Monday, May 23, 2011

The Royal Wedding, Part 1

London, April 28, 2011, The Royal Wedding, Part 1 
    When I woke up the morning of the Royal Wedding there was a young attractive Australian couple packing backpacks in preparation of the festivities. The girl was kneeling like a baseball catcher packing her bag with her butt crack fully exposed. Her butt cleavage strangely turned me on. The only female attention I had received in weeks was from the two robust Welsh women I met in Belushi's Bar the previous night. Needless to say, I was desperate for a cheap thrill. I spoke with them briefly about the events of the day. I was carrying a bottle of Champagne which gave them the impression I travelled to London specifically for the Royal Wedding. I allowed them to believe this was my extravagant intention for my own amusement.  It was 9:00 AM and my mate R was not schedule to meet at St. Christopher's hostel until 10:30 AM.  Belushi's Bar advertised a free continental breakfast for patrons of St. Christopher's. I decided to eat and attempted to cancel the second night I already booked. There was no chance I could deal with bumping house music and the screaming a German girl again. 

   The continental breakfast was tea and toast. I had not budgeted much money for breakfast so this sufficed. I asked two separate workers if they could refund the money I paid in advance for the second night. Both of them looked at me incredulously and gave deference to their boss that was to arrive for her shift at 10:30 AM.  I savored two pieces of toast with honey and a cup on black English breakfast tea and patiently waited. I past the time by people watching and utilizing the free Wi-Fi on my Iphone 4.  A vast array of people that were eating breakfast I recognized from the night before. The atmosphere was much more peaceful in the morning. It provided a sense of solace that I yearned for after the restless night I had endured.  Thankfully, the meat head Australian that reprehensibly farted the previous night was not amongst the dwellers. This surely would have negatively affected my peacefulness and tranquility. 
   R and the hostel manager arrived simultaneously. The manager was a Polish lady in her late twenties that may have had the worst oral hygiene I have ever witnessed. Her teeth were crooked and appeared to have a permanent yellow film that coated them. Luckily, she refunded my money without any problem or hesitation. I was thankful of this because if she had taken any longer, I may have begun to dry heaved from the sight of her mouth. I had heard English customer service was subpar, so needless to say,  I was quite pleased with the service.

 The only issue I now had was that I had no place to stay that night. R and I were both leaving form Stansted Airport the next morning so I figured I would Priceline negotiate a hotel near the airport.  When R arrived, I spent fifteen minutes navigating on my Iphone and bidding on hotels. While I was bidding, I watched Prince William and Prince Harry leaving the Clarence House in route to the Westminster Abbey on the television. The crowd that lined the mall looked absolutely insane. Every bid I placed on Priceline Negotiator was promptly rejected and I soon realized I was missing the grandiose events. Failing to procure a hotel at that moment was just the beginning of close calls that added to the hoopla of the day. After the last bid was rejected, R and I sprinted from the hostel/bar to the tube station. We made it to Hyde Park in record time as a mass amount of people were flocking to witness history. 
London, April 28, 2011, The Royal Wedding, Part 2

Standing in Hyde Park during the Royal Wedding was quite possibly the most surreal moment of my life. 

Friday, May 20, 2011


London April 28, 2011. 

   When I returned to the hostel room at approximately 1:00 A.M., there was but one person still awake. She was a portly female that appeared in her early to mid-twenties. She was reading a book illuminated by a small light at the head of a top bunk bed in the middle of the room. There were three separate bunk sets in the room.  I had claimed the top bunk next to the window that looked down upon Hammersmith Street earlier in the day. It was the furtherest bunk from the entrance to the room. There was a third set closest to the doorway. The bunks were approximately six feet apart from each other. I made brief eye contact with the girl but did not say a word in respect to the others that appeared asleep. 

I intended to fall asleep and awaken in the early morning for the festivities surrounding The Royal Wedding. I  planned to meet my friend from NC or as I now referred to him as my mate at 10:30 A.M.  However, I was bought an unsolicited RedBull mixed with Jaegermeister a few short minutes before leaving Belushi's Bar by the thirty-four year old from Kent. (Please reference previous blog)  The music from the club below was so loud that I could vividly hear every beat and lyric.  I knew I had an impending lengthy sleepless night ahead when I heard the new club mix of the song entitled, "Barbara Streisand" by Duck Sauce. Two hours passed and I could not fall asleep.  The girl in the top-middle bunk eventually shut her light off. I had to urinate at one point and quietly put on my jeans and slowly tip-toed out of the room. As I returned, I still felt the ill-desired affects of the RedBull drink. 

I wondered how I had ever consumed these drinks in large quantities earlier in my twenties. My heart pounded as if I were about to deliver an unprepared speech. I attempted to get comfortable using what resembled an airplane pillow.  For the first time on the trip, I deeply thought about my ex-girlfriend. We had both planned to take a trip to Europe together but our plans had fallen apart after breaking up. I felt a sense of loneliness and yearned for my own room with solace and familiarity.  My mind raced at the speed of light. I thought about the trips and amazing hotels we had stayed in. There is a brief moment when I began to question my existence. As adamant and stern as my opinions have been over the years regarding religion and spirituality, I was almost overcome by the intense feelings of emptiness.  Wide-awake, desperate and nearly on the brink of a breakdown, I snapped back into reality instantly by quite possibly the oddest moment I can even recall. 

The girl from the top bunk bed snapped up like Michael Myers ascending from feigned death.   In the most bloody, boisterous and startling manner, she screamed three or four words in distinct German.  It sounded like something straight out of a Rob Zombie horror flick. I cannot image what could have caused this girl to scream with this unfathomable haunting clarity.  I stared in her direction aghast but she did not notice me looking at her. I do not know what I would have said or done if she had seen me. She may not have even been conscious.  Surprisingly, no other person in the room was awakened or they were too frightened to look up.  She fell right back down into bed and I never saw or heard her again.  I was completely cured from my sleeplessness as if I had just taken a large dose of Ambian. I forgot about the intense feelings and emotion I was experiencing. In an odd way, I felt liberated, as if I had open the widow next to my bed and let out my own scream down upon the London streets. I slept through the night and I would experience one of the most surreal days of my life the next day. 

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

A Word Dork.

   I hastily walked to the courthouse to procure a not guilty verdict  I transfixed on the ominous sky. Dark clouds were ubiquitous. I wished they would dissipate instead of aggregate. I listened to a salacious interview.  A devout religious man pontificated on the street. His message was full of piety. He accosted me by beckoning me with his pointer finger. I glanced at him incredulously. Some may view his traits as virtuous. I reckoned his personality was vapid and in my opinion his message was irksome. I glimpsed into a female run barbershop. I fancied the trousers that adorned a lady stylist. I desire to live a sumptuous lifestyle as an affluent attorney. I do not want to be considered an aristocrat or a toff. I have transcended into adulthood. NASA recently launched it's penultimate mission. We live in a profound and progressive society. I ardently support the use of Ipods, smartphones, tablets, ereaders, Facebook and Twitter. I am aghast And baffled by technology.  We are expected to be relatively prolific. Proficiency and multitasking are prevailing standards.
  Some days I feign happiness, while other days I revel in unfiltered elation and gaiety. My words are vestige of depression. I am an earnest and solemn worker. I take umbrage with criticism, even when it is warranted. I pay homage to friends and express gratitude towards family. Subsequent to today, I will be relocating North. I relish in the endeavor and pray for advantageous results.  Ideals and theory have further resonated in my conscience. However, I am consciously aware that I must be imbued by further inspiration.  My life is no longer clandestine or surreptitious. My behavior remains whimsical and neurotic and I concede I am a fallible and imperfect human being. I vacillate between aspirations and I am apprehensive to change. Life is arduous but rewarding. Will I make a serendipitous discovery?  Will persistence lead to a grandiose conclusion?  
   I may never learn a second language but I am challenging myself to become adept in reading and writing English.  Much of the language in this post I have learned over the past two years. I became a word dork when I began writing as a hobby in 2009. I welcome any comments regarding words I may have misused. I realize I am not a master writer. I hope that with each post, my writing will become more proficient. I need a few basic English and writing courses.  Until then, I will often fuck up. Let me know when I do. If you know any cool word or have any pointers, please send me an email or a Facebook message.

Friday, May 13, 2011

G Rated Exploits.

  Let's forget about all the sentimental rubbish and ass kissing I have been doing lately.  While I am conscious and self-aware enough to not publish any salacious or grotesque details about my life, (not that there are any to speak of) I am not above blogging about my social awkwardness and kind-hearted attempts to overcome it. Last night I met one of my two male friends in Charlotte out after work. He's in a happy relationship, so I figured we would just be having dinner and a beer. Of course we met at Charlotte's Alive After Five, so inevitably it turned into more. Alive After 5 is essentially a grandiose frat party at the Charlotte Epicenter with drinking and live music.  The Epicenter is a three story circular complex caddy-corner to the Time Warner Cable Arena on the corner of Trade St. and College St., filled with restaurants, bars and retail stores. It has a third floor party deck with a picturesque view of the Charlotte Skyline.  The business fronts occupy the outer layers and inside is wide open, making it the perfect location for outside gatherings. 

  I met my friend around six o'clock and people had just started to aggregate at the Epicenter. We first ate wings inside at the Wild Wing Cafe. When we arrived the bar it was empty, but by the time we finished eating, our surroundings resembled a Home Depot convention. Middle aged men decorated the landscape of the rectangular bar. I surmised they were disguising the best routes to drive to work to avoid morning traffic congestion. They creepily stared at the exposed cleavage of the young women working the bar. In fact, I caught myself peaking as well.  This was motivation enough to desire female presence that wasn't hired waitstaff. After finishing the decadently buttered, battered, deep fried and slightly over cooked hot wings, it was time to move on.

 When we walked out the doors of the restaurant the entire scenery of Alive After Five had changed. The open spaces has disappeared and the decor was now adorned with beautiful people. My aloofness had vanished and I strangely desired to meet girls, meet guys and have a fun, like Ronnie Mund.  Nevertheless, I was unsure of myself with a recent breakup plaguing my emotions and the intimidation factor of all the gorgeous people. Luckily, my friend is an instigator and convinced me that I am capable of approaching women. While, I tend to over analyze social situations, he merely advises to just suck it up. He told me I could not leave this place without talking to a few women. I agreed. I am now 29, a professional and single. I have no excuse outside of my own insecurities to be apprehensive in social situations  

  We ordered a beer and frolicked around the third floor party deck. A live county music band played as people drank, danced and socialized. A half hour passed, I talked to my friend about different strategies I would use when approaching women. I shyly stood next to a lady that appeared my age. She had short blond hair like I adore and I was completely befuddled. Another guy accosted her. Damnit! Another half hour passed with more strategy and no action. Fuck!  Finally, two attractive hispanic girls stood in front of us. I managed to confidently say,  "Hey, you know you're in my space right?  I need lot of space because I plan to do some major dancing."  The girls laughed and we briefly undertook a feckless conversation. It did not matter, I had finally conversed with a member of the opposite sex. 

The party was attended by young fucks, want-to-be aristocrats, whoremongers and average joes. Eventually my friend left to return home to his girlfriend.  I decided to stay for an hour to wear off the affects of the few beers I drank. Over the night, I engaged several men and women in conversation. I spoke with a 23 year old guy that had been spatting with an older lady. He told me a fish tale about two girls he met the previous year at Alive After 5 that supposedly got topless at Lake Normal. I was strangely intrigued by the sophomoric story. I asked an African American gentlemen with a flat cap if he was Irish. He laughed at my feigned naiveness. Finally, I spoke with a women while standing at the bar. We exchanged basic information, mostly initiated by her. To my delight, she told me she thought I was 23, quite possibly her attempt at flattery.  The conversation did not last in excess of five minutes. There was no sexual innuendo, no phone numbers were exchanged and I will likely never see her again.  However, it was the breakthrough moment of the night and my return to dating. 

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

The Alluring Personality of a Charismatic Friend.

I'm taking a break from writing about Europe today to pay homage to one of the best friends I've had over the last ten years.

Charisma is inherently possessed. It's true that people are either charismatic or not. Only a low percentage of people are genuinely charismatic. Say what you want about our president, but the guy has charisma. It's a trait that is present in nearly all great world leaders. It beckons us to follow them and hang on their every word. We are drawn to politicians,actors and rock stars because they possess personalities we admire. We also like to criticise them because it makes us feel better about ourselves to humanize their actions. We trivialize their conduct to validate our own. If not openly, subconsciously, we yearn for a charismatic personality.
Jesse was the most "popular" boy in high school, voted most likely to kick the world's ass. We grew up together, only five minutes from each other's childhood homes. During these years, I faltered in my own social awkwardness as I watched people gravitate towards him. I never quite understood. I could not hide feelings of envy and jealously. I constantly challenged and criticized him as a defense mechanism. I was threatened by his charm.

We started college together as young adults. Years had passed since we had met and I still harbored negative feelings towards him. His magnetism carried him and my disdain and resistance towards him weighed me down.  I was defiant, angry and unable to accept our differences. I needed to develop a rudimentary understand sociology and psychology before these feeling would ever dissipate.

There is a movie entitled "A River Runs Through It," with Brad Pitt and Craig Sheffer. Their characters are brothers. Brad Pitt's character is mischievous, erratic and rebellious while Craig Sheffer's character is conservative and reserved. Despite the academic accolades and successes achieved by Craig Sheffer's character, he lacked natural charisma. Brad Pitt had the more likable character despite his irrationality because of his captivating charismatic persona. Their relationship perfectly demonstrates how I've always characterized my relationship with Jesse. He will always be fun, spontaneous and carefree while I will always be self contained, neurotic and ultimately less liked.

Jesse was one of the last people to sign up for a Facebook account. After college he lost contact with a lot of people and had become somewhat of a enigma. Quite candidly, he did not need a Facebook account. The mystique of not knowing his next move was intriguing. When he finally caved and opened an account, he obtained hundreds of friends instantly. He had more Facebook friends in one month than I had accumulated over several years. Recently, Jesse posted an introspective comment as his status update. Tens of people commented on or approved of his words within minutes. I will spend an hour on a thoughtful blog and not get as much as a single read. Jesse's personality is truly  glamorous and alluring.
 As time passed, I finally gained an understanding of Jesse. I couldn't be prouder of where his life has taken him. It's liberating to not hold resentful feelings towards him. I will always wish I had the personality of a rock star. However, it would be counter-productive and problematic to hold ill-feelings towards a great friend for possessing personality traits I admire and respect.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

London finally called.

     The level and intelligence of people is intriguing and intimidating.  Part of me likes to surround myself by acute personalities.  It greatly helps enhance my knowledge and pushes me to escape my comfort zone. However, these people have a level of wit and sophistication that is overwhelming. I often feel insecure and trivial in their presence. I know I am ultimately more comfortable hanging out in the blue collar bar, talking about football and sneaking out the back door to smoke a heater. However, I realize the importance of developing a similar level of complacency in both settings. Recently I met a 22 year old lady with such savviness that left me flabbergasted. In these situations, I find it necessary to learn from these people rather than letting pride and jealousy take over.  
London-April 28th 
   I finally received a full night sleep when I awoke at the University of Exeter. My mate had set me up on campus in an old beautiful building that was partially used as bed and breakfast with exquisite views of the campus. (more details to come)  I turned on the television to a broadcast coverage of the Royal Wedding in London. I poured a cup of tea and glanced out the window. I wondered if the students at this campus appreciated the fabulous views and the masterful landscape architecture that adorned their campus.  To my continuous dismay, the level of eloquence of a place like this failed to resonate in my conscience as a young adult. I wasn't going to miss the opportunity at this moment. 

  After breakfast and a quick walk through campus, we headed to board a train destine for central London. My mate asked a worker at the train station if his brother could accompany us onto the platform, in which the worker responded candidly, "No."  I quickly realized people were equally as rude in England as in America.  The train ride lasted three hours and journeyed through the English county-side. The county landscape was rolling and green and provided me with a sense of tranquility.  We engaged in light and entertaining conversation and even ordered a beer from our first class seats. I had a warm Carlsberg, a popular beer from Denmark that I was unfamiliar with until the trip. (I am now aware the Carlsberg Group is the 4th larger brewery group in the world. Yes, I am a bit out of the loop.) The ride proved to be the last truly relaxing moment until the flight back to North Carolina. 
   Unbeknownst to me, I was having lunch at the Commonwealth Club in the heart of Central London. We had taken the London Underground to the Embankment Street Station to arrive there. At this early stage of the trip, I was completely overwhelmed by the massive city. I had not been to a city of this size or stature in several years and it made the small city I reside in seem ever smaller and insignificant. Right next to the Commonwealth Club was the Sherlock Holmes Pub. A relative had just told me that he was in London for one day and was sucked in by this tourist trap. However, I would likely have felt more comfortable as a tourist. I was completely unprepared to sit for a posh lunch and was forced to wear the only decent shirt I had brought. A third party joined us, a former college mate of my friend that was residing and working in London. We first had a drink than was escorted to our table. The waitstaff was mostly Eastern European and noticeably attractive. 
 The menu was impressive but not overly complicated. The special was a three course lunch. Since fish and chips as not an option, I decided on lamb's liver and a cheese tray for desert. A bottle of Chilean wine was ordered.  I don't recall the appetizer. The other two parties ordered a Mackerel dish.  Throughout the lunch, I was a step behind in the conversation. The others openly and fluently discussed topics such as international business and culture. Parts of the conversation were over my head and out of my comprehension. I would have had a much higher level of comfort having lunch at a pub and talking about the difference between American and European football. However, I will likely never gain a control over these social situations by continuously avoiding them. Despite the element of surprise in the lunch,  I relished in the moment. I don't know that I will ever be back having lunch at a private club in Central London. It was pretty fucking awesome! 

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

The most repugnant of smells.

The years of 2001-2004 are well documented in my previous blogs. I was in a state of turmoil, unable to get move past high school and emotionally stagnant after a past relationship. I dealt with these issues by obsessively working out. I had a body image problem similar to an anorexic except exactly the opposite. It's commonly known as the Adonis Complex.  As I slowly recovered and moved past this time period in my life, I soon reconized the absurdity of my actions.  Those three years completely stunted my social and emotional growth.  I was eventually able to move past those early issues and begin living a productive life.
  Whenever I see someone that is way more muscular than a human being should ever become, I assume there is an underlining issue. The media has sensationalized overgrown muscles. Individual don't realize how unattractive they appear to the common person.  Yes, there are exceptions like Triple H, Vin Diesel and my brother.  They all look pretty damn good and as far as I know, don't have major self image problems.

London, April 28, 2011, 10:00 PM
  After the play "Cause Celebre" at the Old Vic Theater, the two gentlemen I attended with and I stopped at Tesco for dinner. It's popular for people in London to stop for lunch or dinner at this grocery store chain. I purchased a Ploughman's sandwich, two pork pies and a water for three quid. These cheap meals were necessary to make the budget I set for the trip. After buying our food, each of us went our seperate ways. It was the first moment I spent alone in Central London.
 There was a rare sense of familiarity in my conscious. I felt aberrantly akin to my surroundings. Alone in an unfamiliar US city,  I am fearful and hesitant, while walking in the London Underground, I was peaceful and confident. Four girls ascending up the giant escalator in the Underground waving British flags and glancing in my direction. They were undeniably celebrating the Royal Wedding a day early.  A sinister smile adorned my face. I relished in the moment.

  London- Hammersmith and Broadway,  11:30 pm April 28

   Although I had been walking, socializing and soaking in the city' sights all day, I felt oddly energetic.  I was staying at the first of two hostels. This night was St. Christopher's. Yes... Just like my name.  A bar/ night club called Belushi's occupied the bottom of the hostel. A stair case led from the bar to the dorm like rooms. Rock music graffiti decorated the walls. A huge mural of the "London Calling" album cover stood out.  If there was ever a swell night to stay out late for a pint, this was it.  
 I drank several pints during the day but never reached a level of intoxication. I didn't plan to drink much at Belushi's bar, only a pint before heading to bed. I ordered a Foster's draught on sale and stood at the bar.  People began mustering through the doorway. A few minutes after I arrived, two gentlemen appeared beside me.
    One of the men possessed the biggest arms I have ever seen in person. He looked cartoonish, like Jonny Bravo with a form fitting white T-shirt. He had spiked hair
with frosted tips and an artificial tan.  His voice sounded like an Austrialian Mike Tyson. I tried to speak to him but he brushed meappeared off. He appeared insecure in the vicinity of people.
  I finished the Foster's and made small chat with the people that had accumulated at the bar. I befriended two Welsh women that arrived on the train that morning to attend the Royal Wedding. They made it their mission to get me to dance with them but I politely declined. Finally, I met a drunken Englishman. He was in his 30's but pounced around the bar waiving his arms like a teenager. He smelled of stale body odor.  Although I told him I wasn't drinking more, he bought us a round of shots.
    Moments before I was ready to leave, the big Australian man came walking back to join his mate at the bar. As he inched closer, a dense cloud of the foulest, most repulsive odorfollowed him. He had crop dusted the bar with his protein enriched fart. It reeked of a culmination of rotten eggs, day old red meat and a rotting corpse. Disgusted looks loomed on the faces of every person within ten square feet. One of the bartenders appeared to slightly vomit into her mouth.
 The big fellow stood there surreptitiously, as if he were not the culprit. I was appauld, not only about how a man could produce such a repugnant odor from his anus but how I used to embrace this subculture.  Once the smell dissipated from the room, so had my urge to be at this bar. They weren't even playing rock music. It was time to fall asleep and awake for the Royal Wedding.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Mike Abroad

 I will be writing exclusively about my trip to London and Dublin for the next month. It was an amazing and profound experience. I am going to attempt to tie the trip into other aspects of life so that I don't bore the few readers I have accrued. Ultimately, these blogs are going to be a narrative written mostly to preserve my own recollection of the journey. I would like the thank my best mate in Charlotte for making the trip possible. Traveling abroad even at my age is difficult without being pointed in the right direction.

Note: These blogs are not going to be written in chroniclgical order. I will vacillate through different moments of the excusion as I sporadically recollect them. There will not be any salacious details to be discuss, frankly because there are none to speak of. This was strictly a tourist trip and not a "Eurotrip."

The Avalon House- Dublin Ireland

I spent Saturday night at a hostel called "The Avalon House" in Dublin, Ireland. Admittedly, I was too old to stay there but I needed to conserve money. The accommdations were becoming and cost a mere 15 Euro. The lobby was filled with young tourist. I was only there to drop off my backpack, spend a few minutes on the computer and sleep in the room. My advanced aged remained clandesent and I was able to avoided any undue embarrassment.

 I met two students, a soft spoken Italian boy and a ambitious young girl from Denmark. She had moved to Ireland on a whim and was living at the hostel until she found a permanent home. I met them when I first checked in Saturday. I took two Tylenol PM to help me sleep that night because I knew I needed to awake at 4:10am to catch the airport shuttle. This prevented me from meeting the third person in the room.

Sunday, May 1, 2011. 4:20 A.M.

The shuttle left at 4:20 A.M. I prepared my backpack the night before and planned to quickly dress and descend downstairs to catch the shuttle. I anticipated being the sole person aboard but was pleasantly surprised to find only one vacant seat.

It was dark and chilly as I entered the van. Moonlight barely escaped behind the night time clouds. There were blank stares upon every individual face. A young couple spoke to each other softly in Russian. The Phil Collins song "In The Air Tonight" played loudly throughout the van. Although the lyrics of the songs did not apply to this situation, it felt like it was specifically written for this occasion.

Traffic was heavy in the streets of Dublin. I glanced over and saw an intoxicated Irishman in a taxicab with glazed eyes, his head bouncing up and down, exhausted from a night of drinking and chasing sin. The array of tourist that cluttered the streets during the day was replaced by young fucks. I was content to have been mere tourist, armed with my sobriety and ambitions for the upcoming day.

I would leave Sunday morning to spend my first day alone in London.