About Me


I had an amazing time in the desert and I did the best piece of writing that I’ve ever done about my time there. Which you will never read. The only thing I will say about it is this:

Before I left for the desert, I was talking to a man who told me, in smiling, broken English “Maybe you find yourself…”

And I did.

I sit here, the very image of Spider Jerusalem (albeit, considerably hairier). Hopped up on painkillers and dope, a beer fresh from cooling in the river by my side, a roll up between my lips and a tiny computer in my lap. Music from an album released six days ago warms my ears as I sit, not in a sprawling Metropolis (ala. Spider), but in a clearing behind an old Roman mill. If it wasn’t for the music, I would be able to hear the sussuruss of water as the Rio Sever, through the trees behind me, idly floats on.

Rio Sever

I sit amongst ancient terraces in a hammock set up between a Cork Oak and an Olive tree. Ahead of me the terraces go up until topped by a ring of trees. From my view they seem to stop suddenly as though there is nothing behind the top terrace. All I can see through the trees is sky. It’s like sitting at the top of the world in The Garden, before the fall. I can picture a snake appearing from a tree with temptations (which I wouldn’t/shouldn’t/couldn’t resist in my current Jerusalem-like state).

It’s late in the afternoon as I sit here. The tiredness of a job well done and time well spent relaxes me as much as the intoxicants (almost). Most of the day slogging a ton of stones (literally and backachingly, I’m not exaggerating) into cement mixers to make a solid platform for a “shed”. The base of which was bigger than the house I use to occupy. This all took place a at a neighbours house (who lives about ten kilometers away). The three of us, Richard, Pete (another helpexer) and I, went over and, with three others, all helped this guy build something. I’ve never experienced that kind of community in England, and yet all these people helping out were English. An expat community that is more generous and open than any street in Britain.

Auf Wiedersehen Pet

When I think of everything I left behind, at home and at work (yeah, right), the friends whom I miss, the duality of simple and complex possibilities of everyday working life. I remember all the good things I miss about back home and still, I am happier to have left it behind to pursue this. It was totally worth it.

I had to walk three kilometers to get to the nearest internet in order to post this. It happens to be in a bar (thankfully,after that walk, in that heat) which does the delicious little chickens pies native to Portugal. So I sit here, with a beer and a pie, and give you this, a slice of my life.

And now I go back, to collect wood, for the stove in my room. The day ends reading by candlelight with a fire crackling gently away, lulling me towards sleep.

Candlelight

This place is beautiful, and I love it here.

And now your asking yourselves, how much of that was true?

I passed my driving test yesterday! It was my first attempt, and I really thought I had failed it, but I managed to (somehow) pass with only one minor fault. It felt like I made so many mistakes that I was sure I had failed, but apparently it was “..a pleasant drive”. /smug

As far as my preperations are going this is a pretty significant event. I was hoping I’d pass before I leave so I could rent a car in places like Germany and maybe Italy. Since I passed yesterday I’ve been thinking about what else I can do with my newly acquired licence. Buying a cheap car in Australia would be awesome, but I have no idea how feasible that is, with escalating costs like insurance and tax and so forth. Still, it’s something to look into when I get there, maybe I’ll be able to get a cheap hippy van.

Hippy Van

Hippy Van

I was going to post about this yesterday when it actually happened, but by the time I arrived home and was sat in front of the computer I felt miserable and couldn’t bring myself to write anything. It should of been cause for celebration, and I think in most people’s lives it would be. It’s hard to muster any sort of enthusiasm for something when no one else gives a shit.

As far as the rest of my preparations go, I’m mostly done. I’m prepared for most things I can think of, but a lack of planning makes it difficult to actually prepare. I’ve found that the more solid plans I think of and enact, the more I have to worry about. If I book trains, planes and automobiles ahead of time, then I have deadlines and targets that require contingincies and forethought. If, however, I merely leave everything to chance, then the only real thing I have to worry about is whether I’ll have a roof over my head night to night. My purpose in leaving is to have total control over my life (for however long that may be), worrying about getting to a certain destination by an appointed time would be counter productive. This may seem backwards to some people, but I’d rather deal with the uncertainty of true backpacking than worrying about getting somewhere on time.

This is my opportunity to live a dream I’ve had for a long time. I’ll either succeed, or I’ll die trying.

Having worried alot about failing completely in my plans to travel the world, I’ve been thinking of what I’d do after I return (however soon that may be).

So, completely in the realm of fantasy, (as I have no idea of the potentiality of any of these) here’s my ideas so far:

  • My original long term plan of opening a comics shop, like Forbidden Planet, but better.
  • Studying Astrophysics at university. This may come as a surprise to anyone who knows me, but I think this is something I could stick with. As much as I hate the classroom mentality, learning how the universe works would be totally worthwhile for me. I’ll probably discuss this one more in depth later on.
  • Owning and running an independent cinema. I would love, love, love to run an independent cinema. Running matinees of Casablanca and To Have and Have Not, The Big Sleep and The Maltese Falcon (ok, so I like Humphrey Bogart). As well as showing things like, the five hour cut of Apocalypse Now, back to back showings of the Alien saga, and directors cuts of films like Bladerunner. It’d be a haven for cinemaphiles.

(Also, Kudos to anyone who can guess where this entries title comes from)

I am incredibly easily influenced, so after watching the complete series of Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex: 2nd Gig (Hell of a title), I learnt how to make an origami crane.

One of the character’s, Hideo Kuze, was involved in an airplane crash when he was six, both of his parents died, and he consequently lost the use of most of his body, apart from his left arm and head. The only other survivor was a six year old girl in a coma who occupied the bed next to him. He knew she was never going to recover so he learned how to fold an origami crane with his one hand in order to create one thousand of them. In Japanese culture, if a thousand cranes are folded then a wish will come true, and he wanted the girl to recover. It’s called a Senbazuru and is thought to be a powerfully lucky and benevolent charm.

I’ve started making my own. I’m hoping to have it finished by the time I leave as a sort of parting gift. I’m not doing too bad at the moment. I’ve done one hundred of the necessary thousand cranes so far. It looks like this:

100 Origami Cranes

100 Origami Cranes

To the right, you can also see my awesome “Serenity” poster, signed by some of the main cast (as well as the most awesome Summer Glau) and to the left, is my set of samurai swords

http://xkcd.com/314/

…I hope.

So it’s been more than a week since my last post. Did you honestly want to read about the banality of my usual routine? Didn’t think so.

Today is post-worthy because I resat the theory test for learner driver’s (which I previously failed) and passed. Woo! Now I get to book an actual driving test. So far I have had a total of twenty hours lesson time (though it feels like a lot more) and my driving is slowly improving. I only really need to learn some maneuvers and polish up my basic skills and I’ll be ready for the test. Hopefully I won’t have to take it twice (like the theory).

So, aside from work, I haven’t really done anything noteworthy recently. It’s hard to do anything social when your friends are friend is busy all the time. I have managed to sell some more comics though (Thanks Kelly), so my balance is slowly climbing (and I do mean slowly).

P.S. Those pills they advertise in emails are really quite effective, photos soon (if your lucky).

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