brian + japan = ?

b+j=? Gets Bookified!!!

Actually, only a few entries. The contents of the mass email I just aggravated everyone I know with follow:


my name is brian grivna, and i approved this mass email.

if you recall, or care to bring the repressed memory back to the
surface, i went to japan in the hope of making a new life for myself.
the pimpin', ballin', cap-bustin', software engineerin' life in the
MSP just got to be a bit too much for me. japan's siren song of
robotic pets, well-concreted waterways, free student-administered
enemas ( at elementary schools,
and nightly nomihoudais (all-you-can-drink) with fellow unruly
foreigners proved irresistible.

so i went. and i blogged. ( and boy,
was it mediocre writing.

but somehow - most likely through a combination of pity, luck,
gerrymandering, strong ties to the yakuza, iraq's missing WMD, and
thousands of cute, cuddly puppies - some of the stuff i wrote ended up
in an honest-to-god *book*. and not just *any* book, but the book
with the longest title since the advent of literature:

"Before the Mortgage: Real Stories of Brazen Loves, Broken Leases, and
the Perplexing Pursuit of Adulthood"

but between you and me, let's just call it "Before the Mortage". my
friends rachel hutton and christina amini edited it. they are really
really nice people. if you were to, say, purchase a copy of the book,
attend one of the many readings, visit the website
(, and/or spread the Good News of
the Coming of This Text, they would appreciate it greatly. and
seriously, aside from my garbage, the essays included are great:
clever, funny, and maybe even enlightening.

did i say readings? oh yes i did! am i participating in spite of my
illiteracy? oh yes i am!

minneapolis, magers & quinn, april 25th, 7:00 pm
new york city, housing works, may 16th, 7:00 pm

the details are available on the website. we have a crack team of
ventriloquists working around the clock to make my reading possible:
it's going to be more elaborate than NASA's faking of the moon
landing! boo-yah! i will gyrate spookily a la illusionist david
copperfield if you come. readings will also be taking place in san
francisco (4/19), and los angeles (4/20), but california's bouncer
won't let me in. something about my overalls. still, you should
attend those if you have a chance.

also, to allay your greatest fear: rest assured that i will not
receive *one cent* of the revenues generated from your support. it's
actually written into my contract.

here's what tom cruise is yelling about "Before the Mortgage":
"[jumping on couch] YES!!! YEEEEEEEEEAH!!! [pumping fist, throttling
Oprah] ALL RIGHT!!! [brandishing copies of 'Dianetics' and 'Before the

and that's pretty much it. i apologize for the mass email -
especially to those of you with whom i've been out of touch lately -
but figured it would be the best way to spread the word.

i hope you're all doing well, and with any luck i'll see some of you
at one of the readings!

April 02, 2006 - 03:44 PM

Vietnam 4: ...and the Rest.

[Not quite dead yet! The month of madness leading up to my departure from Japan left little time to wrap up the Vietnam Saga and (stealing from Cervantes) "other adventures that deserve to be recounted". So let's get the blogging on!]

When we last left our sexy heroes, they'd escaped the savage jungles of Bach Ma. According to The All-Knowing Tome of Thrifty Voyages, the next destination on their noble quest was the city of Hue, yet another cultural treasure trove whose significance would, in the humble opinion of your faithful narrator, surely be lost on them. And so, let us rejoin them at the moment of their first significant discovery...

Continue reading "Vietnam 4: ...and the Rest."

August 20, 2005 - 07:42 AM

Goodbye Japan Continue reading "Goodbye Japan"

August 04, 2005 - 02:37 AM

728 Down...

For once, the lack of updates is due to genuine busyness, not laziness. Already got packing and moving out of the way, but a gauntlet of gift-buying, miscellaneous errands, and painful farewells remains to be run. I am leaving Japan in three days, and I feel like I've been punched hard in the gut.

August 01, 2005 - 03:16 AM | Comments (1)

Vietnam 3: Yes. Yes, I Do Wan Motobai.

[News Flash! For a much more concise pictorial account of our trip, see Tim's site. Also, Karl Rove hates America. That is all.]

Of the zillion motorbike owners in Vietnam, a healthy percentage spends all day loitering on street corners and offering budget taxi service to foreigners.

There they are. The most common pickup line: "You wan motobai?" We quickly learned to ignore the guys completely. But because our destination, Bach Ma National Park, was not on the tourist track, it was motobai or bust. Our chauffeurs were cool, and had enough English to negotiate the terms and schedule of a round trip. Handy!

Continue reading "Vietnam 3: Yes. Yes, I Do Wan Motobai."

July 18, 2005 - 06:35 PM | Comments (1)

Vietnam 2: Nha Trang to Hoi An

Nha Trang is Vietnam's beach capital. I have proof.

See the thatched umbrellas? Indisputable evidence of beach capital-ness! The only things missing were drunk sexy teens, vapid MTV veejays, and some Girls Gone Wild cameramen laden with those beaded necklaces that girls show you their boobs in exchange for. Who knew crappy trinkets could be so powerful?

Continue reading "Vietnam 2: Nha Trang to Hoi An"

July 13, 2005 - 09:56 PM | Comments (4)

Vietnam 1: I Wanna Be A Ho

Once off the plane, we were promptly engulfed in crazy humidity. It never really let up, making for a non-stop sweatfest. I probably lost a few pounds in perspiration alone. Once out of the airport, we are promptly swarmed by the budding capitalists of Vietnam. Our first new friend is a taxi driver offering to take us to town for the low low price of $10 (though the Dong - pause for giggling - is Vietnam's official currency, the good ol' U.S. Dollar is also happily accepted and often preferred). We tell him the hotel we want to go to. He promptly informs us that there's lots of construction in that area and it's very difficult to get to, maybe we'd like to check out a great hotel he knows of?

I hate to say it, but this was a fitting welcome to the country.

Continue reading "Vietnam 1: I Wanna Be A Ho"

July 10, 2005 - 05:50 PM

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