Friday, December 23, 2005

Letters From Travels: Back in New Mexico

Hey everybody, Ez and I came back a couple days ago. I just moved too. It's a bit colder here than Central America. I think I'm going to start an organization dedicated to increase global warming. I think we could all save a lot of money on gas bills that way. Let me know if you want to join and I'll mail you a complimentary aerosol can.

El Pocket Lint

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Letters From Travels: Book Exchange Drama

Still in Granada, Nicaragua. It's not as super sweet as San Juan del Sur was. I'm staying in a place that is super gringoed out. It's killing me, although free internet is nice for once.

They have a pretty cool book exchange here that I was pretty excited about. I traded one book in the other day, and it went fine. And then I tried again and apparently violated the sacred book exchange laws, and went through hell to get a sub optimal (at best) book.

I tried to trade a modern book called Cheese Monkeys for the Brothers Karamazov but it got rejected (all the trades have to approved by the owners). So I tried with a couple of other books. No dice. Finally I saw one of the owners, the wife of the couple, talking to a couple of irrate would-have-been customers. Trying to be tactful I waited politely, and then asked her if I could steal a minute of her time even though she seemed like she might be stressed by other things.

"I'm not stressed" she interrupted me. Oh goody, we're arguing already. So I asked her why my trades were being shot down, and she explained to me that I was picking out "classics" and in or to get a classic I had to give her one. Which seemed dumb enough for me then but I decided to go ahead and take it with a grain of salt. So I picked out 4 or 5 more which the book nazi shot down immediately.

Apparently a LOT of books are classics. Finally I got a book that a fellow traveler had recommended. The woman had never heard of it so she of course did what was right and told me that I couldn't take it. Now what was wrong?

Apparently this book was much longer than my book, proving that to some people´s literary standards, longer makes better. At this point I almost choked her.

"Well, a couple days ago I traded you guys a book that was longer than this one, so can I get that book back and THEN trade you for this one?" I asked.

"No, because that trade is done and gone," the she-devil replied.

"So essentially I'm working my way down to a piece of paper." I think it's worth mentioning that while this whole thing took place I never once punched her.

I was really offended that if I had wanted to trade my book, which was pretty good, for say, the Scarlet Letter (i.e. the worst book ever written), I would have been turned down. That's just wrong.

Then after all that I tried to check my email and I had to wait for a computer to free up and I sat and sat and sat and I watched people log into 19 different e-mail accounts and then minimize and then open the browser window like it was the most amazing thing ever and I definitely think that Granada's charm has worn off. Now there's an Alaskan who cannot control the volume of his voice telling a stupid "I was so drunk" story and laughing at himself. HAHAHAHAHAAAAAAA it was SO funny, man I was SO drunk, and dude, I should have told her whats what, but she was SO into me.


El Pocket Lint

Friday, November 25, 2005

Letters From Travels: Thanksgiving

I hope everyone's Thanksgiving went well and no one exploded.

I got my celebrating on down here as well and had a pretty cool holiday. I've been hanging out with a classic example of a Californian hippie chick that I met in Ometepe, and we decided we needed to do something fun for Thanksgiving.

First we annihilated a bottle of rum and an awesome box of mango juice. It was pretty good rum, aged 7 years so you know it's good (I guess Nicaraguan rum is famous). Then we took a pinata of a chicken which we decided to pretend was either a turkey or one of the million roosters that has decided sleep in Central America, and we strung it up in our hotel. After dinner, to commemorate all the indians we (white people) slaughtered, we made a feather out of a napkin to put in the blindfold. Then we commenced beating the snot out of it with an old broom handle. Man, that chicken, turkey, rooster thing was ruing the day. It was a pretty sweet Thanksgiving, ended by stumbling around town for an hour or so. Good Times.

El Pocket Lint

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Letters From Travels: What I'm Thankful For

hi, I left San Juan del Sur, and I made it to Isla de Ometepe, and island in a lake formed by 2 conjoined volcanoes. Pretty cool. I'm gonna climb up one tomorrow, but i can't go to the top because it is too active. I might try the other one in a couple of days.

i've come to the knowledge that thanksgiving is coming up so i thought i'd send you all a list of things that I, personally, am thankful for.

I'm Thankful That...

1. nobody criticizes my inconsistent punctuation (will he finish the parenthesis? you never know...)

2. that spiders don't travel in packs

3. I'm not the turkey, free range though it may be

4. I'm in Nicaragua, suckas

5. I'm a rich American in Nicaragua (suckas)

6. that our government's system of checks and balances works so one party can't efectively control all branches of the government. Oh wait. Don't count that one.

6 (again). that presidents can't serve 3 consecutive terms

7. That Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes are gonna be parents. I'm giddy with excitement (I really wish "sarcastic" was a font type)

8. I'm not one of the Britsh folk that sailed over here and celebrated the first Thanksgiving. Or one of the Indians they slaughtered in the after-desert party games, for that matter.

9. Finally, that the universal law of Karma will destroy France. And hopefully French Canada too.

El Pocket Lint

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Letters From Travels: Still Not Dead

Good news, guerrillas still have not carried me off to hold me for a ransom, tried to cut my hands off, or even robbed, and then viciously beat me. The worst I've dealt with here in Nicaragua was some woman not having enough change to change an American twenty. Ah how I love the 17 to 1 exchange rate.

The locals here are suspiciously nice. I can barely talk to them but I've still been invited surfing (tomorrow hopefully) by one of them, offered a tour to a cool place for a photo op by another, and bought the equivalent of melted otter pops from another (which taste way better than the straight chemical stuff in the States). I included the otter pop thing for T. If you don't know what an otter pop is, well your life is probably an empty void of nothingness spiraling down a black well of insignificance, but nobody's perfect.

My Spanish lessons are going so-so. I think both me and my teacher are sick of them. 4 hours in one sitting is not the way to take a class. Speaking of which, UNM decided that although I have proof of military service, I don't have enough proof of enough military service. The "defending your country for 7 months" line didn't work either. I'm going to try crying next.

For those of you who are wondering when Ez is meeting me, well I wish I knew. He left today, and since he's traveling the way I did, it could be a while (don't tell him, I don't think he knows how ridiculously far it is).

Also, in my down time (oh wait, that's all day) I decided to come up with my own political party. I'll be running for president on it in 2008. Here's a peek at some of my plans: Bush's old "No Child Left Behind" policy will be slightly altered and become the "Dumb Children Left Behind" policy. As for abortion, it will remain legal but under the condition that any woman undergoing the procedure will be required to wear a giant A on her chest for the rest of her life. The color of the A will be standardized, I'm thinking about a shade of red, possibly scarlet. So remember in 2008 - Size Does Matter, vote Pocket Lint.

El Pocket Lint

Tuesday, November 8, 2005

Letters From Travels: El Gringo

I guess I don't have a lot to say. I sit on a beach--in a hammock or in a rocking chair--all day and relax. But I'm sure the rest of you are having an equally good time as I am.


El Pocket Lint

Friday, November 4, 2005

Letters From Travels: On to Nicaragua

I'm in Nicaragua now. at San Juan Del Sur. This is the opposite of Honduras (i.e. NOT the worst place in the world). Here I'm not worried that someone is going to try to kill me with a banana.

I'm going to take some Spanish lessons here and spend the next couple of weeks until Ez comes down. Maybe I'll go check out the turtles. Olive Ridley Turtles nest here during these months. I thought it would be fun to find one turtle and keep pushing her back into the ocean so she couldn't lay her eggs on the beach. It would be fun and educational.

Central American fun fact: Years ago, an American named William Walker invaded Central America. He tried to take over the whole place and failed. Then Nicaragua invited him in to help with a coup, in which he succeded, eventually declaring himself president. Then he tried to take over all of Central America again, got his ass handed to him, and had the US Navy take him in. Then he tried AGAIN to invade Honduras with like 25 supporters, was caught by the Navy again and deported. And then he tried AGAIN, which is past the point of ridiculous, was caught by the British I think, turned over to the Honduran government, and shot.

I think we can all learn a valuable lesson from that story. Invade Nicaragua, not Honduras.

El Pocket Lint

Wednesday, November 2, 2005

Letters From Travels: Uhg, Sick

I finally left Belize after spending a couple of days in the dark, lying on my back, trying to sleep 22 hours a day. I got a pretty bad cold there and wasn't having the greatest time.

I'm in Honduras now and if first impressions are worth anything this is where bad people go when they die. I'm not a huge fan. I'm currently in the capital, Tegucigalpa. My favorite part is that the taxis will just honk at you to get your attention, like you can't see them. And every car is a taxi. So basically all the cars in the city just circle around you and honk. Then some dude told me, on no accounts, to leave my hotel after 7. He seemed to be implying that I would explode if I did, and I don't want to explode.

I'm leaving tomorrow. I can't deal with this. I'm off to Nicaragua, where I hope to be able to tell the difference between the guys that want to help me find my hotel and the guys that want to gnaw on my soul for the rest of eternity.

There's one guy looking at me right now like I owe him money. Oh wait, that's the internet guy. I DO owe him money. I should go.

Still alive though. Thirteen days and counting baby!

El Pocket Lint

Friday, October 28, 2005

Letters From Travels: Paradise

Hey hey. I made it to Placencia in Belize. Its a small beach town of like 500 people. It's really, really, really, really, really cool. There's jungle everywhere and clean sandy beaches on the ocean. And it's nice being in a place that primarily speaks English again. I think I'll be here for a few days, possibly forever.

I'd like to say I miss home and all that, but then I look outside. I'm not sure I'll ever come back. I wonder if this country would extradite me if I blew off the rest of my military contract and stayed here. Only one way to find out.

And the best part about this place is if you plan right you can hit 5 happy hours at 4 different bars! How sweet is that?

El Pocket Lint

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Letters From Travels: I think I just ate a Pequeno

Welcome back to the wacky traveling emails of el pocket lint.

I think I told some of you I was going to Merida and a few of you I was going to Acapulco. Man, I got you good! I'M IN PELENQUE and i think the shift button just broke. oH, THERE IT GOES. DAMN IT. ah, better. Apparently this place is a total rip off. I can't believe a room costs 15 us dollars. It's ridiculous. So off I go to Belize instead. I hope to end up in Nicaragua soon. I hear there's a special on drive-by shootings there. I don't know if I'll get out there though because my planning seems to work about as well as communism did.

I saw some pyramids in Mexico City. They certainly were big. I would be so annoyed being on of the slaves that built it. "Well it doesn't really do anything, but it looks nice. Aren't you glad you spent your entire natural life carrying back-breaking amounts of stone now? How rewarding!"

Now future generations can look back on the incredible achiements of those people and say "Yeah, I guess it's cool. If you like big piles of rock"

El Pocket Lint

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Letters From Travels: Hola

You will all notice by the title that my endeavors to learn Spanish are succeeding with flying colors. I now know 5 words. I'm not sure what 2 of them mean though. In case you're out of the loop, I'm in Mexico City now, and will hopefully be heading towards Central America at some point. Basically I felt that I really needed to experience some countries that are hot, poor and have a long history of armed struggle and insurgent revolts. Wait...

Anyway, the 42 combined hours of bus travel was pretty sweet. I'll give it to them, the Mexicans have really got the whole bus thing down. They beat the hell out of the Greyhounds I was on in the States.

I'm staying in a hostel in the middle of downtown. I think. I'm pretty sure there are like a billion downtowns here. I walked through Mexico City's version of a Walmart Supercenter earlier, which is where everybody with absolutely anything to sell goes out on the side walk and screams. I'm not sure but I think one guy was tring to sell his grandmother. She was way overpriced.

So, I havent been stabbed yet, which is kinda disappointing because I feel it really is something that I should experience before I leave, you know, as a cultural thing.

El Pocket Lint

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Letters From Iraq: Hi-O

Hello. I hope this'll be the last time I send out an email from Iraq. The regiments are starting to change over and there's about fifty billion people here trying to use the internet. That, and I have to walk farther to get here now because we moved and I'm so incredibly lazy that it hurts sometimes. So I'll be back in California in a week or so. Does anybody know where I can exchange 130,000 Iraqi dinars for real money? You people probably think I'm kidding, don't you.

We don't do anything except sit around and sunbath now. Which, by the way, I can live with.

We also had a don't-go-crazy-and-kill-people-when-you-get-home class too. I guess you're all safe... for now. Hahahahahahaaaa. It also occurs to me that people may not think that's as funny as I do. I blame society. And the media. And Nader.

I guess that's enough out of me.

El Pocket Lint

Sunday, August 7, 2005

Letters From Iraq: Just Letting You Know...

Hey everypersons. If you've been watching the news you probably have too much time and should get a hobby. You also probably know that several Marines died out in the western part of Iraq, near Haditha. That is out by where I am but I wasn't involved in the incidents. A couple of my friends were though. We've been doing raids to catch those responsible. We may have gotten a couple of them. We'll have to see.

I'm safe, and Haditha's getting pretty hammered by our guys so that's cool too. Other than that we're almost out of here. Should be a matter of a couple missions left. The flydate still looks like late August. I guess that's it.

El Pocket Lint

Saturday, July 30, 2005

Letters From Iraq: Good Times & Bad

Hello, I'm still good. We're almost done out here. I'm getting pretty sick of Iraq. Happily we're running out of targets because we've captured most of them. We're happy about it. Unfortunately it gives our higher ups more down time to screw with us so that makes us unhappy.

Gotta go.

El Pocket Lint

Monday, July 18, 2005

Letters From Iraq: Hotness

Hello. I'm still in Iraq. It's still getting hotter. I think I saw someone melting yesterday. We did a mission during the day a week or two ago. It was well above 100 degrees, how much I don't really know. This week the high is 117-118 degrees every day.

All I want to say about that is I'm pretty thankful that we have regular infantry to work all day so we can do operations at night.

The place were we did our mission was a pretty friendly town. People kept offering me drinks and food. Also Iraqi kids are pretty adorable, it's just unfortunate that they have to grow up.

I guess that's the extent of what's going on out here. I should be back in a couple of months. I've been seeing a lot of Army on this base, I think they might be taking it over. Maybe they'll fall back into their role as an occupying force like they're supposed to and let the Marines go home. We'll see.

El Pocket Lint

Friday, July 1, 2005

Letters From Iraq: ECHO! Echo! echo.

Hi everyone! How's stuff going? I'm super in case any of you were wondering. I just got off a long work day where we spent over 2 hours having a "hold the live artillery shell in the air the longest contest." It was pretty exciting.

We also have a pool here. This is actually true, despite all the lies I've told you all before. Hundreds of thousands of Iraqis don't have showers but I get to go swimming every day. I blame society. And the media. And Nader.

Looks like 2 supreme court justices are out. I bet a certain uncle and aunt in the family are doing their "happy dance" right about now. Politics kills me. People argue with each other like they are going to change each other's minds.

"Can't you see Bush is about as intelligent as a Chia pet and Donald Rumsfield actually has admitted to eating helpless kittens?"

"Oh I see your point Jim, I think I'll vote Kerry this time around."

Then when someone's party loses everyone says how ignorant Americans are that they
voted for this guy and how he shouldn't really have won. You're right (and pay close attention to this because it's "sarcasm") those thousands upon thousands of people that voted differently from you are all complete morons, and you're a genius. Did you all know that 60 percent of Americans think they are "above average" intelligence? That means 10 percent are wrong. Wrong wrong wrong.

I think my point is that politics is just a funny movie and shouldn't be viewed as anything more seriously than a penguin wearing a sombrero. Then again, this is coming from the same brain that decided joining the Marines sounded like fun.

Obviously I had a lot of time today.

El Pocket Lint

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Letters From Iraq: Advice on Vacationing


I'm super tired today because the air conditioning in my room went out and I couldn't sleep all day. On top of that my roommate who apparently "isn't much of a sleeper" decided walking around for hours and eating super crunchy cereal was a terrific idea.

Anyway, someone asked me, since I've been here for 5 months, are there any parts of Iraq to avoid while on vacation? That's easy. All of it. Even if everything calms down and one wanted to see the hundreds of cultural sites here, I would really discourage it. I mean, who really needs to see a country who's major exports and sand, dirt, and sandy dirt?

Later then,

El Pocket Lint

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Letters From Iraq: Hi Again


I'm doing good still. A little hungry right now. Should have taken a sandwich for later. Definitely regreting it. I swear I spend half my life sitting in front of computer screen either waiting for something to load or trying to figure out what I'm going to make up to tell people back home about.

Iraq is getting nice this time of year. That bush I was talking about a long time ago, the only one here, I think it spontaneously erupted in flame today. If Iraq had as many butterflies and rainbows as it does acres of dirt and clouds of dust everything would be jolly. Clearly Allah is just
lazier than the other gods. I can just see him sitting on his cloud watching the Sopranos instead of producing some rain or a little grass. Bastard.

Anyway. Hi again.

El Pocket Lint

Friday, June 10, 2005

Letters From Iraq: I Wish I Was a Fish

Wow, another exciting week in the middle east. Ummm.... I ate a sandwich a little while ago. It was delicious. Let's see. I saw an intersting bird a couple of days ago. Now, I don't want to say there's nothing going on here but man, that bird was craaaa-zy.

So. I've been following the Michael Jackson trial. I think I'm one of about, I don't know, five people that is. As long as he gets even a couple of days in prison he's done for. It'll be hilarious. Actually, I take that back, I'm sure the pasty white effeminate popstar (who's supposed to be
black isn't he?) will do fine in prison with rapists and murderers. Like I said, hilarious.

Apparently we're invading China, Korea, Iran, Syria and being pushed to interfere more directly (I prefer the word meddle) in Africa. That's ok though, we've got plenty of troops for all those campains, right? We don't? Well call up the reserves then, that's what they're there for. We have? Oh, well, then call up people who's contracts have already expired. They're probably not busy. We've done that too? Hey guys, who's thinking what I'm thinking? If it starts with a "D" and ends with "raft all military-aged citizens of either gender" you're probably right!

Anyway, just something to think about (namely those of you who are ages 18-35, and for the most part not the President's family).

Que Viva Iraq,

El Pocket Lint

Monday, May 30, 2005

Letters From Iraq: Subject Line?

Hello. Welcome back to the next installment of Pocket Lint: Portrait of a guy stuck in the Middle East.

We finally got a day off. I looked up the word pneumatic, but I still don't know what it means. That's all I accomplished in the last 15 hours. Don't worry though, I get paid less than minimum wage.

I was sick for a couple days. Apparently when they said "Don't drink the water" they didn't mean "If you run out of bottled water feel free to drink the tap water instead of walking 100 yards to get another bottle." I don't know why they didn't make that clearer.

Anyone who thinks that all of Iraq is an empty wastleland is actually quite incorrect. Yesterday I think I actually saw a tree. It might have been a destroyed car, I couldn't really tell, the 2 miles of dirt in between me and it obscured it a little.

Anyway, bye.

El Pocket Lint

Friday, May 27, 2005

Letters From Iraq: Yo

Hey hey! We've been pretty busy out here lately. Rolled up some bad guys throughout the month and hopefully made a difference. Kind of beat right now though. I'd love a day off. Maybe if all of you people stop paying your taxes they couldn't send us out. Seems like a solid enough plan.

So same old same old. Still in the same area. Westernish Iraq. Hope to invade Iran, Syria and Korea soon. One step at a time I guess.

El Pocket Lint

Monday, May 16, 2005

Letters From Iraq: On the List

Hello, It's been awhile since I wrote to people. I added a few of you to my list because I finally got your addresses.

If you watch the news I'm sure you've heard a lot about Operation Matador. I can't really say too much about it but I wasn't directly involved, so don't worry. We've been doing well here, staying busy and stuff but I can't talk about it. So basically to recap, I know a bunch that you guys don't,
but the only thing I can tell you is that I can't tell you anything. Man, these emails must get more and more fascinating. I really have a very short amount of time right now so I didn't respond to anyones personal emails. I hope you understand. Yeah, especially you... you know who I'm talking to. You'll rue the day.

Anyway, hi to everyone and don't forget the old saying... Oh wait I can't tell you that either.

El Pocket Lint