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Premature Exasperation

Posted on September 30, 2012

“That’s the trouble with everybody – you’re all so bored. You’ve had nature explained to you and you’re bored with it, you’ve had the living body explained to you and you’re bored with it, you’ve had the universe explained to you and you’re bored with it, so now you want cheap thrills and, like, plenty of them, and it doesn’t matter how tawdry or vacuous they are as long as it’s new as long as it’s new as long as it flashes and fuckin’ bleeps in forty fuckin’ different colors. So whatever else you can say about me, I’m not fuckin’ bored.” – Naked (1993)   I feel like I sort of fucked up a little. I was off by a day or two.…

The Dog Days Of Dogana

Posted on September 7, 2012

So “Dogana” means “customs” in Kosovar Albanian, and “customs” means “four loosely related offices between which you are sent in patterns of increasing complexity and cost” – but let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Mere delineations of procedure don’t really tell the whole story. Here’s what happened. Here’s how a couple of naïve, online retail-enjoying North Americans were again reminded that they are very, very far from home. It began with a purse. A bright yellow purse on a cutely named American shopping site for girls. It was a grey humid afternoon, all of our neighborhood restaurants sucked (and continue to suck – more on this to come), and our heroine was in need of a little cheering up. “Just buy it,” I said,…

On The Road: Montenegro

Posted on September 2, 2012

I was worried that the car might break down. OK, no, back up: I was worried, having pushed our rented, lime-green subcompact up a half-paved, near-vertical goat path in the middle of the wilderness that something would go terribly quiet; that we would lose all forward momentum; that I would pull over, pop the hood, and find a fly-encrusted grapefruit in place of an engine. I was worried that my girlfriend would realize I was lost. In the Balkans, I have come to realize, there are no shortcuts. Isn’t that nice and aphoristic? There are no direct routes. If you wish to go to Montenegro, say, or to Macedonia, or to modernity, you have to just accept that the circuitous, meandering path is probably…