Check out my other blogs: Life, etc. and Chrisfit

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Site News

Alright, listen up, gang.
 If you're really observant about the layout of my blog, you'll notice that I've changed a couple of things which I hope will make it a bit easier to read. I lightened up the font and increased the size. Okay, that's pretty much it.
The other thing I actually wanted to discuss in this post was that I've been going through the blogger stats for this blog and I noticed a couple of interesting things. Number one: by far the leading referring url to this blog is facebook. Now, as you're all well aware I'm not on facebook, which means that someone else must have linked my blog on their facebook page, right? I'm just curious where this came from, I just find it interesting is all. Secondly, someone came to this blog through a google search for the terms "taekwondo sexy her foot". Not only am I baffled that anyone would ever search for such a random assortment of words but that somehow the google results for all that nonsense would bring them to my humble blog. Lastly, I wanted to point out that the most viewed blog post of mine for the last month is a story I wrote nearly a year ago called "A Winter's Tale #1" so, again out of mere curiousity, what has been bringing folks to that post in particular? If any of you readers have answers to any of these questions, please leave a comment and let me know. It's always nice to feel like people are actually reading these words.
And with that, I'll see you all in December.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Leslie Nielsen, dead today at the age of 84

I was creeping on various people's twitter pages earlier this evening when I saw people tweeting that Leslie Nielsen had died. For awhile I was sure it was a hoax. One of those absurdisms that has come to define today's media thanks to instant notifications, social networking, on their effects on the news. Alas, I was to learn that it was, in fact, true. Leslie Nielsen, actor, was dead. I hate that this is how I found out. Leslie Nielsen is perhaps the first actor I could identify by name and face. My childhood memories are filled with evenings watching his movies with my parents. While the Naked Gun series is absolutely brilliant (and perhaps the greatest performance by OJ Simpson) and Spy Hard was a double whammy of my childhood heroes (Nielsen and Weird Al? Awesome) the greatest is by far Airplane! It is one of the first "adult" films I remember from my youth and remains one of my favorite comedies. It is the definition and pinnacle of the spoof film. It does to disaster movies what today's spoofs can barely gesture towards (Epic Movie, Disaster Movie, and their ilk? Fuck them). One of the greatest things you can do in your life, and yes I'm absolutely recommending this, is get together with a group of your funniest friends and watch Airplane! together. If they haven't seen it before, all the better.

Leslie Nielsen died of complications from pneumonia in a hospital in Florida. He was with his friends and family.

That last part made me think that there must be a lot of bodies found out in the everglades, half eaten by alligators and the like. Don't you think that would make a good reality show? I mean, Alaska's State Troopers get their own tv show. Wouldn't one where you watch Florida cops going around finding chewed bodies in bloated alligators be even better?

And finally, when I wrote the title to this post it reminded me of that old SNL skit where Dana Carvey was Tom Brokaw and they had him reading prepared obituaries for Gerald Ford as they got more and more ridiculous. That doesn't have to do anything, but its a really funny skit.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Doo Doo Doo Doo Doo Doo Doo Doo, Doo Doo Doo

The title is me singing "Linus & Lucy" by the way. I was watching the Charlie Brown Thanksgiving Special.

I had meant to write a run-up to Thanksgiving post, then I was going to write an actual Thanksgiving post. And...then it was going to be a review of my Thanksgiving. So now its sunday night and I'm finally updating. And really I've been putting off all these Thanksgiving themed posts not so much out of laziness (though that certainly had a lot to do with it) but that Thanksgiving really doesn't mean anything to me. I realize of course, that after watching Charlie Brown I didn't come away with the appropriate moral reaction I was supposed to, but whatever. I get it that Thanksgiving is the time that you spend time with friends and family and that this when you should be mindful of all your own blessings. It is the time to be thankful for all that in your life which you typically forget is special. I understand that much, and despite all the cliche and all the commercialism and gluttony and so on, and that Thanksgiving can be a meaningful and beautiful holiday.

My problem with all this is tha I've never had that Thanksgiving. Due to a series of unexpected circumstances, I spent this Thanksgiving with my mother, my sister, her husband, my aunt and her seven year old daughter. This was the largest, most familial Thanksgiving I've had in years. For nearly a decade prior my Thanksgiving has consisted of me, my mom, and my sister (starting two years ago her boyfriend/fiancee/husband has been a part of it). As to my being thankful for the things and people in my life, its something I've always had trouble with and so its something that I remind myself of often. I find it a fleeting sensation but a near-constant mental exercise for me so in that way Thanksgiving holds little sway.

Finally, all this served to remind me of my late paternal Grandfather. He passed away five years ago and it pained me, amidst all this onerous ponderousness that I've given very little thought to him recently. Which is a shameful fact as, likely more than any other man, he helped shape me to be the person I am today. After my parents' divorce, through almost my entire highschool career, he lived with us and was one of the most positive influences in my life during that time. More than anyone else, he helped to nurture and promote my intellectuctual curiosity and my interest in music and the arts. He was a brilliant man, the friendliest person I've ever met, and has one of the coolest life stories of anybody I've ever known. I watched him become more and more ill over the years as I prepared to leave home, and I'll never forget the call I received late one autumn night when my mom told me he had died. He was like the father that I was missing in my life and without his presence I shudder to think what I would've become in high school. I consider it a great tragedy that he never got to see the man I became: the tortured genius, the vagabond, the reserved comic actor (he was alive only long enough to see my first theatre performance). What I would do for some of his advice today.

This year, as always, I am thankful for the friends and family that I have lost along the way.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Meditations on the Stoic Principles

-So you just got back from your trip?
-Yeah, I was in Southeast Asia for three weeks
-Wow, that sounds like a really good time.
-Yeah, it was, I was good. Yeah. No, it was fine.
-You don't sound too convinced.
-No, it was good. Really. It's know how I am. I get unhappy being someplace so I pack up and leave only to find that I can't stand this new place either. It's happened to me over and over and over again, on both a large scale and a small scale. It was my reasoning for wanting to get out of Ohio for the last ten years, then when I finally do get out of Ohio, I can't stand it and I come running back. No matter where I am, I'm not happy there and I want to be somewhere else.
-Yeah, I've kinda noticed that undercurrent. So, tell me, you travel alot yes?
-You could say that. I mean, I'm not like the Secretary of State but for the kind of life I've lived, yeah, I've had a few travel experiences.
-More than average.
-Yeah, certainly.
-Okay, so tell me, what's your favorite place in the whole world?
-I'm sorry?
-Of all the places you've been, domestic, foreign, in school, outside of school, everything. What's the one place where you feel most happy? Most safe, to use your own terminology. What's the one place you would go back to over and over again without ever getting tired of it?
-Think about it for a second.
-It's going to sound stupid.
-Coming from you, I highly doubt that.
-Haha. Pardon me? Like your bed at home?
-Not necessarily. Just, like, my bed, or any bed really. Well, I mean like any bed that I can call mine, even if just for a night. Not like the bed at the showroom at Ikea or something.
-Haha, ok, I get that. You feel safe in the warmth and comfort of your own bed.
-It's not just that. I mean...I don't really even understand what I mean. This is stupid, I don't know why I said "bed". That's retarded.
-I think you know exactly why you said that. Slow down, just say whatever you're trying to say.
-It's like, I had this girlfriend a long time ago. We almost never went out and did things, we just liked to lay in bed together. Not even like make out or sex or anything. Like just take naps. Or just lay there and hold hands and not move. It was our favorite thing to do together. So yeah, I guess bed is where I feel safe or whatever but its not even that conscious. And it doesn't have anything to do with sex. It doesn't even have to do with sleeping. I mean I eat in bed, I read in bed, I watch movies in bed. Hell, I'm writing this right now laying in bed.
-Writing what?
-What? Nothing. Look, when I first became depressed I spent all my time in bed. I had been living in DC for about two months when this all really started. Any second I wasn't in class I was in bed. I went to the store and bought those heavy duty light blocking curtains. I bought all 5 seasons of The Office on dvd and I would just lay there in bed, completely ignorant of the time of day and watch dvds. I had horrible insomnia at the time and would sometimes go three days without sleeping. Just laying in bed in the dark.
-That's a very normal way of expressing your depression.
-Yeah but that was before it even got bad. I mean when things got really bad for me, like my last month in DC and my first couple months back home when I wasn't just depressed, I was distraught. I couldn't go near my bed. It had lost everything that it had meant to me. Whatever the hell that was. I slept, when I slept, on the floor. When I was upset I laid on the floor and screamed or cried or whatever. It was like some kind of self-imposed exile from my own bed. From my only refuge.
-And now?
-And now...well, now its a bit like those first couple months in DC. I'm not really feeling comfortable anymore. I thought the vacation would make a nice, well, vacation, I guess. But I didn't come back feeling any different. I'm still uncomfortable, I'm still afraid. I'm spending alot of time in bed these days because, I don't know why really, but I guess because when I lay in bed, in the dark, time stands still. All those scary parts of the future I don't want to face or deal with, just stay there in the future. And as long as I stay there in bed I don't have to deal with my responsibilities.
-You don't have to be a grown up.
-Yeah. I guess.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010


It's going to take me a long, long time to go through and sort all my pictures. Name them, you know, etc. So here's a couple of highlights. Also, that last post came out a little pessimistic, which is sorta what I was going through because, you know, I'm not lying, it was a weird trip. Travelling that long completely alone makes you feel very alone. Considering that a constant feeling of isolation is what I'm going through pretty much all the time, it was a weird trip. But as I'm sure you can understand, it was a good trip. Without further ado, Highlights:

Also, thoughts on the beard?

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Homecoming or "Second Verse, Same as the First"

As I approach the end of this year's adventure, it makes me ponder several things, many of which I'll not be able to put into words but which float around my head like wet vapor anyways. The first of these, though, is whether or not I accomplished my goals for this trip. And to that, I have to say that three weeks later, I'm still not sure what it is I had hoped to accomplish.  My most practical and secular goal of this trip was to go abroad. Somewhere, anywhere. And to that extent, obviously I've succeeded. I've travelled abroad annually for the last eight years and to have not done so this year would have been very damaging to me. However, in a more real, less tangible sense, I used this trip as an opportunity to escape. To escape the mundane world of Delaware, Ohio; a distasteful job; and a life that, at present, lacks direction or focus. And, I suppose, I accomplished that, if only for a few weeks. The unpleasantness that weighs on me now is that nothing will have changed. My job will remain distasteful, my town will remain what it is, and my life will continue to be unfocused and lost. So, what have I really gained in all this?

I thought perhaps by travelling, by returning to something I've long known I enjoyed, I could escape some of the dread and fear that has nagged at me for more than a year now. But I find that halfway across the world that same dread and those same fears followed me. The nausea of day to day life remains with me in Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam and all the troubles, though further away, remain a preoccupation for me. They still stand in my way of, well of whatever it is I think I'm supposed to be feeling. By the time I get home the best lesson I've have learned out of all this is that I can't run from my problems. Which, though a useful one, is not particularly palatable to me.

Finally, I have to say that while I absolutely enjoyed this trip; it was an adventure from start to finish one that I'll always remember fondly; I must say it was the least fun I've ever had on an overseas trip. Now it's times like this where I have to carefully define my words. Fun is something we think we all understand but apparently my idea of "fun" like so many other of my ideas, is more nuanced and complicated than that of others. I had fun. I cannot deny it, I did fun things and met some fun people, and overall I had a good time. But yet, there was a feeling during these last three weeks of, merely going through the motions, if that makes any sense to you. I felt no real sense of excitement or premature expectation of enjoyment. Like a bueracrat, I went to the travel agencies, chose my trips, paid, duly attended my trips with all the necessary pleasure and joy that was expected of me and then came back. Rinse. Repeat. It's difficult to explain. It was fun, yes, of course and wasn't. Ah well. Que sea, sea. What was, was.

Now I return home to the same, same, same. Just with one more adventure behind me. One more thing I don't have to look forward to. Hahaha, if that isn't the most pessimistic way of looking at a vacation possible, then I just don't what is. I do look forward to a real bed again. So at least I have that. Wish me luck, its a long plane ride ahead of me. I love you all. Goodnight.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010


It's an interesting question I get sometimes. I'm traveling alone so I tend to meet other individuals or small groups on my trip and hang out with them. Then, when it's time to part they always ask the same thing: "Are you on facebook?" Now this is a silly question for two reasons: first, everyone and their grandmother is on facebook, the fucking queen of England is on facebook so its not a real question; the real question is "hey, will you write down your full name for me so I can find you and friend you on facebook?" which is cool, I mean that's what facebook is for, but really just ask that question. The second reason its a silly question is - I'm not on facebook. The look of shock on people's faces when I have to tell them that is of great interest to me every time I see it. After all, like I said, everyone is on facebook, the last thing they expect when they ask that question is "No, actually I'm not".

Now there is a reason I bring all this up in my first and only post from Thailand (oh, I'm currently in Thailand by the way). Facebook is a wonderful thing for travelers; it allows them to stay connected with friends and family at home, it allows them to share their exciting stories and pictures from their adventures all over the world, and it allows them to create and maintain their connections with people they meet while traveling. In fact of the dozen or so people in this internet cafe with me right now, more than half that I can see are currently on their facebook page. Now I have no problem with any of this, as I've said before, facebook is perfectly fine, I have no real beef with it. I don't care that people are on, I don't really even care that people spend every waking moment of their lives on it. There are better ways to spend your life, but hey, its your life. My problem with facebook is purely personal and I won't get into it here. Again the reason I bring this up is not a gripe with facebook but merely as an observation of what a useful tool it can be for the serious traveler. I mean, lets face it, half the reason most of us go on trips like is so that we can feel superior to others. (Right? No? Oh...) And little makes us feel more superior to others than when we compare facebook status updates. "Mark had the BEST nap today!!! :)" Yeah, not bad but how about "Chris went swimming with elephants in the River Kwai today." Now say what you want about naps and, personally, I quite love them, but let's face it, one is significantly cooler than the other.

I guess really the point of all this is just to reiterate that I'm not going to be getting on facebook anytime soon. Yes when I left facebook I quite literally lost all contact with almost every friend I had, a contact that almost a year later has neither returned nor been replaced. It's significantly more difficult living in this world without facebook, I won't deny it. I know that nobody reads this blog as a result of that. I know that I could very much lord over my friends my exciting adventures in Asia if I were on facebook. In fact, if I were to return to facebook today and remake all those old connections I could act even more superior for how long I lived without facebook. But I'm not going to. Has my point been made? According to my therapist, yes, apparently it has. But I didn't do it to make a point. I did it for me. And I'm not going back on it now just because it would make my life a whole lot easier. We lived in this world a long time without facebook and before you know it, it'll be replaced by something else seemingly essentially to our daily lives. And will I jump onto that once facebook is gone? Maybe. But I like to think I won't. Because it's just, I don't know, it's just not for me.

Going back to my point at the beginning, I am always asked "Are you on facebook?" And my answer is always, "No, actually I'm not." And then I shrug. The other person always gets really flustered there and the conversation changes to, "Oh, well then we should exchange emails then." "Yeah," I say, "That'd work too."