Dating as Performance Art

This month marks my four-year divorce anniversary. Although I’ve dated from time to time in the interim, for the most part since then I’ve been a single man. I can’t imagine why.

scowl

Being such a catch and all.

For most of that time I’ve maintained profiles on several dating sites, notably OkCupid and POF. I’m not entirely sure why, though. The results have been, shall we say, less than impressive.

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The SB Travel Guide

When I’m bored, which happens a lot, I like to peruse travel sites such as Lonely Planet and Wikitravel. You see, I’ve lived all over the United States, and I’m not content to park my ass in Idaho for the rest of my life. I want to get out and see stuff.

Does that mean I’m going to sign up for the first package tour to come through my e-mail? Oh, hell no! My travel philosophy is very similar to Mojo Nixon‘s. One of the truly great American prophets, Nixon had this to say back in 1999:

I like the local place. I like Billy Bob Bubba Junior’s burger place on the edge of town with the B sanitary rating. Local promoters will ask me where I want to go eat, and I’ll say, “I wanna go eat at the place where your drunk uncle goes to, that your mother doesn’t like.”

So today I’m sharing a few travel destinations on my bucket list. As of this writing I haven’t been to any of them, but I hope to change that one of these days. Flight prices are based on what I found today at Kayak departing 7 May (a Tuesday) from Boise Airport (BOI) and returning the following week. If you were to actually do this, however, I recommend taking a longer vacation. Many of these destinations take up to two days to get to, if not longer.

Tirana, Albania

The Albanian capital is still a bit off the beaten path, but it’s nowhere near as hard to get to as it was 35 years ago. Back when the Enver Hoxha regime was in power, Tirana was right up there with Pyongyang in terms of mysterious, remote cities. Pyongyang would be interesting too, but the whole point is to get away from guided tours. In North Korea, you don’t have a choice.

800px-Pyongyang_night1

Even the 2T has better nightlife than Pyongyang.

Anyway, in sharp contrast to Kim Jong-un’s stomping grounds Tirana is said to have a very vibrant night life. According to Wikitravel, Albanians “are very hospitable towards foreigners,” and crime rates are quite low. Once I have my druthers, I’m definitely going.

From BOI to Tirana (TIA): Fairly straightforward. $1,458 with layovers at Chicago-O’Hare (ORD) and Munich (MUC).

Other places to consider: Ljubljana, Slovenia; Sofia, Bulgaria; Skopje, Macedonia; Podgorica, Montenegro.

Bangui, Central African Republic

The more astute among you know I’ve already written about the Central African Republic here. From my standpoint sitting here in Idaho Africa seems very remote, and Bangui seems remote even by African standards. I wouldn’t be terribly interested in going on safari there or anything like that (although I understand the region is well-suited for such things). Like most other places, I’d want to hang out with the locals and see what they do to spend the time.

The problem with the CAR is that’s it’s constantly in turmoil. I mean, constantly. The government there was overthrown by rebels less than a month ago. I’d want to go when it’s a bit safer, but when that actually happens is anyone’s guess.

From BOI to Bangui (BGF): “No matching results were found.” Wusses. I know Air France has a flight from Paris Charles de Gaulle (CDG) to Bangui. Looks like that would be 687,500 Central African francs, which is, um, around $1,360. Add another $1,204 from BOI to Paris – with a layover in San Francisco (SFO) – and that’s $2,564.

SF_From_Marin_Highlands3

Nothing like burning an entire flight going backwards.

Other places to consider: N’Djamena, Chad; Antananarivo, Madagascar; Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso; Timbuktu, Mali.

Rabbit Flat, Northern Territory, Australia

Speaking of remote, few places are as out of the way as the Australian outback. In the outback itself, there are places even the locals consider remote, particularly in the interiors of Western Australia and the Northern Territory. Rabbit Flat is one such place. Hundreds of miles away from any significant settlement, Rabbit Flat is not much more than a roadhouse on a long, seldom-traveled road. I understand the roadhouse closed down, too.

Ah, who cares? There are times when I’m feeling my inner Ted Kaczynski and just want to get away from it all. I very much doubt I’d stay in Rabbit Flat for very long, but the trip there and back would certainly be an adventure.

From BOI to Rabbit Flat: No airport to speak of there, so I’d have to fly to the closest city of any size, which would be Alice Springs (ASP). $1,815, with stops in San Jose (SJC), Los Angeles (LAX), and Sydney (SYD). That, plus a 375-mile one-way trip on roads that make Nevada 318 look like Manhattan. I’m sure they aren’t giving those away.

DCF 1.0

Regardless, that’s gonna be a long-ass trip.
Image credit: Nachoman-au

Other places to consider: Coober Pedy, South Australia; Kalgoorlie, Western Australia.

Longyearbyen, Svalbard

Svalbard is the mirror image of Rabbit Flat. While the Australian outback is excessively hot and remote, Svalbard is excessively cold and remote. How remote? How about 78° North latitude, well north of the Arctic Circle?

Although officially part of Norway, Svalbard has also been occupied by the Soviet Union and later Russia for decades, which makes for an interesting cultural mishmash. In Longyearbyen, the capital and largest city, the sun rises in April and sets in November, with only a few weeks a year experiencing a normal day and night cycle. Temperatures rarely go above 45° F.

Who’s up for volleyball?

From BOI to Longyearbyen (LYR): Kayak wusses out again. $922 from Boise to Oslo (OSL) with stops in Denver (DEN) and Newark (EWR). Then on Scandinavian Airlines to LYR, $467. Total: $1,389.

Other places to consider: Iqaluit, Nunavut, Canada; Nuuk, Greenland; Belushya Guba, Novaya Zemlya, Russia.

Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch, Wales

Many people (myself included), find even simple words in the Welsh language difficult to pronounce. How about this one? Apparently it sounds like this.

Located on the island of Isle of Anglesey just northwest of the Welsh mainland, the town has the distinction of being the longest place name in Europe. I suspect no one on the local train misses the station.

Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch-railway-station-sign-2011-09-21-GR2_1837a

“Yeah, that place.”

From BOI to Llanfairpwllgwyngyll-whatever: Northern Wales is apparently lacking in sizable airports, so I looked eastward into England, specifically Liverpool (LPL). Evidently LPL isn’t big enough either, as Kayak directed me further east to Manchester (MAN). That’s $848 with stops in different locations each way (but not through London, go figure). A rental car or train ticket would probably put me a bit north of $1,000, which would make this my least expensive international trip.

Other places to consider: Venkatanarasimharajuvaripeta, Andhra Pradesh, India; Tweebuffelsmeteenskootmorsdoodgeskietfontein, South Africa; Taumatawhakatangihangakoauauotamateapokaiwhenuakitanatahu, New Zealand.

Thermopolis, Wyoming

The seat of Hot Springs County, Wyoming, may not strike you as all that special. Indeed, I suspect it’s like any other town of its size in the western United States (around 3,000 if you’re interested). It’s still somewhere I want to go, perhaps because it was once mentioned by Daffy Duck.

Duck_Amuck

Another great American prophet.

Unlike the other places I mentioned today, I have concrete plans to visit Thermopolis in the near future. It’ll probably be May or June. I want to make sure winter is truly done and over with around here before I make the trip.

Besides, it’s much closer than Truth or Consequences, New Mexico.

From BOI to Thermopolis: I suppose the closest commercial airport is in Cody (COD), but I’ll be driving this one.

Friday Crap Roundup VIII

It’s Friday at the Command Center, so it’s time for the Friday Crap Roundup! But first, I have some cleaning up to do ….

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Cats and Kleenex. Gotta love it.

Trolling for Fun and Profit

Right. Now that that’s taken care of, let’s turn our attention to other beings who strike without warning.

You may have seen this video make the rounds on Facebook this week. It’s a hilarious “interview” by Brick Stone with members of the infamous Westboro Baptist Church. Stone skewers them for all they’re worth, and then some.

“We’re done here.”

“Brick Stone” is actually standup comedian Dave Sirus, who turned guerrilla comic trolling in general – and baiting the WBC in particular – into his main schtick. He’s starting to get some good ink for it too. I’m happy to help.

Bashing the Classics

Those of you who know me well may know about my healthy disdain for English Lit classes. And for those who didn’t, well now you do. Here’s a diatribe on the matter I posted on Facebook recently:

Reason #1804 why English Lit sucks: Kids don’t want to read books like The Old Man and the Sea, or My Name is Asher Lev, or Frankenstein. Why? Because they’re all about FAILURE. Adolescents have enough pathos as it is. Let them read Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas or something. It may not be about success, but at least the characters chose their own terms.

I was compelled to read all three of these works at various points during junior high and high school. Hemingway’s prose in Old Man communicated his imagery very well, but after 50 pages of reading about a back-and-forth battle between some dude and a marlin, it got a bit … old. Then after three days of fighting the damn thing he finally hauls his catch in, only to have it eaten by sharks before he returns to port. How … utterly depressing.

bassfishing

Kind of like watching the Outdoor Channel for hours on end, until your dish is stolen by wolverines.
Image credit: Experience Kissimmee, Florida

As for the others, Frankenstein was beyond turgid, while My Name is Asher Lev was so goddamn depressing it made Old Man look like an episode of In Living Color by comparison. I don’t think I ever finished that one, to hell with bad grades.

Naturally this sparked a mixed reaction and a debate on my Facebook page. Others mentioned books such as Lord of the Flies and The Grapes of Wrath. I never read either one, so I couldn’t comment intelligently.

Grapes of Wrath

I’m such a Philistine.
Image credit: scatterkeir

I’d be very interested to hear what you have to say on the matter, dear reader. Please feel free to comment and debate. I may respond in a later edition of FCR. If nothing else, it would be a break from the tedium of deleting spam comments hawking third-rate knockoffs of Michael Kors handbags or some shit.

The Moose and Spam Update

Earlier this week I unexpectedly heard from Moose Factory Boy™, who told me to expect a call or text “very soon.” Well, the most recent text I received as of this writing was from my ex-wife, who informed me Beachy is off of school next Friday. I’m pretty sure he wasn’t referring to that. No word from Myrtle whatsoever.

I haven’t heard anything from my Nigerian 419 scammer either. Apparently he/she fell for my “Church of Satan, Reformed (Nunavut Synod)” gag.

Both of these developments are a damn shame. I need material to keep this blog going. This crap doesn’t write itself, you know.

Track of the Week

Ladies and gentlemen, please rise for the national anthem of the Great Basin:

A fan-made video, and a damn good one I might add.

Bits and Pieces

Despite it being absolutely gorgeous outside, I spent the better part of the day filling out hospital forms related to my head injury a couple months ago. Since there’s nothing even remotely amusing about that (like I could remember it anyway), I didn’t have a lot of time to think about what the hell I was going to write today.

But I got to turn on the A/C for the first time this year.

Despite that, I have a couple stories possibly developing for your reading enjoyment. I guess it’s time for one of those potpourri posts. You know, a little of everything but not a lot of anything. That makes sense, right? Good. Let’s get started.

Return of the Moose

For a while I genuinely thought I was done writing about him, but a couple days ago none other than Moose Factory Boy™ showed up in my Facebook mail. His message? “I’m sure that you will be receiving a text/call very soon.” Um, OK. I assume he’s talking about Myrtle, but with him you can never be entirely sure.

smokesignal

Could be something like this.

As of this writing I haven’t heard from Myrtle, or anyone else for that matter. Whether or not she gets back in contact is anyone’s guess. If she does, great. If not, oh well. Dating hasn’t been a real high priority lately.

What’s the 419?

Speaking of dating, I’ve had an ad in the Boise Craigslist personals for a couple weeks now. Now before you accuse me of contradicting my previous statement, bear in mind this ad mentions Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the Bandido Nation, Svalbard, Aotearoa and Erik Estrada‘s teeth, among other things. Not exactly Cassanova-type material.

To their credit Craigslist recently reformulated their policies, implementing an anonymous reply function. This has cut down on the spammers and the scammers significantly. A few still get through, including our friend “Tracy Miller.”

“Tracy” contacted me and assured me “she” was real and wanted to meet. My reply was, “And I’m real. Did you find Erik Estrada’s teeth?”

TV Guide Estrada

Yeah, I’m milking that for all it’s worth.
Image credit: trainman74

The reply mentioned nothing about Estrada, but Tracy did tell me about how she was a fashion school student living with a friend and her grandmother. She talked about her friend getting married and how she wants to get married herself. She talked about her love for God and how much of a good Christian she was. There was a bunch of other drivel I didn’t bother reading.

Most importantly, she responded outside the Craigslist system, which allowed me to track the originating IP:

nigeriaIP

Peek-a-boo!

Of course, being the magnanimous guy I am, I replied:

Hey Tracy:

No kidding? I’m into religion too! For the past eight months I’ve served as a dark deacon with the First Boise Church of Satan, Reformed (Nunavut Synod). Just this past weekend we sacrificed some goats during a sunset ceremony up at Table Rock to culminate our annual “Cinco de Chivos” festival. We used to sacrifice children, but we were sued by the Most Antient Order of Tlahuizcalpantecuhtli for trademark infringement. And, well, long story short we don’t do that anymore.

I’m not photogenic either. Especially not after my recurring bouts with leprosy. But I don’t let it get me down. Even though I only have eight fingers now, I can still type at 60 words per minute!

By the way, since you’re a fashion student and all, I’m guessing you know quite a bit about fabric. Do you know how to get goat blood stains out of linen?

Writing that was a hell of a lot more fun than filling out hospital forms. I tell you what ….

Unexpecting the Expected

Hot damn tamale Mephistopheles! It’s April Fool’s Day! I suppose this means y’all are expecting me to base today’s post on some absurd, blatantly false declaration then cry, “APRIL FOOL’S!” Well, I did consider it.

Claim to have an epiphany and pledge to channel the spirit of the undead Jerry Falwell? Nah ….

Become the world’s most annoying Buddhist monk? Nah ….

Announce the end of SB to write at RedState instead? Nah ….

Tout a diet consisting exclusively of carrots, celery and Pabst Blue Ribbon? Nah ….

carrots

Oh, hell no.
Image credit: Chasqui

Then it occurred to me. Last night on Facebook I announced my intention to record an EP for download. I’m very seriously considering this. I mean, seriously ….

Friends, I’m happy to announce I’m going into the studio to record my first EP, Taxil and the White Noise. It’ll feature a cover of Allais’ Funeral March for the Obsequies of a Deaf Man, La Double Vie de Théophraste Longuet as inspired by Leroux, the eponymous original composition, and Cage’s masterpiece 4’33”, which was voted one of the most important American musical works of the 20th Century. Look for it soon!

The key to a lasting presence on the Internet is going multimedia as soon as you can. SB regularly gets 50 hits a day now. That may not sound like much, but given that this blog was started less than two months ago with an advertising budget of absolute zero, I happen to think it’s pretty damn good. Hell, those guys from Smosh recently put out an album. If two kids from northern California can make it big by using pink sprinkled donuts and churros as props, then I can become famous too, dammit!

As you may recall, a few days ago I mentioned John Cage’s 4’33”. A groundbreaking work like that is exactly what I need to give this EP some serious gravitas. No less than Frank freakin’ Zappa covered 4’33”, man. I understand it’s pretty easy to play, and that it can be recorded on a shoestring budget. This is a good thing given my limited musical skills and financial resources. Just gotta get the timing down, or something ….

Rebecca_Black_-_Friday

The concept doesn’t need cheesy production, or Auto-Tune, or anything. I’m golden.
Image credit: Kenal

Last night I composed the title track, Taxil and the White Noise, on a state-of-the-art Walgreens Model 890-WGN cool moisture humidifier. The 890-WGN is a frequently overlooked instrument, which I think really makes the piece pop. You’re gonna love it.

So no, I’m not yelling, “APRIL FOOL’S!” I want to make this happen. More details are sure to follow.