So I’m sure it’s unnecessary to draw attention to the reality that this blog has in fact… kicked the proverbial bucket. However, I figured I’d provide closure for those of you who were hoping for some sort of conclusion…. This leg of my journey is over.
A little over two years ago I left Peterborough which is to say here I am adorning Peterborough’s landscape a little over two years later. I have to say I’m impressed with the longevity I was able to muster out of this project at all. I feel like my efforts to keep this kind of thing going are habitually futile. The truth is, in part at least, that you haven’t heard from me in the last seven or so months because I really haven’t been traveling all that much and this is a travel blog after all.
After leaving Mexico, I basically made my way to the promised land that is San Francisco where I proceeded to live for the next six months. In short, I built myself a community, I raised funds for non-profit charities, I fell in love, I bought myself a motorcycle, I drove said motorcycle to Ontario… in that order. I would elaborate but how do you really sum up six months of living to a sufficient degree… I suppose you don’t.
I will say that upon returning to Ontario, I finished the journal I’ve been maintaining for the duration of this journey. Having done so, I allowed myself to return to the beginning and rehash the journey my mind took over these last two years. Over the course of this blog, I feel I’ve revealed a little of that journey but in summing it up, I felt it was most accurate to say that I spent these few years looking to love and looking for love in the wrong places. And when I think about it, it’s really taken my entire lifetime to figure that out. Anyway, I’m going to leave that as an ambiguity and if you want a further explanation, you’ll have to track me down.
So basically, whoever you are reading this, I probably love you at least a little, at least on some level and I hope you’ve enjoyed peering into my brain for a short while. Perhaps we’ll do it again sometime.
So I’m not dead yet, however I did forget to mention that I saw a Banksy piece while wandering aimlessly, as I am prone to do, in New Orleans. So I’m mentioning it now… and here it is…
More about my present situation to follow…
Christmas greetings from Acapulco, Mexico… where it in no, way, shape or form resembles Christmas. The sun is shining, the sky is blue, it’s hotter than anything and people seem to be going about their normal day to day. This suits me just fine… it’s like a break from Christmas more than anything. I’ve been saying for awhile now that Christmas happens far too often. No sooner have we thrown the tree out, packed up the decorations and gotten back to business as usual and it seems like the process is soon starting over again. Now if we approached Christmas like the World Cup and only celebrated it every 4 years… that would be something to celebrate.
Despite these thoughts, I had filmed a christmas post wherein I gift all of you, my faithful readers, with song and speak of my recent adventures… but for the life of me I can not get it to upload on this computer. So, as such is the case, I will instead gift you with videos produced not by mine own hand… enjoy. Much love you to all, hope your Christmas is a splendid one.
1. This video has the highest production quality of any sunday school pageant… ever. Not to mention the fact that it’s entirely endearing….
(care of my good friend Amy)
2. This video presents a decidedly different take on a familiar story and was created by one of my favourite writers, Neil Gaiman.
(care of my good friend Rudy)
Happy Christmas everybody!
Reading… I’m quite fond of it. What began as a child with the love of such works as The Hobbit (a book I’ve read more times than is probably necessary) and the collective works of S.E. Hinton (I know, right), was detroyed during highschool due to the entirely much too thorough dissections of such masterpieces as To Kill A Mockingbird and Hamlet (and did anyone else loathe The Stone Angel as much I did?). This moratorium on reading lasted for a good 4 or 5 years but was finally rekindled when one of my nearest and dearest friends, Shannon Culkeen, bought me a book for Christmas when I was, I believe, in the second year of my university education. Despite the aversion I had developed for the written word, this book being a gift, I felt obligated to read it. The book was Killing Yourself To Live by Chuck Klosterman. Klosterman writes in a completely readable fashion and this specific work of his, has as its subject matter, music and travel… other things I am quite fond of. It is the tale of how Klosterman, then a writer for SPIN magazine, is given an assignment to determine why it is that musicians who would have likely faded into obscurity have been immortalized due to the fact that they commited suicide. In order to to solve this riddle, he travels the United States to the graves of such aforementioned musicians and chronicles said journey. In the end the novel really doesn’t comprehensively address the riddle at all but serves simply to record the strange introspective voyage that was taken in search of the answer. Suffice it to say, I loved it and I’ve been reading furiously ever since.
All of this preface to say that traveling brings out the reader in me like nothing else does. Probably linked to the fact that I am granted ample amounts of time on my own with no one but dead or absent writers to keep me company, I read… a butt load. Of note, I recently read 18th century French novelist Joris-Karl Huysman’s A Rebours or Against Nature. It is the “poisonous yellow book“, (for those of you familiar with Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray), that Lord Henry Wotton gives to Dorian Gray who upon reading it found that “it was the strangest book he had ever read” and eventually serves to lead him down his path of excess and depravity. It is a book where nothing much of anything happens for it is comprised almost entirely of elaborately thorough descriptions of an aesthetic hedonist’s eclectic, decadent and often bizarre tastes in literature, jewels, textiles, perfumes, art etc. etc. If you’ve read chapter nine of The Picture of Dorian Gray, you will have an idea of what this novel is comprised of.
All of that further preface to say that there was one portion of this novel that I found particularly intriguing… so much so that I have reproduced it in blog form. This was really just an incredibly long-winded way of saying have a read and tell me your thoughts…
Some clarification and by that I mean a brief history lesson… second lines date back to an old jazz funeral tradition originating in 1783 when African slaves taking a page from their history came together in New Orleans to form the first Social (aide) and Pleasure Club. These clubs were designed to reflect the concept of tribal society, the idea that if a member of a club was in need or died, the rest of the club would come together to support that member and their family. It’s basically the idea of coming together, especially in times of need, for the collective good. These clubs initially provided loans, assistance, legal counsel and a means of “education”, meaning reading, writing and learning skilled trades. As mentioned, inevitably there would be deaths in these clubs, and acting as one of the first forms of “insurance” the clubs would come together to pay for funeral costs and put on jazz funerals. In the late 1890s brass bands began to emerge in these communities as musical instruments had become more accessible and so often these bands were asked to play at said funerals. When the church service was over and the march of the mourners began from the church to the cemetery these bands would play slow, sad funeral dirges to reflect the struggles and hardships of life. However, on the way back the music would become more upbeat breaking out into highly spirited tunes symbolizing the dismissal and interment of the physical body and of the spiritual bodies release into heaven. This is when the second line would show up… friends, relatives and acquaintances would follow along dancing with abandon. Fast forwarding, at this point in history the parades have become more of a preservation of cultural heritage and a bonding agent for communities more than anything else. So every Sunday a different neighbourhood throws one of these parades and everyone is welcome to join in. I know I can’t think of a better way to spend a Sunday afternoon.
p.s. This seems to be post one hundred. Goodness…