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Topics - Eater of Clowns

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31
Short notice!?  Fuck it, it's curling.

3 hour lesson in Bridgewater.  Fucking curling.

April 30th or May 1st from 2pm to 5pm.  CURLING, MOTHERFUCKERS.

$35.  Curling.  Three hours of it in Bridgewater.  CURLING.

32
The Richard Nixon school of ballet and the arts / WOO! GO NB!
« on: April 19, 2011, 10:11:24 pm »
They passed the Cape Wind project.  America's first off shore wind platforms will be on Nantucket sound.  It's expected to bring 40,000 jobs over ten years, and a major staging ground for the whole project will be my hometown!

Now all they need to do is build the commuter rail connection between Boston and New Bedford and my city will be significantly less of a shithole!

 :D :D

33
The Richard Nixon school of ballet and the arts / Huck Finn and Robots
« on: February 10, 2011, 06:12:50 am »
No, really.

This group, in a bizarre and hilarious protest of the recent decision to change "nigger" to "slave" in a new edition of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, is proposing a short printing wherein "nigger" is replaced with "robot."

Quote
Mark Twain once said, "The difference between the almost right word and the right word is really a large matter."

We couldn't agree more. And that right word is "robot."

34
Or Kill Me / Willful Mysteries
« on: February 03, 2011, 11:07:23 pm »
Mickey is nearing thirty and his roommate is moving out on him, in with his long time girlfriend.  He's working three jobs and can barely make their meager rent, so there's no way he'll be able to afford living solo or find a cheaper place.  So he's moving back home.  We're not exactly living in Manhattan - so why can't this dude pay for rent?

Alex has a lovely wife, two kids, and a spotless little home on a nice street.  And he's fucking miserable.  He comes into work 30 hours of overtime, at least, every week.  He pulls in good money, and yet he claims he's always broke, so this overtime is necessary.

Jeanine attends weight watchers meetings.  Like her strictly catholic upbringing dictates, she's guilty as hell when that weekly weigh-in doesn't go down, and she hates herself for it.

All three of these people have something in common.  I actually know all three of these people, and I do think quite highly of them.  I'm incredulous as to how they can convince themselves that they can't afford to pay rent or work reasonable hours.

Mickey and Alex are similar.  Both of them, several times in the same conversation, have stated their precise problems and not even realized it.  Mickey bought $200 worth of comic books last week.  Alex just bought a $400 watch on eBay, and sold it for profit - which he will then put into another watch, and another, and he doesn't always break even on them.

I think Jeanine has it toughest.  She's a sensitive one, and not a very strong one either.  She did great in the weight loss program overall, she really did.  Yet now that she's maintaining instead of losing, every week it's the same song and dance:  there was candy or cookies someone brought into work and she couldn't stop eating them.  So she's down as hell on herself for it, and she feels bad for the rest of the week instead, well, just not eating them.  But it's the wording here that's frustrating:  she couldn't stop, or it's her co-workers' fault for tempting her with the garbage she shouldn't eat.

It opens up infinite avenues of debate, of course, on the addictive nature of eating or buying things, as well as the entire process of losing weight.  That isn't the issue here.  The issue is that we have people who convince themselves that their money somehow just disappears, or that the scale goes up of its own accord, and their quality of life suffers from it.

Losing the freedom of your own space, sacrificing the entirety of your life to your job, feeling bad about eating crap you shouldn't - they're the prices paid for a comic book, a watch, a cookie.  I actually have nothing personal against this, so long as you are actively willing to pay that price.  If you think "well if I buy this booze, I'm going to get fat from the calories and broke from the cost," you need to be okay with the consequences of that before you go through with it.  Props to you.

The alternative is creating a willful mystery.  You refuse to face the sad facts that a short term poor decision has long term consequences.

35
Or Kill Me / Looking Down Your Nose While Doing a Headstand
« on: January 20, 2011, 10:37:35 pm »
A lean young man in corduroys and Pumas waits outside a Starbucks sporting as much awful haircut as his overpriced salon can provide.  Walking in, a former classmate recognizes him and asks him what he's doing standing outside.  "Pft, I don't drink Starbucks," he replies with a sneer that could infuriate sloths.

Across the parking lot in his beat up old F-150, a grizzled middle aged man sits, idling while his wife runs inside.  She asked him if he wanted anything and he said, "Pft, you know I don't drink that pussy crap."

You've talked to both of these motherfuckers before, and yeah, depending who you are, you are guaranteed to like one over the other.  It doesn't change the fact that both of them did exactly the same thing, for different reasons and with different words, but exactly the same thing.  Something is offered them, a beer, a coffee, a burger, and they refuse.  But they don't just refuse, they refuse in a way to imply they see themselves as better than whatever the subject is.

Be it "sorry, my tastes are too sensitive to allow anything less than seasonal microbrews past these lips," or "you're not a real man unless you drink Jack Daniels," they're letting you know, in no uncertain terms that types of people enjoy that thing and they are not one of those types of people.  Yet somehow, it's always the former that sets eyebrows raising.  Yeah it's easy to hate on pretentiousness when it's about class and high brow bullshit, but that doesn't make it any less pretentious to claim you're more grizzled for drinking crap booze.  It's the same trap.

Sorry, motherfucker, but you aren't any more real for drinking Budweiser than some jerkoff is refined for drinking Sam Adams.  If you're going to pass it up, do it for your own tastes and don't try to pull some reason why you're oh so much better than that.

36
The Richard Nixon school of ballet and the arts / A Very PD Holiday
« on: December 22, 2010, 11:43:51 pm »
<<2010>>

It’s Christmas in Tucson,
And in Portland it’s Yule.
Cram’s getting his Moose on,
‘Til there’s blood in his stool.
Even I this year popped my Moosemas cherry,
With drinking and Zardoz at the Monestary.

In those Europ-ey places
They’ve got Sinterklaus.
He’s eating kids’ faces
In his gingerbread house.
I don’t speak Dutch so don’t be a hater.
If my myth’s wrong just blame Google translator.

In SoCal it’s raining,
Just pouring it fierce.
White Christmas is straining
Against mudslides and fears.
Course it’s not like it snows in those sunny spots,
Though tell that to Pickle in his Florida shorts.

Then there’s our Scot peers
And those Englishmen close.
They’re deep frying reindeers,
Served with sauteed Welsh toes.
I’ve always heard Brit cuisine is an odd one,
I think it’s because they’re descended from goblins.

We’ve a spag-scattered globe,
What with Aussies like Lys.
And Slaknet who knows where
That mystery man lives?
The point is we’re all in our Holiday moods.
To some it means screaming, to others new shoes.

What I’m trying to say,
Oh my PD’ers dear.
Is that starting today
Spread Discordian cheer.
It’s almost like happiness of the ordin’ry sort,
Except it’s hating on rev’lers, and cruelty for sport!

They’re not deserving of
Their gifts under their trees.
They need a serving of
Lead pipes to their knees.
I hope that Santa carries ‘round something sharp
To cut himself loose from my trap with the tarp.

On hustlers and rev’rends!
On hipsters and punners!
On artists and madmen!
On crunchers of numbers!
On to your wintry festivals all kind!
‘Tis the season, so go fuck with some minds!

<<2011>>

There’re spags round the fireplace,
Hanging up their stockings,
They’ve met up in meatspace,
For Holiday mockings.
BadBeast says some shit like “blimey oi govnah”
We can’t understand him, but BB we love ya.

That Santa guy’s finally
Been taken some care of.
Those Nessies are grimey,
But the snow keeps the slime off.
‘Cause the Southampton horrors ate Rudolph et al,
And a Templar’s put Santa’s hat on his metal.

But wait what’s that racket,
Coming up the chimney?
“I’m telling you faggots,
I’ve got gasoline, see?”
Our dear old Enrico wants to light up the fire,
But burning the place down isn’t what they desire!

“Unless it is, of course,”
A voice came from somewhere.
They screamed until hoarse.
One said, “dynamite’s no fair!”
So many ideas to start up that first spark,
It’s too bad we can’t just light it with snark.

Though it didn’t much matter,
In the end it got lit.
And ECH made a platter,
Of some de-licious shit.
So we argue and revel and laugh with some brews,
Try this beer by Squiddy!  And this one is Suu’s!

Discord is the spirit,
Among different folk.
Let each other hear it,
But it’s all the same joke!
Be it Moosemas or Christmas, Festivus or Yule,
It’s time to bring mindfucks from high upon fools.

The year at this place is,
Well, it’s winding right down.
So silence your faces!
And hear Eater of Clowns!
PD is for fun and for serious havoc,
And all of this butthurt, no sir I won’t have it.

On WOMPers and writers!
On analysts and teachers!
On students and fighters!
On occupiers and creatures!
On to your PD revelry once more,
For again ‘tis the season to show all what for!


<<2012>>

Ofuk not again,
the spags said together,
this poem’s a pain,
give us a breather.
But the holiday season comes like it not,
so shut the fuck up and read up this rot.

So what the hell happened,
to PDers in ’12.
Well we wrote some crap and
mostly we yelled.
The tumbleweeds heard it if no one else,
and even they were shocked by RWHN and Stellz.

There will be no tree,
for Garbo and Pix.
They’ll light a bush or three,
because they’re less phallic.
Roger and ECH can just stand there and watch,
but they cannot help because of their crotch.

And what about Twid,
whose faith this offends?
He knows that I kid,
so spare your Depends.
Ironing out what happens to Waffle,
I doubt he’ll read this PD poem awful.

The Marrowman offers
me a few new rhyme schemes.
“One bone for my coffers,
to stop these grade school themes!”
L-M-N-O is worse than the bone man,
for making New England some scary land.

Hang holist’s stocking,
but what the fuck’s this?
It’s far too shocking,
which one of them’s his?
A h0list, a holis+, a ho1ist and,
fuck if I’m typing that whole list again.

On beaders and crocheters!
On writers and garbers!
On larpers and players!
On mixers and warblers!
On and remember during this holiday chore,
There’s no better time to punish fuckers galore!

37
GASM Command / GeoGASM
« on: October 29, 2010, 02:09:56 am »
Geocaching - A community-driven hobby wherein people input coordinates into GPS devices that lead them to small boxes in remote or hidden areas.  The boxes contain an assortment of small items, trinkets, or note pads.  Finders of a geocache are to place something of theirs into the box and taking something out in exchange.  They can leave messages on notepads, etc, then they put the box back where they found it.  There are communities online where people can report back if they found the box, if it was difficult, or if it was missing, etc.

The community started in the relatively early days of GPS devices, before they were as ubiquitous as they are now.  It's still a nichey activity, with lots of caches being on hiking trails, etc.  Recently, GPS devices are easily available in the form of our very favorite tools of Big Brother - smart phones.

I think we should target the GeoCachers.  By necessity, the community is tight knit, keeping track of existing caches and updating them.  That means recurring themes in the boxes could possibly be remarked upon in discussions.  The activity also attracts the curious - a cache might have any number of otherwise pointless items, but they're basically buried treasure troves.

Pope cards and meme bombs are the stand by for things like this, so maybe this is an offshoot of postergasm.  Here, though, they're placed where the individual is specifically looking.  And on top of it all, we can have some fun looking for geocaches.  Hell, if we learn enough about the community, maybe we can make a few of our own.

So, is this something people would be interested in?  Which meme bombs might speak best to this group?  Does anyone know more about the activity than what I've outlined here?

Props to Richter for prodding me with a polearm to post this.

38
The Richard Nixon school of ballet and the arts / Attn: Charley Brown
« on: October 20, 2010, 05:31:04 am »
For a long time this has been bothering me, and I'm finally going to get it off my chest:


Your avatar.  You...





look way too similar to my dad:


39
The Richard Nixon school of ballet and the arts / EoC's World of Dispatching
« on: September 30, 2010, 12:32:55 am »
I've been meaning to make this thread for a loong time.  It will be a depository for all the fucked up, depressing, and sometimes hilarious shit that I come across in my job.  Sometimes it'll come a few times a night, sometimes not for a few weeks, but I'll try to keep it running.

****************

A woman called today.  She'd received a notice in the mail that someone would be coming to pick her up and "deliver" her to court for money she owed.  Basically it was a notice that a warrant was out for her arrest.  I told her to get in touch with our warrant division, which unfortunately won't be available until tomorrow, but that as far as I knew nobody would be acting on that tonight.  She was upset.  Nearing tears.  Her voice quivered and she half-whispered, "I just think it's ridiculous, for eighty-eight dollars."

40
GASM Command / GaimanGASM
« on: September 08, 2010, 09:13:26 pm »
Intro:  Reading through some Sandman and the influences that went into his work, I think Neil Gaiman is potentially sympathetic to Discordianism.  It's unclear whether or not he knows specifically about us, but he has a clear understanding of symbols and gods, meaning he would recognize Eris and perhaps things like the Sacred Chao or the chaos star (used in Michael Moorcock's work, which he's definitely read).  His obsessive tweeting and public engagements lead me to believe that he's at least in some touch with his fans.

Goal:  At the very least, the goal is to get a shout out to Discordianism from Gaiman.  If this is just a tweet, that's fine, but if it's a series of statements or even an inclusion in his work, all the better.

Strategy:  Gaiman is a storyteller.  Frequent references and deference to storytelling characters in his novels and comics lead me to believe if he became involved in a story, he would choose to press further.  The plan I have in mind also taps into the old psychology idea that if someone agrees to do something small for you at first, they are more likely to later offer more.  The exchange here is a story to tell, giving him a curious and entertaining series of events to make life more interesting.

Plan:
Step 1:  Gaiman will be attending a benefit at the Boston Public Libarary on September 26th with a signing open to the public at 3:30.  I'll be attending, for my own fanboy purposes, to get Absolute Sandman Vol. 1 signed.  Inside the front cover where he signs I'll leave a note along the following lines:

Mr. Gaiman,

Please do not react to this note.  We have observed a sympathetic sentiment in your works to our own goals.  Consider this an offer to work together.  To accept, mention "the golden apple" in a tweet on October the 1st.  Further instructions will arrive shortly thereafter.  Be on the lookout for this name on an envelope.  The attached mustache is a sign of our good faith.

-The Supplanter Watchman

PS.  Discreetly removing this note so as to avoid the notice of the young man before you would be greatly helpful.  If not, no matter.

***

I'm going for intriguing enough to warrant a simple communication via twitter.  If the golden apple reference is too overt, it can be replaced with another key phrase.

Step 2:  It gets a little more difficult here.  Should the offer be accepted, the response will come in the form of an actual lengthy letter.  Ideally, the letter would recommend Gaiman to choose his own Holy Name and declare it publicly.  Here's how I intend the letter to get to him:

Neil Gaiman is engaged to Amanda Palmer.  Amanda Palmer is currently the Emcee for Cabaret at the American Repertory Theater in Boston.  I have a friend who works at the A.R.T.  Ideally, I could hand her an envelope with a key phrase on the outside and have it find its way to Amanda Palmer, where it would then be handed off to Neil Gaiman.  Perhaps something slipped into a bouquet following one of her performances?

I'll have to talk to this friend to hash it out, see if she's on board.  This is as far as my ability to reach the author goes.  This is hear to further hash out the idea, not only to refine the steps so far but also to see how we can move forward should it progress.

41
The Richard Nixon school of ballet and the arts / ATTN ALPHAPANCE
« on: August 25, 2010, 08:52:35 pm »
Looks like I'll be hitting up the Cape again on Labor Day weekend.  I was wondering, as someone who seems to have a good idea of what Provincetown has to offer, if you had any suggestions.  Thus far I've really only walked through the main strip and, well, spent heavy time on the beaches, but I'm always up for the new.

And of course, anyone else can weigh in.

42
The Richard Nixon school of ballet and the arts / Payne (feat. Iggy Pop)
« on: August 15, 2010, 06:18:32 pm »
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n5xAV52Y1XI

Ow! Ow!

A massive headache in my aging skull
Means I do not feel well

Payne, Payne, Payne
Bad brains must always feel Payne

The problem started with my attitude
It's all lust, direct and crude
There are good people in this world of bums
But, sadly, I am not one

Payne, Payne, Payne
That's why I'm always bein Payne

Good karma would not get you anywhere
Look at Jesus and his hair

Payne, Payne, Payne
Bad brains must always feel Payne

Justice, religion and success are fake
And the shiny people stink

Pretty creepy, pretty funny
I'm a mix of God and monkey

Payne, Payne, Payne
To feel Payne is all that will remain
Payne, Payne, Payne, Paaaayyynn

Payne
Payne
Et cetera, I give up, I quit.

43
Get your fucking model on watermelon fuckers, this is the Great PD Expression-Off.  See a spagbook photo with one bitchin grimace?  Submit that shit.  Think your grimace can beat it?  Submit that shit.

I start you off with an expression inspired by Dok's Mustache thread:  THE LEGENDARY LEER.




Sweet sockfucking christholes that's a leer.  I humbly submit my response in the form of drunken leer:



That leer's so powerful it pixelized the faces of my close friends.  Their faces are like that now, permanently, and they forgive me because of the glory of that expression.  If you see a pixelface around, they are beautiful people you should be less hostile to than normal.

CAN YOU OUTLEER THAT?  Show it.  Does your pooping face top the leer?  SHOW IT.  The gauntlet, I lost it, it's thrown down so low it's in the fucking mantle.

44
The movie adaptation of Fraggle Rock is getting a new screenwriter - for an "edgier" script.

Quote
Director/Screenwriter Corey Edwards has updated his blog with a note warning Fraggle Rock  fans that “there are some dark days ahead, my friends.” As it turns out, The Weinstein Company, who has been working with Edwards on a big screen Fraggle Rock movie, has begun a wide search for a new screenwriter to come aboard the project after demanding the the script was “not edgy enough.”

Down at Fraggle Rock they had things just about figured out.  Of course they had problems; space gets cramped underground you know, but oh what little those caves did to their spirits.  Living with no sun to speak of would drive the best of our moods spiraling downward but not those little guys.  You ask one of them what it's like to live in a dark stone cavern and they cheerily reply with how well it carries their voices on their many daily songs, how it melds their voices together to something more.  That's what the Fraggles were all about; individuals each strong alone coming together for something greater still.

They did their work with us, with their "Ambassador" Henson, for four years.  It was a big four years for them, they were explorers at heart and loved the idea of a new world above to strike out and learn about humanity.  And we lapped up every second of it, didn't we, their catchy tunes and their oddly relevant lessons?  Here we had beings so foreign who somehow understood us better than we did ourselves.  It wasn't at the price of introspection that they knew so much and still remained cheerful.  No, they were deep people, they after all knew only darkness really.  It was through strict discipline of mind that the Fraggles kept things running as they were lest they fall into the traps we've all seen ourselves.

Henson saw the toll our world exacted on them as days went by.  Groups of Fraggles would strike off as stowaways on boats and airplanes to examine the humans above and report back.  They would gather together like they loved to do in one of the production areas, at these times strangely less welcoming of outsiders than was their nature.  They would speak in hushed voices.  Faint gasps could be heard.  Every day some scouts returned was followed by a wary eye by the Fraggles the next day on set; stress lines began crossing their eyes.  Listen closely to the final season and you might hear a note of sorrow in their song.  How could they trust humans knowing what we're capable of?

It was the height of their success that the kindly muppet man requested they return home.  The higher-ups were obviously less than thrilled that their merchandising and ratings would disappear just like that.  Like always, Henson fought them tooth and nail on behalf of the strange creatures he'd come to love.  Even seeing in his other projects how cold the money makers could be, Jim left that meeting disturbed; disturbed by the sly and slight smile on the face of one man in the back of the room.  A man who was biding his time.

Things were largely normal back home for them for quite a few years.  Long enough, almost disturbingly precisely perhaps, for us to forget what the Fraggles once meant to us.  And maybe for them to forget what we are.  Their man came to Fraggle Rock long after Jim was gone.  There was quiet in the cave.  They didn't like him, didn't like the menace behind the well trained publicity smile.  They didn't like the greed they saw when they explained the Doozers, how he almost licked his chops at the idea of a race of workers who knew only to work and never understood why.  But they listened.  That's what they do.

Turns out that man didn't need contracts.  He didn't need legalities.  All he needed to was ask for help.  Help us.  It was a cry none of the Fraggles could turn down.  The ones that had forgotten the world above in their twenty year absence jumped at the chance to try again to teach us what life was really about.  They could sing and laugh again, for us, and we could share it.  And the man just smiled sly and slight.

With props to Richter for his recent Audio Book entry on bringing this about.

45
Discordian Recipes / Discordian Travel Guide
« on: June 16, 2010, 02:01:22 am »
So, I've been around the country a bit in the last month or so and other pders have been to a lot more places a lot more frequently.  We're spread out, we've all gone to different places, etc.  I'm wondering what the interest would be in getting together a bunch of pieces as a travel guide with our own spin on it - pointing people to actually interesting parts of cities instead of hellholes, maybe touching upon stuff that a regular guide wouldn't.  Think Weird New England, but written by people you know.

Anyway, this is in Discordian Recipes right now because even if we can't get a legit travel guide, at the very least we could have a list of good places to eat, little hidden gems you know about that even other locals might not.

Example:

California

City:  San Francisco - EoC
Area:  Fisherman's Wharf

Fisherman's Wharf is an area well known for blubbery mammals sunning themselves on wooden planks against the backdrop of the beautiful Golden Gate Bridge.  Sea lions are also known to show up there.  While the majority of this destination seems to be reserved for cheap souvenier shops and only-in-tourist-town eateries like Bubba Gump Shrimp there are a few gems to be found by the water.

The view is certainly worth seeing, offering Alcatraz, aforementioned bridge and sea life, and some seriously bizarre street performers often from the same vantage point.  Fresh crab is readily available from a number of little stands for a seafood lunch.  

Check out Musee Mechanique, a private museum housing historic coin operated machines - able to be used by the public.  Break a dollar and you can watch a mechanized reenactment of a British trial and hanging, get your fortune read by a terrifying wizard, enjoy a brief vintage peep show, and arm wrestle against a robotic bicep.

What to see:

Just south of San Francisco, an easy drive or a hop off the commuter rail is Colma.  The area is known for its density of cemeteries, but one will have particular interest.  The Woodlawn Memorial Park is the current resting place of Joshua Norton, Emperor of the United States and Protector of Mexico.  The Woodlawn office has maps at the ready and the employees were more than willing to send travelers in the right direction.  

City:  Fresno - Secret Agent GARBO (HoverCat)

In the Fresno area proper, there's practically nothing touristy (I have no idea what the German and Japanese tourists come here for). Tower district is like a mini Castro, sort of, and Tower Theater is really cool inside. If you like antiquing, there's some decent stores in Old Town Clovis (I still recommend Fulton's Folly, though, which is in Tower). I can't speak for most of the little towns around here otherwise because I don't go to them.

Good restaurants:
Tsing Tao
North India
Teazers (actually a tea house)
Piemonte's deli
Mezze House (best Mediterranean place in town)
Thai Gem (teeeny tiny place, like I think the max is twenty people, including staff)
Me 'n Ed's (a super good local pizza chain)
Edo Ya
Brahama Bull
Starline Grill

Cool clubs/bars:
The Starline (for local acts)

Other:
Clovis Farmer's Market is every Friday all summer long. Really, really, really good produce, local acts, various things to distract your kids, like a bounce slide, and pretty good food.


In the Sierras:
Yosemite (ehhh...scads of tourists, though still pretty)
Squaw Leap Loop (a small hiking trail - pretty and moderately difficult)
Sequoia National Park (much prettier and much quieter than Yosemite - it and Kings Canyon tend to be where locals go)
Kings Canyon (absolutely gorgeous and very quiet)
Shaver Lake (man made lake, but very pretty. Popular day trip spot here, and Shaver Pizza is a good spot for lunch/dinner)
Dinkey Creek - pretty, there's fishing, and Honeymoon Pool is a good swim in the late summer)

City:  San Diego - Jenne

San Diego, CA.

You got your usual haunts that are "internationally known," like the Zoo, Balboa Park, and SeaWorld.

Balboa Park is the only WORTHY of those three, because it's got some cultural bent to it.  It's got these international houses that specialize in the cultures from the area after which they are named.  House of France, House of Iran, House of Palestine (!), House of Germany, House of England, House of Uzbekistan (!), etc.  And twice a year, they have "street fairs," where they put out booths where they sell food, up and down the row where they are located.  Every other weekend of the year, they take turns opening up (about half to a third of them rotate ever month) through volunteer labor to showcase their curiosities, historical artifacts and some small food item(s), which you can pay a voluntary fee for.

Balboa Park also has sooo many museums--flight, sports, natural history, science...all in historical buildings.  Parking is FREE.  The zoo is also located here, if you have the notion.  But you can also simply park, picnic or hike.  Is all good.

Downtown Gaslamp is awesome...Balboa's located nearby.  This area in San Diego is rich in cultural diversity, different shopping areas, an outdoor mall that's all funky because it's multiple buildings put together, and performing arts.  It's got your usual homeless, etc. element, like a "true" downtown...but not to worry.  Popo abound.  So do the bike cabbies.

The Harbor near downtown is cool if only because it's got some great eats, just like downtown, cruises where you can go see some whales, and great atmosphere.  You get a great view of the Coronado Bridge, which leads to Coronado itself.  Home to the Navy as well as this little area full of moneyed buttheads.  It's cute, overpriced, and damn gorgeous.  OH, and it has one of THE most famous haunted hotels in San Diego--"The Hotel Del Coronado" or "Hotel Del" as it's known locally.

San Diego has a lot of local hiking, biking and walking trails.  Our national parks system has not only inland mountain hiking but also trail and beach hiking.  Waterfalls.  Creeks.  Lakes where you can fish.  They're all over.  You are surrounded by nature here.  You can't run from it or hide from it.  You come here, it is your destiny.

Lastly--the arts community.  We got your hippies, we got your Chicanos, we got your Wylands.  You want artsy fartsy--you won't be disappointed.  From street art in Barrio Logan, to Lomas Santa Fe where artists have studios by the beach, to Escondido where the poorer art students hold regular art nights with free wine and artisanal chocolates.

San Diego seems vastly white washed thanks to all the midwestern folks that have transplanted thanks to job opportunities and our all-too-prevalent military complexes.  But in the end, we're pretty diverse.  And damned gorgeous.

***

Maine - RWHN

If you're ever in Maine.

Leave.  

Actually, Portland is alright.  It used to be more fun back when I lived there IMO.  There was this great club called The Skinny.  We'd get a lot of the kinda sorta famous acts who weren't so big that they actually still wrote and played music with some soul to it.  Saw a great performance by Superdrag there.  One of the small rock shows I've been too.  We had the Sheila Divine too which some of you Mass-types might be familiar with.  Anyway, that is a ghost of the past now.  As was the Free Street Taverna.

We do have a couple of Irish-styled pubs.  Ri Ra and Brian Boru.  Both have good fare and good music if you're into folk and Celtic music.  Can be a little pricey.  Next to Ri Ra is the ferry that can take you to some of the small islands off the Portland coast.  Mind the locals, especially native Mainers.  Don't always take too well to out-of-staters.  

If you're more into the nature/outdoors scene, you can't really go wrong with Maine.  tons of places for hiking and camping.  There is a great hiking trail in Cutler, Maine which is in far east Maine.  One of the trails ends with some pretty spectacular views of the ocean.  That is views atop of high cliffs of jagged rock.  Mind your step.  There's a pretty good folk music scene in that part of Maine as well.  Blue Hill is a hotspot for that sort of thing.  

The places to avoid in Maine at all cost are:  Biddeford, Lewiston/Auburn (where I live coincidentally), Augusta, Calais, Old Orchard Beach (unless you are French-Canadian and then apparently it is a mandatory summer destination) and pretty much the entire county of Piscataquis.  

If you want to go somewhere that is completely devoid of human life, save for the occasional lumberjack, then The Allagash Wilderness is for you.

*****

Mooloolah

Sunshine coast. QLD, Australia.
- PlacidDingo

Mooloolah is a piddly little town on the sunshine coast that really isn't all that bad, provided you cab generally entertain yourself. Theres a park wig trees that are good for climbing, a train station that can get you out of there when you go mad and some nice walks. Hunt down the national forest: there's a nice long walk there that will take you through an abandoned train tunnel. There's usually a bit of mildly interesting graffiti on it. Wear shoes; it wasn't all that dangerous to walk through barefoot a few years back, but broken glass pops up now and then. Keep walking long enough and you'll hit Beerwah; but thats a long walk. It's good for bikes too.

Shops round Mooloolah aren't too special but they have what you need. There's a place called the Thunderbird cafe that is periodically renamed but its worth a visit. Good place to get a hungover breakfast and read the paper.

There's b and bs around; I was a local so I never went but it's meant to be worthwhile.

And that's Mooloolah.

******

Nagoya, Japan - PlacidDingo

Everyone shits on Nagoya, which is totally unfair. Tokyo is the big city. Kyoto has beauty. Hiroshima has history. And Nagoya doesn't really fit anywhere nearly into that spectrum so it gets ignored.

Nagoya is a place for music, but only if you look for it. I don't know how you can find it. Personally I learned Japanese and made friends with a guy in a band. Because when you get into that scene, it's wicked awesome. Find yourself some of the smaller crazier clubs and bars and get into it.

There's something to look for called nomihoudai (飲み放題) which is all you can drink. Look for this in Karaoke bars. You want to go in with friends. Start with easier stuff, then move into heavy screamy stuff towards night end.

Ossu is a great market area, great for a wander. Beyond the market area are some weirder areas worth a look. I remember a tattoo shop, which is worth a visit; Japanese tend to be anti tattoo. Except the mafia.

Sakae is your party city. Men garishly dressed in a club may be yakuza. If fingers are missing, dnt. There's lots of clubs, go in and enjoy. Don't get too boisterous and loud, generally. You'll be tolerated, but you'll look like a fucking idiot gaijin. Which you are, but you know. Make an effort. Go to Hub the English pub if you want to get some advice from English speakers.

******

Anchorage, AK - Alty

This place is beautiful.

Unless you've seen it you have no idea. Some seasons can be tougher than others, but each one has its own brutalities and essential rawness. There's something so comforting in the deep inhale of ice-cold air, feels clean and good and pure. And you can feel every piece of your body without even trying. Have you ever noticed how hard it is to feel individual parts of yourself?

Of course, the brutality. Homeless people die here, a lot. You don't really hear much about it because most of them are very, very drunk native alaskans who don't know many people outside their own circles, which are mostly from out in the middle of nowhere. The cops certainly don't care, and most of these Sarah Palin propelling republican assholes just leaching big oils slimy tit (I guess that's me too since I'm registering Red this year) are way, way, way more concerned with whatever is happening on their giant televisions. But fundies and libtards aren’t the only ones here. There’s an army of stoners and hippie stoners that are way, way, way more concerned with what's on their giant televisions. Every one in Anchorage has a giant television. Doesn't matter if you're in debt to your ears and live in FILTH, you’ve got a giant television. Something, something warm light, like unto the womb, something distractions from death you own and others and HO MAH GAWD DID YOU SEE THAT SHIT, THAT SHIT WAS HILARIOUS.

Where was I? Oh yeah, people dying. People die here. They get trampled by moose. They get mauled right in the city limits while riding their bikes at 3 am. They get shot. The get beaten over the head with rocks and shoved somewhere in the massive expanse of earth and ice that is easily accessible by road. Or sometimes some moron just leaves the body in the woods for some hunters or kids to find. And sure, it’s not all the time or anything. But still, nature will fuck you up..

But from where I'm sitting I can see none of that. In place where WILD things are everywhere is nothing around me that is not stale. This entire town serves. It is one giant strip-mall to feed the hungry, squealing masses who are supports for wheels that grind the rest of the world into dust. Landmarks are stores, shops, confectioneries. Achievements in civilization are opening an Olive Garden, finally getting a Victoria Secret, ooh there's a new target opened up on Southside and OH MAH GAH SUPER WALMART. I know what it feels like to become on these people.

I drove from Seattle back here. When you drive here you drive to the end of the earth. And on the way you will see mountains that are so purple they're nearly black, think Kali, with tops that look like jagged crystal, that completely surround you. And you will see trees that go on forever and ever. Fields of seemingly nothing will do the same as well, but the vastness of those forests are overwhelming. When you first arrive all you can think about are those trees and how you're in the middle of them, they're everywhere. You go to the grocery store, the bank, your apartment, but all the while you are surrounded by raw, wild forests peppered with people.

After a while, though, the trees and the mountains fade. Something else takes their place. Can you imagine? Massive, raw, unrelenting and unmerciful WILD cast aside to make room in your head for THEM. They worm their way inside your head. Spiders, yeah. Black Flies, them too. Creeping bags of plastic slugs ready to seal you up and keep you warm. Even if they don't get in you're so busy fighting them off that you forget about the trees. Not that they offer anything special beyond their massive presence. But how can something so huge work its way out of your mind? How can you forget that you're just a cold little monkey using your awesome brain to beat back nature far enough so you can actually enjoy it instead of ending up dead.

If you're looking down from on high this town spreads like an oil slick across a soggy marsh sitting on an open lip of ocean. The funny part is underneath most of this mess is clay. Lots and lots of clay. You can probably imagine what happens to clay in an earthquake. Maybe if you visit at the right time you won’t have to.

Notable places to get hammered:

The Spenard Roadhouse
The Bear Tooth Grill
*These two also have good food, if you’re into that kind of thing..*

Bernies Bungalow.

Aaaand I hate all the other places, more or less.

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