Archive for April, 2009

29
Apr
09

Fingertips to the Star

Some things go very right in my life.

Other things go very wrong.

The days treat me well in Dublin. The weather looks like it’s turning around. I bought some new shoes today. They’re loud, loudest shoes i’ve ever worn, anyway. I’m finally almost done with my year long project, just need to present Thursday morning after which i’ll do that toss your cowboy hat in the air and shoot the six shooters to the sky whilst pounding feet in delightful steps with yowls of glee tearing through the airwaves. Then, the weekend and it sounds like many things are being planned. Next week is Trinity Ball, then back to Barcelona, followed by a journey from Frankfurt to Salzburg. Of course, fun stops there: exam time.

Some things fall apart, though, and thousands of miles make the threads hard to weave back. Little else to do but watch as they unravel and the rope you were holding for so long turns into a single thread barely staying together against the wind.

Love that song, there. Been getting back into good man Oberst over the last week. Trevor’s doing, no doubt. I thought i had everything Conor Oberst put on tape, but i somehow missed this song. Very glad it’s come to my attention. I think i might write a poem for ye here. On the fly, of course, because it seems to be the only way i can write them anymore. Makes them fun for me. Hopefully for you, too.

‘Take a breath and close your eyes,’
she listened to my heart beneath October skies.
The scent of her hair filled the air
and i kissed her head to show i still care.

‘It’s never right,’ last night she cried;
the crack of her voice, and parts of me died.
Shaking from tears, choking down broken words,
my hand on her back, each finger like swords,
she shuddered and crumbled back,
a metaphorical heart attack.

We lie now together only to once more lie
to each other with sweet yet shallow speech.
We drift beyond our fingertip reach
until the sight of you becomes a blight.

She screamed and watched the world,
so fragile and cold, melt till it swirled
into a home unwanted, forlorn and forgotten,
where no love could ever be begotten.
I reached to her, to stroke her face,
she fought and she ran leaving me in disgrace.

‘What did you see behind your eyelids?’
I opened them to her smiling like shy kids.
‘I saw a star falling down, far through the ground.
Reminded me of love.’ And she makes not a sound.

‘Do you love me?’ her tears fell for hours
and i knew no words, just lies to rain like showers
upon her, to protect one or the other.
‘”Love cannot be told,” always said my mother.’
Her face fell apart in sobs like ashen leaves.
I held her then, but she never believes.

Her silence permeates and suffocates the air
because she knows we never meant to care.
Her body frozen and unreachable, distant and gone
from me, i reach but it’s been too long.

I sing to her a song
but it’ll always be wrong.
We’re out of tune
and she’s gone too soon.

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26
Apr
09

Dancing on winding paths

I seem to be getting bad at this again. Keeping up, i mean. I’ll catch all ye up on my life and will try to be more frequent again. Anyway, lots to report, i suppose.

Dewey left last Friday [it has been a long time]. Well, he arrived back Thursday night and then left again Friday morning to head back to amerika. We had a good time and i know he enjoyed himself, possibly too much.

Later that day, Laura arrived in Dublin with two of her friends. They both go to St Thomas, apparently. Laura met them in Madrid, though, and i met them in Dublin. Funny how you can travel thousands of miles to meet someone who lives next door. Anyway, i met up with them, we bought wine, the Dublin peeps came over, and we got wild. It’s how life works here.

The next day, we went to Killiney and Dalkey, beautiful places, to be sure. I’ll grab some photos from facebook. None of mine are uploaded, so i’m stealing them from others.

An adorable photo of Laura there.

We found ice cream, too.

It was a good day in a pretty place.

We went back into Dublin, Laura and her friends went to a pub crawl, me and my friends got wild. It’s what we do.

The next day, everyone left, Laura and her friends for Madrid, most of my friends for Edinburgh. Sarah and i planned a trip to Germany and Austria. It’s going to be a great time, methinks. It’s not for a few weeks yet, though.

The next day, Sarah and i went to Bray where we walked to Greystone. We walked through the mountains next to the sea. It was weird, though, because it ended up not in the mountains, but in plains with sheep. Very strange. Then, we ended up in the suburbs, where we got lost for about an hour until we finally found our way into town. So very strange, but it began as a beautiful walk. Pictures.

Then we stumbled across air fences.

The ground beneath them appears to have fallen, but the fence remains. They don’t believe in repair here.

It all comes back to ice cream, really.

But, yeah, we went back home to Dublin and did not very much. I spent the rest of the week doing various things. Watched There Will be Blood for the first time since seeing it in theatres. So good, that. Love just about every minute of it.

Wednesday, Sarah had her second comedy show, which was a great time. She opened but was actually the funniest act, i thought. The headliner sucked really bad, truth be told.

But, yeah, the days have been going as they tend to. I’ve been a bit sick this weekend, so i’ve spent a lot of time inside. Oh, got the new Decemberists album, The Hazards of Love. Brilliant stuff there. Becky Stark’s on a lot of the tunes and i fell in love with her some months ago. But the album is like a play or a continuous story. Great stuff.

I caught Run Lola Run, too, the other day.

A german film. Super fast and high intensity. Tons of fun, that.

This morning, i watched possibly one of the greatest films ever made. It’s by Carl Dreyer, a silent film, called The Passion of Joan of Arc. Every minute of this film is beyond exceptional. The camera work is some of the best i’ve ever seen. The acting by the lead is incredible. So much of this film is tight close ups on her face, and it works. It all works, every frame. And this was made in 1928. It makes you wonder what happened to cinema, when did it get so diluted when they figured it all out way back then? It’s pure artistry. Also, the final scenes, the burning of Joan of Arc is one of the most visually striking things i’ve ever seen on film. I’m posting the first ten minutes in here. The whole thing appears to be available on youtube, so if you’ve about eighty minutes, i encourage you to check it out; It’s brilliant.

Yeah, check it out.

In other news, i feel quite well today. Also, i found out i got a story accepted into RedFez’ next issue. I’ll link it when it happens. I need to link another story, though i doubt you’ll buy the book. Yeah, it’s only available in that format and i fear no one in the world will buy it. Very unfortunate, that. Various reasons why, all of them beyond my control, but i probably won’t try publishing with those guys again. It’s a great collection of horror stories, too.

There was something else i meant to say here, but i can’t remember.

I’ll try to be more frequent.

15
Apr
09

We write to create the future, not to destroy the past

There have been exactly 942 visitors to this site at the moment i type this sentence. I’ve had this site for just over six months. I think that means i’m doing fairly well. It looks like i average probably five visitors a day, which, i think, means i get probably three readers every other day. Because, let’s face it, most people just click the link. i know i click links like it’s going out of style. Can’t help it, really. You link something, i’m there. But, yeah, i’d guess probably 300 of the visitors have read something here and i’d guess that those 300 visitors represent fifty people [generous number, there], some of whom’ve read one post and other, like Ian [you’re the man] who’ve read all or close to all. Yeah, that’s my calculations.

Been obsessed with that song for the last couple of days. I should do another video post of all the song’s i’ve been diggin on recently. Those are always fun, i think. Though, i mean, could just be me.

This post is mostly about how i spent this most recent Saturday. I stayed in bed all day and chronicled what went on outside my window and various other things. I wrote it, or typed, rather, it all down, so i’m just going to copy and past it.

Saturday the whatevereth of April

It’s three in the afternoon. I’m still in bed, have a headache, and an empty case of beer next to me, drank more than i meant to. Or should have, rather.

From my bed, the sky looks glorious and i wish i was spending my day outside. There’s nice weather in Dublin lately. The sky’s that beautiful blue, but not endless; the great puffclouds are trudging past, not ominously, but prettily. Like they know something i don’t, something wonderful that i’ve only hinted at in my years on earth.

There’s love to be made
or so she said
while holding my hand,
our feet in the sand.

We swoon when the water
hits our toes,
and so it goes:
we made a lovely daughter.

Anabelle Lee was the name intended,
though we changed it quick
less she grow to be offended
by the awful name we made to stick

upon her life for all her days.
Little Jessica was a delight,
all smiles and elegant ways.
Our daughter, a prize, a beauteous sight.

She did begin to grow.
A lovely life as a show
for us to watch and script
behind our coffees being sipped.

Age comes as it’s wont to do
and bid living farewell, my wife,
my love, my magnificent Jew,
was forced to leave behind this life.

Young Jessica cried and cried
but no tears came for me
just desire to travel and see
the world before i, too, died.

Packing our bags, we took to the road.
Just my Jessica and my fading life
off to nowhere, writing my ode
to a life led well, a story free of strife.

Just my Jessica and me
A daughter, a companion, see.
We travel on and on for days and years,
beyond my life, forever past, free from fears.

We drive on.

There’s a cat who lives in the courtyard, too. I call him Alexander because it’s a kingly name and he’s a beautiful specimen. Though, it’s possible he is a she, in which case i’ll call her Alexandra. He wanders the courtyard, prowling, rather, in search of something, a bird or a small child to fiend on. Cat’s know things. This, i know.

Last night was a good night, mind. Got together with my friends, some of whom i’d not seen since France. We got a bit wild, as we tend to do. Watched The Life Aquatic and reminisced about Manifest Destiny and the Amsterdam/Parisian adventure.

Also, a girl with a pretty voice called me and i’m sure i made a bit of a fool of myself while talking to her. I’m a foolish person, though, so it’s to be expected. And she was kind enough to not make me feel stupid. Or maybe she was and i can’t remember.

Now Annabelle Lee was from Tennessee.
A feisty young lass with ten kinds of class,
she’d spit and she’d holler, she’d undo your collar.

Henry O’Toole was nobody’s fool,
but he came unawares, forgetting his cares,
to the spot on the dot where one could fit a cot.

Little fat Carol was known for his barrel.
He rolled it down hills where sometimes it kills.
A terror, he be, so beware when you see a fat boy from Tennessee.

Henry O’Toole, who was still nobody’s fool,
took the long road devoid of a magic fortune telling toad
to Tennessee to see the famous Annabelle Lee.

On his way, he met Little fat Carol and his deadly old barrel.
Fat Carol was sorrowful, his barrel, so powerful,
was beaten and damaged, a wreckage of woodage.

But Henry O’Toole pulled up a stool,
rolled up his sleeves, face in the breeze,
and commenced to mend the barrel of Carol.

Fat Carol was pleased, his barrel appeased,
He thanked Henry O’Toole, called him nobody’s fool,
and left merrily, to kill, verily.

Annabelle Lee danced on the stage of Tennessee,
for all life is one, or so they say, till it is done.
She danced and romanced, famous at last.

Henry O’Toole strolled in real cool looking nobody’s fool.
He searched for Annabelle Lee, for just a chance to see
her grace his face and the stage with her lace.

Annabelle Lee spotted Henry O’Toole sipping tea on a stool.
A handsome young man, a little bit tan; the ladies, all fans.
She walked to a desired new lover and he damn near tipped over.

Henry O’Toole was wordless, but far from worthless.
He swooped her off her feet, showed he was the man she needed to meet,
‘Annabelle Lee, you’re gonna see, that you’re the only woman for me!’ said he.

It’s near five in the afternoon now. Alexander’s back, just lounging in the sun–a rarity here–and licking himself. The sun’s been staying out later and later these days. Just a few months ago, it’d already be dark at this time. The sky’s opened up a bit, too, and i smell delicious food coming from somewhere.
I’m really hungry and still haven’t left my room. Afraid to see my roommates, i think. Who knows what they thought i was doing last night, talking to one amerikan girl, and then another amerikan girl i’ve not seen in years.

I don’t much recall what we talked about, but i remember laughing a lot and enjoying myself. I’m sure i was quite comical.

In probably four hours, i’ll be out making a fool of myself again.

Young Tomas was always cross.
He cursed and he cussed;
he made a big fuss,
so his mother did say,
in that way that they do,
‘Tomas, my dear,
you really must behave
or the world’ll think ye
a knave.’
Tomas, so cross, tossed
himself outside,
far from foul felt-tip admonishes.
He kicked and he shuffled,
his boots filled with rubble.
He hollered and hooted,
shouted and tooted.
Billy boy heard all the ruckus
and followed the rumpus
to where Tomas,
so cross,
was resting.
‘Tomas,’ he did say
in that boyish of ways,
‘your Mother says you’re a mess,
that you lashed out
and looted.’
‘What of it?’ seethed Tomas.
‘Well,’ Billy stammered,
‘You musn’t be so reprehensible,
it’s far from civil
and not one bit
jovial.’
‘Ah, your joviality
and civility
and respectability
can rot in a pot!’
Tomas did rage.
‘I’m tired of rules
and more so of fools!
The lot of ye
can rot!’
Billy boy left him,
for no fun’s to be had
with a boy
so far from glad.
But Tomas still fumed,
thought rebellions would swarm
from the ill thoughts
born.
Tomas did not see
that callous rage
birthed only
platitudinous,
ponderous,
woe-begotten
absurdity.
With Tomas as a guide,
a lonely
regretful
life ye’ll lead.
So cheer up
and smile more
because Tomas,
poor Tomas so cross,
is not you.

It’s 630pm now.I’m kind of drifting in and out of it. Still sitting in bed, looking out the window. I was listening to the score to The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford by Nick Cave and Warren Ellis–a fantastic album, no doubt–and this song came on:

while i was watching the clouds float by.
I got one of those feelings that i get every now and then. Something deep inside, where the whole earth kind of fills me and the grandness, the magnificence of existence sort of overflows and the world shimmers. Everything becomes so still, so, i don’t know, epic and important. And the clouds, they know me, or know i’m here, not sure it matters. They know i’m watching, anyway. And the dance by, so elegantly, so perfectly, just like these violin strings and the piano keys that tap in at 2:15 of that song. You hear it and something, not clicks, but sort of orients itself in just the right way. You know the day’s not wasted, though you’ve spent it in bed, because you’re here now, where you were meant to be, where all of this could happen, had to happen. And you–not sure why i’m in second person–smile. For no reason, just this sensation, this almost overwhelming fullness that comes when you’re living in those clouds, so beautiful and high above, watching down.

‘Come away with me into the night.
Give your hand, my dear,
we’ve miles to go before first light.’

She stretched forth her hand,
and in a sweep of black feathers,
she flew over grass, stone, and sand.

Closing her eyes and clutching tight,
she felt him, like raven feathers
brushing her cheek, and lost all her fright.

‘Be not afraid,’ his voice echoed in her head,
‘you’re safe here with me. Open your eyes.’
These words resonated, but were never said.

Hundreds of feet below shimmering with light,
the ground flew by in kaleidoscopic swirls
of greens, blues, reds, and purples wound tight.

She gasped and swallowed a scream,
clutching tighter to him,
though a bird he did seem.

And man he was not, but a creature of might,
existing between day and night,
balanced on gloam, near the death of light.

More feathers than skin, more demon than man,
he’s known as Orpheus, the Shadowking,
the keeper of the night and all that lives then.

Blacker than night, he swallowed the light,
ripping it from the surrounding,
making the world appear colorful and bright.

She clung close to him and wondered where he led.
‘To the birth of the day,’ he said,
though she never asked aloud, but only in her head.

And so they flew further into that dark night
leaving far behind all remnants of light
where the beauty of earth burned a bit more bright.

It’s now nearly one in the morning. The window stopped being interesting hours ago, but i’m still here.

Danny the Duck danced
to dangerous degrees of
dizzying drumtop drops.

Robert the Robin robbed
a Red Robin recently revealed
and revered as a regal restaurant.

Sam the Swan swam
stupendously in sweltering
serendipitous streams.

Bobby the Birdwatcher browsed
beaches and birches for birds
busting with brilliance.

I left my post for about an hour to return a movie and find out if my roommates were still alive. They are. I’ve still not brushed my teeth or anything. I ate a huge steak, though. It was bigger than my frying pan so i had to do it in waves. Who knows what happened outside my window whilst i was away. Alexander may’ve done some fiendish deeds. Too, before i left, i saw another cat, which makes me think Alexander has a girlfriend. Her name’s Ophelia. I might play with them tomorrow.

Lay down beside me, dear.
Yes, rest your head here.
A pillow out of my arm,
for you, pleasant and warm.

Lay down beside me, love.
Be careful, no need to shove.
Your kisses, so sweet,
a whispered heartbeat.

Soft midnight hair
spread everywhere,
looking so pretty
enough so to write this ditty.

Your eyes gleam with begs
when i reach between your legs.
A tongue like a wandering star,
we’ll take this so far.

This started so innocent,
but turned quite magnificent
with every touch of your lips
and the feeling of your hips.

No longer laying beside me,
but sitting on top where i see
the curve of your breast,
and adore all the rest.

Deeper inside her,
all flesh turns a blur.
Faster and faster, then slow,
i sense the curl of her toe.

Gasping and heaving,
our bodies interweaving.
You stay so still up above,
lay down beside me, my love.

It’s almost 6am.

And so the sun does rise
lighting up the open skies,
flooding through my closed eyes;
they open as night’s dream dies.

And so, too, i must rise,
brush the sleep from my tired eyes,
prepare for the day with grateful sighs,
and so i rise to enjoy these April skies.

The birds have been awake for a while. I hear them singing or tweeting or whatever it is they do with their time. The sky, it’s opened up again, cloudless, and it’s starting to brighten.

She came a long way,
or so they do say,
to lie in the grass
and itch her sweet ass.

A kitten came to greet her.
With shadowed fluffed fur
and cold nose kisses,
it pranced to the young missus.

Fingers rubbing behinds ears,
young missus forgot all her years
spent wandering earth for this patch
of grass with a kitten to scratch.

Clouds before her green eyes
masked the bluest of skies.
The grass, soft as a bed,
tickled the back of her head.

The kitten softly did purr,
rubbing its head into her.
A sandpaper wetness on her face,
the kitten meowed with such grace.

To forever lie there
was a dream she could wear
as long as the sun shone.
‘Forever,’ she did moan.

A beautiful companion,
and not just anyone,
but a beautiful kitten.
Young missus, so smitten.

And there she did lie
beneath a glorious sky
with the feline so dear
forever, and one more year.

So, yeah, i spent about twenty four hours in bed. So close to a wasted day, but quite all right with me. I wrote a lot of poems, silly rhymes, for my own amusement. Thought i’d share them with ye, see if you get a bit of enjoyment from some scribblings.

The work for the semester’s nearly all done. Laura’s coming to visit for the weekend. I’ll tell you about it next week. My sleep schedule is so backwards and cockeyed that it’s a bit ridiculous, but i decided to stay up to get it back on track. About to go to sleep, truth be told. But, yeah, yesterday i went to bed at 11am, woke up at 5pm, and haven’t slept since then. It’s about 130am now. Too long to go without sleep.

I’ll get to all that stuff i brought up in the post below this one eventually. Patience, my dears.

Good night.

10
Apr
09

Our songs will all be silenced, but what of it?

Go on singing.

Orson Welles, there. From what, i can’t recall of the top of my head, but it’s a great line to mine ears.

Nothing to report, really. Since Dewey left, i’ve had essays to write, which i’ve not done. Well, got one done, and one’s in that grey area between started and finished. I’m gonna turn it in tomorrow and accept the lateness of it. What’s the worst that could happen? I mean, my grades are already ruined here, what’s a few more points? But, yeay, did that thing where i feel guilty about not finishing my work so i sit in my room with the door closed for days. Being holed up sucks and makes me all kinds of restless. Team Zissou tonight, excited for that.

Yeah, nothing to report. After, say, Wednesday, though, i’ll be done until May 18th, which is pretty boss. It’ll be nice to go back to a real life. Though, i’ve only about two more months in europe, which is a strange and somewhat frightening thought. I’ve not the patience to explain why at the moment as it’ll end up being an epic post in the near future.

Got my brain working on some stuff of the literary type. Though, because of the essay guilt, i’ve kept it in my noode, but i’ll let you in on this theory and movement in the works. Not now, but soon.Too, got rejected from all of those summer research positions, so i’m in the works of finding an alternative. May have already done so, but i’ll let you know about that later, too.

Can i be more vague?

Yes.

Um, nothing else, i guess. Just felt like getting some words out here.

I’ll make a real post when all this work’s finished and i can get some time to process the world outside of my room.

06
Apr
09

Dewey and Barcelona

Dewey arrived in Dublin a few days ago and we spent two days here causing ruckuses and mayhem all over the place, especially on your face. First thing we did was take a nap, though. We woke up in the evening and got dinner, then bought booze and headed out to Dundrum to hang with the folk. It was a good night full of nonsense, as most tend to be.

The next day we went to the Boat That Rocked.

It was hilarious and awesome with a great soundtrack. Just fantastic. After that me and Dewey did some more bumbling around and he cooked stirfry, which was great. For that night we hung around city center and got kicked out of the Pav, and then commenced to get real wild, and then weren’t allowed into Doyle’s. We went to McDonald’s and caused a ruckus and then went home and broke my brain.

We wake up the next morning to go to Barcelona. We pack and head out. We make it to the airport without a hitch and the flight goes smoothly. I had been in a terrible state of hungover up till this point, but the two hours of sleep on the plane did me well. Somehow i managed sleep, though, through the nonstop screaming and crying of children.

We discover once at the airport that we need to take a ninety minute busdrive to Barcelona, which is a bit of a bummer as it makes our time shorter than we thought. We arrive at our hostel after some confusion around seven. We get situated and wander about a bit and grab something to eat. After that, we decide to go to bed early and get an early start on the city.

We wake up the next morning around seven and wander just about everywhere. We hit the bay, a Gaudi building, La Rambla, the Columbus monument, and a few other places. Basically, we just wandered around and enjoyed the beauty of the city because it is quite breathtaking. My photos aren’t yet on my computer so you’ll have to wait for the facebook album, but trust me, it’s a glorious city.

About this time of the day, Dewey ends up getting his camera stolen. Two teenage kids jostle him a bit and then one disappeared witht he camera while the other one detained us with nonsense. It was terribly frustrating and Dewey had to buy a new camera as he’s on a three week vacation and it’d be nice to have the memories. We try to not worry about it, but it puts a bit of a damper on the trip.

Anyway, we head to the National Art Gallery, which is a supremely amazing structure. A giant pallace full of fine art and the like. Man, wish i had a picture to put up for you. After all those Parisian photos, it’s a bit lame to follow up with just words. But, yeah, spent some time there and saw everything, then headed back to city center and caught a glimpse of a few of Gaudi’s buildings. Really amazing structures. He was a brilliant architect. The Sagrada Familia especially was glorious. It’s a giant cathedral still under construction. Been under construction for almost 100 years. I think it’s probably the only church of it’s size still being built in the world. Don’t quote me on that, but i feel as if churches aren’t made like that anymore, scale-wise, anyway. But, yeah, it’s also an amazing looking structure, so detailed and refined and magnificent.

Then we ate some great spanish food and headed to the Barcelona version of the Arc de Triomfe. It was very cool, but nothing in comparison to Paris’. At this point, it’s near seven and we’ve been on our feet for about twelve hours, so we decide to head back to the hostel to rest a bit.

Unfortunately we didn’t make it back out of the hostel till the next morning. Fell asleep almost on arrival.

The next morning we make a dash to the bus because only one leaves in time for our flight. We make it, we make the flight, we’re back in Dublin. Oh, too, i forgot my toothbrush, so i went two days without brushing. Gross.

Back in Dublin, we meet up with Sarah and Trevor to go to Bray. It’s a beautiful beach south of Dublin. We climbed a mountain and snapped lots of photos. Well, i didn’t, forgot my camera again. but Sarah’s become my european documenter, so she has them all. It’s nice to have a photojournalist follow you about.

We end up cashing a liter of Johnny Walker between the four of us. We ate dinner there, too. Then we headed back, a bit drunk, and a lot happy.

We head back to my apartment where we continue the festivities and drink another liter of Johnny Walker and two bottles of wine between the four of us. Somehow Dewey ended up removing my mirror from the wall. I don’t understand it, but my bathroom’s now mirrorless.

Anyway, Dewey left this morning for a ten day tour of the island. Should be a great time and it was great to see a familiar face from home, if only for a few days.

Okay, lots of updates here, check out the next two posts if you’re just arriving. They detail Amsterdam, Paris, and St Patrick’s Day.

Back to real life where i’ve some serious work to do. I’ll get back to this probably after the sixteenth, when all my work for the year, outside of exams, will be done. Megan and Laura arrive that weekend, too, so there should be some things to tell.

06
Apr
09

Amsterdam, round one. Paris, round two.

I spent five days in Amsterdam and Paris with my friends. To make this easier, i’m just going to name their names: Trevor, Josh, Lauren, Kristen, and Sarah. The trip’s a bit of a haze, so we’ll see if i can get this down proper.

Wednesday morning i meet Sarah, Trevor, Kristen, and Lauren at the tram stop to walk to the bus stop to make it to the airport. Trevor and Kristen realised they hadn’t money for the bus, so they stop and get some. Trevor catches back up with us, but Kristen’s lost because she’s always lost. We don’t worry and head on. Ten minutes later we call Kristen and she’s at a different stop with Josh waiting for a bus that would end up not coming. The rest of us end up making a three block sprint to catch the bus to the airport and make it on time. Kristen and Josh arrive, but would’ve missed the plane had the plane not been delayed half an hour.

Flight goes as usual. It’s only about an hour and me and Sarah catch a few minutes of sleep here and there. We arrive in Amsterdam to confusion about how to get to city center, a confusion about direction that would stay with us for the rest of our time in Amsterdam. We ask for help, which was easy because everyone in the Netherlands speaks English. We find the train and take it to the train station in city center.

From there we decide to walk to the hostel rather than take a tram because, well, it didn’t seem very far. Now, these streets, they’re ridiculous. Four modes of transportation travel on them: bikes, people, cars, and trams. The ridiculous part is that there’s often times no differentiation between sidewalk, bike lane, road, and tramtrack. Cars drive on the tramtrack, the sidewalk, and the actual street. Bikes, well, those are any and everywhere. Not as many walkers as you’d expect to see on the streets, probably because of the confusion about where to walk. So, we’re walking to the hostel led by Sarah and Kristen, something that would continue the rest of the time in Amsterdam. They led, we followed, Sarah always led us the right way, Kristen was always so sure about where the right way was, but was always invariably wrong. Anyway, to compound the confusion of where to walk, every street looks exactly the same. Trevor and i thought we were walking in circles because we were certain we passed the same canal at least twenty times.

Well, we make it to the hostel and check in with the disgruntled hostel manager who yells at Kristen about something i’m not paying attention to. We drop our stuff off in the room and set off to eat and wander about.

Right next to the hostel’s a pizza place that we eat at and where we plan, or try to plan, our night.

We head out in hopes of finding the Red Light district. Kristen keeps trying to lead us ‘her way’, which is the wrong way. I tell everyone to trust in Sarah and continue telling everyone that for the rest of the trip because she knows things. The confusion of the roads multiplies now that it’s night, but Sarah knows things and she leads us the right way, though we get lost a few times.

The Red Light district is literally just sex shops, sex shows, and whores everywhere. We wander up and down the street and me and Trevor can’t stop laughing at the ridiculousness of everything. I end up eating a banana for the first time in my life there and Trevor gets a penis drawn in an imaginative way upon his chest.

The next day, we go on a free walking tour where we get some of the history of Amsterdam and are shown some important historical sites, as well as famous coffeehouses.

The rest of the day continues in ridiculousness and we’re always lost, wandering around, but i trust in Sarah and tell the others to, too. It’s all i could ever think to say and so i said it a lot. She was my teammate for the trip, anyway, so it made sense.

After that we went to the sex museum, which the girls loved, but was mostly either really gross, really weird, or really old pornography. After that, we went to this famous condom shop that has all sorts of novelty condoms. The girls buy some, because, really, that’s the only way it can go. If a guy buys one and pulls that out to a girl, it’s creepy, but if a girl does it, it’s funny or, well, maybe even hot. After that we went to a sex shop,  me and Trevor and we can’t stop laughing about everything. Josh is so uncomfortable he doesn’t speak.

Now, one thing to keep in mind is that this whole day was full of confusion. We kept getting lost and confused about everywhere we went. We had already stopped at a KFC and a McDonald’s because, for some reason, every time we decided to go somewhere, we stopped to eat first. Also, the rest of this day is more of a haze than anything else.

After the sex shop, we realised the Van Gogh museum and Heineken brewery were going to close too soon for it to be worth it to go. We keep wandering about and stopping at fast food restaurants because we’re retarded and nothing makes sense anymore. Conversations are all blending together and in and out and the streets are still ridiculous and we never know where we’re going, but i trust in Sarah, because she at least has a map, which is more than the rest of us have. Somewhere along the line we go to an internet cafe because Lauren needs to print out her train ticket for tomorrow,  and then we return to the hostel, but stop at another McDonalds, which is probably the fifth of the day. We then go to the Girl Talk concert, which apparently doesn’t start till midnight and it’s about eight. We go to a Burger King and hang out for a couple hours, but Lauren can’t handle the confusion anymore, so we return to the hostel where she falls asleep and we kill the rest of the time till the concert.

Still, nothing makes sense and we’re all ridiculous. Sarah’s bed is across from mine and she starts copying every movement i make and because i can’t figure out how to beat her i stay still and try to outlast her. Kristen tries to figure out what the game is but she keeps talking and i can’t handle how loud she talks so i tell her she’ll never get it and it doesn’t concern her and to be quiet so the game can continue. I win and Sarah lies down, but we can’t fall asleep or we’ll never leave so i keep her awake by asking questions like, ‘would you rather be a space cadet or an underwater scientist’. Her answers were always awesome and very detailed.

We go to Girl Talk, but get lost on the way because we’re always lost. We finally make it and find out it never starts, or doesn’t start till forever from now.

We leave early because we’re crashing hard and make it back to the hostel where we left Lauren sleeping and she doesn’t wake up.

The next morning we’re meant to leave by train. Sarah, Lauren, and I are on the noon train and the rest are on the two pm train. Sarah and Kristen decide to be productive and see the Van Gogh museum. The rest of us walk tot he station where we get lost again, but find our way and unload the insanity of the last day and a half. Me and Trevor felt like we had never even been there and wouldn’t be able to find a single place if we tried besides probably a McDonalds. Something’s wrong with Sarah’s ticket when they arrive and she can’t get on our train and she cries because she has to spend 120 euros on a new train ticket. The train ride to Paris goes smoothly for me and Lauren and the rest of them make it successfully on the next train.

To me, this is Amsterdam. We were lost for about forty hours, and missed every touristy thing to do. We were typical amerikans. We got lost, ate at amerikan fast food places, and bumbled about the city, dazed in a haze and confused. It’s like i was never there and i can barely remember most of it. People come to Amsterdam to do drugs, but the city’s its own drug. Even when we were sober, we were still confused and lost and unable to think properly or make plans. It’s a ridiculous place that i’ll probably never return to, but i’m glad i went once.

This is a rather, well, edited for television version of the trip. If you’d like to hear more about Amsterdam, send me a message in some form, and i can e-mail the raw version to you. Or you can just wait till i see you next in real life to explain what happened.

Lauren and i arrive in Paris and have two hours to wait for the others because Sarah has all the hostel information. I want to walk around and check out where we are in Paris, but Lauren’s still a bit friggle fraggled from Amsterdam and doesn’t want to do anything. So, we wait.

They arrive and Sarah has to talk to the people about getting money back for her original ticket, which takes a while. After that, we wander out into Paris and head to the hostel.

I guess this is as good a time as any to mention this, but only Lauren and Kristen had never been to Paris before, so the rest of us had already seen a lot of the big stuff like the Louvre [though you really can’t spend enough time in there], Versailles, the Eiffel Tower, and things of that nature. I also went on a tour of the city and things like that, so i wasn’t in a rush to see all of the city, just to have a good time and enjoy the greatest city on earth once more.

After checking in at the hostel with the cutest old French woman i’ve ever seen who spoke not even one word of english, we headed out to a restaurant that Sarah really wanted to go to.

We go there and it’s amazing and reasonably priced. We order steaks and two bottles of wine. The steak was glorious and we all chatted and had a great time drinking and eating. The steaks gone, we order two more bottles of wine and keep the merriment going.

We leave because the restaurant’s closing up and head to a bar nearby where there’s not much room, but we get a table and keep ordering wine. Me and Sarah end up being a bit separated from the group because of the seating arrangement, but have a good time anyway talking about life and god, and, for some reason, Lord of the Rings.

We head back to the hostel around one in order to make it before the metro closes and so we can get enough sleep for the next day. Me and Trevor have what he called ‘pillow talk’ though neither of us remembered what we talked about in the morning.

Speaking of morning, we’re woken by Sarah pounding on our door to tell us we have half an hour to get ready. Josh takes a shower and me and Trevor sleep for twenty more minutes and then are out the door before the girls because, well, me and Trevor are dirty and girls need to get ready.

Our plan for the day is to head to Versailles. We’d been there before, but i’d not been to the garden and it’s a pretty awesome place worth revisiting. We bought some supplies for a picnic in the gardens and Trevor and i bought two bottles of wine to drink. We ran into a bit of trouble finding the right train from the metro, but we get there. Sarah speaks a bit of French and i love talking to the French. Though, i only know how to ask if they speak english and how to say, ‘i would like…’. But they’re always very helpful if they can speak english. Anyway, we manage our way there and arrive at Versailles. Versailles, if you need me to tell you, is a glorious place. Empires seem like a bad thing until you’re blown away by the glory and magnificence of it all.

We head to the gardens, which are brilliant to see and so epically expansive. We find a seat in the grass next to the water and eat our food and me and Trevor drink our wine. It was only two euros, but it was better than the wine i usually drink in Dublin. Significantly better, truth be told. We drink and watch the ducks and eat and chat and just enjoy the sun and the glory of an empire overthrown by a riotous bloodthirsty mob and the folly of kings and their queens.

We head out from Versailles after a few hours of taking it all in. We don’t go inside because it’s expensive, most of us have been in there before, and the tour’s very short and restrictive and not worth it. We take the metro to Notre Dame, which is also a magnificent place. Josh, Lauren, and Kristen check out the inside because they’ve not been there before. The last time i was there, mass was going on and it was a very beautiful moment; i do so love churches and the grandness of ceremonies. Sarah, Trevor, and i—we started calling ourselves A-team at this point and the others B-squad—head to the ruins of a Roman forum beneath Notre Dame. Only two euros, and not really worth it, but, whatever.

We get together again and head to the Seine to have a nice walk along the river.

Now, most of that is all visual and it’s really difficult for me to describe what it all looks like and how magnificent the walk along the Seine is. But we just walked and took it all in, the grandiloquence of the city, my favorite city in the world.

We stop for dinner at an Italian restaurant, which was awesome and very filling. Then, we continue along the Seine for a while longer, then take the metro to the Eiffel Tower, because B-squad really wanted to see it. I didn’t much care for the Eiffel Tour [thought i’d spell it the French way one time and see how i like it] the last time i was there, really just a big metal structure that’s super tall. We left after they’d taken enough photos to be satisfied and returned to the hostel to prepare for the night.

We buy wine and hang out in our rooms for a while. We drink and drink and drink and hang out and drink some more. We’ve plans to go out eventually, but we get a bit caught up and Kristen gets too tired and Trevor gets too lazy/drunk and Lauren changed into bedtime clothes already. Sarah wants to go out, and i’m drunk enough to do anything, and Josh decides to come too. We try to find a nightclub, but give up and end up returning shortly after. Trevor’s still awake and we have another pillow talk session that neither of us remember again, but we’re pretty sure it lasted a long time.

Our last day in Paris, i’m awoken by Sarah pounding on my door again. I open up and she tells me i’ve fifteen minutes to get ready. I brush my teeth and head out the door, so dirty at this point, it’s impossible to care. Me, Sarah, and Kristen leave to go to the catacombs and the others go to a modern art museum. We stop at a bakery that had the cutest, most adorable French women behind the counter. I loved it, just listening to them say, Bonjour madame!, in that perfect way they say it.

The catacombs are intense and enormous. The bones of six million Parisians are arranged like walls for kilometers. There are two rows of skulls lining the wall with bones stacked in between. Hard to explain, i guess. It’s both incredibly creepy and faintly glorious. The arrangement seemed sick and bizarre, but i kind of dug it in a morbidly curious way. Anyway, the catacombs stretch for, i believe, over three kilometers, hold six million bodies, and is twenty meters below the city.

We exit and head to Notre Dame again to kill some time, and i’m so glad we did. We were going to climb up to the bell, but decided against it when we saw the line. Back in front of the cathedral, there are riot police surrounding a group of people. We walk by and then people dash to the entrances of Notre Dame, lie on the ground, and start chanting/yelling, ‘Benoit 16, Assassin!’, which is pretty intense. The police quickly surround the protesters again and keep the crowd at bay. I get all of this on video on Sarah’s camera and we pick up a few pamphlets that are left on the ground. Apparently the protest is over Benedict the 16th’s refusing to send contraceptives to Africa for aid. They also held huge photos of the pope with the chant written on it in bold letters. They also had another women on these photos with words that translate in english to, ‘If you listen to what i have to say, you will get AIDS.’ I forget what the French was, but we translated it. Now, things start to get real interesting as the Catholics in the crowd begin protesting the protest by singing hymnals loudly to drown out the original protesters. I mean, the protest was completely peaceful and nonviolent, but it was incredibly intense and you could feel things boiling there. There were a few arrests and i’m not sure how long it lasted. It was one of the coolest things i’ve seen happen.

There’s a video, but i can’t seem to link it in here. Oh well, just trust it was awesome.

We leave and walk along the Seine to the Louvre where we had planned to meet the others. The whole way we talk about religion and god and mythology and the like.

We meet the others at the Louvre, which is just incredible. Like i said, we didn’t go in, though, just marveled in the grandness of the building itself. We walk from the Louvre to the Arc de Triomphe along the Champs-Elysees, which is a fantastic walk. It takes a while, but you’ll see amazing things along the way. Along the way we get sandwiches at a cafe, which were great. The Arc de Triomphe, too, is incredible to look at. But, yeah, another thing that’s probably a bit boring to read about, but more than worth it if you ever end up going.

We head back to the hostel and finally pay for our rooms [not sure why we didn’t immediately], and find out how to get to the airport, which is ninety minutes outside of Paris. Me, Sarah, Trevor, and Kristen then head out to Montmartre, the artists’ district, a great place, very bohemian and awesome.

We arrive and head up to the Basilica de Sacre Cœur, which has a truly breathtaking view of Paris. On the steps, there’s a guy playing covers and he was fantastic. Man, really, he played some great songs and played them well. Everything from Pink Floyd to Le Bamba. It was loads of fun, but we walk on past to other areas. I’d already been all over Montmartre, so i didn’t need to see all the famous places that the artists lived and ate at, and i wouldn’t have been able to find them anyway. We walked about for a while and saw all the artists painting in the square and ate crepes and ice cream. We walk our way to the Moulin Rouge and buy wine along the way. I try to find the cafe that Amelie takes place at, but can’t because my memory’s never been good and i was on a tour the last time i was there. We look at the Moulin Rouge and then drink wine nearby. After that, we head to a restaurant and eat some more wonderful food. I got another steak and a glass of wine, Sarah got a dessert crepe with ice cream, and Kristen, i don’t remember, chicken maybe. Trevor didn’t eat. After dinner, me and Trevor got kebabs because i can never refuse a kebab. Me and Trevor each buy another bottle of wine because they’re so cheap.

We make our way back to the hostel and hang out in our room. Lauren and Josh had stayed behind and we find them watching French television and laughing about it drinking wine. We recap our days and drink and look at each other’s videos and photos. Me and Trevor get pretty drunk for the third night in a row and he falls asleep. The rest of us stay up a while longer, but get to bed relatively early as we’re supposed to leave at 530am.

Me and Josh stay up a bit more and talk about boxing for some reason i don’t understand.

We wake up again to Sarah pounding on our door and telling us the shuttle van is picking us up in fifteen minutes. We get ready, which, again, takes us but minutes and walk down to the shuttle. I barely remember anything about the shuttle and was probably only awake for a couple of minutes, drifting in and out of consciousness.

We get to the airport where Josh, Lauren, Kristen, and Sarah have a flight to Italy an hour before mine and Trevor’s flight back to Dublin. We bid them farewell and wait for our time to check in. You see, the airport we were at was super small and you can’t just check in when you get there.

Anyway, we go to check in and there’s something wrong with my ticket, so i go to the service thing or whatever. She informs me that my flight didn’t confirm and i need to buy a new ticket for the plane which increased in price from thirty euros to nearly three hundred. I’ve n choice, so i agree. My credit and debit card get declined and i make her try it again because there’s no reason either of them should’ve been declined. It doesn’t work so i call my bank and they tell me my cards were put on hold because of allegedly suspicious activity on them. Well, that suspicious activity was me planning future trips and this trip, which consisted of me spending a couple hundred dollars in a two day period. So, i’m figuring this out over the phone, a very expensive call, and my phone runs out of credit. I’ve no money on me either, so i’m now homeless, penniless, ticketless, and phoneless in nowhere France. I go to a payphone and call the bank again using Trevor’s money. Another really expensive call later, everything’s figured out, but our check in closes in twenty minutes. I head over and buy another ticket, a way too expensive ticket. Then get rushed through check in. Finally, i’m through security just in time for boarding.

It was only nine am at this point and i had already spent three hundred euros and all the hectic confusion and travel trouble woke me up. Really, it was far too much activity so early in the morning.

Me and Trevor board the plane, find seats next to one another because ryanair flights don’t have assigned seating and unload our brains onto one another the whole hour and a half in the air.

Back now in Dublin after a very awesome and interesting time. Really, one of the best weeks in my life. And Paris, well, it’s my favorite place on earth. It’s difficult to explain why i love it so much, but it’s the most perfect place on earth. From the sheer beauty of every square inch of the city, to the people, to the way the land there makes me feel. The French get a bad reputation, i’ve never met a mean French person; they always treat me kindly. I love the language, the air, the water, and the sky. When i’m there, i just, i don’t know, i feel everything in the most perfect of ways. I smile and can’t stop, just loving the wind brush against my face.

I might return there again before heading back to amerika and i might return there after i graduate and just not leave.

All photos curtesy of Sarah Burton because i forgot my camera.

06
Apr
09

St Patrick’s Day

All right, been a while and many things need reporting. I’m just going to section it up so it’s easier.

Anyway, St Patrick’s Day was interesting, for lack of a better word. Got up not very early and walked to the parade, which was mostly just bizarre and not at all Irish. Really, probably the least Irish parade i’ve ever seen. It had amerikan marching bands, King Kong, weird carribbean stuff, 1920’s Hollywood shenanigans, all and all, quite strange.

Some strange peacock thing. What that has to do with St Patrick’s Day, Ireland, or anything is beyond me.

Yeah, i don’t know.

Some terrible news, too. Gordon’s been dognapped and taken to amerika where horrible acts of violence are occurring. Really, it’s like a hole in my heart where my little stuffed dog once was. He literally went just about everywhere with me for a month, and now he’s gone. No fair and bad voodoo all about it. But what’s to be done.

Le sigh

The rest of the day went well. A lot of drinking and the like and jubilations and hijinxs. Spent hours in a McDonald’s and spent a lot of time everywhere running into everyone.

The next day i left for Amsterdam, which i’ll relate in a new post directly above this one.