if you’re wondering why it’s been so quiet here… all of my new stuff is at www.mattoliver.net. see you there.
This is the new look I’m trying out for the spring. I call it “wedding reception”. I want to always look like I went to a wedding, and then got drunk and started dancing at the reception and lost my jacket and untied my bowtie and rolled up my sleeves. Only thing is that I won’t be coming from a wedding, I’m gonna start my day looking like this. So I guess this means I can’t leave my house until late afternoon.
when you write someone a personal message and their response is just a link to their blog.
also, i think it’s great that pedestrians don’t stay to the right when they walk down a sidewalk. act like a car, people. when you’re going to make a left turn to go into a shop and i’m walking in the opposite direction toward you, let me pass first and then make your turn. don’t cut a diagonal swath across the sidewalk toward the shop entrance as i am approaching you because that forces me to do two things. 1. it forces me to veer to my left into the approaching lane of pedestrian traffic, thereby becoming one of them. 2. it makes me late for the concert that i am supposed to be getting ready for, but i can’t because i have to write these instructions for people who don’t know how to walk down a sidewalk.
i like it when people who hate blogs start blogging.
i’m safely back in NYC after a month of travels to India, Bangladesh, Ethiopia, and Tanzania. but now i have this to worry about. that’s right, a US spy satellite has gone all rogue on us and right now it is busy careening back to Earth. and authorities have no idea where the surreptitious scraps will land.
obviously, i won’t be listening to my ipod for the next month or two. i want to be able to hear this thing coming.
ok, so this whirlwind trip has been great. i’m sure i’ll get into the details of it all another time, once the (actual) dust settles. here’s briefly what we have done so far…
December 26th to London with Scott Harrison from charity: water. met up with Chan Marshall from Cat Power at Heathrow and flew to Bangalore, India. spent a couple of days there looking for ways to help with the water crisis in the slums. then we all flew up to Bhubaneswar, India to drive four hours east to Orissa and stay in a place called Gram Vikas. they are an NGO doing amazing work with the poor in India. check them out. can’t wait to go back there. as long as i don’t get eaten by a tiger or chased in the dark by one of those Russian bears that ride bicycles. maybe that only happens at the zoo. actually, zoos probably have prohibitive laws regarding cruelty to animals. no, it’s the circus that will have the biking bears. anything goes at the circus. you can literally tie a scantily clad woman to a big target/wheel, give it a quick spin, and then start flinging knives at her. but after the show, if i just happen to brush my hand across the chest of that same woman, whilst getting her a cup of coffee, she could claim sexual harassment. and rightly so. i was making a sexual move. and you know what? i was thinking about doing it to her even back before i started talking about bears on bicycles and all this nonsense.
so after a few great days at Gram Vikas, including New Year’s Eve where Chan and I got up on a little wood stage in the courtyard of an elementary school and danced with the kids as they put on their neighborhood performance, we left Orissa for Kolkata. spent a few miserable, sleepless hours there, before leaving India for Dhaka, Bangladesh.
in Dhaka, Chan and I bonded over Belgian beers and Apple Photobooth sessions and a really delicious cheeseburger. i know that i had a really stupid song stuck in my head that whole night, but now when i try to remember the song, i can’t. instead, i hear that song from Smashmouth… “hey now, you’re an allstar”. i hate that song.
the following day, we took a seaplane down to Banga, the southernmost point of Bangladesh that was recently devastated by Cyclone Sidr. check out the video we shot here.
after several late night rickshaw rides, the consumption of fish with eyes still intact, and an alleged “snoring fit” for which i was blamed, we once again boarded the seaplane and made our way back up to Dhaka. then from Dhaka to Dubai. Cat Power tour starts on Jan 21st in Paris, so Chan split off to prepare for that. Scott and I used our time in Dubai to consume one last proper dinner before plunging into Africa.
landed in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, and immediately spent two days in the south, looking at water projects in those areas. then back to Addis for a night of “city living” (electricity, food, internet) before we flew north to check out some regions of Ethiopia without access to clean and safe drinking water. flew to a few more villages in the north before regrouping once again in Addis. now, we are back in the south, on a lake called Langano, preparing to film more water projects and communities tomorrow.
if you’re wondering why i’m rambling… i’m trying to fall asleep and it’s way too early to go to sleep but i’m out in the middle of nowhere, 26km off a paved road, on the edge of this lake in southern Ethiopia. it’s also hot. but i’m trying to stay covered up to avoid the bugs. i think a guy with an AK-47 is still outside on the porch, watching over our cabin. he’s the grounds patrolman and is fairly well armed but i expect that he might not be well educated about guardsmanship as it relates to humans getting attacked by big mean baboons when they go outside to pee in the dark woods. so i guess i’ll wait until the sun comes up.
also, the shutters on our windows keep slamming and maybe it’s the breeze or it could be those baboons, just toying with us. these animals scare the hell out of me.
A. they’re smart.
B. they’re strong.
C. they’re mean.
they bark at each other like dogs when they fight and they run around biting each other but not just on the ground like dogs do, they also do it way up in trees.
you know when a ferocious dog is running at you and you think, “well i will just climb up this tree and then i will be safe”? it’s just like that only you climb up the tree and then the baboon climbs up the tree even faster than you did and then he bites you harder than a dog would have. and then he pushes you out of his tree.
but i’m not depressed. could a depressed person come up with the best business idea ever? that’s what i thought.December 22nd, 2007
the other day, i had to call tech support. (it’s totally my fault, i’m the one who bought a Dell…) as i was talking to this guy on the other end of the line, i discovered that my call was routed to Bombay. he was a very nice dude, and was trying to be helpful, but his Indian accent made it a little tough to understand his English words. i sometimes have the same problem when i’m talking to my Indian friends here in The States. the difference is that when i’m talking to them in person, the non-verbal can sometimes fill in the blanks. but when i’m on the phone with someone, it’s not so easy. that’s when it occurred to me… i wish i could hire an Indian guy to come to my house and call the Indian tech support guys for me. he could serve as a translator.
although i guess if i have an Indian guy at my house, he could just fix my computer. i assume they all know how to.
oh, and as a sidebar… i’m going to be in India next Thursday, doing some work with charity: water. i gotta remember to bring my Dell.
Not Waving But Drowning
Nobody heard him, the dead man,
But still he lay moaning:
I was much further out than you thought
And not waving but drowning.
Poor chap, he always loved larking
And now he’s dead
It must have been too cold for him his heart gave way,
Oh, no no no, it was too cold always
(Still the dead one lay moaning)
I was much too far out all my life
And not waving but drowning.
i still haven’t figured out what i am supposed to be doing with my life, but i am quickly building a detailed list of things i cannot do.
i tried improv classes a few weeks ago. apparently, i’m not that kind of funny. i can’t stand on a stage and pretend that i’m flying a spaceship whilst making zany ray-gun noises with my mouth.
earlier in the summer, i tried to muster a “can do” spirit while simultaneously regressing drastically by taking a job answering the telephone at a local radio station. it’s a job that i wouldn’t have bothered to do even when i was starting in radio ten years ago. so i can’t remember how long i lasted at that new job, maybe a couple weeks, but i know i gave my notice the first day.
so i’ve hinted at it before, and if you scroll down you will even read my bitching about California not wanting me as much as i wanted it, but now i have finally done something about it. that’s right, i’ve moved back to NYC (yet again). i shouldn’t even consider it “moving” anymore, since i do it so often that i am rarely even “staying” anywhere.
but i’m hesitant to say that i’m bi-coastal. that would imply that i actually have a place of residence on both coasts, just as saying that one is bi-sexual implies that they are getting a bit of loving from both the dudes and the ladies. i guess i’m a-coastal.