Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Change My Way OF Thinking................

I saw Bob Dylan, for the 10th time, over the weekend. Every time he gets better. At 70 years old or young, however you prefer to look at it, the man is still playing reinventing his catalog night after night. Dylan is not your typical deodorized rock show of today. Like being in church, he takes you on a spiritual journey through forty years of love and hate, loss and redemption, sin and salvation.

Set List:

Leopard Skin Pill Box Hat
Girl From The North Country
Things Have Changed
Tangled Up In Blue
Beyond Here Lies Nothing
Tweedle Dee & Tweedle Dum
Desolation Row
The Levee's Gonna Break
Trying To Get To Heaven
Highway 61 Revisted
Simple Twist Of Fate
Thunder On The Mountain
Ballad Of A Thin Man (Bob took center stage, armed only with harmonica and mic, spreading his voodoo across the land.)
Like A Rolling Stone
All Along The Watchtower

For those who have seen the light......"Keep on keepin' on." For those that haven't...."Someday you will raise your standards."

Been A Long While....................

6:30 a.m.

I haven't slept a wink.

Been like this for................well who knows.

Sleeping makes me restless, Staying awake makes me tired

No peace is found.

When I try to sleep I toss and turn.

No end to it.......my madness.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Raving & Drooling

A rant for the ages............

Nature walks are about the only thing that is keeping me lucid at this point. My drive to put forth effort at AUI left sometime in mid-March. A paper I should have been working on all semester got finished in two days. Another paper that is due next week, haven't even started researching yet. The thing is, and I know I'm not the only exchange student who feels this way, you don't have to try. I have never experienced anything like this. A student can literally do nothing all semester and still get A's on everything. They call AUI the "Harvard of the East." Is that a long shot. There are only a handful of professor's at this school who could maybe, and stress maybe, teach at Harvard. There is no comparison.  AUI simply has no standard of education. The insha'allah mind set, that everyone at this university has, just doesn't work in the discipline of education. God can't will it. You, as the university have to. It's like the administration and faculty don't understand they are providing a service that people are paying for.  No one at AUI wants to take any responsibility. "It's not my problem, insha'allah" is the never ending refrain of every employee of this university.

Someone recently told me I should get a Twitter account.  No thank you. It took me long enough to wrap my head around a cellphone and the idea that people could get a hold of me no matter where I was. Then I gave in to Facebook. Then I had to figure out how to Skype. The facts are, no matter how careful I am about who I give my cell number to, people who I have no desire to talk to, always end up getting it and calling me. The people I gave my number to and want to talk to, mom, dad, friends in Columbus, Killeen, Athens, Portsmouth, etc. get interrupted by the assholes. Facebook is becoming a bit stalker-ish, and the only people I skype with are my mom and my friend Alicia's high school class. The thing with twitter, I just don't think my life is that interesting. Here's a tweet for you.........I'm 29, Single, and have no plan except what the next day brings.

Last night I was listening to Janis Joplin and I came to the conclusion that I could've married Janis. Maybe in another life or something I don't know, but every time she comes on the iTunes, I stop what I'm doing and let her go. That doesn't happen to often anymore. I think I've heard too much music and am just not smart enough to process it all. But when Janis comes on, I'm hooked. Listening to her reminds me of this girl I know. She lifts me up and tears me down in the course of eight songs.

My hat fetish has gotten a bit out of control. I have bought seven hats, the owner of the bar gave me one and I brought two with me from home. I also have six turbans, a jalaba, two hash pipes, and a Berber carpet.

Gift buying for your friends sucks. What do you buy and who gets something and who doesn't? I'm thinking a FUCK-IT moment may be coming, when I tell them their gift is the honor of being in presence after four months.

Oh yeah, I almost forgot, I got yelled at today for walking on the grass across campus. Keep in mind that some students are trying to get the administration to let students sit on the grass. For further explanation into the logic and rational into not letting students walk or sit on the grass at AUI, refer to the first paragraph.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Kiss My Hash

Finished a paper, at the last minute. A trip to the Gorge, with good friends. A welcome weekend away from AUI.  People are the same wherever you go. There are good people, people you would invite to your house for dinner, for a beer, or just a conversation. There are bad people. Assholes, scum bags. You wouldn't want them at your house if they offered to pay you.  Alice Cooper once said, "Schools Out," and it almost is.  Traveling has always been in my heart. Now that its ending, I feel a bit out of place. Going Home Going Home. Over the hill. Friends, family, my dog. "I Feel A Change Comin' On."  I don't have to go home, but I can't stay here.  

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Sex, Death, & Money

What can you get in Morocco for 40 dirhams................

1. Pack of Marlboro Reds.
2. Three course meal.
3. Bus ticket to Fez.
4. Seat in a grand taxi.
5. A turban.
6. Any kind of hat you can find.
7. T-shirts.
8. 2 beers.
9. Pair of sunglasses.
10. The Quran in Arabic.
11.  2 leather bracelets.
12. A hashpipe. 

These are things I have purchased for 40 dirhams in Morocco. All of these things serve a different purpose and should all be worth different amounts of money. Thats what you think. In Morocco all these are easily purchased for 40 dirhams. The equivalent to about five U. S. and A. dollars. There is no concept of a market. No economic infrastructure. No specialization. No concept of the value of money.  Everything is a variety store. If the first one you walk into doesn't have it, they point you to the next one over. If the second one doesn't have it, they point you to the next one over, and so on. Nothing has a fixed price. Example, the guitar I bought in Marrakech. I walked into the store in the medina on Thursday afternoon and was told the guitar was 1400 dirhams. I started laughing. I walked in the same store on Friday afternoon and was told the same guitar was 800 dirhams. Again, I started laughing. I ended up paying 400 dirhams for the guitar and a gig bag to carry it. (Tip Of The Day...Don't ever buy a guitar without a case or a gig bag to carry it in. The salesman at the music store will try and sell them separately, don't buy it. Make the salesman give you case with the guitar. Ford doesn't sell a car without the engine to to drive the damn thing.) Do you see a pattern here? This persists all over the country, from Tangier to Marrakech. Morocco is never going to get out of the third world until some kind of economic standard is developed. You can't have an economy based on variety stores operating on the barter system. You need specialization. Your currency has to have value. Love it or hate it, capitalism works. Don't believe that, talk to a Russian, or a Croat, or a Serb, or a Hungarian, or a Slav who lived between 1922 and 1991.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

When The Roses Bloom Again

None of my pants fit any more. I have already had to poke two new holes in my belt. I'm going on a month long binge of Skyline Chili, Chipotle, buffalo wings and Budweiser when I get back to the U.S. and A. My hair is longer then it has been in five years. Probably longer than that actually. It's depressing, my bald spot is showing hardcore and I've been reduced to wearing hats all the time. The hair is getting cut first thing upon arrival. 
On a happier note, my beard is getting better by the day. I'm sure Staker would tell me that it's out of control, he lives in Texas, so his opinion means very little now. I haven't decided if I'm going to keep my beard or not when I get home. A part of me says let it go, you've gone this far, why stop now. On the other hand, if I cut my hair short and then have this monstrosity of a beard, it may look a bit out of place. However, I'm always encouraging people to grow a beard, so to shave mine may seem a bit hypocritical.  Any suggestions, as always, are welcome. 
I also managed to secure a guitar in Marrakech. Only took me two months to find one, but I finally did. I am happy now. I started playing when I was eleven and had never gone two months without playing. My fingers have been hurting. It's no Taylor or Martin but it stays in tune and plays well enough. Getting it home may be an issue, but look over there, we'll cross that bridge when we come to it. 
I've also found a souvenir for Mr. E. Vestich, the puke bag from the plane, some Dramamine and a copy of Sky Mall magazine. I keep saying Morocco needs him, the stray cat and dog population is out of control, but he refuses to do the humanitarian thing and take them to Vestich Mountain.
Ok, I now must go, my friend Jack is calling me.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

St. Robinson And His Cadillac Dream

Spring break starts tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. Officially it doesn't start until Monday, however I've decided to begin mine a few days early. Amsterdam is first on the itinerary. Saturday to Wednesday.  Then Marrakech for the duration of the break. Thursday to Sunday. It is a much needed break. While my opinion of AUI 90210 grows steadily lower, Morocco continues to fascinate and enrich my life. Two parties at the mayor of Ifrane's house, I still question the logic of being able to rent out the mayor's house, have ended in a clouds of cigarette smoke and pools of vomit. Traveling around the country has been, at times, tedious and expensive, the damn grand taxi drivers are vultures, has given me first of all a completely new perspective on myself and the world in general and a renewed love for my own country. No matter what anyone says about the United States, it is still the greatest country in the world. Last week Morocco expelled a number of people who worked at an orphanage about an hour or so north of Ifrane. They were accused of proselytizing these children, which by Moroccan law, is illegal. The big stink happened because these people were simply expelled from the country, they were not put thru the due process of the law. It was a hot topic on campus, the Americans expelled taking the bulk of the insults from the Moroccan students. Maybe they didn't realize that people from Australia, Europe, South America, as well as Canada, who worked at the orphanage were also expelled. It does bother me the way people talk about the United States on this campus. One of the most prominent words you see around campus is "tolerance." Yet I see very little tolerance amongst the students of AUI 90210. You see more tolerance when you leave Ifrane. Tangier has a huge Jewish temple in the center of the city. In Fez, people actively come up and talk to you, asking where you are from and how you like Morocco. And Chefchaouen is like a hippie haven. Being American, German, Finish, Canadian, it doesn't matter. Most of the Moroccan people I have spoken have been very nice and accommodating. I hate to say this but it seems as if some of the Moroccan students, who like hanging out with the internationals, have some kind of personal agenda. Like we can hook them up with one of the international girls, or we have access to drugs and alcohol or something. And the way the Moroccan boys, and I stress the word boys, look at the international female students is quite disturbing. I think they watch too much porn and have it in their head that what they see in porn is how every American female is. Like all the females have the word "EASY" tattooed across their forehead. I would like to see AUI 90210 offer a course called "How To Court A Western Woman." Of course the vast majority of Moroccan students won't even talk to the international students. It's like they think all the Americans love George Bush. Always remember, diplomacy doesn't come on the wings of a B-52.  One peculiar thing, I get the sense that the Moroccan students think that we meaning the international students, are loaded with money. Like it grows on trees for us. I don't think they realize that most of the exchange students are here on scholarships or student loans. In actuality, the Moroccan students are probably better off financially then any of the exchange students. My apologies, I started ranting. This whole experience has been an experiment for me. My hair is longer then it has been is probably five years, I've been trying all kinds of food, that in the States I never would have touched, and I am getting to do something I always wanted to do, see another part of the world.  I feel like I'm better for the choice I made in coming to Morocco. A lot of people asked me "Why Morocco?" I always said "Why Not." I'm not sure I knew then or now how else to answer that question. Other people told me that, at 29, I was too old to come over here, live in a dorm for the first time in like eight years, hang with people that were seven, eight, nine years my junior. That always pissed me off and it still does. That's dismissive thinking and thats bullshit. This experience has been one of the best things I have ever done. I feel like I accomplished something simply by getting on the plane. I stepped out of my comfort zone and everything that I have known for most of my life, and came to live in a third world developing country for four months. Not really liking the university is an unfortunate reality in an otherwise brilliant thing. The morning I left my mom said to me she hoped Morocco was everything I wanted it to. I had no expectations in coming over here. All I really wanted to do was to be a part of something different. I have done that. AND IT AIN'T OVER YET.