Regrets – I’ve had a few

March 21st, 2014

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One of the few things that I miss in my life is smoking.  Just writing that word, ‘smoking’, gives me the chills as it reminds me the sweet perfection that it was giving my body what it had become addicted to.  Oh that sweet, sweet feeling.  Not to mention the taste of a cigarette with a coffee…better than sex, some might say.

To this day, I have no idea how long it has been since I quit smoking.  I always say 13 as knee jerk reaction as is the thought that 10 years ago was 1990.

You know what I miss about smoking?  The 10 minutes of deep meditation it provided when I smoked alone. It was 10 minutes to myself…I puffed, and I killed myself bit after bit, but those 10 minutes were mine to think and think and think.  They were magical.  And I miss them.

Ironically, today at the gym while trying to undo the damage of gelato, wine, and beer, I had that moment.  I disconnected completely from everyone, and I managed to get that feeling back again.  It was good, and  kept thinking of stupid shit, kinda back then when I was doing something analogous to licking cyanide pills.

Today I thought : “what are my regrets in life”?  I always said that I’d love to go to the grave with that feeling of “I regret nothing”, that everything I ever did, as stupid as may be, served a purpose in the long run; somewhat stepping into the “fate” territory, if you will.  But you know these are just comfort thoughts to make you feel better with your life.  If you have no regrets in your life, I reckon you have not appreciated the enduring process of getting older and evolving.

So what are they?  This is what 10 minutes of non-nicotine did today to me:

  1. Being insecure – this is the root of so many problems in life.  Not to say I am 100% secure to this day, but I look back and I look at someone weak, who remained quiet and took shit because…well, just because.   This really had a snowball effect, and it was until later in life that a series of fortunate events made me wash all that shit away.  Again , I am not saying I am the most secure person in the world, but I think I am eons away from that insecure person I was.
  2. Not appreciating college – this one is the one that makes me go back and kick myself in the ass time and time again.  I had an amazing opportunity of studying abroad, but the partying, procrastination, etc. – what a wasted opportunity.  When I did not understood something in class, I refrained from asking (see point #1 above).  I even ignored the possibility of talking with the teacher/TA on office hours b/c I was afraid.  Do you get how fucking crazy that is?  I had the opportunity to clear my doubts with a subject matter expert and I was afraid to.  Fucked up shit.
  3. Giving a shit to what people think: It’s unavoidable: we’re social and we care about what others think.  The extent to which we allow this to influence our lives can really have an eduring effect.  When going through puberty/adolescence, this is oftentimes unavoidable.  But carry that luggage with you after that and you are bound to have a shitty time.  It is so damn relieving to not giving a flying fuck to what people think.  I wish I had that superpower back in the day.
  4. Not Exercising: Again, college.  There was a free huge gym, with future professionals to be in the field of physical education to assist you in following a program and becoming healthier and stronger.  I NEVER set a foot on such place, I was scrawny and….(fuck, I am seeing a pattern here) insecure.

I am going to stop at this point.  For starters, I’m out of wine, and secondly, you can see that everything I’ve pointed out above boils down to insecurity.

Is insecurity a stage in everyone’s life that we must endure or assimilate?  Is that victory what ultimately makes us happy?  It took a long time for me to get over it, and I can say that I have never been happier in my life; but that could be attributed to the upgrade from nicotine to crack-cocaine.

Hey Johnny,

I’m writing this post listening to what I could think is one of the best covers ever created.  The cover in question involves you, the country lover dressed in black legend, interpreting one of my favorite Nine Inch Nails songs:

How on Earth did you, Mr. Cash, came about to the decision of covering NIN?  I understand covering a song from a burned out artist as U2, but NIN?  I gotta give to you, homme en noir.

My only gripe, Mr. Black?  Well, let me elaborate a bit on why you raised the bar really high and then you brought to down just as quickly.  I don’t know if it was your intention, but the song was a definite preamble to your death.  You look like you have walked the mile, an eulogy of yourself, made by yourself.  So why, Mr Black, did you censor this song?

I am talking about minute 1:50…”I wear this crown of thorns”.  This was a double insult to those who have more faith in Mr. Reznor than in J.C.  himself.   The original lyrics go about “I wear this crown of shit”…why did you tone it down?  You were about to die…if you were as controversial as you made us believe, why go about changing the words to the original so late in the game?  Were you cashing in for your daughter’s wedding?  Was it a marketing decision so that your “In the Grave, Greatest Hits” would sell better?

Secondly, you not only changed the lyrics, but you also managed to incorporate a repentance message on a song that is anything but repentance.  Hurt is one of the most amazing songs by NIN  because it conveys the message on how the betrayal of someone else can lead to the self-destruction of that which we hold most dearly – ourselves.  It holds no repentance, it’s basically “you’ve fucked me up, I’m fucked because of you, you will pay”.

I’ll give you something…that video of yours is as haunting as the decaying coyote from NIN’s original video.   But for someone who was constantly in a ring of fire, avoiding ‘shit’ when making a cover of NIN really stands you out as being a real puss.

Me

February 2nd, 2014

Costa Rican elections are taking place tomorrow.  This time around, it seems to be different, it seems like this time around people actually started to give a flying fuck about it.

Ever since the whole political campaign stated on full-on, I have not been in Costa Rica.  The public television assimilation has been close to nil to myself.  Bar/work conversations and so on have been futile, as I have only been reading political comments on Facebook, which can be quite amusing but has had zero effectiveness on moi.

The way I see it, there are 5 species of voters in these elections:

  • commies
  • pigs
  • hippies
  • bible-fuckers
  • people who will vote for Luis Guillerno Solís

I’m only gonna refer to the first group since I think that’s how long I have until my port’s effect drifts away.

The commies are anyone who would vote for Villalta.  A man who I think is around the wrong kind of people, but someone who has balls and will stand in the way of the majority.  The problem is that the lamest of the lame, the sickest of the sick, the disease that holds this country backwards are his loyal allies.  The funny bit about this political party was its irrelevance with some of my Facebook friends until they realize he was a threat.

The moment that the polls showed that this guy had a chance, was when I started seeing people posting things on Facebook on how awful this man was to Costa Rica.  The common denominator between these people is that they are privileged people, and they are so fucking privileged (compared to the majority of the country) that they do do not even realize it.   All they care is about the “me”, not about the “us”, in the country.  This ongoing indifference has made me despise my own country to new levels, making me return only to see family and friends every now and then, but never thinking of settling there…EVER.

I think I belong somewhat to that group, and I fucking hate it.  Regardless on who wins tomorrow, the vast quantity of people voting for Villalta has made me realize one thing: poverty in CR has remained constant for over 20 years while the economy has been flourishing.  And this is not right.  The best candidate to the vast majority, is that which “will let me go about my business, making the same living as everyone else, securing the future of me and my family while I ignore the ongoing increment in poverty in the country”.

Who are we to blame for this?  I do not know, but it’s not a blame game, but it baffles me on how is it possible that a country can advance so much while keeping the poor factor constant.  All I know is that the end result of the equation will keep influencing the poverty levels to the same extent, or even worse.

We might dodge the Venezuelan ‘Chaves’ bullet tomorrow, or whenever the fuck we have a new president.  But don’t sit comfortably in that office job that gives you 50 grand or so a year – four years from now, it will all happen again, and until the whole mentality of this country changes, we are on a speed train towards an awful tomorrow.

Save the…snakes?

December 18th, 2013

Look – I despise animal cruelty as much as you (hopefully) do, but there’s some things we need to get straight.  For instance, everyday, hundreds of animals are slaughtered so that you and I can have a steak for lunch or bacon with our eggs every morning.  We eat animals, and we fucking love it.

Now, this lust for food does not grant us the right to go about and kill everything we want to eat.  That is the reason why laws exist that protect endangered species and animals.  More often than not, especially in third world countries, these deeds are difficult because of lack of resources or just because people don’t give a flying fuck about it.

I admire the likes of Jairo Sandoval, who went beyond the call of duty to protect Costa Rican turtles.  This kind of people make a difference because they action for what they believe in, they do not think that with a ‘Facebook Like’ the world is going to change for better (click for better viewing):

Yeah, that's exactly how it works.

Yeah, that’s exactly how it works.

Which brings me to today’s rant.  I was reading my Facebook with my coffee and came across to what seems to be a river turtle that was being eaten by some humans in some jungle.  And then the post from the author read:

This is an image of the first chapter of the Discovery reality show: Naked and Afraid. The show is about a man and a woman are “abandoned” in a jungle and have to survive 21 days without anyone’s help.

Beyond the veracity of the program what worries me is that these people in order to survive are forced to hunt wildlife for food.

Did anyone forgot to tell Discovery producers that hunting in Costa Rica is illegal ?

I demand as a Costarrican citizen an explanation of the reasons for allowing a tv program that not only portraying our country as an inhospitable environment but promotes ILLEGAL wildlife hunting.

I also ask to clarify what this area of our country program was recorded and who authorized its production.

We cannot allow it. I will not stop until I have an answer from both the channel and the government of Costa Rica.

She then cites the Costa Rican law which she thinks she violated:

ARTICULO 14.- Queda prohibida la caza, la pesca y la extracción de fauna y flora continentales o insulares de especies en vías de extinción, con excepción de la reproducción efectuada, “sosteniblemente”, en criaderos o viveros que estén registrados en la Dirección General de Vida Silvestre del Ministerio de Recursos Naturales, Energía y Minas, previo el estudio científico correspondiente.

I won’t translate all of it, but the first sentence of the article she cites reads: “It is forbidden (or illegal) to hunt, fish, or extract continental fauna or flora from species in danger of extinction” .  So it makes me wonder what exactly was it that Discovery Channel did that was illegal?

She posts a video of the naked dude killing a pit viper and is appalled on the atrocity committed of beating the shit out of the reptile with a stick:

Don’t know about you, but I really enjoyed that killing!  Fucking snakes…  If she is so concerned about pit vipers, or “tercio pelos”, then I guess we better not tell her that when people in Costa Rica cut the grass in farmlands, dozens of these vipers show up and all of them are killed.  Why?  Because they are fucking pit vipers, that’s why!  They are not in extinction and the less they are, the merrier I am.

I have not seen the TV show series, nor do I intend to, but I really doubt the couple killed anything endangered.  Look, I sympathize with this woman’s intentions, but why does she want to tackle a North American program when there are HUNDREDS of people (locals) killing the animals that she is so heartbroken on daily basis in Costa Rica?

As far as I understand from the show, the naked couple is starving and ate everything they killed.  Guess who else does that?  All of us who are not vegetarians!  (except we have someone else do the killing for us). We cannot be hypocritical and look away to feel better when we are enjoying a steak but be so damn critical when something ‘cute’ gets killed and eaten.

Now, if the killing took place in a zone where hunting was illegal, then yes, let it rain fire on Discovery channel; but at this point it does not seem like that is the case.

Back in August I received an e-mail from SongKick, they were alerting me that Moby was playing in Seattle:

Moby by SongKick

 

Being in town I thought it would be cool to see him.  I love his “Play” album and every now and then he releases something good.  Tickets purchased.

When printing the tickets yesterday, I realized it was “Moby DJ Set” and I thought it was trouble.   And it certainly was.

We arrived the venue at about 10:00 pm.  The tickets stated that it was gonna start at 9:30 so we would have time to skip the opening act.  There were a couple of clowns spinning turntables, mesmerizing a few zombies that moved back and forth to the beat. 

I have never understood this “DJ” thing.  People pay to see one or two idiots click play on their laptops and at most mix tracks?  In this day an age, computers can find out the Beats per Minute (BPM) of a song and match it to another song and mix it for you, so basically the challenge of DJing in all of its glory is gone.  I don’t understand why people call these things “concerts”, there are no musical instruments around and the songs they play are not their creations (with a few exceptions like Paul Van Dyke, Armon van fucking whatever Beuren, etc).

We came back again at 11:00 pm and the clowns were still playing music.  At that point I went to the ticket booth and requested a refund but I guess I was a bit drunk to be taken seriously.

Moby started playing close to midnight.  And it fucking sucked.  It was, as I found out when printing the tickets, a DJ set.  This means that we get to relive Moby’s pre-album career when he used to be a DJ.  That’s right, no “porcelain”, no “why does my heart feel so bad”, no “one of these mornings”, no nada.  I was so disillusioned, all that gin I had drunk for nothing, it was gonna be a super lame show.  It was.  Basically, the worst show I have ever been to in my freakin life.  

At least the sour taste is quickly fading away as this horrible experience is quickly shadowed by the awesomeness of “The National” at the Paramount Theater last week.  More later on that one.

Oh yeah, almost forgot…Songkick people: learn to send the right artist information when alerting fans of upcoming music shows!!!

 

 

Please make it stop

September 15th, 2013

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Today is September 15, 2013.  Independence day in Costa Rica.  Today is a day which baffles the fuck out of me for many, many reasons.  For starters, as I had already posted, kids all over the country are forced to march.  Yay, independence from a foreign country that would make us do shitty things otherwise, now shut the fuck up and march, your nation commands you!

 

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Secondly, we have local supermarkets and liquor stores prohibiting the sale of alcohol because it’s independence day.  What better way to make people in Costa Rica understand that they are free than to limit their (my) freedom of getting drunk when we please?  Worst part is that I had no idea this had taken effect until today.  I almost had to show up empty handed ay my sister’s lunch today.  Fuckers.

And last but not least…the fucking “memes” that make no sense whatsoever.  Please make them stop.  Point in case, the picture of this post:

“Keep calm and puta, que lindo ser tico”

Really?  The “keep calm” deal has been so overused that the original reason has long been buried in oblivion, but this one really takes the trophy to the “I have no idea what a parody is but I’ll just make a meme” award.

There, a rant long overdue.  Now excuse me while I scavenge the coverts of my house and try to find some alcohol to celebrate my freedom of not being able to buy alcohol on this day.  Yay, independence!

 

Mr Self Destruct

August 24th, 2013

Not that you give a shit, and not that anyone should, but seriously NIN.  Seriously?

Are you even trying anymore?

I am not listening to the new album, and not that anyone should.  I am just sitting afar, looking at all these” industrial fan” wanabees praise your soul for making “the Copy of A” and “some other shit that I was bored and I made in 60 seconds”.

You know what I miss?  Violence in music.  The Downward Spiral.  The putrid  long lost message with a rusty industrial feeling.  That’s I miss, Mr. Reznor.  The lyrics,…nothing comes close to Heresy, Closer, and the song covered by none other than Johnny Cash.

The opening track to “The Downward Spiral”, “Mr. Self Destruct” is what industrial music should’ve been back in the day.  Back in 1995, I wore your shirts, I bought your stupid cap, and I looked fucking stupid in it.  And I did not care.  Because I was a part of something else.

Nowadays, what exactly is this a part of?  Besides recording songs with your wife that sound like a cat having their balls torn apart, you have nothing.  Nada. Zip. Zero. Zilch.

And nothing, Mr. Reznor, nothing comes even close to the mean shit you did back in the day.  Have you heard at the the solo in “Piggy“?   The induced violence with the opening synth in “Heresy“?   Don’t come back haunted, just don’t come back at all until you get your shit together.

 

 

Previous years have marked Apple as losing its edge when it comes to innovation.  Every years thousands of Mac fanatics look down in shame and ponder why the hell are they still fanbois.  Fatal flaws such as Maps system that was not ready to see the light, disappointing features in the iPhone 5, and lame updates on the iOS part left a sour taste.  That’s it, it’s time to move on.

This year, I totally forgot about the World Wide Developer Conference.  Usually they announce new hardware/software at these events, and quite honestly I had given up hope.  I thought “if they don’t excel at every possible angle, they are done for”.   As I was adding panniers to my bike, I received a text from a Microsoft buddy that read “brb, I am getting an iPhone”.  I did not get it and then it me, something good must be cooking at the WWDC.

I contained my excitement and watched most of it during the evening.  It was fucking surreal.  I was very happy at everything they announced, it basically was an amazing keynote that kept me on the edge of my seat the whole time.  I loved how they subtly dealt low punches to competitors every now and then.  And I loved this:

“Can’t innovate anymore my ass!”

-Phil Schiller

That is priceless, and that’s what the announcements were about: Mavericks, iOS 7, the Mac Pro; each with a plethora of features that made my blood rush all over the place…yes…all over the place.  And most importably, it was a concealed, act of defiance, aimed directly to those of us who had given up hope.

If you haven’t seen the keynote, do yourself a favor and watch it.  Get some beers, popcorn…and tissues…lots of tissues.

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I first visited the Hunter Valley two years ago.  I loved the place even though I only spent one night, it seemed to have a bit of everything: wine, good weather, friendly people and did I mention there’s heaps of wine?

Plan at least two nights – chances are you will get there in the afternoon.  Aim to attack the wineries early in the morning, most of them close around 4:00 p.m., so be wary of their schedule. 

How to Get There?

The Hunter Valley is situated in Cessnock merely two hours away from Sydney, quick drive with pleasant views.  Hire a car and make your way there!

Directions from Sydney Australia to Cessnock Australia  Bing Maps 2013 04 16 18 23 21

 

Where to Stay?

There’s tons of places to stay – I’ve had good luck with the “Potter Hotel” the two times I’ve stayed there.  It’s a brewery in the middle of the wine country, which is odd.  Make sure to have a tour of the brewery, it’s very personal and you learn quite a bit.  They have very good beer, I enjoyed the 8% IPA called “Cranky Pants” (how appropriate, huh?):

 

Cranky Pants IPA

 

How to get Around?

If you have a designated driver, then that’s your best bet.  If none of your friends want to play that role, then there’s tour buses around that will take you to certain vineyards.  They are somewhat expensive but beat spending the night in prison due to a DUI.  Another option is to hire a bike and cycle your way from vineyard to vineyard.  The gradients are not bad at all, and with the exception of a couple of hills, it’s a very easy ride.  The nice thing about riding is that you get to see things you would otherwise miss, like these guys:

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Where to Drink Yourself Into Oblivion

The Hunter has lots and lots of vineyards, all at your disposal for free tastings.  That’s right, no charge for tasting wines on any of the wineries (although this might change soon due to a tax law that is still pending approval).  I visited the following vineyards, enjoyed them quite a bit:

Hungerford Hill (http://www.hungerfordhill.com.au/page/about_us.html)

2450 Broke Rd Pokolbin NSW 2320 Australia 

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You won’t miss it, its amazing architecture will attract you from the street.  They had an amazing Semillon Sauvignon Blanc.   They also have a fancy Muse restaurant which looked good.

Tempus Two (http://www.tempustwo.com.au/)

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 This one is the one I used for the cover photo of this post.  The place is quite amazing, it has a Japanese and Seafood restaurant, a small shop that specializes in smelly cheese, and the winery that had very friendly staff who are eager to get you to taste everything.  The tasting room is quite exotic, unlike any other I saw during my stay at the Hunter:

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 Make sure you try the Gewürztraminer (if, unlike me, you can pronounce it) and the Botrytis, a dessert wine which I can testify falls under the category of “FUCKING AWESOME”.

Anything Else?

There are TONS of vineyards available of testing, so just take your time to enjoy.  After some tasting, your palates will deceive you and every wine will start tasting similarly, so make sure to have enough breaks between vineyards.  Oh – and don’t bother checking for weather…the Sydney Weather Bureau predicted rain on my second day, and we had none of that.  Salud!

File:Krays

No, I am not one of them.  I wish I could’ve coined the term, but it is from Morrissey, the ex-singer from the best British band that ever existed. I’ve been listening today to this song on repeat today for no apparent reason.  Besides the song having amazing drums, I always thought it it had something in it, thought it had to do with something we could do to attract someone we were always keen on, especially the lyrics:

I AM NOT NATURALLY EVIL
Such things I do Just to make myself
More attractive to you HAVE I FAILED?

I then wondered who were the people that Moz (we’re good friends, I can call him that) was referring to:

Reggie Kray – do you know my name?
Ronnie Kray – do you know my face?

Back in high school (yes, I’m that old) I had no reference to find these names…I could’ve got to the library and done some reserach, but serioulsy, the library?  Fuck the library.

Anyways, Reggie Kray and Ronnie Kray were two twin brothers, English gangsters who did their fair share of havok back in the 50′s.  And then it hit me: the song is of a copycat killer trying to gain fame from these two, and asking them in their grave, if he had succeeded in becoming “more attracted to them” by following their footsteps.

Further inspection of the lyrics are an obvious giveaway, but I guess I was too lost trying to find an alternate meaning…you have to admit that being the last of the famous international playboys is not a dead giveaway of being a serial killer :-)

In our lifetime those who kill
The newsworld hands them stardom

Creepy?  Absolutely.  Queer?  Not as much as Morrissey himself on the video I saw today for the first time today.  Long live Moz! :-)