Follow by Email

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Random day in the life.

Since I don't do it enough, here's a random travel story.

Today is Christmas eve here in Oz.  I started the day with a split shift at the grand ole roadhouse.  Unlike past Christmas', it was just another day.  I made the whole season without hearing a Christmas song, seeing a tree or decorations.  I was proud of that until today, when I remembered who I was.

A guy in a wheel chair came in looking for a room.  We weren't suppose to sell any rooms, since we're closed tomorrow, but I talked my boss into it.  It's Christmas and he's in a wheel chair, right?  Then something great happened.  A random guy came up and bought said wheel chair guy a room and steak dinner.

I know what you're thinking, it's a mini-Christmas miracle.  Well the wheel chair guy was kind of dick.  I shrugged it off because I'm a dick and a I have two legs.

I did his laundry in our pay machines.  He complained and I complained.  I thought his point about not wanting to pay the three dollars for the dryer was asinine; I summed him up by the newer car he drove.  His clothes cleaned, I passed them off with a sigh of relief.

Later that night I saw the guy getting his wet clothes off the railing and offered him a smoke.  Turns out we are both merchant mariners.  He lost his legs in the line of work.  Something I could of done a million times with my dumb ass bosses.  We had a great talk about life and how travel makes you a better person.

While it's not a Christmas miracle.  It was something I needed.  Every time I want to give up and go home, something like that happens.

This is why I travel.

*Side note.  My bosses daughter asked me if we celebrated Christmas in the U.S.  I laughed and said, 'more than you will ever know'.

I would like to salute
the ashes of American flags
And all the fallen leaves
filling up shopping bags

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Meeting People is Easy

I'd planned on posting a bullet point review on 2011 but decided against it after reading it and seeing it was a bunch of hot garbage.  Instead I'll just ramble and hopefully touch on some of the highlights.  Ah, the beauty of having a hand full of readers.

I'll start with the setting.  It's hot as fuck in Australia.  My A/C is broke, I'm listening to a playlist I made for a new friend, my bag of tobacco and a cheap box wine at my side.  Living the dream.

I try not to lie.  Australia isn't my favorite country.  It's too much like America only more primal.  Sometimes for the better but mainly for the worst.  But you don't learn and grow in the garden of Eden.

I've been here almost a year and have seen some amazing things.  Met amazing people and laughed until I threw up.  But I can't seem to translate those experiences onto paper.  Hopefully I'll tell the stories someday or just be content with what they've made me into.  Does that sound pretentious?

I got writer's block so I rolled a cigarette, sprayed the anthill in my bathroom and went outside for a walk and a smoke.

Ray Lamontage came up on the ipod and I thought of a friend back home in the throws of addiction.  He's finally back home at his parents house.  The sun set to Wilco's Ashes of American Flag.  I watched it wearing only shorts and felling the hot sand between my naked toes.

I'm content with my playlist.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Something I've learned from traveling.

When you meet someone from a different culture they see you in a different light.  All the quirks and personality traits your old friends have looked over for years are front and center.  What may be normal in your homeland is a a big flaw somewhere else in the world. 

When I was young I saw a picture of James Dean with his hands in his pocket and thought it was the coolest thing ever.  That picture, along with other things, has put me in the mindset to always have me hands in my pocket.  Turns out others see that as a sign of touching yourself.

Who knew?  Is there an universal subconscious at play?


I can't find the picture I was thinking about but this one is better.  It's from a 1990 movie called, 'Book of Love'.  At the time I watched this I only knew a little about Mr. Dean, but they did an homage to him through the main character.  And of course he had the that awkwardness that only comes with adolescence.  Note the grease stains on the wall...  It's more of my style.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

I lost my mind long ago, down that yellow brick road

I like to think about random things.  I do it all day, everyday.  I'm stuck in the outback, a place I should be saving money in, only to find myself running in circles.  I know I'm not going forward and that's cool.  It's another chapter in my life.

When I am old a grey and think back on Australia, I will have many memories and emotions of the good times.  Hopefully Angus and Julia Stone will be the soundtrack.  I know it will be.


Then a heart of gold came on the stereo
Mr Young made me cry
Then all the colors of the rainbow
Fell in my eyes

I lost my mind long ago

Down that yellow brick road

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Unlikely Japan

I have an obsession with vinyl records.  My sister calls me a hipster but I counterpoint that with 'I've been collecting since 1996'.  So I guess I'm a hipster hipster.  Single tear.

When I was a kid, my brother, sister and I would spend every Saturday with my grandparents and then Sunday morning, my Grandma Dee would take us to church.  My parents didn't go to church, so I had a balanced childhood of both worlds.  Good moral guidance for a kid and the choice of religion.  The last time I went to church was in 1999.  I was 18 and sleep walking through Army basic training, but that's another story.

A lot of the weekends I spent at my Grandparents, I was upstairs listening to my parents old records.  Beatles, Tommy James, Bee Gees, Johnny Cash and many others.  I still have those records and a 'few' more.  I keep telling my self they are an investment, while at the same time playing the hell out of them, depreciating their value.

I picked up this gem the other day and have it waiting for me back home.  It cost me less than what I would pay for a Hamburger over here.  I never heard of the B-side before.  Ah, the beauty of finding music.

As the youtube synopsis states:


This is a previously unreleased Wilco track (featured as a B Side on the 7 inch single for "You Never Know) called "Unlikely Japan". I would call it an early version of "Impossible Germany" but really, this is a totally different song. Recorded in 2003, it is sort of the missing link between "A Ghost is Born" and "Sky Blue Sky".

 I can't say what this means to me
I don't begin to understand

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Moon Phases

It's night time here and morning in America.  Sometimes when I look up at the moon I wonder if my friends back home are seeing it in the day light.  Is it possible for the moon to be in two places at once?  I don't think so, but don't really know.  I have a lot of questions for science that I should just google but it's nice not knowing things.

Today is Thanksgiving in America, which make me think about my friends and family.  I miss them but can't go home.  Not can't, won't.  I only have one life and I'm going to do what I want too, which is to travel and learn about the human condition.  The more I learn, the more questions and doubts I have.

When he was six, he believed that the moon overhead followed him
By nine, he deciphered the illusion, trading magic for fact, no trade-backs
So this is what it's like to be an adult?
If he only knew now what he knew then

Thursday, November 17, 2011

So it goes.

I'm at the point in my life that I think a lot about my grandparents.  I'm lucky to still have three of them alive but they're in their golden years.  "Chick" is in a nursing home with good and bad days, mostly bad.  Pop, who is at least 80, visits her twice a day and still drives cross country for his hunting trips.  The thing about my Grandpa and hunting is that in all the years, I've never known him to kill anything.  He just really likes to camp and cook outdoors.

"Dee" was just accepted into a retirement home/card playing house.  Most days she's still sharp but since Papa Charles died she's convinced herself that she's broke.  Papa Charles died 18 years ago.  I didn't cry at his funeral but loved the man with all of my heart.

Life is funny.  If I do have kids they will never know my Grandparents.  I only remember my Great Grandma Molly and her making making me fruit crepes in an old rickety house.  I've heard many stories about my great grandparents but Molly is the only one I can put a face to the story.  And no matter what story it is I always think about her in a moo moo dress and that creepy old stuffed toy lion in her living room.

In the grand scheme we're just rain drops in the ocean, our stories to be recycled and lived out by new generations.  I'm fine with that.

A fallen head of Buddha that a tree grew around.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Humble Boast (A moment of truth)


The thing about me and writing is that I like to write but I find it hard to share my feelings.  I come from a loving, generous family but I was raised not boast or to complain, just to keep you head down and make the most of what you are given.  I could expand on that thought but what I want to express is that for the most part, I’m not comfortable talking about myself.

The past 15 months I’ve seen and experienced things that have changed me in ways I can’t explain.  I’ve looked into myself and saw the best and worst of my qualities.  The saying, ‘you are what you hate’, has never rung truer.  While I despise racism I see myself stereotyping the local aboriginals through day to day transactions at the roadhouse.  It’s something I’m ashamed of but at least I see it and that’s the first step in change.

I also know that I can adapt and change.  While backpacking, through the eyes of social media looks like one big vacation, it’s not always easy.  Don’t get me wrong, laying on the beach, seeing the world and all it’s beauty, and having the greatest time of my life is golden but it’s not always easy.  I take pride in the frustrating times of trying to catch a connecting bus in Laos only to end up on the back of a truck with farmers and their family.  Being hot, tried and covered in sweat; arguing with the woman that will always hold a special place in my heart, only to end up next to a angry local in the back of the truck.  I could of kept being angry but instead I gave everyone some of my food and by the end of the trip we were great friends, if only for an hour or two.

I know I should write more but in the end I have my memories.  And when I meet someone that wants to hear them, I will speak my thoughts. 

Oh how time flies
With crystal eyes
And cold as cold
When you're ending with diamond eyes

Friday, November 4, 2011

innocence lost

I often wonder if I'll ever return to the time in my life that I really embraced an album like I did when I was fourteen.  No enhancements; pot or booze, just ears.  Maybe in my grey years.



Thursday, October 27, 2011

The Breeze


Are you moving much too fast?
And the good times that just don't last
If you're always on the go
Make an angel in the snow
And freeze

Do you feel like you're stuck in time?
Forever waiting on that line
If nothing ever moves
Put that needle to the groove
And sing

Is it a dream
Keeping you awake
Is it the stillness that makes you shake?
If you need to know for sure (need to know for sure)
What's on the ocean's floor
You'll sink

Do you like things the way they seem
Or are you looking behind the scenes
Well if you gotta know
What it takes to make it so
Just believe

Are dark parts to your mind
Hidden secrets left behind
Where no one ever goes
Everybody knows
It's alright

Do you get dizzy
On the ground?
There must be something
Going around
What blows us here today
Will blow us all away

Breeze
Will blow us all away
The Breeze

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Gotta live, gotta live in our town

I came into my own in a small rural Arkansas town, the town I lived in until I was 19.  I don't care to much for the town and only visit my family and Jacob but I have some amazing memories.  Memories that are all linked by music.  They're simple, boring and really have no point.  Kinda like the town itself.

Really great albums you can remember buying or hearing for the first time.  Live's Throwing Copper was the first CD I ever bought.  And one of the few albums I know every word to every song.  Neil Young's Mirror Ball was the first monthly cd BMG sent me.  I had no clue who he was and when I asked my mom all she could say was, 'yeah he's good, did a lot of drugs, I think'.

I remember my brother telling me I should buy Smashing Pumpkins' MCIS because it was a good deal for a double album.  My first house with Jacob and Alana and listening to U2's WAR on vinyl while Jacob was deployed on peace keeping mission in Kuwait.  A first of many deployments, none peace keeping.

I remember having to listen to Green Day's Dookie in secret because Adrienne promised her parents she burnt all her secular music at Acquire the Fire.  For those that don't know, ATF is a brain washing christain camp that told us to burn all our music and not to do the normal things kids do.  This is from their website: "ATF’s purpose is to bring thunderous volume and clarity to God’s voice and amass a generation of passionate radicals that engage a full-on assault on the kingdom of darkness."  

Yeah...  Watch the news people, nothing good ever comes from 'passionate radicals'.

I remember sitting in what must have been a bowling alley in South Dakota hearing Tom Petty's Mary Jane's Last Dance for the first time.  I can recall the conversation like it was yesterday and the fucked up carpet that only bowling alleys and strip clubs have.  Since I was on a church mission trip I'm pretty sure it wasn't a strip club.  That same mission trip we were banned from watching MTV because it was the devil and my youth director told me The Eagle's Hotel California was about the satanism.  Something I laughed about the other day when it was debunked at Cracked.com


Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Rivers and Roads

Now that I booked my ticket home I'm doing something that I'm not known for; planning.  Every backpacker that I traveled with was amazed at my ability to have no agenda, no clue on where I was going next.  It started a year a half ago at LAX when the ticket person told me I couldn't go to Vietnam because I didn't have a visa.  Who knew you couldn't get one on arrival?  This guy.  The blueprint was to meet Jen in Hanoi and let her help me map out some kind of master plan.  Turns out I couldn't get in and she was sick and had to fly home.  I landed in Hong Kong and decided to wing it. 8 countries later here I am.

My All Out or Get Out Farewell Tour:
  •  Bangkok is the mecca of cheap tattoos.  I'm thinking about getting the tree of life underneath the dragon on my back.
  • Cooking classes are must.  Jess and I meant to take some last time but never got around to it.
  • Deep sea fishing.  I've always wanted to catch a tuna and eat it raw on the boat.
  • Get my P.A.D.I certification.  Diving is cheap in Asia and the water is crystal clear.
  • Get another suit in South Korea.  The one I bought in Vietnam is a little tight once I started eating western food again.
  • Visit Burma (Myanmar).  It's one of the least developed countries in the world and it dead last in health care.  DEAD LAST.  I wanted to go last time I was in Asia but the government closed the boarders for so-called elections.

Monday, October 10, 2011

No Direction Home

I might regret it but I booked a flight home for April.  I really don't know why I did it, the subconscious can be funny sometimes.  I tell myself I can always go backpacking again but that window in life is closing.  Maybe I want to go home to see what I'm not missing.  I'm at that point in life that all my friends are making decisions and I can't for some reason.  Maybe if I touch the shore I can see the horizon?

I'm leaving Oz in early February and then heading off to Bangkok.  I'm not for sure what I'm doing but I know I have to leave Thailand at some point, so not to over stay my 30 day visa.  Maybe I'll go to Burma if the border is open again.  The last time I tried to enter, they closed entry because of the so called elections.  Gotta love a backwards ass dictatorship.

I do know I'm going to live it up on some Thailand beaches.  For those that don't know Thailand beaches are breath taking.  Just picture every movie scene you see with crystal clear water and locals bringing you fresh juice mixed with booze.  Or just watch the movie 'The Beach' on mute.  That movie kinda sucked but the book is good.  I bought it for a dollar in Bangkok.

At some point I have to reenter Thailand because I'm flying out of Bangkok and hitting up South Korea.  I never thought of going there until I tried to book a flight home and had a 6 hour lay over in Seoul.  I hate lay overs so I decided to stay 10 days.  I'm hoping South Korea will be special because that's where my Grandfather became a man.  I wish I had with me the picture of him sitting tiredly with his helmet at his feet, smoking a cigarette on some remote Korean hillside.  If I did I would post it because it was one of my favorites.  That ornery old man has some stories to tell and if you have a couple of hours, he'll preach your ear off.

After South Korea I'm flying into Cali to see family and friends.  Vegas is now looking in the mix and then it's back to real world.

Real world; Fayetteville or Denver?  Who knows?  I might not even make it home.



Black Crow

Favorite Australian band so far.  I love the Mythology of the crow.  Every culture see's it a different way.


Saturday, October 8, 2011

Dance, dance, dance

My new toy.  26 pounds of heavy duty old school.  I found a guy on Etsy that restores old players.  He overhauled everything and rebuilt the speakers.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

10 Tracks (Random Thoughts)

  • My hands are burnt and cracked and  I can't make it through a day in the kitchen without adding a new scar to them.  I'm proud of my little reminders.  After the first day of working as a cook I wanted to tell my boss to schedule me only on the front counter.  I'm glad I didn't.  The kitchen is still kicking my ass but each day I'm getting closer to making it my bitch.
  • Once again Wilco hasn't failed me.  'The Whole Love' is another soundtrack to a phase in my life. 'Art of Almost' is my new writing song.  I guess I would say it's progressive for Wilco but the fuzz guitar, snare drum and bassline at 4:40 is classic rock and roll.  'Born Alone' reminds me of a song I might sing in a Baptist church while on acid.
  • The beauty of traveling is that every backpacker you meet has a portable hard drive full of movies and music.  After trading off, I now have over 100 movies and TV shows but I'm stuck watching Arrested Development.  It never get's old.  Hopefully the recent news is true and there will be another season and movie coming out soon.
  • When I get a hold of someone's hard drive I always copy bands that I never heard of.  I have a shit ton of new music and some of the best are Australian.  If you get a chance, check out The Jezabels, The Grates, Angus & Julia Stone, Paul Kelly and Gotye.
  • My grandparents are getting old and it makes me sad.  They are big part of who I am today.
  • What's better than Pearl Jam?  PJ covering Pink Floyd.  Two of my top 10 bands.  Check out the emotion in this video.
  •  I'm glad Amanda Knox is know free.  Injustice and the lack of freedom are probably the two things I hate the most in the word; that and racism.
  • I really want a joint right now.
  • Have you heard Kid Cudi's 'Man on the Moon'?  I'm not a huge fan of Hip Hop but fuck this album is good.
  • I just placed a bid on a badass record player on Ebay.  Damn I love a weak US dollar and a ridiculously strong Aussie dollar.  Kinda makes up for the $20 pack of smokes.
I'm on the pursuit of happiness and I know everything that shine ain't always gonna be gold
I'll be fine once I get it, I'll be good.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Dobie Gillis

I try to live my live by the mantra of, "I am who I am" and while Popeye said it first, no other cartoon character said it better.

In the past week, five people have told me that I look angry.  Random people that I don't know..  At first it was funny but the last one struck a chord.  Is that how people see me?  I know I don't make a great first impression and that's my biggest fault, but I'm not angry.  I'm a just a thinker, right?

No matter who you think you are, when people start to question your preconceived notions, you start to wonder.

I want to yell at the top of my lungs, "I'M ALWAYS DEEP IN THOUGHT!  IT'S A GOOD THING!


Monday, September 26, 2011

Halfway Home

The other day I made a five year plan for myself only to remember that's not who I am.  I have nothing holding me back in life and that's comfortable to me.  Being the analytical person that I am, I did however make a list of my options.  First, what is known; I'm going to stay at my current job for three months and save up money.  Here are my options after that.

  • One of my best friends offered me an opportunity to invest in a new bar opening up around a year from now.  His current bar is doing great and everything points to the new one doing just as well.  Along with the investment opportunity he also offered me a place to stay while I get back to the real world and a job working at the micro-brewery he's about to open up.  What can I say, I have great friends who are like family to me.
  • I could work and save money; and then lounge on the beach for a month before coming home.  Thailand, Fiji or Bali sounds good right about now.
  • Another friend, that I call my brother, is moving to Denver and there's always a spot for me there.  I hear great things about the city and I wouldn't be far from the Great Divide; something I consider as a natural holy land.
  • When I leave Oz I should have enough money to travel South America.  Machu Picchu has always been at the very top of my list of places to see and I have friends, that I've met along the way, living there.
  • I can get a work visa for New Zealand and continue to work and live the dream and if I'm lucky enough, score a job as an extra on the new Hobbit movie.
So, there you have it... Fuck if I know.  I'm just going to keep on living and see what happens.


A comfort plush all laced in lead
Was sent to quell your sentiment
And keep your trembling sentinel hand at bay

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Take

I'm settling in at my new job and while on the outside it's a perfect setting for a horror movie, it's not too bad.  Mount Magnet is bush country; a dry, arid landscape in the middle of nowhere.  The backpackers live in a motel like building with every two units sharing a bathroom.  My room is nice and I don't have to share a bathroom since the other room is left vacant because my predecessor hung himself in my bathroom.

That's right, the backpacker I replaced hung himself in my shower.  It's a little strange but death is apart of life. I guess I'm comfortable with death because my grandparents use to own a funeral home and one of my dad's many jobs was a mortician.  I understand death but I still wonder how he got to the point of taking his own life.  From what I learned he proposed to his girl only to be turned down.  So he went backpacking.  He was a loner at work and his room was scattered with drugs and razorblades.  That's all the information I have and I'm sure his life was more complex but now he's just a footnote in my life's journey.  Hopefully someone out there will honor his spirit with memories of the good times.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Aus dem Stegreif

Once again I've slowed down and ended up in the middle of nowhere at a roadhouse.  For those who don't know, a roadhouse is kind of like a truck stop/community hub in rural Australia.  A resting point for weary travelers tramping across the great emptiness of Oz and a local meeting place for farmers and miners.  It's a good place to look at what I've learned about the world and an even better place to evaluate who I am.  The first things you learn while traveling is your strength and weaknesses.  I'm making a list of them and hopefully will post them later on, but first where I've been the past couple of months.

The dairy farm was what it was, a 12 hour a day, six day a week ball buster that paid peanuts.  My boss was German and the most efficient man I've ever met.  Nothing went to waste on the farm and he had everything planned out six moves in advance.  He was a taskmaster and being who I am I received the nickname Troubles from my coworkers because I was always being crucified for either driving too fast, joking too much or just saying what I thought.  All things I take pride in.  One thing I've learned from traveling and 30 years of life is to be who you are.  Change and growth are two different entities.

With that said, the dairy farm will always hold a special place in my heart.  My co-workers were amazing and there was never a dull moment between a cow pissing in my mouth while I was yawning or getting an ATV stuck in three feet of mud only to get myself stuck trying to get out.  Things that will humble you and give a broader sense of humor at the same time.  But like that badass guitarist once said, All Thing Must Pass.  The main reason I was working there was to fulfil my second year visa requirement of working on a farm.  And then I found out Americans couldn't get second year visa, so I packed up and headed to the city to be lazy.

I stayed the past couple of months in Melbourne with my German bosses son, a guy that is the complete opposite of his father.  Genetics are funny; I'm just like my father but if I didn't know better I would say my brother was adopted. 

I wish I had some great stories to tell you about my time in Melbourne but I did what most guys wish they could still do; smoke pot, play video games and watching a shit ton of movies.  Did you know Mr. T made a movie in 1984 called The Toughest Man in the World?  It's so bad that Rotten Tomatoes doesn't even have it listed.  Watch it and I guarantee you'll be quoting it for months.

We did however make a golf course in the backyard.  I wish I could show you all 5 holes but I only have video for the first two.  Enjoy.



I look at the world and I notice it's turning
While my guitar gently weeps
With every mistake we must surely be learning
Still my guitar gently weeps


Saturday, June 11, 2011

Winter Camp

And I'm happy.

My philosophy on backpacking is not to plan, just wing it. If you plan, it will always go wrong. After spending the past couple of months looking for a farm job that would qualify me for my second year visa, there seemed to be none. With that in mind I left Tammin and posted an ad on Gumtree, the Australian version of Craigslist. A couple of hours later I had a job on a dairy farm in SE Oz.

My coworkers are amazing and represent Germany, Ireland, Holland, Switzerland, Fiji, Brazil, Russia and Oz. They tapped a picture of a riverboat on the door of my cabin and had a slice of apple pie waiting for me. And I get to herd over 2000 cows on a motorcycle. I'm going to repeat that again so you can get a mental picture in your head. I get to herd over 2000 cows while driving a motorcycle! Legend.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Miser

I have a lot of unedited post but I can't seem to polish them off.

Wish I had a lotta answers,
'Cause that's the way it should be
For all these questions,
Being directed at me

I just can't find the time
To write my mind
The way I want it to read

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country

I'm a huge sci-fi fan, i.e; Star Trek, Dr. Who, Firefly, Stargate, etc and some my favorite episodes are always the ones about alternate universes. Where the plot is, if one thing changed in history everything was the same but totally different. That is how I feel about Australia. It's so much like home but different on every level. Example #1, the UTE. I still can't see one of these road beast and not say El Ca-mi-no to myself.

Rolling on Doves.

Next is the slang. Australian's have slang for everything. Everything.
  • Chewie ~ Gum
  • Footie ~ Australian Football
  • Billy ~ Teapot
  • Truckie ~ Truck Driver
  • Lollies ~ Candy
  • Mozzie ~ Mosquito
  • Sunnies ~ Sunglasses
  • Dunny ~ Toilet
  • Chrissie ~ Christmas
And then there's the people. I compare Oz to the America of the mid-1800's. It has a whole continent of natural resources and not enough people; 19 million to America's 307. And a good percentage of the population are immigrants, here for work and a better life. Even the backpackers I meet are here because of the money and the chance to see the world.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

ACCT #1111

I’ve been slacking on my reading and writing because of Gameboyonline.com. What can I say, I love regression and Zelda. I did buy two new books though, Ulysses and Across the River and into the Trees. I think I’ll tackle Hemingway first because man, that guy is gold.

It looks like I’m staying in Tammin for at least another week, making it little over two weeks to go. My boss loves me so much he doesn’t want me to leave, or the co-owner is going on vacation to Bali. I like to think it’s my winning personality.

Katherine, the English backpacker, flew back home but not before a going away party. It was a great night filled with very talented chicks playing guitar.

Favorite new word; whinge.

I’ve been living in Australia for 4 ½ months now and I’m still learning something new everyday.

The greatest Irish stereotype I've ever seen. A Good night.


Wednesday, May 18, 2011

preconceptions

She laughingly said, "and off he goes", as I walked out the door. It hit me like a freight train.

We are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful about what we pretend to be.
~Kurt Vonnegut



Saturday, May 14, 2011

The Perfect Meal (Ban Lung, Cambodia)

A lot people laugh when I respond Cambodia, as my favorite country. Between the rampant corruption, prostitution and extreme poverty it has a lot things going against it. It doesn't help that 25% of it's population was either killed or starved to death under Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge. From 1975 to 1979 ole Pol Pot dabbled in GENOCIDE. If want to learn more read First They Killed My Father by Loung Ung.

With all that said, Cambodians are the most amazing people you will ever meet. Happy, kind, gentle souls that will welcome you into there homes with an open heart. What follows in picture form is one great day and the best meal I've ever had.

Jessica and I hired two guys to take us into the middle of the jungle.


After sweating out every toxin I've ever ingested in the first 10 minute, we arrived somewhere a day into the jungle.


Our guides set out to cook. They filled a bamboo stem with fresh picked veggies, spices, and water and steamed it over a fire.


While we were waiting on the food, I swam in the local stream and swung off a vine, Tarzan style.


While I was swimming he was making a basket out of bamboo.


The Perfect Meal.


The sign in the tree next to where we had lunch. "Don't touch the mines or bring the mine." A sign about landmines or a rap song?

Stopped by the guide's house on the way back. He lives in an open air hut with his wife and son in the middle of a rice patty.


The baby stroller he made his son.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Dirty 30

And I'm 30... My birthday started off a little slow with me feeling sorry for myself. Then I realized it's kinda hard to feel sorry for myself when I'm exactly where I want to be at this point in life. I'm almost debt free and seeing the world on a shoestring.

So, I headed off to the local Pub, since it's the only place to get a meal besides the roadhouse and there I met Bevin, the coolest chick ever. Even her name is cool. Have you ever met someone named Bevin? She's an Irish backpacker that left her job as a school teacher to see the world and ended up in Tammin, working at the pub for a couple of months before heading off to her the next little adventure. She pretty much did the same path last year in SE Asia as me and it's crazy our paths didn't cross. You would be suprised how small the backpacking curcuit is, because I kept meeting the same people in different countries.

I have 3 weeks left at the road house and I have no clue what I'm doing next. I need to do 3 months of farm work to qualify for my second year visa. Between the flooding in the north, bush fires and lack of rain here, the farm jobs are far a few between. As soon as the rains come here seeding will start and Bevin suggested I put up work flyers in all the nearby town adversting my services. And since she has a car and I don't, she even voluntered to put them up for me. I also met a English couple that told me about work up north in Kununurra. So all I have to do now is wait and something good will happen.


Walk down any street
You can find
Look at any clock telling time
Sing some strange verse
From some strange song of vines
And you'll be where you want to be

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

It's not a clown car lady...

The other day a woman came into the store and asked me what part of Canada I was from because that’s what happens when people pick up on my accent. I don’t know if it’s because my southern accent is so off kilter compared to mainstream Hollywood or it’s because not enough Americans travel. When I repieled I was from Arkansas, USA all she said was, “Do you know the Duggers?”

My first reaction was to be very annoyed. For those who don’t know, the Duggers are a highly religious families that have their own reality TV show and they fall on this side of crazy. At first I hated the show but like most things people hate, I didn’t understand it. They are very unorthodox right wing god fearing folks and I would never follow most of their values but I understand them.

You have to let people do what they want as long as it’s not hurting anyone else. Life is short. Don’t waste your time worrying about others.

After thinking about why I was annoyed, I realized it was because of stereotypes. When I tell people I’m from America, all they can say is; guns, bibles, fast food and Hollywood. Yes, I grew up on all those things but that don’t define me. Yes I own a gun, yes I was raised in the church, yes I take comfort in a Egg McMuffin and most importantly; yes I’ve seen a majority of popular movies in the past 50 years, but that doesn’t describe who I am.

Hi, I’m Jeremy. I believe in a universal god but since I was raised in a small town America I’m not suppose to be able to compare my god to yours. Ok, you were raised in the middle of Africa and think the sun eats the moon, I understand that. We all want to rely on a higher being but because of my own background I’m suppose to understand the world better than you.

Nope.

Life is as simple as tribesmen hunting a wild animal in bush. We’re just trying to make it out alive.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Being There

Eventually I’ll get around to writing about my travels in SE Asia and India but for now I’ll start with Australia. I arrived in Oz running low on funds and the fact that beers are $8 and a decent breakfast will run you about $15 didn’t help. A friend told me about a job placement service before I arrived and I tried it for 3 weeks with no luck. It’s very disheartening to sit 5 hours a day in a place that blares MTV videos over the T.V. while eating microwavable noodles for lunch and still walk away jobless. After seeing Pink’s Fuckin’ Perfect video about 50 times I was about to start cutting myself.

With the borrowed money from my grandpa dwindling away, I was about to google the closest sperm/blood bank. Then I met a French couple that told me about another job service and 30 minutes later I had a job in the middle of nowhere. It’s funny how things work out when you just bide your time.

I took the roadhouse (truckstop) job because I needed money and it was an easy way to save since it was in the middle of nowhere. Being from a family of truckers I also knew I would meet some interesting people and the stories they had to tell.

I’m a month a half into a 3 month stint and everything is going well. When I get cabin fever I hop on the train to Perth and meet up with some friends before coming back to my books and music in Tammin.

I was eating breakfast and this rolled threw.

5 pieces of a giant shovel.

Monday, April 18, 2011

May you stay forever young

When I meet a true Dylan fan I know I just met a common soul. A soul that knows the magic behind the words. A soul that will sing every word to Say Hello during the early morning of a campfire jam. I try not to defend his singing style much anymore but get a couple of beers in me and I might just give you my thesis on why he’s one the greatest singers, ever. With that said, his show last night was god awful.

It's harsh but man he was just going through the motions. I’ve had friends tell me that he was losing his touch but I blew it off. I'm stubborn, you can tell me I'm on fire but until I feel the burn I'll just give you a smirk. But I came to realize my error when he spent most of his time on the organ, only to pick up the guitar for two songs. You know the classic Dylan emphasis at the end of the verse, where he draws out the word in a higher pitch? He was doing that on every syllable on some of the songs. I didn’t even recognize Don’t Think Twice, It’s Alright until the second verse.

I make myself try to look at both sides of any of my opinions and even though I think he should retire to save his legacy, I have to give him props for doing what he loves. I’m pretty sure he’s not touring for the money. But is he really doing it because he loves it or because it’s the only thing he knows? For a man that has reinvented himself so many times maybe he takes comfort with road? I for damn sure wouldn’t blame him if that’s the truth.

The point that drove his whole concert home was when he finished with Forever Young. He sang it with the indifference of a vagabond that just wants to sleep. I might of missed him in his prime but I’m thankful for DVD’s and the internet. I can watch this video a million times and never be tired of it. Even though critics pan that it's average because of all the coke that was done that night, just look at his shrug 40 seconds in. The man exudes what it is to be cool.

May you grow up to be righteous
May you grow up to be true
May you always know the truth
And see the lights surrounding you

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Thunder Dome

I’ve decided the Australian dialect is the quintessential Valley Girl speak. They shorten all their words and the ones they do finish they end on a higher pitch. Australians have yet to find a word they can’t just shorten and put a ‘Y’ at the end. Breakfast is breaky; expiration is expiry, expensive is exy and the list could go on forever.

The first couple of weeks I spent most of my day behind a cash register wondering what the hell was just said. Instead of saying thank you after a transaction there would be a good on ya, cheers, thanks mate, beauty, or my favorite ta. Yup, ta, the shortest and most common way possible to say thank you in Oz.

I like to think of myself as seasoned and having figured everything out by now but that’s far from the truth. Yesterday a woman came in asking for rubbers and I gave her condoms. Turns out rubbers are erasers. Before that it was an old man wanting thongs. No, not the sexy panties but flip flops. I think I might be hopeless. They have the luxury of Hollywood and can pretty much understand everything I say. I have Mad Max and Crocadile Dundee, the Hollywood version of Oz. Yeah, I’m screwed but that’s half the fun.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Random Thoughts, Statements and Questions.

  • Do random memories from your childhood ever just pop into your head? I'm talking about things I thought were meaningless. I work the graveyard shift at an Australian outback roadhouse, basically an all in one truck stop, and I'm by myself from 10pm-6am. I'll be mopping away and all of the sudden I'll flashback to when I was 9 and painting rocks at the the river. I thought it was the coolest thing I'd ever done.
  • While I'm on the subject of the roadhouse, I'm pretty sure the twins from the movie The Shining grew up and moved here. I'll be mopping away at 3 in the morning and look up only to see two freaky ass twins staring at me. They're locals and are nice even though they mumble to each other in twin speak.
  • I'm seeing Bob Dylan along with some other bands at the Blues and Roots Festival next week in Perth. Each night at work I'm listening to a different Dylan album to pump me up and I have to say Nashville Skyline is just kind of weird. The music is average beside Lay Lady Lay, one of my all time favorite Bobby D songs, it's just his voice. Why did he change it to sound like a crooner? Luckily it only lasted for an album or two.
  • I'm also seeing Mavis Staples at the festival. While she mainly sings gospel and most people will dismiss gospel; I highly recommend her album You're Not Alone. If you're ever feeling down or unloved just listen to the title track.
  • I read in a interview that back in the 60's Dylan asked Mavis' father for her hand in marriage. What I would give to have a time machine... Hopefully they'll do something together at Blues and Roots.
  • I'm addicted to NBC's Community and are using all of my download credits to download season 2. At $100 for a 8 gigs this shows you how good it is. Check it out. If you live in the States you can watch it for free at HULU.
  • Here are some pics of the road house I'm working at for the next month and half.