All posts by philip

Jeju Airport crossing guard

The first time I heard this woman addressing the crowd I was completely smitten. I could stand and watch and listen to her for hours. Meow meow, meow meow meow.

The lady is wearing a wireless headset mic. The speakers are way up on concrete pillars under the eaves of the building and the strange reverberant qualities make her voice less intelligible but more musical. She has this detached, robotic, melodic voice that sounds a lot like an analogue synthesizer. It’s scary how perfect it is.

Sidewalk lilies

I ate butter chicken at an Indian restaurant called Raj Mahal. Then we stood in the doorway and watched the rain. Just a little taste of the Asian rainy season, which is going to keep us good and damp for the next month or so.

A woman at the sunglasses store put her lilies out on the sidewalk to get them a little drunk. I decided to make an art video.

Island Stone lazer party

We crashed a foreigner birthday party at Island Stone downtown in City Hall. I was thinking “Not bad for a Friday night… but what this place really needs is some lazers.” When all of a sudden… PEW PEW PEW. And fire-breathing too. That’s how we party on Jeju Island.

A drunk blonde came up to me and said “What’s your name.”

“Philip,” I said.

“Philip,” she said. “Philip. How about Phil. Is it all right if I call you Phil?”


“Phil…or how about… Peter? …Phil, Peter or Eric. Which of those names do you want me to call you?”


And that was the end of that conversation.

Cultural Street fountain

I got a new pocket videocamera and took a stroll down Jeju Cultural Street looking for something to point it at. I don’t know street names in Jeju and usually I just make up my own, but Jeju Cultural Street is the actual name for the pedestrian strip in Sinjeju and I know this because it has a sign at the top in both Korean and English.

That ajosshi who sat down beside me and tried to light a cigarette was still there 20 minutes later when I walked by again, slumped over but not quite unconscious. I did see my share of conked-out Korean dudes on the street on my way home though. Including one guy who was parked beside the sidewalk passed out at the wheel of his car with the engine running.

Watch this video all the way through to get to the dirty parts.

frank talk about mars.

During our trip to the States I went looking for a Mars Bar. But apparently they don’t have those in the US. I thought, that’s fine, I’ll just get a treat that I can’t get at home. So I picked out a chocolate bar called a “Milky Way.” Turns out a Milky Way is pretty much exactly the same as a Mars Bar. I was impressed. I almost kept the wrapper. But then I threw it away. Anyway, that’s how delicious this chocolate bar was, that it almost had me convinced a piece of garbage was something precious.

That’s what life on Earth is mostly like.

mars bar

You might have noticed I have a thing for Mars. I was born on Earth but I know that deep down inside I have the soul of a Martian. I have a constant restless feeling here. Like, no matter where I go on Earth I never ever feel at home. I am indifferent about travel because it doesn’t really matter to me where I am. No matter where I go, I’m still on Earth.

Sometimes when I’m walking through the grocery store I freeze in one place with this weird paralysis and I can’t move and my legs start shaking and it feels like my bones are trying to burst right through my skin. I recognize this sensation as a primal urge to leave behind this earthly body and reclaim my ancient physical form as a Martian.

Someday I will return. I can’t wait.

I know where Amelia Earhart went. She went to Mars. I am building a time machine, a portal through the continuum, and I will follow her there very soon.

The moon is no sanctuary for me as the lunar surface has already been sullied by the footprints of Earthlings.

You might think I would also be offended by the presence of the little Mars Rover on my home planet, but no. When I return to the red soil I will greet this robot explorer warmly and I will fall on my knees and embrace him like a long lost little brother.

The atmosphere of Mars is 95% carbon dioxide so when I arrive I will be asphyxiated almost immediately. But those will be the happiest seconds of my life.

mars planet

“Here it is! I can’t believe we’ve finally finished it. The gateway to the portal of infinity.”
“‘Gateway to the portal of infinity.’ Hmm. Yeah. Anyway, pretty sweet.”
“Aren’t you excited? This is an epic moment! We are about to step forth into history.”
“Oh yeah, I’m just saying, we might want to pick another name, is all.”
“What’s the matter? Are you nervous? Relax, man. We’ve tested everything. Nothing’s going to go wrong.”
“Ok, I’m fine, it’s just that… ‘gateway’ to the ‘portal,’ it’s just kind of redundant.”
“It’s one small step for humanity, and one giant leap two billion years in the past for a couple of dudes, is what it is. All the way to ancient Mars. Man, this is gonna be so awesome.”
“Also, technically speaking, two billion years isn’t really ‘infinity’ per se.”
“I like the name. Before we leave maybe we should put a sign beside the doorway that says ‘Gateway to the portal of infinity.’ So the janitor doesn’t walk through by mistake. Or should we just get a plaque? A plaque would be pretty rad.”
“So in other words… this here is the doorway to the gateway to the portal of infinity.”
“You better put on your helmet.”

In conclusion, listen to my all-time favourite track.
Fake Blood – Mars

sam, the american bird.

American bathrooms should have signs over the urinals that read “Please put your bird away before texting.”

Except I didn’t watch my buddies die face down in the muck so some sign could tell me to put my bird away while using my iPhone. I’m going to stand right here in a McDonald’s bathroom with my bird hanging out and I will send a text message if I want to and if you don’t like it, too bad. Yep, just hanging out, enjoying my text message.

Hey guys I saw Sarah Palin in Bryant Park. She was standing on the merry-go-round with a couple of her crotch-fruit and getting her hair combed by a small Asian man:

I had trouble getting a decent picture because I had to fight my way to the front of this huge crowd.

soundtrack: Born To Lose by Johnny Thunders.

empire steak.

On highways in the USA, people like to throw stuff out their car windows. You don’t really see that in New Brunswick. Somebody threw a sandwich at us. We looked all around the car for something to throw back, but all we had was an iPod and we needed it.

We ditched the car in Connecticut and caught a train to NYC. The conductor kept up an amusing patter over the PA system: “This is the express, express express express. 125th Street Harlem and Grand Central Terminal. Happy birthday Arthur, and thanks again for coming out. Transfer ahead for Stamford and Da Bronx. That’s D-A, DA Bronx… You got that right.”

He sat down behind us and said, “Very very busy train today. Lots of newspapers. It’s a sign the economy is recovering… people are leaving their papers, not picking up old ones.”

We arrived at Grand Central just a few minutes before 11am, just in time for the Veterans Day ceremony. The entire ceremony took less than seven minutes. I guess those are New York minutes. Then we went outside for a walk just in time for a parade. We posted up outside the Empire Steak Building and watched the parade for a while. The US Marines marched by in their snappy uniforms and someone yelled, “Let’s hear it for the Marines!” and everyone cheered except for a little old lady who was pushing her walker up the sidewalk and saying “No right. No right to kill” over and over.

I emailed my brother and told him about the Veterans parade and said “I put on my Mountie uniform and marched up Fifth Avenue right behind the US Marines. People cheered and cheered!” He wrote back and said: “Funny thing about that story… When I went down to New York years ago, there was a huge gay pride parade happening in the city. I put on my Mountie uniform and marched right behind some marines. People cheered and cheered!”

We’re on Rivington just up the street from ABC No Rio where I played with my old hardcore band ten years ago. Best show of the tour as I recall. Dan, Trish and I ate a meat salad from St. Mark’s Place. It was mostly bacon, sausage and big chunks of turkey, with tomato and olives and roasted red pepper and balsamic dressing and there might have been a few little bits of onion and shredded lettuce in there too but mostly it was just the best salad I’ve ever had.

Dan and Trish have this suite for a couple nights, and somehow they got upgraded to a bigger one for less money hence the invitation for me to tag along. They described the place as “a bit worn, but nice” but to me it’s the swankiest place in the world. I don’t know much about hotels but this is nicer than any apartment I ever lived in. When I got out of the shower there was a monkey standing there waiting to hand me a towel. I could totally live like this.

I had a quick nap while Dan and Trish headed out to some bar. Five shots of anything for $10, anytime of day or night: it was about 7pm by the time we all met up again and those two were wasted. Vodka plus Kahlua plus Bailey’s makes a nice shooting sequence but I didn’t want to get drunk because I like to have my wits about me especially in a strange foreign place.

Dan and Trish conked out pretty early, so I went and walked around Manhattan for a couple hours. I met a pretty girl named Maureen and we hung out for a while outside a special party for a bunch of Germans from Cologne (Nov. 11 is Cologne Day) but eventually I had to excuse myself and go get lost in the deserted nighttime streets of Chinatown before finding myself on Church Street standing right in front of Nine Eleven.

Assgas Plaza, Route 95

I am writing to you right now from the United State Of Maine. We pulled off the I-95 at Assgas Plaza, where they have free internet, as well as a monkey bathroom and a vending machine that sells poutine and chicken legs.

We crossed the border without a hitch even though Trish told Dan that she had phoned ahead to the border and told them that he was a “terrorist with a gun in his asshole.” The border guard seemed bored silly and did the whole interrogation with his eyes turned upward towards the ceiling of his booth. As we pulled away he said “Enjoy your trip,” and Dan said “Thanks, you too.” (“I was nervous,” he said.)

We are going to drive all night and get a train from Connecticut to the Lower East Side, so, see you there.


Vickers went for an ultrasound on Monday. The vet said his liver is failing and he needs to be put down by the end of the week. So I’ll be taking Vickers in tomorrow morning to be put to sleep.

Vickers has been my closest companion for 14 years and I’m broken-hearted. I’m finding it hard to believe that he’s here today and he won’t be tomorrow. The vet says he is in discomfort and is probably experiencing headaches and nausea. I don’t know what a cat headache looks like. He seems fine to me which just makes it harder. We’ve just been hanging out and everything seems so normal. But I guess there is no sense in trying to pretend that this isn’t happening.

Vickers has definitely lost weight. He’s skinnier and I can feel his bony shoulders and the ripple of his backbone. His demeanour is the same as always though.

He still climbs up on the couch at my feet, same as always, and walks up the arm and along the back of the couch and down the other arm, and figures out where the Macbook is so he can sit right in front of it, same as always. He’s lying across my shoulder purring right now as I pet him with one hand. I feel so guilty. Would he still be purring if he knew I was planning to snuff him tomorrow morning?

The veterinarian said to forget about what’s healthy for a cat and let him eat whatever he wants this week. So I’ve been feeding him bacon and eggs and coffee, and a can of tuna everyday, and a hamburger, and peach yogurt and Mars bars and fried chicken and steak and mozzarella cheese. And gin and tonics and a fine cigar. I hope he is having a good time.

And tomorrow morning, that’s it. They’ve given me three options: I can take away his body, or they can cremate him, or they can cremate him and I can take away the ashes. I’m not really happy with any of these choices.

For half a second I thought about taking away the body and burying Vickers in a hole in Gaspereau Forks cemetery right next to the place that’s reserved for me. But I suppose it’s not a good idea to be burying stuff in the cemetery anytime I feel like it. They might have a system or something.

I considered taking away the ashes but only if I could have the remains conveyed to me in a coffee can à la The Big Lebowski. Vickers must’ve seen that movie at least as many times as I have. But Vickers has been an indoor cat ever since we moved to this big old house. If I were to scatter the ashes in the place he loved best I would wind up making quite a mess of the bathtub. I’ll probably leave it all to them because I don’t want to deal with it.

It’s been a hard week. I’ve known for months that it was coming but I still can’t believe this is it. Hanging out with Vickers tonight it seems like he’s got plenty of life left in him. I guess I just have to trust the vet.

At least we can say Vickers lived a long happy life and never suffered. That’s about the best any of us can hope for.