Though not as scathing as said blonde bombshell, The Step Ahead Unit Five book is fairly unforgiving towards the waist-belt challenged baseball players featured above. The texts used at my school, many of which were written by Canadians, offer curious (and often outdated) outlooks of America, not to mention the country and people of Mexico, which my students are taught is a wild place that most recently introduced the world to H1N1. One of my other storybooks features a character study of a young American named Chris Jacobson who comes from Connecticut, has recently received a brand new SUV, goes home after school to play rather than study and lives in a house that rivals the presidential estate here in Taipei. Now I’m not saying that America doesn’t have its indulgences but that this particular book chooses to show America from the view of the tiny state of Connecticut, which many refer to as a large suburb of New York City, is a bit misleading to these gullible young souls who already think that American food revolves around three ingredients: meat, ketchup, and bun.
It could be the writers of our material are simply having fun with their power over these young minds. Still I am constantly encountering examples of America getting a bad name. There will be more to come I’m sure.
Sad news from Stateside. John Hughes, the once legendary filmmaker of 1980s teenage angst comedies, is dead. Damn. Just look at this lineup up of classics that he either wrote, directed or both: National Lampoon’s Vacation; Ferris Bueller’s Day Off; The Breakfast Club; Uncle Buck; Home Alone; Sixteen Candles; Pretty in Pink; and the great, great Holiday Travel comedy Planes, Trains and Automobiles. If you come from the Northshore suburbs of Chicago he is also a bit of a local legend, having filmed many of his greats in our backyard. This youtube fan montage pretty much sums it up.
So when I originally set up this blog, going back to my Eastern Europe romp in the summer of 07, I figured it would be a place to share my experiences with family and friends, maybe test my hands at light Travel Writing. I have always enjoyed writing the entries and find that the logs as a whole create quite the narrative. I also tend to write a lot more on a computer than in my actual print journal I keep.
So it’s been a while since I last posted. Lately I’ve been keeping busy trying to write and make some money. I started writing for a Chicago website, reelchicago.com, which serves as a trade webzine for the Chicago film industry I’ve been trying to write at least one piece a week for them and am hoping that the site will help jumpstart some future writing gigs in the same field.
Since website writing jobs don’t pay that well I have also been working a couple night a week at a French Vietnamese restaurant (yeah I wasn’t sure what that was either) on Chicago’s ritzy Gold Coast neighborhood (check it out here: (http://www.lecolonialchicago.com/ ). The money is pretty solid which is nice cause I’ve been able to completely re-save what I spent over in Europe and continue to pay off some student loans etc. Plus we get a nice number of celebrities showing up to dine on spring rolls etc. So far I served Ben Harper’s drummer and keyboardist, and most recently Joe Montana made a presence. Remember Joe Montana?
I’ve been apartment hunting since the commute downtown is a bitch and I’m ready to get out of the suburbs. The Northside of the city seems like the best fit and is fairly cheap. Other than that I’ve been absorbing a lot of music, I’ve been getting into the new Ken Burns “War” series on PBS, I’ve been dreaming up another trip (South America seems to be beckoning me more and more), and I’ve been reading a lot–last good books, “The Places In Between,” “Learning How to Die” (a book on the band wilco), and more 33 1/3 books (currently the one on Sonic Youth’s Daydream Nation).
I’ve also been trying to sort through the roughly 4000 photos I took this summer in Europe. Ugh. Below are a couple ones that stood out in my mind.
I’m back in the routine of life after college. Trying to make some money, trying to figure out my life, you know, the usual.
This is a shot inside Istanbul’s stunning Egyptian Spice market. Being in a country that is 99% Muslim is a very different experience. Turkey may be the one country I miss the most and hope to see again.
So this photo was taken in Kilkenny, Ireland. Prior to this photo these two junior street thugs had walked into a local tourist shop and walked away with these two football jerseys, without a care in the world. Thieving buggers. Anyway, they took quite an interest in Paul and I and were happy to pose for the camera. If you’ve ever seen the film “Snatch” these kids were like Irish pikeys–mangling the English language with every word out of their mouths.
Mostar, Bosnia (actually in Herzogovina) is another place that is dazzling to the eye, well at least half of the city that is. Mostar was devastated by the war with the famous stari Most bridge being completely destroyed (it was rebuilt in 2004). I was only here for half a day which was enough to see the city but I could have easily spent more time exploring the area. Another beautiful, often overlooked part of Europe.
This is a cool piece of the Eastside Gallery, which is the last remaining stretch of the Berlin wall. A couple years back a number of artists from around the globe painted portions of the wall. Unfortunately few remain in tact since the sands of time are unforgiving to street art.
I’ll be posting more soon. I hope to start updating the site with more music and film pieces and as I sort through more of the photos I’ll post those as well.