Thursday, December 7, 2006

The 100 Best Songs of All Time

A Few Weeks Ago,

I was driving home from work in my car, listening to Snow Patrol's "Run."

This song is overdone, cheesy...and one of the best songs I've ever heard.

I am a blatant fan of pop music, and "Run" is an amazingly crafted work of that genre. It starts out with this horribly minor key-guitar grind underneath sad, sad lyrics, in the sort of vein of sad where you sort of instantly want to change the song to something else. If you can make it to the chorus, though, the song errupts into...well, pop euphoria, and then beats it into the ground until the solo FINALLY emerges, and you kind of want to play air guitar with a look on your face that would get your ass kicked if you were in public.

But you're not.

Let's just say it's anguished. (The look.)

Anyways, I found myself considering if it was one of the best 100 songs that I've ever heard.

I decided that it was, and then, it being a long drive, started adding other songs to that list.

The Best Songs Ever

  1. A Day in the Life – The Beatles
  2. Float On – Modest Mouse
  3. What I Got – Sublime
  4. Do You Realize? – The Flaming Lips
  5. While My Guitar Gently Weeps – The Beatles
  6. Fake Plastic Trees – Radiohead
  7. Across The Universe – The Beatles
  8. Paranoid Android – Radiohead
  9. Oakland Blackouts – Hieroglyphics
  10. Agnus Dei – Samuel Barber
  11. All Along The Watchtower (live) – Dave Matthews Band
  12. Such Great Heights – The Postal Service
  13. Smells Like Teen Spirit – Nirvana
  14. Killing in the Name Of – Rage Against the Machine
  15. Bartender – Dave Matthews Band
  16. Prayer of the Children – Kurt Bestor
  17. Hey Ya! – Outkast
  18. Bohemian Rhapsody – Queen
  19. Tiny Dancer – Elton John
  20. Eleanor Rigby – The Beatles
  21. Interstate Love Song – The Stone Temple Pilots
  22. November Rain – Guns 'n Roses
  23. Laid – James
  24. Good Vibrations – The Beach Boys
  25. Don't Stop Believing – Journey
  26. Sex Type Thing – The Stone Temple Pilots
  27. Crazy – Gnarls Barkley
  28. Send Me on My Way – Rusted Root
  29. Solisbury Hill – Peter Gabriel
  30. Clocks – Coldplay
  31. Hide Your Love – The Beatles
  32. Two of Us – The Beatles
  33. Feel Good, Inc – Gorillaz
  34. Ave Maria – Franz Beibel
  35. Longview – Green Day
  36. No Rain – Blind Melon
  37. Immigrant Song – Led Zeppelin
  38. Under African Skies – Paul Simon
  39. Basket Case – Green Day
  40. Mr. Jones- Counting Crows
  41. Ants Marching – Dave Matthews Band
  42. Losing My Religion – REM
  43. Suite Judy Blue Eyes – Crosby, Stills and Nash
  44. Aenemia – Tool
  45. Gentlemen – Fela Kuti
  46. If I Fell – The Beatles
  47. Caress Me Down – Sublime
  48. Free – Phish
  49. Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes – Paul Simon
  50. Chicago – Sufjan Stevens
  51. Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me, Kill Me – U2
  52. Let Go – Frou Frou
  53. Sweet Adeline – Elliott Smith
  54. Standing Outside a Broken Phone Booth – The Primitive Radio Gods
  55. Run – Collective Soul
  56. High and Dry – Radiohead
  57. Bulls on Parade – Rage Against the Machine
  58. Help! – The Beatles
  59. Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots Part One – The Flaming Lips
  60. Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band/With a Little Help – The Beatles
  61. Ruby Soho – Rancid
  62. Over and Over (live) – Hot Chip
  63. I Know What I Know – Paul Simon
  64. White Room – Cream
  65. Stairway to Heaven – Led Zeppelin
  66. SemiCharmed Life – Third Eye Blind
  67. Even Flow – Pearl Jam
  68. Real Love – The Beatles
  69. Clint Eastwood – The Gorillaz
  70. Mr. Brightside – The Killers
  71. Barrel of a Gun – Guster
  72. Holland, 1945 – Neutral Milk Hotel
  73. Nowhere Man – The Beatles
  74. It's Only Love – The Beatles
  75. Stinkfist – Tool
  76. Run – Snow Patrol
  77. Loser – Beck
  78. Light My Fire – The Doors
  79. Crash Into Me – Dave Matthews Band
  80. Creep – Radiohead
  81. Today – The Smashing Pumpkins
  82. She's Leaving Home – The Beatles
  83. A Hard Day's Night – The Beatles
  84. I Would Walk 500 Miles – The Proclaimers
  85. The Circle of Life – Elton John
  86. I Can't Get Next to You - The Temptations
  87. Buddy Holly – Weezer
  88. Selling the Drama – Live
  89. Without Me – Eminem
  90. Transatlantisism – Death Cab for Cutie
  91. Billie Jean – Micheal Jackson
  92. Arc of Time – Bright Eyes
  93. One Headlight – The Wallflowers
  94. Where is the Love – The Black Eyed Peas
  95. 93 'till Infinity – Souls of Mischief
  96. Redemption Song – Bob Marley and the Wailers
  97. Dig For Fire – The Pixies
  98. Mrs. Robinson – Simon and Garfunkel
  99. Be My Baby – The Ronettes
  100. Istanbul (Not Constantinople) – They Might Be Giants

Now, about this list:

Beethoven, Bach, Mozart, The Who, Pink Floyd, More Bob Marley, More Led Zeppelin, etc. They were all 'superior music geniuses' than, say, the Black Eyed Peas.

However, this is not a list of the greatest music geniuses.

It's a list of the best songs ever. By Me.

Take #66, Semi-Charmed Life. I realize that this song may not be as powerful as Pink Floyd's "Mother," to some, but here's the difference. In 8th grade, I was violently in love with a girl who was moving away. I already (like most 8th graders) thought that Semi-Charmed Life was a pretty great song.

One day, she called me, and said, hey, you know that song semi-charmed life?

I said yeah?

She said, it reminds me of you every time I hear it.

I asked her why.

She said, because of that line about having sand in between your toes. It just reminds me of you.

This instantly made it my favorite song for the whole summer.

Some would say, well, this doesn't qualify it as one of the greatest songs ever.

I say, fuck yes it does.

Every factor needs to be considered when making your list of the best 100 songs of all time.

Pink Floyd are indeed an amazing rock band.

But I, for some reason or another, have yet to really be really, really obsessed with a Pink Floyd Song.

Maybe it's because I saw The Wall when I was too young, and it fucked me up.

Who knows.

Whatever the reason, Pink Floyd could make my list in a year. It might make it with 10 songs.

But it's not on it now.

The songs also have to stand out on their own: Phish's Farmhouse is one of my favorite discs of all time but none of the tracks really hold their own (for me) as singles, so no cuts for them.

The Beatles could probably squeeze 15 more tracks onto my top 100, but I'm a little Beatled-out right now, which hurt their showing.

I included a few live tracks. I didn't mean to- it's just that there is no non-live recording of Dave Matthews Band's "Watchtower."

Also, with Hot Chip: their song, "over and over," was one of the coolest things I've ever seen-live. On the Album, it might make top 200, but not 100. So I gave 'em the live version for the list.

If the song made you weep because someone didn't love you anymore, (two songs on my list) if the song made you dance 'cause you were falling in love, (4 or 5) or maybe you liked if the song said the 'fuck yous,' to all the people you already hated at the time, (a few more), or you were addicted to lying in bed, listening to the song, and watching rain hit your windows (at least one huge one), then it belongs on the list.

If the song was just catchy or well crafted, or maybe you just said shit, that's a good song.

Then it belongs on you list.

These are the best songs that have ever been written

Sunday, November 12, 2006

It was cold outside when the chicken shot Andrew

Robin woke up that morning with a cat in his arm.

He was sleeping on the ground, and it took him a moment or two to remember why. Oh yeah, he had been drinking, bottles of wine following the Alabama Slammas that Brendan had whipped up. Brenden and Curtis were probably still asleep, elsewhere in the house. Robin wasn't quite sure where Andrew was. He had been sleeping on the couch.

Robin was sleeping in a sleeping bag that was a little too small for him. In order to fit comfortably, Robin had had to unzip the top third of the bag, which had become half of the bag as the night went.

There hadn't been any extra pajamas readily available in the ten seconds that drunken Robin had considered trying to find them, so he was sleeping in his boxers, which, unfortunately, were of the "bottom of the underwear drawer" variety-the kind that doesn't fit. This is to say; sometimes these boxers don't quite provide the "coverage" that they should.

He woke up with Andrew's grey cat in his arm. It purred and looked at Robin, and Robin began to pet it.

This created a sordid cycle that trapped Robin in bed for the next few hours: Robin was warm in his sleeping bag, the cat was warm in his arms, the cat purred while Robin petted it, Robin couldn't stop petting it until he got out of bed, he became dependant on constantly providing such a huge amount of pleasure to the cat, and so on. The two of them were unable to exit the sleeping bag until Andrew came into the room and Robin had to consider his BottomOfTheDrawer drawers and his unzipped sleeping bag.

Throwing on some jeans, he wrested himself from the cat, and wandered around the kitchen, watching Andrew make breakfast-curry. It was cold in the kitchen, so Robin put on a sweatshirt, and then a black pea coat, as Brenden wandered through, put some curry in a bowl, and left the room again. Curtis wandered in the door almost immediately after, and took a bowl himself. He left the room in search of Brenden.

Robin decided that he wanted some breakfast just as the supply ran out, and, standing in the living room, was told that there simply was no more Curry to eat.

Robin was plainly disappointed by this fact. The cat rubbed against his leg. Andrew decided to list the options still available to Robin at this point.

"There's some cereal and stuff."

Robin stared blankly at Andrew.

"Uh…and chicken! We've got these great chicken breast things!"

Robin continued to stare, but something had changed in the stare.

"They're like breaded…and are filled with butter and basil…you put them in the oven, and heat them up…they're…"


"…uh…really good…ummmm….what?"

Robin began peeling at his face. It hideously contorted, and then began to give, coming off completely.

It was, of course, a mask.

Robin was still standing in the middle of the room, in jeans, a sweatshirt and a black pea coat. But he had the head of a giant chicken.

He was, indeed, a giant chicken.

Andrew stood glued to floor, mouth slightly open.

Robin reached into the pocket of his coat and pulled out a sleek black pistol, silencer attached to the end.

He raised his arm and shot Andrew through the head.

He dropped the mask to the side, and walked briskly over to where Andrew lay, shooting him twice more on the ground. He then walked from the room, got into his car, and drove away.

Brenden emerged from the garage with Curtis to find Andrew, dead on the ground, next to a mask of Robin's face.

There was no way that they could ever begin to figure out what had happened.

..."Haha, and like weeks later, detectives would find a frozen, breaded chicken buried in the yard outside Andrew's house, but they would never know!" Robin finished telling the joke.

Andrew laughed and fished the chicken out of the freezer. "Here it is…don't kill me."

Brenden came in and they told him the story they had just made up, about Robin actually being a violent giant chicken. He laughed, and looked for more Curry. Robin told him there wasn't any more. Brenden shrugged and left the room.

Robin took the chicken and began preheating the oven. While he was wrapping a baking pan in aluminum foil, he looked up and jumped backward, startled.

In front of him, on the kitchen counter, was a giant porcelain cat face.

"Jesus," Robin said.

Andrew looked up from a fragment of newspaper. "Oh, yeah. My mom has lots of stuff like that." He gestured above his fridge. "Like that."

There was a huge porcelain carrot-person above the fridge, with a small, disapproving face.

"That thing," Andrew said, "gives me nightmares. I hate that thing."

Robin began pulling at his face, like in the chicken joke.

Andrew laughed, and then Robin's face really did come off.

His head was a giant carrot.

Andrew froze, stunned, just like they said he would in the joke. His mouth was indeed slightly open.

Robin walked over and got really, really close to Andrew's ear.

"If you tell anyone," he whispered roughly, "I'll kill you."

He then walked back to the other side of the room and put his mask back on, as Brenden came into the room from the garage, empty bowl in hand, and stopped short, looking at the look on Andrew's face.

"Ummmm…what's going on, guys?"

Andrew licked his lips nervously and shot a glance at Robin, who looked grimly back at him. "No…nothing."

"Okaaaaay," Brenden said, and then slowly walked over to the sink, placing his bowl inside. "That curry was great. What was in it?"

Without taking his eyes off Robin, Andrew answered "Chicken."

Brenden froze. He put his hands on the edges of the sink to steady himself. He took a deep breath.


Andrew finally looked away from Robin, glancing at Brenden's back.

Brenden turned around slowly. He reached for his face, and began to pull at it.

Andrew tried to laugh at Brenden's contribution to the joke, but then stopped laughing as Brendens' face came off, revealing him to be a giant chicken.

Everybody stared and nobody moved.

Then the room exploded into action.

Brenden pulled a gun from his pocket and raised his arm to fire at Andrew, when a shot rang out and Brenden dropped to the floor, dead.

Andrew and Robin turned to look at the source of the shot.

It was Curtis. He stood, gun smoking in his upraised arm, in the doorway to the garage.

His head was a giant stalk of celery.

Nobody moved for a second or two.

Robin pulled his mask back off.

The carrot and the celery looked at a stunned Andrew for a second. The chicken lay in a slowly spreading pool of blood.

Curtis walked over to Andrew and stood in front of him.

"I do this not for you," he said, "I do this…for vegetables."

Robin grabbed Brenden's legs, and Curtis grabbed his arms, and they carried him from the room. The door closed.

Andrew stood alone in the dark room and thought about all this.

Wednesday, November 8, 2006

I Was In Italy and Hadn't Written Kath in a Long Time

To: Kathleen

From: Robin

Subject: And God Said

Tue Sep 16, 2003


Let there be

and there was robin

and this was good

and on the second day he said

let there be light

and there was more robin

and this was even better

and on the third day he said

let there be land for all of my creatures to live on

and there was robin






buuuuut on the fourth day He said

let there be all manner of creatures and beasts

and there was a really outdated joke by Robin

and on the fifth day He said

let Robin go and smoke a lot of hash upstairs

as weed is hard to come by here

and then he will lose all will

to continue with really long

and slightly Outdated





okay, that was going to be the transition to an actual, conversational email, buuuut I am now too high to function...I mean, first I thought I could be "likes to fuck around on the internet" high

but sadly

this is not true

I am


Monday, October 9, 2006

One Good Thing About Music

I like
How many kinds
or types
(that might be a better word)
of music there are

I may hate what you're
But you dig it
It makes you feel


Rock on

Unless I'm
Trying to sleep

In that case

Fuck Bjork
And Fuck you
But especially
Fuck Bjork

But that's


There's music that
you like if you're

--> -->

A binder of Albums
That could quickly
Get you



There's a reason
That Kylie Minogue
Is running for president
In the musical world
Of England
Right now

(wasn't she the locomotion girl?)

There's a reason
Justin Timberlake
Already won

Now, that may not
Be my cup of
but it could
be with some

(and milk please)

But the fact that
It rocks the boat
(don't rock the boat, baby)
Of so many
Is the coolest Thing about music


Now that I think about it,
The coolest Thing could be
John Lennon's Glasses.

(you know, the round ones?)

Or Buddy Holly's Glasses?

or Wondering after 20 minutes what song Phish is playing now but not giving a fuck due to the stress of keeping your huge smile from making your whole body


Wishing you were Cameron Crowe or more specifically a character in Almost Famous?
Laughing at Spinal Tap then deciding your favourite new band is the Darkness?
Playing a chord you just learned on your guitar and finally getting It


Just right?


Slash's Top Hat!
Garfunkel's Hair
Paul Simon's Graceland
Beetovhen's 5th?
A perfect 5th?
A Perfect Circle?

Watching twenty thousand lost souls frenzytear up Arco Arena to Killing in The Name Of?

I didn't know that many people still had that much jumping in them.

Jumping with them!
Singing with them!


DancingatastringcheeseincidentconcertprobablydrunkoronwackydrugsI'mnotreally surebutgettingbumpedbysomeguyandtryingtobringyourselfbacktothis worldfromthatfunkeyplaceyou'vebeenforGODknowshowlongtotryto


(sorry man, or something like that)

And the fucker just gives you a huge amazing smile through his plaid shirt and hippy beard and says


"sorry man, just trying to get by…you're too fat!"

And you roar with laughter
And he does too
And return back
To that bass line
Finally having let
That smile make
Your body explode.

And now you're all OVER the place

Amazing Grace
Amazing Solos
Amazing Rolos

(not really related to music but tasty nonthless)

Na Na Na Hey Jude

(you know what I'm talking about)

Stairway to Heaven
The Way each Beatle holds his guitar
Denfending Ringo as a legitimate rock drummer

(anybody remember when these stopped being questions?)

The Bandanas on Stephen Tyler's mic stand
Jungle Boogie at High School Dances
Bob Dylan's Scowl
Robert Plant's Howl
Eddie Vedder's Croon
Rainy Days listening to music that makes you sad

But in a good way

(my sister said that)

Elliott Smith's "Sweet Adeline" after One Minute and Thirty Seconds

(The First part's pretty good, too)

When Dave Matthews lets rip a bellow
Getting Freaky on a cello

(Just think cello rhymes satisfyingly with bellow)

The Start of Crazy Train
Feeling cool listening to Jazz
Ani DiFranco's leg Kick
Healing Music when you're sick

Drum Circles on beaches when it's warm enough

Sometimes without beaches
Sometimes without circles
Sometimes without Drums

But the Beat's always there If you can just find something to

--> -->


Bang on.
Rock on.
And rock on.

Summer rock Festivals
But not the Warped
Too Hot
'Least I think so
And this IS my Poem

But you're welcome
To come in and dance for a

Just leave your prejudices behind
And bring them glasses with you.

You know
The round ones.

Thursday, May 25, 2006


So I was thinking:

If you had a friend that was a duck, say a duck that was around person-size, and you were out playing catch with a bunch of your friends (including said duck), and you caught the ball and turned and threw it at your duck-friend, but oh no he wasn't paying attention, and it was headed right for him, what the fuck would you yell at him?

Say his name was Jake.

If you yelled "Jake!" He'd turn and get it right in the face. If you yelled "Duck!" He'd still turn and get it right in the face, this time a little peeved that you had taken to calling him "duck" instead of "Jake." So that's even worse. "Jake, Duck!" wouldn't work out either. You could try something like "Jake, crouch!" But he'd most likely spend the time he should be spending...umm...ducking wondering something like "Crouch? Who says crouch?" and he'd still get hit with the ball.

All in all, that duck would be fucked.

And what were you doing playing catch with Jake, anyways? Dude doesn't even have hands!

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Son of Bali, Belle and Sebastain, and a Bottle of Water

Well, I was listening to Belle and Sebastain while I was writing the title, but then it ended and something else came on and it was Tuesday's gone by Metallica and friends and well this is a good song too but I don't want to lead any astray by my title; this blog no longer powered by belle and sebastain.

So before I get started with my 'rest 'o Bali' blog, I want to address the fact that I just watched Elisabethtown, and fucking loved it. I hadn't seen it until now because the critics massacred it, and I try to not waste my time with movies that like 90% of the critics hated (unless it's a comedy. Critics just don't get comedy), but I loved this movie. Maybe I was seduced by the best soundtrack I've ever heard, maybe I'm a sucker for great romantic flicks, all I know is that I'm offering my props to Elisabethtown right now.



Right as the insane drug binge was winding down and we were basking in the afterglow of the night, wishing we had some pot and sitting on our back balcony, bare feet dangling in the pool and stars being way too beautiful for their own good, someone had the thought:

"Maybe we should have saved this sort of crazy night for sometime when we aren't going river rafting tomorrow."

We were headed 3 hours up the island to go river-rafting on the Ayung River and we maybe got an hour of sleep before that.

We woke up to the rafting guy calling our rooms, obviously everyone slept through the various wakeup calls and alarms that went off for a while, to be killed in favor of blissful silence.

But this man would not be slienced (I thought about killing him, despite his good intentions in trying to take us rafting through a rainforest) and we pulled ourselves out of the hotel and into his van.

Driving around Bali is really scary. They drive on the other side of the road, which always takes a bit of adjustment on my part ("DEAR LORD WE'RE ON THE WRONG SIDE AIIIIIE" every time I'm dozing and wake up) and they really like passing each other all the time, on crowded, two lane roads. I'd say 70% of the people on the road are driving mopeds (gas has recently become very, very expensive on Bali. The Hindus blame the new Muslim government entirely, as Gas prices have gone up 300% since the Muslim government stepped in 3 years ago. At least this is what Wyan says)

Anyways, so you'll be drivng along the road somewhere in a mountainous rainforest area, and a pack of mopeds will swoop past you, managing to get back into their lane mere seconds before a huge truck zooms by. This is whith everyone honking the whole time. In Bali, a honk just means, "hey, I'm behind you," or "I'm about to pass you," or "hey man, what's up?" or "fuck you, son of a donkey!" (that last one was a rough translation from the literal 'honk.' The two languages don't translate exactly, you know.) Therefore, people are honking continuously, and strangely, honking ceases to bother you after a while.

Anyways, on this particular drive I saw none of this, as I passed out in the car and didn't wake up until we were in the small town (I forget the name) where we were to begin the rafting trip. We suited up, found our guide, and started down the 500 or so steps into the rainforest basin where our rafts were waiting. (The picture on my pictures page is during a pause in that walk down).

The rapids were only class 2 and 3, so it was pretty mild, but still fun as all get-up. A two hour ride under gigantic, several-hundred foot waterfalls, through the sort of rainforest I always imagined there would be in 'tropical' places, with a long pause to play in the biggest waterfall and really, just to yell a lot and have mud in between my toes. They fed us a Balinese buffet on the side of the river at the end of the ride, which was served on wooden plates covered with huge leaves. No waste! whoop!

Three hour drive back led to even longer naps. I woke up and didn't know where everybody was, so I went to the massage area of the hotel, and got an hour long massage with some sort of crazy milk bath and stuff (I am still a man) for 12 dollars. I became addicted (as well as in love with my massuse) and got four more hour long massages during the rest of my time in Bali. The 12 dollar one was the most expensive one I ever had, too.

The bath had me feeling all spiritual (the stone tub was in this room filled with stone idols and little fountains and ferns and stuff) so I meditated for a while (not for an hour though...crazy Wyan) and then we went out to dinner again (this time I spent a whopping 6 dollars for several courses...haha awesome).
We made a half-ass attempt to get wasted but were too tired, and hit the sack again.

After beating the poor sack up, we crashed.

After crashing into things, we went to bed.



The travel package that we had purchased in Saipan got us three nights in a nice hotel in Bali, and now our three days were up. We needed a place to stay. The Guam Clumate girls were staying some 'really cheap place' elsewhere in Kuta that sounded good (ie cheap) and so we packed in a hurry, grabbed a cab that kept getting lost in the chaos of Kuta, and eventually found its way to the hotel where the girls were staying.

At checkin, we found out that the room was going to cost us 25,000 rupies each (for two rooms, actually), which is around $2.50. The girls, however, had already bailed for the day with Wyan, which sucked, 'cause now we didn't have any transportation.

We grabbed our own cab an hour and a half north to Ubud, a sort of cultural center of Bali, where we spent four hours eating at restaruants and cafes, shopping for knicknacks and stuff, and getting more messages. This time, my massage was outside, in a sheltered stone courtyard, and halfway through, it started pouring. It was pretty cool. Afterwards, I got tea with the massuse until the rain subsided, then I found John and we watched monkies run around and have sex with each other until we heard a honk and Wyan arrived. Amanda and Mandy wandered up and then we piled into the car. Wyan wanted to 'take us somewhere.' So we went.

This temple (another Hindu temple) was also located at the beach. I was sort of reminded of some of the coastline near big sur and Santa Cruz, but with more spectacular rock formations rising out of the water like twenty feet out. One of these rock formations had a small temple built into it. There were huge crowds here (I guess this temple is really famous...I wish I could remember what it was called), which detracted a little (as it always does), but it was still pretty cool. We watched the sun set behind the temple and a surfer who was riding the huge waves around the temple (which was probably really, really dangerous. Attention-seeker), John and Mandy had their picture taken with a huge snake, and then we went home.

It was during the car ride home that I started feeling a flu come on. I decided that I wasn't going to let anything hold me back on my vacation, so had Wyan help me buy the Indonesian equivalent of Theraflu. We got back to the hotel, started drinking again, got dressed to go out, I laid down on my bed, saw John lay down on his, and


John and I both woke up, completely dressed to go out, and looked at each other in suprise. It was morning. I started laughing. John said 'fuck.' Mandy then came in, dressed to go out, too. "You guys, we're so lame!" Mandy yelled, then sat down heavily on the bed.

We got up, headed down to breakfast, found the Bali girls (it was their last day there) and then Wyan showed up. He 'wanted to take us somewhere,' so I put on my swimsuit and got in the car, blindly.

It ended up being another beautiful beach, right next to the Bali club med. We decided that we were all going to apply to Club Med (we figured were were all very, very qualified from being Clubmates) and took a hike through the Med facilities, until we finally reached the man who who had the authority to tell us that they weren't hiring, and if we wanted a club med job, that we had to contact club med international, see our website, blah blah blah so we went to the beach, played on a Flying Fish (speedboats pull this raft with wings at high speeds until it takes off and flies. Ended up costing us 9 dollars each, but I messed my hands up on it, so it wasn't that worth it.)

We drank beers at a small cafe on the beach until Wyan arrived, then we went back to Kuta for the afternoon. A long walk around town ended us up at Vicks,' a small hippy bar that sells...magic shakes.


John and I split one, mandy had her own, and then we went running through the markets for a while. John decided to take a nap, and so Mandy and I went back to Vicks,' drank...ummm...another magic shake, then headed for the beach (almost getting lost on the way). We sat at the beach and smoked cigarettes and looked at the stars for a while, and then suddenly mandy was taking her pants off and sitting right where the sand was covered with the ebbing tide around half the time. I laughed, took my pants off, and sat next to her. We regarded this scene for a while in silence. The wave would go out, it would be calm for a while, then it would come back in, sometimes with great force, and knock us over. We ended up playing in the waves for a while, and then it started raining. Really, really hard.

For a while, I wasn't sure that I liked it. Then I found that I was turning slow circles, arms outstretched and face looking at the sky, and that I had been doing so for a long time.

I decided after a while that I was going to check on our things, and so headed back to where our now very complete pile of clothes was sitting in a heap and being rained on. It was now very, very dark. I reached for my black shirt, and felt FUR AIEEEEEE WHAT THE HELL?

It was a dog.

A little black dog had curled up on top of my shirt and gone to sleep while Mandy and I were frolicking in the ocean. It lept up and barked at me. Keep in mind that I'm ON MUSROOMS OH MY GOD. I slowly backed up, stood uncertantly on the beach for a bit, and then lost my mind. It came back a little time later, and I ran back to the ocean, where Mandy was still very much in mid-frolic. We laughed about it and played for a little bit longer, then came back out sit for a while.

It was at this point that a very drunk local guy came wandering over and asked if we wanted to join his party a little ways down the beach.

You see, when I trip, I fear 'others,' so I was against it, and politely refused him for a few minutes until he left. However, I could tell that Mandy wanted to go, and I was starting to feel a little better about it, so we headed over to their bonfire.

It was a bunch of local boys, our age, surfer types with dreadlocks and no shirts, playing guitars and bongos, smoking and drinking Arak, the local liquor. One had black hair spilling out the brim of a black top hat.

There was also a guy and a girl from Denmark (blonde, naturally), and a cool guy from Mexico. The guy started playing a Java reggae song called 'Coconut Trees' that we are now all obsessed with, but are unable to find a recording anywhere...but anyways everyone was singing and dancing and playing when there was a loud CRACK and it started POURING again. Hooting and hollering, drummers scooped up their drums, guitars were grabbed, and everyone made a beeline for the lifeguard tower that they had been using as shelter. We made plans to meet up with them later and ran for our hostel, and promptly got lost on the streets of Kuta.

It was only for a moment, though, as we found our neighborhood and ran laughing through the streets, soaked to the bone and not caring. The shops and bars that lined the street were filled with people trying to stay out of the storm, who would laugh and call when we ran by.

The owner of a shop called out to us to come take a look at his wares, but Mandy cheerfully responded,

"No thanks, we're a little wet."

A little wet?

This made me burst out laughing, and we laughed all the way to the hostel.

At the hostel, we met up with the Guam Clubmate girls, who were on their way to the airport. We hung out with them for a while, gave them our wishes that they would miss their flight and come back to hang out with us, and then said goodby.

At this point, my theraflu was wearing off, and I was feeling pretty sick, so I decided not to hit the bars, but John, Amanda, and Mandy went out bar-hopping while I crashed.

John stumbled into the room at 5am and fell into bed.

We were supposed to get up to catch our ride to go scuba diving at 7am.


I woke up at 7 and woke John up. John promptly gave me a look more full of hate than any I have been the recipiant of in quite some time.

Finally he was roused, and went next door to wake the girls.

He came back. They weren't coming.

Amanda wanted to stay the next few days to hang out with the cool Bali locals. Mandy was just too hung over to get out of bed. We split up for the next few days. They went surfing, did a lot of shopping, and hung out with the local boys in reggae bars and clubs.

John and I threw ourselves into Wyan's van and passed out for the 4 hour drive to Bali's northwestern edge, where we did our first day of scuba diving.

Some 50 years ago, a US ship sunk right off the shore of Bali, and is now a popular dive site for scuba divers for obvious reasons: It kicks ass.

It's huge, running hundreds and hundreds of feet from end to end, and covered with coral. You can be looking at a bunch of brilliantly yellow and red fish, swimming around a beautiful piece of purple coral, then realize that you're looking at the steering wheel of the ship.

We spent our first dive circling the outside of the ship. At one point, our Dive Master pointed to the shadows underneath the front of the ship, and we looked and saw a barracuda, which then swam close to us and bared it's insanely sharp teeth at us. (A barracuda is the one who killed Nemo's parents, and now he was going to kill me.) It was scary enough, and it was alone. I've heard they travel in packs of several dozen. damn.

We surfaced and ate lunch, then went back down and this time swam through the ship, which was even cooler, although pretty errie.

After Diving, Wyan flung us back into his van and we drove a few hours east to a small beach town, where John and I got a cool little hotel room for another 50,000 rupies (around three bucks) a night. Wyan, John and I ate dinner at a beachside restaraunt, then Wyan bailed to spend the night at his wife's family's house, and we wandered around for a bit and then crashed, really, really early (around 8pm).


Our Dive Master woke us up at 545am and we walked out to the beach and hopped into his brother's small fishing boat, and went our on the mirror-image still water and watched the sunrise and the dolphins jump, (I think I have a picture of this on my photobucket page). Around 730 we came back in, then took a ride a few more hours west then took a boat ride out to a tiny island with the island of Java towering behind it.

The tiny island, of course, had a Hindu temple on it. We didn't go on the island, but dove right off the boat and explored the coral around the base of the island.

We were diving with a crazy (is there any other kind?) Austrailian couple who claimed to be really experienced divers. The woman, however, promptly took off like almost straight down, and John and I, distracted by all the fish around us, followed her to a depth of 35 meters, which is waaaaaay too deep for a couple of guys on their 8th dive ever.

The diver master came down and got us, though, and all was well. We came up and had lunch on a pier jutting out from the base of the hindu temple, and watched people making their way to some ceremony pile out of tiny boats and across the pier to the temple above. A man's singing voice filtered down through the trees and we ate fried rice and sunburned, then went out and dove again.

It rained on the boat ride back, and we huddled under the wooden roof until we reached the safety of Wyan's van.

I tried to stay awake on the 4 hour van ride back to see the amazing segmented mountain rice paddies all along the road, but only managed to do this around half the time.

We rolled into Kuta, caught up with the girls, got dressed, and ate Dinner at the bar where two our our new local friends were playing. After this bar we flew from bar to bar for the rest of the night, stopping in at a Ultimate Frisbee party, and several other clubs in a night that resulted in a wasted Robin stumbling home in a small rainstorm and passing on on the grimy bathroom floor.


This day was relatively laid back. We ate in restaraunts and cafes, got one last massage, did a little more shopping, met up with Wyan and then went to the airport.

We flew to Guam, from Guam to Rota, then Rota, and now we're back home in Saipan.



Sunday, April 23, 2006

Bali: Monday

Bali: Mondy


I woke up late, groggy, and opened my back door to discover that the balcony to my room had stairs right down into the pool, as did every room. I headed to the other room and found John, the girls, and Lauren and Jen hanging out. Lauren and Jen had been put in touch with a local named Wyan who, for 20 bucks total a day, would be your personal driver, tour guide, and friend. He was awesome.

I spent a lot of time riding shotgun next to Wyan, driving through rainforests or through fields of rice paddys, talking to Wyan about his religion (Hindu), Politics (not going too well for the Hindus. Bali is 98

Percent Hindu, but Bali is a part of Indonesia, which is governed by Muslims.), Meditation (he can blank his mind for an hour), and food (dude loves rice more than anyone I've ever met).

But anyways, on this particular day he thought for a second, then said "I'm going to take you to Dreamland." A half-hour drive took us to the most beautiful beach that I've ever been to, hands down. The water looked laughably like generic postcard tropical water, the sand was white, it was all backed by a wall of rainforest, with pockets of houses and huts poking out all along the ridge.

We tossed our stuff down and ran gleefully for the water, swam out to the waves, realized that they were GIGANTIC, tried to body surf one, caught the wave and then had it land on top of us, and then retreated somewhat less gleefully than we had charged the wave. We were gonna rent some surfboards and surf, but the waves were too big and we feared them.

We ended up drinking at the Beach bar for around a dollar a beer, then bailed.

We headed back to Kuta, the capitol of Bali, to do some shopping (Shopping in Bali can be very, very cheap if you know how to bargain well...shirts, bags, etc for 2-6 bucks, etc) then Wyan 'wanted to show us something,' and so we just got in his car and he took us to a Hindu temple clinging to the lip of a cliff a couple of hundred feet above the ocean. It was pretty kickass. We spent a while exploring the temple and feeding the monkies pieces of pineapple, then Wyan 'wanted to show us something,' so we went to another part of the temple and watched a Kecak Dance.

A Kecak dance is a Hindu legend acted out in dance, driven by a chorus of around 70 barechested, beatboxing, shouting, chanting, singing, murmuring badass guys ranging in age from 20 to 65. They provide all the music with their voices, and it was heaven for an accapella music nerd like me. Fucking amazing, and the sun setting into the ocean behind it all was pretty cool , too. Near the end of the dance they set all these piles of brush on fire, and the demon-king character ran around and kicked them (barefoot!) into the air. I've got some amazing pictures that Amanda took of all this that I'll put up at some point on my photo page:

I've got some Bali stuff up already, but I'm working on more.

Anyways, we then headed back to Kuta.

The Guam girls were pretty exhausted, so they headed to bed. On their way out, we found out that they were tired from being out at the bars until 6 am. They said that a 'magic drink' that they had tried at some bar had something to do with this. John and I decided that we needed to try said magic drink, and so after our amazing, 4 dollar dinner, we went to the bar that they had found it.

John wandered up to the dude, and goes,

" you have....magic shakes?"
" you have...mushroom drink?"
"Oh yeah. Come in!"


When you arrive in Bali, one of the first things you see in the Airport is a huge sign that states: Bringing drugs into Bali carries the DEATH PENALTY.

As a result, I was skeptical that this dude was really going to give us a drink with magic mushrooms in it. I was sure that it would just be some sort of tourist trap drink with a lot of alcohol that would convince you that hey, something's wierd! I must be on mushrooms oooooh!

So he brought us both a shake for 4 bucks each. We downed them, playing pool, and then Mandy wandered in (amanda had gone home to sleep). John and I ordered another round of these 'mushroom' drinks. Haha yeah right are these really mushroom shakes. We finished playing pool and decided to find this reggae bar that the girls had been talking about with a killer live band and good ambiance.

We went up to the bartender of Venom (the bar with the 'magic' shakes) and said goodnight. And then he did something that we would later shake our fists at and yell, "He knew!"

He shook our hands, looked us in the eye, smiled in a knowing way, and said, "you guys have a good night."

At the time, I didn't think anything of it. We started walking down the street when suddenly I felt a little tug. Holy shit. Those really were mushrooms. And a whole lot of them. Uh-oh. We have to get off the street. Now.

The problem was, we didn't exactly know where this reggae bar was. the street was dark, crowded, and filled with seedy-looking dudes who would pop out of the dark and ask if we wanted to buy pot. Everything was looking sort of grim when suddenly we could hear some fantastic Marley song. There was bar!

The bar was lit with all sorts of cool lights, and the best reggae band I've ever seen played all night long. I know because we were there all night long. They played Marley, hits from Java and South America, and Sublime! Bah-Bah!

We, too were up until 6 am.

Okay, so I'm writing too much. I just spent two hours covering my first day and a half in Bali, and now I'm out of internet time. Again. Okay, next time I'm here, I'll do the rest of the days real fast and just get 'er done. dang!

Bali: Part One


Whew. So much to say and no way to start out
...well, that's a start.

I'd also like to start this out by apologising for the last blog, specifically to Elliott, for it's complete lack of anything about Bali. I really, really did mean to spend my two hours of prepaid internet cafe time writing about Bali, but then ended up writing a fantasy conversation with a dude that I don't even like that much for most of the time I had to spend at the internet.

But here's the Bali scoop!

I'll rock this chronologically.

(note: I reserve the right to write that I'm going to 'rock' things at any point that I'm listening to Jurassic 5. Thank you. That will be all) I'm driving back from the hospital, gingerly sitting in the front seat of John's car, when I notice that there is a cop on a motorcycle behind me and one lane over (of the two possible lanes...The widest road Saipan has).

I immediately remember that this car has no insurance, no glass on the back window, hasn't been registered since 2002, and no emergency brake, amoung other problems. However, it's the registration that worries me.

I realize that I'm worrying needlessly. Cops in Saipan are reputadedly easy-going to a fault. I've heard of people being pulled over, but never ever given a ticket for anything.

I promptly got a ticket.

He was like "Ummm...sir, are you aware that this car hasn't been four years?" I pretended to be amazed but probably failed admirably. I mean, look at this car, sir. Of course it hasn't been registered in four years. It was, however, amazingly bad timing for me to be pulled over. This car has been evading arrest for four years, and I get pulled over, 5 minutes from PIC, with only 15 left minutes to pack for a week in Bali?

This is so like me, I thought.

I sighed and waited and the cop finally finished and gave me a ticket for just no registration (which was only 25 bucks) instead of the 300 dollar "no insurance" ticket that he "should have given me."

In retrospect, he was pretty cool. I mean, I got pulled over twice in three days the very week my registration expired in San Diego, and the cops were all dicks there.

But anyways I flew home, grabbed a single backpack (and a small one...this comes into play later) and stuffed it with a few shirts, one sweatshirt, one pair of jeans, one pair of shorts, some running shoes, a book, my ipod, my passport and my wallet.

I ran out the door as John, Amanda, Mandy, and the driver waitied in the car for me. I stopped. I had no idea where my ticket was.

After gutting my room, I miraculously found the ticket buried in a pile of random papers in my desk (in under three minutes! I rule!) and jumped into the car. We're off.

We flew to Guam for a few hour layover and ran into the Saipan ultimate frisbee team (which in another life where I have more time I play for), which was en route to a tournament in Bali. They (captained by Amanda's boyfriend, Bruce) bought us beers and had a fairly merry time in the Airport.
While we were waiting in line for the security checkpoint, Amanda tapped my arm and pointed at a sign my the U.S. Homeland Security Department that declared that the airport in Bali did NOT meet U.S. Security measures.

"Haha," I said, pretending not to care, and we got on the plane.

The flight from Guam to Bali, due to the...erm...Boil situation.

that's all I'm going to say about that.

We arrived in Bali around 9PM on Sunday the 9th.

Bali kicks ass. The bus and club bombings that happened in 2002 and 2005, respectively, have contributed HEAVILY to the complete downfall of the tourism industry. Austrailian, American and European tourism has slowed to a complete crawl, and while this was cool for us, this is not good for Bali.

As a result, I'm going to say the locals have never ever treated me ANYWHERE as nicely as the Bali locals did. Sure, most of them were trying to sell me things, but even those who weren't were friendly and helpful, everywhere we went. A few towns we drove through even had a little pack of kids that would run along the side of the car, smiling and waving. I loved the Bali locals.

We were picked up at the airport by our hotel (we had pre-paid for 3 nights at a pretty nice hotel, then were on our own for the rest of the week). A few clubmates from Guam were also on island (Lauren and Jen) and there was a message from them at our hotel that they wanted to go out with us later.

We just crashed instead.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Bali: The Prolouge

So I went to Bali last week.

Hmmm, before I get too far into this story, I should start out by talking about The B.O.M.B.

Hmmmm, maybe before I get too far into that, I should talk about THE EAR.

Okay, well start with THE EAR, but Ill keep it short, this one's not too interesting.

In January I got an ear infection. Swimmer's Ear. Those of you who have been swimmers definitely know what this is; for all you others, its a huge fucking painful ear infection that you get from having water in yer ears too much. Bacteria have a little fiesta in yer ear canal, and it's a bummer. Anyways, I got one of these in January, went to the Doctor, got eardrops, and figured that was that.

But this is Saipan, and these are no ordinary Bacteria.

I dont know if it's because it's so humid here, or maybe because of the crazy tropical bacteria in general, or maybe the Spam that everybody eats all the time, but Bacteria here don't fuck around.

To cut the story short, I had the infection for two and a half months. I was on all sorts of antibiotics and nothing seemed to work. Around three weeks ago, I got an appointment to see the ENT (Ear, Nose and Throat) specialist at the hospital. I was really anxious to see this dude, as I was going to Bali in two weeks, and playing in water was definitely on my agenda for Bali. I had to go to Human Resources to get a ride to the hospital, and while I was sitting in the waiting area, this guy Cole came in.

Cole: "What's up, Robin?"

Robin: "What?"


Robin: "Ear infection. Can't hear too well."

Cole: "Oh man, that sucks."

Robin: "Yeah, Ive had it for like two months."

Cole: " Dude, there was this Clubmate who worked here a few years ago and had an ear infection for a few months. Dude was a dumbass and just thought he could ride it out and just put some alcohol in there every now and then, and it just got worse and worse. When he finally went in to the Doctor, and they took a look in his ear, there were like worms in there like eating at the inside of his ear."

Robin: (horrified silence).

Cole: "Alright, see you later, man."

Robin: "...gasp...see you Cole."

Cole: "Oh, one more thing, man."

Robin: "Yeah?"

Cole: "Was it really necessary to put this whole conversation in quotes like this? I mean, couldn't the message have been conveyed by just writing that I mentioned the worms thing?"

Robin "Hey man, don't ask me."

Cole: "But aren't you writing this right now?"

Robin: "Nah, that's me in a few weeks. Not me now."

Cole: "Well, I'm talking to the 'you' of right now, but this is being written by the 'you' of a few weeks from now."

Robin: "Yeah. Why don't you ask him?"

Cole: "Okay. Hey Robin from the Future?"

...Okay, my characters are talking to me. Didn't see that one coming.

Cole: "Robin?"

Ummmdo I like write back? Put myself in quotes?

Cole: "Nah, man, we can hear you fine."

...Oh...Ummm okay. What's up, Cole?

Cole: "Isn't this whole section kind of unnecessary? Like, wouldn't one sentence like 'so this guy Cole came in and told me a scary story about worms in some dudes' ear 'have been enough? I mean, aren't you trying to write a blog about Bali?"

Uh...yeah...I guess. I get easily sidetracked.

Cole: "No kidding, right Robin from the Present?"

Robin: "What?"


Robin: "Sorry. Ear infection. Can't hear too well...right about what?"

Cole: "I was just talking about how Robin from the Future gets easily distracted."

Robin: "Oh. I didnt hear that part. I was playing with this string I found here."

Cole: "...Oh, that was lame."

Robin: "What?"


Robin: "I heard you the first time, man. I mean, what was lame?"

Cole: "Robin from the Future set that whole part up so that you'd be playing with the string while I was talking to you, you know, cause he gets easily distracted, which means you do, too, as you're just him from two weeks prior."

Robin: "Are you saying you don't think this piece of string is pretty sweet?"

Cole: "Well, okay. That's some sweet string...hmmm....hey....hey Robin from the Future?"


Cole: "Could we have some laser guns or something?"

Ummm...I guess...but this isn't supposed to be a fictional blog.

Cole: "Oh, yeah, like it's stayed completely nonfiction. We're talking to a version of yourself from the FUTURE."


Robin: "Hey, my string just turned into a laser gun!"

Cole: "Hahaha! The world is our oyster!"

Robin: "Haha!"

Anyways, that's about what happened.

I went to the ENT, who was some heavily accented dude from Somewhere in Europe. He was totally proficient, though, and sucked all sorts of gross stuff out of my ear with a vacuum. He told me that my ear hadn't been infected for a long time, it was just totally irritated at me for all the antibiotics that I'd been unnecessarily putting in it for so long. God damn it but hey my ear is better I'm finally healthy again! Hooray! What's...what's that...on my butt?

The B.O.MB., otherwise known as Boils On My Butt.

I kid you not, the SAME DAY that I got rid of the pain in my ear, I grew a huge boil on my butt cheek. For the uninitiated, a boil is essentially a really, really bit zit. Let's just say in the ballpark of 4-6 times bigger than a zit. And I didnt just have one. Oh no. I had THREE.

Before we go any further with all of this, let me make one thing clear: I did not get the BOMB because I dont clean my butt cheeks. I shower every day, okay?! OKAY!?


Anyways, the same merry band of Bacteria from my ear, bummed that the party had ended in my ear, made their merry little way down to my butt. The boils got bigger every day, and after four days, I was unable to sit without huge, fantastic amounts of pain, which was problematic, BECAUSE I'M A LIFEGUARD.

It was now only a few days before I was to fly to Bali, and I knew one thing: I needed to get these boils taken care of. Now.

On Friday, April 7, I went back to my friends at the Marianas Medical Clinic (not the ENT). I walked in, and the doctor happened to be standing in the waiting room. She saw me walk in and sighed. "Your ears' still not better," she said in a flat tone. She's also from Somewhere in Europe. I think France, judging from her accent and general disdain of everything.

"No, I said, It's...umm...something else.
"Oh." She said, "What's that?"
The whole waiting room full of people looked at me expectantly. I hesitated.
"It''s...I've got a...cough...boilonmybutt."
"I've got a boil on my butt."

She laughed and took me into a back room. After showing her the boil, she told me to go into the 'procedure room,' and then left me there, because she needed 'help with this one.'

I spent a while wondering what that meant, then the doctor came back in, pulling on rubber gloves, followed by a Physicians Assistant, who was also pulling on gloves.

"Allright, lie down on your stomach," she said.

They closed the door, and I'm going to leave you guys out there, too.

Let's just say I can now cross off 'Have four hands in my butt cheeks at once' off my 'Things to Do Before I Die' List.

As we were walking out, she gave me a prescription for some (sigh) more antibiotics, and told me that she needed to see me on Monday, so she could pop 'em again. I told her that this wouldn't be possible, as I was leaving for Bali on Sunday the 9th. She considered this for a second, then goes,

Well, do you have a girlfriend?

(where was she going with this? it couldn't be...I said No)

Well, do you have any friends who you are close enough with that they could


Needless to say, I told her that I was going to take my chances, and waddled back to work.

Sunday finally rolled around. We (my friends Amanda and Mandy, and my roommate John) worked a half-day, and then got off at noon. Our flight was at two thirty, but I needed to zip over to the hospital and get my 'butt drugs.'

(and now, a monent of silence for my use of the term, 'butt drugs.')

Anyways, we were getting a ride to the airport at one-fifteen.

I borrowed John's old beat-up van (The one I'm driving in the picture on my picture page) and drove to the only pharmacy open on Sundays: The hospital. The drive took me twenty minutes. It was Twelve Thirty. I waited in the slowest line POSSIBLE behind a lady WHO HAD FORGOTTEN HER PERSCRIPTION AND WAS STILL SOMEHOW SURE THAT SHE COULD STILL GET HER DRUGS MY GOD LADY IF YOU DONT GET OUT OF MY WAY I'LL REALLY GIVE YOU A REASON TO NEED DRUGS OH SORRY AM I HOSTILE I'M LATE FOR A FLIGHT AND OH YEAH HAVE THREE BOILS ON MY ASS!

But I just waited and finally got my drugs and got out of there at eleven fifty. I had twenty-five minutes to get back, pack (I had only just started packing) and then jump on the ride to the airport. The drive was going well enough...until I saw the lights flashing in my rearview mirror.

Sunday, February 12, 2006


How it happened:

I was working a lifeguard shift at the beach, helping Japanese people get into their two person kayaks, and trying to explain to them that the correct way to sit in a two person kayak is not facing each other, when my buddy Paul walked by me with his girlfriend Mary.

They had an hour off and were going to take one of the sailboats out (which I still can't do, as I need more experience before they let me out. eh.) I waved to them and went back to trying to help pull the Japanese couple's boat in closer to shore before they got out to try to correct their seating position (people like to try to get in and out of the kayaks in as deep water as possible, because, well, IT MAKES NO SENSE AT ALL. tourists.).

A note: at least the Japanese are polite about being stupid when they're on vacation. Americans and Russians like to pretend it's everyone else that's stupid when they're on vacation.

anyways, Paul and Mary took the boat out, and were sailing out of the beach area, when the beach center's (up the beach from where I was) microphone crackled into life and I heard my buddy Eric shout into the loudspeaker.

"scrrrrrrrrrrrrreeeeech! Hey. HEY! Raise your hands if you're going skydiving!"

I looked around. The Japanese woman was wriggling like a drowning otter over the side of the kayak (it's hard to get into a kayak in deepish water) and her husband was trying to help her but really just falling out of the boat too, but neither of them was raising their hand. I guess I shouldn't have been surprised. As they couldn't speak English, they wouldn't have known to raise their hands even if they were indeed going skydiving. But there was no one else at the eyes finally lit on the departing sailboat. Paul and Mary both had their arms raised as the boat disappeared from sight.

They were going skydiving.

I wanted to go skydiving.

I had missed my chance in San Diego, despite the fact that I was secretly really, really relieved that mom stopped me that time, as I was terrified of going. Still, it got me thinking.

Later that day, I was walking down a hallway at my job, heading for a shift working at the tennis center, when my buddy Eric came quickly around a corner. (That's mostly Eric in the photos).

"Hey Eric," I said.
"Hey Rob," he said. "Wanna go skydiving?"
I stopped dead in the hallway. Yes, I wanted to go. Yes, I was still scared of going.
"Ummmmm," I said. "You're going?"

It turned out that Paul was taking Mary for a late Christmas present, and Eric wanted to go, too. However, they could only take pairs of people, so if Eric wanted to go, then someone else had to. They were going to jump from 14,000 feet, which is a 50 second free fall, then 6-8 minutes descending with the parachute up.

"I'll think about it," I said.

I spent all of my time at the Tennis center (minus time handing out mini-golf clubs, tennis rackets and roller blades, and spraying used tennis shoes with deodorizer) thinking about this situation.


This is the most amazing thing that has ever been invented. Typically, in the past, when I've seen it being used, my reaction has been one of vague disgust.
"Eeew," I'd think. "Who knows how many pairs of sweaty fat feet have been stuffed into those bowling shoes."

However, you should see this stuff work. It kills 99.9 percent of bacteria. It sprays in a satisfying, clean jet of odor-slaying vengeance. And it smells really good! (Especially the 'springtime fresh' variety! now on sale!) Here I'm thinking, if I owned a bottle of this, no shoes of mine, even my running shoes, would ever smell again!

There would be no need to take my several year old red Nikes that had some sort of syndrome where they would smell like bad Jesus every time I took them off after padding around the cobble stoned streets of Bologna, to the point that I'd put them in my top cabinet of my dresser and close the door every day as to avoid looks of horror from my girlfriend if she was unhappy enough to pass within several feet of them!


I mean, I've got this friend who that happened to, and he, well, he wishes, I mean told me that he wishes, that he just had some 'springtimefresh' shoe deodorizer spray then he could have just sprayed some of that right in there just like I was spraying some into a pair of size thirteen Rollerblades a few weeks ago and wondered,

"Am I going to go skydiving?"

And I realized that the answer was definitely yes. I mean, I knew if I could just chuck myself out of that plane, I'd have the time of my life. I needed someone else to chuck me out of the plane. But I needed to go.

I had pool life guarding next (we rotate on hour shifts) and I plopped into the chair, the "look-how-high-up-I-am-you-swimming-bitches-and-I've-got-this-red-tube-and-whistle-with-me-that-I'm-not-scared-to-blow-I-am-your-lifeguard-sunglass-clad-and-whistle twirling" feeling already settling over me. I felt someone climbing the chair next to me, and looked down

(coolly, I thought. It's important to look as cool as possible when you're on a lifeguard chair, unless you need to play air guitar if the Darkness comes on the pool stereo.)

and saw Mary pop into view.

"Hey," she said. "I think you need to give some serious thought into going skydiving because it's going to be a really good time and..."
"Ok," I said.
"Eric needs someone else, and we're going to be able to see three islands from up there, and..."
"Sure, I'm down."
"And we'll grab some beers and burgers afterward, and...what?"
"Let's do it."
She laughed. That had been easy.

She climbed down and started the two week waiting period, where I did my best to not think about it, which was impossible late at night, when I'd imagine the tingle in my feet as the solid surface of the plane would disappear beneath my feet to be replaced with 50 seconds of flying. Every time I'd see Eric, his wild hair (recently cut) flying as we'd pass each other on our way to various shifts, He'd yell "SKYDIVING BUDDY!" And I'd wet myself.


...I mean, I have this friend who'd be around, and he'd wet himself. He was really glad that he was wearing diapers, that he purchased because I was so scared, I mean he was so scared, that I was going skydiving.


anyways, moving on and anyways I woke up at ten on the day we went, ate breakfast alone, and found Eric, Paul and Mary pounding up the stairs to find me.


I wish that Eric's name was Peter. Then I would have gone skydiving with Peter, Paul and Mary. (We would have been 'blowin in the wind! Haw!)

Anyways, they found me and we piled into Mary's SUV and we went and ran crazily into the Skydiving store, half expecting the staff to jump up and run crazily around the store with us, being so excited that we were jumping out of a plane my god a plane! But the two Japanese girls manning the counter just smiled and had us sit and sign countless pages of forms that say:

skydiving is a dangerous sport and we won't sue and don't worry this place is insured for 250,000 in death insurance and yada yada yada PLEASE DON'T READ ME IF YOU WANT TO RETAIN THE GUMPTION TO GET INTO THAT PLANE JUST SIGN ME AND TRY NOT TO SWEAT ON THE COUNTER WE JUST HAD IT CLEANED.

So I did and I didn't (sign it and sweat) and they tried to get us to buy the DVD of us jumping for only 250,000 dollars no wait, not 250,000 dollars that was another number that was drifting ominously through my mind at the time for some reason, the DVD was 150 dollars, which was outrageous but heck this place needed to rip off tourists didn't they so we didn't get it but Eric and I did get into jumpsuits.


Thaaaaaaaaaat's why jumpsuits are called jumpsuits! ooooooooooooh!

And I was to be strapped to a large Russian man named Sergei, and Eric was to be strapped to an Australian man named something really Australian, and they had hats to wear if you wanted to wear a hat while you were jumping and I found a Winnie the poo hat and instead of feeling silly with this choice i felt comforted and Paul took pictures of the "DANGER" signs on the parachutes and we posed and tried not to look nervous but failed and then we walked out into the hot saipan sun and were taught the correct way to hold our arms while we left the plane at 32 feet per second squared (isn't that right?).

We met the equally Australian Pilot with an equally Australian name, tucked into the back of the plane, and took off, Eric and I giving each other crazed looks as the wheels left the ground.

The ride up was oddly calm. The whole situation just felt so surreal that I couldn't get effectively scared, although I had been sure that I was going to lose my dome at this point. We reached a thousand feet and I felt like we were as high as we could possibly go. At two thousand feet everything was already like pin-sized. Somewhere around eight thousand feet we could see the whole island, deep blue water becoming clear and turquoise (this island being the reason the world turquoise was invented, I realized) as it approached the shore.

We passed up through the poofy white clouds at this point. I realized, in a detached way, that my dream of just leaping from a passenger jet as I passed over a Field of clouds and trying to walk on them would finally come to be. Around ten thousand feet the pilot let Eric (who was sitting in the front of the tiny, maybe a dozen feet long, plane) fly for a bit, and a sudden turn made my stomach start to panic for the first time, but then the piliot re-took the controls and my calm returned. The concept of me bailing from this plane was so surreal that there was no way I could deal with it, in a scared way or otherwise.

Eric wanted to go first. We were both wearing altitude watches. Our guides were filming us with cameras and cracking jokes, trying to get inside our heads in exremely beefy russian/ausrailan ways. They told us that this was only their 10th jump or so (it was their 10,000ish and 14,000ish jump, respectively). They told us there was a chance of a water landing. My guide told me that as I was the one wearing an altitude watch, that I would have to yell "HELP MEEEEE" when we hit 5,000 feet, and then, only then, would he pull the parachute cord. He then told me that we were at 14,000 feet, because we were.

They clipped themselves onto our backs. Eric shot my poo-bear hat a look and asked if it was sort of comforting to have the hat. I told him it was. He told me he was jealous. (after laughing at me the whole way up). The Ausrailian guy strapped to eric swung the door upwards and the wind howled in. Eric walked out onto the beam sticking out from the side of the plane, and looked down. The wind made his cheeks shake comically.

And he looked down, and it was his next action that made the whole wieght of what we were doing come violently crashing down on my head. He took a really deep breath. A really, really, deep one.

And jumped.

At this point I had gone from calm to insane. I found myself stumbling in a crawl to the open door. Saw a postcard of Saipan lying clear and blue below me. Felt my cheeks flap comically. Stood on the tiny metal beam while Sergei yelled macho stuff in my ear that I never heard due to the wild blindness that my mind was wrestling with. I leaned forward, and jumped.

The first five seconds after you leave the plane from 14,000 feet is both the best five seconds ever and also impossible to really describe. After 5 or so seconds, you hit terminal velocity (meaning you can't go any faster) and the remaining 45 seconds of free fall doesn't really feel like falling. It feels more like floating in space, with the ground below you slowly rushing up to meet you. During that last 45 seconds, I swam breaststroke, I spun a 360, I flapped my arms, and I screamed a lot.

But those first five seconds.

The solid beam of the airplane leaves your feet, and everything goes NUTS. I was falling headfirst, faster than I ever thought anything could go. I was briefly aware of the magnitude of 14,000 feet. My feet tingled, and I wish I could describe my stomach plunging up into my chest, but I really can't remember specifics like that. It was just AIEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEwhoa. Cool.

So if you remember, my Russian guy had told me that he wouldn't pull the parachute unless I yelled "Help Meeee" at 5,000 feet. However, as we approached that altitude, I was too busy freaking out and trying to swim through the air to notice.

My friend Paul said that they caught sight of eric first. His parachute had opened, and he was floating slowly down. They looked around for me, and when they saw me, I was still in freefall and Paul said dropping at an unbelieveable speed. The Russian guy eventually gave up on his joke and just pulled it, and I spent the next 40 seconds floating down, which seemed really slow until we hit the ground at an actually pretty high speed. Eric and I slow motion ran at each other, and babbled about how scary it was leaving the plane, much to the dismay of Paul and Mary, who were jumping next.

Monday, January 23, 2006

Things I've Learned in Saipan, Part I

1) Really, really dorky Russian teenagers LOVE mini golf.

They like playing by themselves, or with their families. Sometimes they like to tell the tennis/mini golf shack attendant (sometimes me) about playing live-action dungeons and dragons in castles in the russian countryside with their role-playing clubs, of which they are sometimes president.

2) sea cucumbers are not, in fact, dangerous. They do, however, squish rather grossly when you step on them.

3) Japanese tourists are the nicest, easiest to deal with, most polite, most eager just to have a good time, least afraid to make fools of themselves (and lord do they) tourists in the world. i love them.

4) Many Japanese and Korean parents seem to interpet

"lifeguards present"


"there are magical people present who can prevent your terribily small child WHO CAN NOT SWIM from drowning! In fact la la la yay they will wave their magical wands, and your child will simply FLOAT OVER THE FUCKING WATER JESUS IF YOUR KID CAN'T SWIM YOU SHOULD BE WATCHING THEM IN THE WATER YES, EVEN THE SHALLOW END IEEEEEEEEEEEEE."

Of course, that's a rough translation from the Japanese/Korean. Different language structure, you know.

5) Russians are by far the least fun group to deal with that we have here. They are probably most like American tourists in the world as the get really angry that most of the staff here doesn't speak Russian. They came to an American resort, on an American territory, that is closest to Japan, and they're mad that no-one speaks Russian? They also don't smile very much. Working here, we're supposed to say hi to guests when we walk by them.

Primarily based on our Russian clients, I made up a rule that there's a very special wedgie waiting for you at the gates of heaven if someone says hi to you and you don't A) say hi back B) smile c) wave D) raise your eyebrows E) OR EVEN ACKNOWLEDGE THAT YOU EXIST

Russian men (at least the ones we see here, which are i guess mainly the fat and rich ones) are also shaped like potatoes. These guys are huge, in the could-snap-you-like-a-twig way, but also have huge pot bellies that extend out just as far as their muscular chests. Hence, they look like potatoes.

Russians also hate tan lines more than anything. The women wear thongs, and not just the pretty ones, but also the like 250 pound ones that I WOULD PAY A THOUSAND DOLLARS TO GET OUT OF MY HEAD JUMPING UP AND DOWN UP AND DOWN OH WHY GOD ARE THEY JUMPING LIKE THAT

I also love Russian food. the dumplings are simply delicious.

6) I would like to offer an apology to every lifeguard who has ever lived who was lifeguarding a pool that I swam in when I was younger where I played the following game:

a) Let's See How Long We Can Hold Our Breath Underwater With Oh Our Arms Hanging At Our Sides So Jesus Christ It Looks Like I've Drowned Oh Robin Save Me Save Me Oh Oops, I'm Just Kidding Haha

or some variant of that game.

I have a heart attack every time, which can be quite embarrassing while I'm trying to look professional up there.