Nov 6 2010

15 in 15

Rules:  Don’t take too long to think about it.  Fifteen albums that will always stick with you (CDs, cassette tapes, but not singles).  List the first fifteen that you can recall or that come to mind in no more than fifteen minutes.

  1. Violent Femmes – Add it up.  Perhaps one of the first albums that I didn’t like at first, but listened to enough that it got good….then it got really good.  Then I realized it was a best of.
  2. Portishead – PNYC.  Well really any Portishead, but this is the best.  Thank you Dawn (the girl I dated for for one week.  That same week I drank 40 Red Bull)
  3. Four Tet – Rounds.  No Comment
  4. The Fugees – The Score.  Somehow, this album and Pretty Hate Machine just don’t age.
  5. The Cure.  No albums just emo goodness
  6. Sigur Ros – Takk.  This album is appropriate for almost any activity.  I took way to many classes in college once and acquired this album the last week of the Semester.  That same week I was taken ill and had another one of those ‘date for 2 weeks’ things happen.  This was all I listened to that week and to this day it never fails to calm me down.
  7. NOFX – Punk in Drublic.  It’s fair to rent a car and take a road trip as an excuse to listen to this album.
  8. Fugazi – Red Medicine.  There are other notable albums by Fugazi.  I was in the bus one day, smoking pot with Justin, when I heard the first track on this album come on the cd player and I realized that it had played 4 times in a row.
  9. Miles Davis – Kind of Blue.  Cooler than the Fonz….
  10. Electrelane – Axes.  I was seduced while listening to this band.  Then the band seduced me.
  11. Usher – Confessions.  So good.  So heartfelt.
  12. The Dead Milkmen. Any album, any track, any time.
  13. The Notorious B.I.G. – Ready To Die.  I was listening to this album at work (this was 2008 and I had just discovered Biggy) and I realized that shit done changed.  Now I live in Chicago.
  14. Ace of Base – The Sign.  I still reach for this (and a select few others) when I need to shake it a bit.
  15. Old Crow Medicine Show – O.C.M.S.  Thanks Spencer!

Disclaimer:  In no particular order, I make no claim for the quality of some of this music.

Sep 2 2010

Just a Few Words

We all have a limited number of words to utter during our lives.  Are you satisfied with how you’re spending your allotment?

Jan 22 2010


Studies have shown that it takes about 10,000 hours of practice at something to become an expert in that field.  Certainly that number will have a huge amount of variation, but it’s a good, round, talking point.

Over the last several years I have spent most of my time on several activities:

  • Travel
  • Computer Program
  • Study Mathematics
  • Learn about cyling

For all but the last one I am probably close to that 10,000 hour mark, and I certainly have a large knowledge of these skills (at least speaking in percentiles, not necessarily magnitude).  Why do you, or I, care?  It’s important for me to spend my time wisely.  I feel that the skills that I’ve purchased have a high value; however, I’ve acquired them mostly because they fell into my lap and were the “shiniest” thing in my line of sight.

It’s important to seek out the most valuable things to spend time on.  How do you do that?  How do you know when you’ve found something valuable to spend your time on?

Dec 29 2009

What is to be gained

It strikes me that if I’m doing something, especially something that I do often, that it should provide some benefit.  I recently read a blog by someone who claimed that they don’t watch television but instead read books.  The author stated that his benefit from reading was easily measured, but that the benefits from watching television couldn’t be easily measured and that those television watching benefits perhaps didn’t exist.  I don’t watch television; perhaps I should – most people watch it a voracious amount.  This makes me wonder: what are the benefits to watching television?

Oct 6 2008

What I like.

The things that we at first don’t like, that we then grow to love, are more valuable than those that we initially enjoy because the former broaden our horizons and help us to better understand others, while the latter only solidify our own beliefs on what is “good.”

Jan 6 2008


So, we found ourselves in Guatemala; no car; and no cares. Well, we didn’t really know a bit of spanish, but….what can you do? The day was Thanksgiving. We decided that we should find place to stay then start looking into language schools. Xela, the town that we where in has a booming language school industry. I would highly recommend attending if you’re in the area; there are others scattered throughout the region, but Xela seems to be the place where good prices, and lack of tourism hit a sweet spot.

We spent Thursday looking at language schools; finding, and checking into the Black Cat hostel, and trying to find a good place for a thanksgiving dinner. The dinner we found wasn’t our typical tofurkey and veggies, but it definately did the trick. We had a quiet evening, followed by a night of craziness at a couple of the local disco’s. The night ended with us hearing a Guatemalan dude explaining that he was the milk and our companion was the cafe – and that they should drink together. It didn’t work so well. Lesson learned: Guatemalen men know how to dance.

That weekend we ended up having the opportunity to visit an indigenous coffee farm. We spent the night at this co-op and were able to see how the people lived. When we first showed up we where given fresh fruit. We spent the next 24 hours learning about coffee, seeing the lives of the rural Guatemalen indigenous people and enjoying life.

The houses are concrete structures that typically only enclose the bedrooms and and perhaps a kitchen. Most of the time, people are outdoors. This particular farm raised organic coffee, that was sent to the U.S. All of the farmers were indigenous women who where displaced to Mexico during the Guatemalen civil war; only recently were they able to return to their homes.

The next three weeks where spent studying Spanish at Kie Balam language school. Thanks to Palmenia for all the patience and instruction. She did a great job. We did so much during this time that it’s hard for me to recall all of it. Highlights include:

Going to the San Francisco Market, the largest public market in Central America.

Going to Fuentes Georginas hot springs with Nick, Laura, and Dan.

Watching the sun rise from the highest point in central america, Volcan Tojumulco.

Visiting Zunil for a festival, and a meeting with San Simon – the evil saint.

There where so many more things that we did, too many to mention. However, I think that what I found most interesting was learning about Guatemalan/Mayan culture and getting to know the people. I learned how similiar, culturally, we are to the rest of the people in the americas.

Dec 9 2007

Into Xela

The last time I posted I was travelling through Mexico with Joan. The trip from Houston to Guatemala ended up taking the three of us about a week.

A quick word about Joan: During the week that we travelled with Joan I went from optimistic that we could spend several weeks with Joan, travelling around Central America, to plotting with ct how we could, in kind words and actions, not travel with her any longer. Our function was to escort her to Guatemala, as she was worried about travelling alone. Somehow, in the beginning we had all begun talking about increasing our travel together. In any case the last night we where to travel together she took a wrong turn and we ended up in the wrong town. I think the frustration that CT and I felt at that point caused us to reach a point where we definately didn’t want to spend anymore time with her (If you want detail we’ll need to talk in private).

The following morning, as we where driving into Xela, our original destination, she asked us where we could like to be dropped off. Happily, we asked for a drop at the town square, and before the hour was through we where in Xela.

To Be Continued….

Nov 16 2007

Catching up

So, I find my self in La Pesca, Mexico; on my way to Guatemala. This is a plan that I could not have hatched had I been trying for years.
As of my second-to-last post I was in Ciudad Nuevo York. CDT and I spent a week there shuffling back and forth between Brooklyn and Manhattan. Highlights include the library, natural history museum, and killer Canolies! The Canolies (I spelling that wrong I think) where by far the highlight. I may be back to taste some more; thank you Eric!
From Nuevo York we e-hitched up to Fulton where we spent a week with Chris’s family and friends. This is a good group of people. I was able to paint part of ct’s fathers new house; and climb Mt. Ampersand with Aaron, Sean, and ct. This was also fun. Then we met Mike of crazy road trip fame.
There is not much more to say about the next week, except that the phrase crazy road trip is true. I think we ended up travelling about 4000 miles and had a lot of fun.
The next leg of the journey had us staying at the super-nice Trendwest resort in New Orleans for a week. The contrast from La Frontera in Mexico, to this resort was striking – Also, how much New Orleans was trashed. The tourist areas where pretty much as they where when I visited pre-Katrina; however, the whole rest of the city (at least what I saw) was pretty rough. They have a killer bike co-op and book co-op there.
After taking the LA Swift to Baton Rouge, then hitching to Lafayette, we fell asleep behind some dumpsters with our new found friend Kelly. About 3 am we where awoken to the terrifying sound of a garbage truck lording said dumpster over our soft-fleshy bodies! I actually didn’t wake up until I was standing, in my sleeping bag, about 10 feet away from the truck. Somehow I had managed to stand up, and run, those 10 feet without exiting my cacoon. Needless to say much nervous laughter was exchanged and I slowly fell back asleep. Two hours later a similiar thing occured; however, this time it was old had so we only cowered in the shadows near the dumpster. The next day was spent trying to hitch out of Lafayette. I-49 is impossible to hitch on at that locale – give up, all hope is lost. a $36 greyhound (Kelly called this the dirty dog) ticket later we where back at Mikes house in Shreveport.
Mike was super-accomodating, and in general very helpful. I went to church with him and Gabe on Sunday and we spent Monday preparing for the future, whatever that may hold. Thank you for everything Mike! Tuesday Chris found a woman on Craigslist who wanted companions to travel with her to Guatemala. We called asap and before I knew it I was once again riding the dirty dog to Houston to meet Joan. I do miss riding my bike, but I’m on the 24 hour party wagon so I have to go where the wagon goes (if you don’t know about 24pw then shoot me a message and I’ll explain – it will change your life). Skipping over the mundane details of not having appropriate vehicle paperwork and having to stay the night on South Padre Island we have had an uneventful, albeit fun, journey to where I am now – Northeast Mexico.
PS. don’t go to South Padre Island.

Nov 11 2007

Finally back on the bike

I’m spending far to much time browsing y’all’s profiles right now not to type something here. I’ve been disinclined to do any e-writing recently. Here are 10 recent (semi-random) items that are in my notebook:
-What’s an appropriate response to a grown mans temper tantrum?
-To learn on guitar: To Be somebody by June Carter Cash
-To be an example of not being at war
-If you are comfortable in your own body – it is your home – you will never be homesick
-We’re all presidents/We’re all Congressmen/We’re all Cops
-despacio = slowly
-Forest and Jay’s address on 15th.
-I’m stuck in Lafayette, LA
-tatoo ideas: Ak Flag, banana, chain rings, Love and Tolerance, the Anarchy Heart
– fuck non-dairy creamer.
Pictures coming soon, all the way from Penn State(at halloween), Boulder, Ojinaga, Texas, Chicago, New Orleans, plus many more.

Oct 25 2007

24 Hour Party Wagon

To all those that are curious:

Currently I’m in New York. Don’t worry about how I got here; the point is that I’m here now and will not be staying much longer. I will say that there are 3 individual Mike’s that are personally involved in this craziness. In related news I will soon be in Colorado. I really miss you and hope that we can see each other soon. If not see each other, at least have a good conversation or post-card exchange.

Check these out:

All three of these creatures have made an attempt [in one fashion or another] on my life in the last month.

Indeed, what will happen next?