Friday, December 31, 2010

Merry Christmas

Or, perhaps Bing Crosby's Mele Kalikimaka would be more appropriate.

Mom saved my sanity by coming to Thailand for Christmas. We stayed in an insanely swanky hotel, then took a TAXI more than two hours south to an island.

Who have we become?! We have become those people who use the word "winter" as a verb. We are people who critique massages because we get so many of them. We are the kind of people who become stressed about decisions like "Should I swim in the ocean or in the pool?" "Shall I snooze under the shade of a palm tree or work on my tan on the beach?"

We left a few days early because we were becoming everything we ever hated.

Friday, December 24, 2010

I crashed a motorcycle

So mom made it to Bangkok. After a few days in the city, we headed south for Kho Samed, an island two hours away from Bangkok. We drank out of coconuts, swam in the ocean, got henna, played 50 games of Connect Four and went para-sailing. But the funniest thing to happen so far, is when I decided to rent a motorcycle.

Mom has been keeping her own documents on the events so far on the trip. I'll let her tell it.

Molly and I are on the beach – she’s singing Christmas Carols while Pat and Abby are bemoaning the winter I miss. Christmas trees don’t look the same when they aren’t real. Note to self- no more fake trees at Christmas – you were right Pat (revel in those words). A real Christmas tree is the luxury that comes from bearing a roaring winter.

Now, the story of the motorcycle. Molly nearly killed us and saved our lives in about a minute’s time. Molly will recount this is her own voice but here goes.

After much soul searching I agree to go on a Molly guided motorcycle tour of the Island (it’s only 6 miles long and 3 miles wide). She looks confident in her aviators and backpack and I just trust in her. The sales person – not so confident giving us a look and making sure we know how bad the road is. But he escorts us to the road and Molly gives the bike a try and just as I recall the concern about sand as traction for a bike she crashes into a car – it takes all of a minute.

The 7 in me is elated that we aren’t about a mile down the road. Today we boarded a taxi to see another part of the island but first we got a good look at the “road” of the motorcycle story – what the guy was actually trying to tell us was that as inexperienced motorcyclists there was to friggin way we would survive that trip on the bike. The road was horrific, pocked doesn’t begin to describe it nor does pot hole or chuck hole how about crevasses in the road. I guess someone had an eye on us because that had disaster written all over it. I’m glad we didn’t know it at the time.

So that's her version of the story. I will come back with a defense as soon as I have one.

Sunday, December 19, 2010


This last year has been bananas (that is spelled b.a.n.a.n.a.s if you were unaware).

Yes, it's that time of the year again to reminisce on the past 365 days. Because I have no patience for writing about myself at length, and no one has the patience to read it, I'll comb through this past year in a brief timeline. (It has pictures so you won't get bored!)

1. New Years Eve 2009. Decorating the apartment for the huge blowout party. Isaac singing acapella. Sock hop at Hotel Frank.

2. New Years Day 2010. Waking up with half of my friends passed out on my floor. Chamapgne bottles everywhere. Breakfast at the diner. Brief encounter with a gal I hadn't seen since high school.

3. January 4. Decided on a whim to drive to Chicago with Niemann. Then decided on a whim to drive from Chicago to New Orleans in a blizzard with Richeff, Quin and Ed. Best. Road trip. Ever. Ricky's driving skills saved our lives. And Elvis saved our sanity.

3. Last semester of college. Editor in chief of the paper. Nervous about my last few newspapers. Decided not to go to grad school.

4. Mom's car accident. Her beautiful bug destroyed. RIP.

5. George got married. I was there. In a dress. And makeup. Got drunk with his parents. The cops came because we were partying too hard. Holla.

6. I finished the last issue of the Creightonian. And around this time came up with the crazy idea to turn the Men in Black series into a book (which is still on the way).

7. I graduated. And I survived Fr. Harmless' History of the Christian Church. And I decided to continue my education or look for a job. I thin it was around this time when Fr. Doll first ran into me eating pizza in the newsroom and said something to the effect of, "Are going to get a job when you graduate? Have you ever been to Bangkok?" I didn't pay attention and went on eating my pizza. I mean, where is Bangkok anyway?!

8. I went on a 4,000 mile road trip with mom. Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Niagra Falls. Cape Cod. Broadway. D.C.

9. Route 66. Ricky Cheffer, other than being my best friend, is a road warrior. He wrote his final history paper about Route 66 and then saw it for himself. Missouri to California by highway. We camped in a lightning storm. Dicovered a new love for Will Rogers and the state of Oklahoma. Cadillac Ranch. Hiked around the Grand Canyon. Lost a few dollars in Vegas.

10. Drove the Pacific Coast highway. Ate my very first oyster. Couchsurfed. Pagan Solstice Party in Oregon. Seattle.

11. Canada. I hate you.

12. Somehow, Ricky and I wound up in Alaska. We farmed. Well, sort of. We hauled wood, mostly to be used in the hot tub. We drank a good deal of Alaskan beer, lived in a tree house, met Towanda and met my very favorite pagans.

It was around week five of Alaska when I got an interesting email from Fr. Doll. A year with some organization called JRS. It would entail me going to Rome and then wherever they wanted me to go for a year. Sure. I was failing at farming. I guess I have to suck it up and realize I may be more cut out for writing and designing, planted in front of a computer rather than trying to tame the Alaskan wilderness.

13. We took a 6-hour ferry ride to Skagway that will forever be etched in my mind... the parts that I can remember anyway. Since my parents and a few SJs read this, I can only say that I shave my friends' heads and played a good deal of blackjack.

14. We left Alaska and had a nail-biting experience with Canadian border police. Apparently they don't mind us bringing in a machete, knives, throwing stars, fireworks, booze and God knows what else into their country. But a small thing of pepper spray made us terrorists. I hate Canada.

15. I made it to U.S. soil. Got to know Richeff very well in cramped quarters couchsurfing in Montana.

16. Left for Rome. Met Seamus. Saw Ignatius' bedroom.

17. Now I am in Bangkok. I have new best friends. And a new love for Chang. I love it here. I love JRS. I can't believe I get to write the stories I get to write, met the people I have and seen the things I've seen.

This year was bananas. God bless it. And if I haven't said it enough, thank God he nudged me in the opposite direction of grad school.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Hot dogs and the holidays

I want a hot dog like you wouldn't believe. Bangkok doesn't know anything about good hot dogs. They are served in won tons or with mayo. An abomination, really.

What I want is an Eisenberg kosher hot dog from the movie theater in Council Bluffs. I want it to come in a little foil pouch, bun and dog warmed perfectly, slathered with ketchup and mustard. Dad can add jalepenos to his, even if I secretly object.

I want to snarf down the dog during the previews and munch on M&M's during the movie. Preferably a horror movie.

That's the problem with Bangkok. No hot dogs or good scary movies... and no one to see them with. If you have never met him, you should know that my dad is the ultimate person to see a horror movie with. He'll appreciate every gory detail, every plot point and he'll explain all the parts I missed because I had my eyes closed.

So I guess I'm feeling a little homesick tonight. Maybe it's the fact that I've been sick all day and I have no one to take care of me. Maybe it's that there's no snow. I just know that if I were home, Dad would see any movie with me, and mom would scold us for enjoying the gratuitous violence. Maybe we could even talk mom into making us hot dogs on the stove. Grilled with love and topped off with melted cheese. Perhaps I shouldn't be listening to this song.

I guess more than hot dogs, I miss my mom and dad... but a hot dog sounds pretty good right now too.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Flight to Mae hong son

So, I am on my first trip outside Bangkok, to the border town of Mae hong son to visit a refugee camp here. I am assisting in writing a story about JRS's education program.

A short flight. A tiny plane. An adventerous landing. All in all, a great introduction to Mae hong son, a Northern border town where JRS has been involved in refugee camps for over 20 years.

Life in Bangkok is tough...

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Trippin' down memory lane

I realized, with the help of my new partner in crime, that every ounce of media I consumed as a child (made vastly in the 1980s) was completely inappropriate for children.

Consider, if you will, the case study of Pee Wee's Playhouse. It could be confused with a bad acid trip or a seizure, or both.

The Labrynth was sexually implicit material between a much older David Bowie and a teenage Jennifer Connolly, and -- I am pretty sure -- some puppets.

Anything Sid and Marty Croft made (H.R. Pufinstuf, the Bugaloos) was completely drug induced.

You may think I am condemning this stuff. But, hey, I turned out OK. So I completely support it. Besides, Dora the Explorer is turning the next generation into a bunch of wimps.

In conclusion, God bless Yo Gabba Gabba for being a voice of reason, or unreason for kids these days. Below are some pretty messed up videos that shaped my child hood... except the ones with Brittish accents. Those were not a part of my childhood because I am from America where we don't believe in England.

Friday, December 3, 2010


I had the trippiest dream last night.

I won't bore you with the details but it involved JRS, Creighton, newspapers, bubble gum, Ginger Cove and me. Throughout the dream, I would comb my fingers through my hair, wondering why it was still long. Didn't I shave it off? Or was that just a dream? Or am I just dreaming now?

Essentially what the dream boiled down to was what the hell I am doing with my future, a question I refuse to spend any time with in my waking hours.

In my regular life, I would laugh it off with a few beers. But, in this beer-less Bizzaro world, perhaps I should spend a few of my sober days pondering the question.