Category Archives: video

’cause i feel like it

do what i always do

I’ve sat down t write something here many times during the last few weeks and, every time, after typing a sentence, I’ve walked away.  It’s not for not having some thoughts in my head.  I’ve got some of those.  The hesitation has stemmed more from a concern that veering too far from my eternally optimistic tone may read as alarming to some.  I mean, if we were to analyze this blog I would guess that the words “lucky,” “grateful,” and “awesome” appear more than any other.  It’s rare that I scratch the surface…

It’s probably better that way…but when has whats better stopped me from doing what I want?

A (rather big) piece of me wanted last nights hurricane to affect us.  Not in a catastrophic way but in a humbling way that required humans to use their instincts instead of the internet.  The earthquake we had the other day scared me and immediately following scared I was irritated.  Stupid, entitled and numb New Yorkers were so unaffected that, while the building was swaying, they were reaching for their phones to tweet about it.  (I waited to tweet until I was outside and relatively sure that I wasn’t going to be crushed in a pile of falling ruble.)  The point being that for hyper-connected beings it is all feeling pretty detached…

It’s possible that this is my own not-so-subtle reaction to a string of mild rejections or it’s possible that this is a trending problem that nobody will pay attention to unless it’s #trending or #viral or #somethingallyourfirendssawtoo.  I don’t know.  What I do know is that, for the first time since I moved back to the USA, I’m feeling pissed off.  And lost.  And lonely.

There.  I said it.

The water in this city is like a stimulant and anesthetic.  I am powering through days and nights…busy and occupied…and then I come home and have the same sinking feeling.  I feel like I’m on a hamster wheel – running myself ragged and going nowhere fast.  In my past life, it was the opposite.  I was so stationary and stuck in my isolation that I set myself free in my head.  Turns out that the fantasy and the reality are a lot alike except for the fact that one doesn’t feel like anything and the other feels confusing.  I’m leaning on things that I didn’t think I would lean on and looking for things I told myself I didn’t want.

So now what?

..wait for a natural disaster to flood the change i’m seeking?  stay in the fast lane and trust that my moral compass knows where the hell i’m going?  pull over and ask for directions?  wake up tomorrow and take it from there?  I’ll probably keep doing what I always do…wake up tomorrow and take it from there but, damn! it would feel great to  see some fresh light cast on these old ideas and it would feel better-than-great to be rewarded for putting myself out there instead of left hanging like an asshole.  I hate that i’m complaining but i’m just sayin’…

Anyway, I think I already regret dumping this honesty out into the world since it’s unclear to me who even reads this shit.  But there is also something therapeutic about materializing thoughts into words and turning words into action.  So….boom….lights, camera, ACTION!

Down home Goodness, Butter & Love

Rolling East on I-40 last night out of Memphis, I was kept company by a stream of semi’s, rolling in lines and groups like an alien school of fish, and the pink-orange light of the sun setting in my rearview mirror.  A thousand lonely voices on the radio kept me company and taught me a thing or two about cheatin’ men, pick-up trucks, heartache and red necks.  After a day in Dallas and 3 days in Memphis, it was nice to let the night sky envelope me on the road to Nashville.   Like a kind of baptisim, the grease of pulled pork and sweat from the hot Tennessee sun have reimmersed me in America and I feel like I’m home.

Dallas was all business and, aside from a triumphant pit stop in Richardson, was most memorable for dinner at III Forks and some fun-seeking in Old Plano Town (fyi, there is no fun to be had in Downtown Plano).  Dinner was epic, in the scheme of beef, and I will not soon forget my 15 oz “Baseball Cut”.  With 3 days to kill before moving onto Nashville, I decided to scrap plans to accumulate miles and opted instead for a weekend in Memphis…which turned out to be one of the best ideas I had all day!

My camera is brmming with a wonderful narrative of sweet Memphis – as is my belly which is still coping with the down-home goodness, butter and love that makes up the Souther diet.  36 hours felt like a week, we covered so much ground though, at no point, did we ever have to try to hard to get anywhere.  Sun Studio, Graceland, Beale Street, the Brooks Museum, the Metal Museum, sunset on the Mississippi and eats from the likes of Huey’s, Central BBQ, Dyers, Brothers Juniper…tipping our hats, of course, to The Buccaneer, Murphey’s, Westy’s and some more I’m forgetting.  I feel like I have a family there now and look forward to a reason to return.  JW is – officially – the best tourguide and baked potato/frenchfrier that Memphis has ever seen.  

Gotta get back down to business now here in Opreyland but stay tuned for some photos and more tails of savory pork, sour mash and good times.

Ophelia

Go Home, Get Down

The four course tasting menu from Cafe Grey Deluxe has me feeling intoxicated with starch and good vibrations and, though I’m full and tired on an epic scale, I feel compelled to drop some thoughts in this here bucket before I drift into tomorrow and my last week in Hong Kong.

Like at the end of a good movie, I feel myself sitting in the dark, reflecting back on my experience as the music begins to swell and the credits start to roll.  Fully attentive, I am held in place until the music stops and the lights come up.  My ride is scheduled to come get me at 5am on Sunday morning and then a new story will begin.  Perhaps it’s boring already for those of you who are following this adventure but, for me, trans-continental relocation never loses it’s bigness or awe.  I can’t really believe that I have made it all the way around the world and at the same time everything that happened to me the last 4 years felt like it was always the master plan.

The soundtrack in my head has been bouncing between things like Death From Above 1979 and Joanna Newsom, at one moment tender and vulnerable and in another electric distortion so loud my soul rattles.  I am a tangle of emotions, a pile of thoughts, a bag of stress all tucked neatly into a purple trench coat and high heels.  It’s possible that I will turn into a puddle when the door closes on State Street.

Knowing now the delicate state I am in and the tightrope I am traversing, I hope you will forgive me for stopping here for now.  No doubt, the words will eventually find their way out again…

 

 

I Love Your Weather

Fear, Loathing & Epicuriousity in Hanoi

Since I’m laid up at home for the third day in a row under a blanket of germs and icky vibes, I might as well curl up with the MacBook and spin you a tale, the last of the big journeys of 2010 – Hanoi.  It’s good to wrap this up so I can CLEAN SLATE myself for 2011 and shake out the short, or maybe long, list that I love so well.

Anyway, a friend had some friends in Hanoi and I found a flight for under $500 and that’s how the story begins.  36 hours, a will to live, a couple cameras and a vague outline of the possibilities are all that powered me across the Gulf of Tonkin.  And a Dragon Air flight, but I have to assume you didn’t think I flew there on a broom.   With all the zoomin’ around I do, it’s one of the most joyful experiences to travel with only a backpack.  I’d like to try it more often.

We stayed in a sardine can (with a balcony) off a little alley in the Old Quarter and grazed our way around Hoan Kiem Lake, Nha Tho, the French Quarter and Hai Ba Trung district for the first night and day.  The food, as you can imagine, is off the hook and I have a very strong pull to street carts anyway, so the urge to try everything was not one that I fought.  I should probably start a food blog that chronicles my epicuriousity with the street carts of the world but I think Mr. Bourdain has that covered.  Here’s a quick peek at some of the deliciousness I partook…

Raging Awesome Bahn Mi

Minty, spicy, peanutty, brothy beef noodles

Serious Delish

Spicy Bitter Melon (meh)

Bun Cha (doesn't suck)

Taking photos of the food was about half as satisfying as actually trying everything so, you can imagine, I was not an unhappy woman.

As for the non-food related aspect, well, Hanoi is something.  A buzzing hive of scooters and horns and carts and people.  I used to joke about Amsterdam streets requiring focus and agility to cross, but Hanoi is about 15 levels above that.  Advanced Frogger.  It would be *very* easy to get hit by any number of moving vehicles there and, after 5-6 hours of taking your life in your hands to see the city, it’s good to sit somewhere and thank god (or whoever) that you are still alive.  I know I sound dramatic, but its true.

{ this is the spot where I planned to upload the little short I made that set some nutty Hanoi traffic up along with Traffic’s wonderful tune Utterly Simple.  My tired lungs and foggy brain have hindered my video editing abilities, however, and left you only with this lousy blog post }

Doesn't even remotely capture the noise and/or danger

So….as for the rest about Hanoi…we covered a lot of ground, imbibed of Bai Hoi, window shopped, saw water puppets, avoided shoe-glue guys, played ‘lock down’ in the Hanoi Hilton, ate, breathed and were generally merry.  Saturday night, however, proved to cast all the other awesomeness into a shadow due to its raging bigness, total unexpectedness and sheer drunkenness so it seems like the right story to tell.

Some Vinegar Hillbillies were also rocking Hanoi and we connected with them late at some little spot where the whiskey and rice wine were free and flowing.  The whose-who of Hanoi were clearly present and I felt a little under dressed for the occasion…though the 3-4 Tiger’s I drank prior kept me unaware of this realization until now.  A pianist whose name I should remember was playing a small concert that was very, very big in reality.  Here’s a little (low res) clip I shot of one of her less John Cage-y numbers and more classic…at only 3:36, it’s worth your time to listen to.

Tiana Alexandra was the host of this soiree (perhaps you know her better from her workout video’s?) and, once the music stopped, we all grabbed bottles of this and/or that and headed to another cool spot whose name I also don’t remember.  This is where the night went from fuzzy to blurry to fun fun fun eventually taking me to some epic seafood and Ruou and finally back to the sardine can to hunker down with my hangover.  As for the party people, well, this was a primo lot.

Cheers

Cheers

this ain't no Bear Paw wine

Tiana

I could post a ton more drunky pants snap shots of this awesome night but, instead, you can go see them if you want to here.  Suffice to say, it was extraordinary and really fun!

So as not to depart in a wake of rice wine and bird ruou, I’ll share with a few more of my favorite images from my weekend.  Fingers crossed that I get myself on a boat in Halong Bay before I leave Asia to finish what I started…

Options

Bia Hoi

My mind needs a tune-up