Zadar!

27 December 2010 § Leave a comment

this is the most poetic day of my life. look at the Mediterranean! it’s so clear and beautiful and I think the sun will come out today.

life is good.

hip hopping through eastern europe

26 December 2010 § Leave a comment

I wonder how long it will be before I feel like this matters. A day here, a night there, a few pictures when the weather isn’t whining and crying on me because I’m here, or snowing and blowing like it doesn’t want me here. Well, fuck you, too, because I didn’t want to be there either. So I’m leaving now, off to the next town, to find some porch to sleep on til the next train passes through on its way to who knows where.

The station masters are all dressed alike, no matter how small the village or dilapidated the building. They stand there in their red officer caps and the forest green uniform, freshly pressed and dry cleaned that morning. They are giving their approval of the arriving train, which is usually early instead of late like the trains in Germany, and holding open the doors that frequent convenience stores – aluminum frame with the horizontal handle in the middle, and the full glass pane – with their linebacker bodies, to block access to – or to inspect – anyone wishing entrance.

The blind spider stared out the window the entire time.

Soon we were out of the Alps that were a tragic fairytale gone horribly wrong once the ogre came through, which might’ve been right before we arrived in Zell am See with the Ukrainians off on their ski holiday on christmas day. Irene did say something about jesus day not being celebrated in her home country until the seventh of january anyway. Let’s go riding.

Or not.

Last spring, which seems like half a decade ago now, I drove through a few of the Colorado ski mountain towns right in the crux of the season – spring time and beautiful weather, mud season, the summer shops weren’t open yet because no one wanted to be there but the snowboarders trying to get in a few more runs before the heavy sun broke out into a sweat… and they stunk of such money and pretension, I could hardly stand it, though I tried my best because I thought I belonged in a mountain town, not wanting to accept that the rich and famous had claimed many of them already. They must have all gotten their ideas from places like Zell am See, walking through it was like listening to bad pop music from the 80’s – I got to see just where these idiots now got all their ideas from. Just polish it a little more, says the producer… The audio engineer just does what he’s told.

I’m too far gone to expect a surprise to drop out of the sky in the form of an easy path through these flooding valleys, though my packraft might have been a good idea in Slovenia. The cozy warm air is melting all that fresh snow you’ve been hearing about, and the fields are waterways. Class III rapids over a cabbage patch – spectacular. We’ll keep moving now, the spider and I – we’re without names now, at least until the border agent asking for my passport spelled it out in Croatian. I hid the spider under my bag to smuggle him through, and they were none the wiser. Within twenty minutes I got two stamps in my cool little blue book with the bad picture and patriotic drawings and quotes I’ve given tours of my country with to unsuspecting foreigners. Maybe I miss it a little bit. Maybe I wouldn’t mind being in New Zealand instead, where it is hot summer and I could go rafting again…but no. I am in Croatia, headed for the Adriatic in a few hours because I convinced myself a couple of countries ago that Croatia contained something that I’m looking for, though I can’t imagine what it is.

Zagreb is an ancient city with museums for naïve art and broken relationships, and every surface is written on, mostly in quick and dirty graffiti by cats trying to get their names out instead of creating decent art. But that speaks nothing for the street art in the rest of the places that I’ve seen – I far prefer the train corridors and back alleys to all the packed museums you could handle in six months here. I found the inner part of a city block as colorful as a hundred rainbows and wordful as a David Foster Wallace novel, if only I could get to it… but there were polizei around and I’m not risking getting into trouble with the law right now. My bitter mood would lead to unbecoming behaviour and I don’t need the bother.

I’ll just pretend like it’s enough to know there is a hidden gem in the middle of Zagreb and I’m leaving it unphotographed for now – though I’ve documented little of what I’ve seen, the abundance has been so great and the trains moving quickly. But I admire them, the artists, for their fervor, for their going back to old pieces and tagging their practiced improvements next to them, to remind us of progress in the art community.

I want to start a city and invite all the taggers free reign. Music shops and skate parks and recording studios and a lovely wine shop and good hostels. My god, good hostels. With kitchens people can use. And ones that serve beer for €2 and unlimited quality breakfasts for 3 where you can stuff your face because you know that, it being 7.30 in the morning,  this is all you’ll eat today. Not bad ones. Not the hollow and dull and cheaply fashioned Hostelling International spots that people stay at only because three other places on the map don’t seem to exist, and it’s pouring out, so please, I just need a roof tonight…

My thoughts are wandering, but sometimes not far enough from those I had before, and I ask the spider what’s wrong with me, and he just looks back without his eyes and I know what he’s thinking already. I don’t deserve what I have had, and what have I got to go back to?

I discovered the best recipe for christmas eve dinner ever, one that even tops the fondue feast I enjoyed as a kid in the wonderful 90s: nutella, stale rolls, cheese and eggplants in oil. a little jam and a banana or two and you’ve got it made, except for the park bench on the mountain lake and the orangeglow of the streetlamps and the reverb of a seven-century-old church amplifying the children’s choir. It could have been machinery, or the train brakes screeching. Or the groomers on the mountain. Could have been anything. But this is mine, so I’ll call it what I like.

the blind spider adventures!

14 December 2010 § Leave a comment

Boris the blind spider and Trader, his human seeing-eye companion, have embarked on their journey across Europe! The hazy days of one particular Amsterdam coffeeshop are over – marked elegantly by the burning building acorss the street, which kept our disheartened duo from one last high in the city of islands – and the Europe no one cares about is in the not-so-present-present. That Europe is, of course, the one with endless highways punctuated with petrol stations and truck wrecks that the Polizei goes way too far to cover up, what with giant green sided fences – and people are still looking for blood and guts, so the traffic jam is still on the agenda.

Sporadic trains from one grand central to the next, a hundred languages in three blocks, Boris is soaking it all up in the park across from the great cathedral, where the actress walks the same walk four times for the cameras and winks at our unseeing arachnid on the third time down the aisle. Trader is ignored completely this time around. But that’s okay, because when Boris wasn’t helping with getting rides in Den Haag, Trader was getting waves and smiles. But who’s keeping score, right?

Our next installment: Boris and Trader go in search of the legendary Belgian brews. And maybe even pictures! Stay tuned!

movement, amplified.

9 December 2010 § Leave a comment

Two o’ clock rolled around to the front of the lecture hall and told me I was done. My focus on the relations of identity and quantificational logic abandoned the test and I didn’t need to prove anything else with negation any longer. In a little while I’m stepping onto a plane that will propel me across the world, and this kind of happiness doesn’t come around often enough to get old. Adrenalin is flowing class V rapids through my veins and I want to tap into them so I can remember this forever. The beginning hasn’t even yet begun, which is testament to my first and fondest addiction.

In eighteen hours I’ll have skipped over more of the planet than most people a hundred years ago would see in two lifetimes, to land in Amsterdam for a month-long hitchhiking trip through Europe. Maybe the winter will be milder than here, but I’m not counting on it. I’ve had a good run at this being-at-home business – a semester of university, a summer of fishing and adventure, the cycle of a relationship I didn’t know how to handle, and I can’t remember ever being so ambivalent in my life than now. The time for escape has come, however, and I’m letting it wash over me like dreary summer rain.

It usually takes about six months to fill up one of those black notebooks I carry around. It amounts to a lifetime per book, and I’m starting a new one tonight.

time to go.

starfire cityglare

1 December 2010 § Leave a comment

video games analogies
run into the room screaming
something about pies and
dust and singsong lullabies.

invading stars display their
courtesy in fiery waves –
sick and tired of outer space
arriving here in flock and flare.

silence has a language all its own
but it can only say so much.
it can beg and ask her to stay
but in the end your answer will
be sighing from her eyes.

Where Am I?

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