Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Monday, July 30, 2007

Beach Beach II: Brave Souls Thrust into a New Day; Soul Searching; Scoop Cutta Bear

R, B, L and I went to the Beach Beach. We spam, sat, drank and blogg'd. Also watched TV. It was fantastic and left me very much well rested in my soul.

While Sade sang "LOVERSROCK," we watched footage of a car chace in Texas. A back SUV speeding through the streets, flat tire, sparks--the guy ready to run.

"If I were him, I'd stop and get out, cause, you know...you can't get away."

"This guy must have done something really, really bad."

They threw spikes.

Oh, Hannah Montana is on! (Later). We also Played Miniature golf. Through the course ran a small stream that smelled strongly of a Motel Pool and was littered with cinder blocks. "Cinder Fish," R said. "Cinder Fish."

When we got our golf balls, we asked which hold was the first, because they were not numbered, and the woman pointed to the one with a sign that said "HOLE IN ONE FREE GAME" and said, "That one, but you don't get a free game."

When we finished, R got a free game because of a "HOLE IN ONE" on another "HOLE IN ONE FREE GAME." The young woman working gave R the toke and asked where we were from. B and L said, "Raleigh." She said, "Oh, I thought you were from Chapel Hill." R said, "We?" are" (pointing at me) and she said, "Oh." R asked "Why did you think that?" She said, "Uh, you're, uh, your young." Then she shrugged.

At night the people on the beach disappeared.

Rudi and another young woman are dancing, trying to get Kenny to dance.

Oh, and the night was crazy. The moon rose, red and overlarge, through a slit in the sky, and the shone like a sun. Children came back out and played just like it was morning. Sea turtles wept because it was too bright.

Why does Rudi know so much about Magic.

Did I mention that we were not of this Earth?

They pulled the guy from the black SUV. An older man, white haired. They were on him in their black outfits, and then high fives. The chase cut through parking lots of malls.

"He can't kill you with his eyes..."

After we put-putted, we had L'Ice Cream. L asked heaven for help with her Bubble Gum Scoops. I was good with my Cake Batter scoops on my own.

R's Mint Chocolate Chip makes a rather dry remark.

R: the soul search; pt 1.

Marraige comes like a balloon over the horizon--because a child let go of the string.

The little girl from next door swam up to us and asked where we were from. "The ocean," B said. She wanted to play Marco Polo.

"How about Ralph Lauren Polo."

"Ok." So she counted and then started to call "Mouth Rollin."


She came over to play with us for two days. She seemed to have no one watching. Finally on the second day, someone called her.

"I am suprised that it took her parents this long to tell her not to play with strange gentlemen on the beach."

"I guess we look ok."

R: the soul searcha; pt 2--the approach to bliss.

After Put-put and its L'Ice Cream, we went to SCOOP for the best gummi Coke bottles--but were warned of the sorrow therein.

Country Bears: the difficult years.

"Please, I need a bus ticket to Buffalo because, se my grandmother died and I need to be her executor...See, I go to church every Sunday and Wednesday but my girl, who has my baby, she' been talking to my mother and that's why I need to get that bus ticket. I am not a bum. I am not a drunk, you can smell my breath if you want. I just need $26.75 to get the ticket. You can pat me down. Please, please, please: touch me. I'm feeling so sleepy. Soul running slow. Feeling so sleepy."

R: the soul searcha; pt3--Making the Holy Mountain.

Two REAL men. Are you a REAL man. You have to look inside to know. You have to have the SOUL OF A MAN.

Thank you to R, B, L and the whole of Holden Beach. Big non-ups to Google Directions on the whole Green Swamp Road issue.

Yes I Crank It Everyday

Summer jams. I don't know if it's hearing a song over and over all summer, or just hearing a new song during summer, but somehow I feel the need to label a song "that's the jam of the summer." It's not always a good song i.e. 1992, Marc Cohn's "Walking In Memphis" (he was carjacked in Denver in '05) or "Life is a Highway", but I certainly heard them a lot that summer. '93 of course had "Woot There It Is" AND "Whoomp There It Is".

When you are heckled to a song you just heard on the radio, that kind of makes it a summer jam I guess. The song itself isn't bad, it's typical Southern rap, gives directions on how to do the dance steps intended for the song. Not as good as "The Tighten Up" but it's decent enough.

So I've just heard "Crank That" on 102 Jamz (K97 might play it now, they're usually a step slow), I'm walking near the atm machines on the UNC campus and a woman who has "Crank That" blasting on her own suv stereo yells at me, " A you gone crank dat sold-ja boy?!" I ponder yelling back the line in the song about Robo-cop, or "super soak that hoe", but I'm too busy pondering to myself, "is this the jam of the summer?"

Like any big, current hip hop single, many MANY people have filmed themselves dancing to the track and uploaded it to youtube. These youngsters even brandish a couple of guns and the kids love it: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5pGJCkCDK5A

Obsessed with this song in Turkey

I can't tell if this guy wants to be George Michael or Puff Daddy, but that chorus is to die for. Chorused slap bass always makes the difference...just listen to "Teenage Horses".

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Too much?

Meta Turkey Experience Blog-viewin' 'n' Postin' Beach Experience Beach Beach

Lost *ACROSS* Turkey #5

Back in Istanbul after 8 days of traveling from the Syrian border to the Aegean Coast. All in all, a pretty amazing experience, seeing deserts, mountains, and oceans, and plenty of entertaining signs, ads, clothing, and random men drinking beer on highway shoulders.

A recap of the events would not be time-efficient. So a series of photos and lists will have to do.

1. "Excuse me, you just broke my heart."
2. "Why....are you....so beautiful?"
3. "Yes baby!" (uttered by a 10 year-old boy washing his feet outside a mosque)
4. "I have been waiting for you....all my life."
5. "I have been waiting all day for you to sell you things you don't need."
--With the exception of the 10 year-old, all these lines were uttered by merchants at street markets.


No trumpets allowed.

This team wants to keep you healthy.

This is a sign for a gas station, but, well...

In Ephesus, this sign was outside the pay toilet. The googly eye is the detail that really ties it all together. Also, "magic" in Turkish translates into "smells like piss".

Turtles humpin' on a postcard.

A bag of Turkish potato chips.

Detail of bag. So, feel the FREEDOM.

Bag worn by Turkish woman in a museum.


This guy really didn't want to be in the sweltering Ephesus heat.

Detail of unhappy man. I think Waylon Jennings is being represented on his hat. And those shades....they give away his American South roots.

I tried to zoom in on this woman's chain so you can make out the thickness of that shit. It's like a padlock chain. I couldn't tell what it was made out of, but this panther got it goin' ON regardless.

This man in the green shirt is holding a small white hand towel that he was using to mop his stache.

When visiting the holy site of the Virgin Mary's house (where she apparently lived after Jesus died), it's always a good idea to bring your dog. And since it's over 95 degrees, the dog, whose body is covered in fur, probably needs a t-shirt as well.

I shadowed this man for 15 minutes at the House of the Virgin Mary. So stereotypically Russian: the posture, the man capris, the shopping bag always in hand, the shoes.

Here he is waiting in line to fill a bottle up with "holy water" from the spring outside Mary's house. This is not me mocking him, mind you--he's just kind of enthralling.

That's all for now. More soon. Time is running out (only one week left)....

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Things to watch....

Here's two videos that have nothing to do with each other. Maybe you've seen them before, I hadn't:

"Can't Tell Me Nothing"

Tiger Attack

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Glenn and Spin

Today I noticed the word "Danzig" on the cover of the new issue of Spin magazine...so I read it. I couldn't find any online proof to share here (so don't ask) . I once interviewed Mr. Danzig back in '02 (there's no online proof because the Spectator doesn't exist and has no online archives that I know of so don't ask) and he went bonkers, like a 10 minute rant about how lame Spin magazine is when I asked him about a busted pile of bricks in his front yard.

Glenn: "Where'd you read that?"
Me: "Spin magazine."
Glenn: "Spin magazine is the biggest piece of psuedo-intellectual garbage....(and things didn't calm down until I changed the topic to comic books)

So with those comments made five years ago I read to see if he voiced similar views. He did not. Not only that, he talked openly about the Misfits!? He used to hang up on interviewers when that topic was broached.

This new spin interview was conducted in person, so maybe he's more inclined to be brash with phone interviewers?

At the end of 1990, Spin put Mr. Danzig on the cover and labeled him as the main dude to watch in 1991, i.e. the artist of the year. But a year later it was Nirvana of course and Danzig wasn't mentioned as much (although the 1988 song "Mother" got a nice boost in '93 on the live album and Beavis & Butthead of course). I don't know what was said about his kind of well received 1992 album, but when his 1994 album came out, it notched a brief Spin review wherein the writer stated, "I don't care about old punks who were into the Misfits, I only care about 12 year olds getting into Green Day." That inane statement obviously had nothing to do with music and certainly didn't mention the Danzig 4 album had some good stuff. So in 2002 I could kind of understand Danzig's sentiment towards the glossy Spin...but now it's all good with him and Spin?

The interview in this month's issue follows the usual subject trajectory of Danzig interviews (I've read a lot of them over the years). He mentions a few blues artists he likes, Elvis, religion, when he'll probably die, takes a dig at Green Day, takes a dig at nu-metal, and then some out of left field stuff that he used to avoid. The aforementioned Misfits of course, but he also talks about his family. He even answers a question about why he's never been married (I guess he didn't dig the gay rumors)...and of course the footage of the Northside Kings guy punching him (there is plenty of online footage of that). He actually gave a plausible reason regarding why he didn't swing first: "celebrities" punching someone on camera no matter the context, are likely to be sued.

It appears he has a new album of "lost tracks" from over the years being released (distributed technically, Danzig has always worked his own record label into these things) on Megaforce. That label has a bit more of a promotional budget unlike the distributor for his past few albums. It's also the label that released the early Metallica material among other seminal '80's thrash and speed metal, so their coffers run somewhat deeper.

So that's why you'll find him popping up in Spin magazine all of a sudden...with a good photo collage. I of course most enjoyed the photo of him standing next to Rollins in '84 (that was Rollins' long hair phase).

As seen in a Brooklyn restroom.

"Family Matters" related graffiti spotted on a restroom door.

Friday, July 20, 2007

(Not as) Lost in Turkey #4

All the goings-on in Moscow have detracted from the fact that there's still plenty happening in Istanbul. This weekend, the national elections are coming up, so the entire city is covered in flags, banners, billboards, and stickers for all the 22 parties participating. There are also lots of trucks for the more affluent parties that ride around blasting propagandist pop music through tiny speakers, so it basically just sounds like AM radio coming through a very loud tweeter.

But first, a recap of last week's Turkish bath: me and the other two guys on the program are instructed to disrobe and put on some wooden slippers that are basically just blocks of wood with some straps to hold our feet in. It's impossible to walk in them; a more appropriate verb would be "shuffle" across the floor, clad in nothing but a very thin towel. Exiting my "disrobing cabin", I see a man with a huge beer belly and just as huge mustache, also clad in nothing but a towel, waiting for me. Apparently this is my personal scrubber. He grabs me roughly by the arm and begins to pull me towards a door that leads to the bathing room (keep in mind that we spent about $30 for this experience I'm about to describe). Once inside the incredibly hot room, he drags me towards a marble bench and begins pouring water on me. Actually, pouring is a bad verb as well: "violently throwing hot water while chuckling and making me wince" is a better description. Dudeman then begins scrubbing, thankfully nowhere under the towel, and asking, "GOOD?". I timidly answer yes, then realize that he is staring me directly in the eyes as he scrubs. I'm not sure whether to get up and run, because my slippers will definitely prevent me from getting anywhere fast, so I just decide to wait it out. After he's finished dousing me with water again, he gets to work on one of my roommates, who is sitting directly across from me and looking as if he's being tortured. Then our guy, whose name is Cem (pronounced "Jem"), points at both of us, then points at a doorway in the corner of the room and says "HOT ROOM. NOW." We enter the sauna and it is indeed a hot room. Everyone else in the room is looking just as traumatized as we are; it kind of feels like we are prisoners waiting to be tortured, all looking nervously at each other about what is supposed to happen. No one has explained anything to us. A man from Barcelona sits with us, clutching his waterproof money belt, and then he gets called out for his massage. He looks at us as if to say, "What should I do?", and we all shrug nervously, wishing him luck. When I see him a few minutes later getting a massage, he looks like he is in excruciating pain. Another one of my roommates attempts to leave the sauna because it is too hot, but his guy yells at him, instructing him to get back in the HOT ROOM.

After about 30 minutes of this very strange Turkish ritual, we make a break for it and are finally allowed to leave. After I have changed back into my clothes, I leave my cabin to put my shoes on. Cem is still in his towel, standing in the foyer by my cabin folding new towels. Every time I look up, he is staring at me, smiling. I sheepishly smile back and get the hell out of there.

As requested, no photos of the bath. But look:

At Topkapi Palace, which produced some of the tourist photos from last week's post, an Ottoman-era tribute marching band performed for the throng of tourists. Notice the 3 dudes who pose for photos about 30 seconds in. This video was interrupted by a palace employee whose job it was to yell at jackasses like me who were filming the procession and walking through the flowerbeds.

The march continues. If you look closely enough through the highly pixelated visual, you can see how fake most of these mustaches are.

The "G" is silent, so this first word sounds like "Boaz".

If I was the woman in this situation, I'd advise the man against the purchase.

Another Turkish custom. This poor kid in the prince outfit is about to get circumcised. I'm not sure if he is aware, but he sure is excited to be a little sultan for a day.

We went to a concert of Spike Lee film music, performed by Terence Blanchard and the Istanbul Orchestra. Blanchard has composed the music for all, if not most, of Lee's films. It was very moving. The figure in the red jacket is Spike Lee, who showed up onstage at the encore.

Interior of the Suleymaniye Mosque; the Arabic scripts in circles are the names of Allah and Muhammed, from right to left.

While trying on some authentic Turkish bootleg man capris, I was joined in the dressing room by this large, sweaty man, who invited me to go "disco dancing" (he shook and shimmied his body to emphasize the dancing part for me).

We visted a rabbi, a priest, and an imam all in one day to ask them questions about God, the afterlife, natural vs moral evil, etc. In the Greek Orthodox Church, the priest received a phone call on his cell while pontificating upon moral evil. Didn't miss a beat in his answer, either.

Special "BIG DEAL" award goes to us for getting an audience with the patriarch of the Eastern Orthodox Church. Basically, the Pope of Eastern Orthodox Christianity, who decided to grant us a 10-minute audience this morning. Check out that BLING!!!

Special "EXTRA FUCKING CREEPY" award goes to my man here, who was taking pictures of the girls in our group on his cell phone while they were dancing at a restaurant. His wife was sitting right across the table from him. One of the girls later pointed out that he looks just like Emperor Palpatine from Star Wars.

bonus videos:

The AK Party, who is currently in power, is fighting hard to stay that way. Here they illustrate their platform on synchronized dancing.

One of several Young Turks who were freestyle biking on the deck of a ferry we took across the Bosphorus Strait.

Tomorrow we are off on a 9-day excursion through central Turkey, taking us to the Syrian border and up the Aegean Coast. Will do my best to keep the updates coming during that time, as we're bound to see some crazy shit. Hold it down in the NC, or wherever you are.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Tina, Teenage Horse, extremely large


Lost in Russia--The Return pt.2

Note: these first 7 photos were all taken within a 50 yard-radius, directly outside of Red Square.

Mickey and Shrek hold it down by some porta-potties. FYI, these potties cost about 50 cents to use, and are some of the unhealthiest pits of sludge in Russia. They usually come in a line of 4 or 5, and the ones on the end are, no shit, used as offices by whichever babushka is collecting money from tourists who need to piss. When I say "office", I mean "hot, stinky broomcloset doubling as surface upon which said babushkas can lean against and sleep until they hear the telltale sound of human waste collecting, at which point they wait outside your porta-potty to make you pay up".

Spongebob keeps it real next to Mickey and Shrek.

A woman feeds one of two enormous hawks tied to a post, in very close vicinity to lots of small children.

The other hawk.

Right next to the hawks stands this man and his monkey.

Twenty feet behind the hawks is Mile Zero, the point in Russia from where all distances in the country are measured. Tourists stand on this and participate in an apparently nouveau-capitalist ritual: hurl change backwards and watch the babushkas gathered behind them scramble to see who can get it first. The gate behind them is the entrance to Red Square. I think these elements kind of represent everything about 21st century Russia.

Two babushkas and one babushka-in-training prepare to scrap it up over a few disputed kopecks at Mile Zero.

Red Square fashion.

I saw this ad in the Metro and thought it was something Rikk would find funny.

During my DJ set at a club called Plan B, two Russians from one of the bands that played before me jumped on stage and started jamming along. It went swimmingly, actually, as they both added some really great stuff.

Me and Vint as I ask Sergei (I think I met 5 guys named Sergei that night) to tone it down a little bit.

A quick snippet of the ruckus on the d-floor during my set.

At this point in the chronology, things get extra lost, resulting in the aforementioned threats of assault on my person and attempt to sleep in a dumpster. On the way home at 6:30am, we passed by these wild dogs eating what look frighteningly like human remains. FOR REAL--IF YOU SQUEAMISH, STOP NOW. It's very possible that these were animal bones from a butcher's shop, but there are enough half-dead people passed out on the streets that it wouldn't be out of the realm of possibility that they are human remains.

The next day, these guys were feeling the post-Soviet blues in the Metro station.