meryl and i tripped out together in the hot tub nearby. she felt like she was floating in lcl and i felt like i floated in her mind and hers in mine and ours in the water’s and the complete break down of any at-field. she is crazy she is crazy she is crazy. i eventually convinced her sadface to split from me for a good fifteen minutes so we could each check out the thermal baths. i found myself in a gigantic room with two pools, one warmer than the other, and old naked Hungarian men waddling around. who else goes to a bath at 6 in the morning? i definitely stood out. especially because i didn’t actually get naked. yeah yeah i’m a prude.

that pretty much ended my Budapest excursion. Meryl and i walked back, took some silly pictures, showered, packed, checked out of the hostel, bitched at a stupid metro machine, said goodbye much too quickly, and put a thousand miles between us once again. for my own pleasure, here are those silly pictures:

Continue reading

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firsts [archive]

they finally posted the coachella lineup:

FRIDAY: i can’t stop loling it up. what a complete joke. paul mccartney? nobody cares about paul mccartney except paul mccartney. hey paul: Hey Jude sucked then and it sucks now. i wish they had gotten John Lennon instead. i hear Morrissey is cool, so i guess people could watch him instead of franz ferdinand. Meryl raved a bit about Leonard Cohen but i know nothing about him. Conor Oberst is a dick but i’m sure he’ll put on a cool show, along with Beirut, Black Keys, and Girl Talk. god i think the only act i would actually be crazy about seeing on friday is M. Ward. i’ve also heard a lot of good things about the Bug from people whose music taste i respect.
consider: Aphex Twin and mum alone destroy this entire lineup.

SATURDAY: the killers? the killers? people listen to the killers? i mean, the killers? the killers was the band that i kept comparing nin to the day The Hand That Feeds leaked. my head dropped in my hands and i almost cried because my favorite band in the whole universe was turning into the killers. now the band i used for such lofty comparisons is headlining coachella on saturday. awesome. amy winehouse? i don’t know. Thievery Corporation is cool and all, but it’s really just second-rate Portishead. everyone loves TV on the Radio and MSTRKRFT but i have yet to get into either. Fleet Foxes!! Mastodon! Henry Rollins?? Hercules and Love Affair? Dr. Dog? Calexico? alright these are pretty cool acts, but still nothing that really wows. i’m pretty sure this was the killer (ha) day for me at last coachella.
consider: Kraftwerk, Portishead, Animal Collective, and Prince vs. Thievery Corporation, Amy Winehouse, Fleet Foxes, and The Killers

SUNDAY: wow! a good headliner! i actually would love to see The Cure, but they’re not going to make me crazy about missing the festival. with My Bloody Valentine, we’re starting to talk. Public Enemy? apparently Sunday is the day to go. i guess Sebastien Tellier, Junior Boys, and Supermayer might be cool to see. but still…..
consider: Roger Waters performs the Dark Side of the Moon followed by Justice afterparty.

as much as i bitch about the lineup, it pleases me immensely to see how much it sucks….. because i can’t go anyway! moving on.

i bought my first pack of cigarettes yesterday. why? i am a big proponent of experimentation and indulgence. experimentation opens up the mind to the world and its many ways. i feel that the unexperimenters have destined themselves to the couch in front of their tv, watching reruns, fast forwarding through commercials, eating the food they know they love, happy, content, placid, bored. experimenting not only helps you understand the billions of people and animals and rocks and nothingness around you, but it also helps you understand yourself. indulgence is less defendable, in my opinion, but it just happens to reflect a big part of who i am. jumping into a pool is far more interesting than inching in. i like to spread out my arms and say Everything Everything Everything. i can’t just “like” bands, i have to obsess over them. i am going to enter the world of smoking while in Europe and then i’ll leave when i return to the US. i actually made a $20 bet with Xanthe last night that i will never buy a single damn cigarette in the US. as naive as it might sound, i am serious about this. why smoke tobacco when you can smoke marijuana?

yesterday was also the first time that i went to a lesbian bar. i’m friends with these girls that live together–Xanthe, Maddy, Caitlin–and the latter has been here since last semester. she wanted to take us and since they’re all really cool, i didn’t have any problem with it. the four of us, sam, and whitney went together and had a pretty sweet time. for not being a lesbian (besides being the kind stuck in a man’s body, ha ha), i actually really liked the place. it was chill.

today i woke up around 2 and got out of bed to get myself some lunch at cya. i ate alone, but since i’ve managed to get my iphone on the wireless network there, i made good use of the time to read a ton of nytimes. apparently a bunch of neo-forests are springing up where older rain forests had been slaughtered earlier, with such great intensity and speed that scientists around the world are going ? ? ? what’s going on ? ? ? are environmentalists crazy ? ? ? i wish i understood the world ? ? ? it’s funny watching people try to figure out what the hell is happening around them. it made me happy to see that millions have been protesting in the streets of France against sarkozy. no matter what the cause, i always support protest. it makes me happy to see people getting pissed off and yelling. they seem so alive!

i actually found myself surprised to read some nice articles about the US. apparently senators can still do things. i don’t know the details of the bill, but it seems good enough on the surface. unfortunately, “The bill would increase tobacco taxes to offset the increase in spending, estimated at more than $32 billion over four and a half years.” it sucks that smokers get punished for something they should be free to do without special taxes. raise taxes on broccoli and alcohol and roller coasters, too.

dude. look at our fucking president:

what. a fucking. baller. Obama makes signing a bill look like moonwalking. i’m down with girls getting paid the same as boys. then after calling out the bulls on parade, he tells people to just chill out a little bit. leaving lunch, i started a little wander through the streets of Athens. a few minutes after starting my walk, with all the nytimes running through my head, a smile just broke across my face. the sky was a pale blue with some scattered puffs of clouds and i actually felt good about things my President was saying and doing. i almost wanted to go up to some random person and say, “hey. do you know Barack Obama? he’s my president.” this is so unlike me and i’m still remembering that he’s plugged into one of the most corruptible systems in the world, but still. things are looking pretty alright so far. he seems to actually think, care, consider. he seems to hate bullshit and bullshitting around. he seems cool. THIS is the guy i would want to kick a few beers back with.

i have a map of Athens pinned on the wall behind my computer, so i’m always thinking with my eyes, i want to go.. there! the closest thing to me was what looked like a giant cemetery. so i started wandering there, mapless, and eventually found it. i don’t know how it compares to say, pere lachaise, in size, but it’s pretty massive. i just walked through it directionless, trying to get lost among death, and i eventually got deep enough in that the ambience of traffic was nearly muted. death obsesses me. i really have no idea if other people are down with exploring random cemeteries by themselves, but i think its pretty profound. i think a lot about how everyone thinks about death. we think about those who have gone before and we wonder when our own time will come. we wonder why so many people have such big markers, but then we consider those who were left to the dogs.

in classical Greece, being left for the dogs stood as one of the, if not the one, deepest disgraces one could suffer. personally, i wouldn’t mind being left for the dogs. they’re hungry dogs, and even if you hide under meters of marble, they’ll find you eventually. Continue reading

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