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  • hardie karges 2:20 pm on January 6, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Air BnB, hostel, hypertravel   

    Sharing Economies, Kiln-fired Vanities and the Sound of One Drain Snaking… 

    IMG_0339Backstory: I’m on the verge of a nervous breakdown, Hombre al Borde de un Ataque de Nervios, soon to be a major motion picture and coming to a theatre near you. As a latter-day participant in the Air BnB so-called ‘sharing economy’, I’m at my wit’s end. People will say and do anything to spend a night in my superzonafragilistic turn-of-last-century digs at the Old (Mexican, ssshhh!) Boarding House and Hypertravel Hostel in Tucson… then when they get here, they proceed to get drunk and trash the place (fortunately that’s ‘trash’ as in trash, not destroy)…

    It’s like: not only do they want to sleep, and be content to snuggle up in those big fluffy pillows, but they want to f*ck, too, and multiple times with multiple payback options.  The problem is that this place has not been f*ck-proofed (that’s a technical term), and so retains many of the beauty marks and much of the fragile charm that attracted me to it in the first place.  Sex should be reserved for your spouse, not the house–that’s my motto. (More …)

     
    • kc 8:48 pm on January 6, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      ha ha, this is right on time for us, thank you, as our old pipes are clogged as well. we’ve been snaking and snaking and snaking some more, to no avail. tomorrow we will try the good old plunger and see if we hear that very satisfying suck of which you speak. Actually, we’re pretty lucky, as it’s just the dishwasher that is not draining, so far. who knows what tomorrow will bring. In a 120 year old house, there is very little way of knowing just what has gone down the drains before you acquired ownership. peace to you. Kiss Tang.

    • hardie karges 8:11 am on January 7, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Definitely worth taking the big plunge first…

  • hardie karges 4:47 pm on June 4, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Argo, Ben Affleck, , hypertravel   

    Argo, the Movie: What’s My Line? 

    #Argo #Affleck Finally saw Argo, most of it anyway. They stole my line! Cranston’s line “Standing there in the airport with his d*ck in his hand…” that’s mine! In reference to credit card companies leaving you stranded. Surely it predates this 2012 film, I think. I can prove it, I think. Where’s my lawyer? I smell blood. Huh? Affleck knows Boston mafia? Hehe. Let’s be gentlemen. I’d probably settle for a couple free tix and a blurb for my book. Where’s my waiter? Can’t wait to see the rest of the movie. That’s a duck in his hand, BTW, great for playing in the tub. Quack, quack, Aflac!

     
  • hardie karges 8:09 pm on January 19, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Dao, , , hypertravel, Sapa,   

    Hot Date Pho Ya’ 

    Red-Dao-PeopleHot dates and hot steamy—but ultimately limp—noodles are two concepts that don’t always go well together, but they defined a pleasant event in my life some twenty-odd years ago. You see, I wasn’t exactly the first guy off the starting-block in the dating game way back when way back where. That’s because women scared me to death, everything they were and everything they represented, mostly ‘otherness’ written in large letters and emblazoned across the sky by out-of-work crop-dusters looking to make an extra buck in the off-season.

    But then when I realized that their ‘otherness’ was not defined by their femaleness, or vice-versa, and that for the most part females were people almost just like you and me, then that opened up a whole new world of possibilities, and suddenly life became easier and less scary, too. I’d just have to find my otherness in other ways, I guess. Itinero ergo sum. I travel, therefore I am.

    So I decided to put all my fancy theories to the test back in 1995 (or was it 1996?), during a visit to Sapa near the Chinese border in northern Vietnam. For those of you who’ve never been, it’s a lovely hill town probably best known for its spectacular Black H’mong and Red Dzao hill-tribes. The H’mong are known, among other things, for their hand-spun handwoven indigo-dyed hemp fabric, while the Red Dzao are probably best known for their embroideries… and ‘love market’.

    It’s true. The night before the weekly market, the women hang out and hook up with guys, presumably from other villages. That keeps the species healthy, hybrid vigor and all. They even sing to each other, no accompaniment necessary. But the unique twist is that married women get in on the act, too, especially the ones whose hubbies are back home, and probably too stoned from opium to care much about their wives’ needs at the end of the day.

    Yes, I was propositioned, and more than once. But no, I did not go gently off into the bushes of that good night, nor was I especially interested in applying for any of their apparently frequent openings and positions. These weren’t the young filles of the tribe, after all. The girl I was interested in was less then twenty years old, and less than half my age at the time.

    My friend’s head was half-shaved, like all of them, and she was cute, dressed in full tribal regalia, something similar to what the British redcoats wore during the American revolutionary war. It’s striking. We hung out, communicating in Tieng Viet as best we could. How good is the average Thai bar-girl’s English, after all?

    So I asked her to go eat pho with me, Vietnam’s famous noodle soup (pronounced ‘fuh’, with a falling tone, unless you’re in Laos, in which the tone is rising; go figure). To my surprise, she accepted. Well that caused a stir in town, you can be sure. Vietnamese tourists from the cities, who normally only take pictures of each other, were now taking pictures of us.

    I think there was even one real journalist in the crowd, poking his lens up almost in our faces. The surprising thing is that my friend never flinched, out of fear of me or any of the attention, this in a modern world which scares many traditional tribal people to death. We took long walks. I showed her where I was staying. Finally I told her I’d go visit Ta Phin, the village where she and all the local Red Dzaos live.

    So that’s what I did. But I didn’t find her there. Hill-tribes lack much in city planning. They had running water, though, carried in slit bamboo tubes. I left town without seeing her again. When I came back six months later on my biannual trip, I saw her again, hanging out with the group, as they made their rounds selling crafts to the tourists. Did I mention that I used to deal in crafts and folk art?

    She said that she was getting married; I’ve read this script. I congratulated her. I told her I went to visit her village previously, but didn’t find her. She said she didn’t know. That’s okay. It would have never worked out for us anyway. The damp cloud-like climate turned all by papers to mush. And when Internet finally came it would have been too unreliable. I can see that now. Maybe I should go make sure…

     
  • hardie karges 3:58 am on December 25, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , hypertravel   

    About a minute from now, the clock will simultaneously turn 00:00 Dec. 25 in Pago Pago, American Samoa and 00:00 Dec. 26 in Apia, (West) Samoa and for one fleeting instant it will be Christmas Day all over the world. So seems like a good time to say Merry Christmas! Joyeux Noel! Feliz Navidad! Errymay ristmaskay! (etc.) and a good time to renew a commitment to peace, love and understanding… sleep in heavenly peace, wake up to a whole new world…

     
  • hardie karges 12:44 pm on August 21, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , hypertravel   

    In Defense of White Anglo-Saxon American Protestant Women (and the Continuing Search for the Difference Gene) 

    A few days ago, while doing my weekly power walk down Sunset Blvd in search of ground provisions and other forms of sustenance, there in front of the 99c store loomed ahead of me a young lady hogging the center lane, and sauntering a bit wobbly.  I was unable to determine her exact trajectory so stayed right behind her until the last moment, when I suddenly swerved left to attempt to overtake on the inside lane, at which time she swung wide to let me pass, while simultaneously giving me a long once-over—which I apparently passed—then flashed me a big sh*t-faced grin and a big two-fingered peace sign (one finger bad, two fingers good; got it).  Well, I don’t get that every day, so bounced the big smile back, but keeping all my fingers right where they were, afraid of a catastrophic miscount.

    Then I started thinking: what just happened?  I’ve been grinned up and chatted up more in the last thirty days than the last thirty years put together.  What does it mean?  Am I radiating something?  Do spray-tans really work?  (After a near-eviction, I’ve been swimming for exercise instead of my usual rowdy calisthenics, hence the seasonal rosy glow).  I’ve narrowed it down to a few possibilities: 1) I slipped into a space-time discontinuity, and am now reporting to you from a parallel universe called Zandorf; or 2) the young lady not only approved of my increasing beardliness, but assumed it represented something larger, and more of the hippie sort than the Islamic; or 3) she was an out-of-stater, looking for a little tea and sympathy, and perhaps something stronger; or 4) all of the above; or 5) none of the above. (More …)

     
    • Sven 9:06 am on September 28, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      Hi Hardie, I just started reading your stuff/blog…

      I have a friend making a blog that I have been following for years.
      http://mobithailand.com/

      It might not be that interesting his last blogs but check his “Creative writing” in the right hand side! Very good stories! Especially th e one about his life!
      Good guy, going through a lot.

      I will start checking your blog now!

      Sven

  • hardie karges 11:25 am on August 6, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , hypertravel, ,   

    Future of the Internet: It’s Chinatown, Jake… 

    And I’m not talking about the mock-up tourist-trap Chinatowns of a thousand modern Western cities, graced by a red-tile roof in up-turned smile and filled with Mom-and-Pop trinket shops specializing in red lanterns and fat-bellied Buddhas and calligraphy that says whatever you want.  Nor am I talking about the Chinatown of the Polanski film/Towne script/Nicholson fame depicting 30’s LA, though that comes closer.

    No, I’m talking about the Chinatown of a thousand forgotten real Asian neighborhoods where street signs compete for sight-lines and taxi-girls hustle for ten-dollar fares and old market ladies who haven’t seen sunlight in years huddle in dark dingy stalls, their only sensory stimulation the olfactory interplay between pungent chilies pricking and bathroom odors wafting, may the strongest smell win…  The market always wins. (More …)

     
  • hardie karges 1:07 pm on March 28, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , flashpackers, , hypertravel, sequestration   

    How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Seques… Sequestra… Sequestering 

    Someone once said, “Politics loves a vacuum. It sucks.” I heartily and hardily agree. I swore I’d give up any interest in politics after Obama got elected, the triumph over racism and “the politics of stupid” (B. Jindal) more important than any specific details of policy. A law is only as good as the interpretation of it and the ability to enforce it anyway. The politics of the last four years have certainly brought out the worst of the US, but that’s not Obama’s fault. He’s done what’s needed, for the most part. It’s not his fault that half the country is racist. Blaming him for racism is like blaming doctors for AIDS. Republicans have no monopoly on that aspect of the human condition, though, and Americans are hardly the worst of the lot, anyway, and possibly the best, a country without any racial diversity hardly in a position to judge, and some European states otherwise the most liberal of the lot, suddenly quite intolerant when skin color is the issue.

    Misogyny and homophobia are other ‘hate’ issues and must be fought to the death, the suppression of females my only beef (no pork) with Islam, in fact, which otherwise stands head and shoulders with the best of the world’s religions, maybe even better in that it has aspects of them all and doesn’t insult scientific knowledge by reducing its figureheads to figureheads. Human images for worship are prohibited by Islamic law, and anthropomorphic images of an Islamic God do not exist. Maybe they help provide focus for prayer, but then people carry the premise to its logical conclusion that God must be a person, yeah right. Islamic fundamentalists are hideous, certainly, but then so are Christian and Jewish fundamentalists, also. And they all have the same God! Yes they do, Mr. Baptist, monotheistic Religions 101. (More …)

     
  • hardie karges 11:11 am on January 30, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , hypertravel,   

    INSOMNIA, POETIC LICENSE, & MAO’S LITTLE NOT-SO-RED CABIN IN THE MISSISSIPPI WOODS 

    Image

    I haven’t had a really good night’s sleep in thirty years, or thereabouts anyway, not since my last paid job as a carpenter, back in my seminal youth (accent on my little seamen, with their voyages of discovery), and defined by the sweet smells of patchouli, herbal essence, and decay, honeysuckle and slowly rotting newsprint, antique pickup trucks and low technology, the lower the better in fact, living in five-quarter-inch plank-wood cabin, rough-cut and left un-planed in makeshift sawmills, and toted by the truckload to the lower forty acres of uncut forest, lain fallow by then for at least two generations while the world went on without it, until I saw value where others saw only clear-cut profit, like my father before me, and so proceeded to put permanent erections in temporary top soils, me and quarter-sawed antique heartwood and wood-burning stoves and kerosene lamps and nature-lust and heartache, back when Coors was currency and non-conformity was criminal and planets were small and getting smaller every day.

      (More …)

     
  • hardie karges 10:35 am on January 18, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , hypertravel, prostate cancer   

    PROSTATES & POLITICS… and 2012 in the rear-view mirror… 

    ImageDec. 29, 2011, approximately 4:30 p.m:

     “You tested positive for prostate cancer.”

                I tried to remember the old Seinfeld episode, but couldn’t remember the ending, so I was still positive (pun).  “That means I don’t have it, right?”

                The doctor smiles thinly.  “Next we’ll need to do a bone scan to see the extent of spread.  After that you can meet with the oncologist…”

                The words gradually sank in.  “Wait a minute; you mean I’ve got cancer (heavy on the reverb)?”

    The doctor nodded, then continued talking, but I was no longer listening.

    The say at the moment of your impending death your life will pass before your eyes, presumably in fast-motion if you’ve done very much, though anybody who’s ever used an old-fashioned crank-up 16mm film camera knows it’s just the opposite: to play back fast, you shoot slow, and vice versa. Think about it.  But I didn’t see any flashbacks, either fast or slow. All I saw were dollar signs, flashing before my eyes and out the window.  My life itself was like a frame of old-fashioned film stuck in an old-fashioned projector gate, starting to burn and tear, starting to smell to all Hell.  I’d just been told that I’m dying, the dreaded ‘C’ word.  But wait a minute.  Aren’t we all dying?  It’s just a question of when, and how… (More …)

     
    • kc 12:54 pm on January 18, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      not too funny. you are lucky as can be. surprised they did’nt laproscropically do that thing. i do hope you made it through your treatments ok. do you have a clean bill of health? Can’t wait to get my book then get packing….

      • hardie karges 1:23 pm on January 18, 2013 Permalink | Reply

        Actually, “lucky” is not the first adjective that came to mind…

    • kc 12:55 pm on January 18, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      you are brave and i am happy for you

    • hardie karges 1:25 pm on January 18, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      “Brave” is not the first adjective that came to mind, either… so far, so good, will know more in a couple weeks…

    • ANNE KARGES 3:24 pm on January 18, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      glad you are still around to give me something new to read. come home sometime.

      • hardie karges 3:37 pm on January 18, 2013 Permalink | Reply

        When is Millsaps homecoming 2013?

  • hardie karges 5:33 pm on December 31, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , hypertravel, ,   

    สวัสดีปีใหม่ Happy New Year! To reflect is humane, to shine is divine… 

    Ten years ago—to the day—I was lying in a bed somewhere in northern Thailand, attached to it in fact, in a sort of makeshift traction best accomplished with metal frames and waterproof members, making up in utility what it lacked in esthetics. Ironically it’s the same bed my wife’s grandmother had just died in, the same one I’d seen her in for the year-and-a-half of my marriage, she lying there comatose, oblivious, waiting to die, I can’t remember why, though it didn’t seem to bother anyone too much, being a natural phase I guess, relatives coming in to check periodically, sometimes even cracking jokes above her head, like swatting flies mid-air that couldn’t even be seen by the one victimized, she reduced to rubble, ashes to ashes and dust to dust no more than a scarce few weeks before. So what was I now doing in that same bed, just indulging in a little macabre fun? I wished. Here’s what happened. (More …)

     
    • kc 8:29 pm on December 31, 2012 Permalink | Reply

      well told tale my writer friend

    • hardie karges 1:28 pm on January 18, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      thank you

    • kc 4:25 pm on August 24, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      well a happy new year to you, now at the middle of the year. yes, losing consciousness for however long is like dying a little bit. maybe dying for a short while but dying just the same is that time you spend blacked out.

      • hardie karges 9:11 am on August 25, 2013 Permalink | Reply

        There are some Islamic references to each night being a “little death.” If that’s the case, then what is dreaming?

    • kc 11:49 am on August 25, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      dreaming is simply a rehash of our real life and days we spend in it. i think that little death was used as an analogy to orgasm and shooting heroin

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