Ramblings from a Russ
Thursday, March 30, 2006
THERE WERE DAYS
THERE WERE DAYS
THERE WERE DAYS I KNOW
WHEN ALL WE EVER WANTED
WAS TO LEARN AND LOVE AND GROW
ONCE WE GREW INTO OUR SHOES
WE TOLD THEM WHERE TO GO
WALKED HALFWAY AROUND THE WORLD
ON PROMISE OF THE GLOW
STOOD UPON A MOUNTAIN TOP
WALKED BAREFOOT IN THE SNOW
WE GAVE THE BEST WE HAD TO GIVE
HOW MUCH WE'LL NEVER KNOW, NEVER KNOW
-Rob and Jerry
Monday, December 26, 2005
Tuesday, December 13, 2005
Sunset in Abu Gallum (Sinai)
Although this pic looks superimposed, it's not. We were fishing with the locals on the coral reef. I learned how to tie rocks onto a fishing line and cast it out so the rock flies off in the air. Later we literally fished in the water with masks and snorkels. Sometimes there would be 30 fish attacking my hook, so I basically had the choice pick: Rainbow fish, Tiger fish, Red fish, and basically every other tropical fish I can imagine.
"Walkin' like an Egyptian"
Friday, November 25, 2005
The Glorious Dupe
Pesach, Tevia, and Yoni (also known as Jeremy, Russell, and Jon). For months, I've been looking under my bed and in my cabinets before I go to sleep in anticipation of the Yoni dupe. As soon as I begin to think he's never coming to Israel...So, Jer brings me down to the Kotel (Western Wall) to pray for his ailing realative, and I'm leaning against the wall (shown in backround) thinking positive thoughts and listening to this old Chassidic man who is wrapped up in a Tallis (religious blanket, for lack of better words) and has a fur mink hat with long peyes (curly hair located above the ear. Religious Jews grow them long extremely long) curling past his chin, chanting Yiddish songs. All of a sudden, in the midst of deeply concentrating on the mans' voice and Jer's relative, the chant changes tune to the first couple of notes of "I know you rider", a Grateful Dead song that remains a powerful motif for our friendship. In a split second, I lost control and instinctively tackled this "old man" on the stone floor of the Kotel, knowing or hoping that it was Yoni.
Tofo beach: Mozambique
Yonaton and I climbed Sibebe Rock in
Swaziland, which is the 2nd largest rock in the world. We met this local about halfway up the hike. I was already breathing hard, and the rain was starting to come down in a thick mist, so the rocks were slippery. He was just steadily climbing like he did this everyday. Later I found out that he practically does. His home is on one of the opposing peaks pictured here, so every time he goes to town he walks a couple of hours over hills with very little paths. If we didn't run into this guy, I'm not sure if we would've made it off the rock for a couple of days.
Tuesday, November 08, 2005
Tuesday, November 01, 2005
Whipping winds blow style into trees, casting shadows of tranquility on shanty streets.Glimpses of reality are distant in this faded illusion of life. Reality shows it's multiple personalities for those who believe in change. Change requires decision, dreams require thought. Change is forever changing faces, dreams will always dream.
Friday, October 28, 2005
Cause the children wanna come home,
Cause we're movin' right out of Babylon, yea,
And we're going to our Father's land, yea
Ethiopian Airlines-stopover in Adis Ababa, Ethiopia. This place is like none other I have ever seen. African tribes of all sorts inhabited the airport. They dress in garb that I've only seen in documentaries and such. Monks dress in traditional all white robes that cover most of their dark bodies and sit in cirles on the floor, while other Ethiopians wear vibrant colored gowns and speak in one of their 11 languages . Mostly everyone is friendly and welcoming, quite cheerful in fact.
South Africa- 30% of all adults are HIV positive, Stop signs hardly mean slow down, and don't walk anywhere in downtown Johannesburg or expect to be mugged (at best). Yonaton and I did a 4 day Safari in Kruger National Park...Saw 4 out of the Big 5 animals: Lion, Buffalo, Rhino, Elephant- but didn't see the Leapord.
Swaziland-42% of adults have AIDS. We took a Combi taxi 5 hrs packed like sardines, with local villagers toward The Kingdom of Swaziland. I find these are the best ways to bypass most touristy places. Swaziland immediately defined itself differently than South Africa. Rather than dangerous, touristy, expensive, and dull landscape, it has been the polar opposite.
We hiked the 2nd largest rock in the world, called Sibebe Rock. Location: Pine Valley, Mbabane, Swaziland. On our way up, we crossed a cow pasture with a bull staring us down. Unfortunately, there were no paths, just our compass and sense of direction (which I don't possess). We crept slowly across the windy, rainy, mountain pasture until we were out of the bulls vision. There are no words or pictures in which to describe the view from the top of the rock as the fog brought the storm in. Since then, we've been hanging out with the Peace Corps., who are working in villages teaching AIDS awareness.
Instead of traveling S. Africa, today we head for Mozambique and might continue North in persuit of real
much love to all
Friday, October 14, 2005
This next wk begins Sukkot, which is the party week of the year in Israel. People come from all over the world to eat, sleep, eat in Sukkah's, which are kind of like tree houses except on top of your roof or in the back yard. They are covered in vegetation, like bamboo, tree branches, pom froms...and for 1 week everyone in Jerusalem parties hard with live music, dancing, drinking in their sukkahs.
After a couple days of Sukkot, my buddy Jon and I plan on catching a standby flight to South Africa. I'll update with pics.
much love to all
Thursday, October 06, 2005
Monday, October 03, 2005
This vine is a devil plant which seems to grow wherever it can choke the life out of real vegetation. They wrap around the trees and quickly climb over them, stealing their sunlight. It's almost impossible to kill this love-studded plant, because it grabs onto your legs, arms, face, with it black tipped thorns. I call it love hurts, because of it's asthetic appeal with perfectly symmetrical hearts every couple of inches (in between the prickles). It's impossible to deal with without getting injured, and even when you think you've gotten away you'll find a pricker buried deep inside your hand.
This was my traveling partner in Petra, Jordan. We traversed through Bedouin villages and Indian Jones' territory (Where the movie was filmed). There are entire structures built into the stone walls stretching hundreds of ft high. We snuck into some of the caves looking for lost treasure, but to no avail, only dead ends. Also, the Bedouins tried to buy my friend Priscilla for 5 camels, but her boyfriend wasn't impressed with the offer.
Wednesday, September 28, 2005
Mental pic. of life in Jerusalem
wake up...walk towards class through the Rova in the Jewish quarter (thats actually an eighth, but we'll leave politics out of this) of the old city. The "Old City" is really a giant castle with collossal walls that is split into "quarters", but we'll call them sections. My Yeshiva, where I'm learning is located right over the Western Wall.
4 oclock in the morning, the city is crawling with people. No beers, no loud music, no late night drunken stumbling...tour groups from all over the world come at all hours of the night just to touch the wall, say a word to the infinite, place a handwritten blessing or prayer in the crevices of the 2-3000 year old wall... As we traverse the city with a bottle of wine and a book of Walt Whitman poetry we find hundreds of Sephardic Jews (those who have been in the Middle East for centuries) blowing Shofars (the horn of a ram) in unison. They chant from large Hebrew scrolls and their voices ascend toward Hashem, their God. Desire for holiness reberberates from their voices, and repententence begs from their souls. The high holidays are approaching, and they must make up for all sins before Rosh Hashana (the Jewish new year) and Yom Kippur.... On the other side of town, in the Muslim quarter (which is actually a quarter) the Arabs run the Shook (market), where they sell Arabic breads, hookahs, Bedouin clothing. The local Arabs ride donkeys and camels to and fro, making money off of the tourists. Shopkeepers dress in full Arabic garb, headdresses, long cloaks, the women are fully covered and walk home from the Shook with their purchases balanced on their heads...you must keep walking, don't stop..."come in to my shop, look, I make a deal with you, please, you like!". The minute you stop, your hooked in. You can't leave until you buy something and if you pay half of what they originally tell you, you paid too much....Finally we get to the Temple Mount, where the Dome of the Rock stands, police officers block the way. "Only Muslims allowed!", we argue for a bit, but it's not going anywhere positive. We abandon mission A, and instead walk over to where the Arabs claim Jesus of Nazereth fell from the top of the building, nailed to the cross. Stop and get some Turkish coffee at a shop and talk optimistically with the owner and locals about times of peace. It seems the popular opinion and vibration echoes the improbability of mending relations between the parties. Emotion is on a constant high here, and everyone has their own opinion on the current events that govern daily activity... Last month a Jewish student was stabbed to death by two Arabs, no more than 4o yards from the front door of my hostel. One week before, on of my friends was held up by a wire around his throat and a knife against his head...
The other night someone shot a gun in the middle of Zion Square (pictured below with me holding a gun) right as we were walking by. But, for the most part, there isn't too much violence around here, at the moment. Ramadam just began, so we'll see how life unfolds...
Monday, September 26, 2005
some filthy rich philanthropist donated 2 million dollars to give a plane ticket to anyone who has never been to the ukraine. Jer and I are pulling for some tickets, in order to join some festivities in Uman, Ukraine over the high holidays. This event is huge, they say each year it grows by 3000 people and last yr there were 20,000!
I'll probably take a few wks off from my studies and fly back from the ukraine and ride horses through the sinai desert to cairo. who knows, maybe hop a boat down the nile river.
I should have some pics posted soon...soon as i can figure out this computer thing.
Wednesday, September 14, 2005
scattered like lost words...
Anger, fill my page with lack of words for concepts.
Poetry inept. For doesn't design inherently prove a designer? Distraction is so easily given to common sense,
leaving those without question content.
and what is so common about sense?
nothing, but false pretense.
Rhythm, Rhyme have no place in this context.
It's depth is infinitely lost.
If the designer did not design then purpose is purposeless.
and there we are left with no blueprint for existence.
We are flawed and perpetuating infinite despair.
But disparity corrects into reason in the human rationale,
therefore cruelly perverting our natural state of unhappiness into conceivable meaning.
but if this cruelty is just prostituted compassion, we come full circle, once again to the purpose of design.
If a factory of bricks blew up, would they fall into shape of a beautiful castle?
Thursday, September 08, 2005
Friday, September 02, 2005
Ramblings from bus statio...
How to even begin the last few weeks. Jer and I have been living in Heaven. As if that doesn't explain itself...fig trees, permaculture, grape vines everywhere, 7 day grape fasts, Shoshana the angel- mother- herbal healer, Micha-prophecy expert- "The End of' Days", rats eating my head, catching the rat, mites in my sleeping bag, the best cherry tomatos in the world, japanese eggplants, lemons, sage, lavender, basil, life overlooking the Judean Hills which views Jerusalem from the eye of a bird, Kochav- "Are you writing this down"- the man that never sleeps/eats/high speed internet in the hills on a farm- Kochav's Holy Land Bitters mixture of herbs-the herbal guru- obsession of Bono and u2- 'combino'- connections- it's all about who you know and keep good relations (networking)-underground- resistence-outlaws, jackals, sauna, sweats, mikvah, upper heaven, lower heaven, woodshop, Harrari Harps, making wood pipes, making tahina, choumous (hummus), Bio-diesel, glass- invented and/or discovered in Israel? Yonaton the dreadlock with his 9 kilo sack, choppin' zippers, breaking toothvrushes- always downsizing his load (in many more ways then one). Yakov- the philosopher from Santa Barbara- but what is the Yin-Yang really man? and what is outside of the borders? white? black? eternity? Say bro, do you want to buy horses and ride through china with me? By the way, I speak fluent Chinese, and am up to date on global relations., Blogs- what the fuck is a blog?, Josef-the winemaker- the finest grapes for the merlot- Rasta dreadlock resistance jew in the hills in a shack- "you guys want meat? I have ground beef. No, but a cigarrette and a doobie would be nice"- (If I wasn't Jamaican why would I be wearing this hat?), Picking 150 Kilos of Carebs, Ohhhh- carebs off the grill, terraces-permaculture, Shoshie's cure for all-green clay- golden seal-lemon juice, Yonaton, Yakov, Pesach (jer's hebrew name), Bracha and Tevia (my heb. name) falling asleep at the Shabbos table-too much home grown, home cooked food-Shoshana cooks all of this food and still only eats grapes for 7 days-making bricks for Zohar's house out of goat shit, horse shit, white sand, brown sand, and straw-part of the underground movement- beautiful girl, Hitching to Jerusalem, Ramaat Raziel, Heaven, Be here now, hurricane wipes out New Orleans, The Gaza Strip and the West Bank is evacuated and voluntarily given to the Palestineans- has there ever been a time where thousands of people were ripped from their homes and not one gun was pulled? They threw paint, sprayed fire hoses...but in the end they ARE brothers and sisters and they need to stick together- can that really happen? here? there? shit, anywhere? If I am he, and he is she, then we are all one. One being, all parts of the same- When you look at me you are seeing you, it's a mirror-parts of yourself- what, you don't like?-Reflect, It's time, The present is the only time, in the present you decide who you are. The past, the future- they are only concepts. Now is the only time...to act, to be still, to think, to choose, to change..., what is static?, or better yet, what isn't static? change?, We create each other-extremes create opposites-every position has it's opposition- understand that they are co-dependent- Balance- connection- caring- understanding...
Tuesday, August 30, 2005
Bio diesel fuel
Today, I started learning (hands on) about bio-diesel fuel. This is the process of turning and using used vegetable oil to run a diesel engine. I've been interested for a while, and now have an opportunity to help my friend/teacher to run his shop. Also, Jer and I got a gig helping him run workshops at a festival coming up. It's pretty amazing to see large diesel vehicles running on veggie oil! It really makes you wonder why the hell everyone doesn't know about this stuff? conspiracy? Seriously though, if everyone hopped on the bio diesel train the oil companies would be in some serious trouble. If you obtain the veggie oil from a fast food joint for free, then your oil cost is next to nothing. Granted, your car might smell like french fries, but at least your not responsible for global warming!
Thursday, August 25, 2005
living off the land
These children help to pick all of these vegetables. They live right down the street from Heaven and do this field work as part of their homeschooling. Every meal that we cook involves only organic home grown veggies, herbs, spices, fruits from the gardens, including making our own hummus, sourdough breads...
Got more pics soon.
Tuesday, August 23, 2005
Big guns in zion square
Zion Square is the most happpening place in Jerusalem (although it doesn't appear that way in the pic.). Soldiers walking around with guns this size it totally normal. At age 18, all males and females enlist in the army for 2 years. It sure is a sight to see a beautiful 18-20 year old girl holding a gun this size!
The Men That Don't Fit InThere's a race of men that don't fit in,
A race that can't stay still;
So they break the hearts of kith and kin,
And they roam the world at will.
They range the field and they rove the flood,
And they climb the mountain's crest;
Theirs is the curse of the gypsy blood,
And they don't know how to rest.
If they just went straight they might go far;
They are strong and brave and true;
But they're always tired of the things that are,
And they want the strange and new.
They say: "Could I find my proper groove,
What a deep mark I would make!"
So they chop and change, and each fresh move
Is only a fresh mistake.
And each forgets, as he strips and runs
With a brilliant, fitful pace,
It's the steady, quiet, plodding ones
Who win in the lifelong race.
And each forgets that his youth has fled,
Forgets that his prime is past,
Till he stands one day, with a hope that's dead,
In the glare of the truth at last.
He has failed, he has failed; he has missed his chance;
He has just done things by half.
Life's been a jolly good joke on him,
And now is the time to laugh.
Ha, ha! He is one of the Legion Lost;
He was never meant to win;
He's a rolling stone, and it's bred in the bone;
He's a man who won't fit in.
feel free to post anything inspiring; poems, stories, comments....
ps. what the hell is a blog?
Friday, August 19, 2005
Thursday, August 18, 2005
Descending down to heaven,
right off bus number 183,
fresh spring water...
So, right now I'm living in heaven. No really, it's called heaven, and for good reason. The only metaphorical equivolent I can muster up is The Garden of Eden. There are fresh organics everywhere you look, herbs, grains, berries, fruits, veggies... A mikvah, which is a spring fed spiritual bathing pool, a harp factory where they make biblical harps from scratch, a wood shop... The next door neighbor manufactures bio-diesel fuel (vegetable oil solution for diesel engines). We spent the last couple days making bricks out of horse poop, goat poop, brown dirt, white clay, and straw, in an attempt to jumpstart a dream of a 24 year old Israeli girl named Zohar, who is building her entire house of these bricks.
I'll post pictures soon, with more words from heaven.
Sunday, August 14, 2005
WORD, welcome to my blog.
Believe it or not, Israel isreal. It's still hard to believe that I'm living in the most religious/historical place in the world. Right now the Kotel (which will soon be pictured below) is packed with people wearing orange gear, protesting the disengagement in the Gaza Strip. The Kotel is located directly below the balcony of my school.