Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Safari Rage!

Yeah, that makes sense.

I'm going on a safari in a few short days, delicious reader(s)- this jungle escapade will be followed up by a New Year's rager in Tanzania (feel free to swing by, I assume I will have beer and some kind of salty snack).  I have no idea what to expect whilst on safari but I assume that at some point I'll meet that dude from The Gods Must Be Crazy.  

Looking back, I've had a pretty good New Years run over the last few years- partying cliff side in Santorini, dancing until sunrise with those two Russian girls in Boracay, almost getting blown up by an M80 in Chang Mai last year . . .  I feel blessed.  And also a bit wobbly.

If I don't get eaten by hippopotamuses, swallowed whole by anacondas, or kidnapped by Dr. Moreau, I will be posting about my amazing adventures in January.  Tune in and feel the love.

Happy Holidays, and give your significant other a fanny pat for me.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Greasy Kid Story, Part The Second

Like my grandma always said, never trust a girl with a mallet.

I have a vast array of talents, dear reader.  Along with my powers to ruin, via karaoke, any song ever written, replace a zipper on my pants with a stolen paperclip, and write gripping, thoughtful stories that are read by almost ten people, I have always been pretty good at getting along with kids, mostly of the sub-vocal variety.  This ability came to the fore a few days ago when visiting my fellow lock down inmates, the Grimsruds.  They have two lovely children, Eli (whose orgiastic adventures with me and the Bonobos were immortalized here) and Lulu, their adorable little girl.

I dunno how old she is- I'm pretty bad with ages.  Either one, or three, or six or something.  Anyways, she hasn't yet got to the complete sentence stage, but she has two things going for her- she loves the fist bump action, and she was NOT named after that horrendous Lou Reed/Metallica collaborative project (incidentally, one of the greatest crimes against humanity perpetrated by musicians since Joey Lawrence had that album out like 15 years ago).

So anyway, I was playing with her at their house.  Said play consisted of poking random bits of the couch and making "boop" noises.  We probably did this for about 30 minutes or so, and, luckily for me, before her mother could hit me with a chair Lulu got up and pulled me into her room.  She showed me her "jumping on the bed" superpowers and then, climbing down, her pacifier fell out of her mouth.  

She looked down at it, with that uniquely infantile expression of either confusion or complete french style malaise.  Her gaze locked onto mine and she uttered one word.


Before I could respond, and without taking her eyes off me, she reached down and grabbed the pacifier.  Still maintaining eye contact, she grabbed my shirt (my At The Gates "Syd Barret" one- chick magnet for sure).

She wiped off the pacifier using my awesome shirt firmly clenched in her tiny little fingers.

This task accomplished to her satisfaction, Lulu smiled and held it in the air.


She popped the pacifier into her mouth and toddled back into the living room.



Saturday, December 3, 2011

Revolution! Or something.

Somehow, somewhere, shit just got real.

So here I am, dear reader, in Kinshasa, sitting on my porch.  It is the eve of DRC election results being posted to the public.  This is being done, of course, with all the expectation of violence, hurt feelings, shouty noises, and jagged pointy bits flying through the air which that kind of thing normally entails.  

I have a beer in one hand and an air raid siren in the other.

At The Gates' Slaughter of the Soul (great album) is playing on my stereo.

Just in case, I'm wearing pants.  According to, the color of these pants is labeled as "trunk", which opens up a different set of questions entirely.

What strikes me as funny is this: not only am I in this position, but this is THE THIRD TIME.
In the past six years, on three different countries, I have had the distinct pleasure of bearing witness to a country going completely bat shit crazy, with the aforementioned jagged bits flying fast and furious.

Allow me to give you a small taste of the madness I have seen over the years.

Four years ago I was sitting in some greasy back alley in Bangkok, drinking a beer on  a small sofa bar whilst munching down a hearty repast of pig face and scorpions, when suddenly a mob of angry red shirts (unfortunately not the Star Trek kind) ran down the alley screaming, waving sticks, and looking generally ill intentioned.  Shortly thereafter we had the watermelon fights, leading to the acid attacks, and ending up with the always popular "grenade thrown into a crowd of people" maneuver.  The latter tactic won't win any friends, but seems to be a popular way of forcing one's opinion into a 25 foot radius.  After a month of violence, elections were called for the following year.

The year before I was in Myanmar, in a taxi.  I was heading towards a food store with a serious case of creepy Asian doughnut rage when, cresting over the hill, a mob of people came running towards me.   I had stepped out of the cab and tried to get back in, only to see the driver peel out down the road, his betel stained teeth flashing apologetically.  The crowd came towards me and I insensitively balled my fist but  was happily ignored.  They surged around me, paying me no mind, which was pretty confusing until I saw the reason why:  two large jeeps, loaded with soldiers and anti aircraft guns, came barreling down the street at the group.  They were shooting into the air, I think (hope).  Luckily, a nearby, off the road beer station gave me shelter and beers (and those weird fish crackers Myanmar people frikkin love) for a few hours until the roads were clear enough to get back home.  Now, five years later, the US Secretary of State is visiting their new, "civilian" government. 

Both times I remember thinking, damn, I'm too old for this.  Dying alone due to grenade attack would be a rather lame way to go (unless you're that guy from that one kick-ass A Team episode).  In spite of that, though, here I am again.

Watching the walls.

At least this time I have better music (In Myanmar I was stuck with The Eagles).

On the one hand, I know I should feel privileged to have been able to witness people fighting, desperately, against all odds, for their freedom, for their voices to be heard.  It has really given me insight to both the nobility of man and the inherent, painful transience that is the sum of human existence.  To watch people stand up and say, with one voice, "enough!" is evocative of that line from The Grand Historian: "With one fist raised to the sky, the world is changed."

I think The Sex Pistols stole that, by the way.

 In that sense, it's completely empowering, and I am honored to be able to bear witness to the changing tides of history.  On the other hand . . .

I know, I know, everyone has seen this picture.  But man, it's still funny as hell.