Monday, July 30, 2007

Don´t make me come home.

Please. I'm not ready.

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Tuesday, July 24, 2007

I'm a bit "horse" from singing... I really had to "whale" to hit those highs in "Ordinary World".

The label is Icelandic for "Phil is a politically incorrect bastard."


Unrelated to the rest of the post: we finally did karaoke last weekend at some Thai dive.... in Iceland. Weird. I sang "Ordinary World" by Duran Duran, Paddy helped me with "Mr. Jones" by the Counting Crows, and we gang-sang "Everybody" by the Backstreet Boys. We were a hit! ... Oh, and Jennifer and I did an... ahem!... entertaining version of "More Than Words" by Extreme.

Now to the subject of the post.

In Iceland people like to eat a variety of dead things. I decided to join in for cultural exposure.

I ate a whale. Guus bought it at a flea market. See?









The thumb's up means it's gonna be GOOD.












I also ate a horse. I bought it at a flea market.





Horse marinated in beer.




Holler. Sjáumst, Horsey.




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This is a bad one. These are my upcoming bills....

This image was found by Google Image Searching
the title of this post. It is unrelated to Iceland.



CAPITAL ONE#2: $78 due July 28th
SHELL: $21 due July 30th
HOUSEHOLD BANK: $78 due August 1st
AMEX: $220 due August 3rd (!!!)
Storage unit in San Diego: $75 due early August

...but I won't have any paychecks coming for a few weeks. When I DO get a few paychecks, they should be big! But it's going to take me time to earn them...

I also need to have money for:
- busses to the airport in Iceland, busses/trains back to San Diego from Los Angeles...
- my E-bay account (which I'm willing to default on)
- some obvious "luxuries", such as the inevitable last drink with my classmates (maybe they'll buy)

I think when I get to Boston I'll have a free place for the night I'm there (thanks, Chip!), and also that I can use my Discover card to feed myself at the airport.

I should have either $275 or $175 at my disposal right now, depending on whether or not my bank has counted the $100 that my father has blessed me with.

Nightless, breathless, feckless, never fretless.



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Monday, July 23, 2007

Waterfall, watershed, whales and woes.

I'm headed off on a school trip. Piu's reading about where I'm going,
"Doppler Cat" is playing an RPG, and Bebete is just sleeping in.


This past Saturday we went on an awesome trip by bus. This one was paid for by the program -- which also meant free lunch. Whew! Thematically, we were visiting spots that are ostensibly of some importance to some classic Icelandic literature, Njál's Saga.

I'm not going to say anything more, really. I'll just subtitle the pictures and you'll get the idea.



--- ██ ◙ ██ ◙ ██ ---





Our supervisor joked that we'd be seeing Eden, and that it justified the Biblical beginnings of man. Well. "Eden" turned out to be a remarkably goofy kitsch pseudo-American highways stop, replete with arcade games, tourist junk, film loops, and a greenhouse!








Taken on a sundial/compass. Proof that Northern California is cooler because we're higher on the Víking quotient.








Reflecting on time. ... Get it?








There are really a ton of picturesque old churches in Iceland, with a strange country decor that looks almost American post-Victorian; sparse, pastel...












Bizarre angle of my bag from Japan; this shot taken on the bus.











Sheepses, one.











Sheepses, two.












A very old-fashioned farm home, apparently of some importance to Njál's Saga? In any case, they just don't make 'em like that anymore. You can see me; Pasquale (ITA) and Ryan (CAN) are visible on the left.











Farmhouse synod windows are imbibed with potential energy enough to springboard an invert syphon/portal. (?)














More sheepses.










Every time I cross a bridge I wonder if I'm maybe crossing the threshold between this world and one that's worth wanting.










I believe I glacier is visible to the left of the middle-left of the backmost mountain.









It's been awhile since I've been to church, but if I could drive out to a place like this to at least attempt worship again, I think I actually would. Corrugated steel and brick-red timber.








My mother used to love, of all things, the song "Waterfalls" by TLC. I can't say that's the song that was on my mind when this picture was taken, but I can say that she was. This place was nigh magical, and is called Seljalandsfoss.









Water does something amazing to the psyche.









This is maybe my favorite picture of the trip.
It's worth the debt and doubt
to feel like you're in another world.






Soaking wet at this point, filthy and sweaty.
The water of the waterfall is enough to clean the inside.










I think that bright white mass in the back is actually the waterfall.











"No one's broken
No one's beaten
I can see a rainbow near them
I can see a rainbow
I can see a rainbow
..."









We stopped here at this roadside art gallery in a small town. I wasn't expecting much, but it contained a wealth of paintings by a famous old landscape painter of Iceland whose name I've now forgotten. Mostly, though, I was surprised by modern works involving GPS tracking and painting on metal.








The next stop was to a swimming pool / hot tub joint, which are real cultural institutions in Iceland. Not only did we have a great time splashing about like kinder in the ol' piscine, but then Úlvar, our chaperon (?) treated us to more than one bottle of Brennivín. HOLLA! (Er, um... skál!) Þakka þér fyrir, Úlvar!











Úlvar's pourin' Kelly up some laudable Icelandic libation, yo'.






.... and, so, our trip came to an end with a beautiful drive back in Reykjavík. Between the spiritual energy of the waterfall (that sounds very New Age, I know) and the brutality of Njáls Saga, it makes the idea of coming back here for the M.A. in Icelandic Studies very tempting.

It was a bit odd to be reading about Zen while cookin' through the Japanese countryside. At least I'm thinking while I'm here.



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Friday, July 20, 2007

My Oz

... is the name of the Roni Horn art show I went to see here, at Listasafn Reykjavíkur Hafnarhús. Please dig the site and check out some of the cool art.

Much of Roni's art involves witty aphorisms... not so banal and blunt as Ashleigh Brilliants, but a bit more like a Zen koan.... just kind of silly and thought-provoking.

"That a pansy is transitive is its only pang."





Of course, the bummer at the art museum is that I immediately want all the books, or at least a few postcards.... I settled for a nifty Érro keychain.







Dude, this pic is like rly blurry.



At about this point I broke down and spent about $3 on another DELICIOUS Icelandic hotdog/pylsa.

Then, something rare in Iceland: free fun! An outdoor concert, spanning about three hours, began just after I left the art museum. Sayaka, the only Japanese member of our class, also happened to be there, and we got the bright idea to check out Vín Búð (the only liquor store -- gov't.-run!) before they closed.... much cheaper than a drink in the pubs!

Anyway. Debauchery shelved, six bands played:

Jeff Who
Jan Mayer
Æla (which means vomit)
Kimono
Skátar
Bacon

Now, I've actually heard Kimono before, at home, on teh intertubez. They're fun, mildly pretentious indie-rock, with a bit of a cosmopolitan twist and some definite mama's-boy tendencies. I enjoyed thoroughly.

The surprise, though, was the finalé act, Jeff Who. Apparently they had a big single in Iceland last summer.... and it's not surprising.

Some very infectious dance rock. After the good fun, my life resumed its usual pattern: sleep, snack, study, sleep again. By the way: learning the past tense in Icelandic is kind of like slamming your penis in a sliding glass door.

Other happenings:
- A guy dressed as a disco Elvis got to make out with pretty Icelanders -- is that the secret?
- I gave away my last cigarette. Seeking replacements.
- I flooded the bathroom again.
- I have finally resolved to buy myself a proper meal this weekend.
- My hair is falling out.
- I was recently fed real French toast (pain perdu) by a real French person.
- I learned how to say "that song is stuck in my head!" in Japanese, but not Icelandic.
- I have begun some songwriting I hope to turn into a legitimate project.
- I have realized I travel not to find where I want to live, but where I want to die.

See you, Space Cowboy!


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