Tag Archives: sex

There Will be Consequences

Friends,

This summer while working at a summer camp in Germany, I was having a conversation with my fellow counselors. I don’t remember what the exact conversational jump-off point was, but at some point while talking about sex, one counselor named Raph started off about how he didn’t like condoms.  He explained that he had tried them once and never used them again (Raph is married in his late 30s with two kids). It wasn’t just because they killed the feeling either; he seemed to be

philosophically against them as well, and while he couldn’t or didn’t articulate exactly and precisely his issue with them, something beneath his words struck a chord with me. And of course, seeing as the ladies in the group were a bit in shock from his unconventional views, I joined in the condemnation of prophylactics for the lulz, claiming with as much seriousness as I could muster that condoms were feminist tools of male subjugation and emasculation -(“All the tonic effects of getting a nice stiff one in you without having to sink to the level of intimate physical contact with a man”, etc.).

Me and Raph had a laugh and someone eventually changed the subject but an idea had been planted which I thought about subsequently. Trying to piece together the hidden wisdom in Raph’s words, the best I have been able to come up with thus far is that sex with condoms, if it is indeed objectionable, is so because it is frivolous.

Is frivolous sex a bad thing? Well, it’s certainly not the worst thing. Lord knows it’s fun…
But when it comes down to it, I’m tryng to do something.

My thoughts can be summed up in the film Rounders: Matt Damon’s ,Mike McDermott quotes poker great, Doyle Brunson: “Put a man to a decision for all his chips.”

When you discover her ‘tell’…

At face value this may not seem particularly relevant but I like the idea of not playing unless you’re playing all-in so to speak. I think when you apply that all-in mentality to sex it has the potential to make people take their couplings a little more seriously -or at least it fits well into an overall sex education which emphasizes something beyond the physical act and going through the motions.

Of course this isn’t to say that sex with a condom is simply going through the motions, but the stakes are definitely lower, and that can lead to all kinds of frivolity. Conversely, just because the stakes are raised doesn’t mean people will play more responsibly; our human history has been characterized by a lack of reliable contraception/general protection and that has been no guarantee of people taking it seriously. Countless bastard children and the spread of venereal disease are a testament to that.

Bearing in mind this human tendency to take stupid risks no matter how high the stakes, I am certainly not advocating for any kind of condom or birth control ban.

I googled ‘African Cardinal’ -I’m not even sure who this is but he looks like someone I would picture if we were to talk about banning contraception. 

Instead I would like to see a consciousness take root in men; one in which they are a little more intentional in their approach to women. An approach where they don’t think about getting laid, but rather one where their mentality when approaching women is: “I want to do something with her that has consequences.”

They should think it, but to ensure they mean it they should say it out loud, because it’s a lot harder to lie to yourself out loud. If they can’t say it truthfully for whatever reason (in love with someone else, don’t really wanna risk being a father, the chick in question is a toad-faced skank, etc…) then they probably got no business making romantical (sic.) overtures.

To bring this all to a neat dovetail, a wise man once said, “If you’re only doing it for the money, it’s probably not worth doing in the first place.”
I think its equally true to say, “If you’re only talking to her to fuck, she’s probably not worth talking to in the first place.”

Somehow, I think the ladies might approve of this message as well.

Best,
-Andre

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The Importance of Being Objectified

Friends,

I’m writing this post as a companion piece to a vlog I just recorded and am currently uploading which can be found here. In said vlog I discuss how being sought after and lusted after is a relatively new experience for me and it’s awesomeness wore off quick. Oftentimes, accentuating my physique with certain clothing choices has been more problematic than anything.

ANDRE GUANTANAMO 3
Woe is me.

This first occurred to me doing improv a couple summers ago while wearing an undershirt. Every scene became about my exposed muscles and I didn’t want that to be the crux of every onstage interaction. So, I started wearing baggier clothes for that specific purpose as well as fuller cut t-shirts. I find myself going through this again now that I have recently started doing standup: I’ve been advised that being fit and relatively good-looking should be de-emphasized so that I’m more relatable and people feel more comfortable laughing at my jokes. It’s a bit of a tough pill to swallow because on some level I feel like how I dress shouldn’t matter, but I’m finding out it does. I feel like my options at this point are to completely de-emphasize my physique with my clothing choices or go balls to the wall and own it, wearing nothing but wife-beaters and tight leather pants, essentially making a caricature of myself. While that could lead to some great jokes it might make it difficult to touch on more serious issues in earnest. So while I might experiment with the latter, I think that going forward, the best option would be to dress more neutrally.

However, the objectification isn’t all bad either. I have often gotten acting roles that required a fit or physically imposing actor based at least partly on how I looked. More often than not these have been roles with great depth that afforded me the opportunity to cultivate a strong character who just happened to be fit (see above photo). I’m certainly not shy about “pimping” my physique for such roles but I acknowledge that the way I look has an expiration date and that I have to base not only my career choices but my sense of self-worth on something more substantial than my physical appearance.

All in all, I think the experience of being objectified has been an important one. Had I never had it, I might have falsely believed it was the key to lasting happiness. It is decidedly not.

Best,
-Andre Guantanamo
Instagram: @dreguan
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Demo Reel: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6gdwhemiqzc

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HA HA! DATING!

“I have infinite hate in my blood; it’s mainly cause of the game of love.”
-Eminem, “Love Game

Friends,

A few months back I found myself newly-single. It wasn’t a bitter event; just two people who had simply grown apart. But for the first time in five years or so I found myself back in the dating game, and I was determined to be more mature and respectful about dating than I had been been as a walking hard-on back in my mid-20s. After all, you can’t be a jackass your whole life.

lemon
Or can you?…

Honesty (General)

Now I have to confess, relationship endings are often blurry affairs so I was already talking to and getting to know some people while still technically in a relationship. I guess I needed to fill that vacuum of companionship that had developed as me and my ex had grown apart. But the upshot was that psychologically I already had a little bit of momentum when I became single for realz, as opposed to previous break-ups where I basically found myself suddenly alone and feeling adrift and desperate. So with said momentum, the break-up came like a starting shot for a race, and I was off!
But like I said, I’m more mature than I was five years ago and I had a different set of priorities vis a vis relationships. I realized that I didn’t (don’t) want a traditional monogamous relationship as I have known thus far. Instead, I wanted (want) beautiful experiences with beautiful people. Some people call that poly-amory or other things, but anyone who reads my blog knows I’m not big on labeling things. So while I don’t know what to call what I want, romantic relationships for me must meet four important criteria:

1) Fun
2) Comfortable
3) Loving*
4) Not Possessive

And boy oh boy, have I ever taken flak for this. I have met some lovely, yet jaded women who see me as what is wrong with the dating world. Basically a guy who doesn’t want to make a commitment, and who wants to perpetually date or hang out. And for these viewpoints I have some sympathy, but only to a point, because I am not against commitment, or as I phrase it, making an investment in someone. However, I don’t want said commitment to preclude a beautiful experience with someone else.

If you’re fine and you won’t front, I don’t wanna be your man but I’ll hook ya up.”
-Coolio (NOT 2-Pac), Rollin’ With My Homies

The problem to me ultimately comes down to scarcity and abundance. Perhaps as a result of our competitive, scarcity-based socio-economic market system, people often go into the world of dating with a scarcity mind-set, worried that they can’t give away too much of what they have (vagina, money, etc.) without getting a commensurate amount in return. And, if you are in a relationship with that person, you are expected not to give too freely of what you have as they have proprietary rights to your sexuality,flirtatious overtures and even money.
Fuck that noise! I’m operating with an abundance mindset and what I have to offer to romantic partners I have in infinite supply (not money lol) so why would I (or they) share that beauty with only one person? That external restriction/ownership/scarcity mentality has fucked up everything else in the world, are we really gonna let it poison relationships?
Well yes apparently, as I have recently found out lol.
Another fairly major change between me now and last time I was single, is that I am not interested in hooking-up (sex) just to say I did or to get “my number” up. Mostly I don’t like the feeling of emptiness I’ve been left with during past one-nighters, but a big part of this is number 2 on my criteria list: Comfort. If there isn’t comfort as a result of familiarity not only will it not be enjoyable, but more often than not I will have trouble performing (as certain ladies reading this might be able to attest to :-S). So I am very up front and honest with people at the outset about what my priorities and desires are because I don’t want a relationship predicated on a lie. Someone will be unfulfilled, hurt or both.

Honesty (Specific)

On the topic of being up front and honest with people is also not being ashamed of particular desires. If there’s a certain way you like to fuck, that you might have grown accustomed to, but that might be a little outside the realm of normative sexuality (as if there is such a thing) bringing it up to a new partner can bring some anxiety. Rather than getting into the best way to bring things up in the bedroom (or my own personal tried and true method of bringing kinks up lol) I will just say that I have learned to be just as open and up front about these predilections and desires as I am about my broader relationship objectives. Life is, after all, too short for mediocre sex.

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Pretty much this exactly…

Work Ethic

I don’t really love using the word “work” in relation to dating and relationships but it takes discipline to put yourself out there and in my experience “out there” is where the adventures happen. For example, when I found myself single I began to challenge myself to cold-approach at least one girl a day. For those not in the know, a “cold approach” would be chatting up a random girl in public. It’s a hard sell, especially with the feminist backlash against cat-callers and other harassers, but overall I find that approaching earnestly and honestly perhaps segue-ing into it after making conversation is a safe bet. I often (okay, usually) won’t get a number, but I have yet to be accused of patriarchal oppression. #GreatJob!
I have a few other things to say about cold approaches so bear with me:
Like many men in the early to mid 2000s, I read Neil Strauss’ book, The Game and was captivated by it. Having read it before a planned backpacking excursion to Australia, I joined the Mystery Method forum which the book told of (now The Attraction Forums) and put up an open ad saying that I was a Canadian sarger (or pick-up artist) traveling all around Australia and I wanted to work with different members in different cities. And WORK we did. We hit the bars hard and challenged to ourselves to chat up every group we could. It was scary. But then something happened; it stopped being scary. By getting over approach-anxiety I was able to have more natural, less contrived conversations with women which I can only imagine they appreciated more than some nervous guy stuttering some canned opener. Sure, every night we needed to warm up and the first few “sets” as we affectionately called them were always a crapshoot, but by and large we ended up talking to many gorgeous and wonderful women who might otherwise have been too intimidating to approach. Simply put, we spent so much time outside of our comfort zones that they grew to accommodate us (our comfort zones, that is). To get back to my point in a roundabout way, I am in the process of getting back to that serene place where I can approach any woman regardless of my insecurities (of which there are many) or her physical beauty or social standing. If you think about it, those latter two things are really superficial and stand as an impediment to genuine and meaningful human relations, so training myself to disregard them is actually a service to humanity.
And yes, to answer your next question, I do in fact, believe all my bullshit. 😀
The other thing I wanted to say about cold-approaching is that I have often brought it up when speaking with other actors, making the point that it is analogous to auditioning; The more you do it the less anxious you are, the less anxious you are, the more you put the casting directors at ease and everybody is happy. And in both auditions and cold-approaches sometimes you can do everything right and still not get the role or the phone number. Maybe they wanted a different look or she had a boyfriend and maintains a steadfast devotion to monogamy beyond the point of reason. Who knows!? It happens, but you can still learn from these experiences and walk away with a satisfaction that you only get from laying yourself bare and truly connecting with someone.

Age May Be Nothing But a Number, But it’s An Important Number

A peculiar thing happens when you chat up girls on the street and not just in bars. You see, the real world has no bouncer making sure everyone is of age, so very often you find yourself talking to someone who is “south of proper” with regard to age. I don’t know if its a really uncomfortable rite of passage or what, but you will never forget the first time you find yourself talking with a girl and upon some romantic/suggestive word from you, she reveals that she is underage. All you can really do is smile and eject from the situation. In fact, it would be really handy occasion to have a smoke pellet to facilitate escape.

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NINJA, VANISH!

I don’t know what it is, but this shit never happened to me until I started approaching 30 and it got especially creepy. I will say two final things about this: 1) the reality that you could chat up a girl who is criminally underage creates an imperative that you approach women respectfully and perhaps not be too forward at the outset. Not only is it more tactful but you might avoid committing a crime, and 2) Always know the age of consent.

Age Ain’t Nothing But a Number: Part II + Avoiding the Hatred Pitfall
But here we got off on a tear about jailbait when there are actually much more sublime implications to age as it pertains to relationships. Like, for example, the difference between a girl who is 20 and a girl who is 28. By and large I find the latter much more receptive to my particular brand of honest, sincere and deliberate intention. And, old maid anxiety notwithstanding, older women are usually more comfortable about exploring relationships outside the conditioned norms. On the other hand, younger girls frustrate the shit out of me. Remember at the beginning of this post where I said I wanted to approach dating in a mature and respectful way? Well, some motherfuckers aren’t gonna respect you unless you’re an asshole to them. Or they flake out on you if you make yourself too available. The shit can be infuriating. I know I should probably avoid people who force me to use artifice and cunning in the pursuit of them, but what can I say, sometimes my dick is in the driver’s seat and doesn’t want to stop at the gas station and ask my brain (or heart) for directions. However, I’ve been pretty successful at not hating these people, although I think it’s an easy trap to fall into. I think every guy reading this has had a revenge-fuck fantasy about some girl who snubbed him and that’s not really the route I wanna go, tempting though it may be. I wanna deal squarely with everyone, hard as that may be sometimes.
One thing I find works for me is always blaming myself for the success or failure of any interaction. At the end of the day I can only affect my own behaviour after all, so if a girl isn’t feeling me I evaluate how I could alter my approach for next time. It doesn’t matter that she may be nuttier than squirrel shit and an all-around unpleasant harpy who delights in the misery of men, that’s her business. My business is what it has always been: dealing with her and everyone else more lovingly and meaningfully. As soon as you take responsibility for the outcome of every interaction you have, you make it very difficult to hate other people because you’re constantly asking yourself what you could have done better, not “why are they so FUCKED?!”

Murkiness vs. Full Disclosure

Guys, have you ever asked a girl out expecting that she knew it was a date? You go out and get along swimmingly, you may even pay for everything to sweeten the deal and then she tells you she has a boyfriend, or doesn’t invite you in, etc.? Of course, we’ve all been here, and its even worse when you try and take it to that romantic level and it makes her uncomfortable and the rest of the time together becomes shitty and awkward. Let a girl know ahead of time where you stand even if it means risking “the friendship” because if you don’t you’re basically living a lie and putting unfair pressure on her. What are we really afraid of? When I think of every girl I’ve been friends with but also attracted to, not one of those friendships was too precious to subject to the light of truth and my actual intentions, and I regret past instances where I wasn’t forthright when I should have been.
Bottom line: if you are going to meet up with a girl and you have any doubt that she knows for sure its a date, let her know. You will save yourself approximately a metric shitload of heartache and you’re doing her a service as well because it lets her better plan which underwear to wear and whether to shave or not 😉

The Company Ink

Just kidding! there’s only company ink if you have an actual job. I on the other hand am an actor, or a freelancer if I wanna sound marginally more respectable. That said, I have probably fallen in love with at least 90% of my female co-stars and a goodly number of the crew members as well. I can’t help it! They’re fucking hot! And like me, they’re driven and aspire to something greater than the slow death of an ordinary life. What’s not to love? The people I work with on set are, by and large some of the most inspiring people I have ever met as they reflect back to me all of the things I like best about myself.
Buuuuuut, people talk and nobody wants to get the rep as that sleazy guy who hits on everyone on set. That’s not to say don’t hook up, but I’m not sure what my particular line is or if I even draw a line. On some level I am a creature of opportunity, and if some hot starlet was feeling me and was “bout it, bout it” I might find it difficult to focus on maintaining my reputation, such as it is.
*Note to female co-stars, past, present and future: I’m probably “into” you and would be amenable to getting to you know you better.

Moving Forward

Things are going okay I guess. But I’m realizing something very profound: these types of relationships I’m pursuing are not static. That is to say you don’t just have a couple of relationships that more or less take care of and maintain themselves. Instead, things are in a constant state of flux, and you’re only “with” someone when you’re with someone.

“Ma, our time together is our time together, and our time apart is our time apart.”
-Jay-Z, Girls, Girls, Girls (Remix)

It’s good in a lot of regards. It creates an imperative to “stay sexy,” and you don’t get bored of and stuck with people. Most importantly, its a constant reminder that life, like your relationships is in a constant state of flux, and the illusion of permanence is just that. So don’t hold onto things and people that no longer serve you. Instead, move forward righteously in the pursuit of beautiful experiences.

Best,
-Andre Guantanamo

*I am very loosey-goosey with my use of the word love. That’s not to say I use it in vain; in fact, I am very deliberate in my use of it but I recognize that it comes into play in more than just familial and long-term monogamous relationships. I think you have to love everyone and on some level I do, even a girl I just met. And if me and someone else can’t be loving to each other, even from the outset then we really got no business being with each other.

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Twisted Pleasure

Friends,

I pulled an all-nighter last night on my sister’s couch and my nocturnal time was occupied by the usual wikipedia safaris, listening to comedy routines and reading articles on Cracked.com.  There was another thing that occupied an hour of my time though, and that was watching nature documentaries on youtube.

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Last night I focused on lions on the serengeti.

I don’t know why but I felt an overpowering urge to watch a lion run down animals, the more helpless the better, and tear their shit apart. Luckily for me there is no shortage of such videos on the tubes (although sometimes they try and get cute and cut away right as the lion is pouncing only to cut back when the lions are already eating…what the point of this is, I don’t pretend to know).
All in all I saw a baby elephant, a baby girafffe and a newborn wildebeest (replete with amniotic fluid) get their shit wrecked.  Great Job!
Still, as I watched I c0uldn’t help but be vaguely aware of a sense of shame for enjoying watching such violence.  I began wondering what separated watching footage like this from watching say…a snuff movie?

8MM 2
Well, my reaction for one.

But seriously, I don’t go in for explanations like, “well animals aren’t people.”  Bitch, animals suffer and feel pain too.  They’re probably more similar to us than we would care to admit so where does the moral line draw when it comes to one animal preying on another versus one human being killing another?
You could make the case that if its for educational purposes it’s okay.  Like if you are watching videos or viewing photos of a horrible massacre to write a paper, or if a jury must watch grisly rape and murder videos to help them reach a verdict.  The only problem is that this has been seized upon by people busted with caches of child pornography, I was just doing research.
Similarly, claims of artistic merit have also been used to justify one’s predilection for looking at grisly or otherwise inappropriate images.

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It’s not perverted, its art.

I think the problem and incredulity from the general public comes from the fact that we are really having the wrong conversation here: Instead of forcing the artist, the snuff film connoisseur or the casual nature documentary enthusiast to justify their interest (or throwing them in jail), we should instead be asking why  that interest is there and acknowledging that the only difference between the three parties is the legal status of their interests, because arguments regarding morality are so much wasted air.  We like to distance ourselves from those on the wrong side of the law, especially when their crime carries a taboo sexual or violent taint, but I think if you dig deep enough you will find that interests in viewing lions killing gazelles, a group of guys gang-banging a single girl, torture porn movies, snuff films, and other exploitative materials showing (broadly speaking) one party doing violence to another, all stem from a common causality which binds us together at an uncomfortable  level.
Thankfully, my perversion has been deemed not only legal, but educational, so I can to continue on being a twisted fuck with impunity.
“Not guilty, y’all got to feel me!”

Best,
-Andre Guantanamo

 

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My Favourite Religion … inb4 Islam

My Friends,
   Inspired by my sister’s boyfriend Brian and his documentary club, I devoted Sunday afternoon to watching whatever documentaries I could watch for free on youtube.  First I watched a doc about “The Amen Break”.

Watch and you’ll understand

Then I watched part of a documentary of the tinfoil hat variety regarding the illuminati.

More than just a clever album title…

From there I watched “Sean”,

“Fuck the Police!” (Paraphrase)

which is essentially a 15 minute interview with a 4 and half year old San Francisco boy from 1970.  Finally, as I now write this I have a documentary about L. Ron Hubbard and Scientology playing in a separate window.

Nothing to do with Scientology, I just like me some volleyball ass

   This reminded me of something I have had on my mind for a while which I will now share:  Back in 1994, before I had ever heard of Scientology or Dianetics, I used to frequent the Orangeville public library.

Coming here after-school kept me off the drugs
…and a virgin ’til I was 18

I was attracted to the adult fiction section, and even though I didn’t feel ambitious enough to tackle some of the larger volumes I enjoyed looking at the covers.  Some of the most memorable covers were from L. Ron Hubbard’s “Mission Earth” series, A ten volume series, or dekalogy as he called it.  I was most intimidated by the first volume, The Invader’s Plan.

It was 600 pages and I was only in grade 5, but at length I withdrew it and finished it in a month.  I enjoyed it well enough I suppose but was more stoked to crush, what was at the time, the longest book I had ever read.  Never got through the rest of the series though.
   Fast forward to autumn 2008.  While serving in Kandahar, Afghanistan I happened to find the same volume in the Camp Nathan Smith library.  I set about reading it a second time and enjoyed it more this time due to the fact that I understood more of what was going on.
   What I found most interesting this second time around however was the introduction written by the author sometime in the 1980s.  As he explained it, the series marked his return to writing fiction after a prolonged hiatus (presumably administering his new-found religion).  He thanked his loyal readership and proceeded to explain his thoughts about satire and why it was an important genre to him.
   Although I didn’t think much of it at the time, these words came back to me sometime after during a conversation about religion.  It became clear to me what L. Ron Hubbard had been up to the whole time.

U mad, bro?

Scientology is a satire of religion in the grand tradition of the Flying Spaghetti Monster.  Too harsh of a criticism to levy at the great and true religion of Xenu you say?  I disagree.  Any theist who would dare poke fun at scientology or doubt its sacred origins would have to take a serious look at their own faith and the “facts” it was rooted in.  And what is satire if not something to make you re-evaluate your own position?  Also, as well as professing a love for satire in his other works, he foreshadowed the genesis of scientology years earlier:
“You don’t get rich writing science fiction.  If you want to get rich you start a religion.”
-L. Ron, trolling hard circa. 1948

   Don’t take this the wrong way; this is not intended as a negative allegation.  Instead I laud L. Ron for not only creating a masterful piece of satire, but for getting dollardollarbillsy’all.  That said, I don’t wish for scientology to be propagated beyond a certain point.  Satire or not, it is still a religion and has loyal adherents who, by virtue of believing in something are inclined to think less of and marginalize non-believers.  And when one group of believers gains enough clout, suddenly that “strictly metaphorical” commandment within their holy book, you know the one that says to smite non-believers, becomes a very literal instruction.  This is how atrocities happen.  
Not with a bang, but with litigation and star power

   So I think it is high time that we stop the disproportionate vilification of Scientology.  The notion that some religions are worse than others is erroneous; some are simply newer and therefore more radical, or older and more institutionalized.  Yes, there are well-documented cases of brain-washing, violence and criminal neglect associated with Scientology, but no more than any other religion throughout history.  For the time being I say we keep a watchful eye on it like we would any other religion.
And if it gets out of hand there’s always this guy

Stay Thirsty,
-Andre Guantanamo







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Figuring Out What the Hell is Wrong With Me

My Friends,
   Last night I accompanied my woman to her sociology class.  It was called “Canadian Adolescent Issues” and it studied the phenomenon of the teenager.  I use the term “phenomenon” deliberately because the professor described teenagers as a by-product of the schooling system which keeps kids in the edumucation system until they are legally adults.  Anyhow, the topic lectured upon last night was “self-consciousness,” and its actually a lot more complex than I thought.  You see, while kids might get shy and overwhelmed if put up on stage in front of people, it can’t properly be called self-consciousness (SC).  Proper SC requires the knowledge that other people have selves which differ from our own.  Kids think everyone is more or less like them (everyone likes chocolate milk, etc…) and have no concept that people are different consciousnesses.
   As they get older and get a clue not only do they realize that people are different but by association they also reason that people may be (are) judging them.  This matters to them.  A four-year-old has no clue that people might think less of him for his tantrums and if he did he probably wouldn’t care.  A fourteen-year-old on the other hand is the polar opposite, scrutinizing the self which he portrays to the world in depth to the point where it becomes stupid (Would ebony or cobalt mascara make me look deeper and edgier?).
   But I digress.  As the professor continued, one point among all others caught my attention; the double-edged razor of maturity.  In his words, it was good to the extent that it helped people be respectful, and compassionate, but often maturity requires people let go of their justifiable anger in order to conform.  Essentially, if you want to get ahead in this world and become a productive member of society you must, to some extent, resign yourself to the injustice you see but which is integral to how the system works (I call it “selling your soul”).  Herein lies my problem; I haven’t been able to let go of this anger.
   But then my development didn’t follow the model he presented in class.  Unlike the typical teenager he described, I didn’t start to really doubt myself until I was about 18 and I didn’t start to doubt that the world was essentially just until I was 22 or 23.  Now, I can’t stop doubting it.
   Frankly, I know how much this anger affects me; my woman remarks often that I have to let shit go and stop dwelling on things that I can’t change.  For my part I refuse to accept that and get annoyed when someone presumes to tell me that I can’t change things for the better.  My struggle for the longest time has been trying to figure out what I can do to effect the change I want to see and thus far I have been at a loss.  My only idea at this point is that the mindsets of people have to be changed first, because very few believe in a better way.
   I make no secret of the fact that I am an idealist and the way I see it we shouldn’t settle for a world that is “good enough” when we could have the best world possible (it’s the same logic I have with dating and relationships).  So even though it causes me no shortage of pained thoughts and sadness, I hope I never lose my justifiable anger.  It’s the one thing I’ve got.

Stay Thirsty,
-Andre Guantanamo

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You Can Take the Salami Out the Hood but You Can’t Take the Hood Out the Salami

My Friends,
   Since I have been traveling I have been diligent in partaking in local cuisine.  Some observations I have made: Portuguese bacalhau is dope, Spanish churros taste better than that Taco Bell tripe, French cheese, wine & bread are a trifecta of win schway, and Italian pasta can’t be touched.  “Well sure” you say, “thats what those countries are known for; of course its going to be better there.”  Well that line of reasoning might suffice for the reasonable mind, but dammit I need to delve deeper into the questions that have been answered to everyone else’s satisfaction.
   This is more (not much, but a little) than simply making much of an issue for the sake of something to write about; I got to thinking about how up until this last visit to France I have typically hated French wine.  Seriously, I cant remember buying a bottle or trying a glass in Canada that I thought much of in spite of the fact that they were marketed as mid to mid-high level wines.  However, I come to France and every bottle of wine, no matter how inexpensive, is some wild ass shit.  Ditto for the cheese: I have always loved Brie, but never did I enjoy it as much as I did in France.  I brought a smilar observation up to my cousin here in Legnano, Italy while we were enjoying some Gorgonzola, grapes, and bread.  Now since I have been here in Italy I have had something of a love affair with Gorgonzola which, in case you aren’t familiar, bears more than a superficial resemblance in appearance and flavour to blue cheese.  While crushing our nth wedge of this cheese tonight I inquired as to what the difference was between Gorgonzola and blue cheese.

“It’s the same” my cousin told me.

“Then why has blue cheese never tasted this good at home,” says I.

“Well ya see (you simple fuck) things taste different depending on where you eat them.  Aside from the fact that they make it here, you could drink a bottle of wine made in Padua two hours away and it will taste one way.  But you take that same bottle down to Naples and drink it there and it’ll taste different.  It’s something in the air affects the flavours.”

This explanation partly satisfied me mostly because it was an alternative to the common and widely accepted answer (if everyone believes it; I can’t help but be suspicious).  However, it still sounded like some old bullshit.  Not to discount atmospheric effects entirely; I mean I could see such factors making a difference if you simply walked into Mordor with your fancy cheese and let the heat, sulphur fumes and ash really absorb into it for a few hours before eating.  But what kind of pretentious cheese/wine/bread conoisseur can claim with a straight face that they notice the subtle difference that geography of consumption makes in the bouquet, body and aftertaste of their delicacy of choice?

Since I obviously take issue with the “it’s just better there” reasoning and I find the atmospheric influence reasoning a little suspect, I’m going to go ahead and assume the food tastes better here because my mind is playing tricks on me.  That is to say, I am probably just idealizing things in my head.  It makes sense; all of the amazing meals I have had here I associate in my head with where I ate them, the time of day (usually watching a sunset or sunrise), how good I was feeling at the time and how much progress I had made that day.  In fact , when it comes down to it, my meals have become ritualized to the point where simply eating is no longer sufficient; it has to be a multi-sensory experience.  Obviously, I could eat some pretty crappy food and in these circumstances I would probably remember it fondly.
   The ability of my mind to trick myself both saddens me and reassures me.  It is kind of sad to think that perhaps the food that I am enjoying so much here is no better than what is available back home (this is a fleeting sadness however, as my enjoyment is ultimately what matters most).  The reassurance comes from the knowledge that I have the ability to idealize and enjoy any meal and by association, any life experience more than I normally would by taking the time to do it right and incorporating as much pleasurable aspects into it as I can.

George Costanza: A rare genius unappreciated in his own time

Stay Thirsty,
-Andre Guantanamo

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