Tuesday, October 27, 2009


I love to travel. I love road trips, stopping along the way for snacks and drinks, laughing and joking and bonding in a tiny vehicle; I love seeing new places and people; learning of new cultures; trying new foods. The whole experience makes for a happy me. Recently, I've been reading Long Way Down, by Ewan McGregor (yes, Obi Wan Kenobi) and his friend, Charley Boorman. Basically, the two friends take off from the top of Sctoland on two BMW motorbikes and travel down, through Africa, until they hit the tip: Capetown. It speaks of culture and people at once different, terrifying, and beautiful. It has made me a bit nostalgic over a trip I took once.

I had the great opportunity to go to London and Paris while in high school, and although I found London to be a bit more aggressive than Paris, I adored Paris. We did all of the tourist-y things, visited castles and the Eiffel Tower, went down the Thames in a boat, walked around Stonehenge, and so on. But I remember one moment in time that has stuck with me through the blur of sleep deprivation, tight schedules, and time away.

The night was so dark it was hard to see, except for the brilliance of the Eiffel Tower, which lit up the square beneath with what seemed like thousands of tiny lights. Still, it was pretty dark. Venders were walking around, trying their best to get money off the tourists. One group in particular seemed to be working together. . .or maybe they were rivals. They were the darkest people I had ever seen, skin like ebony, like the night in which we wandered, taking in the sights. When the sellers were far away, they were nearly invisible, except for their jewelry. They had piercings: labraes, ears, noses; and in these piercings they wore big stones that flashed through a multi-hued light show. Sometimes, all you could see were these light shows flashing by, the people themselves blending with the dark of the night.

In that moment, I was enthralled. This was not the Paris you read about, this was something different. A subculture, a part of the night life, an actual piece of Paris, not a tourist attraction. Sure, they were there to bank on tourists, but they were not an attraction in and of themselves. Just like the street vender who painted beautiful artwork along an alleyway, or the couples holding onto each other and walking down cobbled streets. I wasn't so interested in what the tourists wanted to see; I wanted the real Paris. That day and the night to follow was the closest I got, bartering with the venders and smiling at a beautiful landscape paiting, a universal utterance of appreciation, which had the artist in smiles too. That's what I remember.

Also, trying to spit off the top of the Eiffel Tower, but that's another story involving wind velocity and laws of physics working aginst me. :P

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Jazz Festival

I like to say that my taste in music is eclectic. Let's just put it this way: if I could choose one band to see right now, it would be Flogging Molly. A close second would be Clutch. If neither of those sound familiar, and you're too lazy to follow the links (you should totally follow the links; they will open your world of music), allow me to sum them up for you -
  • Flogging Molly = Irish Punk Rock; Fave Songs: Pretty much all of them. . .
  • Clutch = Heavy, Yelling Metal; Fave Songs: Space Grass, Big News From the Party Boat 1; 10001 (yes, that's the name of a song. My thoughts are that its binary code. . .)
Anywho, so jazz falls somewhere on my like-o-meter, and I managed to talk myself into going to the festival they were having in my hometown. I bought a four dollar funnel cake and a two dollar root beer; I hung around with friends, one of which is a musician and probably appreciated the music far more than I did; I tried not to get a contact high from whoever thought lighting a joint was a good idea in a place where they had real cops and not just security guards (Dudes, if I can smell it, so can the cops. . .); I checked out motorcycles. I got home a little after midnight.

I thought it would merely be a little jazz, but it was a full blown festival, with three different stages, many booths selling everything from turkey legs to jewelry to cowgirl hats. It was so crowded, I actually had no problem dancing with myself, hips moving to the rhythms the entire band was feeling. Because if there were so many people, no one would be watching, right? RIGHT?!

It was an all around, basically good time, and if there is one thing I've come to discover over these past few months, it's that music can turn a bad mood around; dancing soothes the soul; singing allows release for emotions that would otherwise be pushed away. Music, in all its many forms, can help one heal piece by little piece.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Best TV Line!

Castle's Mother: "They've re-made Fame and A Christmas Carol. Has Hollywood completely run out of ideas?"

Castle: "They're going to be making a movie based on Asteroid: The Game, so apparently yes. But, Ryan Phillips is going to be playing the wee triangle, and he's supposed to be really good!"

Ha! I remember that game and it's wee triangle! Ah, good times.

P.S. That's a line from the TV series, Castle, starring Nathan Fillion, who played Mal in both the awesome TV series Firefly, and the movie version-continuation-thingy, Serenity.

Dollars For Debbie

Not too long ago, I ran into an old friend of mine and his mom at a Time Out for Women event (Google that, if you're curious). It was cool to catch up with him about his wife and kids, and to see his mom again, who was taking video with her digital camera. He was giving information out about his website company, and it's definitely cool. An online journalling site, and when you're done, you can order your journal to be printed, bound in leather, with your name scrolled into the cover for a reasonable price. Very cool. They even include any pictures you might upload onto your journal.

Well, I found out recently that my friend's mom, Debbie, has recently been diagnosed with breast cancer. So, my friend put together a site for her, for anyone to donate to help with any costs. They only ask for one dollar, although I'm positive they would not mind if you gave more. This is a chance to help someone and her family in their time of need, if only in the monetary sense. Trust me, they don't need that stress on top of that. So, go check out Dollars for Debbie. I promise, you won't regret the donation.