Wednesday, January 31, 2007
I could come up with something else to write here at the eleventh hour, but I won’t. It’s just my way of saying that resolutions are for sissies.
“5 dollars! Are you kidding me?” I’ll say.
“5 dollars is very best deal in all of town. We even have fan.” The innkeeper will say.
“Next door,” I’ll say, “I can stay for 2.50.”
“Next door no have fans.”
I’ll spend the night sweating in the room with no fan, cooled by the knowledge that I saved $2.50. After all, now that I’m a grownup with a mortgage, fans are a luxury I can’t afford.
Tuesday, January 30, 2007
rogue (rog) n.
1. An unprincipled, deceitful, and unreliable person; a scoundrel or rascal.
2. One who is playfully mischievous; a scamp.
3. A wandering beggar; a vagrant.
4. A vicious and solitary animal, especially an elephant that has separated itself from its herd.
5. An organism, especially a plant, that shows an undesirable variation from a standard.
So, I’m an undesirable plant, a vicious elephant, a vagrant, a scamp, or a rascal. I like to think I’m somewhere in the middle between 2 and 3.
Bootsnall is sponsoring me. What does that mean? Well, they’re not really paying for anything expensive like airfare or other expenses. But they are hosting and designing my new blog WhereAmIWearing.com that will follow my 3 month trip to Bangladesh, Cambodia, and China.
To give you a better idea of what my trip is about, I’ve pasted my Rogue Traveler Application below:
WHAT ARE YOU DOING?
I am going on a global quest to answer the question: Where am I wearing?
Check the label on the shirt you are wearing. Where was it MADE? China? Indonesia? Macau? Chances are it’s somewhere you’ve never been. You may not even be able to place it on a map. Do you wonder what the country is like? Who made your shirt?
Read the tag. Let your mind wonder. That’s what I do. My feet are about to follow.
A pile of unfolded laundry has set my course:
T-shirt: MADE IN HONDURAS
Blue Jeans: MADE IN CAMBODIA
Boxers: MADE IN BANGLADESH
Lucky shorts MADE IN USA
And no list of where I wear could be complete if I didn’t include the staple of my wardrobe:
Flip-Flops: MADE IN CHINA
I will visit these countries seeing what there is to see; doing what there is to do. Once I have a feel for the country, I’ll seek the factory where the item of clothing was made and, ultimately, the people who made it.
And then I’ll tell their story.
WHY ARE YOU DOING THIS?
I’m doing this to explore the global marketplace while bridging the ever-widening gap between producer and consumer. That, and because putting myself in random situations and trying not to look like a complete fool makes for great writing fodder. And great writing fodder helps put food on my table.
I’m a freelance writer that has contributed to publications such as the Christian Science Monitor, Transitions Abroad, the World Vision Report (Radio program), and of course BootsnAll. To read some of my writing visit http://www.travelin-light.com/ or my Blog http://www.travelin-light.blogspot.com/ .
HOW WILL YOU DO IT?
I’ve already completed the Honduras portion of my quest. It was a kind of trial to see if the quest was worth pursuing.
This spring I will complete the quest by visiting the factories in Dhaka (Bangladesh) Guangzhou (China) Phnom Penh (Cambodia) and finally the factory that made my lucky shorts in the USA.
I will work with local university students and labor rights organizations to establish contacts with the factory and/or workers.
WHAT ARE YOUR ULTIMATE GOALS?
1. To get people thinking about Where They are Wearing and to educate myself and others about our position in the global marketplace. If someone reads a post on my blog, or one of my contributions to a publication and turns the neck of their shirt around to read the tag, I’ve succeeded.
2. To contribute correspondences and freelance submissions to newspapers, magazines, and radio programs around the nation.
3. Write a book about the experience. A few editors and agents have already shown interest in the project.
WHY SHOULD YOU BE CHOSEN?
I’m an experienced blogger, writer, and photographer that can provide BootsnAll readers with a unique voice on a one-of-a-kind quest.
WHAT SETS YOU APART?
I’ll be the only person to have ever visited Bangladesh because his Christmas Boxers with ornaments and the text “Jingle These” on them were made there.
This picture: http://travelin-light.blogspot.com/2006/11/jingle-these.html
Monday, January 29, 2007
By the way, this is my 27th post of the month. That means I’ve almost averaged one-a-day. Go me! Maybe I’ll get on my horse and bust out 4 in the next two days.
Sunday, January 28, 2007
I’m Kelsey the small town, country-talking boy from Ohio and I’m Kelsey, “World Traveler.” (Please know that I don’t like the title “World Traveler.” It implies much too much knowledge, and a familiarity with ALL the world, but that’s how I’m introduced a lot here at home. So, there it is – Kelsey Timmerman. World Traveler. I could be called worse things.)
The flat, unremarkable homogeneity of the Midwest makes some of the adventures I’ve had and places I’ve been feel like a dream -- like it all happened to someone else. And then I get an email from Kosovo from a friend. The email is a reminder, proof that “Dude, I was in Kosovo.”
These emails from acquaintances that showed me great kindness while I was somewhere far away from home make my day. I received one today:
hello my friend,how are you,how are things in your country,i hope everything is ok.what can i say for myself i have a new life im living now in croatia with my girklfriend,im very happy with here and i love here very very much,she love me too,but i have one sad news my brother eduardi is sik,he is very bad, for a moment im in pristina with him,he need to operate imediatly in heart,he have to go in wiena to operate,im so sad for him we hope he can survive,your friend luigji.
It was great to here from my friend Luigji, but it’s also humbling to know that life goes on, the good and bad the world over. When I think about L., I still think of him as a student at the University of Prishtina trying to use the novelty of having an American friend to pickup girls. Now he’s living with a girl. They grow up so fast.
I hope that his brother pulls through okay. The few days I spent with L. it was apparent that he was very close to his family. Wars tend to do that. I met one of his brothers. I’m not sure it was Eduardo. But I remember he taught at the University and L. was very proud of him and excited for me to meet him. His brother bought me a Coke.
Now, if you don’t mind I have an email to respond to…
Friday, January 26, 2007
"Half my body was in its mouth," Nerhus told Australian television's Nine Network.
Nerhus said he fought desperately.
"I felt down to the eye socket with my two fingers and poked them into the socket," he said.
"The shark reacted by opening its mouth and I just tried to wriggle out. It was still trying to bite me. It crushed my goggles into my nose and they fell into its mouth."
And now there's this rarely seen frilled shark that normally lives at depths between 400-4,200 feet. Ain't it cute?
Wednesday, January 24, 2007
This really gets me. No matter your politics or mine it really sucks when the world thinks you’re not doing a good job. Of course, this doubly sucks when you, for the most part, agree with the World.
While being a US citizen in the US is not very glamorous, being a US citizen in many other countries is. And by glamour I mean that everyone has an opinion of you. We’re the Britney Spears of geopolitics (note this may be the first time that ‘Britney Spears’ and ‘geopolitics’ have appeared in the same sentence). We should do more to combat global warming. We should pull our troops from Iraq. We should stop sluttin’ around at all the big night clubs and go home to K-fed’s kids.
From Nigeria to the Netherlands, everyone has an opinion.
As a country, we could dress in a tight Red cat suit and dance around all sexy singing “Oops, we did it again.” Some countries will love us for it, some will hate us for it.
In the poll 25% of Germans thought we were mucking up the world. But hey, when was the last time you were polled on Germany’s success in geopolitics. Never! They’re the here today gone tonight reality television star to our A-list, although somewhat trashy, Britney Spears mega-stard. They’re just jealous.
BTW- Did you see that Britney and model Issac Cohen just split. I hope it’s not true. They were so cute together.
Now, what was I talking about…
Ahh, forget it.
Tuesday, January 23, 2007
They’ve started to lower the water level to relieve the pressure on the dam, but officials still seem to be all gloom and doom. Read the latest report.
I hope to God it doesn’t break – all those people and all that money. But until it does, my main concern is purely selfish.
My parents store a boat near the lake and we’ve been visiting it since I can remember. So many sunburns, wipeouts, water wedgies, face plants, and good times, could spill into Tennessee, flooding Nashville.
Somebody call Superman! Surely some underground burrowing and some heat vision could save the day.
God, or Superman, save Lake Cumberland.
Monday, January 22, 2007
Why the lift in ‘82? Probably had something to do with other countries hesitant to trade with a government that preached atheism. Plus, them Buddhist monks sure are good for tourism.
The number one religion in China today is…nope not Buddhism…nope not Confucianism…it’s the Muslim religion. But only 2-3% of Chinese are Muslim. Proof that you can lead a people to an opiate, but you can’t make them ingest/smoke/huff/snort/inject it.
Sunday, January 21, 2007
1. China is big
2. China has gobs of people
I know, these are both things that you knew already. Good for you. I did too. But I guess I thought China was so big that the population would be spread out somewhat evenly between a few major cities. These cities would be so crowded that if someone stopped while walking down the street to tie their shoe a human pileup would ensue. Rescue crews would be called to the scene. And a few thousand individuals would be late for their morning calisthenics.
What amazed me was all the cities I had never heard of that had populations in the millions. Take for instance, Yichang. It’s relatively far from any major Chinese city and on most maps it is marked by a regular, insignificant dot, nothing colored, nothing circled, nothing in bold, just a dot. The population of Yichang is 4 million!
Hold on let me google research what I just wrote in the above paragraph…
Oops, Yichang is relatively near the city of Chongqing. Chongqing happens to have a population of 15 million. 15 million! And I’ve never heard of it! In fact, China has 200 cities with over 1 million people.
Question of the day: Which is bigger, the population of China or my lack of knowledge of Chinese Geography?
Friday, January 19, 2007
Some are calling for the Starbucks to go. I have to agree with them. For the purpose of full disclosure, I don’t drink coffee. It keeps you awake, sure, but it also stunts your growth (at 28 I’m holding out for that one last growth burst – look out NBA!). And if there is one thing the Chinese people don’t need, it is their growth being stunted. Another thing they don’t need is a symbol of the triumphs of global capitalism staked right through the heart of a historical landmark.
The movement, if you can call such things a movement, all started with a Chinese reporter’s blog.
"There is no Starbucks in Louvre in France or Buckingham Palace in Britain - because there is no such thing as "for rent". If we now blame solely Starbucks for its presence in the Forbidden City, it seems to me rather unfair. After all, Starbucks did not take the land by force. They comply with the regulations. They pay rent. They signed contract."
Wednesday, January 17, 2007
Tuesday, January 16, 2007
But above all Dracula is a whore.
At least that’s what the Romanian government treats him like. For years they’ve heralded easy to reach Bran Castle as Dracula’s Castle even though it has nothing to do with the historical Dracula. The village of Bran has a Dracula market and is swollen with paper thin I ♥ Dracula t-shirts, while the real Castle Dracula sits in obscure isolation with nary a tourist in sight.
The commie government seized the Castle in 1948 and the marketing blitz began. In preparation of joining the EU and righting past wrongs, the government gave Bran Castle back to Dominic von Habsburg descendant of Princess Illeana of Romania.
Get our your checkbooks. Find a pen with a full well of ink. Von Habsburg has put a $77 million price tag on it. And the Romania government doesn’t want any part of it.
In the Chi Trib:
Culture Minister Adrian Iorgulescu has criticized the planned purchase (by a local council) of the castle, saying it is worth only a fourth of Habsburg's asking price. "I have nothing against the castle being bought by the city council if they are stupid enough to pay this money," he said.
There is so much that is wrong with this. I’ve started a list:
* If I ever inherit a castle, I ain’t selling it.
* The Romanian government should enter negotiations to buy something that is part of their cultural heritage.
* No one should ever have ‘von’ in their name. Kelsey von Timmerman. Come on! If you do have ‘von’ in your name and you are a descendant of a princess you probably got enough loot to drop the price of your inherited castle, oh, I don’t know, a few $10 million.
* Dracula is tired of being a whore. How about pimpin’ out the Wolfman for a bit or the gypsies? Give big D a break.
Monday, January 15, 2007
Boza beer is believed to enlarge the breasts of the women who drink it. But really, is this anything new? The same can be said for Twinkies. If a lady eats enough of ‘em and puts on an extra 20 pounds, you can bet her boobs will get bigger, but so will everything else.
Kudos on the marketing Boza beer, but you ain’t fooling this Touron. Call me old fashion. I believe if you want your lady enhanced you should do it via creams, tonics, and pills.
Sunday, January 14, 2007
I just did the math and this season of 24 will end some time mid-June. I leave on my upcoming trip late March/ early April. By this time, after 14 episodes, the ultimate threat in 24 will be revealed and Jack should be fully recovered from the 2 years of Chinese torture -- water torture I suspect. The end will be in sight and it will appear that Jack just might not make it through this one.
And I won’t be able to find out until I return from my trip if he does!
Maybe I should reconsider. Of course, if I don’t leave until 24 is over, then I might not make it back in time for my wedding this summer. Ugh! Does anyone else ever have these horrible problems of their real and fantasy worlds colliding?
I guess I better stick to my schedule and miss 24.
You better stock up on bread and water.
Saturday, January 13, 2007
In honor of the best show on television being back on the air tomorrow, I have re-posted last year's break down of my own life to 24. Since my life is somewhat less action-packed than Jack’s, I use years as opposed to hours.
24 years ago I was about 3.
The following takes place between the ages of 3-5: I stop pooping myself long enough to hold the UPS man at bay with a simple garden hose and clown-head sprinkler.
The following takes place between the ages of 6-8: While sitting on the bus I notice a girl a year older and twice my size. She is much too ugly and I am compelled to beat her up. Overcoming shots to the head by a very stiff trapper keeper, I am able to control the ugly hostile.
The following takes place between the ages of 9-11: I pick up a BB gun, pump it once, hold the barrel to my leg, and pull the trigger. It is the last time I ever fire a gun, because they hurt.
The following takes place between the ages of 12-14: Chemical warfare ensues inside of my body. Some call this puberty. Hair grows from my arm pits.
The following takes place between the ages of 15-17: I am running from the law in my Trans Am at 56 MPH. Eventually, they pull me over and ask me if I had been drinking. After further interrogation the police officer determines that the drifting over center was caused by excessive dancing to Billy Thorpe’s one, and only rock hit, Children of the Sun. The officer refuses to admit that this is the best rock song ever written. I’m let off with a warning.
The following takes place between the ages of 18-20: I’m shot by a skunk while running. I smell for days.
The following takes place between the ages of 21-23: Having vowed never touch a gun again, I begin the transformation into a lean mean terrorist butt kickin’ machine by studying Kung Fu. Terrorist’s butts kicked by me - 0; my own butt kicked by me - 67.
The following takes place between the ages of 24-26: I am held hostage by Tibetan monks and force-fed four meals a day.
I have never: been in a helicopter, shot at someone, been shot at, climbed through an air duct, punched anyone out, downloaded any schematics, or said something as cool as, “the only reason you are still conscious is because I don’t want to carry you,” Jack did all of this in the first 4 hours of his day last year.
Life is worth living again. Go get ‘em Jack!
Thursday, January 11, 2007
Not too cheery, sorry.
I knew about the prevalence of landmines, but I had no idea about the snakes. We’re talking cobras, King Cobras, and more. Oh my!
I’ll be visiting Cambodia this spring. Why? Because my pants were made there, of course.
Wednesday, January 10, 2007
The home shopping process inspires recollections of past dwellings.
…dorm life at Miami University and all of the piss, puke, urine, and stank that came with it.
…the off-campus apartment where the stoner roommate was growing 13 marijuana plants in his closet.
…countless hostels, not unlike the dorm life described above, in various armpits of the world.
…the conch house on Key West steadily being gnawed to dust by termites.
…the attic in Key West – dark and blazing hot during the day. But it was only $500/month, which was pretty good in Key West, even for an attic.
…the small apartment in North Carolina that was directly in the path of low, incoming flights landing at the Raleigh-Durham airport.
After years of a fluid living situation, it will be nice to settle into a place. Look at me, I’m getting’ all nesty. Have no fear, fortunately the travel writing gig requires some travel. But even so, it will be nice to come home to my home.
Tuesday, January 09, 2007
Sad news: the animator who created Scooby died today. Reuters reports:
LOS ANGELES, California (Reuters) -- Iwao Takamoto, the animator who created the cartoon canine Scooby-Doo as well as characters on such shows as "The Flintstones" and "The Jetsons," died Monday after suffering a massive coronary, a spokesman said. He was 81.
Takamoto died at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, where he was being treated for respiratory problems, said Gary Miereanu, a spokesman for Warner Bros. Animation.
I always figured that it was Hanna or Barbera that created Scooby.
Takamoto received “informal illustration training” from fellow Japanese-Americans while in an internment camp during WWII. I don’t know much about the internment camps, but I would have guessed them to be ugly, dark, depressing, imagination-stomping kind of places. Thinking about a group of prisoners huddled together drawing cartoons in such a place makes me smile.
Monday, January 08, 2007
This trip I’m taking my cell phone to talk to all of the editors who I hope will be paying me lots ‘o money to bring back award-winning stories. My laptop, which fits in my pants (Don’t ask. Yeah, like you’ve never stuck your laptop down your pants before.) is coming too, so I can post to my blog, type notes, write stories, upload photos, make audio slideshows, and edit my audio recordings that I’ll capture with my fancy dancy new mini-disc player.
I’m a little nervous about all of those cords, circuits, 1’s and 0’s, and batteries. Not to mention I’ll be a walking pawn shop. But I see all of these gadgets as the price I have to pay to take people along for the ride. And that’s what I did dig most about this gig.
Saturday, January 06, 2007
Rich nations, however, have a checkered history of introducing new technology to poor nations, where basics such as electricity and clean water are still often lacking. For every success story - such as hybrid, easy-to-grow rice and wheat - there are many clunker ideas, such as sending farm tractors to remote villages with no hope of spare parts. In fact, an entire movement, sparked by the late British economist E.F. Schumacher, sprang up in the 1970s to adapt "appropriate" technology to poor lands.
The "$100 laptop" seems designed with those concerns in mind.
Computers have changed our way of life, why couldn’t they change theirs?
Friday, January 05, 2007
The folks of the World Vision Report were great to work with. I hope I get a chance to do so again in the near future.
Diane Toomey, the editor of my piece, made me sound better than I am, which is always great. Now, if only someone could give me the non-nasal, deep voice of a radio personality.
Some have a face for radio. I have a voice for silent movies.
I think my favorite part is when Peggy Wehmeyer gives a short bio at the end of my piece. When I wrote: “He lives in the middle of a cornfield near Greenville, Ohio.” I thought this would be kind of humorous. But with Peggy’s nice and clear, I’ll-believe-anything-this-lady-says voice, it sounds like I actually live in the middle of a cornfield.
Thursday, January 04, 2007
All of those big names in her title, well, they all were neighbors in Concord, Mass. Herman Melville was also on the scene for awhile. Just think of the books that these folks produced: Little Women, The Scarlett Letter, Walden, Moby Dick, etc. They changed the way we think and live. In the interview, Cheever refers to the gang as a “Genius Cluster.”
This reminded me of another Genius Cluster I heard about the other day, although a somewhat more sex, drugs, and Rock ‘n’ Roll kinda gang. Laurell Canyon, California, in the 1960’s, was home to Eric Clapton, Joni Mitchell, Jim Morrison, Crosby, Stills, and Nash, John Mayall, the Mamas and the Papas, Carole King, the Eagles, and Frank Zappa, to name a few. It’s the neighborhood that changed rock forever. I heard David Crosby talking about watching Eric Clapton hear Joni Mitchell sing for the first time. Clapton was blown away.
When you are a member of a Genius Cluster do you know it? Have I ever belonged to a Genius Cluster, you ask.
Come to think of it, I guess I have…
I’m the Spiderman on the right. My cousin Brice is on the left and my brother Kyle in the middle. We would forever change the way the world wears underoos – shirts tucked and with fierce attitude.
Wednesday, January 03, 2007
Zoe and Scout have it made, for sure. But to me, chasing squirrels in a woods looks more frustrating than pitching a story to a surly editor.
Tuesday, January 02, 2007
* I’m getting married. Does it get any bigger than that? Mark your calendars for 09/08/07 (It’s like a countdown, but a countdown to what. Blast off? Hugs? The Bomb? Self-Destruct? My doing the coffee grinder in the middle of a circle of adoring wedding goers chanting, “Go Kelsey, it’s your wedding. Go Kelsey, it’s your wedding.”?)
* Annie, my wife-to-be, and I are looking at houses to buy. Yeah, so I’m growing up, but that doesn’t mean the travel writing gig goes.
* It’s not completely official, but Bootsnall.com has selected me as one of their Rogue Travelers of 2007. Why? Because I’m going on a global quest to answer the question “Where am I wearing?”. They’ll be hosting and promoting a blog about my travels to Bangladesh, Cambodia, China, and other places in between.
* I hope to be an extra in a Bangladeshi movie. Honestly, how many blonde hair blue eye extras do they have? ZERO, that’s how many. Enter ME.
* My first contribution to Radio airs this week on the World Vision Report. I’ll let you know when it’s available online. With suggestions from the helpful staff of the program, I’ve decided to bring back audio recordings of interviews and sounds from my upcoming trip. I’m in the process of playing with software and equipment. I’ll be posting pre-trip audio stories in the near future.
* I’ve got loads of story pitching to do before I leave. Radio, magazines, newspapers. If you’re an editor, expect to hear from me in the near future.
* A book is in the works. I feel naughty.
* The Travelin’ Light column is currently on sabbatical. I’d much rather be writing my 800 word tales than reading books on globalization, but time dictates that I take a break from the column. I expect it’ll pop up somewhere before the year is over.
* I’ll continue to work 30 hrs a week with the family business, Timmerman Truss, until I get fired or land too many writing assignments to keep up.
At first I traveled for traveling’s sake. To experience the freedom of the open road and all that jazz. I was a bum. It was pure. It was beautiful. And then, the writing bug bit me and now travel plays second fiddle to writing. I can no longer bum. If I’m not working on a story, or what could become a story, I’ve got to move on to one or I’ll go nuts.
Damned writing anyhow. It had to go a screw with the bum gig. Annie is probably a little to blame for this too.
Only two days into 2007 and it’s looking like quite an adventure. I expect it will be worth writing about.