The Squeaky Robot

A Meddling Robot in a Human's World

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Welcome to Austria!

Posted on July 31, 2012

 I seldom do narratives on this blog because I seldom pull them off, but I’m going to try anyway. Yesterday I was in a cozy Stockholm suburb, today I am in Salzburg. There is something exhausting and comforting about transit. It’s kind of like scuba diving: long hours of relative peace and serenity peppered with moments of hurried panic (will I make the train? Shit, I’m on the wrong platform!!). And then you arrive, eventually, and the world seems still again. From Stockholm I fly to Munich. I intend on staying in the city for at least a day; I have been there before, but it truly is a gorgeous place and the weather is beyond agreeable. And so I quickly book the cheapest…


Posted on July 30, 2012

Leaving Sweden is more bitter than sweet. But maybe it’s this smoked moose sausage I’m eating at my gate. It’s been incredible mostly because of my friends here, but also because of Scandinavia’s magnetic charm – the Land of Freedom and Liberty For All should be on Sweden’s flag, unlike one country that shouts those words loudly but doesn’t follow through. Now I can only hope to return the favor half as well as they have – my one friend Andreas in particular deserves a huge thank you  – when they eventually find themselves in the States looking for a helping hand and a couch to crash. You travel, you meet people, you meet them again, and then you leave, knowing that at some…

Every American is Obese

Posted on July 27, 2012

Americans don’t travel internationally as much as Europeans. Not only am I not knowledgeable enough to explain why this is, I’m not ready to speak for the entire country. Money issues? Lack of curiosity or interest? Societal pressures to work as soon as school finishes? Fear? These speculations have the potential to go on ad infinitum, so I just won’t speculate. As a result, people ask questions when they find out where I’m from. They ask about the ‘typical’ American – what do we eat? What do we do for fun? What are the obesity rates nowadays? The Swedish image of the typical American is horrid – fat, heavy breathing, languid, speaking in a slow Southern drawl that parallels an equally slow intellect. Then…

Den Gnisslande Roboten in Stockholm

Posted on July 26, 2012

How about some music?

Isn’t it strange? Simply by knowing a friend who has a friend with a swanky Stockholm pad and roof access, I wind up on said roof, drinking beers, climbing ladders, and laughing with members of Sweden’s navy, all the while not believing the series of random incidents and occurrences that were necessary to find myself at this exact place and time.

The syndrome takes hold: Stockholm my captor, I find myself in love.

A City Overrun

Posted on July 24, 2012

Old men in Birkenstocks and tunics walk the streets of Amsterdam.  People like these congregate in great numbers along the main shopping streets and smoking alleys. Even though weed is illegal but still allowed, many tourists come to this city to taste a brief thrill of overt liberalism.  Consequently, many tourists visit the same places and take the same pictures. I feel like this city is overrun with foreigners; the beaten path is every path, and there’s hardly an angle or street corner that hasn’t been repetitively photographed. It is so difficult to be original – or as close to original as possible – here for that reason. I would step away from the crowds into a quiet alleyway, one lined with flowers and…

Day on the Town

Posted on July 22, 2012

If this small photo set convinces you Holland is a lovely place, you’d be on to something. And because this blog deals with the more or less hazy nature of ‘home’ and whatever it means, let me just say this: the air smells . . .new. Untouched. As if I’m the very first person to breathe it. Emitted directly from a flower into my lungs. When the air doesn’t smell this way, it smells like horse shit or bonfires. Ah! Takes me back! Seriously – there is no better smell than that of wood burning outdoors. Amsterdam is beautiful but too touristy. More than that, these particular tourists are annoying as fuck because they go around asking unassuming shopkeepers where they can score some…

Humans of Holland

Posted on July 21, 2012

Let us begin on a sleepy side street in the labyrinth that is Amsterdam. Across a canal, I spot a wooden sign that reads “used english books”. I dash. In the front of the store, you can see specs of dust and debris dance in the sunlight. The rest of the shop has fluorescent yellow lighting that flickers and buzzes and makes you feel uncomfortable after a while. The books are unwanted. They cover obscure, specific topics: an Elizabeth Taylor biography, a history of french playwrights, philosophical essays by unknown minds. They smell old but their pages are like new. The owner is American by birth but moved to Holland years ago. He mentions he’s from southern Indiana and I ask him how he…

South Bank

Posted on July 19, 2012

If you’re reading this, I suggest you continue while listening to this. Sets a mood. I had plans. They went away when I jogged along the South Bank. “Give me the meanest face you got.” Oh, Nikon FM, how in love with you I am. These are the nastiest, sickest, illest, dopest, bossest preteens South Bank’s undercroft has ever seen. Please, allow me to explain: And then the big kids move in. Read this about “the UK’s most prominent skate spot”: its history, its present, and its precarious future. I’m of the belief that subcultures need to persist, particularly the subcultures of street art and British punk. Paintball needs to stay, too. They’re like pepper in a loaf of white bread.


Posted on July 17, 2012

“Travel is little beds and cramped bathrooms. It’s old television sets and slow Internet connections. Travel is extraordinary conversations with ordinary people. It’s waiters, gas station attendants, and housekeepers becoming the most interesting people in the world. It’s churches that are compelling enough to enter. It’s McDonald’s being a luxury. It’s the realization that you may have been born in the wrong century. Travel is a smile that leads to a conversation in broken English. It’s the epiphany that pretty girls smile the same way all over the world. Travel is tipping 10% and being embraced for it. Travel is the same white T-shirt again tomorrow. Travel is accented sex after good wine and too many unfiltered cigarettes. Travel is flowing in the back…