A new direction

October 28, 2012

1 Vs. The Status Quo

Going in a new direction…

October 24, 2012

So I decided this blogging thing works for me.  So now it’s time to step up my game and improve my blogging craft.  I’ve been reading Problogger, Copyblogger, and signed up for Corbett Barr’s Start A Blog that Matters course.  I am still stuck on where I should be taking this…

I am looking to either go with another social media blog that chronicles my work…or a social commentary blog…or a travel blog.  My mind is all over the place.

Any tips?

Taking a break from my normal debauchery posts to write about something that’s been on my mind for awhile: social revolution.

Awhile back I wrote about the modern man being a pussy.  I’ve written in Facebook posts about the stupidity of Fox News (I am a liberal if you didn’t know) and my disdain for what American society has become in general, from the idolization of the rich to the dumbification of watching stupid reality shows and other shit to the small-town mindedness of the townies I lived near back when I was Stateside. I guess I like to do a lot of social commentary.  I don’t mind being called out on it, I’m not afraid of debate and confrontation.  In fact, I feel it helps us grow.

I recently picked up a book called The Leaderless Revolution by Carne Ross, a former British diplomat who became disgruntled after the US and UK used intelligence that couldn’t be proven to justify invading Iraq, while I was biding my time at Chiang Mai Immigration.  After reading it, it truly resonated with me.  It was like my thoughts were put in tangible form through someone who has more credentials than I do. This book is about how politics can be changed through people like us on a small-scale rather than through governments.  In a way, it’s almost like a call to anarchism, but not super extremist.   The book starts out about talking the Mexican wave (the wave you see at stadiums) and how it’s started by a few unknown people making some news and blows up into thousands partaking in the action.  And this is similar to how suicide bombers get their message across.  I’m not gonna do a book review at this moment, maybe later on.

Another message of the book was that revolutions don’t start from the top down, but from the bottom up.  It’s kind of Marxist in a way, but he also attacks Marxism in that people will never truly relinquish authority.  But Ross likes the ideals that Communism does promote, such as the equal level of the playing field and promoting community.  He also likes the ideas from capitalism, such as the right to self-determination and independence with limited government influence, but that comes at the cost of social justice and harmony.  This is how I feel; both the right and left have great ideas, but it’s the extremists from both ends working against each other for their own interests, instead of fostering a sense of community that we need to get ourselves out from the crisis we are in.  The world has lost that sense of community, socially.  Instead, we are all about getting new iPhones, Benzes, bigger houses, shit from Tiffany’s, and that’s where we place all of our self-worth.  We’ve lost the ability to emphasize and are in it only for ourselves.  It’s part of the reason why I left America and have a slight disdain for our culture.

Probably one of the more memorable passages I’ve read and maybe because I’m a vet was this passage about Tolstoy:

Tolstoy believed that it was those at the base of the pyramid- the foot-soldiers of Borodino or Austerlitz – who in fact made history.  The “great men” and generals who claimed to understand it in fact had not a clue.  For Tolstoy, it was ironic that historians looked to the generals and leaders for the decisions that determined history, rather than the infantry.  More ironic still was that the infantryman did so too. 

So that’s why I don’t get why some people believe in sparing the 1% from making sacrifices, calling them “job creators,” etc.  It’s because in America we have this belief that anyone can be rich if you work hard enough and you can join the elites of the 1% as well, if you work hard enough.  We idolize the lavishness of the fancy houses, exotic cars, and basically living the high-life.  But that lives no room for empathy for those at the bottom.  Americans see the poor as moochers off the system, rather than as humans.  Sure, there are bad seeds to every crowd, but what about those who are at the bottom and truly want a better life for their kids and work tirelessly to achieve that?  The numbers of those people are surprisingly higher than what Fox News wants you to think.

I also don’t understand the religious conservative movement whose religious figures are basically revolutionaries themselves.  Yet, they stand for the things that their religions stand against, such as materialism and looking down on the poor.  Even when I was in Sunday school as a kid, I don’t remember being taught that being a rich douchebag will get me into an afterlife or that Jesus was all for being an armed bad-ass motherfucker.  Or that we are supposed to not pay taxes or deprive the sick of what they need.  It seems they’re stuck in the 80s with their Reganomics ideals and “greed is good.”  They seem to not to understand that the world is a dynamic place and globalization is bring us in closer and closer.  And that bullshit of American nationalism and that were this “beacon on a hill”, “we’re #1”, all obviously said by people who have never left the country.

On the other side, I see the extreme liberal movement trying to take a way the incentives for working hard, the main motivation on why we work.  It’s really become a bunch of slackers trying to stand against the man, but they don’t even know who the man is or what they’re standing against.  It seems that they’re just doing it to be “cool” or to hear themselves talk.  They bitch about corporations while they blog about it on their iPads and listening to music on their iPods.  In the end, they’re just pretentious dicks who have no substance.  Just like the rich douches, but pretending to be poor, so they think they can “understand” the plight of the common man.  I’m sure they’ve never truly walked out of the shoes of being uncomfortable.

Either way, both the left and the right have great ideals, when combined, can help move us forward, instead of us leaning one way or the other.

Getting us out of the funk we are in now takes more than legislation and a vote for either Romney or Obama.  It takes a social change.  It takes a change where we stop looking at each other as commodities and enemies looking to take what we have and instead, coming together to make the world a better place again.  It’s turning off the biased American media we have and stupid reality shows like Jersey Shore or American Idol, and desiring to make a change locally.  I definitely love social commentaries, such as The Leaderless Revolution and Fight Club. 

Another quote I liked, is that “our dream of safety has to disappear.”  That is the philosophy that I have adopted since getting out of the Navy.  Whether it’s taking a risk to leave the realm of your comfort zone, or to achieve lofty goals, or to achieve social change, we must cut the safety net.  And in some cases, we might have to even risks our lives to get things done.  But we are all only interested in self-preservation, whether physically or materially.  Getting to where we want to be involves cutting that safety net, which will only help us grow in a long run.

So even though I’m too small to be a catalyst of social change, it all has to start somewhere.  I’m glad there are some of us out there who can break out from the status quo, but it’s still an uphill fight from here.

 

 

Ever since Day 1 of Navy boot camp, they pitch you this idea that Australia is the dream port.  The rumors go like this: the girls are amazingly hot, girl-to-guy ratio is 8:1 and they all love Americans, Aussie men treat their women like shit because the get the pick of the litter, women are just waiting for you to get off the boat, Adopt-A-Sailor, guys missing ship movement, blah blah blah.  Well, after my first deployment in 2004 got “extended,” we headed to Perth, Australia.

 

Perth Western Australia

 

The names of those in the story are undisclosed (as with all my stories) to protect the innocent.  The only people who know the identities are me, those involved, and probably some of my buddies from the Navy.

 

I heard rumors of women throwing tennis balls at the boat with their phone numbers in order to get some sailor and chics even eating each other out as the liberty boats would pull into the pier.  (The tennis balls may not be true since these girls would have to have a cannon arm to get to the carrier anchored 2 miles out…as for chics eating each other out, well I dunno…that would be awesome if true.)  Well, when we got to the pier at Freemantle, there were index cards posted up of girls looking for sailors to show around town (mainly, they were looking for fighter pilots, but that can’t be too hard to fake, right?).  Whorehouses handing out business cards with the American flag on them and the quote, “the place the Yanks wore out” or something along those lines (the boat was there the year before during the Shock and Awe campaign and were out to sea for 180 days straight I guess, so I could see that happening.)  My buddies and I took the train to Perth and partied out in town, mainly looking for beers and titty bars, which was a success, and I partied so hard, I lost my voice. We all had to be back on the boat the next day, so we took a cab back to the boat for our mandatory 24 hours of duty.

 

The next day, a buddy and I got a hotel room of at the Burswood Resort and Casino.  It was $110/night and discounted from 50% so we took it and split the cost.  We planned to meet at the hotel that night and I met up with another friend who I took the train with into Perth.  Sitting on the train, a cute girl walked up to us and asked if we were American, this girl was on her way to work, but she skipped work (at some festival/carnival thing) to show us around, took us back to her boss who asked us, “Are you in Perth to see the kids?” We told her it was our first time, so she became less cynical.  Then, she took us grocery shopping, then back to her place.  My buddy got a piece of that, so I left and headed to the Burswood.

 

When my buddy and I checked in, we found out that the only thing they had available was a room with only one king-sized bed.  We decided to roll with it and hope we scored tonight.  We proceeded to go to Northbridge to party and pick up chics.  As it came to no surprise, there were a bunch of squids there.  The hot Navy chics who wouldn’t talk to you on the boat, now all of a sudden, they’re all dressed to the nines and trying to talk to you, because they all know about the Aussie girls.  Of course, I just blew the Navy chics by the wayside.  We found a place that was kinda chill and less squids.  After partying and drinking like a sailor the entire night, an Indian girl with a hot Aussie accent (I love accents) came up to me to chat me up.  She asked where I was staying and I told her the Burswood, so she took me by the hand and dragged me out the bar.  We passed my buddy and I pulled him out as well.  We all got into a cab and booked it to the Burswood.

 

When we got to the lobby, we decided to go into the casino to find my friend a girl.  Just in luck, there was a bachelorette party group right as we walked into the casino floor.  We talked to the girls and my buddy picked up the one with “nice personality.”  She really was a nice girl, but well…..nevermind.  Anyways, we all went up to our room and confronted the dilemma with one bed.  While my buddy and this girl just talked, I was dragged into the bathroom.  I was told, “Listen mate, I have no problem with casual sex or sex without commitment.  If you wanna find another bird in the casino, I got no problem with that and I’ll stay here for the night with no issues.” I told her, “Look, I won tonight.” I don’t need to go into more details…except that my buddy and this girl wouldn’t stop talking on the bed, so we “used” the bed as well right next to them.

The only reason I had to wake up the next morning to walk her out was that you needed a key to run the elevator…

Part 2 is the post-drunk, hungover, and drunk again of our last night in Australia.

And of course,

 

 

Odeon, Efes (Ephesus), Turkey

After our first night of immense partying in Mamaris, we went back to the boat and had to wake up at 7 AM for our overnight tour of Central Turkey.  It was a rough wake-up, with my buddy nearly puking on the bus, but luckily we made it to a rest stop on time.

Anyways, after taking ridiculous pictures at the ancient ruins of Ephesus and buying a leather Porsche jacket, we got to our hotel for the night, which was pretty nice, especially when it comes to sleeping on the boat.  However, it was full of 500 squids, just wanting to get fucked up.  My buddies and I tried to sneak out and go into town, but we were stopped by the staff who told us that it was under the order of our command that we stay in the hotel.  Not giving up and with the desire to get away from 500 drunk squids, I made someone lower-ranking than me pretend to be an officer and convince the hotel staff to let us sneak off.  So we proceeded to make the long walk into town.

It was pitch black and pretty cold, so when we got into town, we saw a cafe or restaurant open, so we proceeded to walk in.  When we walked in, we saw hookahs on the tables and thought, “We are definitely hanging out here.”  A Turkish staff member came up to us, and since he didn’t speak English and we didn’t speak Turkish, we just pointed a hookah and said, “One.”  We then pointed at a poster of Efes beer and put up three fingers while saying, “Three.”  So our night started out great, we were continuing our drunk fest, smoking hookahs, away from a bunch of drunk American squids, life was good.  We kept the beer flowing, the hookah lit, and the good times going.  Then, a black Benz pulled up to the cafe and then for some reason, we got scared and decided to continue on to our next venture.  Maybe we thought they were Turkish gangsters or something.

We continued into this narrow street which probably was the center of town.  It was dimly-lit.  I saw a phone booth that was lit up, but when I got closer, I saw bottles of wine inside.  I got excited and bought one.  While I was there, I heard that familiar sizzle of meat and smelled that familiar smell of meat being cooked up.  I turned my head and I saw a guy working the grill.  He screamed out, “Americans? You come over here and eat.  I make the best kababs in Turkey.”  Of course, being drunk, we were hungry as well, so we went inside his small restaurant.

Inside, we saw two guys dressed in army fatigues and holding sub-machine guns.  One of my buddies had this idea.

“Dude….we should take a picture with those guys.”

I thought to myself, “Hell yeah.”

So I went over there and asked if I could take a picture.  The guy behind the grill told me they didn’t speak English.  So I mimed a taking a picture motion and pointed at all of us.  They looked at each other and nodded their heads.  So I went over there first and took a bunch of pictures with those guys.  Then, all of a sudden, one of the guys hands me his machine gun and mimics the same picture taking motion.  My eyes probably widened in shock, and I said, “Oh…hell yeah!!”  So I took more pictures with the guy’s gun.

Then, not being in sound mind and body,  I pointed the gun at my buddy taking the pictures and said, “Hey, take a pic of me like this.” He freaked out and I was confused.  The Turkish gendarme guy came up to me, waved his hands up, took the gun from me, took off the clip, and showed me it was fully loaded…except for one in the chamber.  I sobered up right away and my buddies weren’t able to take a pic with the clip in the gun.  Sorry about that dudes.

But afterwards, the food came out and there were other guys there, so we talked about our lives.  It was an awesome moment for sure, just bullshitting with locals and drinking with them.  They brought out some raki and shared some with us.  They called me a pussy and laughed when I asked to cut it with water.  The guy who let us borrow his gun asked to drink some of our wine and my smokes, and of course I said yes (he had a gun, what else was I gonna do?, but I would’ve done it anyway of course).

Afterwards, we went back to the hotel room, I can’t remember why we bought a hookah, but we did and tried to smoke it in the room.  It failed when the charcoal fell to the floor placing a burn mark on the carpet.  We passed out because in 3 hours we had to get back on the bus and continue our tour of Turkey.

I truly felt like a traveler that day.  Getting to experience true Turkish culture, by not being on a tour bus, and scoring a ridiculous story out of it is what I left Townieville, Wisconsin for and not superficially by hanging out with a bunch of Americans I would see everyday for the next 6 months.  Onwards to the next story…

Now for your girl in a bikini…it’s only fitting.

It was my birthday this past weekend, so I decided to take a little break and spend time with a few friends.  It was a small couple get-togethers with a party at the gym for its second anniversary.  For a person who likes hanging out with tons of people, I’m really enjoying hanging out with the few close friends I have.   Of course, despite having a few small gatherings, it had its share of brief excitement.

Now to my stories (of course, names are withheld to protect the innocent): After we left the Persian Gulf on our deployment, our first stop was Turkey.  By this time, word got around that I was the guy to hang out with, so when we pulled into Mamaris, I was rolling with a crowd that was 10 deep.  When we got to the pier, we rocked up to the first cab we saw and I told the driver, “Look, take us to a place where there are no Americans.”  He tells us to get in and we roll down the streets of Mamaris.  As we go farther into the city, the city becomes shadier and shadier.  I hear from the backseats, “Dude, what is going on?”

I respond, “Chill, it’s gonna be alright.”

“If I die here, I swear to God, I’m kicking your ass.”

Finally the cab drops us off at this little green house.  It looked pretty rundown and the neighborhood was really shady.  As we pile out of the cab and walk toward the house, my buddies are bitching that they will kill me if shit goes wrong.  I admit; I was kinda nervous as well.  But when we walked in, we found this exquisite restaurant that was beautifully decorated and right there on the water.  We were stunned.  There was no one there, so the owner shot up and said, “Americans! Please come in and have a seat.”  After eating shitty boat food for a month, we were pumped to have an awesome meal.  And dinner was awesome.  Steak, lamb, wine, champagne….we just ate and drank like, well, ancient Greek sailors.

After we pigged out, we decided we wanted to talk to some of the local Turkish girls.  I asked the owner, “Hey man, where can we talk to some girls around here?”

The owner responds, “Oh, you want to talk to girls.”

“Yeah.”

So he picks up the phone and makes a phone call.  10 minutes later, a cab pulls up and a guy in a track suit walks out.  He talks to the owner and then walks over to us.  He asks us, “So you want girls?” We look confused and say yes.  He takes out his cell phone and makes a phone call.  10 minutes later, two cabs pull up and about 12 beautiful Russian girls, dressed to the nines, walk into the restaurant and form a line in front of us.  Mr. Track Suit says, “OK, here are girls.  Choose.”  We figured out what was going on and went with it.  After my exploits in Dubai, I chose to go last.  Almost everyone chose a girl, and the girls that weren’t chosen too a cab back to wherever they came from.  We, then snagged two cabs, drove to some seedy apartment, did our thing and left.

The rest of the night consisted of a Turkish bath, avoiding the squids, and trying to drink at 10 bars in one hour.  We didn’t make it, only because we were completely wasted and we had to get back on the boat.

Part 2 next time.  And it doesn’t involve hookers, sex, or going to jail.  In fact, it’s my favorite travel story and one of my most memorable nights.

Here’s your girl in a bikini for the day.  Obviously, she’s Turkish.

….although my life isn’t as cool or badass as being a Navy SEAL, I dwell back on the past 12 years of my post-teenage years and it is something that I feel is worth sharing.  I definitely was not rogered-up (or gung-ho as civilians may know it) while I was in the Navy, but I think this commercial has some meaning to me.  I could’ve been back home in Townieville, Wisconsin, drinking PBRs and other shitty beer, working shitty jobs or stuck in a shitty life that I don’t wanna be living, living for the shitty weekend, talking about the same boring-ass shit that people at the townie bars talk about (mainly about the good ol’days in high school or when Reagan was President and not this “socialist” asshole), or having a high school reunion every weekend with people I never really talked to in high school.  Just the thought of having to go back there and live a life like that makes me wanna shoot myself in the head.

But I am thankful for being the square peg who couldn’t fit into the round hole of townieness.  It forced me to branch out and pursue what I’ve always wanted to do: travel.  Whether it was through the Navy or on my own terms, I got to branch outside the comforts of the 10-mile radius outside my front door and make friends that that don’t have a common bond of going to the same high school as me and hanging out at the same shitty bars.

So I left the comforts of security and familiarness to explore the world and do cool, crazy shit along the way.  I couldn’t picture living a “normal” lifestyle.  That’s why I am here writing to whoever stumbles across this.  Maybe I can inspire someone who feels that they are the square peg trying to fit into a round hole to stop trying to fit in and do their thing.  I definitely don’t have all the answers and I haven’t figured anything out yet, but hopefully, I can inspire someone to follow their own path and we can find the answers together.

That’s why  I can’t bring myself to go home; the dickhead bulliness of shit that is different from them or people who aren’t living a small-minded miserable life like their own.  If I’m to be called arrogant, than so be it.  I just don’t wanna be brought down to that level.  Hell, maybe I am and maybe I might throw some fists if some townie talks some stupid shit to me.

So my brand: to just be interesting.  Whether it’s controversial or fun, I’m gonna work on being interesting and doing interesting things.  I am lucky to draw on a wealth of stories to share with the world.  But I don’t plan on stopping here.  There’s more in this world to see and more in this world to do.  My ultimate failure is going home and ending up like those sitting in a townie bar, drinking shitty beer, and talking about what could’ve been and not having the balls to leave.  My life won’t be as cool as a Navy SEAL’s, but you may still wanna read about it.

One week into this and I already have an idea for a new project…stay tuned…

Sorry, no chic in a bikini today.  I don’t want anyone to be burnt out on it.