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Posts Tagged ‘travel’

Part Three: The Things We Carry With Us

Wednesday, April 7th, 2010

This is my handbag, a purple Brooklyn Industries mini duffle, with seatbelt material handles. It’s a tough little item that’s built like Doctor Who’s time traveling machine, The Tardis, small on the outside massive within! It was bought for me in Williamsburg by a guy I was dating. I didn’t know I was dating him at the time; it’s all good though, no bad Feng Shui here, it’s a savage bag!

It wasn’t until I emptied my bag out that I realized how much stuff I carry about with me, loads of lady items, writing utensils and audio/visual recording devices. I clearly think it’s important to be moisturized and fresh, and I don’t want to miss anything that happens.

There is an outside zippered pocket on the front in which I keep a few things for easy access, and also pockets on either end.


Itouch – I need music with me always. I hosted and produced a music radio show for 13 years and now write about music. I get access to so much eclectic amazing  music of all genres, I’m one lucky chick.

Book – The First Time I Got Paid For it, A collection of essays written by writers of film and television, in which they discuss the first time they actually got paid for their writing. It’s honest and frankly written; my favorite entries are by Cameron Crowe, Pamela Gray, and Peter Casey. It’s a good read.

HD Flip – This camera is awesome, and for under $400 it provides exceptional HD video footage. The audio is also brilliant. I’ve used it to shoot video at concerts, the quality is unbelievable.

Fruit leather – If my sugar levels dip, I become a psycho. I am Hypoglycemic and have to eat something every 2-3 hours to keep my blood sugar levels up, if I don’t I’m a complete unfocused weirdo!

Leatherman Juice – Don’t leave home without it. It’s bright pink, has 18 features, and I use it everyday, everyone should have one, period.

Wallet – Cheap and cheerful.

3 sharpies

3 black ballpoints

Cupcake printed tissues

Woolly $2 pink gloves


One brand condom

EQ  natural peppermint spray hand sanitizer

Pictures of my niece and nephews


3 lip glosses

Burt’s Bees lip-balm

Hand Food crème from Soap & Glory UK

$1 goodwill sunshades

Long distance calling card – You never know when you’re going to have to call a long distance number, a family member overseas, a band you’re supposed to interview, a tour manager you can’t find at a venue. It’s always good to be prepared.

Note book  - For scribbling interview questions, poetry, prose, blog post ideas, random snippets of conversations heard on public transportation etc.

Stamps – International, Canadian and US postage

Make-up – blush and eye shadow compact.

Cyber shot – Sony Camera.

Camouflage mini zippered bag – I put all the little things inside.

Fabric Strawberry – turns into an enviro-bag

Mini agenda – Orange book, keeps me on track.

Glass blue beaded rosary –  from Grandma for good luck. She’s a Jew turned Catholic, wonders never cease.

See parts one and two of The Things We Carry With Us...

Leanda is a writer based in Toronto. For the past 13 years she has hosted & produced music radio shows, managed bands & worked in online music PR. She now runs a music site & also writes for music & culture magazine `Relevant BCN`. Read more of her writing here - http://www.bloggertronix.com

Bart Schaneman’s Give Me Work or Give Me Death Love List

Tuesday, April 6th, 2010

1. Routine–I have developed an ironclad routine that allows me to tell people no because I know exactly where I’ll be at what time everyday and what I’ll be doing. This makes getting work done so much easier.

2. Work–We are our work. Nothing feels better than getting in a full day of accomplishment.

3. Korea–I love this place. It is good to me in important ways. I wish my life in America could be as easy.

4. Chamchi jjigae–Kimchi and tuna stew improves upon tomato soup tenfold on a cold day.

5. Joan Didion’s essays–Anytime I need to sharpen my eye I pick up Slouching Towards Bethlehem or The White Album. Didion is my whetstone.

6. Protein powder–Going pescetarian means you can’t always get the protein you need.

7. Horseradish–Far and away my favorite condiment. When the Yellow Dust blows in from the Gobi I fight sinus congestion one creamy dollop at a time.

8. The Antlers–All the hype was right. A great breakup record.

Bart Schaneman is an American writer. He writes about his travels and about Nebraska. Read more of his writing at http://bartschaneman.wordpress.com and http://rainfollowstheplow.wordpress.com.

Part Two: The Things We Carry with Us

Wednesday, March 17th, 2010

I used to carry a messenger bag and the straps always got all twisted up and the weight didn’t carry evenly on my back. So I know aesthetically I’m losing with my North Face Recon backpack. What I’m gaining in comfort makes up for it. This particular backpack hasn’t been with me that long, maybe a year, but I have a feeling it’ll be there for me for a long time. It’s sturdy, and that’s one of the things you need with a good bag–you’re putting your life into it, it should be sturdy.

It’s got a lot of straps and a lot of pockets and I like that. I need compartments or I never know where anything is.

There’s usually a water bottle in the side pocket with water or bags of green tea or protein powder waiting to be made into a pre-workout shake. I don’t eat meat in a country that is pretty meat-heavy so I need my protein. I’m not a musclehead. Honest.

The front pocket contains:

Pens of all kinds. Cheap Pilot knockoff black ink rollers, cheap red ballpoints for marking student papers, purple kid markers, Sharpies, really anything I can get my hands on.

A leatherman that isn’t a real leatherman and you can tell the difference, but it’s still extremely useful. That thing has come into play more times than you think. It’s almost like I wouldn’t fix half the things I fix if I didn’t know I had it with me. If you carry it, the fixing will come.

An iPhone that doesn’t work as a phone in Korea, but works as my iPod, my camera, my dictionary, and occasionally my notepad.

A passport-sized photo.

A lock.


In the main pocket I keep the things that I really need, such as:

A pair of slip-on sandals. No one wears shoes inside here, not in their homes, not in restaurants, nowhere. You can usually find sandals to wear when you get places, but not in my size. So I keep my sandals with me.

Sanctuary by William Faulkner. Be thankful that you’ve never been raped by a corn cob.

A leather-bound notebook made in Italy full of illegible writing.

A clementine a student gave me a week ago that I just discovered when I was unpacking it for the picture for this article.

A lightweight rainjacket folded up in the back pocket. I hate carrying umbrellas.

On the top handle is a strap to keep your pants out of the gears when you’re riding a bicycle.

Bart Schaneman is an American writer. He writes about his travels and about Nebraska. Read more of his writing at http://bartschaneman.wordpress.com and http://rainfollowstheplow.wordpress.com.

Photo Essay: The Oregon Coast

Tuesday, March 2nd, 2010

Having grown up just miles from the beach in Southern California, every once in a while it is necessary to visit the ocean (whichever one happens to be closest) to give a respectful hello to the expanse of beauty that is both concrete and abstract. After moving to Portland, Oregon after a hot NYC summer in 2008,  a trip to the Pacific Northwest coast was in order to greet the famous shores.

The coastline is the backdrop to many films and television shows, from 1980s classics like The Goonies (1985)  and Short Circuit (1986) both shot in Astoria, Oregon to The X-Files television series which was shot in Vancouver, British Columbia for the bulk of its nine seasons (plus a multitude of other things). Along with its diverse terrain–cliffs, forests, sand dunes–there is also a cool quiet magic that perfectly speaks to the strength and grandeur of the ocean. These are some shots I took while visiting Astoria and Fort Stevens State Park, Oregon.

Mia Ferm currently resides in Portland, Oregon where she is a collective member of Cinema Project. She is a writer, photographer, and videographer and holds an MA in Cinema Studies from NYU.

On Feminine Burdens That Do Not Die with The Day

Thursday, February 25th, 2010

Uganda, The Pearl of Africa

A Justin Timberlake song was playing from the rows of Ugandan maize. The awkward clash of cultures, the absurd juxtaposition of civilizations struck me as funny, and I let out a light, girlish laugh that echoed into the African void. The women were working in the fields, talking amongst themselves. Their voices spoke with force. Their words cut easily through the thick, pineapple air. I repeated the strange syllables in my head:

Chibumba murungi. Esansa. Burungi. Ecucholi.

The tangy vocabulary made my mouth water; the foreign sounds made my mind spin. Despite my novice native status, I’d already picked up a bit of the language; so I recognized a few of the words. My brain began sifting through the cluttered chaos of its consciousness to find the correct connections: “Ecucholi means, means… maize. Burungi means, means, means… good.” Despite the short time I’d lived there, I had already begun to recognize that my own vocabulary was becoming more and more of a foreign tongue, that my native language was evolving, that my small English lexicon was dying unto itself and transforming into something entirely new: “Orphan means, means, means… human. Life means, means… toil. To love means, means, means… to suffer.” Despite the small amount of time I’d spent there, I had already begun to recognize that vocabulary and humanity are similar: we both evolve; we both survive by killing off the irrelevant and breeding the necessary, the awkward and absurd.

I made my way over to the women. An acre of thick, muddy rice paddies separated us, so the progress I made was slow. Every step I took sunk deep into the earth; every move I made required a determined, conscious effort. I had to concentrate hard on my calves, my ankles, my feet, focusing carefully on the movement of my steps, the mechanical rhythm of my body’s beat. About halfway there a crawling sensation came over one of my feet, and looking down, I saw the microscopic movement of hookworms swimming their easy way into my bloodstream. Realizing I might have officially taken it all too far, I hesitated for a moment—not sure what I had done, not sure what I should do—but the moment of self-doubt passed, and my feet, once again, began to move. My body fell back into its rhythmic movement, except this time, it did so without the resolute consciousness, the determined effort. To my own, innocent surprise, I found myself innately walking through the remaining stretch of mud and intuitively joining the Africans in their labor. The women kept their heads to the ground, their torsos to the earth; and I hummed along to the Justin Timberlake, keeping everything to myself. We spent the rest of the afternoon harvesting maize, sweating our sorrows away; and once dusk hit, I gathered the fruit of our fruitless labor into a basket, placed it upon my head, and naturally set off for home, just like they did.

When I got back to my hut, I put the basket down and let out a sigh of weak, feminine relief, grateful to be able to un-bear the heavy burden of the day, to be able to let go of our sweaty sorrows and lay them down at the foot of the cross of the mundane. I was expecting to feel a sense of physical relief once I let go of those sweaty sorrows, once I put down the maize; but to my own, innocent surprise, the relief never came. The heavy weight of the basket lingered. The oppressive pressure of those sweaty sorrows remained. The burden of the day lay trapped in a knot at the nape of my neck, and no matter how hard I tried to wish that knot away, it stayed. I attempted to fall asleep that night, but the knot sat there, silent and sinister, keeping me awake.

Every once in a while, now, a knot forms at the nape of my neck. It sits there, silently. It stays there, sinisterly. And to my own, mature surprise, it reminds me, sweetly, of maize and Justin Timberlake, of life, love, and the pursuit of Vocabulary, of parasites and bloodstreams, of sweating sorrows away, and of feminine burdens that do not die with the day.

Miss Megan Michelle is a former Classics Major, greatly-skilled Goatherdess and full-time Romantic who has always loved The Living Logos.

Postcrossing: Real Mail From Real People

Thursday, February 25th, 2010

I have been an avid letter writer since a small child; I grew up with family that lived overseas, and I also had many pen-friends all over the world. From very early on I became accustomed to the excitement associated with receiving mail from abroad.

There is something truly special about hand-written notes, thoughts relayed straight from the heart, to the hand, to the paper. No room for editing or re-writes, genuine human to human contact… it’s permanent, and I think we’ve lost a lot of this warmth and effort in our tap-tap send culture.

Someone else who feels the same way about connecting with others through mail is Portuguese born, Slovenia based, self proclaimed computer geek, and lover of the written word, Paulo Magalhaes.  Whilst at University Paulo decided to take his off-line hobby online, and created a website that would enable people all over the globe to connect through sending postcards.

Postcrossing (www.postcrossing.com) is a site that allows people to “Send a Postcard and receive a postcard back from a random person somewhere in the world.” It’s a pretty cool project and really simple to get involved; the idea is that if you send a postcard, you will receive at least one postcard back from a postcrosser elsewhere. First you have to register your address and set up a profile, say a little about yourself,  and state what type of postcards you’re interested in receiving (for example,  postcards of animals, city images, country landscapes or famous people.) Then you request an address. This address is connected to the postcrosser’s profile, and has an ID number attached to it. You then write your postcard, include the ID number, and once the person you have sent it to receives the card, they register the number and somebody else in the world gets your address, so that you too can receive a card.

The site has been running for over a year and so far has registered over three million postcards. There are many nifty Postcrossing stories on the site, like the Finnish and Australian couple who wrote to each other and ended up getting married, or the old man in his 60’s who has been enamoured with lighthouses since childhood, and now receives nothing but pictures of  the sea front buildings from all over the globe.

So far I’ve received two postcards, one from a 50 year old woman living a small village in Japan, who’s interested in architecture from around the world, and another from a 21 year old girl living in Poland, who loves music and small animals. Part of the fun is you never know who’s going to write to you next!

So why would you want to Postcross? As I’ve said there’s something exciting about receiving mail from another country, maybe from a place you’ve never been before, a far away country with customs and traditions that are different than your own, it’s also a great way to establish new friendships whilst learning about another way of life.

Leanda is a writer based in Toronto. For the past 13 years she has hosted & produced music radio shows, managed bands & worked in online music PR. She now runs a music site & also writes for music & culture magazine `Relevant BCN`. Read more of her writing here - http://www.bloggertronix.com

Recipe: Hotdog Tube

Wednesday, February 17th, 2010

A few months ago I was on tour on the east coast and me and Chris were broke and hungry and kind of over it. After a long day of van trouble and dealing with mean bastards, we pulled into a chain grocery store parking lot, went inside and came out with the fixings for “Hotdog Tube.” There was nothing premeditated about this. I saw the bread, saw the hotdogs, and everything suddenly made sense.

Twenty minutes later we were lying on our backs in the dirty parking lot by our van, eating Hotdog Tube and drinking cans of Dr. Pepper and yelling at the stars in phony Cape Cod accents and everything was good.

Pack of hotdogs (I use vegan SmartDogs. You can do whatever.)
Large roll of rustic Italian bread (a good crust is important)
The trinity of hotdog condiments: ketchup, mustard, relish.

Tear bread in half. Hollow out bread guts and feed them to a dog (or snake, cat, vampire, etc.) Cook eight hotdogs (or don’t; it really doesn’t make a difference). While the hotdogs are cooking, squirt heavy amounts of mustard, relish, and ketchup into the tube and give the tube a good squeeze so they blend in together. This is very important; a dry Hotdog Tube is an awful thing.

Once the hotdogs are done, insert four of them into each half of the tube. Four may seem like a lot of hotdogs to eat in one sitting but once you start in on this monster you’re going to want the full ride.

Eat. Drink Dr. Pepper. Mellow out.

Feeds two.

BIO: Adam Gnade's (guh nah dee) work is released as a series of books and records that share characters and themes; the fiction writing continuing plot-lines left open by the self-described "talking songs" in an attempt to compile a vast, detailed, interconnected, personal history of contemporary American life. Check out recent writing here and songs here. Contact: adam@asthmatickitty.com