Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Part I-

June 14, 2009

The honorable Prince Zaw

            I am typing this on the laptop of an elderly polish immigrant named, Strychacki Zbigniew. We call him Stanley for short. I am using his laptop for two reasons:

1) I made a scene at the Starbucks at Times Square a week and a half ago when I moronically dropped my Macbook, then subsequently dropped my “iced venti, sweet (indecipherable word), leche,” after trying to catch my beloved computer on its unfortunate way down to the stone floor. I bit my lip. Hard. After gravity was done yanking three years of pictures, documents and progress out of my hand and down to the ground like a fucking tractor beam, I bent down to pick up the now defunct laptop. It was still in one piece and I was shattered. I grabbed all of my belongings and high-tailed out of there, never looking back. I will never see those people again.

2) I have accepted the task of locating and getting in touch with Stanley’s good friend and prominent homosexual, the honorable Prince Zaw of Dubai. Downloading Skype onto his computer seemed like a good place to start. Apparently I’m doing this in exchange for two Marcepan candies made by Poland’s own famous Mieszko candy company. What joy! I didn’t expect the candies, but they were sloppily taped to a tattered note with my name on it in the bag with the laptop. They tasted like sugar coated with pure shit.

This is not fiction. 

It’s 3 am during the graveyard shift at The Manhattan House and I need to get some rest. I’ll explain everything tomorrow.

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Lets pat ourselves on the back.

May 9, 2009

I’ve never blogged before and I don’t think anyone in this group has. All in all, it was a worthy experiment and I think I might actually keep maintaining this blog. If not, it would be a waste of a great .wordpress name. 355 hits, people out of this class actually reading our work, 2 real authors leaving comments, me getting ripped apart by expert archaeologists for a poorly researched blog post on stonehenge… priceless.

In Search of Bacchus

May 7, 2009

For my final entry, I thought I would share with you all an eccentric hobby of mine. While I travel, I am always on the lookout for Dionysus, the Greek god of wine and theater. Allow me to share with you a very small bit of my collection of images documenting my encounter with the god. These are from my Florence and Paris collection:

One of the statues is that of a Maenad, one of Dionysus’s followers.

This is a fun little hobby, and I suggest you try it out.

Well… I guess I’d better get back to packing.

Cheers,

-Michael

A Scene from Gubbay Hall

May 7, 2009

We spend all of our lives trying to move from one place to the next. Or at least I have so far. I cannot be satisfied where I am. I move in to a place, I unpack, I sit in the chair. I stare out the window. Make a cup of coffee. Sigh. Go outside. Have a smoke. Watch the sun set behind my new neighborhood. The next day, the room is a mess, I’ve accidentally blown out the power, and I need to get the hell out of there.

The dorms over in Middlesex University in the northern suburbs of London were called halls. I know the difference in language is slight, but the little changes in terms added up over time. I found myself constantly jingling from the large amount of change that the British use in their currency system. I was not sure what the difference was between one quid and one pound; it turns out they meant the same thing.

Simon cracked open another tall can of Stella and looked at me with a dim twinkle in his eye. The room was a chaotic mess of rubbish, bitter, and wankers (which was our lot). I was finally starting to understand more than three words at a time that came out of Simon’s mouth; his accent was thick, but not nearly as indecipherable as Alex’s, who was from Manchester. We were discussing the differences between American and British slang. I was trying to keep up with the Brits as they spewed out talk in their strange code.

“Yeahp, Alex is a chav,” Simon mumbled, smiling.

Alex hit him on the arm. “Ye best not listen to this bloke,” Alex laughed, reaching for another beer. “He’s a bloody tosser.”

I frowned. “Tosser?”

Alex laughed. “Ye know. A wanker.”

I was still confused. Alex, sensing that his insult was lost in translation, made a vulgar gesture with his free hand. “Ye know, when there’s no tart around, ye have a wank. Yer tossing. Simon is a tosser.”

I nodded. The room erupted with laughter.

It turns out that a chav is a derogatory term for someone of the lower class. Chav seems to be the British equivalent of the American white trash. When I was hanging out with that crowd, generally I did not hear them refer to each other as blokes or chaps. But there were a hell of a lot of tossers and chavs. Oh, and of course, I was the token yank of the group. They flattered me.

Selective memory, I suppose. Paired with some wanderlust.

-Michael

Crimes in Cyberspace

May 7, 2009

A news article posted by the Wall Street Journal got me thinking, who woulda thought? The article discusses internet privacy in the workplace, apparently two co-workers at a New Jersey location, and countless other employees around the country have been getting in trouble, suspended from their jobs, or even fired because of something they posted on MySpace of Facebook. 

In one instance, a supervisor somehow hacked into the account of two employees and read a private conversation of the two bashing their workplace. The emplyees were fired and now the supervisor is being charged for invasion of privacy.

“While private conversations might be covered under those laws, none of the statutes specifically addresses social networking or blogging,” (WSJ)

There are privacy laws in our country, I’m sure of it. They are what prohibit some snoop from reading your snailmail. But with the accounts of internet privacy, and the comotion it’s causing, where is the line drawn? If someone can’t read your mail, but they can hack into your Facebook account and read your inbox messages, is that okay? I don’t think so, actually I think most of us have a more personal connection with our inboxes than we do with our mailbox.

Packing, packing, packing.

May 7, 2009

Well, the time has come, my friends, to saddle up and hit the dusty trail. One thing a backpacker needs to know more than almost anything else is how to pack. This is a skill I still need a bit of work on.

Being an aspiring travel writer, I usually wind up packing way too many guidebooks and notebooks. This is silly. It is impossible to get lost in Europe, as long as you stay in the main, touristy parts of the city–and that’s what the guidebooks detail, anyway. But if I am going to become a real travel writer someday (I hope so), I have to go off the beaten path. I think that the most valuable resource you can have with you is another person.

I’ve always valued traveling alone, but if I am really going to sink my fingers into my destinations, then I’d better grow a pair and skip the changing of the guard (overrated). I’ve done a lot of bizarre things in my travels, and I’ve noticed that simply being with another person gives me the strength to venture into so pretty unusual situations and places. Fortunately for me, I will not be traveling across the continent on my own this time.

This list is a good starting point for any aspiring traveler. My advice, however, is to pack what you can–and cut it in half. The sage wisdom of my fellow backpackers is finally starting to rub off on me. My biggest problem my first few times around was that I packed like I was going off into the wilderness. Like I said… it’s Europe. In some ways, they seem a lot more civilized than we are. I may have to bring a few Moleskines with me, though. I can’t resist.

Can’t wait to go make some stories.

-Michael

Kaboom

May 7, 2009

I am going on a trip with the Geology department out to the West over the summer to get a “hands on” experience with geological formations. Today, I spent a whopping 7 1/2 hours with the Geology professor getting a crash course in Geology 101. It was intense, and a little excessive, but the information I learned about the cool places I am going to see was worth the time.

The National Geographic has reported that a volcano underwater is spurting out highly toxic levels of molten sulfur. The interesting part is that two species of shrimp thrive on the chemicals being belched out into the water, even as the body count of other marine life climbs.

Here’s the story from the National Geographic.

From the National Geographic

From the National Geographic

I learned today that volcanoes are responsible for massive amounts of land growth, most notably in places like the Hawaiin island chain. As tectonic plates shift, the volcanic “hot spots” stay put underneath the Earth’s crust, creating the chain of islands over time.

-Michael

In Bruges

May 7, 2009

My trip back to Europe is only two days away. A city I am staying in, but know absolutely nothing about, is Bruges in Belgium. For a bit of relaxing piano and a neat little tour of the canals, check out the video below. Can you spot the horse and buggies?

It comes across as very Medieval. Rapture!

This is from the Wikipedia page. Nice, huh?

This is from the Wikipedia page. Nice, huh?

According to Wikipedia, it is called the “Venice of the North.” I can see that, but those canals, along with the architecture of the buildings, reminds me of Amsterdam more than anything else.

When I stayed in Amsterdam, I decided to do something a little different. I was getting pretty tired of staying in cities, so I booked a hostel that had an interesting twist: every room was its own caravan. I spent my days biking the countryside and kayaking through the canals, but at night, I slept in a caravan somewhere in the middle of the Dutch countryside. It was pretty surreal, but definitely worth the commute back into the city.

The Lucky Lake Youth Hostel outside of Amsterdam

The Lucky Lake Youth Hostel outside of Amsterdam

Unfortunately, it looks like I am going to be flying out on Friday into some thunderstorms. I’m not afraid or anything; flying is the safest way to travel. But I don’t like the idea of my flight being delayed eight hours. Oh well. On one of my flights, the wing practically scraped the ground during landing.

-Michael

Great books on Dating and Relationships.

May 6, 2009

Just thought I would share this….

The following books are the most useful, and TRUE books I have read on the topic of dating, and relationships. I suggest that anyone and everyone read them.

He’s just not that into you

 Everything in this book is true. I didn’t want to always believe the truth the book was telling me. However, the book was right about every dating situation I’ve EVER had. The truth hurts like a knife-weilding bitch, but knowing the truth about your crappy dating situation is empowering. And knowing is half the battle.

The Manual

This book was written by a former Bad Boy, and once again despite his knack for sleaziness he his accurate in his assessment with men, and how to deal with them. He even gives tips on manipulative tactics you can use in almost any dating situation. I don’t know about you, but manipulative tactics make me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

Be honest, your’re not that into him either

We’ve all dated a guy just because we had nothing better to do, or maybe he was really persistent. Or maybe you were hoping that you might grow to love him. Screw those time-wasters, and learn how to recognize if your actually into him.

Dating makes you want to die, but you have to do it, anyway

This is hysterical look at the dating process, and it offers some good advice on how to become a sleek sexy dating machine!

It’s called a breakup cause it’s broken

Damn straight! From the writer of “He’s Just Not that into You” and his wife these two authors have had their fair share of heartbreak, and they’ve felt your pain, and they know how to work through that pain as well. Greg Behrendt & Amiira Ruotola-Behrendt have been through some terrible break up times, and they cover everything your feeling, and then some. If you’ve been dumped, dumped someone, or think you are about to be dumped this book is worth taking a look at.

Star Trek is for regular people too.

May 6, 2009

This is a really funny Onion video on the release of the new Star Trek movie. Personally, I’ve never watched an episode of Star Trek and I’ve always disliked the series by default. In my mind, Star Trek was for nerds and geeks. However, I will be giving it a full chance this Thursday when it hits IMAX theaters. This Star Trek movie is said to appeal to everyone, and you don’t need to know anything about Star Trek to enjoy the film. Also, the cast is really, really good looking. In fact, after watching the actual movie trailer for Star Trek, and this hilarious Onion video I am actually kind of excited to see this movie. But please don’t tell anyone.