Mar 30, 2011

Road Reading: The Book of Mormon and 'The Denial of Death' by Ernest Becker

I've never been much of a reader. Don't know why that is but its probably the most obvious culprit - laziness. I purposely didn't bring much stimuli on this trip, partly so I would have less belongings to secure and also to be more open to situations. No books, no MP3 player, no laptop and no smart phone. Save for the camera I lost in München, I don't I even own those things.

This has led to a generous a collection of other people's photos and pleasantly in the last few days people have volunteered their books. What makes these books more compelling have been how they speak to the people who gave them to me. These are words they literally live by and having spent entire days with them in vibrant conversation they resonate even more.

Book 1 - The Book of Mormon
Two mormons on a mission in Girona, Spain. They engaged me as I was heading to the hostel I booked at the very last minute. Rather than dismiss them entirely I invited them to help me find it, the walk giving them time to rap. Smash cut to us hanging out the next day. Met up with them at the local Aldi where a Uruguayan compatriot drove us to a massive dam 40 minutes away from the city. We picnicked with Argentinian staples, munching on Alfa Jores and drinking Mate.

"Our lives passed away like as it were unto us a dream." Jacob 7:26

Book 2 - 'Denial of Death' by Ernest Becker
A captivating American poet and artist staying at my hostel in Barcelona. A few brief, intense conversations unwittingly led to an "intellectual courtship". We eventually did get to hang out for a day. It led to me postponing my trip to Valencia, one of the string of excuses I used to stay in Barcelona. It was a day of walking and vigorous conversations on life, art and everything in between. The artist was embarking on his first international exhibtion in Paris.

We hung out at Montjuïc Cemetery where he took abstract photos of decay and moss patterns to file for upcoming works. We found an empty plot which he dared me to jump in for photos, it happened.

denial of death, ernest becker
From the Preface
... So long as we stay obediently within the defense mechanisms of our personality, what Wilhelm Reich called "character armor" we feel safe and are able to pretend the that the world is manageable. But the price we pay is high. We repress our bodies to purchase a soul that time cannot destroy, we sacrifice pleasure to buy immortality, we encapsulate ourselves to avoid death. And life escapes us while we huddle within the defended fortress of character.

Society provides the second line of defense against our natural impotence by creating a hero system that allows us to believe that we transcend death by participating in something of lasting worth. We achieve ersatz immortality by sacrificing ourselves to conquer an empire, build a temple, to write a book, to establish a family, to accumulate a fortune, to further progress and prosperity, to create an information society and global free market...
Update: I later realised Ernest Becker is of influence to some of my favorite comedians and personalities (Marc Maron and Jason Silva)

Mar 29, 2011

On Top of: Lloret Del Mar - No Spain, No Gain

27 Marzo 2011, 5pm - Lloret Del Mar, Spain.
  1. A hippie nonchalantly gets off the boardwalk and does a handstand on the railing
  2. From the handstand he somersaults onto the sand 12 feet below
  3. He calmly approaches the big rock and starts scaling it
  4. Using his upperbody he conquers it, reverse incline be damned
  5. Upon reaching the peak, with no hesitation he backflips onto the sand 14 feet below
  6. He returns towards the boardwalk and does a reverse hang onto the wall
  7. He vaults himself back onto the boardwalk, a lady passerby incredulously slaps him on the butt
  8. Bystanders are in awe. A few people start approaching him.
  9. The hippie walks off with a Dad and two sons in curious conversation
Monkey see...

lloret del mar, rock, climb

lloret del mar, rock, climb

lloret del mar, rock, climb

Spotted: Sleep-Biking in Barcelona

Spotted by the Deesa statue at Plaça de Catalunya. 1pm, Martes. 29 Marzo, 2011.
A 50yr old homeless dude must have been riding his bike home after a night on the piss. He trips himself up on the steps by the Fountain. His carton of milk splashes to the ground. He decides to sleep right where he is. Takes his jacket and leather shoes off. One hand resting on the handle bar, the other on the basket mounted at the front. He blows chunks.
I heart Barcelona.

Mar 28, 2011

Road music: Calella, First Resort.

I am in love with Barcelona. Have left the city for the weekend so I could avoid the inflated hostel weekend rates and instead spend that amount on the neighboring resorts and cities. Any excuse to be nearby so I can return to this amazing place.

Calella, was my first stop. A deserted party resort with dozens of empty hotels, my hostel was 7 storeys with roughly 3 rooms occupied. I had a 5-bed room to myself.

Not a very social weekend. The first night was spent watching Jazz at a cafe. The second, watching waves by the beach till 2 in the morning.

This was the soundtrack in my head.

VIDEO: 'This Must Be The Place' by Talking Heads

VIDEO: 'Holiday' by The Get Up Kids (live)

- Find the entire 'Road Music' Track listings here

Mar 26, 2011

Live sports results: Barcelona, March 2011

Marzo 19, 2011
Fútbol: Spanish League

Result: Barcelona vs Getafe (2-1)
Dani Alves scores Barça's first goal with a 25-yard screamer. Getafe scores a late goal to make the game interesting.

Marzo 20, 2011
Wrestling: SWA - Spain. Super Wrestling Alliance, España
The Chosen defeats Bad Boy
Judas "The Chosen" Archeron with heel promoter Catalina Jorge by his side gets the 3-count against Bad Boy in an impromptu handicap match in the card's Main Event.

Marzo 24, 2011
Baloncesto: Euroleague

Result: Game 2 - Barcelona vs Panathinaikos (71-75)
Barça squandered its commanding 16 point lead but Jaka Lakovic still had a chance to snatch the victory with a seemingly hurried pull-up triple in the closing seconds. The miss led to a run away jam to seal the come from behind victory for Panathinaikos. The series is tied at one-a-piece heading into Greece.

I watched 3 sporting events during my fortnight in Barcelona. It challenged my budget but was well worth it considering the world class reputation of the Barça teams. I ended up staying a few extra days in this gorgeous city as I'd unwittingly bought EuroLeague Basketball, Game 2 tickets, which was revealed to me when my tickets frustratingly didn't scan when I arrived for Game 1.

>> Check out my Basketball & Travel blog -

Mar 24, 2011

Your image as a construct - What to Wear (Barcelona)

Discovered at an exhibition in Barcelona. Frankly I wouldn't have paid much attention to this video if not for its mesmerising piano score, 'Avril 14th' by Richard James. Hip Hop aficionados might be familiar with it - Yeezy taught me.

Interestingly the themes in it overlap with email discussions I've been having with good friends back home.
What to Wear? Maria Brillas' wardrobe by Pedro Rodríguez
The complexity intrinsic to the fact of dressing is greater than it first seems as it involves a profound emotional and intellectual reflection which helps us to decide how we want to look to others; that is, to construct not only our public image but also our own identity.

VIDEO: Què em poso? El guarda-roba de Maria Brillas per Pedro Rodríguez

Mar 23, 2011

Marc Maron with Adam Carolla - On being sedentary

When I travel I like to do what I enjoy back home and experience how the locals do it in my new environment. Usually live cultural events; Comedy, music and sports. Possibly my favorite pastime is listening to podcasts. I don't own a portable media player so when traveling (as at home) listening to podcasts is a sedentary experience camped in front of a desktop.

Marc Maron in conversation with fellow comedian and podcaster Adam Carolla discussed the pitfalls of being sedentary in his latest episode.
Episode 159 - Adam Carolla
ADAM CAROLLA: Here's what I know, I know the sedentary life creates depression almost immediately

MARC MARON: I know that, I've felt that in my life. You've been trying to be in show business for a long time, surely there were periods when you weren't succeeding and anybody who knows or can relate to masturbating 4 times a day or eating snack foods until you pass out for weeks on end. I mean, you've been there...

ADAM CAROLLA: I know. Here's what I'm saying, you could achieve all that you can achieve and go out on the road. You can go to [renowned Comedy Club] Carolines, do six sets, kick the shit out of the audience, love every second...

You come back, turn your ankle, you're in bed for 2, 3 days. You end up drinking to much beer and watching 'Let's Make a Deal' and you're immediately depressed again. It can wear off like that! People are essentially like sharks that need to keep moving and keep swimming forward...
It was this kind of thinking that led to this - A poem in two parts. 'Travel = Movement/Time'

Find previous Maron podcast references here
- Marc Maron with Adam Carolla - On being sedentary
- Marc Maron with Doug Stanhope - On happiness
- Marc Maron with Norm MacDonald - On being in the moment
- Pete Holmes with Marc Maron - A question answered with a quote: Comedy Podcasts

Road movies: Loco Drift

ryu, streetfighter, walk

rambo, walking

Mar 22, 2011

Road Music: Live. Forever.

atomic cafe, munchen, james yuillphoto courtesy of The-Fred

I've heard some great live music whilst traveling, here are two wonderful artists I've witnessed. I didn't know much of either prior to seeing them, in fact what brought me were the stellar reputations of the venues. Now they will forever be attached to my memory of the city

Venue: The Atomic Cafe, Munich
Artist: James Yuill

Venue: Heliogàbal, Barcelona
Artist: Marina Gallardo

- Find the entire 'Road Music' Track listings here

Mar 20, 2011

Spotted: Barcelona Diving Pool

Piscina Municipal de Montjuïc, barcelona, city viewSitting in stands - 30 min
Standing by deck - 5 min
Getting locked out - 1min

Apparently the Piscina Municipal de Montjuïc Olympic Pool is only open for 2 months starting at the end of July. I got a lucky preview a few months early when the gates were unlocked as someone conducted maintenance. I was blissfully unaware as I strolled around wondering why the place was empty.

Mar 19, 2011

The Kids are Alright: A City in leisure

I think the surest way for me to get captured by a city is seeing it in leisure. Every city has a place where people congregate, where locals bring strollers and picnic baskets. It doesn't matter if its not picturesque, sometimes the unlikeliness of a place adds to its character. In München it was the Isar River, in Roma the Piazza di Spagna (Spanish Steps).

But hands down Barcelona takes the cake. So many spots, I haven't even begun to explore the city and I'm writing this after my fourth night. Yesterday I saw old kids playing petanque, young kids doing tricks on boards, blades and bikes. Inside cool kids gathered around Warhammer tables and playing Magic over coffee. Outside playing ping pong, football and basketball. Singles strolling and couples with strollers. Tourists peddling on bikes and paddling on boats. Bums on the beach and nudists with boners. Joggers and jugglers, cool cats and dog owners. Lovers making out and drum circles making music.

As for myself, mostly just people watched. Shot hoops for a few hours with a local named Julio and took an ill advised path down a condom littered trail on Mar Bella, the nudist beach. Was strongly considering nuddying up but the water was too frigid. Will save it for when I am fully game to go in. I haven't stuck to my 1am rule, have been largely on my own, yet to meet many locals (guapas or otherwise). Yet I am loving it, endangering my other rule of 'playing no favourites'.

It really sells the city, as a traveller you're always in leisure mode but to see these places buzzing on a casual weekday knowing its not populated largely by tourists. It makes you believe that people are just living.

Here are a selection of other people's photos:

Isar River, Munich
isar river, munchen, munich, people, picnic, aerial
Spanish Steps, Rome
Spanish Steps, rome, Piazza di Spagna
Parc de la Ciutadella, Barcelona
Parc de la Ciutadella, barcelona, park, juggling

Mar 18, 2011

Road Music: Songs in Espanol

A tribute to my new digs - Spain. Songs in Espanol.

VIDEO: 'Malaguena Salerosa' by Chingon

I requested this track at a Mexican dinner on my last day in Venezia. The song is performed by my Rolemodel's band 'Chingon'. Like Robert Rodriguez, my dinner host was a DIY "Mexi-CAN". Someone who intitially came to Venice for 2 days as a traveler and has since made a life there.

Update: This song was the also ringtone of a chica I met at a Lucha Libre wrestling show in Barcelona.

VIDEO: 'La Camisa Negra' by Juanes

This song was introduced to me a few years ago by someone who's played a big part in my life. I've heard this song in bars both in Germany and Italy. If I continue to hear it, this might threaten to be the official anthem for my Euro trip.

- Find the entire 'Road Music' Track listings here

A question answered with a quote: Spain edition

Have you ever spoken to someone you realise is just like you? So much so that the longer you hear them talk you're not so much thinking "Wow I'm looking into a mirror" but rather "Holy Shit! This is what I inflict on people?".

Find the collection of quotables here:
- A question answered with a quote: German + Italian edition
- A question answered with a quote: Spain edition
- A question answered with a quote: Portugal edition
- A question answered with a quote: Holland Edition
- A question answered with a quote: UK Edition
- A question answered with a quote: Lithuania Edition
- A question answered with a quote: Latvia + Estonia edition
- A question answered with a quote: England edition
- A question answered with a quote: Germany Revisited edition
- A question answered with a quote: Turkey edition
- Listen to my Podcast inspired by AQAwaQ: Lets's Get Real podcast

With that I present to you the Spanish edition of 'A question answered with a quote'

The longer we live the stronger our will to survive gets

messi, maradona, argentina
You need a teammate to act crazy with otherwise its just sad

flamenco, barcelonetta
Haha. Did you learn that from a book?

hell, freedom, park guell, okupay
We look for the hell of freedom

book of mormon, espanol,spanish, bible
We believe God puts friendly people in our path

kanye west, death, beautifulThat's what the river does...

Il coraggio esiste solo dove esiste la paura
(Italian: Courage exists only where there is fear)
I need to learn the correct technique for falling

He knows languages because he likes to know people

henry avignon
Don't judge your shape, you will find a hole

sims vacation, espanol
I prefer experiences that aren't programmed for me

retiro park
For other people, being themselves is just not a task

What's been your favorite episode?

I like seeing happy people doing happy things

cheech, chong, madrid, pothead
People are entitled to their curiosity

puerta monaita, granada
If you don't know where you're going, you can't get lost

Art imitating life: "Neo - Ruin" by Hisahara Motoda

You will have to forgive this segue because its as tragic as it is clumsy.

Speaking of art... I had an unforgetable day in Berlin with a special person. We visited a handful of galleries and spent an entire day talking about art and life. The last gallery we visited in Hackescher Market square, was a showcase of Hisahara Motoda's lithographed collection titled "Neo - Ruin".

In light of the current Japanese crisis his work takes on an unfortunate and unintended new meaning. A striking new resonance in this unfolding global context. See Hisahara's work below:
At first sight, the scenery and the buildings that one has become used to seeing have decayed, but there seems to be a subtle reality that one cannot determine as either a realistic depiction or a complete fiction. This may be connected to the mismatch evoked by the disconnect in our conciousness and senses which lies between reality and fiction
Artist: Hisaharu Motoda
Exhibition: "Neo - Ruin" (Jan28 - Mar26, 2011)
Gallery: Murata & Friends

japan, disaster, art, lithographs, earthquake, motoda

japan, disaster, art, lithographs, earthquake, motoda

Mar 13, 2011

Free Art Exhibitionism

I've been to some amazing exhibitions in some amazing spaces in some amazing cities. Best of all I've hung out with some amazing artists. I still don't quite know what to make of people's art for the most part but I do know the part I like most is the people who make art. For me an artist is someone thoughtful, with something to express, driven by passion. With this in mind, my reaction to art I appreciate tends to be "I wonder if they're as interesting as they seem". I have personally never been able to engage directly with art. Like paint and a brush, you can begin to form an impression but I've always needed to add flowing conversation to truly make something of it.

The artists I've spoken to have included sculptors, installation designers, writers, signer/songwriters, filmmakers, photographers and curators. I've had some great conversations about art and what its meant to us, the admission is freeing. The only art I've paid to see thus far has been Michaelangelo's Sistine Chapel but its a time honored tradition to part with money at Church.

I've always been drawn to the idea of the starving artist but we can agree there would be nothing to draw from a world starved of artists. So it is with great pride I introduce you to friends. Below are links to the wonderful artists I've met. They're all remarkable and memorable in their own way. If you could spare the time, kindly look through their work and support them in whatever way you can.

I sound like the Sphinx
Sylvia Hardy. Met in Frankfurt, lives in New York
Laura Bean. Met in Berlin, lives in Berlin
Brandon Driscoll-Luttringer. Met in Berlin, Lives in Los Angeles
Donovan James. Met in Firenze, lives in Baltimore
Monica Cipollone. Met in Roma, lives in Roma.
Lennart Münchenhagen. Met in Venezia, lives in Hamburg
Jeremie Dauliac. Met in Venezia, lives in Grenoble
Fabian Sedat. Met in Venezia, lives in Grenoble
Henry Avignon. Met in Barcelona, lives in New York
Dempe, Viktor and Linus. of 'Guilty'. Met in Lisboa, lives in Sweden
Todd Geasland. Met in Lisboa, lives in New Orleans
Maria Sassetti. Met in Lisboa, lives in Lisboa
Ruud Smolenaars. Met in Lithuania, lives in Holland
Dāvis Valbaks. Met in Latvia, lives in Latvia
Slikor. Met in Turkey, lives in Sydney
Martin Leung-Wai. Met in Argentina, lives in New Zealand.
Henrique Gaspar. Met in São Paulo, lives in Brazil.

My muse: Sphinx of the 'Mystery Men'

Mystery Men - Furious at Sphinx's sayings

My poetic mentor.
Find more Sphinx quotes here - The Sphinx quotes
Mr FURIOUS: Okay, am I the only one who finds these sayings just a little bit Formulaic? "If you want to push something down, you have to pull it up. If you want to go left, you have to go right." It's...
The SPHINX: Your temper is very quick, my friend. But until you learn to master your rage...
Mr FURIOUS: ...your rage will become your master? That's what you were going to say. Right? Right?
The SPHINX: Not necessarily.

Mar 11, 2011

Road Music: Life on the Road

Two of my favorite bands, on the romance and hardship of the road.

VIDEO: 'Bitter Strings' by The Jealous Sound

VIDEO: 'The Road' by Tenacious D

- Find the entire 'Road Music' Track listings here

Mar 8, 2011

Poetry in Motion: A Fisherman's luck

A Fisherman's luck
Awoken by birds he sits up.
There's still time.
He grabs what he needs and races to the water's edge.
He doesn't carry much,
all he plans to catch is a glimpse.
He bristles past the early risers,
past men on boats beginning their morning routine.
He reaches the clearing and waits,
he knows its a creature of habit.
He squints hoping to see the giant berthing in the horizon.
He knows in this season at this time, his chances are slim.
He waits.
He walks around hoping to find it from another vantage.

Coming towards him,
Something catches his eye
He can hardly believe it.
Though not unheard of,
this breed rarely arrives in these waters.
But the weather has been known to invite it.
He puts his hand out to feel the fish dart around his finger tips.
He casts his net,
hoping to see a bounty upon his return.
The whale wouldn't surface at all that day.
But as he retired back into slumber,
he couldn't help but smile at his good fortune.
3 Marzo, 2011
It snowed today in Venice. Just enough to look cool from a window, but not enough to look cool on the ground. It snowed twice in Venice last year.

Mar 7, 2011

Poetry in Motion: Waiting alone

Waiting Alone
Please wait a moment.
What are you waiting for?
Wait till you get a load of this. Just wait here.
Wait a sec. Wait a God-damn-minute!
You just wait. Wait Wait... Don't tell me!
Wait for it. Waaaaaaiit for it.


Can you wait for me?

I caaan't wait!

What is it about waiting that sucks? Part of the odd jobs I've been tasked with in Venezia is couriering guests from one part of town to another. A large part of it is waiting for people who've specified a vague and possibly arbitrary arrival time.

Today I waited for 5 hours. They never showed up. Not complaining, in fact on paper it reads well.
1) Scenic waiting area at the Scalzi Bridge near the main station
2) Sabato during Carnevale means New Years Eve level traffic. Lots of people to watch
3) The parade of outrageous costumes from Alice in Wonderland to Mario and Luigi. Its essentially 2 weeks of Halloween and EVERYONE is in the spirit
4) The sea of humanity meant it would have been a slow crawl to spend the day walking around the city
5) The waiting meant I got to avoid hard labour for the day
6) Its usually couriering packs of girls
7) Twas a beautiful day in a beautiful city

Despite all that, there is something about waiting that is unbearable. I can't quite put a finger on it. It has something to do with only moving in the one axis - time. Also when you're waiting, its usually for a relief of some sort. Most times in the form of company.

Funnily enough, the people I watched weren't do anything radically different to what I was doing. Albeit they were lost in conversation and lost in a foreign city. For most its simply walking around, people watching. In the case of those spectacularly dressed, being watched. Point A and point B are negligible, just being on a journey counts for a lot.

I make sure I get out of the house every night. In Venezia its usually been alone, its essentially "walkin around waitin for shit to pop". In basketball terms, its the equivalent of running around trying to get good position. Whether you receive an assist, get an open look or score that's another matter. Ultimately for best results you want to be able to create your own shot.

Maybe this why I don't like waiting...
The man who goes alone can start today; but he who travels with another must wait till that other is ready.
Henry David Thoreau
As you get older, you'd think there'd be an urgency as you have less time you can afford to spend waiting. But something tells me that with maturity comes peace. You just learn to cherish time and are more assured on what time is worth being spent on. With that said, I purposely omitted one common 'wait' phrase that I hope one day truly resonates with me - "some things in life are just worth waiting for".

Mar 2, 2011

On Top of: Piramide - Win in Rome!

24 Febbraio 2011, 11:30pm - Piramide, Rome

A poem in two: 'The long way' and 'The short way'

You repeat, hone and get fed great ideas through conversations. That's where a lot of these poems were born from. Having time to chill in Venezia has allowed me to pour these out rapidly.
The short way
Cities are cities. Museums are museums.
When static, we're complacent.
In motion, we're fatigued.
Experiences seem rehearsed.
Paved by literature, dulled by reproduction.
Though wonder is lost
in wandering it can be found.
For when we are lost,
we have something to find.
And we become explorers,
revealing beauty in discovery

The long way
One gallery. A hundred masterpieces.
One city. A thousand years.
One mind. A million thoughts.
Collected but never fully contained.

To discover the wonder,
we must wander in discovery.
Explorers using each other as maps,
guiding us to our exits.

Perhaps continuing deeper,
to stay and amaze.
Charting a path with one another
until we are found

A poem in two: 'Other people's photos' and 'A Shared Moment'

These two part poems seem to come easy. The themes tend to flow but there's a need to shift the metaphors. Probably a sign of a hack?

The poem 'Other People's Photos' should lead into said selection that I hope capture my experience. It will be a work in progress ad infinitum. If you'll pardon my stubbornness, its a shame some of the best moments are left uncaptured. The best times are often social, getting lost walking and talking, connecting with people. Usually they're times you don't want interrupted. Like a pleasant dream.

Other times, moments are spontaneous and only God's eye can capture it in its full glory.
Picture this ----> A hard day's work dismantling furniture and moving shit on a boat to be couriered from one part of Venice to another. Me and my amigo Roberto, chilling on a sofa atop a barge rolling down the canals of Venezia towards San Marco.
Other Peoples Photos
Why do we take photos?
To remind us what we've done,
or to convince others.
Perhaps ourselves?
Were moments disrupted,
or were they created once captured?
When witness to great sights,
why claim it with evidence of our presence?

The focus has changed.
It was never the moment.
It was you.
Had you not been there. It wouldn't exist.
In photos, we often dwell on how we look.
Where we fit in the frame.
If only the moment matters
perhaps other people's photos will suffice.
Maybe the comfort...
is knowing the moment was shared.

A shared moment
We inhabit the same space,
and walk down the same path.
But how much of it is really shared?
The gulf exists in our minds
But the bridge is in our hearts.

Our life thus far color our moments
In flight we can enjoy it with peace,
not weighed down by the gravity of reality.
We dread the re-entry,
the hostile atmosphere of earth.
Like a rocket, we will not return whole.

It doesn't get any easier,
but we plot future missions.
The goal hangs above us.
A light in the darkness
we may never reach again.
Comforted by the moon rock
that at least shows it was possible

More poems and B-Sides by LozInTransit

Labour and stillness
Beautiful city
Hack poetry.

Writing a lot of poems. Some of them are definitely going to be B-Sides. I won't tell you which. You can decide amongst yourselves.
Its not where you've been, its where you're going
Its not where you're going, its where you are
Its not where you are, its what you see
Its not what you see, its what you do
Its not what you do, its who you're with
Its not who you're with, its who you are
Its not who you are, its where you're at

Its not how much you've acted, its how much you've done
Its not how much you've done, its how many people benefit
Its not how many people benefit, its how people benefit
Its not how people benefit, its who benefits
Its not who benefits, how did you benefit
Its not how you benefit, its how much you earn
Its not how much you earn, its how much you own
Its not how much you own, Its how much you're loved
Its not how much you're loved, its what you love
Its not what you love, its who you love
Its not who you love, its how much love you give
its not how much love you give, its that you have love in your heart