Sunday, June 27, 2010

For Clarity's Sake (but mostly so I don't sound like a dick)

I think that I may have been a wee bit emotional while writing my previous post, and would therefore like to recant the comments I made about how ugly people deserve to die. I didn't mean it the way it sounded.

What I should have said was that some ugly people steal things and that they deserve to be killed horribly.

Thanks for understanding.

PS - I just heard my mother say "Yo, dude."

Friday, June 25, 2010

A Shot of Anime

I admit that I watch a lot of anime. However, I only watch it when I'm not at the gym watching people work out, so I sometimes fall behind. Here is a short list of some the best anime I have ever seen. I would suggest you watch them if I thought you would listen.

Full Metal Panic!
Samurai Champloo
Lucky Star
The Melancholy of Haruhi
Kimi Ga Nomozu Eien
Gurren Laggan
Elfen Lied
Ergo Proxy

Maybe later I'll post something of value.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

The Following (less than good) Story is (substantially less than) True

Allow me to regale you, fine readers David, with an astounding true story.. 

It was a usual Tuesday evening; usual in that I was doing absolutely nothing except getting exceedingly miffed at that shit-eating iPhone game, Angry Birds, the game spawned from Satan's asshole with the sole purpose of making you buy another phone after having smashed yours to bits in face-splitting, pants-soiling rage. 

This is the offending level. If you think you can beat it then I humbly invite you to fall off a bridge.

Despite what it looks like, this story is not about battletoad-difficult video games; it is, in fact, about how I saved the world last Tuesday. At approximately 6:45 that evening, I was startled by a scratching noise somewhere in the vicinity of just over there, which is almost as bad as hearing one in the vicinity of right behind you; I decided it would be best to wait until it got louder. I waited for 28 seconds before the vicinity of just over there erupted with a cacophony of squeaks, squeals, squelches and other sounds not so easily described. With my initial emergency response action, shitting myself, out of the way, I grabbed the closest thing to a weapon I could within arm's reach, a wii-mote. With Television's mortal enemy in hand,

I carelessly broke to start a different paragraph where it's entirely unnecessary, and approached the noise which, upon further analysis, was originating from the behind a box prefecture of the vicinity of just over there. Spooky. I slid the box away from the wall and, as the chorus of noise ceased, risked a peek behind it. The vomit on my bare feet and fresh load of feces in my undies was testament to just how terrifyingly hideous and hideously terrifying a hydro-cephalic baby zombie vampire T-Rex pirate is when you see one for the first time. I think I handled it pretty well though since in my case there were four of them.

Incredibly brave as I am, I flipped the box over on top of the creatures and walked away, letting the housekeeper deal with it. No really, it's ok, it's her job.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

PicRoll! i.e. Too Busy to Write A Long Post

This morning, instead of an actual post with some sort of blogalistic merit (which they lack anyway), I'm just going to throw a bunch of photos at you. I'll wait until this evening to write up something fascinating. Unfortunately, I'll have to wait a few days before I can upload anything relating to politics because the department might castrate me without an anesthetic if I do, so I'm going to attempt to entertain you with photos of a different (most likely more engaging) nature. Oh and please don't use any of these photos without my permission. The small sizes are an attempt to prevent that kthanks.

This is the USNS Mercy, an absolutely massive oil tanker converted into a hospital. This ship was, until recently, posted in Haiti to aid in relief efforts. It docked off Sihanoukville on the 15th and is still there, providing medical care to Cambodians both on the ship and on the mainland, where American and Cambodian doctors are working together to bring care to where it's not so easily acquired. I was all up in it.

Look at this bad boy. This photo is popular here.

This was a patient aboard the Mercy. I was snapping away and he drinking it all up, and then this dragon woman from the ship's navy was all "give him some space". I was 8 feet away and not using a flash. Some women are just plain unkind. In any case, this photo and many like it will be likely be featured in newspapers here.

The day after our tour of the Mercy, we wanted to stop by a Good Will school nearby, named the GoodWill School. It's run by some friendly English guys. When we arrived, the kids were on break and had vacated the school area, so we had no choice but to leave. However. On our way out, I saw this little girl throwing rocks (not at the dog). And snapped a shot of her.

If you can't quite see what the problem is, look at it fullsize (click it). This is a dog I spotted on our way back to the car from the Goodwill school. I was thoroughly unhappy. I wanted to pet it (so I did), and I wanted to bring it to a vet, but I couldn't. And finally, to end on a good note...

This is a little girl in line to receive medical care at a MEDCAP (a program by which foreign and Cambodian doctors work together to bring impoverished areas decent medical care). Much of the active medical staff at the event were doctors off the Mercy.

Well, so much for writing a short post.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Navy Reservists and Prostitutes

The time of writing is approximately 10 days after the events concerned occured. However, I think it's a particularly blogworthy tale of unwavering moral fortitude and extravagant dumbassery. The following events rolled into being between the the morning of June 10 and the morning of June 11.

It all started when I was sent on a trip to Sihanoukville (the biggest port city in Cambodia), to photograph events surrounding the docking of US Navy Ship Tortuga. The political story behind this is irrelevant, though interesting (should I feel inclined, I may write up a post concerning the political aspect of this trip). However, this post is entirely concerned with, if it wasn't clear from the title, inexpensive Cambodian hookers and the events leading to them.

Since this was a work trip, it was unanimously agreed between my coworkers that an inordinate amount of relaxing would be happening. I thought that was completely acceptable. My journey led me to making the acquaintance of a Navy Lieutenant and a Navy Reservist. Both will remain nameless for good reason. After a brief but fascinating tour of the Navy ship,
during which I learned quite a bit about why I don't plan on joining the service, our group arranged to meet later that evening. I presumed this time to be when the drunkening and relaxing would start. I was spot on.

Our driver took the Lieutenant, the reservist and myself from The Independence (our hotel) to a native-frequented karaoke/bar/restaurant/shittybeerpurveyor to meet up with the other journalists and my coworkers. After roughly an hour of watching other people drink shite beer and pretending to enjoy mine (damn toasts every forty-five seconds) it was decided that we would go out on the town like the fine group of young bachelors we are (most are, anyway). The Cambodian journalists disappeared soon after. so I was left with the Lieutenant and the reservist.

The reservist, a 27 year old blogger/ski journalist, proposes we get massages. I agree, but make it clear that only reputable masseuses were allowed to rub me. The other two were quick to agree. So far so good. We take a look around, taking into account the startlingly large number of caucasians enjoying the night life around us, much of whom were beautiful women. It soon became apparent that all the (STD free) parlors were closed since it was almost 10. A little bummed, the lieutenant leaves us behind and disappears for the rest of the evening. The reservist, we'll call him Res, and I decide to hit the beachside bars along Serendipity Beach.The area is absolutely beautiful, bars and restaurants line the beach, just meters away from the water.

At the first bar on the beach we are greeted by an insane looking englishmen (who soon proved to be a very cool fellow) offering free drinks of indiscernible nature, I assumed roofies. They looked girly, though, so I took one while Res takes 14. To speed things along, I have a great night hanging out with all the foreigners, especially a dutchman named Chris. Res, on the other hand, loses his shoes and money and failed to score with his target woman. At around 12:30 AM I finally manage to convince Res that going back to the hotel is a good idea (we have to be up around 7), and get us into a Tuk-Tuk (essentially a moto-carriage).

Off we go to our hotel, and I am content.
"Hey, you know what we never got? MASSAGES" bellows Res. I nod, paying more attention to the wind in my hair then the drunk smelly man breathing on me. However, something wicked my way came.
"You want massage!? I know where!" Yells the driver. But here's the kicker:
"You want suckeyfuckey massage?" Fuck you bastard driver, I thought. Res goes nuts over the idea, smiling inanely and yelling yes over and over. And that's how I ended up in a back alley in Cambodia being solicited by cheap, STD ridden prostitutes whispering such classics as "I love you long time" (which I thought was a joke) and "Come open your wallet open my legs".

I end up sitting there with Res and the driver for an hour arguing against the idea of getting aids. Res believes firmly that doing it will be very good for us. I take the opposite view on the matter. At around 2 Res goes silent, stares long and hard into the night, swaying with drink. He says
"I'm doing it." and jumps out of the tuk-tuk.

The last I saw of Res was him standing in the dim light of the hooker-hovel, no shoes, no money, smiling dumbly and surrounded by prostitutes. I have not seen or heard from him since.

Final Notes: It doesn't appear that our driver understood the difference between a massage and a fuck and I can only assume that the prostitutes hired Res as one of their own to work off the sex money he owed/owes them. I wish I brought a camera.

Small Talk

I suppose I'd better begin by introducing myself. My name is Travis, and I've spent my entire life of 19 years, thus far, living in reasonably exotic locations around the globe. Though originally born in the United States, I consider myself lacking in American...ness. Despite the fact that I live there now for university, I would like nothing more than to get the fuck out to go live in an international community in China or Cambodia, where things happen to be far more acceptable; I lack the degree of racism and cultural intolerance required to fit well in most American/English/French/ (essentially Anglo-Dominated) suburban societies.

At the time of writing, I'm living in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, for a summer job at the American Embassy (I wonder if blogging at work is frowned upon). My job, office-time, anyway, largely consists of sitting in my cubicle desperately searching for amusing things to do on the internet, or swearing at my iphone in unrestrained rage at being unable to pass that one effing level of Angry Birds. Formally, however, I am the dedicated photographer in the office, which grants me access to all embassy trips (per diem, bitches) and events, which I then take a few photos of, express interest in, and then leave early for an essentially free massage, on the beach, at the 5-star hotel I've been put in, for free. This blog will feature numerous stories based on these "work" trips.

But to be frank, I find the political/social aspects of most of these trips fascinating, and all the awesome shit I get to do when I'm not photographing these events is just a great, big, oily, beachey, suntanny, sauna-ey, free gym workouty, cheap girly drinkey, party-all-nighty bonus that happens to come with the territory. I think it goes without saying but I'll say it anyway, my job is awesome. But that doesn't, in any way, mean I won't find something to complain about, just wait and see.

Hobbies include writing, musicing, football (the soccer kind), adventuring, other languages, and spending an inordinate amount of time on my hair which still ends up looking home to several badgers that have just found notices of eviction in the mailbox.

I think that's a sufficient introduction. Maybe next time I'll write something entertaining.
I'm the white guy. The man next to me is a coworker, he also happens to be ultimate.
That big grey thing behind us is the USS Tortuga. I'll be writing a post about that trip shortly, maybe.