30 August 2007

Mountain Xpress Vote

The Mountain Xpress, a weekly newspaper out of Asheville, NC, has begun the voting for its annual "Best Of" Issue.

My band, Sirius B, is hoping to win the "Best Band Nobody's Ever Heard Of" Category.

Please help us to win this category by going to www.mountainxpress.com/bestof/vote

Thanks, and be well.

Louisiana Swamp

And here below, some photos of the Louisiana Swamp, which I visited during my recent trip to New Orleans.




Mexico Photos

Find below some photos of my recent trip to Mexico.






27 August 2007

Back in Asheville

I have finally returned to Asheville, where I am jobless (though not homeless) and finally sitting relatively still.

This has been a particularly exciting summer, nearly as manic and intense as last summer, and it is good to be once again in the place that I consider home.

I spent the last few days in New Orleans, where I went nearly immediately after returning to Asheville from New York just the other day. I will soon put up photographs of New Orleans as well as some from Mexico, and will return to regularly updates on the blog.

I hope that all are well, and thanks for reading.

21 August 2007


In regards to a previous post (August 19), I meant to write "inland" and in fact wrote "mainland", when referring to the escape attempts of my Australian friends.

Thanks for the comments.

The Escape From Dean

We have been on a rather tortured and intermittent journey in an attempt to escape the path of the Hurricane that goes by the name of Dean. Ellen and I have escaped and are now comfortably and safely hidden in the depth of the Meat Packing District of New York City.

On Monday morning, we awoke at 6:30 a.m. in order to insure our timely arrival at the airport, knowing that the lines and general pandemonium would be truly incredible. While we were quite right in our predictions of the insanity present within the airport, we were unfortunately somewhat too hopeful as to the helpfulness of our early start, as Spirit Airlines seems to feel differently about getting a jump on the day.

And so, while the early bird (us) did get the proverbial worm (the flight home, and thus away from the path of destruction), the worm salesman did not arrive on the scene until hours after this bird (again, us) did.

The scene at the airport was crazy, though rather calm in a way. The lines were long (some as long as the terminal, in fact), and hundreds, if not thousands of people, seemed to be there on stand-by hopes and dreams alone, and yet the people themselves were calm. Perhaps the knowledge that in this case of airport insanity the culprit was a dangerous and frightening storm, and not the cause of some institutionalized aviation industry ineptitude, calmed travelers in a tranquil quiescence.

Whatever the case, there seemed to be few cases of screaming, or loud complaining, or threats, or anything of the like. On the contrary, all seemed resigned to their fate, fatigued and slightly overwhelmed, yet merely hoping that all would work out for the best.

As it turns out, or as it seems it will turn out, the hurricane has moved slightly to the south, and the true center of Dean seems poised to make landfall at Chetumal (near the border with Belize) in just a few hours. Nonetheless, as the satellite photos being shown on most news channels make clear, Cancun, Cozumel, Tulum, and all of my other recent haunts will be severely affected.

It is awe-inspiring and sobering to consider my own great luck, as Ellen and I obviously did not plan our departure based on this hurricane. We merely had the great luck to have bought a ticket that left Mexico on the 20th of August, as opposed to the 21st or later. It is equally sobering to consider the fate of the citizens of the places that I have only recently vacated. While in most cases I am sure of their safety and well-being, I worry greatly for their economic situation, as most places along the so-called Mayan Riviera are still reeling from the effects of Hurricane Wilma.

My thoughts and hopes go out to all that are there, whether they be fellow travelers or locals of the area.

Tomorrow I begin to head South once again, working my way through West Virginia, to the home of my Aunt, before returning to Asheville. I will only be in Asheville a short time, approximately a day, before heading to New Orleans to attend the bachelor party of my good friend.

More soon, from somewhere.

19 August 2007

Hurricane Dean

The hurricane is coming, and we are trying to leave, though we have thus far been unable to do so. Our flight is scheduled to leave at 12:30 tomorrow afternoon, though there is a possibility that the airport will be closed.

If this does indeed happen, we will run as quickly as possible to the nearest car rental agency and flee inland with all possible haste.

Everyone here is boarding up or taping windows, selling merchandise (one place had 40 percent sales in what they deemed a "crisis sale"), buying up water and food, and otherwise preparing. All seems to be happening in a very calm and orderly fashion.

These people are accustomed to this business by now.

In the airport it is a different story, as thousands of foreigners are trying to get on planes, crowding the huge entry hall, pestering airline agents, etc. The airline agents, for the most part, seem to be hiding away in darkened offices, trying to avoid such questioning and pestering.

For tonight, we will be staying in a hotel here in Cancun, possibly with two Australian guests, if they end up stranded. (They are trying to reach the mainland, as they do not have a flight until Tuesday).

Check out this blog, which seems to offer a pretty good amount of information and updates on the hurricane.

At least until the power goes.

More soon from Cancun, or hopefully, from home, safe, sound and dry.

18 August 2007

Getting Out?

Well, the storm has got us kind of scared. We are currently trying to get in touch with Spirit Airlines (bastards) and may change our flight to get home one day earlier.

Last night we went out to the famed Carlos and Charlies, a cheesy theme restaurant that serves drinks by the yard, has a number of tequila specials (well enjoyed, though not so much this morning) and often treats customers to a congo line.

I told them that Ellen and I were on our honeymoon and asked them to do something special for us, which they did. The blew whistles in our face, sang an incomprehensible song, shoved tequila down our throats, and then followed it all up with an equally force-fed jello shot.

It was great.

More soon.

17 August 2007


I have been lax in my storytelling in recent days, but I will surely return, have no fear. I have been so busy doing things that I have had little time to tell about doing things.

Which I think is a pretty good excuse.

I have been, since the last post, in Isla Mujeres, Puerto Morelos, Tulum, and now Cozumel. I am not going to write too much at the moment, since I am starving and it is 8:30 at night, but I would like to share a few interesting things.

1. This island, interestingly, achieved world acclaim and fame (at least in recent history) due to Monsiur Jacques Cousteau, who showed the world, through the miracle of television, the beauty of the reefs here. Apparently, according to Lonely Planet, the tourists were here almost overnight.

The reefs truly are beautiful, and just today, I saw a multitude of multi-colored fish, a number of skate (I think they were skate) and a few barracudas. Best of all, many of the reefs are just off the shore, which allows snorkelers to access them for free, rather than pay overpriced rates for boats and tours.

2. There is a Hurricane by the name of Dean (who does he think he is anyway?) that appears to be (here according to some periodical) "on a crash course with the Yucatan". In case you are not a geography wiz, Cozumel is just off the coast of the Yucatan. Cancun is on the Yucatan. I am on the Yucatan.

As far as I can tell, Dean is not scheduled to arrive here until later Monday afternoon or Tuesday, so I should be safe, though I would be a monster if I were not also worried for the safety of those that must remain here. Still, I am also making plans to leave the islands (tomorrow, in fact) so as to be better able to flee inland if necessary.

More soon, possibly not until my return, with photos, stories, and descriptions galore.

12 August 2007

Isla Mujeres

Hello from Mexico. Here I am in Isla Mujeres, across a thin strip of water from Cancun.

Mexico has been treating me well, though the heat is a bit of an exaggeration.

Ellen and I spent our first night in Cancun, in the luxurious Westin Resort, at the edge of the hotel strip in Cancun. We had found a good deal through Priceline, and so figured that we would pretend to be rich people for one night.

Let me tell you--being rich is pretty cool, though it can be tough pretending to be rich. Our room was beautiful, the ocean was right outside our door, we had ten different pools to choose from, pool bars, chilled drinks, three different restaurants, and the most comfortable beds this side of Tennessee (where, I hear, they have quite comfortable beds.)

All of that, and a bottle of water only cost EIGHT DOLLARS!

Needless to say, we enjoyed our stay there, though we knew that the honeymoon couldn´t last too long. And so, as soon as our lost luggage (oh yes, lost luggage...sometime I´ll write in this space my opinions on Spirit Air) arrived, we worked our way to the docks to grab a boat to Isla Mujeres.

Isla Mujeres was once a small fishing town, and is now a small fishing town with a lot of tourists, a ton of snorkelers and snorkel purveyors, and even more golf carts and scooters. It is, against these odds, a beautiful, tranquil, lovely place. The snorkeling is wonderful, the people are friendly (for the most part), and the beaches are beautiful.

The weather is very, very hot, but very nice. We quickly found (during the course of a very long first night here) that it is well worth the extra cash to rent a room with air conditioning.

Not much more to report from here. Everything is going perfectly, and we are about to head off to watch the sunset with a cold tropical beverage, some chips, and a deep bowl of guacamole.

More soon, with pictures if time allows.

06 August 2007


I have made it back home, back to a strange land of automobiles and strip malls, but also of rolling green hills, lovely pastures, and reasonable temperatures.

I flew into JFK on Friday afternoon, said my goodbyes to all of my friends from the last month in Spain, and headed North with my brothers to Albany, NY, where we spent the night in a motel. A few glasses of wine and a large meal at The Cheesecake Factory (how strange to be once again dining in a place so large) sent me straight to bed, sleeping hard until early Saturday morning, when I woke up, my body convinced that the hour was much, much later than it really was.

We continued driving, getting lost a few times, until we finally arrived in a small town outside of Burlington, where my cousin was to be married. We found the place, quickly changed, and jogged to the site of the deed. True to the nickname I recently found out has been given to my family (The "Vagabonds"), we arrived just in time to hear the Justice of the Peace speak the words, "I now pronounce you husband and wife," and headed off to eat and drink for the rest of the night.

After a post-wedding brunch yesterday morning, I drove out to Isle La Motte, where my cousin David lives with his wife, Tara, and son, Trevor. I was here last year in October, helping them to do some demolishing work, and the house is now completely changed--wholly renovated and now fit for human dwelling. It is a beautiful place, set on five acres of rural property that is graced with picturesquely crumbling outbuildings and fields of hay.

Today I leave to drive to New Hampshire, where I will meet up with Ellen and spend the night with her and her family before heading South to Jersey, and ultimately, flying to Mexico.

Unfortunately I am having trouble posting any pictures, but I will do so soon. I hope that all are well.

02 August 2007

Ripped Off

I don´t have much time right now, because I am running off to lunch (my last lunch in Spain...) with my co-workers.

I wanted to leave a quick line, however, regarding some merchandise I have bought here in Granada. Much of what is for sale here in Granada is Moroccan (or at least stuff that is sold in Morocco as if it were Moroccan).

This in itself is not all that amazing, considering the number of Moroccans here and the proximity of Granada to Morocco.

What is amazing and rather disconcerting is that many things are actually cheaper here than in Morocco! Items for which I haggled and screamed and yelled and play-acted...and here, the same things have price tags on them and are cheaper than my final, well-earned Moroccan prices. And I don´t have to argue or haggle to get these prices.

It is all quite amazing, really...

That is all for now. Tomorrow I leave on a jet plane for different shores. I hope that all are well.