- Name: Lonnie Bruner
- Location: Washington, DC, United States
I live in DC, sail the Chesapeake Bay, have a lovely wife who's a web designer, a young son, an unruly hound dog, and am interested in most everything in the world. Oh yea, and I love the smell of burning trash in the Third World. That just gets me going.
- Got Towed, Drank, Danced a Little ...
- Hello? Anyone Up For a China Rant?
- Cat Shit Coffee
- My Secret Apartment
- Ok, I'll Play Some Guitar for You
- I'm pretty sure I just went to the best sushi rest...
- The Pinnacle of Sport Fishing: Catching a Blue Mar...
- Bars in India: Like 100 Years Ago in the USA
- Atlantic Rockfishing
- They Hauled My Next-Door Neighbor Away in an Ambul...
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Blanketing opinions that I'll probably regret soon.
Monday, February 27, 2006
More Belize Photos!
This fish looks small, but it's actually 10 feet long.
On top of a pile of discarded conch shells.
Conchs don't look like this in nature. I promise.
Downtown Caye Caulker.
Dogs run wild on the island.
Some locals gave us this jeep.
Pits, doing what he does best: beating big barracuda senseless.
Brain freeze on the beach.
On Wish Willy's hammock.
The wall inside Wish Willy's "restaurant".
Not a very tough name for a sailboat, if you ask me.
Belikin Beer: a ubiquitous international lager.
A lot of diving outfits offer trips to the Blue Hole.
This is John, the guy I fished with for a few days. We fished together for 5 to 8 hours at a time and exchanged maybe 20 words. He's been coming to Caye Caulker almost every year since the mid 1980s---each trip for about two months. The boat owner says he goes out fishing every day he's in town. And what does John do for a living? He's a carpenter and owns a portable saw mill in North Carolina. No joke.
Most popular spot for locals: the basketball court.
Sunday, February 26, 2006
Photos from Belize!
Clouds, sky, water ... Yea.
There are a hundred of these boats on the beach.
Fishing the reefs and mangroves off the Cayes of Belize.
The is the First Mate on the boat, "Pits". His job was to keep all the hooks baited and to bludgeon the living shit out of the fish that we caught. Usually, the barracuda would get close, and just give up after seeing Pits on the boat.
One of the wily barracudas we caught.
This was the barracuda that I ate as a second dinner.
You won't see me too much happier than this.
A gar will fuck you up.
Some conch fishermen we met out fishing.
This was the popular bar next to "the split", a place where a hurricane chopped the island in two back in the 80s.
Katie found this giant sea slug while snorkeling next to the Lazy Lizard Bar and Grill.
Just hanging out on an abandoned jeep.
Katie, Barb and Darrel. Darrel is Belizean and showed us around the island for the last half of the trip.
There are so many diving outfits on the island.
Toward the end of the trip, we went to the dump to look for saltwater crocodiles. Didn't spot any, but I made sure I had a club anyway.
Friday, February 24, 2006
Jesus, I just accidentally hooked a seagull.
We brought it into the boat, covered its eyes with a t-shirt, and proceeded to dislodge the hook from the beak. There was no blood, and it definitely wasn't injured, but it was stressed as hell and squawking like mad. We got the hook out, tossed him overboard and he flew away a more cautious bird.
That was the ending of my last day of cranking in big barracuda and gar near the mangroves and reefs off Belize's Cayes.
Man, life is hard here. I can't wait to get back to DC where the weather is nice and the people are laid back. That'll be nice ...
Remind me why I live in DC again?
Thursday, February 23, 2006
Rule of Thumb for Hot Sauce: Simple Labels Rule
There are a million hot sauces out there, but most are boring, too hot, too flavorful, or flavorless. So to make up for what's lacking, many brands use flashy labels with references to sex, or to your having ring sting hours after consuming it. Don't purchase that crap. Stick to the sauce on the back of the shelf with the boring label and you'll be set.
That rule has never let me down.
Wednesday, February 22, 2006
Manatee Rides, Conch Ceviche, and Reggae
- Manatees. Just got back from a snorkeling and manatee tour on my fifth day in Caye Caulker. They let us ride the manatees, and man those suckers are hard to grab---and they didn't even give us saddles! ... Just kidding. We sat around on the boat for an hour watching the sea cows come up for breath. It was pretty cool to see real live manatees in the wild, but I got the point after twenty minutes. We then motored out to the barrier reef and snorkeled. Bunch of fish. Bunch of coral. Shit like that. My wife was freaking out cuz she loved it so much. It was cute.
- Conch. Upon arriving, I decided to only eat seafood while here, and it hasn't been too hard. Conch ceviche is everywhere. It's made by pulling a conch out of the water, ripping his slithery body out of the shell, throwing him into a mix of black pepper, lemon juice, habanero peppers and onions, and serving it up with chips. It's good, but I prefer fish and black mussels to conch for ceviche. Those meats are much less tough. Two nights ago I decided to eat two full dinners in one evening. I ate glazed pork chops at one place, then went down to the local party restaurant where the cook, "Wish Willy", grilled up the barracuda I'd caught a few hours before. If you haven't eaten fresh fish steaks over fire, you've got some living to do, son.
- Reggae. Does anyone take reggae seriously any more? I guess they do, considering that it's pumping out of every restaurant on this island. Not that I dislike the music, but the image of the reggae musician has become such a cultural icon---almost a caricature---that the whole genre seems contrived. Plus, it's based on a religion founded when the monarch of Ethiopia landed in Jamaica and the drought came to an end, so they decided to worship him as a god. It's not the 1970s and Bob Marley is not fighting imperialism. In 2006, isn't reggae just slightly more soulful than Jimmy Buffet?
Monday, February 20, 2006
I'm in Belize, my bitches.
I love the smell of burning trash in the Third World. That really gets me going.
We jetted out of Belize City to Caye Caulker just minutes after landing. Took an eight-seater airplane---the kind that bounces when it lands on the airstrip. I could see the white smoke rising above the mangroves and the smell was unmistakable. I was finally in the Global South. Thank christ.
We're staying at a B & B, run by a couple from Austin, Texas. She wears long, wrap-around skirts and he has a gray pony tail. Just the kind of people I'd expected. They said they'd been sailing around the Carribean and ended up on Caye Caulker. They bought some land and set up shop, and here they are 10 years later.
Met up with Barb shortly after arriving. Went straight to the beach cabana and ordered the sweetest rum I've ever tasted. It's nothing like Bacardi or any rum in the States. Belizean rum is simply alcoholic Aunt Jemima. In fact, it's so sweet that the store-bought bottles are sticky.
There are no paved roads on this island. The entire developed part of it can be seen in less than 30 minutes. The three "roads" are called Front, Middle, and Back Street. But you wouldn't know that, because there are no street signs. There are only two automobiles that I've seen; everyone walks, bikes, or takes golf cart taxis.
Yesterday, I went sailing with some dude I had met a few minutes earlier. Capsized the boat twice in 10 knot winds. Next time, instead of saying "ready to jibe?!", I'm just going to say, "ready to capsize?!" We were able to tow the guy's wife around in a kayak from the sailboat somehow.
Today I went on a five hour barracuda fishing trip. I caught one that was 3.5 feet long. The other guy on the boat hauled in a 4.5 foot monster barracuda. They cut up the fish on the beach and we're going to eat it at a local restaurant in an hour.
Last night we ate at a shack called Wish Willy's. And by "shack", I am not exaggerating. Folks, I could have built this building. The cook just shouted at us to grab whatever beer we wanted from the coolers---no fridge---and take a seat. We hung out getting drunk and eating seafood 'til late, bullshiting with Belgians and some folks from Cleveland Park DC (!) that we met.
More later ...
Saturday, February 18, 2006
Snorting Saltwater From a Bowl
If you aren't used to snorting shit up your nose, inhaling saltwater through your nostrils may sound insane. It's not. When you're stricken with a hellish sinus infection or head cold, nothing cures it as quickly as the burning feeling of submerging your nose in a bowl and sucking brine 'til it gushes down through the back of your mouth.
Still interested? Ok, here's the procedure. Take a bowl filled with tap water. Don't be conservative with the salt; one tablespoon will NOT do. Pour salt from the Morton's container 'til the girl with the umbrella gets embarrassed. Then brace yourself for what's to come. The trick is to do it quick; breathe out, close your mouth, dunk your nose completely under the water and breathe in through your mucus-filled nostrils without thinking twice. Oh, make sure you have a paper towel handy. When you come up for air you'll feel like a boogie-boarding kid at the beach after a massive wave toppled him tits-over-asshole, and you'll need to clean yourself up. The inside of your head should be on fire, but don't worry---the pain will subside in a few minutes and your head cold or sinus infection will be gone in 12 hours.
I spoke to my dad about snorting saltwater, and he told me that's the only thing my grandmother ever did to get rid of a cold.
I guess it runs in the family.
Friday, February 17, 2006
Leaving for Belize in less than 15 hours!!
That's right, you office slaves. I'll be on Caye Caulker tomorrow and staying for over a week! I offer you a few predictions as to why Caye Caulker will not suck as much as Washington, DC:
- Lack of millions of career-obsessed tryhards wearing the same exact Gap outfit.
- No fucking wintery mix.
- Saltwater and common colds are not friends.
- Lawyers are not 50% of the population.
- No crowded-ass Metro.
- Sunshine, fishing, snorkeling, sailing, and drinking rum with my pretty ladies, Katie and Barb.
To be sure those predictions are correct, watch this space in the coming week if you want to re-confirm how much the work-a-day world of DC blows.
Thursday, February 16, 2006
A Guide to Parking in my Neighborhood
- Park illegally. Do DC police think a $25 ticket is a freaking deterrent? Christ, that's the price of a meal for one these days. A trip to see me is worth $25; your cheap ass can afford it.
- Ignore temporary "No Parking" signs. Paper signs will sprout up randomly in my neighborhood which claim you'll be towed if you park in certain areas. Usually, this is because some pussy wants four spaces to park a moving truck instead of just double parking like the rest of us. Do everyone a favor and just tear these signs down and park wherever you please.
- Most drivers are able to yell, but not fight. There is a 20% chance that you'll get into a verbal fight with another driver over a parking spot. I've always said that a big difference between Baltimore and DC is that DC has no scary-ass white people, so it's fairly easy to kick the asses of most drivers here (my friend Derek's brother excepted). So if you get into a screaming match with someone over a parking spot, don't worry. Throw in a little physical violence---ie, kick or punch someone's car---and you're good to go. Most people will back down and you'll get the spot.
- All out of state tags should be disrespected. 65% of the people who take my parking spaces on Friday and Saturday nights are from Maryland or Virginia. Nothing against those states (wait, I take that back for Virginia), but they simply don't live here. They're here to visit the 161 places that serve alcohol and that's it. So if you're slamming bumpers back and forth while parking, hit the gas a little harder when next to tags that do not say "Taxation Without Representation" (this goes double for SUVs).
- Get in good with Mama Ayesha's. This is the restaurant a few doors down from me. If you befriend them, they'll set you up good. They have some quasi-legal agreement with the bus station parking lot, and sometimes they'll let you leave your vehicle there if they aren't too busy.
- Keep circling. I've circled around looking for spots for over five years and I've never had to sleep double-parked in the alley. Get used to it if you visit me.
Tuesday, February 14, 2006
Two things my wife and I would rather do than be forced to watch the movie, "Rent".
- Watch the movie Warriors three times back-to-back with no breaks.
- Lick the spot right above Danny Devito's butt crack. (Only if Devito was freshly showered).
Monday, February 13, 2006
Hall of Douchebags, here comes Trotsky Loves Mao
Meet Trotsky Loves Mao, our three piece that should be playing at a shithole near you soon (read: Velvet Lounge). No, just kidding. Our only purpose is to have our photograph show up in the Hall of Douchebags some day. Now that's a bigger accomplishment than getting a gig at Velvet Douchelounge. At least if our picture gets posted to The Hall, we'll be seen by more than just a bartender and whatever friends we managed to drag out on a Tuesday night. Now all we need is a brick wall or some railroad tracks to pose in front of ...
(Click to enlarge)
The we-love-each-other pose.
Come on, Faye, we can't be cool if someone is drunkenly smiling.
That's it, Derek. That's the face we want.
Hall of Douchebags, here we come!
Saturday, February 11, 2006
I don't care what anyone thinks---Smashing Pumpkins' Siamese Dream is awesome.
And I'd like to call bullshit on all those who think Gish is a better album than Siamese Dream. It's not. People who said Gish was better just said that because they wanted to prove that they liked Smashing Pumpkins before anyone else did. Nonsense.
I've zoned out a million times to Siamese Dream. I'd be a different person without that album. Hell, I even play Cherub Rock on my acoustic. That's the true proof of whether a riff or a song is high quality. Take Zepplin. You're not a fan until you've played Black Dog on your hollow body.
I used to be friends with this asshole frat guy in college who played bass. He would make me be completely silent while listening to Silverfuck in his dormroom. We'd sit through the entire quiet part. Then, when the wall of sound rang home nine minutes into the song---even though I had almost nothing in common with him otherwise---we had a unique friend moment. Just a moment. (Let the gay jokes commence.)
Anyway, if you had the misfortune of not growing up with Siamese Dream, I suggest you purchase it now on Amazon. It'll change the way you play guitar, at least.
Thursday, February 09, 2006
The "this-holiday-is-too-commercial" cliché has got to fucking stop. Now.
- All holidays are mainstream, so there should be no surprise when there's a commercial aspect to them. Christmas, Valentine's Day, what-have-you. If it's sanctioned by the federal government of the United States of America, people are going to want to make money from it. Get over it.
- Spending money is good. Anyone remember Japan in the 1990s? People didn't spend. All their money went into savings accounts. The economy stagnated. Everyone suffered. Buying and selling is good. Your Marxist sociology professor at G.W. was wrong. Money is meant to be spent faster than your crappy non-profit job can direct deposit it into your checking account. That's why cash is small, paper, and easily portable.
- Nostalgia is bullshit. Whenever you hear some douche lamenting the good ole days when people made Christmas gifts and Valentine's Day cards by hand, does anyone in the room ever remember those days? Don't think so. Because they never happened. Certain holidays have always been commercial and always will. Quit crying about the past, you complainy little child.
- Buying gifts for loved ones is nice, not mean. Hey Ebenezer, shell out some cash on a present for your mom or lady friend for Valentine's. Maybe your tightened heart will expand in your baby blue shirt enough to make you look less skinny and bitter.
Wednesday, February 08, 2006
I'm gettin' the F out.
DC is killing me. Thank all the powers in heaven and earth that I'm going to a tiny island off Belize in less than two weeks. Every year at this time, I push so close to the edge that I can't believe I've survived this far into 2006.
In less than 2 weeks ... two weeks ... God, help me not to end it all before I catch the plane.
PS: Sorry for all the god comments. But you know what they say: there are no atheists in a fox hole. And a hole called the Districk of Columbia is where I be.
Tuesday, February 07, 2006
No Student Activities Since 2002
Imagine someone from another country looking to take short term ESL classes in the United States. They're looking for a fun school with people from all over the world. So they go to the school's website and the pictures on the "Student Activities" page are four years old. No thanks.
For me, an out-dated website is a deal breaker. Rather than keep a web page that hasn't been updated in four years, my old ESL school should have a Student Activities page that says, "WE COULD GIVE A FLYING FUCK." It would probably attract about as many students as admiting that they haven't had an activity for their students in four years.
On another note, finding out that a company where I used to work is still a dog-and-pony-show makes me feel better about my current situation, and helps me stop romanticizing the past so much.
So for my sake, thank god for no student activities since 2002.
Quote of the Week
Saturday, February 04, 2006
Rainy, windy and cold? Fuggit. Let's go sailing.
CLICK TO ENLARGE
It was coming down pretty hard right here.
Thank god for cigarettes and Henri Lloyd jackets to keep us sane.
Coming up on a duck blind in the Chesapeake.
A key piece of equipment.
Climbing back from the bow.
The thousand yard stare.
Drinking at the Old Stein afterward makes the whole experience worthwhile.
Update as of 2/18/06: Greg was so pissed he couldn't come, that he Photoshopped himself into the trip. I appreciate that. Cheers, Greg. See you on the Segel in May. But leave your hat at home.