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São Paulo

Just spent a week in Brazil. Let’s briefly hit the “Will Kevin write about this” checklist:

✔ Newly Industrialized Country 1 2
✔ Have at least one “unstructured” night
✔ Traveling with nobody who knows that this blog exists

Looks like we’re good to go. As a quick disclaimer, it’s worth noting that much of what follows will be observations (and generalizations) based on a grand total of four days and three nights spent entirely in one of the wealthiest neighborhoods in São Paulo. This is loosely equivalent of getting the lowdown on NYC from someone who spent a few hours in boutiques on the Upper East Side.

 

About São Paulo

The largest city in the Southern Hemisphere, São Paulo’s one of those cities where an alien could reasonably conclude that cars are the dominant life form. Conveniently, this means that you never have to wait more than twenty or so seconds to hail a cab — they are actually just everywhere, all the time — but by the same token, once you hail one, you don’t tend to do a tremendous amount of moving. For instance, my last ride in the country was a quick 19-mile trip to the airport on a Friday afternoon, which wound up taking two hours.3

The way that drivers handle São Paulo traffic is in my experience unique, and incorporates both Paris’s total disregard for lane lines and Beijing’s idea that right-of-way is determined entirely by the size of one’s vehicle.4 The latter principle is happily extended to pedestrians in São Paulo, which basically means that cars won’t stop for you. The only reason that people aren’t dying in droves is that the cars rarely break 10 or 15 mph, so they can generally be dodged.

Of course, Portuguese is the main language in Brazil, because colonizing a landmass 92 times the size of your country seemed like a reasonable thing to do back then. Just for the record, the US is only 75x bigger than England.5

When it came to dealing with Portuguese, good ol’ highschool Spanish let me read most of what I needed to, but speaking was an absolute mess. This proved frustrating because I kept thinking that I would be able to communicate in Spanish, and that WORKED about half the time — both for me, and for one of the Mexican guys who I was working with. Basically the routine was to first try English, if that fails try Spanish and hope that the Portuguese version of that word was roughly equivalent, and if that still fails pantomime or give up. You know how, in trials with rats, the absolute best way to get them to keep pressing a lever is to make that lever give them food SOME (instead of all) of the time? Same deal with Spanish communication.  Maybe, maybe this time “cena” will mean “dinner” in Portuguese. Still no? Shit.

 

Why I was there

I work at Sephora now, and the Brazilian arm of the company is looking for some inspiration from their American product and technology counterparts.

This was all well and good, and like any business trip this meant that the vast majority of my time was spent either in conference rooms or bars. I feel like if I were an entrepreneur in a wealthy São Paulo neighborhood, I would open a bar offering local specialties, and then install a large conference room — perhaps with movable walls — in one corner. For bonus points, I’d put a hotel on the second floor, so that a ‘business trip’ could easily be conducted entirely in a single building.6

To their credit, the bars in São Paulo are wonderful (aside from the occasional awful pour). In most cases, a large section of the bar is open to the outside throughout the evening, and is only canvassed shut when the bar closes for the night. They all broadcast soccer games at all times, unless rowdy Americans demand to watch the NBA finals, go Warriors woo. Sitting in one reminded me strongly of watching the 2010 World Cup in similarly-open-air bars around Houhai, a neighborhood in Beijing built around a lake. That said, I’ll take a caipirinha over baijiu any day.

A year or so back, my friend Jeff introduced me to some of his friends from Argentina, who were doing a tour of the United States at the time. Their trip, as far as I could tell, consisted of nothing but going to Walgreens for makeup, Ross for clothes, then to Target for more makeup. Seriously they went to like ten of each. I remember making fun of them for how silly it was to go to a new country and spend the whole time just buying makeup. Karma’s a bitch. Three times in three days, I found myself spending my non-bar-or-conference-room time in makeup stores. Not that I would be jumping to buy anything anyway, but Brazil’s crazy tariff policy also made nearly everything that Sephora carried substantially more expensive than it was in the U.S. The Brazilian Sephoras that I was checking out were all in some of the most opulent malls I’ve ever seen, like the JK Mall and the “Shopping Iguatemi,” which Google helpfully informs me is the oldest mall in Brazil. Now, going to said malls was a big part of why Sephora had paid for me to be in Brazil in the first place, and I get that, but part of me was just dying to get away from the friggen Louis Vuitton stores and actually see the country that I was in.

Which is why Thursday and Friday were so fun!

 

Exploring the Jardins

The VP who served as the main social nexus for the group left midway through Thursday, and nobody had stepped up to fill his shoes by that evening, so we were left to our own devices as of around 6pm. I spent about ten minutes on the hotel’s roof (São Paulo can be quite pretty), ten minutes on Google to find somewhere to go, and then I sprinted over to the Museum of Image and Sound a little over a kilometer away.7

 

Selfie with Vivian Maier / Museum of Image and Sound

The museum was cool enough. I got to learn about some Brazilian photographers and asked a guide what should be next on my list. She told me there was another museum next door (closed), and helpfully neglected to mention that short of the two museums, the street I was on had nothing but car dealership after car dealership in both directions. Since I had no mobile data, I didn’t really have a way to figure out what I was in for, and returning to the hotel just to get on WiFi seemed like a waste of time. Fast forward 40 minutes of wandering, still seeing nothing but car dealerships, and I decide to hop a cab. The guy getting out of the cab that I’m about to commandeer tells me that if I’m looking for food as well as a place where people hang out, I should really check out this great area a “few blocks”8 away. I say that sounds perfect, decline the cab, and redouble the wandering efforts.

On my way to this supposed mecca of food and human interest, I pass the first non-dealership establishment I’ve seen in like an hour. It is of course none other than a “Budweiser Mansion.” I immediately abandon all efforts to find food and spend the next seven hours pounding Bud Light Limes with São Paulo’s legendary population of bros continue on my merry way. Another mile of walking brings me to a fucking swanky Red Lobster of all places, where I succumb to my hunger and spend the next seven hours pounding Cheddar Bay Biscuits with São Paulo’s legendary population of midwestern housewives or whoever the hell eats at Red Lobster aside from my girlfriend. which although was technically a restaurant, would have almost certainly constituted a personal failure. I maintain my resolve and soldier on. Finally, at long last I arrive at the destination that the cab guy told me about. It turns out to be another fucking luxury shopping mall, boasting a Tiffany & Co and Louis Vuitton right up front, but I’m exhausted and incredibly hungry so I give up and go in and have some sort of weird indian curry with grapes in it for some reason wait whoops that’s exactly what happened and I hate myself for it.

At that point I got a text from the tech lead on my project, a nice guy named Wit who is bored and wants to grab dinner. I told him to meet me near this mall I’m in, but apparently the directions that I gave him to get to the mall send him down an incredibly sketchy street and he fears for his safety so he goes back to the hotel. Queue more running on my end. I met up with him, wandered around some more, and eventually ate dinner #2.

That’s about when I got a text to go meet up with my boss, since he’s somehow wound up at an open bar with the Australian Consul General in Brazil and his entourage. Apparently my boss’s ex-coworker, who is also in São Paulo, knows the Aussies somehow. Not one to refuse that kind of invitation I hurriedly head to the bar in question, just in time for the ”open bar” bit to expire. So I buy a pint and introduce myself to the consul, who says it’s nice to meet me but that the whole group is about to go to another bar to close out the night, and that they really have to get moving if they’re going to make it before the kitchen closes. It is a gentle-but-completely-unsubtle invitation to slam the pint immediately so that I don’t hold up the party. I comply, because Australians. They seem happy about it.

We bar hop, order dinner #3, order a tower of beer, and shoot the shit for the rest of the evening.

Turns out after his stint making satellites with Boeing, the consul (before he was consul) did a lot of exporting to China in the 90s, and he had plenty of crazy stories about doing business with moguls in the Shenzhen special economic zone. I particularly enjoyed hearing about the guy who would order multiple shipping crates of wine at a time, with his only two requests being that a) the invoice gets sent to him in a word document instead of PDF, and b) that 2/3rds of each shipment should be the cheapest possible wine, and the rest should be the most expensive wine he could find. Now I don’t know much about much but I can sure as hell swap silly China stories all day long,9 so we had a great night.

Friday was nice too — after meetings ended early for the day, and we had yet again visited another Brazilian Sephora, we were able to check out one of the big parks in São Paulo that one of the girls from Thursday night had recommended that we see before we left town. As a happy surprise, the park was home to the São Paulo Museum of Modern Art, which was great in its own right, and also critically afforded us the opportunity to get one last round of caipirinhas for the road.

Can’t wait to go back! Think I’ll get the chance in a few months. Photos from the museum below the footnotes.

 

Footnotes

1: I just learned about this! But I’m looking at the blue ones on this page: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Newly_industrialized_country and they’re almost all countries that I either have visited or would love to visit. Considering an Indonesia trip this October, for instance.
2: I realize that having footnotes in a blog is more than a little obnoxious. Especially footnotes about footnotes. But hey, that’s never stopped me before.
3: We were thoroughly warned about so we knew what we were in for, but good god. This is the route.
4: Or governmental status, I suppose. My Chinese teacher told me a story once about how he lived above some sort of major government building in Beijing at one point, and there were constantly, constantly traffic accidents outside since all the government officials were used to running red lights all the time, so when there were several at the same intersection accidents were simply inevitable.
5: Special thanks to Mapfight.Appspot.Com!
6: Drop the whole shebang right next to the airport, and baby you’ve got a stew going.
7: A quick aside about sprinting around: it’s the best. You should try it, especially if you’re a) in a place where you’ll never see any of the onlookers again, b) drunk, c) late. Combining the above just enhances the experience.

Pros:
Free
Substantially faster than São Paulo cabs
Probably more trouble than it’s worth to pickpocket someone who is sprinting around
Walking is for scrubs
Museums close early

Cons:
You look like an idiot
Brazilian pickpocketers probably much faster than you
São Paulo is really humid

In all honesty, to this day I actually am constantly weighing running vs not running in my head whenever I go anywhere. Convenience vs ridicule, man. It’s rough. Anyway I was by myself in Brazil so it was full speed ahead to the Museu da Imagem e do Som.
8: 1.5 miles
9: See: basically anything else on this blog

 

Pictures from the Museum of Modern Art:

Pantyhose and ball bearings

Seuss table

It’s art, okay? I can’t caption all these.

Floor made of bathroom scales, accompanied by terrifying video. #art

Pretty hangy thing

Giant newspaper balloons + aforementioned tech lead

Salt Lake City

Hey all. Seems like it’s been a little while since I’ve posted here. My main writing project these days is over at at ezrasessays.com – since August ’12 or so, I’ve published 478 of my grandfather’s essays about life and language there, along with a few lines of my own commentary on each one. I’m currently trying to stay on track with about five or six a week until all 775 are online. Clearly I still have quite a way to go, but you should check it out in the meantime because there’s a lot of great stuff there. If it’s your first time on the site, try the “favorite” tag.

The last year and a half has been fun for me. I’m still In San Francisco and still working at PayByGroup, which has been growing steadily and has gathered a really outstanding team.

Back on the subject of the China Match, the whole deal with this blog is that I nominally post when I travel. Now the thing is I’ve been traveling plenty, but just not to anywhere particularly exotic. Off the top of my head, in the last year I’ve gone to Seattle, Portland, Chicago, Vegas, Nashville, Savannah, Austin, Monterey, Las Angeles, New Jersey, Miami, and Corning.  Several of these trips, as well as several others that I can’t even remember because they were simply that underwhelming (Scottsdale, AZ?), can be attributed to business travel on the Vacation Rental Conference circuit, which is roughly as exciting as it sounds. I basically show up in these cities, cab immediately to the conference center, set up our sweet booth, then talk to property managers for two days and go home.  On the average PayByGroup trip, I’d say that I spend 60% of my time inside the conference center or hotel, 20-30% of it asleep, and 10-20% of it out drinking with aforementioned property managers. Occasionally that leads to me drunkenly riding a mechanical bull in a “Honky Tonk” bar called the Tequila Cowboy, but generally it’s nothing to write home about.

Salt Lake City was a little bit different. For starters, I recently saw Book of Mormon in LA, which got me extra-jazzed to go hang out with some real Mormons. Beyond that, I decided to take a 45-minute lunch break (gasp) by myself (double gasp) on the first day of the conference, which turned out to provide more than enough material for the series of photos you’ll find below.

It was also plenty of time to get accosted by homeless person after homeless person, because holy shit is Salt Lake City full of them. I had no idea that homelessness was so pervasive here. Usually I can’t write about the cities I visit because I am only experiencing the outdoors part of the “city” for the few minutes it takes to walk from building to building. In Salt Lake City, though, a 10-minute round trip to and from dinner results in — literally — six different people very politely asking for any spare cash you may have on you.

As a San Francisco resident, I’m no stranger to panhandling, but the people begging in SLC totally took me by surprise. On that dinner trip, five of the six people asking were white, all were able-bodied, and most were relatively young. They were polite and extremely articulate. In 2013 in San Francisco, “63 percent of the total number of homeless counted reported having a mental illness, addiction or debilitating physical condition.” SLC’s beggars (outwardly) seemed zero for three. Two of the guys who asked me for a meal were wearing nicer coats than any that I own. It was very very weird, and I’m still trying to figure out how to explain it. Maybe Mormons are a particularly generous group, so the bar for pity-based fundraising is low? Maybe SLC residents are easier to guilt trip? Who knows, but it was undeniably unique.

Fast forward to the fateful lunch break where I got to do some of the hard reporting that the China Match is famous for. I escaped the conference at around 12:30 and began to wander aimlessly. Three or so streets was enough for me to reach two distinct conclusions:

1) Aside from the homeless, nobody actually walks around Salt Lake City. It’s a Spooky Mormon Ghost Town. Seriously, even on major avenues with broad sidewalks clearly designed to hold crowds of people, absolutely no one was out and about. At prime lunchtime! What the hell? In this, it reminded me forcibly of Houston, Texas. Being compared to Houston is never a good thing. At least unlike Houston, the centerpiece of the Salt Lake City downtown is not a Federal Jail. (Map) Instead, SLC features a gigantic fortress-temple. Big step up!

2) Book of Mormon songs were going to be stuck in my head for two days and there just wasn’t going to be anything I could do about it, so I should probably just accept that.

 

After some more meandering, I eventually wound up at the temple grounds, which were gorgeous. The temple itself is huge and imposing and very-well designed.temple It’s also extremely secure, patrolled by fleets of security guards (who might detain you if you’re gay, so heads up), who are clearly Not Messing Around. I was more paranoid about being on my best behavior in front of them than I was in front of Chinese plainclothes cops.  I’m not sure why, it’s just the vibe the place puts off.

I wound up eating lunch on the temple grounds, in this nice little cafe by the edge. An elderly couple for whom I had opened a door earlier showed up when I was in line for my sandwich and gave me a 10% off coupon, so, score. I chowed down in the company of another rad Joe Smith statue:

joe

From there, I was basically out of time and I had to head back toward the conference. On the way back, I noticed a ton of run-down buildings basically two blocks away from the temple grounds. We’re talking decaying walls, closed storefronts, the whole nine yards, right next to one of the most sacred places in the city. Weirdness abounds.

rightbytemple

Opulence and Poverty — best bros, or at least close neighbors, in the small slice of Salt Lake City that I got to explore. As a disclaimer, I’m sure there’s tons and tons more out there and there’s a high chance that my experience wasn’t representative of the city at large. Still, I wasn’t expecting this.

I’d like to write more about the rest of the trip, including getting stuck for the night in Long Beach due to a canceled flight and some absurd airport shenanigans but it’s almost 2 and I’ve gotta be back at the airport for boarding in four hours, so I should probably go to bed. Here’s an old post you can check out if you’re in the mood for reading about Kevin in airports (particularly those which have recently been struck by earthquakes).

Cheers!

Ten weeks

So right now I’m in week six. That’s fine. Six is actually a pretty chill week, a down week. One of the most consistent, actually. It’s what comes next that scares me.

Here’s the thing: since at least as far back of September of 2008, my life can be pretty cleanly divided into 10-week chunks of experiences. This isn’t really anything special: for the most part, plus or minus a little noise, this is going to hold true for anybody on the quarter system. The core of the school experience was these little ten-week loops of four classes at a time: two and a half month batches of Chinese and Economics or whatever that stand out to me as discrete. Sure there was usually an empty week, part of a finals week and some break time at the end of each batch, but they don’t count. Honestly I’ve always thought that under my utterly arbitrary mental grouping of experiences, these types of breaks – all eleven “reading weeks” of my college career, for instance – fit much better with each other than they did with the quarter to which they were nominally attached.

And that cycling of the academic quarter forced plenty of other things into these nice ten-week patterns. This was literally true in, say, the case of my internship in China, which had to be basically ten weeks long to the day so that I could make it back in time for Spring quarter. And it was directly responsible for plenty of extracurricular stuff, which would shut down during reading and finals week – so I’d have ten weeks between switching roles at the magazine, or between switching schedules and committees for Special Olympics.

But then, gradually, I realized that a lot more about me was starting to synch to this pacing. I’d get sick of music after ten weeks. I’d find new shows to watch. I’d stop writing, or start it again. I’d get bored of what I was doing. I heard somewhere that kids in my generation have an average attention span of about seven minutes, because that’s roughly how long a standard TV show will go between showing you commercials. So you get used to that timing and you eventually come to expect it. Maybe what’s happening to me is the same basic premise on a bigger scale.

I think somewhere along the way I started adjusting myself to the ten-week system even when I didn’t need to. My first trip to China was supposed to last seven weeks and change, but I wound up staying two weeks extra. There was no pressure on the length in either direction, but having the whole thing wrap up at about ten weeks just seemed like the right way to go. After graduating, my stint with the investment bank earlier this summer lasted ten weeks exactly, and I couldn’t have stood staying any longer.

After the bank, I took seven weeks to find a new job. A little short of the ten, sure, but it still represented a radical departure from what I’d been doing. Ten weeks where I had never been home became seven where I never left. I got used to living without internet for the most part, which was a big adjustment which I am not eager to ever repeat. I had to deal with my drugged-up landlady on the regular and spend my afternoons hassling people to give me their time in exchange for exactly nothing. I was ashamed for weeks of my own perceived failure, a mindset which did me no favors.

But the nice part of this experiential chunking is that it naturally allows for big jarring turnarounds. If I was having a bad quarter, or a crappy internship, or a lonely stint in a foreign country, it was all cool because everything was going to be different in ten weeks and I could sorta start over. Hell, even as far back as high school, debate topics would only last for two months.

Moving to Mountain View has been one of these big turnarounds. I’m living in a better place, have a better job, have more free time and a better social circle.  I’m playing Starcraft again, which matters for reasons that I’ll be explaining in the next blog or two. Long story short, things are really good for me right now, but I’m nervous because all signs indicate that the cycling that’s been my norm for years has finally stopped.

My job at PayByGroup, my new company, isn’t an internship. There’s no deadline at the other side. It’s not like I want to leave – I’m actually really enjoying my work and I’m not actively looking for a way to get out. Pending the company failing or me getting fired, though, I’ll be here for a long time. I’m sure this is a good thing, a big part of growing up or whathaveyou. But still, there’s a departure in the framework here and I’m not sure that’s really hit me yet.

Because like I said, I’m still only in week six. The week after midterms, or the week that I got off from the Qunar job, or the calm before the storm of Pacific Crest’s Vail conference. A really nice and comfortable part of the arc that is – as far as I can see – no longer an arc.  The idea of a “next” still obviously exists because it has to, but for the first time in a while I have no clue what that means or when it happens.

Onward and Upward

Far easier than making new friends: importing old ones.

Jakob and Katie came up from, erm, inferior Californian cities to Berkeley this weekend to celebrate my birthday (22 as of the 24th!) which was really nice, especially considering that my actual birthday featured me being at the office till like eleven or something obnoxious.

Now here’s the thing, though. I’m sorta torn when it comes to writing about the past couple days, because by most measures my weekend was nominally a pretty typical weekend for someone in his early twenties. I went out with a mix of new and old friends, got drunk, and watched Batman. This is a tried-and-true way to have fun — that’s probably why the phrase ‘going out’ specifically encodes bars, clubs, restaurants, and movies — but I feel pretty strongly that writing about that sort of thing turns me into the blogging equivalent of those kids who like, tweet about making breakfast, or god forbid post instagram-filtered photos of said breakfast on facebook.

Namely there’s no reason for anyone who wasn’t there to give a shit, and for anyone who was there it would be supremely weird to read my like, commentary on going out with them? Like, what: “That bar in Berkeley was fun but gosh Katie is getting really lazy with her wardrobe; shit is embarrassing” or something? Profoundly uncomfortable, especially for the people I am just starting to meet and befriend. Why is precisely why the China match was intended to be coverage of a) events that were far removed, geographically and personally, from the blog’s readership and b) events that were unique and interesting in some capacity, so the blog was less about Kevin Shepherd’s personal life and more about the misadventures that Kevin had, which are always more interesting anyway and generally don’t require outside knowledge (like who ‘Jakob’ is, for instance) to be compelling. That sort of blogging is mostly impossible when I’m in the states, which is why it mostly doesn’t happen.

The reason why I’m torn is that now that I’m living here for the forseeable future, it’s starting to look like there maybe isn’t any great way to stick by this rule of thumb while also continuing to write quasiregularly. But on the ‘unusual thangs’ front for this weekend, at least, I’m still set because I spent several hours trying to gain access to the rooftops of UC Berkeley and toured the Google office in San Francisco, both of which are stories that are better told with pictures.

The only way to tie all this together:

Climbing Stuff I Probably Shouldn’t Climb, Particularly When “Stuff” Refers to Hip Technology Companies Which Are Far Too Cool To Ever Employ Me.

Also, Bears and Jakob.

So as some of you may or may not know, I kinda really like climbing things. Not so much in the traditional sense like climbing walls in gyms, or even trees, but rather climbing up insufficiently-secured buildings on North campus, or decaying Chinese landmarks, or down equally-unsecured-hatches into the Northwestern steam tunnel network.

(Click to enlarge)

So naturally when I figured out I was living within a block of a new college campus, my initial reaction was to take the Ezio-approved strategy of climbing up to top of the tallest possible building to get my bearings, then throwing a torch onto the kegs of gunpower stored at the top of said buildings as I dive dramatically off into a bale of hay hundreds of feet below.

All this to say is that Jakob and I tried really damn hard to get on the rooftops of Berkeley but their security is a lot tricker than Northwestern’s, so we were only really able to get up to one, and it was designed for people to go on. Had to cut through a construction zone to get there, so I guess that’s something, but still largely a bummer.
Still pretty though:

…but perhaps not as pretty as everyone’s favorite european posing with some amazingly-posed bear statues

How YOU doin?

And then let’s be honest this is pretty unrelated but I got to tour the google office today and then go do some work there for a while, and it kicked ass so I’m gonna put some pictures of it here because they deserve to be somewhere. And the Austin Facebook office too, because I toured it in march and have since realized that there will never be a good opportunity to upload them, but their ‘wall’ is really cool:

Naturally they get a full freakin' cafe FLOOR

And a slide. Unfairly cool.

One of the only things FB did better than Google, at least from what I could tell

Time

The issue with not writing for a few days is that it all just builds up in my head anyway, and now I have four posts that I want to throw together into one huge mess, and I think that’s probably a bad idea.

So we’ll start simple. We’ll start, as all good things should, with Nicolas Cage.

Around 10 days ago this story started spreading on the internet that some poor, genius girl had accidentally sent a potential employer a picture of ol’ NC instead of her resume. This story is only sad because I was not said employer.
Here’s what’s particularly cool about it, aside from the obvious:

I don’t even know if that’s readable at the size I compressed it down to, but honestly I don’t care.

The point is that eight people, including two in conversations that I sadly couldn’t screenshot because they were in person, saw this goofy little post that’s tangentially related to Nicolas cage, and all of them presumably had the same thought: “this has to be brought to Kevin’s attention.”

…Which is fucking awesome.
Because to me, and I think to a large extent this applies to everyone, the notion of “who I am” is mainly just a function of my friends and my interests: I’m hugely defined by the things that I like or do, and the people with whom I choose to surround myself. The screengrab-amalgam up there is a perfect example of those two things intersecting — like it or not, (the former), I have found myself in a position where liking Cage films is just one of my Things, where my friends associate those films and that actor with me and in that way it reflexively is going to impact my relationships with people and (by albeit loose extension) my interactions with the rest of the world. Other Things of mine that come to mind include, what, Starcraft, Homestuck, Daft Punk, blogging in this style, all sorts of these little hobbies and interests that I like to spend time on. Any single one of them could get a huge blog about why it’s awesome, and probably will at some point.

And I was going to write a hell of a lot more about this sort of theory of personality and external self-definition but I’m going to have to skip ahead to the part where I’m being utterly robbed of all of these things and I’m starting to feel deeply, deeply lost.
The reason I have to skip ahead is because I just got a call telling me that I’ll be needing to work a 15-hour Friday — that starts an hour early, so I need to be at the office by 7:30 — and then put in at least 24 hours of work this weekend. Which is to say, in the next three days, days normally associated with relaxation, I am going to ostensibly need to cram in a regular human being’s work week. So if this post comes across as disjointed, that’s because it is. There was originally going to be another hour’s worth of writing between the cage part and the work part, but now there isn’t.

At every time in my life before, when I’ve mentioned or even thought about “not having time” for something, I’ve always perceived that phrase as largely being bullshit. I’ve always, always been able to make time when I need it. I was always good at school and could always get my work done quickly, which meant that for about four or five hours a day at least, usually more, my entire life I’ve been able to devote, as one Aesop Rock would put it, to hobbies I have harbored based solely on the fact that they make me smile if they sound dope.
Here’s the full verse, which kills me mainly because an 8-hour day has been such a pipedream these last four weeks:

Now we the American working population
Hate the fact that eight hours a day
Is wasted on chasing the dream of someone that isn’t us
And we may not hate our jobs
But we hate jobs in general
That don’t have to do with fighting our own causes
We the American working population
Hate the nine-to-five day-in day-out
When we’d rather be supporting ourselves
By being paid to perfect the pasttimes
That we have harbored based solely on the fact
That it makes us smile if it sounds dope

The short of it is: not having time is a real thing, work-life balance is a real thing. In college, if something comes up like, oh, a final exam, then hey i’ll only gchat for half an hour tonight instead of an hour and a half, or I’ll only watch three games of starcraft instead of ten, or I’ll read one chapter of whatever fucking book I’m caught up in instead of two.
But now, counting commutes, from 7:30am to generally 10 or 11 pm I am literally tied up in something that requires my full focus and energy and not only is there a very literal zero TIME for anything else, I am starting to think that because of that I’m starting to run into some real and hitherto unseen issues with focus and stability and life satisfaction or whatever; complete deprivation (due to shortness of time) of the things that I like doing combines with a new and friendless city to have some pretty fucked up impacts on my attitude and behavior. I’ve lost my context. And I can’t even talk to my friends about it, because god knows I don’t have time for them and that fucking kills me because honestly that’s the only thing I really have in the first place. So I’ll spend an hour writing this and just hope they all find it and that they all understand, that you all understand, that I will be out of touch for a little while and that is not because I want to be it’s because I don’t have that that much of a choice.

I could write till 3am tonight, and I’d love to do so, but there is work to be done.
I’d quit but I want to prove to myself I can do this, and there is a very definite end in sight.

I think things will be better after this coming Wednesday. Bear with me.

I’ve now been “out” in San Francisco exactly twice. Both were pretty memorable.

The first was a week ago in this place called Smugglers Cove, which apparently was ranked by some random international booze site as the 19th best bar in the world in 2011 / has been voted the best bar in San Francsico apparently, yadda yadda. I’m only finding out all this now. All I knew at the time, and all I knew up until ten minutes ago, that it was a) on Connor’s street, so maybe a five minute walk from home, and b) is that is a pirate bar.

Not a pirate bar in that just like, the bartenders wear nautical-themed clothing (though they do) or the drinks have silly names (though they do) but that it’s a full-on, this-might-as-well-have-been-built-by-disney-except-wait-oh-there’s-booze-everywhere, completely balls-to-the-wall decorated to look like a piratey cave thing on the bottom floor, a ship’s deck on the top floor, and a big ol’ bar on the ground floor. it’s nuts.

This is what the walls of the place look like everywhere. I'm fully aware of how dumb and kitchy it seems, but then it's great


Probably the coolest thing I saw there was this gigantic bowl of godknowswhat for four or five people that the bartenders (waiters? they were in the cave part) cover with cinnamon and then light on fire, which is then promptly manipulated somehow into a column that reaches to the ceiling and leaves the whole area smelling like cinnamon and rum and badassery for like five minutes. Oh and the corners of the bowl are little volcanoes that continue to stay on fire as the people drink the contents down via two-foot straw. Which sounds so corny and stupid until you’re there and it smells and looks awesome and shiver your goddamn timbers, you want to have some too. I had, among other things, a drink called a ‘grog’ where one of the listed ingredients is just straight-up water. Best drink I’ve had in a long time. Maybe not worth $9.

Far and away the most important event that night at Smuggler’s Cove concerns (and what doesn’t?) the Irish boy band called The Wanted. I can’t even remember if they were playing or if Connor’s friends and I were just talking about them but that doesn’t matter. What matters first is that you picture this, as clearly as you can:

Look at my life, look at my choices

So we specifically discussing this song called “Glad You Came” (hehe, get it get it) and everybody was laughing heartily at their hilarious pronunciation of “can” in this line when this next part comes up, wherein the singers intone: “You hit me like the sky fell on me, fell on me // And I’ve decided you look well on me, well on me // So let’s go somewhere no one else can see, you and me”

We got to talking about how uniquely baffling that middle line is.
Interpretation 1) was what we had previously thought, IE “[boy] thinks that [girl] looks good, provided [girl] is on top of [boy].” this is obviously pretty dickish for [boy] to say but that’s fine
then 2) one of us realized that maybe a better interpretation was “[boy] has decided that [girl] looks well UPON [boy], like the girl could look at him poorly, or scathingly, or whatever but she looks “well” on him so maybe she’s checking him out. This was all well and good until this british girl who we were hanging out with came back from getting more drinks (we drank them; we could) and told us we were all idiots and didn’t know UK slang well enough.

INTERPRETATION 3 AND THIS IS CRITICAL: the Brits (and I guess Irish) use ‘well’ in the same way that they use ‘properly,’ which itself is abused in slang but like… you know how if a girl is ugly, a brit might say “She’s a proper minger!”
Turns out “well” works the same way, namely is used for emphasis, so it can in can be interpreted similarly to how American kids use “legit” in slang. So that line actually just translates from silly Irish boybandese to “I figured out you were really looking at me.”
We were of course trashed by this point and that was way too much of a knowledge bomb so we all shouted really loudly in comprehension, except that we were all speaking in accents so we were actually shouting british nonsenseisms at one another in excitement. We left very shortly thereafter. My brother’s friends are great.

Oh shit this is already way too long and I have to get in a car and drive back to Berkeley.
Condensed:
Last night, we were wandering around because all the bars were full and we wound up in a bad part of the tenderloin, whereupon some sort of bomb or gigantic firework detonated on the street corner that we were on, maybe fifteen or so feet in the air and forty feet away, which doesn’t sound that exciting now that i’m typing it but it set off a street full of car alarms and threw off a shitton of smoke and pretty much sounded like how i think of a bomb sounding like. which is kinda scary when you’ve been drinking and caused us to hustle away which earned us the mockery of all the druggies on the street. Now that I think about it though, what I bet happened is some kid had a bunch of fireworks left over from the 4th and his mom told him he could only light one last one tonight, so he just took all the gunpowder from his leftover fireworks and threw em in one of those mortar shells. Or maybe a convenience store just actually got bombed right in front of us. It was loud, dammit.
Oh and that whole night, one guy in our group was wearing a suit made entirely of velvet who told me all about the finer points of taking acid, as well as these parties they have in san franscico called “party in play” EDIT: apparently “party and* play” which i was going to elaborate on here but then i realized that it was fucking gross, and i’m out of time, but mainly it’s just fucking gross. cya!

Witty jokes; weird tag bar on top

(No seriously I am not at all liking this line of tags running under “Whitey in Beijing.” For anyone unfamiliar with the China Match, my increasingly-inaccurately-named blog didn’t have that tag-navigation feature before, probably for the simple reason that it is hideous and now I can’t make it leave. Five minutes ago, I updated my theme to its newest version — which itself is 510 days old, apparently. This was a mistake. That’s what I get for trying to make my return to blogging coincide with a sleek new graphical update on my WordPress theme. Serves me right.)

Anyway, as you might have already surmised I’m not actually in China for this one. Or even anywhere in not-America, which has pretty much been my only blogging rule so far. Unless you count Cage-Match-related posts, or those posts I put up between China trips, but nobody read those anyway because they were mainly babbling about like, the viability of finding a homestay program in New Jersey. They’re best forgotten, let’s be honest.

About the most I can say in defense of my California bloggin’ is that it’s happening while I live in a place that I usually do not live, with the bonus that I don’t really have any friends yet, so I rarely have pesky “things” to “do” that could interfere with my demanding reclusive blogging schedule. Not that I’d have time to see my friends even if I had any, because my job is crazy — more on that later — but hey.

I guess two hundred and fiftyish words into this post is a good a time as any to mention that I’m living in Berkeley now, working at an investment bank called Pacific Crest Securities down in San Francisco proper. At least until September, when my internship ends, I’ll nominally be blogging about the weird shit I encounter in the Bay Area, which is assuredly in no short supply. I might talk about my job a little but I signed somewhere in the neighborhood of thirty-seven confidentiality forms saying that ‘I won’t talk about my job, ever at all to anyone for any reason’ so I’ll have to keep that pretty limited. It’d be boring anyway. Today we’re going to talk about how terrible I am at finding lodging for myself.

Because good god. I am bad. I am so bad at it.
I didn’t even know that that was a thing that people could be bad at, but then I saw what I selected for myself. And was actually going to have to live there, but for the grace of an older brother who a) can recognize what a crackhouse looks like before I signed the lease that makes me live next to one for several months and b) lives in San Francisco with his girlfriend, who permitted me to crash in her spare room for several weeks.

“Live in Oakland,” they said. “The commute will be fast,” they said. They didn’t mention that in many parts of Oakland, unless you are consuming liquor, drugs, or religious services, there isn’t much of interest. The Craigslist ad certainly didn’t make a note of that. So yeah, I moved out into the home of the first random Craigslist person who responded to me, and moved all my crap into this weird house that was adjacent to two vacant lots and what was later revealed to be a crackhouse, without a second thought. Thankfully I was at least smart enough to not sign a lease or pay the landlord any money until he fixed my door (it wouldn’t close), which didn’t happen in the four days it took from when I moved my shit in to when I was actually slotted to begin living there.

The day I was going to sign said lease and begin inhabiting this place, Connor and my family came by with the rest of my stuff and saw the place for the first time, whereupon Connor observed that the house I was living next to had all its windows covered up, had a permanent lookout on the porch, had a TON of people coming and going, and oh-look-at-those-nice-men-having-a-meeting-in-their-car-and-exchanging-stacks-of-twenties-oh wait that’s a drug deal happening right in front of your new residence, isn’t that nice.

So I bailed on the lease and retreated back to Connor’s house, at which point I sent out another batch of Craigslist ads, and again responded to the first one who got back to me, and am now living in a place that periodically loses power and also has no kitchen. It’s basically a dorm. Which makes sense, considering that I’m like a block from UC Berkeley.
Aside from that though, I’m loving Berkeley and my part of it specifically. I’m at shattock and university, for anyone who may be in the area and wants to steal all my shit. My job keeps me busy and things are starting to settle into what’s approaching a routine, wherein 7:30am – 9:30pm is spent either working or in the process of getting to or from work. I never said it was a great routine. But I kinda signed up for it when I decided to take an internship in banking.
Again, more on that later, I think I’m off to bed. After I iron my shirt for work tomorrow. Christ, it’s like I’m a real person or something. Thankfully I can hear drunken Berkeley students shouting about something outside my window and it’s making me more nostalgic than angry; that’s a good sign, yeah?

Generalization time

…Everybody’s favorite!
Usually, I kinda like mixing cultural observations with the pictures and sarcasm when I can on this blog, but that’s always going to be a little harder when I don’t really have any context whatsoever in which to place them.
That disclaimed, here are my impressions of Austrian society drawn from four days in a town full of tourists, of whom the majority were probably not even other Austrians.

Things that Austrians don’t like:
A) Appearing to give even one shit about anything whatsoever. Salzburg was on permanent vacation, an entire town expressly committed to chilling the hell out. I found the most telling example of this during my last few hours in the city, after my family had already left on their train and I was killing time before heading to the airport. I was just wandering around for two hours, with zero destination or goal in mind whatsoever; it was meandering purely for the sake of meandering and apparently that projected itself through my demeanor, because in that period three separate groups of people accosted me in German, which had hitherto not happened all trip.
B) Hurrying, because this implies a violation of A). Austrians have one speed, namely “amble.” The exception here is old women on bicycles, who often ramp this up to “bat out of hell.”
C) J-walking, per aforementioned two observations. You’d literally have an empty two-lane street with two dozen people on either side of a crosswalk, just patiently waiting. As someone who has lived on Sheridan road for the past two years of my life, this was perhaps the most foreign thing I encountered on my trip.

Things that Austrians do like:

A) Cafes, and everything associated with them. I have no idea how a society in which 70% of the population is seated in a cafe at any given time functions, but it does. I have a hypothesis that every Austrian actually owns a cafe, and there are contractual agreements in place which bind people to sit around in one another’s cafes all day; whatever person A spends while sitting in B’s cafe must be reciprocally spent by B in A’s cafe later that day. This makes both locations look more appealing to tourists (look at how many people are lounging around in this cafe; it must be legit!), who are the only people who actually infuse money into the economy.
B) Consuming high fashion. When a swath of town contains three times more high-end purse shops than convenience stores or fast food restaurants, one knows he is not in the states anymore. What’s interesting here is that Salzburg completely lacked office buildings of any sort, or really any ostensible place for people to be employed other than cafes and expensive clothing stores. Economically speaking it is bewildering — if it weren’t purely for the population’s stubbornness one would expect a Walmart to absolutely wreck shop in these little European towns, but it is precisely that stubbornness that distinguishes Europe and the states. Dad explained it by describing how Homeaway’s french employees live, which is to say they spend 100% of their paycheck week to week. Saving rates are incredibly low because you know the government will always be there for you at the end of the day, and in the meantime people recognize that all these various shopkeepers or whatever need to make their own livings and charge relatively high prices to do so. The cumulative result is that spending 15 euro on two sodas becomes affordable and acceptable. It’s worth noting here that every time I saw a can of sprite being sold for 5 euro, or 7.5 usd, I may or may not have died a bit inside knowing that the same drink would run 12 cents in China, but that’s neither here nor there.
C) Wearing leather pants. You would think they’d know better as per B, but alas.
D) Maintaining as high a fountain-to-inhabitant ratio as possible. The eventual goal is 1:1, and they’re getting damn close.

So my family and I decided to join an Austrian salt cult.

You wear these sweet white jackets and pants and ride around underground on ridiculous little slides and trains


...which look like this. The whole 'no-handles-but-the-guy-in-front-of-you' element fosters inter-cult bonding.


and instead of kool aid we drink brine from the fucking harry potter underground inferi + locket lake.


but it's cool because instead of poison, the lake is full of trippy lights and trance music, obviously. Pretty sure we traipsed into Germany for a little while once we got to the other side of this lake, which was sweet. The whole story of the salt mines and how they influenced the politics and economics of everything around them was pretty sick too. To an econ nerd, anyway. Moving right along...

We grabbed lunch and headed down the road to the biggest ice cave in europe. 48 km long, ~100m under the peaks of the mountain range but still really damn high up


No but like, _really_ high up.


They gave us some kerosene lanterns and took us pretty deep into the cave, which was coated everywhere in like 20+ meter thick ice. 90% humidity and freezing temperatures too obviously, which was a little change of pace after the hike up the mountain in 85 or 90 degree weather. Crazy how the cave stays ever-cold like that. Anyway they wouldn't allow flash photography in the caves so I only broke that rule once to give you an idea of what the 700 steps we took each way looked like. Solid ice on the right.


Occasionally we'd come to a more open cave that our guide would light via burning strips of magnesium. This formation was called the polar bear, for reasons you could probably surmise. Most of the trip was spent in almost-darkness though, lit only by the reflections of kerosene lamps off/through staggeringly large expanses of ice. It was a really striking effect that I unfortunately couldn't capture on camera. Boo.


Finished off the day with another castle. Which was neat, but not super notable with the exception of our asshole tourguide who took his 'dress up like a knight and tell people about various battlements' job extraordinarily seriously


Yeah, this guy. He snapped at both dad and Jack. What a winner.


Oh, PS: never go to a Mexican cafe in Austria, no matter how desperate you are for food. Go for the bowling alley instead.
A page from the former’s menu:

Apparently Mexican food is highly spit-based these days, and baked potatoes have replaced any hint of tacos, fajitas, etc. Sigh

Note: the following loses a lot of its humor because my internet is run by Nazis who won’t let me on google image to find pictures of Dr. Seuss words. What the fuck, Austria? How much more innocuous can I get? You’re losing a lot of respect here… not to even mention the fact that all Arnold youtube videos and ATHF Plutonian videos are blocked. Not happy about this.

Note 2: I’m in Salzburg. Russell correctly pointed out that I’d hitherto failed to mention this and it seems kinda important.

A problem has arisen. Until this trip I thought Asia had really started to harden my heart against the peculiar. For example, Engrish barely fazes me anymore; it has to be really outstanding to even merit a grin these days. But German – even properly written, perfectly correct German – is just too much for me to handle. It’s either just English with superfluous suffixes like “bankomat,” compound words that have no reason to be like “panorama(_)terrase,” words with so many syllables as to become pure comedy – ATM is “Geldausgabeautomat,” for instance, or Dr. Seuss-esque labels that just cannot simply be taken seriously, such as the cabinet pictured in the museum below labeled “Waffenmeisterkasten.”

It's a real language, we promise! C'mon guys!

Honestly now. Read Waffenmeisterkasten out loud three times. If you’re not chuckling, put on your best Arnold Schwarzenegger accent and try again, then rinse and repeat for 48 hours or until you start to reject the notion that German words can actually have more meaning than, say, a bamboozamaphone. (Here I would have a Seuss picture for your reference, but the Austrian internet hates me. I think if China has the ‘great firewall’ then Austria — or at least my hotel — needs a similar nerdpun on Iron Curtain. Geoff, if you’re reading this, get on that. Thanks)

All this to say I’ve spent a huge portion of my time here wandering around reading signs and sounding like those aliens from Aqua Teen Hunger Force (again, I’d link you to a video of the Orange plutonian, but I can’t. infuriating) and it’s put me in somewhat of a giggly mood, which I imagine may color my perception of the country. Vhatever…haggenstrudelkampf.

In serious though today was a lot of fun. Did a bunch of hiking around the hills surrounding the city (which is still really pretty), toured a couple of palaces and museums, sat around pretentiously in cafés pretending to be European, all sorts of things. The highlight was probably Hellbrunn, a huge palace outside the city featuring the Wasserspiele. Water…spiele. Like Glockenspiele but apparently that joke of a suffix couldn’t be contained to just one word. Anyway the Wasserspiele means ‘trick fountains,’ and it refers to a series of statues and stonework that were built above a spring in the palace garden. The ‘trick’ part comes from the fact that the natural spring created enough water pressure for the archbishop of the area to realize he could be a dick with it, which he did with abandon. Basically everything in this garden will attempt to soak you at the touch of a 250-year-old button. Some cases in point – forgive me if it’s hard to see:

Considering how trigger-happy our tourguide was with the trick fountains, it’s a little surprising that all our cameras made it through without issue, and in the summer heat it was definitely a nice twist on the standard ‘look at shit that obnoxiously rich dead white people made/gathered for themselves’ motif that is inevitably going to be a major factor in any visit to Europe, especially when one is touring with one’s parents. Not that these aren’t neat, certainly, but the pictures from it aren’t too interesting, so I’ll spare you the museums and inside-of-palace shots. Except for the mustaches.

All signs indicate that tomorrow will be the best day so far – salt mines and ice caves. Really hope it all works out.

Austria Day 1

Hey friends.

So it turns out I’m in Austria, which –as you may or may not be aware — is not located in the United States. It’s not even in China, despite what the title/tagline of the blog may lead you to believe. Pretty confusing, I know, but bear with me. Basically what’s happening here is that several years ago I made an agreement with myself to record any out-of-country trips that I took from then onward, which is how the China match was ultimately born. I had initially started playing with the idea when I went to visit Connor in Japan in 2007 and realized upon arrival just how many memories of my 2002 trip to the same had faded dramatically, which I found irritating because that one was of the coolest vacations I’ve ever taken. I ended up documenting 2007 Japan through a couple facebook photo albums of Japanese oddities I’d encountered which I then tagged predominantly with sarcastic quips – basically the exact same format as the photoblogs I’ve posted here over the last past year. This worked well enough but I was still emailing big chunks of backstory to go with the pictures to anyone who wanted to hear them. Eventually it became difficult to remember who had been told what, so by the time my first China trip came along I rolled the backstory and the photos together into this blog to keep everything centralized and clear. So I’m gonna put Austria (and future trips) here too, dammit. And yeah, I definitely had to use 250 words to justify that.

Concerning the actual Austria-related part of this post: you may recall that I was always a big proponent of pen-and-paper blogging on the subways of Beijing, but I don’t think I ever posted pictures of any of the rough drafts. Well, today I gave it a shot on an Austrian bus. Check it out:

Airplanes, forts, Jack’s birthday, cake, music, lots of bees*, dinner at a cafe, sleepy really early.

Just kidding. I only wish my handwriting was that good. This is actually copyrighted material belonging to my little brother Jack, who I found scribbling it out on a notepad before bed tonight. He did this with no prompting from me or even our parents, as far as I can tell. Now it’s worth pointing out that if you read the sixth item on Jack’s list as “beer” instead of “bees,” you get a 3rd-person account of Jack throwing a raging 14th birthday party at an Austrian café and passing out early instead of the relatively-less-exciting tale that you’re about to get from me, so on that disappointing note you should probably stop reading now.

UNLESS YOU WANT TO SEE DER AWESOME GERMAN HAIRCUTS THAT IS

This is gonna get huge, guys. You'll thank me later for the fashion heads-up
Oh my god I am going to rock this quarter-mullet so hard ASAP.

Alright actually come to think of it that last bit of Jack’s reporting was more accurate than I had previously thought so I’ll tell today’s story tomorrow and instead leave you with four pictures – the fort from the outside, the city from the top, and then two scenes in the city that can be seen from the top-o-fort picture.

Here's the fort. I'd tell you its name if it weren't in German...

...which makes me laugh too hard to type every time I attempt. German is the most ridiculous goddamn language on the planet. More on this later. Anyway for the next two pictures, use the golden sphere at 6o'clock for reference



I don't know exactly what this is but it was awesome. It's a really lively city; I'm a big fan so far.

*not the bees, all over my eyes, my eyes! gahhhh, ahhhhhh

Cagematch Live

At an undisclosed private location, Zandalee begins. We just finished Vampire’s Kiss. Current standings:
1 death
1 murder
3 sex scenes
8 freak outs
1 cry
1 drunk scene

I’ve seen Zandalee before. It’s a foreign film not available in the states. You know why? Because it’s basically an hour and a half of cage having sex.
~~
That one was kinda a workout. Four sex scenes, three flip outs, one cocaine useage later we’re through it. Entering the 90s with Red Rock West starting now. Time is 11.16 pm. Morale remains high. The room is really hot, but that’s how it’s always been. Two people have tried to come in so far.
4 sex
3 flip out
1 cocaine
~~~
Red Rock West was AWESOME. It’s 12.57; we are exactly 3 minutes ahead of schedule. Like last year we’re keeping this shit locked down to a tee.
1 freakout
1 assist
1 sex
no but seriously, rrw was my favorite so far of the night, easy
Deadfall now, courtesy of burkeman. opening credits playing. apparently charlie sheen is in. WE WE WE SO EXCITED
~~~~
2:37 now. deadfall just ended
spoilers:
1 murder
1 death
7 flipouts
1 drunk
2 drugs
cage died like halfway through and the movie went significantly downhill from there. hopefully we can recover with trapped in paradise. wish us luck!
~~
4.27am
trapped in paradise is over. kinda reminiscent of rrw, in that it’s just a ton of going in and out of a small town. first ‘comedy’ of the night. but really, everything’s a comedy when you’re with cage.
2 flipouts
how tame.
and one of the flipouts was mediocre
~~
6.05 am
passed the first hurdle, i think. not even a full 24 hours left! snake eyes was solid. very solid.
1 flipout in snake eyes. pretty tame in that respect
we are all collectively dreading ‘city of angels,’ up next. we really aren’t sure we’ve got the stamina for a romance about cage returning to life in order to bone someone that he stalked as an angel, which is the plot of this one so far as i know.
~~
7.57am
…. that was precisely what it was.
goddamn.
1 sex scene. 0 flipouts. i hath wasted mine time
bringing out the dead next
~~~
10:00am
We’re running ten minutes ahead of schedule! BOTD was super fucking long and had almost no direction whatsoever. I am deeply ashamed to admit that i fell asleep for about ten minutes; it forced me to open up my coke so now i’ve had about a third of a bottle. should be wired for a while
2 drug uses
1 kill
1 freakout
~~~
Family Man time
nothing interesting happened during this movie
but it was touching
so hey
12.04 pm
windtalkers up next
~~~
2.45 pm windtalkers
92.2 kills
4 freakouts
2 drugs
this movie…err… dragged, a smidge. also it didn’t end when it was supposed to for whatever reason so we’re like fifteen minutes behind schedule now. sad days
~~
4.45pm matchstick men (review)
6 freakouts
semi-continuous drug use
PLOT TWISTS OH GOD THE PLOT TWISTS
THEY TWIST LIKE FIRE
Nah, seriously one of the better ones. And i feel way less bad about thinking that the ’14-year-old’ was cute when it turned out that she was actually like 25, so that’s a plus.
Mckenna and vanessa both came to visit!
Lord of war @ now
~~
6.41pm
we’re not quite to 24 hours, but we’re getting damn close. one more movie should do it. Lord of war was solid.
1 assisted kill
2 drugs
3 sex scenes
pretty interesting plot. good acting, obviously. long. very long.
only four more movies now, though! Cage toxicity has long since set in for everybody but morale remains relatively high. We will keep on keepin’ on. We have a strong finish lined up.
NeXt is next
~~
8:18pm
next was bad
~~~
… but it’s cool because we followed it with national treasure two, right?
oh wait.
10.20pm
so we’d all seen the movie before, consequently to make it all entertaining we deemed the entire duration of the movie shirtless time. of course several people then came in and stared at us and i dont even want to know what they were thinking but…yeah
TWO TO GO
~~~