by Fivesixer ☮
My fourth blog. Amazing yet disconcerting. Don't worry; this'll go away in a year or so.
First there was "I'm Studying You" ...then there was "Who Do I Think I Am??" . Finally, we reached "Who do I still think I am??" .
Until now. Welcome to the Buffalo in your soul...
A THREE-TIME CHAMPION OF THE "30-Day Blogging Challenge" !
With 2016 marking 400 years since Shakespeare’s death, there’s no time like the present to revisit all of the theater favorites or follow in the footsteps of the iconic playwright. From standing on Juliet’s balcony in Verona to exploring Hamlet’s castle in Denmark, there are plenty of ways to celebrate Shakespeare all around the world, but the No. 1 destination is, of course, his home country of England. The country is celebrating the legacy of its national poet with a host of special events, plays, film screenings and exhibitions, and even if you missed the anniversary itself (April 23), there are plenty of ways to add a Shakespearean twist to your visit.
Visit famous Stratford-upon-Avon landmarks and walk in William Shakespeare’s footsteps with this "All Five Houses" tour ticket . Step back in time to the 16th century, when one of England’s most famous scribes was alive. Visit Shakespeare’s family homes and gardens at your leisure, where a broad range of exciting activities bring the bard’s story to life. Listen as the guides shed light on his life and times, watch live performances, test your Shakespearean knowledge, meet farm animals at Mary Arden's Farm and enjoy a fun-filled day for all the family. Highlights: Family-friendly Romantic experience, perfect for couples; Step back in time on a history tour; Perfect for all ages and skill levels.
Dinner is a walking experience you'll appreciate before the long plane ride for some of us. Feast your senses on the cosmopolitan culinary scene of East London during a 3.5-hour walking tour of the vibrant London district. Accompanied by an expert gastronome guide, explore the eclectic neighborhoods of Spitalfields and Shoreditch to discover spots favored by local food-lovers. Appease your appetite with the English classic of a bacon sandwich at St John Bread and Wine restaurant; delight in the complex flavors of Beigel Bake's delectable salt beef bagels; and savor creamy artisan cheese during a tasting session. Stroll the renowned Brick Lane to sample spicy curries and try the traditional British dish, fish and chips, at Poppies restaurant. Highlights of the 3.5-hour food tour of London’s East End: Explore Spitalfields with a friendly guide and discover where the locals eat; Head inside quirky cafes and top-rated joints endorsed by Time Out London; Visit St John Bread and Wine for a bacon sandwich and Beigel Bake for a salt-beef bagel; Enjoy fish and chips at Poppies served traditionally in newspaper; and sample curries on Brick Lane. Learn about the East End's multicultural cuisine and history.
Your flights are all arranged and transportation is covered. Exchange addresses, cell phone numbers, and get all those hugs taken care of because the next month-long adventure with Lyn's Tour Guide Service is August 2017. If you have enjoyed your traveling experience, please feel free to tip your travel service, the "30-Day Bloggers Group" . It is always a pleasure to serve you! -Lyn and Fivesixer ☮
Well, here it is...for thirty days we knew this moment would come, but there's nothing in the tour guides or travel brochures that prepares you for saying goodbye. Sure, they're filled with descriptions of all the places you'll see, framed by the finest lights and fanciest words and dotted with pictures of food and friends and frolic. You're sold on the smiles of people having the times of their lives, and that's what you expect, but you don't know for sure that that's what you're getting until you're there, experiencing it all for yourself...and then, it's over.
You're positive it's most likely gonna be fun...no one travels anywhere and says "I hope this place sucks." You might know a little about the people that are gonna be in your group, but you can't be certain you're all practically gonna be a family by the time the last flight leaves. And no one can predict that anyone's gonna fall in love...I couldn't, and even if I could and would've placed money on it, I wouldn't have bet on it being me.
So how is this gonna end?
Let's catch up a little bit...we've been staying in London, baby! And it's been almost go-go-go from the minute we got here. Bus tours (thankfully no bike tours), museums, theaters, pub crawls...if there was anything to do here, Lyn has found it. Lots of late nights and early mornings...mainly because we've turned Sally 's room at The Nadler Soho into our de facto afterhours nightlife hangout...Sally's been serving the beverages, Spacecat shows up with the snacks, everyone else brings a smile and a good time, and I managed a way of hooking my iPod up to the in-room stereo so we could have mini-dance parties to classic tunes from all the great UK bands, like Herman's Hermits, Blur, Oasis, Def Leppard, The Who, and of course The Beatles. Last night was exceptionally epic, with everyone crowding into Sally's room like a teenage house party that the whole town has heard about...even the ones who are normally in bed by 10pm in the quiet wing of the hotel .
Needless to say, this morning was slightly foggy inside, despite the sun making a rare appearance to break through the early London showers. Having set the alarm to wake up with enough time to fully pack up and prepare for the day out and about, I don't think Kittiara noticed that I wound the wake-up time back an extra fifteen minutes. Could we have used the sleep? Certainly. But I knew it was going to be an emotional day, and there wasn't gonna be much time to share in private to say our goodbyes. Half-asleep and slightly teary but alone is better than trying to express ourselves amid a sea of people all scrambling to say something to as many people as they can...we really needed that peace, those extra moments, where we could look each other in the eyes and attempt to sum up the last couple of weeks with just few words and facial expressions and embraces. What happens here and now would define this trip more than any other time spent...no t-shirt or souvenir or restaurant or bus ride would be remembered better.
After minimal words (only the important ones), and few slow tears and a near-hopefully never-ending embrace, I got up for our morning ritual of fixing Kittiara 's tea and mapping out an idea of how the day would progress. If I thought the idea of having to say goodbye to everyone, my beautiful companion included, was complicating plans, the knock on the door earlier than anticipated wasn't helping either...but falling a few minutes behind everyone else's schedule is what we get I suppose for falling in love and wanting to cherish the last moments of our privacy together. Jellyfish was trying to summon up some anticipation and excitement for our Shakespearean adventure, but even she knew today wasn't gonna be easy for anyone, despite the many distractions worked into today's itinerary.
And speaking of Jellyfish , I can't say enough about her and Sally and Spacecat for acting almost as tour guides in their own right for much of our London stay...we're on their home turf and it would've been very easy for them at any time to bow out for an evening just to kick back at their homes and catch up with us later, but because of their graciousness and hospitality they've nearly turned us all into Londoners for the week. Thanks a bunch, you guys .
I've got to admit, my thoughts on the bus to Stratford-upon-Avon were preoccupied more than usual...stealing glances of my love in conversation with everyone else, thinking about the previous days and what the current one might bring. But today was different, and we all knew it. It was harder to concentrate than normal. We were all a bit quiet...even SB Musing and I Will Complete the Article☮ , who were usually scheming some kind of unholy chicanery or rehearsing disruption, could be found reflecting a bit. Spacecat was drifting in and out of consciousness...and Sally was a little fidgety, possibly trying to conceal her sadness that most of us would be gone by this time tomorrow. Schnujo--Join item 2109126 :-D patted her leg as if to comfort her with a knowing look of "It's alright...", and Sally tried her best to smile back.
Now, I wasn't a full-blown drama geek back in school, but I was one of the few who didn't mind reading Shakespeare plays in English literature classes...so that was enough to make me weird on its own, I suppose (if I wasn't already ). Being that it's been so long since I've read any Shakespeare, everywhere we ended up on this tour I tried making jokes to lighten the mood ...but I missed badly each time. If we were looking at something that inspired Hamlet, I was quoting Romeo and Juliet; when we were learning about the bard's early years, I was mixing metaphors and quoting what turned out to be Charles Dickens. Sometimes I get lucky and I'm unintentionally funny...other times, like today, when we're all in need of some humor, I may have veered into slight obnoxiousness. SandraLynn and WakeUpAndLive~Summer is here held their tongue, but I've never seen anyone roll their eyes that hard at me before (and I've made a lot of dumb and ill-timed jokes in my days).
Still, during the few times I could manage to keep my mouth shut (usually it was when Kittiara saw that glimmer in my eye that I get when I see something I'm about to start crackin' wise on and the right side of my face curls up...she'd just pump the hand she was holding a little tighter with a polite "don't even fucking say it" look ), it was quite awesome being in some of the same places where a legend and his masterworks were created. I wasn't about to let that get lost on me.
After that, I was absolutely starving. I was really looking forward to the East End Food Tour , because it was one last chance to stuff my fat face with touristy food and not feel a damn bit of shame. We keep hearing a lot about "fish and chips" and that's great and all, but back in Buffalo where I'm from, we have a great Catholic tradition of fish frys every Lenten season...bars and restaurants all across the area serve some combination of battered fish (usually haddock), with french fries, potato salad, and macaroni salad. The demand in the spring is so high, you almost have to get to your favorite place early in the afternoon...if they haven't sold out for the day, the wait time is substantially increased- and that holds true almost everywhere in town, they're that popular. Hence, I will be skipping out on this staple of London dining. Also, somewhere along the line either someone said- or I read- that there would be bacon, and when there is bacon, it belongs in my belly.
And before you want to ruin my good time with facts, look...I understand that I can go pretty much anywhere at any given time and get any kind of sandwich with bacon on it, as opposed to the places I'm familiar with that will only serve their fish fry on a Friday (and maybe a Wednesday). I also live in an area that has no shortage of bagel shops. None of this obscures the truth that I will be searching for inside of Beigel Bake , because meat and bagels and I are best friends.
I know it's a bacon cheeseburger, and not a bagel.
Dream a little dream with me here, dreamers.
Of course, what would another day in Europe be without some kind of pub activity? We all seemed to find each other at Poppies , and one final go-'round sounded appropriate. Conversations started off somber and reserved, with Kittiara and I sharing close quarters and soaking in the moments, as well as Princess Megan Rose similarly with her beau Daniko. Eventually Sally and Schnujo--Join item 2109126 :-D ambled over with a round of pints, and SB Musing swung through the crowd as if she were riding a lamp chained to the ceiling. Spacecat and Jellyfish looked content and at ease, and even Lyn , showing no signs of her birthday weekend wearing her out, let her knickers down a bit on the impromptu dance space we created in our corner of the lounge. It would be a typical European night for us were it not for...
And that's where I started to break up a little. Checking the time on my phone, the ominous numbers inching toward our departure, I felt it necessary to call everyone's attention and say a few words. It seemed like as good a time as any for a speech...the only problem with that is I didn't have one prepared, because I always think of good ideas that require preparation only when it's the perfect moment to execute them . So, like the majority of blog entries I've written, I just kinda winged it. I made sure to thank everyone individually for all their contributions; I told a few non-awkward jokes about some of the funnier occurrences from the last month. I don't like sad moments and I don't like goodbyes, but it's also important that you live in each moment and tell people how you feel...as far as vacations and trips go, I couldn't have asked for a better crew or a better time, and I loved each and every moment of it. I didn't want this day to be punctuated by sadness that it was ending, but by love and fondness for everything that led up to it. If you started crying, you'll have to forgive me for not making eye contact...I'm sure if I'd even heard one sniffle over the din of the bar I would've burst into a snot bubble of tears.
Hugs...lots of hugs. It was all kind of a blur after that, and not just because some of us began to make our weeping a little more obvious. It just happened so fast, like gunshots scattering a rowdy crowd. And before I could fully process it, Kittiara and I were in a cab on our way to Heathrow Airport . It was a quiet ride. I'd felt like I'd ran out of things to say, yet there was still so much left to experience that one month would in no way have been nearly enough. We weren't ready for goodbyes yet; the story doesn't end here, in some airport in some country neither of us came from. Europe was great, but it was just a place. A setting. An occasion turned into an opportunity turned into an involvement that neither of us could see coming, nor something we were willing to let end here. There's no such thing as one last hug or kiss, not here, not like this. We pulled away, milking every second, first shoulders and hips, then arms stretching out, and finally the last of the hands and fingers left each other...I reached into the pocket of my backpack and pulled out a cd I'd made (because I'm still old-school romantic like that I guess) and just before boarding I raced back to give her one more quick kiss as I slipped the disc into the pocket of her hoodie, promising to call her as soon as I landed back in the states.
"Sunshower" -by Chris Cornell.
"When you're caught in pain, and you feel the rain come down...it's all right.
When you find your way, then you see it disappear...it's all right.
Though your gardens grey, I know all your graces someday will flower...in the sweet sunshower."
Okay, sleepyheads rise and shine after breakfast at the hotel. Yes, I know the chef is divine here but we're off for a bike tour today. Together with your guide, you'll walk to the RER train station to make the 30-minute trip by train to Versailles. Once in Versailles, you will pick up your bike at at an office just 5 minutes from the Palace of Versailles. The first of many highlights on this active day out is a visit to Versailles' village market to buy baguettes, cheese, ham, wine and whatever else you desire for your delicious picnic lunch in Versailles' gardens. These picnic provisions are purchased at your own expense.
The next highlight today is a bike ride through the gardens behind Versailles palace . You'll leave foot visitors behind on your tour of the palace by bicycle, as visitors on foot can visit only a small fraction of the palace gardens. Versailles' gardens and forests are crisscrossed by a network of fantastic trails and tree-lined paths, so bring your camera for picture-perfect views in every direction.
Arriving at the far end of the Grand Canal, you'll settle down for a picnic in the exact spot where Louis XIV, XV and XVI ate in order to marvel at their palace. Relax on the grass in peace where only your cycling group will be able to easily reach this end of the Grand Canal.
After lunch, pedal back towards the palace itself for an unforgettable view into the lives of the French monarchy before their removal from power by the Revolution in 1789. You'll visit the Hall of Mirrors (site of the treaty ending World War I), the King's State Apartments and the amazing King's Chapel. After your visit to Versailles you'll return to Paris via RER train.
We're doing the Eiffel Tower this evening, what better way to see the city of lights than by night, don't you agree? Meet a few streets away from the Eiffel Tower and avoid waiting in a queue that often takes at least two hours during the summer months! A pre-booked, skip-the-line ticket grants priority access to the Eiffel Tower elevator, so you'll go straight up to the second level after learning about the building's fascinating history. Hear the story of the man behind the Tower, Gustave Eiffel, and learn about the wonders behind this architectural and engineering feat as you view it up close. Hear the details of the World’s Fair of 1889, the year the tower was built. The first level offers a great cinematic theater where you can see exclusive video of the tower’s storied 120-plus-year history. It also features one of the original spiral staircases that Gustave himself used daily to reach his office on the top level.
Eiffel Tower 2nd Level: On the second level, your guide will allow ample time to take in the best views that Paris has to offer. With two tiers on the second level, there is plenty of space to hear your tour guide explain the countless stunts and anecdotes from the tower’s past. You’ll be entertained with stories about crazy exploits (like planes flying underneath the tower) and the tower’s role in everything from world wars to Hollywood movies.
Eiffel Tower 1st Level and the Eiffel Tower Summit (3rd Level): Upon the conclusion of the tour, your time on the Eiffel Tower doesn’t have to end; the price includes tickets to the first level and the summit of the tower too. At the summit, purchase a glass of champagne to enjoy while you stare out over the City of Light. The skip-the-line access you receive for the first two levels does not include the 3rd level; everyone must wait for one elevator, but the line doesn't usually last longer than 30 minutes– a short time to wait to stand at the top of the Eiffel Tower!
Hey folks! That looks like one long, action-packed day plotted out by the incredible Lyn ! So much sightseeing and bike riding and long lines we don't have to wait in, just to take in the many beautiful features of Paris. It all sounds so fabulous!
So, here's what we ended up doing instead:
You guys, seriously? No joke...my first reaction to Kittiara last night as we discovered there'd be another bike tour today was "WTF with all the bike tours??" I didn't realize that touring France was actually gonna be like the Tour de France. Since my lovely companion and I are not what you'd consider "the biking sort", we took this as a cue from the universe to keep the morning to ourselves and enjoy an extended relaxation that only involved us, luxurious coziness, and lots of peace and quiet. As the morning closed in, I hastily scribbled a note to our friends and stuck it on the door, alerting them that we would be unable to join them this morning, as we had other plans.
As we settled back into our bliss, we began to hear the chatter of the usual suspects while we laid in each others' arms, content with ourselves and our own personal itinerary.
Lyn could be heard exclaiming what can only be considered "mild disgust": "These kids...can't take them anywhere! They'll never learn." The angry flipping of clipboard pages as she assembled everyone else was almost palpable. SB Musing and Gaby were cracking jokes like we were first-graders on the playground..."Norb and Kit, sittin' in a tree, k-i-s-s-i-n-g". I began to seethe a little, but was quickly put back into place as Kittiara reminded me that we were, in fact, k-i-s-s-i-n-g.
The six-year-old me is not fazed by your schoolyard taunts.
And then of course, like clockwork and our favorite crazy aunt, Sally came upon our door with such gusto, I swear you could hear her heart beating all the way over on our side of the room. I don't think I can repeat what she said, but only because she was speaking so excitedly while trying to take more notes for her upcoming bestseller, Seventy-five Norbisms on the Way to a Woman's Heart.
When we were sure the coast was clear and everyone else was off on their bike jaunt, we skipped out for a tour of Château de Malmaison ...the former residence of Joséphine de Beauharnais and Napoleon Bonaparte. Kittiara is fascinated by the relationship between these two, and I'll admit it's starting to rub off a little on me...it's gotten me to thinking about how complicated relationships can be at times, even before they start, and how external forces can often lead to their demise even more than the primary people involved can. The Napoleon/Joséphine romance is no exception; at one point I think I referenced it as melancholy and sad, even if it began as a bit of a triumph of sorts...the way two people who kinda travel in circles around each other and seem destined to end up together actually don't until later on down the road. There's a lot more to the story than that, but Kittiara can give it to you better than I can.
So anyway, there we were, exploring the grounds of this famous residence. Admittedly, I'm not much of a history buff (I think you all know this by now), but this was important to Kittiara and I'm honored to have been able to share this with her. And even though I don't know a whole lot on the subject, I can still appreciate beauty in its many forms. The gardens at Malmaison were once legendary, and they're still blooming and meticulously maintained centuries later. Joséphine wanted this to be "the most beautiful and curious garden in Europe, a model of good cultivation", and we agreed that she succeeded magnificently. I was tempted briefly to snag a flower from the expanse (c'mon, they're not gonna miss one) for my gorgeous ladyfriend, but I didn't want to be disrespectful to history either.
I have a feeling that something from the Malmaison experience is going to stay with me for a long, long time. It was a place where lovers in an embattled relationship sought refuge from their families and within each other. I wondered silently if perhaps this morning, away from the bike tour while laying comfortably together, was our own private Malmaison. And if it was, well, I'd like to avoid the pitfalls that led to Napoleon and Joséphine's divorce...huh, I guess I am capable of learning from history!
But alas, it was time to rejoin the rest of the backpackers. We shuttled over to Versailles and walked casually over to the picnic area, where most everyone had settled in for a late lunch. Lyn didn't say anything and just gave us the stink-eye, and SB Musing came charging at us with a baguette, challenging me to a duel for the honor of my lady. Sally and Jellyfish wanted all the details of course, and Kittiara and I just looked at each other and smiled. We had no excuse, really...we don't need any reason to sit around and wait. As everyone still had their bikes, we agreed to meet them all back at the hotel before tripping down to the Eiffel Tower.
Ahhhh yes, the Eiffel Tower. Kit and I agreed this was definitely one place we wanted to see together. And honestly, I don't remember much of it other than the views being breathtaking, because I felt like I was in a whirlwind just being here. I was kinda swept up in the beauty and romance of it all. Standing behind her and holding on as we both stared out into the French night was almost as cozy as being in the room at the Four Seasons Hotel George V . On the way down, we straggled a little bit back from the rest of the group...I purposely wanted to stop at one of the Joseph Bertolozzi listening stations , so we could have a dance during his composition of original music using the tower itself as an instrument. Why is it whenever I do something like this, I always catch Sally out of the corner of my eye, looking at us like she's about to unleash a flood of joyful tears? She was clenched up against Schnujo--Join item 2109126 :-D , so caught up in our moment that I think they almost started dancing vicariously though us...sorta like how you want to yawn when you see someone else doing it. To expand on what I alluded to earlier, not only do external forces often have an impact on relationships, but so does love cause people not directly involved in the affair to do strange things as well .
Rather than finishing up the night by closing yet another fancy watering hole full of overpriced drunks and overhyped beats, we opted to head to another Game Room...this time the One Hour Live Escape , which was a fun way to cap off another day of adventure. The puzzles were challenging enough to cause a little self-doubt at times , but not so hard that it wasn't enjoyable. I turned around for a second though near the end, and suddenly Kittiara was in a straitjacket. I can only assume that this happened because everyone thinks she's crazy for spending so much time with me, but all I can say is she's doing a damn fine job of convincing me that I'm a nice guy sometimes .
Again, we decided to head back to the hotel more at our own pace than with everyone else. The moon was reflecting off even the darkest spots of the scenery, and we wanted to soak in it as much as possible, knowing that our time here would be short. It's funny how when you're on the road for so long, just being in one spot for even a day or two makes you feel so comfortable. Retiring back to our room seemed almost as if we were coming home.
"Lazy Days" -Robbie Williams
"Crazy days, but you'll get me through.
And here I'll stay, holding on to you."
Our train is a 2 hour ride but since I turned you loose in the red light district I booked us on a later ride today. We leave at 9 am.
We're booked at the Hotel Sebastian's . Set on Amsterdam’s Canal Belt, this chic, townhouse hotel is a 9-minute walk from a tram stop, 1 kilometer from the Red Light District and 3.5 kilometers from the Van Gogh Museum . Featuring colorful or dramatic decor, the plush rooms range from cozy to airy, and offer free Wi-Fi, flat-screen TVs, minibars, and tea and coffee making facilities. Upgraded rooms are available: some add soaking tubs, patios and/or courtyard, canal or garden views. Extra beds and cribs are available upon request. Buffet-style breakfast is complimentary and a trendy bar, which has mood lighting, serves lunches and snacks. Bike rentals are available. (Address: Keizersgracht 15, 1015 CC Amsterdam, Netherlands)
What to do in Amsterdam
We're doing an evening canal tour before we do some clubbin' Amsterdam-style .
What's up everyone? Goedenavond! Hello Amsterdam! Today's one of those weird days...the kind of day that happens after you write a blog entry for the first time in two months and suddenly everyone thinks you're gonna go back to blogging damn near every day. I was convinced that I'd at least write another entry; I'd told myself this on multiple occasions today, and was even positive I'd do it this afternoon. And then I went out for a bit, came home, and I had nothin'. Well, I had all the intent one could possibly have, but I felt a huge cultural and phonic void. Some days the words come to you freely and you don't know where to put them all, and other days you feel so compelled to over-organize something that simply doesn't exist, ya know?
So needless to say, today has been a slight struggle. I'm not in a bad mood by any means; quite the opposite actually. I've had some focus and distraction issues, but it's a good problem to have. I just wish I would've been able to figure out what to say like four hours ago, because I would've been done with this entry by now.
Now, onward to today's adventure!
It's a special day you guys- well, they're all special, but today is really special. See, Kittiara was born in the Netherlands, so this part of the journey involves somewhat of a homecoming for her. It's always nice when things between two people progress from "Who's gonna sleep on the floor tonight?" to "What kind of cheeses should we get?", because that's when you know things are starting to get serious.
So, a little nervous anticipation last night gave way to full-blown excitement this morning. You could almost see the little girl in her eyes as she began to reminisce about what it was like for her back in the day, and how the adult in her was longing to make the little girl smile and shine. Ever feel so happy for someone that you have no idea how to react to it? It's like walking into an ice cream shop and asking for a cone with one scoop each of all the flavors they have on it, and those scoops are all the things you wanna do, and you're just trying not to drop the thing and you wanna lick each flavor and make sure you taste everything before it melts. Wow, that's one of the weirdest analogies I think I've ever used before .
Anyway, we all hopped aboard a train (9am Lyn ?? How generous .) like we weren't still lit up from last night's festivities hoping that the two hours would come sooner than later. Schnujo--Join item 2109126 :-D and Sally were across from us, SB Musing and Gaby were diagonally in front, and Jellyfish and Spacecat were behind. Kind of a quiet ride, with a few murmurs and stifled giggling here and there about my kickass dance moves and Spacecat 's brothel experience incident that shall remain unmentioned, and Princess Megan Rose was on her cell phone making plans to meet up with Daniko once we busted into the station. I think most of us were just glad no one got arrested, and we all made it through last night with all of our body parts still intact.
We pulled in and headed for Hotel Sebastian's, which is fly as hell for one of these kinds of places. I'd like to know who assigned Kittiara and I the room with the crib though...y'all think it's funny? I just look at it as something to overturn and make a double-decker pillow fortress with . After dumping our stuff off we opted to do the thing we're second-bast at: skipping the bike tour.
SB Musing and SandraLynn wanted to go to the Van Gogh Museum, so we tagged along. I was awestruck at his painting of one of the gay dads from the TV show Modern Family ...only a true visionary artist could pull that off with such detail.
After taking in the wonder that encompassed all of Van Gogh's life, I found myself unable to contain a little excitement of my own. I excused myself and Kittiara from our group and whisked us over to a waiting car that had been hired to take us to Madurodam ...all you prima kerels out there reading this who wanna impress your ladies, pay attention. You wanna do what I did, and take her to the Madurodam Cheese Market . I'll bet you didn't even know Holland has been making cheese since the year zero (which I didn't know was an actual year but I saw it on the internet so it must be true), or that they produce 750 million kilos of cheese each year, which has a street value of a lot. We ate so much damn cheese, I was tempted to ask for a hollowed-out wax wheel to have us rolled back to the rest of our group.
The next part of the day was almost the best, because we went to Madame Tussaud's Wax Museum with SB Musing , Sally , and Princess Megan Rose with Daniko, and it gave me a chance to blow off some boyish energy that I was unable to yesterday at the Miniatur Wunderland. I thought I would've been the one to nearly have us politely asked to not return, but Princess Megan Rose was a little too friendly with the Captain Jack Sparrow statue, to the point that Daniko thought he was gonna have to defend his lady's honor and melt his weird facial hair off. It's always a good day when I'm not the one getting us all in trouble, and everyone's talking about someone else for a change .
On the way out Kittiara was like "But I wanna see if they have an Axl Rose figure!" and security was like "Maybe you should've told your friend's friend to not be a jerk to The Captain!" but I was like "Don't worry sweetheart, I saw online that he's not here, but I know where we can find the next best thing..." and had to reassure her several times over that it was not, in fact, a waxed-up version of Kylie Minogue's ass. She was just gonna hafta trust me on this...happiness is just a purchase away!
I remember seeing a little hobby and collectibles shop around the corner from Madame Tussaud's, so I followed my hunch and led us inside. Took me a few minutes to find exactly what I was looking for, because I didn't want to spoil my surprise by asking for help because I couldn't read most of the signs or packages. But after using some clues from context and paying attention, I was able to find what I came in for.
It may not have been a full-sized replica of Axl, but he was way more naked than Kylie was. I thought it'd be the perfect souvenir of our time together in Amsterdam...and for her, it was. Mine came right before dinner, as we shared some quiet time enjoying the sights and sounds of the Canal Ring before taking the tour with everyone else.
When deciding on where we might want to hang out after, we decided to go to Supperclub because it just seemed like the kind of place where everyone could do their own thing or in groups...there was dancing, dining, and even some exhibits and gallery space. Kittiara and I decided to eat right away, while SB Musing , Spacecat and Jellyfish headed straight for the dance floor. The meal was fantastic and well-prepared, and by the time we caught up with everyone else in the club, it seemed as though they'd been well-prepared too .
All in all, another fun-filled, exciting day as the romp through Europe continues. Can't wait to see what tomorrow brings.
"Wax Ecstatic" -Sponge
"When life is nothing less than tragic, it's Wax Ecstatic.
When life has lost all its magic, it's Wax Ecstatic."
We're taking it easy today, I've chosen some museums, it's up to you what appeals. Or if you would rather get some exercise there's a bike tour.
Miniatur Wunderland (Hamburg, Germany)
Hamburg-Auskenner Bike Tour
Dinner is at 7:00pm this evening at Restaurant Hala : Lebanese, Mediterranean, Vegetarian, Middle Eastern, Gluten Free.
Now for the more adventurous of you I've arranged for a evening in Hamburg's famous Red Light District , Reeperbahn . I've been told it equals Amsterdam's; you'll have to tell me at the end of our trip since we will be hitting both. The street is lined with restaurants, night clubs, discotheques and bars. There are also strip clubs, sex shops, brothels, a sex museum and similar businesses. If the Red Light District doesn't appeal to you, here's another chance to return to the game clubs we went to last night.
What's up you guys? Day 21 of the "30-Day Blogging Challenge" 's annual camping trip, only this time with a twist...we're traipsing through Europe! Our wonderful travel guide, Lyn , has prepared an amazing itinerary jam-packed with informative tours, decadent restaurants, sightseeing, and shenanigans very drunken shenanigans nightlife experiences. And we're traveling with a great crew...everyone's having a blast and enjoying nearly every aspect of the trip so far.
I do have a confession to make: I wasn't really planning on participating much...just sort of grazing along, poking around here and there and that's about it. But then I got tagged a couple of times in different places, and made some comments, and now all the sudden I'm here like three weeks in, albeit not having missed out too much, but I sorta hafta answer for myself. Kittiara especially was like "You don't want me to have to drag you through the Red Light District!" and I was like "Ok dear!", and it's not polite to keep your ladyfriend waiting .
And that's what's great about the August Camping Trip each year...everyone's building off of everyone else's entries and stories, and tagging each other, and by the end we're this super-tight group that knows way more about each other than when we started. Friendships are created and/or solidified, we're learning about places many of us might never see, and sometimes we're exercising this creativity that might not have otherwise occurred. It's a beautiful thing...the best part of the whole experience, in my opinion.
So, let's recap just part of what I've learned so far:
SB Musing is as crazy as advertised, in all the best ways.
Sally can pull off wearing a Santa hat in the middle of August like you wouldn't believe! She also knows how to keep a secret (or many) .
Princess Megan Rose has found romance in Daniko, which is very sweet. She also has a mischievous streak, of which I was unaware of given how long I've known her.
Pretty sure none of us is crazy about boat rides. I swear at one point I saw Jellyfish scribble "If you can read this, it's too late!" on a scrap of paper, roll it up, stuck it in an empty wine bottle, corked it tight, and slipped it off the side of the boat.
SandraLynn and Carly - 5 Years! are Canadian. I don't know what that means. And PandaPaws - College Co-ed and I live roughly an hour or so apart back in the states, which has nothing to do with the difference between Morocco and Monaco, nor does it explain how a panda can end up in jail.
So, Kittiara and I... . Beautiful and amazing and I'm a lucky guy and I'm sure you're all sick of hearing about it (I'm not sick of it though ). Plus, we build the best pillow and mattress fortresses!
It's no coincidence that after photographs ("Note: on left and on right hanging...") of a super-semi-secret meeting back in the United States with Lyn surfaced, Gaby magically showed up and the itinerary disappeared...when we were going on a boat . I'm pretty sure there's a plot to assassinate one or many of us at some point while we're still in Germany. I'm not sayin'...I'm jus' sayin'.
Now, onward to today's adventure!
Kittiara let me sleep in a little, knowing we had a big day planned ahead of us. And I gotta admit, it might've been the best night of sleep so far. We got assembled and headed out to catch up with the rest of the bunch. Gaby was already in rare form...showing everyone who would listen to her some crazy YouTube cartoon video where the title image looks like a giant animated dong in need of serious medical attention. We need to limit her Coke intake.
SB Musing seems to have recovered nicely from her afternoon spent locked in a crate yesterday, although I'm wondering if maybe we should consider letting her sleep in one each night to harness the energy and rambunctiousness for maximum effect. We can just lure her in with treats, close it up, let the spirits do their thing, and watch her re-manifest each day. Plus, that's one less bed we'll be taking up; therefore, more pillows for our fortresses. The only problem I can foresee with this is that no one's gonna wanna sacrifice the space in their rooms for a crate. If we can't trust the hostel-keepers to leave her in the lobby or the hallway, Kittiara and I will step up and be in charge of our friend's safekeeping. We need a fun and ready-to-go SB Musing all the time!
As today was promised as "taking it easy", Kittiara and I opted out of the bike tour. Couldn't tell you when the last time I rode a bike that wasn't bolted to the ground, but I hear that once you get on it's just like riding a bike. Sally , SandraLynn , and WakeUpAndLive~Summer is here joined us as we headed off for Miniatur Wunderland.
I didn't realize at first that it was a model train exhibit, but it's interesting because my late uncle was a model train enthusiast. When he passed we found crates upon crates full of trains, tracks, and accessories, as well as shelves full of Model Railroader magazines and a few of his own custom layouts. I'm really sure he would've loved this place. The craftsmanship and attention to detail was precise and stunning...the hours and years of patience and care combined in all the displays would equal several lifetimes over. I took a moment to ponder that, and then realized that the one thing this place was lacking was one of those little ride-on trains for kids like you see at some shopping malls. Please, take a moment of silence in honor of my disappointment at not being able to make an ass out of myself as a grown manchild riding on a children's toy. I would've purchased one of those old-school striped conductor's hats and everything. This is also why people seldom take me anywhere.
After a short nap we headed over to Restaurant Hala for dinner. I've never had Lebanese, and I'm always hesitant to put something in my mouth that doesn't look or smell appealing, so I struggled at first making up my mind because if there's anything I dislike more than weird food, it's being disappointed at a nice restaurant. Not wanting to load up too much, I started off with some hummus, but found myself unable to resist the Corn Chicken Breast on Mustard-Saffron Sauce with Spinach and Roasted Potatoes . It's no Chicken McNuggets with hot mustard sauce and a large fry, but it was still pretty good. I couldn't even finish it all (I never do at places like this), so I made sure I asked for a container for leftovers in case I want something to munch on later. SB Musing tried nabbing a piece of chicken I'd cut up to fit into the little box (they always give you either a too-small box or a too-big box), so I had to put the forking skills she taught me earlier this month to good use. The student has become the teacher .
Kittiara and I decided that we'd tag along with everyone heading over to Reeperbahn, because when you're in an Amsterdam-like area, you do the damn thing, or something-something they usually say about the Romans. Holy pornoville! Y'all know I'm no prude by any stretch of the imagination, but I've never seen so much smut contained in one area before...no joke! Full disclosure: I'm not a fan of strip clubs , personally. The ones in New York are very tame and kinda skeevy, plus they make the girls wear pasties and keep their bottoms on, and that's kinda purpose-defeating. At least in Canada they're a bit more...exhibition-y. But the whole stripper scene is kinda gross and awkward and sad, if you ask me (which you didn't, which is why I'm telling you). But there are metric fuck-tons (no pun intended) of other fun things to do here for the pervertically-inclined. Although it's kinda imposing, walking hand-in-hand with your favorite lady on a nice, romantic summer night's stroll when the scenery is basically the set of pornographic cinematography.
We hemmed and hawed a little, loitering around a few places and giggling like 12-year-old boys hearing the word "vagina" in health class for the first time, when Sally and SB Musing convinced us to finally enter one of the sex shops. More full disclosure: years ago my sister had a part-time job in a sex toy store. I would stop in and visit sometimes whenever I was in the neighborhood. That's where I truly realized I have never, ever grown up, because damn near everything in places like that can be made fun of when your mind is filthy.
So yeah, we're looking around, pulling faces at all the wondrous goodies people put in, on, and around their bodies, and SB Musing is totally in her element, fo' realz yo. She disappeared with a few outfits into a changing room, and we'd nearly forgotten about her; she'd been in there for quite awhile. It must've been really warm in that tiny little room, because she emerged forty-five minutes later a sweaty, disheveled, red-faced mess.
I'd grabbed a handbasket...not because I thought we were gonna actually buy anything, but because I didn't want to give off the impression that I'd be shoplifting (they'll eye you up and down in places like that). But every damn time I turned around, someone (*cough* Sally *cough*) was tossing random shit in my basket. I'd turn my head, and there'd be flavored lube. I'd make a joke to Kittiara , and find anal beads sticking out. We're gonna need to get Sally a cold shower when we get back to the hostel.
Having decided we'd had enough of a laugh there, we left without actually buying anything and headed back out into the street. We saw Spacecat talking to what we thought were friends of his, because the conversation they were having looked easy and animated...until I looked closer and realized they were prostitutes, and we were standing in front of a brothel. He'll tell you it was our idea to go inside, but the fact of the matter is that in the course of an hour, he ran up a pretty decent tab and was trying to negotiate a lower price after the fact. We just wanted to make sure he got out of there alive, and offer assistance if need be. Bro, has nobody ever taught you not to stick your dick in crazy ?
Once we finally got Spacecat sorted, we decided to play it safe and head to the Erotic Art Museum , because we're a civilized, cultured folk who enjoy the creations of others in a mature, enlightened manner. BAHAHAHAHAHA! Even I almost believed that as I was typing it! The only thing better than watching monkeys hump rocks at the zoo is looking at abstract drawings of naked ladies with their boobs facing in twenty-three different directions, while a man with only what I can assume is three penises lays in the background looking bored as hell. I can't wait for the next innovation in technology, where all this stuff is presented in 3-D.
Our fill of curiosity sated, it was time for the usual nightcap. A little noshing on some appetizers, a couple beverages, the slightly outta control ironic dancing that makes people wonder if I'm choking, lots of laughter, and some quiet conversation near the end of the bar with my adorable companion as the night wound down. You guys... I'm not supposed to feel this smitten! How did I luck out like this? Even Sally stepped back as we were making our way back to the hostel, just to admire what she was seeing...and all she could do was smile. How was everyone else's day?
"Flamenco" -The Tragically Hip
"Maybe a prostitute could teach you how to take a compliment.
Maybe I'll go to New York; I'll drag you there.
You said, 'No one drags me anywhere.'"
"Does taking selfies show narcissism? What about taking selfies with animals, especially wild animals, and disturbing their peace?"
What's up you guys? Thought I'd drop in and say hi and leave a few opinions on some interesting topics today (seeing as how it's been awhile since I've done so ). Lots to cover, so let's have at it...
Regarding selfies, I feel like I hear it compared to a form of narcissism quite often. And maybe it is, and if so, I'm kinda ok with it actually...there are so many other kinds of more lethal narcissistic behaviors present in society that for the most part, a couple selfies every now and then isn't gonna break the moral bank.
And who doesn't like a good dumb selfie, really? Spend five minutes doing random internet shit and you're bound to come across someone trying to be sexy and failing miserably, or just the flat-out awkwardly-timed mishap . Maybe I'm a narcissist because I enjoy certain elements of societal failure. I'll ride that train all day .
I'll admit, I've taken a fair share of selfies. I don't think I've taken an obnoxious amount of them; I'm not the kinda brotha who's gotta photograph myself at every meal or everywhere I go, but I like to keep the current look up-to-date every so often...and it's funny I say that, because I actually just changed my Facebook profile pic to a non-selfie...so what if it's of a puppet and I have a photo fetish of puppets that kinda look like me? Maybe that's a minor form of narcissism I should be discussing with my therapist . But seriously, the last selfie I took was back in...April? So a few months ago. And it looks bad because I've been trying to grow my hair back out, and I had jury duty that day so I left the house without a hat on for what felt like the first time in maybe 20 years (no joke). And it's kinda fuzzy-lookin' 'cuz it was shot in "Beauty Mode" on my tablet, which is the dumbest name for pointing a front-facing camera at yourself just so you can take a friggin' picture of you looking at your electronic device. Maybe it's not the people who are narcissistic, but the technology. Did you ever think of that?
I always worry whenever I take a new selfie that I've taken too many of them, and that everyone else has seen the same articles and studies claiming that taking selfies makes you narcissistic, and someone's gonna call me out on my self-promoting nonsense. I tell myself every damn time I post a new one that it'll be my last, and I am compelled to hashtag each one with #nonewselfies because I don't wanna be ridiculous. Sorry if you happen to be that person who changes their profile pic daily; not sorry you're obnoxious and petty about keeping your look fresh and up-to-the-minute. Surprisingly few people care (my unprofessionally-funded personal study ).
And selfies with animals? Good luck! Are you shittin' me? Ok, there are two classes of this: Pets, and Assholes. Try and keep up with me here as I differentiate.
People love their pets; of that I am sure of. It is fairly common to want to be seen in photographs with your beloved companion. There is nothing wrong with that, and dare I say it is often...what's it called? "Cute"? Something like that. And it's occasionally funny if the animal isn't being especially cooperative and is basically feeling repelled by your fancy technology. Verdict:
But dammit, if you're one of those people who goes to the zoo and tries to be all coy taking a selfie while there are monkeys humpin' rocks behind you...or worse yet, some kind of big-game hunter who kills an endangered animal just so you can hang it on your wall and think you're a badass for holding its dead head up with one hand and your smartphone in the other hand, fuck you. Sorry for being so brash, but you're an asshole, and the world needs less people like you. Verdict:
Ok, well, maybe animals in nature is ok, but not in captivity, and definitely not if you have to disturb them in any fashion. If you're disruptive and think you can pose a creature like some kind of hairy supermodel, you deserve getting your face chomped on. And you better be postin' that shit all over your social media, so we can all mock you for being the dumbass you are. Isn't there some kind of old saying that goes "Mess with the bull, you'll get the horns"? Awww yeah, there is!
TL; DR: Selfies only make you narcissistic if you take a shit-ton of them and frequently post them, especially if you're doing stupid, banal shit like eating or defecating. And you suck at life if you think you need to use animals as props.
"There are always weird stories about people and their pets sneaking into the media. What do you think...can a pet really keep you hostage? Share with us a crazy experience you've had with a pet."
I love the reference link Lyn tacked on to this prompt, about a couple who called 911 because their pet was holding them hostage . This is reason #8,371 why humanity is doomed, and sooner rather than later.
Like I stated in the "Blog City ~ Every Blogger's Paradise" prompt up above, people love their pets. I get it. Although I have at various times lived with different animals, I've never had one that I could consider my own. Therefore, my opinions are shaded by my experience with other peoples' pets, and I would say the majority of those experiences aren't positive. It's not that I hate animals or have some sort of vendetta against them; that's not the case at all. I just...haven't been lucky or met the right ones, I guess (wow...that sounds more like a Tinder profile than a conversation about pets ).
But first, let's talk about this MSN article. In my opinion there is no way in hell a cat should hold two human beings hostage. None. Unless that cat is a tiger, and the two human beings are bedridden, unarmed, and living without electricity. I don't get it! Did the cat have a boxcutter? Was it also a ninja? Was it a tiny person methed up in a cat costume?
I mean, ok, I guess the people did the right thing in a roundabout way by having the cat humanely removed from the situation (you don't call 911 for that, but let's not split hairs). I almost wanna hear the 911 call for more context , because I want to know just how sorry I should feel for these people, and if it should be a legit sorry, or a fuck you, you're an idiot sorry (yes, there's a difference). Like, if they're elderly and scared and the animal was outside for prolonged periods of time and was possibly rabid? That's some scary shit. But if you're backed up against a wall 'cuz Fluffy's bein' a little bit hissy? Maybe you deserve to have the pet taken away from you, as well as your rights to reproduce. Or just distract it with, I dunno...anything?? It's not hard to disrupt the focus of an animal for a brief enough moment that allows you to flee and regain the upper hand in the situation (besides the fact that, you know, you probably weigh 5-10x more than the cat, but if you need me to math you up like that because a cat is holding you hostage, you're also not smart enough to be reading this in the first place ).
Now, I've had a few kinda crazy experiences with other peoples' pets. I had a roommate when I first moved in to 542 a long time ago, and his sister was one of those big animal-savior types or whatever they're called. Like, if you need to adopt an animal ASAP, you call her. So with almost little discussion (I don't remember; this was like 15+ years ago), he decides he's gonna get a cat. Never mind that I'm very slightly allergic to them, or paranoid of them when I'm sleeping that they're rubbing their little cat asses on my face because they turn into seven-foot hostage takers once they crawl into a bed occupied by a human...I come home from work one day and BOOM! Cat!
And it came to him with a dumb name too, like Priest or Pastor or something religical. My roommate thought he'd badass it up by rechristening him after some classic rock hero...I don't even remember who. It was either Jimi Hendrix or Led Zeppelin, and either way it wasn't a whole hell of a lot better.
So one day he's at work and I've got the day off, and we're bullshittin' over AOL Instant Messenger (that's how far back this story goes ) about where we're gonna go get shitfaced that night, and I decide I'm gonna take a shower. I finish up, get dressed, and notice the screen door is flappin' in the breeze...I didn't realize it hadn't shut all the way. After a few minutes, I have determined I don't see the cat around anywhere. I assume he bolted, because why not? I'd flee from living with me too if I could . I do some basic searching around the house and backyard, assume he's either gone or in the basement (which was huge and expansive and dark), or just wily enough that wherever he is, I'm just not and vice versa. I've never been in this situation before, where I've lost a living thing. Didn't really know what to do, so I did what I do best: nothing.
Jumped back on AIM because yay computers! and was chattin' up his sister a li'l because I'm a scumbag like that and I let it slip that I think the cat escaped...she offered to come over and help me look for him, which played into my hands nicely because looking for the cat wasn't my first priority as a scumbag like that. And somehow, whether it was me IM'ing him or his sister telling him, the roommate found out that the cat may have been missing. Here's where I tell you how much of a panicky mama's boy ol' Double-Barrel Darryl was, and how even though he worked about a half-hour away and wasn't due home for a few hours, left work in tears and made it home in probably 15 minutes, presumably to form a ginormous search party and hang up "Missing Cat" flyers on every telephone pole along with the He-Man Women Haters Club and the Get Along Gang . Him calling me and admonishing me with "You gotta go out there and find him!" through tears may have been the saddest and most awkward thing I've ever heard from an adult while simultaneously making me sound like the most evil, heartless bastard ever. All for a cat I'm pretty sure lived with us for less than a month.
So right around the time the slender ginger sister shows up, I've taken a fourth look in my closet...and there I see the glowing eyes. And finally the little monster meowed at me. If he'd been in my closet the entire time, I'd had no idea...it was one of those double-sliding door closets, and I always kept one side open because I think the doors were off-track or something, and there was hardly ever any need for me to get anything from the other side, so I glanced quickly a few times and moved along. Ginger sister is a combination of relieved and happy to see me in a situation where we're alone, and then Double-Barrel bursts in like some sort of reverse Ghostbuster ready to prowl the neighborhood because he can't bear to have his kitty fall in with the wrong crowd of strays littering our neighborhood. All heart, that guy. And I'm a bad friend. He was a wreck about it for a few days, and wouldn't let it go with me for awhile. The cat seriously didn't even get out! He was in the house the whole time! He would've come out to eat or poop eventually! He wasn't one of those shy, scared cats that hides in the presence of people. He was just exploring I guess, because I usually kept my bedroom door shut specifically so he wouldn't get in my room.
I have bad, bad luck in situations like that. I'm just not good with animals. It's not that I'm irresponsible, but as careful as I am sometimes, things still happen and I'm at fault regardless. There should be a fence around me .
Please enjoy this fine selection of indie hip hop centered around an adorable tribute to a cat who was brought home on the recommendation of Aesop Rock's doctor, starring a puppet version of Aes wearing a NY Mets tracksuit jacket (that the narcissist in me made his new Facebook profile pic ) and a cat named Dana because Kirby wanted too much money to play herself on camera. (Fun Fact: Dana was eventually adopted and given a loving forever home .) (Fun Fact #2: Aesop Rock has one of the best Twitter handles ever, @AesopRockWins.) (Fun Fact #3: I spent roughly three weeks one summer selling Kirby vacuum cleaners, and quit because I had a panic attack when a customer cancelled their order on me the next day and I wasn't gonna get paid that week.)
"Bet, more than a pet to worship,
it's an MD-recommended sense of purpose."
Writing stuff updates! The "June 2016 Blogging Bliss Newsletter" is out! Chock full of fantastic information and people to read, as always. And "Note: You guys! Your favorite contes..."...there's an old favorite contest firing back up in July! No, sorry...I didn't mean "Game of Thrones" ...it's an official round of the "30-Day Blogging Challenge" ! Same concept, except for everything that's not the same. No reviewing. Nothing cutthroat. Minimal cheering. Some comments. One exclusive MB will be given out. So yeah, nothing's the same. Not even close. But join in anyway, because it's fun and no one dies.
Sad day in the world of sports. Basketball loses legendary college coach Pat Summitt , who redefined women's hoops in an untouchable run at the University of Tennessee, and the football community is mourning the loss of Buddy Ryan , who was every bit a character as he was a defensive coaching guru...his sons are both coaches for my hometown Buffalo Bills, and I've always respected the fiery attitude of a Ryan-led defense (that played up to its talent level). The circles both Summitt and Ryan have occupied are weakened without their presences.
Now back to the fun stuff...I've probably shared this before but it was still in my Pocket app (until today...I deleted it so it's for sure the last time you'll see it from me) and with this past weekend having seen many high schools in the area celebrate their graduating seniors, let's take a look at what it means to be so done with school .
One of my favorite poems of all-time is "The Love Song Of J. Alfred Prufrock" by T.S. Eliot, and it is my pleasure to share with you an updated version for the 21st century.
And finally, instead of selfies and narcissists and general buffoonery, let us celebrate something far more important: GIFs of people accidentally getting hit in the face . This is why the internet truly exists.
Ok friends...looks like I've said about all I need to say for another couple months or so. Remember, don't judge me just because your cat hates me, or that I know how to take a somewhat decent picture of myself. I am compassionate enough to understand we can't all be so gifted, and I expect the same compassion from you . Peace, homie don't fetch, and GOODNIGHT NOW!!
|So, this happened:
...and that was Saturday night at "The 9th Annual Quills Ceremony" .
It's a beautiful thing, isn't it folks?
But lemme tell ya somethin'. I didn't see it comin'. I've been on that proverbial stage before. I've been nominated for Best Blog in years I thought I should've won. I've seen personal favorites and even someone I actually nom'd over me win. And that makes me happy as fuck...putting a horse in the race and then betting on it to win and then it wins? How do you describe that? Multiply that by people telling you (again) you should win this year, you deserve it, etc...
There are no words. No feelings. Other than amazement and love and appreciation. It's mind-boggling thinking about how all y'all think these things about what I think and how I convey it...like, WTF are you seeing that I so clearly cannot? And no, don't tell me. I'm bad with compliments. I don't want that attention. Thank you and goodnight...the more you encourage me, the longer I'll stay around.
So, I had a slot in the Quills In-and-Out for an acceptance speech. Had nothin' prepared, because . I went with the standard "Wooooooooo!" . I was more prepared to congratsy other potential winners. I think I just stuck my tongue out and flashed some devil-horn fingers and that was it...I wanted to help keep the live broadcast movin' on in the importance of time. "It's not about me!" Even when it was about me.
And that's the thing...I do this because people read it and respond to it. I don't think I'm flashy or sophisticated or <insert adverbs and emotions and batshit opinions here>. I do this to keep my sanity. And that people like it...it's a bonus. To be rewarded for it, even better. Like a mashed potato-iced cake filled with steak and topped with one gravy...but not all the gravys. When you drop a shelf loaded with glass jars of beef, chicken, and turkey gravy, it smells like shame and failure. And all the dead animals. Don't ever do that. Put me off from turkey for awhile, until actual Thanksgiving rolled around, and then I was like "bird meat with fat and flour in my face's mouth-hole now!!" Sorry vegans. Wrong tangent.
Anyway, dude, it's still unbelievable. All the way around. The Live Hangout with Elle - on holiday in the UK! and Cinn and Osirantinous and Andy52in52~Wodehousing and Andrew and lizco252 and Sally and Lostwordsmith and IntueyCongratsNewBlues&Yellows and fuck I feel like I'm leaving someone out. I know there was a The StoryMaster invite placed during the late portions of the afterparty. Understandably declined, but perhaps he could've added some color to the Intercourse/Paradise, Pennsylvania discussion.
All in all, this is why I joined up almost 15 years ago. To have an outlet for my notebooks. And my thoughts. And myself. I was a poetry writer, and as WDC evolved so did I, and I started blogging, and now I'm circling back into poems (big ups to Cinn and my boy Char and Elle - on holiday in the UK! for convincing me into "Give It 100!" ). I needed to be shaken out of my doldrums, and this is why anyone should join or stay with WDC. Things happen, life happens, but involvement is essential. First time I felt welcome in life to such an open and inviting extreme. And let's keep it that way, huh? Write what you want, don't be a dick, and encourage others. Set goals...sounds like a shitty overused thing, but fuck if I can do something anyone can! Maybe next year instead of masturbating over the Quills I didn't win in Poetry categories, I'll win one. For the reason I joined up to begin with. Not campaigning, not hoping, nothing. It's on me for that, I know.
And ugh didn't this spiral out of control? Don't care. Love you all. I don't even know how to thank the fuck outta youse guys. But thank you. From the good places of my heart. That are filled with Reese's peanut butter cups. The dead part of my heart now includes chocolate-filled licorice and bizarre fruits , and almost everyone in the situations over at "Invalid Item" . That's my new home now, I think. I think that's where we go to express our anger and die, or something...and we get to do it with a smile.
I suppose I should wrap this up...I'm not tagging anyone else because thanking everyone whose been with me this far or seen me through so many years of this would take forever, and I'm bound to forget someone. So, blanket thanks to everyone. And I love you all, equally. Glad it's just me who can share this with you and not having it smashed up against a rock so that seven other people have to share. Love, peace, and GOODNIGHT NOW!!
** Image ID #2036546 Unavailable **
"Welcome back to another voyage on the magical ship- it can go anywhere and anytime in complete safety for the voyagers. Don't know about my fellow travelers, but I am heartily tired of winter whites and browns- and cold weather. Let's take this ship on a trip to where flowers and foliage are. Let's go! Tell us where we are and how the place feels, looks, tastes, smells, and sounds."
"Water balloons. Take this prompt anywhere you want."
Well, this couldn't have happened at a better time! The Magical Ship is back, taking off from the friendly confines of "Andre The Blog Monkey's Banana Bar" this year. I can't wait to get outta here...after a really mild winter, we've had some snow in the last couple of days and I'm already sick of it. Seems like the only times I've had to go more than a few blocks in any direction the weather lately has sucked.
Needless to say, I'm already in the mood for shenanigans . I guess I should've taken a look to see who I'm takin' it to the seas with so I have a baseline idea of how much trouble I could potentially be getting myself into. Looks like I've already either taken this voyage and done some "30-Day Blogging Challenge" summer camping with most of the crew, so this'll be a good time.
I've already got a feeling PandaPaws - College Co-ed might have it out for me with the water balloons. I don't know who snuck 'em on the ship (if he's around, my guess is it's Andre). Sharon will probably try to retaliate for some of my 30DBC prompts the last few months...and if she's smart she'll have teamed up with Noyoki as well. I'm probably better off hiding in my room, but c'mon...when do I ever know better?
As for the trip itself, I'm not picky...I just wanna be warm and fun and free. I imagine it'll be to some kind of tropical island (it better be...I didn't pack my coconut thong for nothin' ). It'll be an adventure, that's for sure...it usually is, isn't it? Some swimming, some sand, dalliances into the leafy forest somewhere off the beaten path where the ocean air turns into that musty mixture of humidity and plant life...now I'm a little nervous. What if someone wants to, you know, off me and leave me to rest in my tropical grave? Will anyone know where to look for me? Follow the trail past the mountains, where the scattered remains of water balloons lay. Note the flip flop footprints. There's your culprit if I go missing.
"'It's the sides of the mountain that sustain life, not the top.- Robert M. Pirsig. Interpret this quote in any form or style you wish."
Speaking of mountains, one thing that's gotta happen on this Magical Ship if I'm gonna survive it is I'm gonna need someone to watch my back. Some teamwork, ya know? Who's with me when the water balloons come out? An uncomfortably wet Norb is an unhappy Norb, and like I mentioned earlier today in my "LISTS!" entry, I can be a miserable traveler at times. Scratch my back, I'll scratch yours. Mountains don't grow from the top down...the foundation rises when the sides are strongest. Or somethin' like that. Earth Science isn't my strongest subject .
So who's with me? 'Cuz if you're not with me, you're against me...and I don't wanna climb crappy dirt hills. I wanna scale some mountains!
Been awhile since I've done one of these entries...I was goin' through my Pocket app links to see if I had any interesting articles saved, just for the hell of it. I came across this one about this unreleased Elliott Smith song ...and I keep telling Char whenever his name comes up in conversation that I'm gonna listen to more of his music because I know I'll like it based on the couple of songs I've already heard. And this seems fitting for today, because, well, "Oceans".
"The magic of the ocean takes control over me."
I may have shared this link recently, either in a previous entry or elsewhere, but it's still in my Pocket queue so I either did and didn't delete it, or I, uhhh, didn't. Anyway, it's tips for bloggers , and I don't know how relevant they are to what any of us do here, but it's probably got some good advice (I haven't reread it yet because I'm sure I've already read it whenever I first saved it, and I really only save stuff that I wanna re-post). It's here now in case I ever wanna come back to it. Which is a polite way of saying I probably won't .
And at some point I must've went on a grammar kick, because I have a bunch of articles saved related to crazy Tumblr posts about the English language and how messed up it is, and the best grammar tweets of 2015 ...and you'd think with all this knowledge at hand I'd be some sort of wicked Grammar Jedi. (Spoler Alert: I'm not.)
Here's a serious post about having an anxious mind and a laid-back personality , which goes along well with some of my travel issues I'm sure. Given how stressed out I get planning on going anywhere before doing a complete 180 and worrying about nothing once I get there, this probably explains a lot.
And finally, let's have a little fun imagining where I'm going this week while realizing it'll be awhile before I go anywhere else .
Woo-hoo! One day down here, four days into "LISTS!" (which are in that other place I write stuff in, "Soundtracked" ), and absolutely at least a month behind in my quest to "Give It 100!" (I've got a few more poems written that I haven't posted yet, but that doesn't get me close to being caught up ). Eh, there's always time...until there isn't . Peace, tide comes in and goes out, and GOODNIGHT NOW!!
What's up y'all? Looks like my girl Gaby has found herself in a reflective mood lately, and she's infecting encouraging us to share our "I WDC" experiences in a little shindig she's appropriately titled "I Heart WdC Contest" . An excellent little exercise, I must say. I haven't read many of these testimonials yet- maybe a few- but I've been feeling sorta bloggish lately again so I figured I'd share mine now that I'm caught up on a few big things and some smaller things are in the works before I head home for the Easter holiday stuff and find myself around here a little less. Before I begin, here's some guidelines Gabbers set for us...I may not hit them all, but it's my journey , not yours or hers:
Why did I join in the first place?
Who were the people I've met in the beginning?
Who are the people I'm closest to and why?
What have I accomplished in the time I've been here?
What do I hope to accomplish?
How did Writing.com affect my life? In what ways?
Who inspires you the most?
Anything else you can think of, add to it.
Fair enough. I'm not going off a script or any notes or anything, so this might turn into one long ramble. But you cats are used to that from me I suppose (if you've been stopping by these points of internets unknown from time to time).
I joined Stories.com (yes, I'm that old here) in July of 2001. 2001! Some of y'all have kids the same age as my portfolio! There might even be some of you who are reading this that are younger than my account (in which case, you probably shouldn't be reading this at all, since it's rated GC, dammit! ). After foolin' around with some shady scam poetry contest thing I saw in the Sunday comics page of the Buffalo News and spending a ton of money just to get published in some ginormous anthology, all I wanted was a place to get my poetry on the internet in some way. And a quick Google search brought me here. It was super easy signing up, and I spent a few nights uploading a shit-ton of stuff (I swear this was before port limits for basic members). Someone latched on to me pretty quick too; a woman named Laura, who compared me to Bob Dylan of all people (??...and I wasn't really into him at all back then) who is no longer a member. With her help it didn't take me long at all to get a yellow case; maybe a few weeks? This was before Newbie groups and all that, if I'm not mistaken. It felt like a whirlwind; I was being put in newsletters, getting reviews, crazy. I had a good relationship with this person, but she left soon after she became a Mod. Trying to go it alone here wasn't always easy. I made a few friends here and there, and my creativity reached new heights, but with that always comes a period of stagnancy.
There was a time when I drifted in the wilderness for awhile; once I couldn't maintain an upgraded membership and had limited internet access and the whole sDC/WDC transition. There were ups and downs, both here and in life. Met a kickass girl who was super into my stuff, and we talked IRL for like, forever...until I went to NYC to hang out with her, and it went to shit pretty quick. Live, love, and learn (not necessarily in that order ). I'd already finished "Cabin Fever" by this point, and was well into "Ribmeat Of The Family Tree" (I'm still into the process of archiving that here, if I'm not mistaken). I'd joined a group and had a really bad experience with the leader (if you ever hear me refer to Sister Mary Molly Muggingsworth, she a member who I think is still around and to this day is one of only two people I think I've ever had to block and/or take some kind of action against here...in almost 15 years, that's a pretty nice record or getting along I guess). I was frustrated with my own experience and level of interest, along with my writing. Blogging was still a fairly new internet concept, so I figured I'd give it a shot and see if it'd spark some creativity.
"I'm Studying You" started out as just a place to catch thoughts...it was nothing more than a scratch pad and a place to rant and hold my misguided musings on life. It turned into a detailed pursuit of a woman who would eventually become an ex-longtime serious girlfriend, and it gained a following that I never could have imagined. That's where I met people like Gaby and In Your Dirtiest Pants and Kåre Enga still in Montana and Julie D , along with a bunch of others who aren't around here anymore but I still see from time to time on Facebook...we had our own little blogging network before blogging groups were a thing. For the first time in a long time, I felt like I was part of something. They wanted to read my posts, I wanted to read theirs, and we could interact daily...this was before the Newsfeed and "likes" and tagging and all that; the Wild West days of the old WDC . And I had this crazy cool pre-smartphone that could do internet stuff and I could write a blog entry from the comfort of my bed if I wanted to, very easily. Those were some fun times. I met some amazing people.
But the ebbs and flows of life happen, ya know. Once I got the girl, there was nothing to write about anymore. I didn't wanna be that guy who wrote about the banal life and times of being lovey-dovey. I had no more inspiration; I was at the top of my mountain. My Philly-via-NJ homegirl Julie D suggested I enter the "30-Day Blogging Challenge" ; I was reading her entries and after some convincing decided to go for it. Eventually I won, and I was hooked. Addicted, actually...having a prompt was the best way to stir up internal inspiration. And each month, as it progressed, we all would become tighter...like a family. It's how I've met people like Prosperous Snow (Neva) and Brother Nature and Wordsmitty . It was my footing. I'd found my purpose. I wasn't just a poet guy anymore. I was a blogger. A guy who writes things. Folks liked it. Some of 'em still do.
And that's where I'm at now. I've established that that's what I am. I've been nominated for "The Quill Awards" for Best Blog a couple times, and that's still my identity, to me. That's where I find a lot of my happiness here, when I'm up to it. I've been nominated for "Best Comedy" as well, but that's just subjective; blogging is the vehicle. I've made a lot of great friends and have gotten to know some really fantastic people through it- and it's a fact: you have to read to be read. Mutual respect doesn't just happen; it's earned.
In the last year though, things have begun to come full-circle for me. I still get the itch to write poetry; I've posted some on occasion. Deep down, that's why I joined WDC. That's who I've always been. Through blogging I've met some awesome people most of y'all already know, like Cinn and my li'l brother Char ...two amazing writers, poets, and people in their own rights. I'm still tryna figure out a way to express my love for them. And in doubling down my efforts to become more involved in the entire WDC community, you can't help but get involved with some master planners, listers, and executors of plans like Elle - on holiday in the UK! and Fran 🏅🇬🇧🇬🇧🏅 . Just from their events and happenings, I've seen doors open up and met more and more of you...without them, we're all just me back in 2007, posting poems and hoping someone reads them. The enthusiasm, the encouragement, the love they spread...it's contagious. It's a whole new level of inspiration. Hell, I remember the night I finally broke and was convinced by Elle, Charlie, and especially Ky to participate in "Give It 100!" ...that was validation. That was me staying up 'til all hours of the night back in '01 and '02, uploading notebooks of poems, being told "We get why you're here, now show us more." And I don't know how to say how much I appreciate that, nor can I explain how that feels. The feedback I've gotten so far from "100" from them has been incredible. Being nominated in this year's Quills for my poetry was mind-blowing...just to be in the same company as some of those names! My mind's done so many backflips that even the fails feel worthy. It's been refreshing, to say the least.
And I'm proud of the "30-Day Blogging Challenge" for all that it is since I've taken it over...and I didn't even want to do that. I wasn't sure I could keep it going, and I didn't want to be the one to see it fail. But it's thriving! There is a strong cast of bloggers every month holding it down. We have our own Merit Badge now, some solid little events going on here and there, and the support...I couldn't have imagined it any better. I'm a lucky mawfugga with that . Wow.
But the best part of the last few years...maybe within the last half of my WDC journey? Helping people out along the way. Seeing people come up and win contests, or get promoted from black to yellow case or yellow to blue, people I've been friends with along the way. And knowing I've been there even just a little. That's the bestest part of being here...watching them succeed. Knowing the work they put in and all they do...incredible. Seeing Char go yellow...that was a great day. I love that kid like you wouldn't believe and if anyone says otherwise, I got the Fred Sanford Five cross yo lip for thinkin' you might know me better (seriously, talk to me before amazing false assumptions, aight?). My Gabba-labba-ding-ding-ding went from a Yellow Witch to a Blue Witch (and she done got married and broke my heart for good ). lizco252 started up my absolute favorite thing to do with "Invalid Item" and I'm all 'bout it...she's gotten a well-deserved case for that and she's a baller human being. Even Cinn , the poetry expert in my group, has gone up a level since we've met...she's encouraged me in so many ways, with poetry and reviewing and helping out Newbies here and there (I've fallen off the path a little, but there is always time to jump back on it). I'm virtually surrounded by nothing but class and amazingness, and I can only hope to do that justice in my travels. But seeing the rise of Lyn has been an absolute joy. From helping her get her posts right in blogging groups like "Blogging Circle of Friends " and "Blog City ~ Every Blogger's Paradise" , to seeing her move to yellow and then blue.... Lyn's one of my closest allies, and she's a gem and an asset in a world full of 'em. I can't say enough about what she's meant to me over the last couple years...from the 30DBC August Camping Trips (and the exclusive MB) to the 30DBC Fundraiser and her own groups (like "Love Shouldn't Hurt" and taking leadership of the same groups I previously mentioned), has anyone deserved a promotion more? All it takes is a simple act of kindness, presented in the right way. I had to shed a lot of skin to get to that point, and now it seems so normal and obvious. I like to help. I care. I'm here, 'cuz you're here. . That's how I feel about you all. I've seen a lot of changes...people have come and gone and come back or not come back and have stayed and made their place. For all that it is, this place is my life now. It's always open on my laptop. When I travel it comes with me. It's in my routine and it'll be impossible to shake whenever I fall into a new one. I'm 40 years old. I've been a member for almost 15 years. Even when I tried to let go consciously, I couldn't (see "Re: Re: Re: Truth or Dare, Norb!" ). In all of the ups and downs that life presents us, WDC has been the one constant throughout my adult formative years. I guess I came across at the right time...it's growing older along with me .
And I know I'll have unintentionally left out a few people...I can't tag you all in the moment. Some of you, like Nixie and Choconut and Kittiara I've met recently through Soundtrackers. Old friends like pinkbarbie, Dragon 老师 , Lorraine - RIP Stefan , and ~Minja~ are wonderful ladies who contribute so much to the fabric of the WDC community and do so much for others. At this point, it's closing time and if I've forgotten to list you I'm so very sorry...I can't thank you all but damn, it's been quite a ride these past almost-15 years. I don't even wanna know where or what I'd be without it.
"What is the best thing about spring?"
Ohhhh...spring. What used to get me excited was warmer temperatures and the whole "a young man's fancy lightly turns to thoughts of love" quote from Tennyson (a guy I've never read and now I'm thankful for it, because fuck that so fuck him). I think Led Zeppelin had a song about spring too, which might've incited a furious impulse toward romance, but if I can't remember it right now it must no longer be of importance. Much like the shirts still stuffed in a bin that I haven't seen in years and probably still no longer fit. Out with the old, in with the new. Unless there's no new to take the place of the old. Then it's ehhh...whatever man.
Now, I'm more about it just being nicer outside. We had a pretty decent winter, even though it's snowing today. No major "shut down everything except Bingo!" storms. No catastrophic roof collapses. Nothing impeding my day-to-days other than the occasional "it's too uncomfortable to be out here in public" stuff (which of course only seemed to happen when I really needed to go anywhere). It's all sunshine from here on out.
I get to feel like exploring a little more. I don't mind that extra walk when I can handle it in my bones. That busride back to Buffalo for some family and friends that the summertime exacerbates. A feeling like I belong somewhere. I'm not so shut-in. I'll take a book to the park and a pillow in my backpack so I can chill on the bench leisurely with whatever soothes my pace. Shakin' out the dead leaves. Bustin' out the sandals and the Chucks and the rest of the summer shoes; puttin' the Docs away from a winter I didn't really need 'em when the decades-old Tims held the footing underneath me down. Breathin' the air without takin' in the chill. No fleece, just peace. That's my spring springin'. My New Year. The opening band for my favorite seasonal summer soundtrack. I'm more optimistic now in general than any new year's festivities could promise. That's just how I work.
"Imagine yourself loving one person very much, any person, like a parent, a sibling, a child, a mentor, a lover, or a friend. Think of that love as a feeling. Can you apply that same feeling to your community, to everyone you know, to your nation, to the billions of people of the world, no matter what? Can this be possible, ever?"
No. No way. Stop. Forget it.
If I've learned anything about love, and I'm no expert but I've experienced my share of it, it has limits. Let's bullet it out like I did in the first part of this entry:
a parent, sibling, child
a lover or a friend
to everyone you know
the billions of people of the world
No. Let's forget that this can ever happen. Some people really just want to watch the world burn. You can't help them. Your love can't save them. Your deity will not intervene on your behalf "just because you wanna make the world a better place". Let's stop futzin' around with that. "Hopes and prayers" don't cure or cancel out cancer or any other shit. It just makes you sound like a better person for trying without really trying. You mean well, and I know you mean well and we all know it too now. Good. Great. Swell. But unfortunately, untimely things happen to the goodest of people. Much like shitty great things happen to super-shitty people. Your love and hopes and well-wishes and sloganeering won't stop a sect of closeted racists from loving (and hating) what they love (and hate). It's just that simple.
Before I get too carried away, look: I'm a loving person. I care, almost to a fault. I will love and love and love, with reasons only I can know and/or explain. I have intentions and expectations. And I'm not so naive to know that everyone doesn't or can't fall in line with them. It's human nature. I can't make you love me. You can't force me to love something I don't feel like I agree with. There are a gaggle of societal issues we can absolutely disagree with...but you can love me as a person and vice/versa, and it can stop at that.
Some emotional concepts I wear on my sleeve; others stay close to my vest. If you hate other people for simple bullshit, I probably won't like you. If you're emotionally needy and flip-flop on what you stand for, I will make less time for you. If you're downright rude, openly narcissistic and can't be talked down from your self-built ledge, I will not hesitate to watch you attempt to navigate your journey from a distance, if at all. I cannot love everyone, because some make it impossible through their words and actions. And I'll be the first to admit I'm one of 'em. I don't ask to be loved; I don't know if I'm able to reciprocate until I feel it. And when I do, it takes a lot to turn it off. But when it's off, it's off. Life's too short for games. Get down with the get down, or get out. I've got all the time in the world right now, but I don't have time for people who can't be respectful of me, of others, of people who don't share their same opinions. You wanna hate? Do it on your own time. I...can't be bothered. I've got my own shit to deal with in my here and now, and if you're not with me then you're against me. Simply put.
And yo, I love everyone from the start. That's my default mode. It takes a lot to get on my bad side. But once you're there, good luck gettin' off it. I can't love everyone and everything. The whole good/bad scenario. We'd all be Grammy winners if everyone loved how we sang in the shower. We'd all be presidents. Hate makes the world go 'round, unfortunately. I just try to love as much as I can, even though I'm as guilty as anyone else for being fed up and frustrated and whatnot. I'm human. I can only take so much. The best thing I can do is spread out the good and hope that it cancels out some of the bad. It's an uphill battle.
No, not everyone or thing can be loved. It is not possible, and I stopped trying a long time ago. Do what makes you happy, and don't be a dick. That's as close as you'll get. I almost feel like I shouldn't have to keep saying this. But the world happens, and here I am. Fuck.
Good lawd...I thought I'd retired this song from my musical interludes, but since Gaby wants to look back, then I can resmother you all with this gem from my early blogging days. And now it has an even more anti-sentimental bent to it; thank you: old age, maturity, and curmudgeonism
"Why don't you tell it how it really is, before you go on home?"
I ain't sayin' much; just sayin' somethin'. Remember who you're talkin' about when you talk about someone. And keep my name outchya mouth if you can't be an adult. Got problems? Yo, I'll solve them. Or she will; one of the two. Stop playing God and say what you mean, instead of making drama.
What would this entry be if I didn't smash a few links in it to make you have some different level of enjoys-ment? Apparently puns are now a new form of mental ilness . Someone wake up Mitchopolis and let him know that punnery will always be tolerated and appreciated. Perhaps, even, reciprocated. This is a lost art that needs to be resuscitated. I need pun wars!
Some of y'all are locked into the throes of March Madness, and that's ok, 'cuz I used to be like you too. Some of y'all might know a guy named Dave too, and the best dude of all the best dudes I know is my brotha DMFM (it's also his birthday in two days). Take a no-risk gamble on the Dave bracket , and win yourself some Cool Points somewhere in your own little universe. For what it's worth (and for however it's scored...I don't understand it at all), I got 135/192. But I nailed the Final Four, and that's gotta count for somethin'. Bust your bracket on that!
Ok...ummm, I think I said enough. It's dinnertime, and I've gotta start gettin' ready for things I'm not yet ready for physically or mentally. There are better places to be, but thanks for bein' here with me for awhile. Peace, then you go home, and GOODNIGHT NOW!!
What's up you guys? I figured that if I had the will to disconnect myself enough to write "Big Grab" for "Pursue the Horizon" , then I surely could bang out a couple thoughts for the other groups I'm in...I know I've missed out on some prompts I'd normally love to stick on my keyboard righteously, so the inspiration isn't anyone's fault. I do what I can when I can.
"You look out your front door and see a strange blue light hovering above your front yard or over the street in front of your house. Write a story about the light and what happens next."
I...don't have a front door. I live in a god damn boarding house basically. There, I said it. Google it...the Gable Inn in Cortland. The front door is very bright, almost pastel blue. Like, matte neon Easter Egg blue. Front door to the bar on the main floor, front door to the upstairs floors with rooms like a hotel but not a hotel. Like a parking space. My life is condensed into a a spot big enough for a car to live in. Bed, dresser, a few totes with the remains of my past. Six totes actually...
shoes; warm weather/cold weather
junk and crap
meaningful mementos and books/dvds and god knows what
notebooks and writings and the one thing I'll hug when the apocalypse comes
Guess it's time to go through that shit again..if you ain't needed it in six months' time, ya don't need it ever.
I'm a minimalist. Out of necessity. I had me some contentment in the finer things, the ordinary stuff...but I guess I wasn't happy with that and let it get the best of me, so I'm learning still how to do without...and I've picked up a few things along the way, like diagnoses and whatnot. Things I should've known better of when I had better time to make use of different resources. But that's neither here nor there.
Sometimes I can be sitting here in the darkness, almost comfy in my shitty little world. I can lull myself to sleep with the help of pharmaceutical aids and a routine of snacks and televised absurdities. And I'm alright. But my window gives me clearance to the intersection nearest my domicile, and at the kitty-corner opposite is both the police and fire stations. Shortly best put, sirens are a part of my every day experience. Even at night with the blinds drawn, if a cop pulls over someone near the Tompkins/Main/Port Watson intersection, their berries will bleed into the cracks of my shades. It's a shitty college town with already-broken people. I guess there's no harm in getting a dark room flooded with sirens, as long as it's not me they're lookin' for.
But fuck man...you gotta be kiddin' me when they come to my door on the second floor lookin' for someone who hasn't lived here in god knows how long. You get me, already runnin' from my own past, already tired of all the shit I've been through with everyone else, at 5am when I'm collapsing all over myself and flinchin' on my own convulses, in somewhere I don't even know anyone else, and you're convicting me of a crime before I've even seen a jury- before I've even seen a face or a shower?- fuck you. Fuck what you claim you stand for. When the blue light in my room isn't from my laptop, when it's from the sucka light of your infrared whooping stick, and you think it's ok to disrupt my not doing of anything? Fuck you and fuck that. Sorry I gave you nothing to look for or more into. Sorry your turning all I had up and down didn't give you shit for whatever your little spineless operation wanted. Sorry you couldn't figure out that I was clean and baseless. I don't get that intrusion back. You get to move on to the next room. I get fear and hate, along with accusations, stamped into my psyche. I've dealt with girlfriends doing that, but the fucking authorities? Over an "Oops, my bad!"? And you wonder why I don't support cops. My uncle was a cop. He controlled his racism to fine points. He had reasons for all the shitty things I tried to reconcile with. No. Just fucking no! No. No.
Oh my head...what have I gotten into? Plainly put...don't go to the blue lights. Do not willingly open your doors to them. They don't show up to "welcome wagon" you. They're not there to remind you of all the good shit you've done. Ain't no knockin' to say "Hey! Person Of The Year who didn't need us for crime!" GTFOH. Blue lights my ass. If someone even tries to hand me a Labbatt Blue Light I'mma be suspect of them as well, as per all good citizens should be of beer-drinking afficionados. You don't need my distaste! You don't need my disliking! Let me be! I'm not a law-breaker anymore! Let me froth over paltry shit, and not your homophobic gang-bangin' in the barracks.
Make love, don't cop.
"Have you ever read a book and the setting was a town you lived by or a town or city you have been to? Was the author from the town near you?"
I have not . Not that I'm aware of, at least. Like, I've been to NYC twice and I've never thought that "this is where they made it".
I've been to cities where songs were written, and I've never felt the same vibe. Will Smith's "Miami" wasn't the same version as my Miami experience. Neither was my Washington DC time. I don't think anywhere I've been has been like what anyone has written about, to be honest. We all go through things at different times, for whatever reasons, and some places are more notable than others. And I'm sure there are many people who live in small towns that have spawned an author and his/her readers can relate to details, but no. I have not been there.
And I feel like a dick a little, because I've worked in a bookstore that has had local authors in for signings. But usually I was on the retail side, and the crowds were not that big, and the books were more about common knowledge than anything else worth discussing to a larger crowd.
But...for the sake of conversation, I guess the latest "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle" movie had some scenes filmed in Buffalo . Right on the 33, the gateway to the city from the 'burbs. NY is great about giving tax breaks to filmmakers for tourism and the influx of people coming in to do those associated jobs and offering them cool touristy shit like Niagara Falls and all the other not-NYC stuff that's great about New York, but for the love of...NO!! What you see of NY on film, in song, and in literature...that's not New York! God damn...it's a mix of city kids and green space and bumpkins and ne'er-do-wells and executives and interns and me. Just never convince yourself that there's one type of New Yorker, and don't you ever believe that NYC types are all that there ever is and they're the end-all be-all when it comes to us. We're not the friends from Friends, we're not all Sex In The City types, and we're not all humming "No Sleep 'Til Brooklyn" (ok, maybe that's just me). Getcher nuts outta your ass. The left side of NY is vastly more cultured and different and palatable than the Statue Of Liberty's tired, poor, welcoming thing you believe it to be. By the time you've made it to Buffalo, we expect you to be hardened, sarcastic, and willing to put up with a lot of shit the midwest established itself to get away from. Like highways that actually go places, instead of just going somewhere.
Anyway, no, I haven't read something that can extol the virtues of Delaware Park (a Frank Lloyd Wright creation), Mighty Taco, or the Buffalo Sabres in literature form. I can't even put together a cohesive blog entry sometimes, or else I already would've. I miss Buffalo so very much...if anyone were to be considered the WDC Sons of Buffalo, let Kåre Enga still in Montana and I write that chapter of history, as different yet same as we are. Put that on your page and read it!
Again I've written myself into a corner as far as music is concerned. I thought about it, but I won't stoop to Vanilla Ice's "Ninja Rap", and I'm not bowing to the supremacy the Goo Goo Dolls have on the WNY territory. And I'm not goin' into that Aesop Rock song I've shared a gang of times before with the Buffalo supercut. Ugh...so much to be proud of and so much more to distaste. Why does even the sucky music suck so much, like Mr. Big? There is not much to be proud of, like other cities. Well, fuck it. I don't care...one of the things I've been proud of as my time as a Buffalonian is my card-carrying love of its indie scene and gawd love Girlpope for all it is, was, and never will be.
And oh my fuck...someone's put their entire second album up on YouTube, so instead of "So Far As Now" I'll be in a half hour of glory because this is Buffalo late-90's rock in its fucking glory.
"Can you see it come around?
All the things you once put down?"
I miss those days.
I read a lot of things on the interwebz, but that doesn't make me an expert nor a practitioner of said interwebzery or interwebzardry. There should be a special place in the internet everyday hall of fame for these fucking people .
Oh my fucking god, are you listening to that Girlpope link from above? Just put that on and let it background your shit for awhile...dude, don't you just wanna rage and chill at the same time on a couch that is actually yours? You wanna throw that throw pillow, but you wanna also not make a scene of your scene, amirite? AMIRITE? *double bold five stars hi-five hand-claps*
Sometimes I rub people the wrong way, even in my own language. Thankfully, there is a tool helping you help me.
Dammit, the music's over. Guess that means I should pump my tires and admit that I added a few chunks of clap-trappery to my attempts of "Give It 100!" , "100" . Hi-fives if you've ever walked into a store before and found yourself like "Commodities" and left without knowing WTF just happened. You're my people now...headrubs and oatmeal are on the effin' way. No joke...I'm probably fixing myself oatmeal for the bedtime "shut your face up" snack tonight, 'cuz I can being coffee pot make hot water and all.
Oh dear lawd OMG...ok, I'm done writing things today for y'all and I'm done looking at things. I have things to do! You sinners be brave, and you thoughtful people be careful, and y'all just dive in til it's naptime and we'll still love you when you wake up. Peace, you know everything's the same, and GOODNIGHT NOW!!
"Let's talk about our blogs....do you have commenting guidelines for your readers? Today is a great time to let them know the commenting policy for your blog (or set some new expectations). Would you read a personal blog without a comment section? How do you feel when a comment section is closed?"
What's up you guys? Welcome back (to you, and to me!)...this is the second real blog entry I've written in 2016, so I feel a little outta sorts. I know I wrote an entire month for "Invalid Item" and that's real and that counts, but this is the main blog, yo. "Soundtracked" is great and all for what it is, and I'm not gonna take anything away from that, but it's not what this is. And this is what you've come to see! So let's do this! Let's welcome Tripper Norb back into his new old home!
But I guess before we do that, we need to set some ground rules...you know, because we might have some new people stoppin' by the crib. I come from the school of there are no rules, because that's how I've always done things and that's the environment I wish to foster, but maybe if you ain't been here before then I guess I need to say a few words on this subject.
#1 If you're gonna be here, say somethin'. Don't make me go into the WDC Statistics for this item and let me find out you've been here without at least sayin' hey. That's rude. I'd never just show up on your doorstep and ring your doorbell and leave if you ain't home and then not tell you about it. And comin' here to read is even worse if you ding-dong ditch my entries...you came here to read somethin', and I gave your ass somethin' to read, so you best at least say what's up. Even if you don't like it. I don't do this for my health! (Ok, I do do this in part for my health, but that ain't the damn point.) You made your click-effort to get here. You read it. You jus' gon' leave like that? Without sayin' a word? Shame on you, and shame on your mama for not teachin' you better! There! I done damn said it!
#2 You'll be respectful...not just to me, but to everyone else that stops by here on their own click-itions. Listen...I have opinions. A lot of 'em. And this is where I get 'em all out in a nice li'l space. And when my friends get together in the comment box down below this entry, they get it. They don't have to agree with what I say, but they will converse with respect for one another. Even my dear mother, who forced me into this world and reads this tasty slice of internet strawberry cheesecake from time to time, she knows what's up. She dropped an ethnic slur in reference to me on a Tweet I wrote that duplicated itself onto Facebook yesterday, and I had to call her ass out for that. If my mama don't get a free pass, y'all definitely don't get a free pass. I'mma smack you and your mama, who must've let you think it was ok to be disrespectful to others . And I don't like slappin' mamas, but don't think I won't. More simply stated, from the "Book of Miscellany" , Chapter 170, v.1-4, "The Cult of Norb [18+]" , don't be a dick. Bible that y'all. You don't want to be teabagged because of your own foolishness. I don't walk into your house and kick your kittens and fart on your couch and tear a hole in your Oreo package, so be the fuck nice when you say your whatevers here.
#3 Ahhhh the hell with it. I hate bein' all authority-like about shit. Most of you are grown-ups, or act like 'em, or should be. You don't need me tellin' you these things...at least, you shouldn't. Common decency. Mind the rating and your manners (the rating's GC, so I guess I've eliminated much of that work for you anyway ). I don't have time for kitschy petulance. Get the point or get a verbal brick through the window of your face I guess, if you're not into playing nicely and shit. I'm here to make this world a better place for me, and if you join in then I'll help make it better for you too...and if you're not down for that and you out yourself as much, then may a cascade of verbal and physical fuck yous clutter up your life deservedly for being the piece of asscrack you always fail to reach when wiping that you are. No offense. Especially if you're that person.
Glad we cleared that up and could quickly get that outta the way.
I say that all lovingly of course, because I don't want to see anyone get hurt...especially in the one place I love the most. Be decent and kind, because we're all going through something you can't see (even you, whether or not you expose it for others). I'm fairly open, but some of the ones I've taken to the most aren't. And they're no less deserving of respect and love. We have a right to say and not say what we say and don't say, and you have a right to say something nice in return, or shut your goddamn whore mouth if you can't say something nice back. It's very simple 'round here.
It does break my tiny little lamb heart when I come across another person's blog that doesn't have comments enabled for the readied masses...and that same heart turns to ice and shatters when I tell that same good soul that and three weeks later they're all like "Why no comments on my entries?" I fucking told you. Now you suffer. Friendless and alone. I tried to help, and you refused. I cannot help you anymore. I can't allow myself to get emotionally sucked into your thoughts and words if I cannot reach back out into them. If there is no safe space for me to place my thoughts, I no longer feel welcome in your sanctuary. I just...don't care anymore.
Seriously though! I know there's some confusion that happens when book items are created here at WDC and we think comments are enabled but they're not. It happens. And it's easily fixed! So fix your shit! Or else I'mma stop caring! And I don't wanna be that guy who stops caring! Because that's not me. Alright? Are we done here? 'Cuz I think I'm done here now.
"Oscar Wilde says in his The Ballad of the Reading Gaol, 'Each man kills the thing he loves.' What do you think he means?"
I won't claim to know what he means, nor will I claim to have read wherever it came from. I'm sure it means well. I only know what I know.
In lieu of sounding like a certain United States presidential hopeful (I will not type candidate until my blue-with-rage fingers allow it), I with well-intended intent cannot disavow myself from Oscar Wilde's words. I'm guilty of killing what I love. Metaphorically, if it means overdoing something. Overindulging on chocolate or beer. Asking too much of a friend (sorry I got sick of doing all your work). Wanting to fucking sleep all day because I'll take it whenever I can get it.
Do it. Do it do it do it. "Do ^whatever it is^ to death!!" Play your favorite song over and over 'til you can't stand it anymore. Drink shots of Jägermeister because that's what's floating around the bar until you puke and wind up with an unintended female asleep on the floor beside her couch looking out for you.
I don't do things to kill them. I do them til it kills me. I don't end relationships I've sunken my entire being into; they end before I realize what's happened and I'm basically (or actually) left for dead. Maybe I kill people. Maybe they're dead before they pull their triggers in my direction. If nothing's killed me since I've been alive that's gotta be the case, right?
Except smoking. I did buy a pack of cigarettes today. But should I choose to argue the reasons why I did so, those words would outlive both of us and our whys and why nots. The reasons are the narrative. No one's gonna dispute our obits though, whatever the outcome may be. Sure, you might die from things you do or chances you take, but no one cares about the people who die because of the chances they didn't take. Is there a gravestone etched with Shoulda Coulda Woulda? I'll risk my life not to be buried next to that guy. He's prolly got some lame-ass stories too.
I'm more of a "I'll die for what I love" kinda soul. I'll own that shit. You don't need to know whether or not I'll kill for you or for what I love...but you'll know if I'm willing to put my life on the line to save yours. And you can put a pillow underneath your head every night without worry.
The favorite part of all my blog entries! Where I get to listen to them. I haven't gotten fully back into relating themes to tunes, so for now I'm just going along with songs I want to hear. Hope that's ok...it's just god damn fine with me. I've got an army of songs I've not been able to get through during "Invalid Item" !
"Barely livin' but we're livin' large."
Still a beautiful song, no matter where at it you're comin' from.
Ok, so the random things I've found hilarious on the internet in the last month or so don't seem too funny anymore, nor do they seem suitable to share. I must rid myself of this caring thing for your feelings!
I have tried the whole "Give It 100!" thing, with "100" , but it hasn't worked out yet as well as I thought it might. And that's my fault. I'm not prolific like that. It's not in my nature. I'm ok with that. And that's not to say I've given it up, but I'm just working within my limitations and what I know of myself. I'm not a "once a day" person when it comes to poems (which was the goal I chose...seemed like a good idea at the time ). It's not something I can dip into a pillbox for. I have to want it, and it's not just something I can make myself want (even though I did write one today loosely based off an idea I had the other day ). Whatever...no big.
I can't thank enough the people who donated to and bought stuff that helped out the "30-Day Bloggers Group" and the "30-Day Blogging Challenge" when I ran "The 30DBC Mega-Raffle Extravaganza!" in February. First time running a raffle of any scale on WDC, and it was a tremendous success. Between that and the 30DBC 50/50 we're in excellent shape...without Brother Nature 's idea and Lyn doing some heavy lifting, it wouldn't have been what it was and I'm very grateful for their love and support. It means a lot. I'm a lucky kid. And hey, unlike last year, no one really had to lose their head! (Putting a price on one's head is still the least-favorable fundraiser idea . Ever.) Thank you again...to everyone. And congrats to all the winners...of the daily 50/50s, the raffle, and Lyn 's mini-challenges! Hopefully next year the Bingo game and Krazy Koloring contest can come to fruition in some way, shape or form down at "Andre The Blog Monkey's Banana Bar" .
I think I had more to say, but I'm tired of this right now and can't decide if I need a nap or some sort of real food (like a meal...eating snacky food like a meal should never and does not count for anything, except the shame I feel once it's over and there is nothing left for now or another time). With that, I'll edit and then it's time to go...I can't guarantee I'll be at this bloggery tomfoolery again tomorrow, but I've filled up a lovely hole in my soul for one day at least. Peace, prettier than me, and GOODNIGHT NOW!!
"Legs scream at bikes and bikes scream at trucks, and motorists curse their lousy luck."