Archive for December, 2010



 

"Looks like a yellow biscuit of a buttery cue ball moon rollin' maverick across an obsidian sky"

I’m writing this from the top bunk in the sleeping car of the Kiev-Kryvyi Rih (pronounced Kree-voy Rog, dont ask me how they ended up with that spelling) train, all my current possessions once again stuffed in a select few suitcases, Babulya (Lidas grandmother) and Lida sleeping below, rumbling through the Ukrainian nightscape while being lulled to sleep myself by the musty smell of a coal powered engine and an inconsistent yet comforting undulation of soviet era tracks. Many things have transpired over the last month, not all that I’m at liberty to divulge here, for reasons that were not fully explained to me but that I understand none-the-less.

Before my Indonesian experience I railed against social networking and blogs. It seems to have a way of sucking the organic element, and thus the excitement, from of our lives. While technology is the catalyst for my life, I also realize that its not the purpose. I had always drawn a line with this unfiltered access to my personal life with no reciprocation required. Reciprocation is, in my opinion, the definition of a healthy relationship.

I remember my friend blogging during the birth of one of his children. It was a real commitment by both mother and father (perhaps more the mother to tolerate husband with phone in hand while experiencing excruciating pain). It allowed everyone that desired to have a connection to that family a chance to share in a very pivotal moment. However not all of lives important moments can be so neatly translated into the cloud.

In 2008 after ending a dead end relationship, I started reconnecting with old friends that had subsequently been pushed out (Rachael, both Buffalo Jessicas, Iwan to name a few). On one such trip I visited my remaining Jessica in Buffalo along with her 8 year old daughter Sarah and husband Jeff. It was my second such trip and I enjoyed the comfort of a more tangible adult life that many of my still single or undetermined friends hadn’t the ability nor desire to create. Id always known I would some day have a family but that still didnt seem realistic to me, this gave me the opportunity to see how it might function when two people truly committed. It was also nice because there was no one in Buffalo that still remembered me, as it had been over 10 years since my last visit. While hanging out in a bar downtown off Elmwood with Jessica and some of her friends, a voice came from behind “Maaaaatt Nyyyye?!”. I turned to face a man that looked nothing like anyone I knew and yet he was convinced he knew me simply by the sound of my voice. Even after telling me specific instances of things we did together in high school I still couldn’t come up with a name. After one or two incorrect guesses, not 100% sure I had the right person, I ventured a guess “Jim Hickey??”.

Buffalo Reunion

Hidden behind hipster glasses and a well groomed Johnny-Depp-five-o’clock-shadow was my best friend from Junior and Senior year. The only person I’d ever met that was possibly as hyper as me. Somehow we had lost touch in the late 90s and never reconnected. Later I found out he is a total Facebook whore with over 800 friends. Had I been on Facebook we surely would have connected, shared some unenthusiastic stories and perhaps met for a drink some where down the road. Gone would have been a night of sheer elation at the coincidental meeting, of telling story after story of the past ten years and the resurrection of a small portion of my youth, however fleeting it was.

I say all this simply to illustrate the point that while I enjoy writing my blog entries and talking over IM with my friends the world across, its no substitute for the humility of a face-to-face interaction and the reaffirmation of kinship in a flesh and blood exchange. Ill continue these entries, even though the title of the blog is no longer relevant (perhaps I should change it to помочь я глупый [pomochʹ ya glupyĭ], doesnt quite roll off the touch does it), but please don’t confuse my ramblings here for a clear understanding of me or as a replacement for sitting in a bar in some shady eastern bloc country or on a snow-white beach in the south pacific talking about life, the future or my family.

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The Return


No Im not high, I just hadnt had a beer in 4 days...

Spent the last 3 weeks in the states gorging myself on BBQ and Mexican food. I forgot what real salsa tastes like. Dont ever take that for granted. Salty, the smells of cilantro, crunchy white onion pieces and gawd…. fresh tortia chips!!! The highlights in no particular order: 

  1. Umami Burger – Los Angeles, CA, Carnitas Burger with jalapeno sour cream, guacamole and Mexican Coke
  2. Cristos Cafe – Orlando, FL, Deep Fried French Toast (’nuff said)
  3. Malo – Silverlake, CA, Soft Tacos and 3 epic Spicy Cucumber Margaritas
  4. Some shitty sports bar in Lakeland, FL – Crappy bar food, Sierra on Tap and Hockey on TV
  5. Grandmas House – Lakeland, FL – Smoked Turkey and Fried Okra
  6. Wendys – Orlando airport – Spicy Chicken Sandwich
  7. St. Pete Times Forum – Tampa, FL – $5 plastic cheese nachos with $1 extra for jalapeno

Josh, his girlfriends sister and I went to the Tampa Bay Lighting vs. Boston Bruins game. Scored 3rd row seats on the corner. We were lucky enough to have some additional entertainment in the form of classic Floridian white trash. Some gold chain mafia guy and his girlfriend showed up cheering for Boston. Im guessing she had nothing to do with Boston besides the fact maybe her boyfriend went there once for a vacuum cleaner repairman convention. She had no grasp of the game or the rules but luckily for us that didnt hinder her from expressing her expert analysis in what was kind of a play-by-play with the vinacular of Sam Kinison and the depth Paris Hilton. She dropped the F bomb so many times that midway through the 2nd an usher had to come down and ask whoever was using the foul language to please stop. Thankfully the Bruins played their perennial-flop-of-a-goaltender Tukka Rask and Tampa rolled them 3-1. I got to watch the joy drain from her face like a child who just lost their toy down the sewer drain.

Meanwhile back at the ranch, Mom continued her annual tradition of making up traditions that never existed before and spent most the time talking to inanimate objects around the house. I dont blame her, its just a natural response to 15 years of being alone with my dads stoicism. Grandma seems to be the most sane of any of us despite the fact that she likes to go on nighttime drives with vision that would make a possum look like a prime candidate for a military sniper. I continued my own personal tradition of doing a detox while there which just accentuated all the minor annoyances putting me in a real lovely mood. I cheated the last night which was when #4 above occurred.

Its so easy to improve on what the French do but this is the ultimate make over for french toast

Went on my shopping spree of food and tech gadgets. After 10 months of shopping in Indonesian computer stores with their Chinese knock offs at 25% mark up of the real deal, walking into Frys Electronics was like the first time I walked into a strip club. Justin had to force me to leave. I liked how they carried as many adult magazines as computer magazines, they know their audience. I got my stash of candy, sauce (Stubbs BBQ, Tapitio and A1), pecans and more candy.

Thankfully I was able to experience my last time flying where I belong, with the rich people in up front. Sat next to a nice old man that was living in Vietnam because his pension didnt cover the cost of living in the United States (yet he was flying Business Class) but just then turned out to be a dirty old man. He left his wife of 40 years to go live a 38 year old woman (he was about 70) in Hanoi. He had some interesting stories but the prospect of me being him in 40 years messed with my head the entire flight.

In Singapore I had a layover for 24 hours but my friend Dicky was also there on business so we hung out all day and did some more essential shopping (Media Center to play the 2TBs of movies on my TV that my friend had loaded in Orlando) and got some great ramen noodles. Oh and also got to have a $15 beer which was a real special treat since it tasted like Budweiser. Thats the problem with jumping around from country to country is you lose track of the currency exchange rate.