Archive for the 'travel' Category

Where I’ll be living…

So I Google street viewed french_poet’s place in the middle of Brittany, France, where spirit_girl and I will be living for a few months this summer, where I plan on finishing a novel or two, where I plan on getting back into shape, where I plan on escaping…

Where I plan on having no plan. I’m so great with my own philosophies.

Anyway, this image was kind of a reality check. Truly by itself.. I lived about 3 weeks in Costa Rica in the middle of nowhere, yet at least 2.5x a week I hitchhiked into town to be around some life/have some beer. This will be interesting. I’m excited.

Some more perspective:

Yes, the complete edge of France. The complete center of the Western World (well, almost)…



While I should be studying marine biology right now and all it’s diatoms and phytoplankton and glacial drinking water, I instead of course find other things to do. While it’s not precisely blog material, I feel it necessary to convey who I am as far as a hospitable host and pull this from my “About the Couch” section on my couchsurfing profile (click that link to see it):

Deep in the heart of Long Beach lies a little apartment where two people wait everyday for the next couchsurfing request, praying and hoping to the gods of the ‘surf that soon the chosen couchsurfer will arrive to sleep on our couch….

Cool introduction, eh? I don’t see why Couchsurfing can’t be a mythical fantasy.

READ CAREFULLY: so we had an exchange student (alonso) move in and he lives on the couch. there is room for a second person on the couch, and he is comfortable with that. we also have an extra mattress that could squeeze a couple, either in my room or the living room. what this means: you will be sleeping next to someone–whether it’s me or good old alonso, you will be in my room or the living room. meaning please understand this in advance and don’t act weird when i bring it up.

we do walk around naked at times, also.

This means that I/we don’t care anymore: there are so many goddam people coming and going it seems that I’ve decided to scrap social/gender/respectable constructs and in the case of a full house just tell you your scant options–which very well may be in my bed–and tell you to deal with it. Yes, this continues with the fantasy.

you will leave a rule (if english isn’t your first language). on the kitchen wall we have the rules of the house in all sorts of languages, and you will add to them. you will also leave a note telling us how wonderful your stay was (in fact, you can write it in advance, as this will help define how wonderful your stay will be!–actually, you should do a rough draft before you come and then revise it before you leave).

I need to take a picture of our rules and post it for you few visitors to see. We have “1) Don’t cry in the living room and 2) Don’t call Jordan a big stupid.” in English, but that’s all. Little Lauren who stayed for a week or two looking for a place came up with these two as she said she was going to cry from all the spicy food I’d made her eat, and I told her no, crying in the living room is breaking rule #1. Then she called me a big stupid, so naturally things went from there. And we wrote them on the wall.

Following, we have “Respect the cunt” in Hebrew, “Don’t drink Jordan’s wine” in Serbian, “Clean up your shit” in Arabic, “Leave a note” in Swedish, and “Don’t walk around in your underwear in front of Christa” in German. It’s fun to have some ironic cultural twists in there, as saying “clean up your shit” in Arabic in Arabic-speaking cultures would probably get you kicked out of your family and ostricized from society and exiled to live in the Sahara until you die. Maybe. And “Respect the cunt” goes without saying. Israel is [essentially] America, as they grow up with the same music and movies and fast-food shit and we can understand each other’s pop culture jokes… and of course ‘that shit ain’t nothin but pussy.’

We drink a lot, I smoke outside because they make me, and we drink a lot. We also like to paint on the walls and play music inside the walls. I don’t really hit the ganj anymore but no problems here.

I smoke cigarettes inside when no one’s home, because I like to feel at home. No one fucking notices because it doesn’t stick to a goddam thing, but the principle means it just isn’t okay to smoke inside. I miss Europe. And windows.

The neighbors hate us because of my music. I say fuck them, too bad. Come tell me and I will turn it down and apologize. Since Alonso moved in, however, we play the radio mainly as opposed to my eclectic shit. It’s refreshing, actually, though commercials are just terrible.

We also don’t paint on the walls anymore.

I don’t hit the ganj anymore because I’m beginning to feel it’s just another way to keep a people complacent and stupid. Not that every stoner is lazy and stupid (quite the contrary in cases), but I feel the common proletariat who smokes because they enjoy it (plus it’s cool because it’s contraband) doesn’t give a shit about the problems we as the common peasants need to begin giving a shit about–and never will. So there’s that, plus just the fact that my mind thinks a lot more without it in my life. Perhaps too much, it’s driving me in malicious circles.

And I like it.

I used to be down with indefinite, longer stays but the problem is space now. If you’re one person you’re more welcome to be unsure of how long you’ll stay, two people we can handle 3 nights max unless things are going smoothly somehow, but generally- things get hectic.

I used to be all “travelers are travelers, we’ll make it work!” But now I’m like fuck it, it’s just inconvenient. This is SoCal bitch, there ain’t no patience for that shit.

I live with Christa, another student/couchsurfer who is a bit busier than I is busy like me, and Alonso (no profile), and we will welcome you. We already love you. We both have school and work so we can’t show you around all the time (but gods know i’ll try!), but if you’re cool with it you can come see California State University Long Beach, or even come with me to Hollywood while I work… Or you can just hang out and finish your novel. And of course, we’ll be around at night to watch the minutes slip by.. we normally keep it pretty cool.

I’d say this is a pretty large lie. I’m wrapped up in my routine. I don’t mind them adding them into my evenings and my usual deal, but I’m not sure if I’d sacrifice my free moments to go show a tourist the city or a good time, if it didn’t benefit me or offer me some sort of way to get something done. I am selfish, and I am proud of that.

Enlightening, genuine conversation nearly every night 100% GUARANTEED. I wish this weren’t true, it’s kind of making my head hurt. But you will hear about my homework and some era of French Literature and/or some esoteric parallels to society today and why it’s bullshit, rest assured.

Actually, my mind hurts and I think many think I’m a little loco at times because these conversations don’t fucking stop, in some weird way, and they never got a chance to get to know me before hearing all my ludicrous bullshit.

Please bring toilet paper if you’ll be a few nights–that shit goes fast (ba dum ch). Don’t feel awkward about bringing food and cooking, and know that when we cook we cook for everyone in the house–so please contribute as we are not as financially fearless as we’d like to be. If you can bring your own shampoo/conditioner/soap we’d appreciate that as well, it seems to disappear a lot faster these days.

Why the fuck is toilet paper ten dollars for 24 rolls?

Okay, so that’s my couch information. I won’t bother talking about the program and my experience with it, that’s a book in it’s goddam self. Maybe I’ll analyze/comment on my profile next time (isn’t the Facebook/Myspace/Internet 2.0 concept of making a profile about yourself an interesting one?).

Have fantastic weeks everyone. I’m enjoying nicotine withdrawals–no, I’m not “quitting”–it’s interesting to see how I deal with it and whether that’s the reason or not I end up smoking a cigarette at night.

Why start a blog? My Internet creativity story.

Why start a blog? When I typed this question into Google during my French Literature After 1945 course a few weeks ago, a variety of themes were found in the results, but reflecting back this morning here on the train to work, I smirk at the realization that the only thing I really remember seeing was the word money: how to make it, why it’ll work, what to do, when to do it, where to focus.

There were also some results on topic: how to choose a topic for your blog? Make sure readers will find it interesting in two or three years, and before you forget to pause and think about it, make sure you’ll find it interesting in two or three years. These rules help narrow one’s scope, but of course there are the other types of blogs that don’t exactly focus on a certain theme or topic: the journal/diary blogs. Those are the fun ones, the LiveJournals (the LJs!) where the emo kids in high school spent time posting their half-assed poetry (and now the hipsters post their half-assed music); where you could stumble upon (no pun intended) a random junior high school girl in Vermont’s diary of her desire for suicide, her concentrated need to be understood…

Today, these blog-journals are but journals. Exciting? Not really, but what intrigues us about blogs anyway? Something keeps us as Americans (dare I generalize and use the word humans instead?) interested in what someone has to say about their personal lives, day after day. I have been reading some sort of “blog” or another since before the term was officially coined by UrbanDictionary or Wikipedia; in fact, before these websites even existed. I’ve read online comics for nearing a decade (oh god, really?), and before that I spent my time in the junior high video game Maxpages/Angelfire web “designing” community. Two things these two branches of websites will always have in common is a blog normally entitled something simple along the lines of “News & Updates,” where the ‘webmaster’ would post updates about what was going on with the website (new design, new pages, new annoying MIDI or enlarged GIF in the background, etc), while posting news going on in the Pokémon or Nintendo world as it arrived (or after IGN wrote about the E3 expo). Not only did I follow my friends and random websites, I had my own!

I loved to update my website, yet never really had a reason to as I rarely wanted to create new pages and search the Internet for CuteFTP 3.0, which was one of those quality pieces of free software that “used- to-be-on-my-old-computer-but-haven’t-found-since-I-got-a-new-one-with-a-whole-128-megs-of-ram.” The day I discovered that I was actually capable of installing Newspro on my Perl based website (Newspro was what us professional seventh graders used for a browser based method of updating our websites, completely modifiable and template-able). I was overjoyed; yet still found nothing to write about, petting my little kitten and watching Toy Story 2 fresh on VHS. I kept my traffic flowing in through my forums, which eventually evolved into something solely for webmasters in my little click.

Sometime after the joysticks and during the online comic phase, I found The Best Page in the Universe and Tucker Max (I found the website of that Real Ultimate Power book too, inspiring me to buy the book, yet I never enjoyed browsing the site itself). They gave me some laughs as I could NEVER imagine either of them possibly being real people (yes, me tucked away in my suburban cave I couldn’t imagine such follies with felatio, or such hatred with preschooler’s artwork).

When BlogSpot and Blogger and WordPress blogs started popping up all over the place—again, emo kids and depressed Goth girls made name to this new fad— I did little besides purposely ignore it—I’ve been using this Internet thing here for YEARS, assholes, and you kids come in here and act like you know it, with your everyday journal? No one wants to read that shit. Why the hell would I, when I could keep refreshing my Hotmail inbox or chat away on AIM, browsing the Fat Wreck Chords catalog searching for a Strung Out shirt I didn’t have and couldn’t afford?

As you will soon read, this plays a vital role in explaining the point I’m trying to reach.
And then Mitch Clem moved all his comics over to his domain, where I discovered that it would be a lot simpler to read the scarcely updated Nothing Nice to Say and Coffee Achievers just by checking his blog, where he would announce if there were a new comic. It was through said blog that I began to understand what this no-longer-new phenomenon was. Mitch Clem was not just a funny-as-punk cartoonist, but an artist who had a LIFE of which he would share intimate details (okay, not so intimate, but I learned that he was moving from Minnesota to Texas) alongside showing his fans his artwork and his comedic standpoint on the whole punk scene that I was so into.

Okay, that last part may have been misleading. I learned what was a blog through the rain of bastards, but I didn’t start reading them. Least I Could Do and PVP kept me coming back for their random words as well as comics, but Penny Arcade or Ctrl-Alt-Del couldn’t do it for me—Tycho’s words were just too extreme for my little brain (ADULTS aren’t actually on the Internet posting COMICS are they?).

I started my own blog—Jordan’s Blog Abroad: France—in fall of 2007 when I moved to France for my sophomore year of college. I began by updating it twice or thrice a week, excited to share my pictures and cultural mishaps and random experiences abroad… Slowly this trickled down to once a week, and by January, after I’d discovered cheap round trip flights to the Netherlands, it turned into a scant once per month—and only because my father’s intercultural communications class was obligated to read and report on it once a month. It was a great way to keep my family updated; plus I got to design and re-design a website again. And then re-design it again. I always loved designing, and I always hated creating content. I’ll go out on a limb and say I’m still the same way in many facets of my life: I love cooking but I hate learning recipes, I love playing music but I hate writing it out and organizing it. I love getting to know a girl through all that special hazy romance but I normally can’t stand her after.

Abstract examples, yes. Valid, maybe.

I never made this blog abroad for the public, however; and this is where I realized I’d fucked up during all those years in high school by ignoring BlogSpot and Blogger and all those who I thought to be but mere depressed folk intruding on my Internet. Had I any idea what I were doing, I could have easily—and I mean easily: what’s not to want to read about a confused twenty-year old virgin wannabe bodybuilder deciding to go study in France with a group of forty girls and seven guys (three of which homosexual), who ended up playing American Football, hitchhiking around France, and taking mushrooms on both Christmas in Amsterdam and his birthday in Den Bosch; all the while forgetting about his girlfriend, his strict diets, college, career? I’m not sure—written and created stimulating content that kept visitors coming back..

Point in case, I could have capitalized. By using one of these free blog services to make an anonymous blog with a name unrelated to my own—so the folks wouldn’t find out, of course—I could have talked about all my smoking sessions in almost ten Western European countries (note to self: write something on this topic), the different bar scenes, the near-sex encounters (note to self: stop kicking yourself over it), the missed planes, and the PEOPLE.

Think about that: hundreds, thousands of visitors coming to see how awesome my life abroad for a year was, seeing pictures of my exploits, and wishing they had the money to do the same thing. Then, at some point, I’d bring up the fact that I had no money, and I did this all on a student loan I have yet to pay back. Does that bum me out? No. Has that affected my life whatsoever? No. Does that change the amazing year I experienced before even turning twenty-one that I’ll never forget?

Of course not.

Now hopefully I’ve made my point somewhat clear: I could have influenced people (positively, mind you). I could have inspired someone—and even if it were solely one person, that would have made it all worthwhile—to go abroad themselves and meet the other people outside the walls that are our borders, immersing themselves in cultures so familiar yet so strange outside of a Disney movie.

Bummer, yes, but I’m not one to mourn. Moving on: so why start a blog, why am I writing right now? You’ve just read my reasoning. I missed out when the pan was hot and now my crêpe batter is sitting in a bowl next to the sink getting moldy and gross. Bad analogy, but if I can’t go back in the past and re-live that year (sometimes I wish I do, sometimes I’m glad I can’t) so I could blog it, the next best thing I can do is start from where I am now: right here. I can only hope I can write words that do anything from inspire to make think to make do…

There you have it: my topic will be to inspire, to make think, and to make do. Everyone can be inspired, so I can only hope some words here and there will do the trick; there’s not much more I can do on that part.

Everyone’s a thinker, but not so many realize how constricted we’re taught—molded— to think, and thus too many thoughts are purely naïve, repetitive and pointless, not contributing to positive change. With any luck, an odd perspective (I label it ‘illusioned’) can spark a few crossed wires and do some untangling.

Not everyone is a doer (this is actually a word, see how odd these letters look next to each other?), but with enough cause and a hint of passion, anyone can be stimulated despite confidence, thought, or justification.

Thus there you have it, welcome to the curse.

A Smoker’s History: Volume 2

This follows A Smoker’s History: Volume 1.

Later that legendary day when I bought my first pack of tobacco, I was at a bar and a fellow wannabe smoker buddy of mine and I decided to go outside to go roll a cigarette. We sat there in the dark passing it back and forth, using fresh papers, dropping the tobacco… It took us half an hour to roll that goddam cigarette. Two cute French chicks walked by while we were in the process and one asked us to borrow some tobacco; as they walked away with me staring at them, I noticed she had the cigarette rolled by the time she turned the corner fifteen paces away. There was clearly something we were missing.

I lost the pack somewhere on the way back, along with a few of the filters and the papers. Thank the gods, I thought to myself. I didn’t take any action for about a week, since I figured that’s how long it would have lasted me (as a nonsmoker: yeah, right) and I couldn’t afford to blow another six euros like that right away. So that time after that week had passed I just bought Marlboro lights. A couchsurfer had gotten me into them, offering them everywhere we went; so I just took a liking to them..

I’ll speed up the story: so I began rolling my cigarettes more and more (sticking to American Spirits only); and finally, in Germany, the boyfriend of the sister of the guy that I met at the airport waiting for the bus finally taught me how to officially do it, making sure the tobacco content was equal all the way through. Then a simple wrap of your outstretched index finger, and you have a rolled cigarette. It was so much easier to smoke, and I actually retracted the gift I’d given him fifteen minutes earlier of what was left of my tobacco and papers, saying I couldn’t handle it.

So that was it for Europe. I came home and after my welcome home dinner had to tell the folks I was off to smoke a cigarette (since that’s what I DO now, mom), and my dad asked me what else I was rolling inside as he walked out onto the patio. I chuckled. Halfheartedly.

Now I’d like to mention that during the first few weeks of said summer I only smoked three or four rolled cigarettes per day; even if I were drinking, things weren’t too different. I got my tobacco injection, and I was content. I never craved a cigarette: I merely wanted to smoke once in a while, so I did.

And then I ran out of filters and papers, so while I awaited my great friend back in Paris to come with my smoking goods, I smoked the black packs of American Spirits (this was the closest to the rolled ones in intensity), moving on to yellow and blue. Cigarettes were becoming so much easier to push down; I noticed I was smoking a few more than four per day… But then my filters and papers came, and since I still had discipline and morals at the time, I began rolling them again. This lasted all the way until late September, when I ran out of tobacco, papers, and filters while I was in Vermont, en route to Costa Rica after a school orientation.

Arriving in central America, things changed. Drastically. Hanging out with two Austrians on the organic farm on which I was working didn’t help me trying to not smoke so much. Long story short, within three weeks I was chain smoking like I’d never before. Like I’d never even imagined. A pack of smokes was but a dollar, why not smoke a pack per day? Then came the Swiss, and this new habit couldn’t even take the time to see where it was going: it just went. When I went off solo to Nicaragua for about a week, I was hoping that without the influence I wouldn’t do it so much. I didn’t want to do it at all, until the freeways closed down due to flooding and I found myself stuck with three Ticos and a Welshman drinking and smoking the afternoon away at a nearby bar.

I met up with the Europeans once again in Nicaragua, and voilà. I smoked until I came home. Come day after Halloween in the legendary college town of Isla Vista, I found myself as “that guy” who needed a cigarette, begging his best friend’s girlfriend to run home to grab her pack of yellow spirits. I started rolling again soon after that, and albeit that I smoked more than four per day, I still stand by the fact that it’s cheaper and healthier. And what happens late January? I run out of supplies once again.

This is where I officially became a smoker. Stay tuned for part three, coming soon…

The Subjunctive Revolution of New Age Slavery

After having a meal with some friends a few days ago, I realized how scared we are to give in to eating something that is not from a recognized corporate restaurant. I purchased my sandwich from a local deli slash corner store, the others just had to wait until we reached Subway, as they’d know what they’d be in for.

How has this happened?  Do we fear soul–knowing that a little creativity can go into a local sandwich versus the strict rules Subway must follow? We only acknowledge what’s made itself prevalent in our corporately purchased lives, dominated by the extravagance that we fear living without. We wondered how the Latin Americans could live so blindly—blind to the lack of progress they’ve made due to corruption—yet here we are being trained day by day to listen to horrible music that does nothing to stimulate the mind in any musical or lyrical fashion, to eat food we have come to be told is healthy yet know little about the science behind it, to drink the same chemically inseminated beverages because the marketing has taken us prisoner, to fuck the same type of person we see in our pornography collections, to study in the same styles as generations beforehand, to work towards some servitude of the future.

Imagine if James the Beatboxer really did prove that another method of counting–yes, just simply counting– worked out more efficiently than our own, that there were a DIFFERENT number system that solved all our scientific issues in a more productive manner: where would this lead our civilization? Assuming he wasn’t killed before it was made known, essentially all we’ve come to ‘develop’ or understand in our world could may or may end up fact. In a world based on the assumption that anything that cannot be proved by science is incorrect or irrational, this would send scientists and politicians alike for a loop. The streets would be roaring with the zeitgeist-ers and the conspiracy theorists that have yelled out to us for so long, and soon after our numbers and mathematics started over from step 1 (possibly step 2 or 3, that would depend on where humankind fucked up or decided not to acknowledge that there was another path to take–Freud anyone?).

We’d want to know other things, after seeing that something as concrete as numbers were incorrect. Why true, natural medicine has to be labeled ‘alternative’ when technically, a thousand years ago, there was no other option than this stuff that’s so ‘new age’ to us. Or maybe people will start to speak up about the music—how could it have been so magnificent and majestic and intricate a dozen generations ago yet somehow sunk into what the average persons hears on the radio every day? The lyrics have begun to decline even faster than the music quality—just in the lack of them!—they just repeat the same lines over and over.

With any luck, the population would begin to question why we aren’t taught to look into our dreams more, or at least acknowledge them. Or coincidences. Synchronicity. Science can’t prove what they are, so it doesn’t matter to us. It can’t be proven by any means our civilization has claimed to be legitimate, thus it is irrelevant. Maybe students will start asking themselves as they take out their textbooks why everything has to be set to a standard and to abide by a system already so firmly in place that even ideas that strike its surface aren’t allowed to make but a peep as our minds imagine it, because it’s coldblooded blasphemy to think otherwise. Slavery doesn’t exist? Tell me what mandatory education from age 6 to 18 is. Tell me what credit is, and why without having had debt, you can’t find a place to live. Why without a house and car by age XX, you’ve failed.

Tell me what a society encouraging their young to follow in the same exact metaphorical footsteps as every asshole that walked along the same road, leading to bigger televisions, more comfortable cars, and a heavier wallet is, if not enslaved.

Tell me why the word paradise springs forth an image of a palm tree, white sands, and an azure beach calling you to get in shape, order a margarita, and lay down next to it. Tell me why they look at me funny after asking me how Mexico was when they find out I didn’t go to a beach.

Tell me why they’re there in the same building as me to begin with—to make their wallets greener, their noses browner, with their souls more and more translucent, as they forget what an evening without aesthetically stimulating distraction is: passion doesn’t exist in the world of speed.

I’m glad I’ve been/am being educated. I’m glad I can eat whatever I want, whenever. I’m glad I can spend my money on worthless consumption. I’m glad I can listen to this shitty music that gets girls horny on the dance floor. I am a product of my society, and I’ve accepted this. But I’m scared for those who don’t even recognize it.

Hungover Sundays: 12 Bottles of Chuck Shaw

I am a hungover piece of shit. I tried. I fell back asleep. I dreamt of my little pink notebook that received text messages wherever there was open space, until there was no more room…

Then you could never receive another text message.

I have a horrible amount of homework to do.

I miss the heroin who’d actually discovered the road until morning.

I am drinking strong coffee out of a little espresso cup.

I think she misses me too.

I am creating words. On a paper that is on a screen that can print out to real paper if I wanted to spend the ten cents at the school library.

This coffee is actually quite tasty.

Alex and Alina and Fahad are supposed to come over to get their shit they left behind when they left me behind last night. I will make them clean.

I think maybe I will go print this, to prove to myself something that my subconscious is trying to tell me.

I REALLY miss her… She who found the second star to the right. She’s worth a few hundred dollars extra. She needs to take her job a little less seriously. I can’t believe what my mom said about that whole movie idea: hippy, executive: what the fuck brings two together so well?

Ah, fuck. They’re here.

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Another twenty some odd young adult who believes he sees things from a unique perspective. Here be my poetry & prose, short stories, favored school papers, rantings, and "blogs." Comment, critique, and profit.