Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Ramblings of an Insomniac

In Uncategorized on July 31, 2011 at 8:07 AM

Perhaps some you don’t know this about me, but in the past few years I have grown quite attached to sleep. Not that I wasn’t previously attached to the idea or the actual practice, but my senior year at Hillsdale and now entering into the real world stage of life I am beginning to value sleep more and more. That being the case, the fact that I worked a very long 10 hour shift and it is now 4am and I can’t sleep is not helping my attachment to sleep grow any stronger. Rather, my affection for various music is increasing, as there really isn’t much else to do at 4am, besides, as I just discovered, write.

So here you have them, the ramblings of an insomniac. I have been going through various different genres of music this evening, ironically none of it has been classical. I have determined that I love classical in the mornings and jazz very late at night while driving home. Of course other categories of music are appropriate for other actions of life, but I am curious as to what yours are? Sometimes while driving through Detroit after I get off work, I feel compelled to listen to jazz because of the intrinsic city nature found within jazz music. Yet as I leave the city and simply engage in the bliss of freeway driving, I find my preference changing towards something more like Jon Hopkins or Kina Grannis. In other words, something soft, melodic, and easy to listen to. I suppose this is the genre that they refer to as easy listening. If so, I will admit that I am a sucker for it.

There are a few other artists that I have discovered recently that I am also enjoying heavily. A year ago Ben Parker introduced me to He is We and I totally forgot about them, but since he has been back and so generously gave me the cd I have been enjoying tracks like Pardon Me and Happily Ever After. I also discovered that Jon Hopkins released a new album with an artist by the name of King Creosote and have been listening to that to help me fall asleep at night as well.

During my drive home sometimes I listen to CBC2 because living in Michigan allows you the opportunity to feel at times, almost Canadian, and honestly, I think I am ok with that. Five of my siblings are Canadian, so why shouldn’t I enjoy it, right? While listening to the radio at about 1:30am I happened to hear a song called English Curse by a guy named Frank Turner. It’s these awesome moments where I discover music like this that make my drives home totally worth it at times. Check these titles out if you are so inclined, I think, dear reader, you might rather enjoy them.

So there you have it, the 4am ramblings of an insomniac. It’s nothing great, but it’s what you get at 4am. Thanks for indulging my insomnia. Hope I can read your ramblings one night as well. Till then, sleep well, and rest strong in the Lord. Ciao!


The Peach

In Uncategorized on July 22, 2011 at 5:43 AM

My dear friends, I am inspired this evening to write for many reasons. First, the practical. I need to get my laundry in the dryer once it finishes washing and must do so before I go to bed so this will help me kill time. Second, I have been inspired to write a few times in the past few months and haven’t and regretted it and wished that I had, simply to have the writing that indicated what I was going through at the time. Third, I have been inspired by much and feel the need to share.

I was debating whether or not I should post this on my blog, start another blog, or just write it as a note on Facebook. I decided that starting a new one is a commitment I am not ready for, not that I am a commitment-phobe, I simply like to be thorough and sincere when I make one. No one actually uses Facebook notes anymore, and no one wants to read all of this in an email. So here we are writing and posting it as a Longtimetraveller.

My inspiration this evening has been provided by a peach. Yes, you read correctly, a peach. Allow me to explain. I got home from work this evening and noticed that there were four peaches in the bowl on the kitchen table. This was unusual for many reasons. First of all, my mother generally refrigerates all food, even fruit at all times. Second, if she were to buy any fruit and leave it out, it would be nectarines, not peaches. Generally I really don’t like peaches either, I prefer nectarines because they don’t have the fuzzy skin on the outside. As well I had just spent twenty dollars on produce at Plum Market and been severely disappointed and was turned off to the idea of fruit for at least a day or two.

However, as soon as I bit into this peach, I knew I had found something special. Something that might change my perception of peaches forever. Something perhaps only my sister Sarah could relate to. The fuzzy skin, which I normally detest, was firm and actually required a little effort to bite into. Like when you bite into a ripe cherry and there’s a little give that you have to bite through before the explosion of flavor encapsulates your palate. That was this peach. Normally I make noises when I eat something that is delicious. There were many noises occurring during the consummation of this peach. It was truly the best peach I have ever had, and quite possibly the best piece of fruit I have ever had as well. So here on July 22, 2011 note that Ben Newman is claiming to have had the best piece of fruit in his life: a peach. Perhaps more could be written on the subject, but considering I worked a very long day and must be up in the morning for another long day at work, I will simply thank you all for reading and bid you adieu!

A Night at Viennese Clubs….Oh My!

In Uncategorized on August 21, 2010 at 11:57 AM

Unexpectedly I have some time right now because of the events of last night. I had not anticipated going out with 5 guys from Baden-Wuertttenburg until 5:30am, but that is what ended up happening. The room in my hostel has six beds. I have one and these guys from near Stuttgart rented the other five. At first I didn’t think it was going to be a good experience with these guys because I had been the first to arrive and one of them had moved my things from the bed that I had selected, made, and left my things on, and put them onto one of the top bunks and put his things on the bed instead. My initial reaction I will admit was not a positive one. I considered being very upset but then realized it wasn’t worth making a big deal out of, especially if I was going to see these guys every day. I just didn’t want it to be awkward. As it turned out it was just a misunderstanding and the guy thought that the bed had been left that way, which was why he moved the things. I just let it go and because I had complained to the front desk about it, I got three free drinks at the bar, so it was fine.

They mentioned how they were here for vacation and wanted to go to some clubs and invited me to come along so they wouldn’t have to worry about waking me up from being too loud when they came in really late. I thought to myself, you know I haven’t been to a club in a little while, and I am in Vienna, why not? So I went with them for dinner last night at this place called Centimeter where you order everything you want by the centimeter including drinks and bread. We ended up getting a specialty of the restaurant called “Das Schwert” meaning The Sword and it was six Wienerschnitzel, six steaks, chicken wings, French fries, and beef goulash that came with the schnitzel and steak skewered through a sword with the side dishes underneath. It was so cool! Unfortunately I had to leave early to go to the Vivaldi concert so I didn’t get to eat as much as I would have liked. But the schnitzel and chicken was amazing.

I arrived at the Karlskirche again with just about five minutes to spare. In comparison to the Mozart Requiem I had heard the night before, the Vivaldi was much better! Mozart was good, but I really felt like the musicians didn’t really care about what they were playing. In comparison, however, the ensemble playing Vivaldi’s greatest work on period instruments took the Baroque styling very seriously and played a wonderful interpretation of the Four Seasons along with Vivaldi’s conerto for two violins, a Mozart Sinfonetta, and as an encore, the first movement of Vivaldi’s concerto for 4 violins in B-minor which I played at Csehy after my senior year of high school. The whole concert was aural bliss as I followed every single interpretation to the tee in order to better understand how Baroque phrasing and ornamentation work.

After the concert I walked back to the hostel and the guys were getting ready to go downstairs to the bar to pre-game before going to the club. I said I would join them, but I didn’t want to drink that much. Fortunately, because we had all eaten so much, the 20 Jager Bombs we ordered hardly did a thing. Well, at least for me it hardly did a thing. They were my first Jager Bombs and I had three in about 2 minutes. Maybe not the best idea, but honestly I was fine. Afterwards we had a couple more beers before we went out to see what clubs we could find. They had heard about a club called U4 so we went to check that one out first. As it turned out, it was a hard rock/gothic club and not worth walking into. (Unfortunately we all had to pay 8 euros to discover this.) After about half an hour or so and seeing more tattoos and piercings than I have ever seen in my entire life, we left to find a better club with some techno what they refer to here as Hausmusik.

Because it was so late we couldn’t take the subway any longer which required calling a taxi. We went to Karlsplatz, near the Karlskirche and after asking some people found our way to a club called Passage that looked like it was the entrance to a subway station. After paying the ridiculous thirteen euro entrance fee we walked into the nicest club I have ever seen. This was definitely like something out of LA where I could imagine celebrities hanging out, with the exception that there weren’t really private areas. But the music system playing was amazing. The sound was huge and when you can feel the bass pumping through your whole body at all times throughout the night, you know the system they are using is good.

We ended up being at this club for almost 4 hours. During that time, I had one more drink, simply because you can’t go to a club and not have a drink, you just look strange and then we danced for a while. The guys I was with seemed to have some issues where they came with money, spent all of it, and then three of them left to go back to the hostel to get more and come back. I stayed with the other two and kept dancing and having a good time. The people in this club, however, were ridiculous. In comparison to American clubs where everyone just grinds on top of each other, in Europe they actually dance. Although I prefer this, after last night, I am not sure that I do. There were quite a few interesting characters as there always are in clubs. To list a few, the male bartender that kept hitting on one of the guys I was with, the very strange 45 year old man dancing like a strange 45 year old man around us for about an hour not really sure what he was doing, but I am pretty sure he felt cool for being at a club at 3am on a Friday night. Then there were the two women who reminded me of Stifler’s mom from American Pie and Idina Menzel who kept eying me and wanting me to dance with them, to which I simply walked away and sat down or went outside. Then there was the blonde girl who was teasing about five different guys at the same time all while just standing in the middle of the dance floor with a drink, and then the countless number of people dancing with dance moves that should be banned throughout the world for being so bad. But as people loosen up, the moves come out, and we all must bear with seeing them embarrassing themselves for the rest of the night. I taught one of the guys the awkward turtle and throughout the night it became our joke because he figured out what it meant very quickly.

We finally left, I thought to go home, as it turned out we were simply going to find another bar to have a drink at another bar that one of the guys had thought would be open until 6. Turns out it was closed, and so we just came back to the hostel. However, along the way we passed about twenty different hookers all standing on the street corners. I was shocked to see how many there were quite obviously looking for business and that the cops didn’t do anything about it. I am not sure about the law in Vienna, but I thought prostitution was illegal. But honestly, I am not surprised because cops in cities like these are always corrupt and will take a bribe. One or two of these women tried to talk to me and proposition me just as I was walking which I think I can safely say was the most uncomfortable thing that has ever happened to me.

Last night was probably one of the most bizarre nights of my life, but still a lot of fun. Not being drunk definitely made it better though, and it was worth going and I am glad that I went with the guys. If anything, it is yet another night to add into the annuls of the Ben Newman storybook.