Sunday, October 30, 2011

a day

A day in Dar es Salaam last week went wrong and stayed wrong.
In the end, I was happy to survive it.
  • A boy crossing the street in front of our bajaj was hit by a motorcycle. The boy's kettle went flying, cinders scattering, and he was knocked to the ground, but got up moments later, shaken but okay. The motorcyclist and passenger slowed briefly, then roared away.
  • Later I saw a lorry overturned in the street, remains still smoking, people standing around staring and disoriented.
  • A friends' flight was delayed 11 hours, which meant the unraveling of a complicated network of hotel, bus and dinner reservations, flurries of texts, phone calls, internet searches and consultations with frazzled clerks.
  • A man at the bus station was alternately insulting, nefarious, and thieving; after an hour or so of abuse, one of his co-workers waved us out to the parking lot, consulted with an unknown source, and called a big-wig who solved our problems and promised to sack the thieving boss.
  • And with that, it was gin o'clock.

Monday, October 24, 2011

sawa sawa sawa

On a day that saw 40 degrees C (about 104F) and a bus ride across Tanzania, here's today's soundtrack, Nwa Baby:

We heard this catchy joint at Lady JD's Nyumbani Lounge (more on that later), and last night danced to it on the sand and under the stars at Mbalamweze.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

bye now

Killing a few hours at the Dulles airport before my flight to Addis Ababa.
An absent gate agent's phone keeps ringing, Beyonce's tinny voice trilling "All the Single Ladies."
There's wifi, which is nice.
Beyonce again.
I slept fitfully on the red-eye from Seattle. Somebody kept passing ferocious gas.
But, I'm pretty wide awake. I'm thinking the Capitol Grounds decaf probably wasn't.
Today is the birthday of my oldest niece. Boy, is she old!
This is a mysterious kid, tres fashionable, thrifty, a little hard to read.
All qualities that should come in handy.
Happy birthday Bkres.

Sunday, October 16, 2011


I'm holding onto some stuff and thinking about it is making me sad.
I feel like I need to let go.
I feel sad about that too. And scared. It's scary to turn loose.
Because, whatif???
Then I think, I've survived some stuff--an AWOL father, losing my mom and grampa, brushes with scary strangers--and I've done stuff, too, I mean dude, I've traveled the world, I've gotten lost in Kowloon, slept in a train station in Paris, jumped off a bridge in Zambia, I've started over and gotten told no and somehow I'm still okay.
So, letting go--yeah I can do it. I can.
I don't wanna.
But I think I have to.
In happier news, I had another story accepted, to this fine establishment.
Tonight's soundtrack--Thee Satisfaction and OC Notes' "Icing", all of them super coolcats.

Friday, October 14, 2011


Something big happened this week, something that's the culmination of a year's worth of writing, recording, pizza, beer, ganja, laughs and out-takes and edits and arguments, computer failures and couch-surfing and many many minutes of staring into the digital abyss.
It was a big occasion and yet it's mostly the turn of a corner, so it felt less big than it might have. At an almost final moment, it hit me. We're here. I hugged my pal and said I love you! So not me. This something changed me fundamentally. I learned. I fumed. I rolled and swooped.
Anyway here's a taste.
More to come.

Monday, October 10, 2011

feliz cumpleaños a BSP

In a few short hours, BusySmartyPants turns 3.
Born October 11, 2008, it seems BSP is a Libra (schmanx Cafeastrology):
  • Sociable and intellectual
  • Has a flair for drama and wants to be noticed for creativity
  • Prone to over-indulgence and excess
  • Dreamy, inspired, sensitive, not in touch with reality, spaced out
  • Has an unhealthy imagination
Tradition dictates the gift of crystal:

Thursday, October 6, 2011

something new

In college I wrote a paper comparing a Goethe poem, "Der Erlkönig," with one of my favorite Willa Cather short stories, "Paul's Case." The professor was skeptical but I sensed a thread tying the two together and I made a convincing-enough case to scoop a decent grade.
That's creativity isn't it? Making fresh connections. Hearing and seeing things in your own way. We all live in our own universes and the best art is a peek across galaxies.
Last night I went to the sold-out Neon Indian show at the Crocodile. The headliner and 2nd opener Com Truise were better than good; my pal and I danced ourselves into exhaustion. But the beats I'm still thinking about were from Purity Ring, a steampunky duo who mystified and thrilled.
They don't have much on line but here's a bootleg video from a show in Cali:

Saturday, October 1, 2011

you're in charge

It can't be coincidence that our culture, which has made it possible to never interact with another human being--cars, ATMs, underground parking, office buildings and drive-thrus and self-check-outs and Redbox and Netflix--this same culture is crazy for social networking. I can't hate on it (although one more FB post about somebody's kid, dinner, life partner or crappy day might just send me over the edge). But, anything that gets people talking's gotta have its beneficial side. We're social creatures, y'all. Listen to the constant chatter around you, in restaurants and bars and coffee shops. Conversation is a valve, a connector, a sanity check, it's that uh-oh moment when you're bitching about something and you see in your friend's face that you've lost touch with reality and you better get your shit together and quick.
So, that said, listen up people: you're in charge; sometimes you gotta turn off the Facebook, Twitter, Skype, Foursquare, g-chat, and whatever else, and go live your damn lives.
Some pictures I snapped around town the last few days:
untitled (copout)

bsp videos don't sleep on 'em