Archive for the 'day to day musing' Category

16
Jun
09

amerikan skies for irish ones

Back home. Or something like it. Where to start?

I live with some peeps right across the street from school. Very nice location. I’ve a room that’s bigger than one i’ve had in years, which came with an air organ that i’m going to learn how to play. Good times, yeah? Also, my computer broke. Terrible mishap, that. I want a new macbook, but instead i’m getting the same old model of Toshiba drudgery. Such is life. At least it’s free. Oh, and, luckily, i backed up everything a few days before it happened, so i’ve still all my music, musings, and memories from ireland and beyond. Still though, sucks to be without a computer for the next month. it’s why i’ve not said anything on here in so long. 

Let’s go back.

Leaving Dublin was both frightening and emotional. Not just because it was my home, but because of everything that’s happened this year and all the people i’ve known. Lauren and i survived the plane ride, got a little drunk in Newark, and then left to our respective lives in the middle west of amerika. 

Been hit by a lot of culture shock, more than when i went the other way. It’s strange to be back in my homeland. Stranger still how the world’s changed since i’ve left it. But i’ve friends here. A few anyway. Less than i remember, though. Bridges burn if you don’t watch after them and they burn faster when you light them.

Most of my friends from high school aren’t around. I don’t have a job. I spend the days in a daze of lethargy, wasting the hours and minutes till it’s time to do it again. I’ve many projects, though. Gonna get started on them soonishly. Bought fingerpaint, am learning to play the organ, got a tape recorder, and am conceptualising the mystery boxes i’ll be sending out. All great fun. Some of the projects have been put on hold because of the broken computer. I was going to write a play and a novella, but that’s lost for now. Also, i’ve a secret mission to complete using the wonders of technology. Oh, and i’m going to make ciphers. Yeah, lots of random tomfoolery.

I’ve always been a bit of a reluctant blogger, but i’m glad i came round to it and Ian forced my hand. It’s nice to have the year put down for my memory, which is constantly failing. But now, the site holds little use to me. Might be a very long time till i post again. But i think i did all right. I’ve had over 1,200 hits in just nine months. Not bad, i must say.

But, yeah, these must end.

Why not here.

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04
Jun
09

will you still miss me when i’m gone?

It’s hard to say. Hard to say what needs to be said. How does one sum up a year? And of all years, this year, maybe the best and most interesting years of my life.

I’m sitting here in my apartment. This morning i said goodbye to Sarah after lunch with her and Lauren [i guess lunch makes this morning not this morning]. Then i came back here and cleaned for about four hours. Cleaned the whole apartment to keep from thinking about this. About all of this. But now there’s nothing left to clean. So i’ll clean out my head, i guess.

And i don’t really know how to go about this. I said i’d recap recent events, but i don’t much feel like doin that. Might do it later today or tomorrow or never. An exam tomorrow, too. Can’t seem to study.

What is studying abroad? It’s many things, but mostly it’s not real. You escape from the real world [your friends, family, country] and wander off into the light of another sun. Everything’s new, the ground, the air, the streets, the wind, the scent, the rivers, the grass. It’s like nowhere you’ve ever been before because you’ve never been here. But it’s also so familiar, like you always belonged here and that’s why you’re there now. You live here amongst strangers, a stranger in a strange land with people who become your friend because there’s no one else. And you cling to these people. There’s nothing to hold onto, almost nowhere to even put your feet down. The world’s a blur, the days and weeks swirl around in your head and get confused, your life turns round and round. But then you look next to you and your friend’s right there, caught in the swirl with you, so you take their hand and hold tightly afriad to lose one another or even to slide a bit apart. And it makes it all okay because you know you’re not alone, that they’re there with you. And you hold one another up, make sure they don’t fall in a hole or get lost in a cloud or melt in the rain.

It’s only a year and it goes too fast but it lasts forever. You’ve only known these people for a number of months, but it feels like centuries. You’ll learn their whole life and tell them yours on a four hour bus ride to a place you never thought you’d go to. A train or a plane can make a stranger your new best friend. And you never want to lose sight of them again less they disappear or stop being real. Because none of this is real. It’s an imaginary life in an unknown continent you’ve only heard about through books and movies where you meet impossible people that you fall into so deeply and so hard that you’re bound together. You don’t want to cut those ties and you hope they never fall apart. because that would be worst of all. To discover that it never mattered, that it wasn’t real, that the people you fell in love with are ghosts.

And you go to all these places, all these places that never existed before you got their regardless of thousands of years of history. And i think i’ve said all this before, but i never stop thinking like this, about this. You pack so many experiences into so few months. It’s why friendships grow so strong. You put months of experience into a single day on a mountain or three hours walking the Seine.

And for me, it went in two phases. Phase One: Arriving here in the fall until i went back home for Christmas.

Coming to terms with all the sights and sounds that you never thought you’d see or hear. Meeting the country and other countries. I wandered a lot back then and only spent a handful of weekends in Dublin. I came here and met the people in my program. So much of it doesn’t exist in my mind, all erased and flipped away from me. But i liked it all, immediately fell in love with ireland and felt at home here. Felt stranger for me to be back in Minnesota, truth be told. But i kind of waited out those days until part two of Phase One happened and i met Michelle. She was a great time, a pretty and fiesty girl from New York. All sass and class. She made the last month or so a lot of fun until i bid her farewell around Christmas. She returned to New York for good and i spent two weeks in a blizzard.

Phase Two: Return and meeting my real friends.

And that’s not a slight to the Butler Program kids. But we just never really were good matches. I enjoyed them well enough, but we were no good for one another. Anyway, i returned hoping to meet someone new to make the last six months incredible. And i did. Enter Lauren. Met her in a class and we became a bit inseparable. A four hour trip to Cork proved to us that we were meant to be best friends. And this is the Era of Lauren, which never really ended. Even still, it’s going on. We spent hours just laughing and laughing, wandering around Dublin, causing ruckuses and defeating the irish.

Through Lauren i got to know the other IES kids, who’re a great time. TreVOR came next. We finally hung out, just the two of us, one fateful night we decided to see WATCHMEN. From then on, a friendship was born and it flourished. So i guess this is a sub-era dubbed TreVOR Time by me, just now.

Then the big trip through Amsterdam and Paris happened. Around this time, some confusion happened that none of us understand wherein i thought Lauren was mad at me and she thought i was mad at her. In reality, neither of us was mad at the other one. We’re just, i don’t know, idiots or something. But, because of this, i spent the time with TreVOR and Sarah where we became A-Team, trusted in Sarah, and she was my teammate.

Life went on, me and Lauren came back together and laughed about the lost time. Trevor and i were partners and we made continuous fools of ourselves around Dublin along with the rest of our merry crew. Time went by and the laughing and merriment never slowed. Then came Trinity Ball and my next big journey where i had to say goodbye to TreVOR. He’s off in amerika and we miss him. I guess that’s where the TreVOR Time ended and the Sarah Era began. We went through Munich and Salzburg, then returned to Dublin. And the last month, i’ve spent most of my time with her.

But we were all together here. We broke Dublin, hand in hand, singing and dancing drunkenly through the streets. I love these people.

Trevor–An amazing guy. Always up for a good time and so so so funny. There’s no way to describe his thinknig process, but it results in some brilliant things. Too, he’s like a cartoon character. He had a uniform and was just that kind of personality that you cannot forget or deny. If you want to get drunk and watch Entourage at two in the afternoon, all you need to do is give Trevor a call and make the walk over. Smart, too. He knows things and beyond the big personality and hilarity and drunken shenanigans, there’s a depth of feeling and emotion there. he’s very kind and generous and thoughtful. A good friend, one that i’m glad i got to spend some time with and hope to not lose. And the dances he invented and all the tomfoolery we caused, my god, i’m smiling just thinking about it now. And when he left, we all knew and felt it. It felt like i lost fifteen friends after he left. It’s hard to explain or describe, but when Trevor left, we all felt that we had way fewer friends in Dublin rather than only losing one.

Sarah–I’ve never met a mind like her. It’s hard to sum up Sarah as a person. She’s a nonstop surprise, really. I wish i could watch what happened inside her brain while it was working. She’s also probably the funniest person i’ve ever met. All beauty and laughs, she loves to dance and get wild, drink and smile, and she love love loves to take pictures. Before i met her, i had about 300 pictures on facebook, now i’ve almost 900. And after today, i’ll probably have more. I never get tired of her or the things she says. Too, she seems all innocence and shyness, but nothing could be further from the truth. And we lost her today, but i can’t imagine forgetting her. Kind of became my travel buddy, too. She’s been kind to me, a great friend, and always a good time. I feel like there’s so much more for me to say about her, but i can’t seem to find the words. I’ll miss her a great deal, too.

Lauren–My best friend. And i don’t just mean best friend here or best friend this year, but maybe my best friend ever. I could probably talk about her for days. She means the world to me. Too, another one of the most interesting minds i’ve met in my life. I can’t think of anyone i’ve spent more time with just laughing and laughing and laughing. There’s something in us that just fits perfectly together and makes so much sense in my head. Europe wouldn’t have been the same without her and i’m infinitely glad i met her. Not just because she introduced me to the rest of my friends here, but because she’s indispensable to me. She’s my other half here, my tag team partner, my Grandma Bufftastic. She’s perfect and i’m going to miss her most of all. Luckily, i don’t need to see europe without her. We’re flying back together, but i’ll be saying goodbye to her in New Jersey instead.

And those are probably the three most important people to me here. And i love each of them a great deal. I’m really going to miss them. A lot. Because i can’t imagine losing them, not seeing them in just a couple of days. All day today, i’ve felt tears filling up just behind my eyeballs. Trevor being gone didn’t really feel real and still doesn’t. But now with Sarah leaving, it’s all hitting me. The fact that i’m going home, that i’m losing friends, my best friends. I really do love these people.

And i’m sad and afraid.

But technology makes things easier. We’ll stay in contact the best we can. And though i’m terrible at it, i’m going to make a real effort to stay in contact. Because i need it.

Also, i don’t mean to exclude friends by only mentioning Trevor, Sarah, and Lauren. There are many more awesome people here that i’ve met. Sam, my canadian lioness, with the Tommy Pickles’ walk and the ability to always have a good time and make everyone around her have a good time. Kristen, Lauren’s brain or secretary or maintenance woman. Josh, the funny jew who seems to have a limitless knowledge of basketball and hiphop.

But i don’t mean to jabber on like this. Really must study and figure out how to handle all of this.

I’ll miss these people. All of them. More than i can even express.

20
May
09

four planes, seven trains, six buses

Possibly more trains involved there. Hard to tell. What am i talking about? My most recent travels. First, though, we need to head way back in time to Trinity Ball. Oh, and all pictures are courtesy of Sarah Burton, once again, because she’s our photographer and i’ve yet to upload any pictures on facebook. Oh, by the way, this si sure to be a post of epic proportions. Should probably cut it up into thirds, but whatever. Take a break midway through and come back to me.

So, Trinity Ball, a time to get all dressed up in the nicest of clothes and get wasted with over six thousand schoolmates whilst concerts are going on. And, yeah, that was the intention. We’ll get to that. I put on my tux around four in the afternoon to see how it felt and how sweet i looked. Pretty sweet, turns out. I headed to Trevor’s around seven and they’re still preparing themselves. Apparently him and Rob, his guest at the time, drank the day away, fell asleep, and finally woke up to prepare for the night of drinking about to start. We bumble about in his room and finally head up to the girls around eight or nine or something. We all party and get ready and try to take group photos though it’s impossible to get a good one.

That’s probably the best one we got. From left to right: Trevor, Sam, Claire, some idiot, Sarah, LR, Josh [not pictured: Brittney (Sam’s guest) and Rob]. Anyway, the fun continues and we head to the Ball.

Immediately the Ball goes a bit wild. Claire hurts her leg and her and Sarah disappear with the medical crew. That’s the last i saw of them for the night. The night was spent bumbling around in the dark whilst drunk with a constantly cycling number and variety of teammates. Me and Trevor were together for most of it, though. Sometimes Sam was there, sometimes Brittney was there, sometimes Josh and LR, sometimes my friends from the Butler program. I’m not sure if it was really a fun time, but it was definitely one worth noting. A very strange time, mostly. Oh, and part of the problem with getting lost is that my phone ran out of credit about ten minutes after arriving there. Apparently my free texts stopped being free, but i did receive about thirty texts only saying, ‘Where are you?’ or, ‘Come here.’ But, yeah, no credit so i couldn’t say where i was or ask where they were.

But, yeah, i’ll just say it was a good time and defiitely worth experiencing.

Oh, and Calvin Harris was there and this song below would dominate a lot of my earspace for the trainrides. The video, mostly.

So funny, that.

Anyhoodle, the next day we head to Barcelona. This is bus one, by the way, going to the airport, i mean. The plane ride, number one,  is unreasonably cold and i get a bit of cabin fever, but we make it there around 930pm. Of course, then we need to take a 90 minute bus to Barcelona because Ryanair never really takes you to where you’re going. Bus two. We check into our hostel and just kind of wander the streets of Barcelona for a while. Sam, Brittney, Trevor, and Rob buy some sexy beers as the random dudes selling it on the streets called it. Later, we would find out that they store the beers in the sewers. Real sexy.

We go to sleep and head out to explore Barcelona the next day. Mike, Sarah, and i take a sightseeing bus tour in order to see as much as possible. We do. Sam, Brittney, Trevor, and Rob, we would later find out, spent the whole day on the balcony of our hostel room getting drunk. The corner our balcony overlooked was also apparently the drug corner of the Gothic District. Very funny stuff went on from the viewpoint of that balcony. Anyway, some pictures of what we saw around Barcelona while the others drank the day away because it’s better than me writing it all down.

Most things of interest in Barcelona were constructed by Gaudi. He’s quite a famous architect who built amazing;y intricate and interesting looking buildings. Anyway, that night we went out and had a good time out in Barcelona, even ate some Spanish cuisine.

The next day, the last day i would see Trevor in europe, was beach day. Unfortunately, the weather was against us. It didn’t rain or anything, but it was quite cold, or colder than we would’ve liked. Pictures of the day spent on the beach and wandering around Barcelona.

A nice team photo to end there. Some of those pictures are from miss Brittney Winter as well because Sarah was missing some key moments in time.

After that, we had to say goodbye to Rob and Trevor and Mike. Mike we’d all probably see again, Rob was only here briefly, but we enjoyed him. Trevor, though, man, Trevor’s a real loss. I mean, him being gone here is like a huge hole in Dublin. He was my partner in bafoonery for the last couple of months. I mean, now there’s no one to call midday to start drinking a bottle of wine with and watch Jay-z mashed up with The Verve. I’m being serious, so don’t laugh. I guess it hasn’t hit me yet since i’ve been mostly studying the past three or four days, but today, man, i’ll feel it and i’ll feel it more when the whole group gets back together. But, yeah, sucks to have a true friend disappear, especially here, because back in amerika, we live a thousand miles away from one another. Gotta keep in touch, though. I’m bad at it, but these people here, i want to remember them and keep knowing them. I’ll get to more of these thoughts later, probably at a different time. When leaving europe is just around the corner.

But, yeah, we bid them farewell. Sam cried, which made me get real sad about it. After we gathered ourselves and tried to pretend like we’d see Trevor in just a couple of days, we ate and Sarah and i walked Sam and Brittney to the metro because they moved to a different hostel.

We spent the rest of the time planning Munich and Salzburg. Got to sleep early as we had to wake up at 4am to catch a bus to the airport to make our plane on time.

Yeah, the next day would prove to be nonstop traveling. We check out of the hostel and walk to the bus station, arriving around 5am. We wait for the bus, the third of the trip, to take us to the airport, our second plane.

The busride goes by as it’s meant to. We make it through the airport easily and then have about an hour to wait for the flight. The flight goes by in flashes and blurs, constantly falling asleep, but only staying asleep for about five minutes at a time. We arrive in Hahn where we take a bus, number four, to Mainz where we would be heading to Munich from.

Okay, something to keep in mind, we saved about fifty euros each by traveling in the manner i’m going to explain. However, it also, we discovered, meant six extra hours in transit. At Mainz, we take a bus, number five, to a train. That train took us to another train, which took us to another train and so on. Hard to tell how many trains we rode. Somewhere between six and eight that day. Also, neither of us speak any German and the train stations were very unhelpful about planning your journey. Basically, unless you know where you’re going, you’ve no business on the trains. We didn’t. We thought we were lost for a very long time until we talked to a train employee who barely spoke english. He told us how to do the rest of our trip.

At this point, we’ve been riding trains for about eight hours and we’re losing it. So, what do we do?

Yeah, we get candy, ice cream, soda, and Jagermeister. It was the first time Sarah had ever drank Jag and we decided to make a game of it. Everytime the conductor said something we didn’t understand, we took a shot. The Jag went quickly. It was a very funny time and there are more pictures from these two hours of drinking than there are of the rest of the day. Oh, too, the weather was miserable the whole day. Cold and rainy. And we’re dressed in shorts, the only people in Germany wearing shorts, truth be told.

We arrive in Munich and have trouble figuring out how to get to our hostel, so we take the underground, even though it turns out our hostel was about a fifteen minute straight walk. We check in, get a drink at the bar, and basically go to sleep. After more than fourteen hours traveling, there’s not much else to do. Especially because it was already near midnight.

The next day we went to Neuschwanstein Castle. It was built by King Ludwig II of Bavaria in dedication to the operas of Richard Wagner. It’s truly a beautiful place. It’s the castle that Disney’s castle is modelled after. Also, it’s built in the Alps, so there are amazing views everywhere. It’s a long steep walk up to it, though. It was supposed to be cold and rainy that day and we were dressed appropriately. However, it turned out being hot and sunny and the climb made you a bit sweaty. But, yeah, pictures because it saves my fingers time.

That’s probably sufficient. But, yeah, the glory and folly of kings. We weren’t allowed to take pictures inside, but we got a few. It’s a magnificent castle, but mostly unfinished inside. Funny how the castles that bankrupted Bavaria is now what make it the most money through tourism.

We got back to Munich and went to catch a pub crawl that never ended up happening. We waited for it, the guy eventually came and told us that we were the only two tonight, so it wasn’t going to happen, but he gave us a free beer and told us good places to go and how to get there. We headed to the Haufbrauhaus, the famous beer hall where the first Oktoberfest happened.

It was glorious in so many ways. They had traditional Bavarian music playing, traditional dress for all the people working, huge liters of beer, incredible traditional food for cheap [by Dublin standards, anyway]. Songs were sung, food was had, beer was drank. It was a great time and so much of it reminded me of being a kid and hanging out with my dad. It was quite nastalgic and my dad was right, i do love Bavaria; he promised me i would.

After that, we headed back to the hostel, feeling good. We drank at the hostel bar for a while because it was really cheap and we wanted to go to bed relatively early. Sarah had her first Jagbomb there, too. Eventually Sarah went to sleep and i just planned on finishing my beer and heading up with her. Instead, i got talking to one of the bartenders who wasn’t working that night. We talked and then when i was ready to go to sleep, around 130am, he asked me if i wanted some chili. I did, so i followed him up to the employees area where he fed me chili, we drank, and talked until about 4am. I went back to my room, Sarah asked me where i was, i told her i’d tell her in the morning, and i slept.

The next day, we got up early to check out and go on a free walking tour through Munich. It was a good time and we got to know the history surrounding the place.

Yeah dude, surfers in Munich. They do it on this river. It’s hard to explain how it really works. I’ve a video of it, but i can’t upload it on here. Just know it’s pretty cool. We hung out with the tourguide who was from Wisconsin and this guy from Vancouver for the morning and early afternoon. Then, off to Salzburg, the whatever number train it was.

First though, let me talk about Munich. It’s a beautiful city full of wonderful and kind people. It’s a bit like a fairy tale, really. There’s so much to do and see there. I really wish i had more time there, like four more days because we really only had one night and one morning to see and experience it. It’s beautiful and wondrous and i plan on going back someday, for a long time. Oh, also, Sarah and i picked up the word Dunkel, which means dark in German, but, to us, it means just about anything. A perfect word, really.

Anyway, Salzburg. It’s a truly magical little town. We checked into our hostel and then just wandered around for basically the next two days. First, though, we ate at this super traditional Austrian restaurant built right into the side of the mountain. Oh yeah, Salzburg is basically right in the Alps, lots of mountains and steep hills and glorious views everywhere. Pictures because it’s better than me explaining everything and this is already too long.

And, yeah, that’s Salzburg and basically the whole trip. Our last night we went out and got crazy. We danced and the Austrians watched us in amazement and told us that they loved it. Very funny. One thing, though, to note. Austria doesn’t have smoking laws, so you can smoke anywhere. It never made sense to me why we have them back home until now. After two hours of a room full of people chain smoking, my eyes hurt, breathing sucked, and i smelled like an ashtray. So gross. Really, i’m so glad you don’t have to deal with that back home. It sucks.

Other than that, though, it was, as you can see, an exceptionally beautiful place full of magic and wonderment. I loved it. The whole bit of Munich and Salzburg was one of my favorite times i’ve had in europe. Also, it was the first time i traveled with just one person. It was a great time, we never fought, and me and Sarah managed to still be friends at the end of it without getting sick of one another.

Oh, the last bus ride was to the Salzburg airport. That’s plane three that took us to London where we had a layover for about four hours. We ate, drank, bought booze, and came home to dublin. Oh, i guess that’s the seventh bus. From Dublin airport to home. I guess i could edit the title, but i’d rather not.

Current news, three exams done, two to go, only failed one of them [not for certain, but seems likely]. I got my essays back and did exceptional on two of them and nearly failed one of them [the one for the class who’s exam i think i failed (though that’s mostly because i discovered my grade on the essay)].

Yeah, life’s good and i’m tired of typing. I’ll be back on to tell you more about life and how it works and my thoughts on leaving.

Thanks for sticking with this gigantic post.

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.

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.