Thursday, August 31, 2006

The blog wherein I retract certain judgments of Project Runway contestants

Jeffrey : you're a bastard, I cannot believe you made someone's mom cry. It's disgusting. Your negative personality poisons your designs for me, even when they're good, I can't like them. Because I hate you. The end.

Michael: you are still the best. You kick some serious ass and I hope you win it all. Plus way to say nice things about Angela when she got eliminated. Probably because she wasn't a threat to you, and Jeffrey is so insecure he had to continue to be a d*ck even when she got eliminated.

Laura: I still love your designs, I don't care what the people say! And go ahead and be a bitch, you're pregnant, though the fact that it's your sixth kid is somewhat disturbing to me...

Vincent: retract statement. In the past you have been annoying to me. You kind of still are, but after I saw the Mom episode I have to say that I have a lot more respect for you. It's not actually because you won, it's because you "got it." You basically said that you were lucky to get a slimmer mom, but body size is not an excuse for designing badly because the general population of women come in all shapes and sizes and that's who buys your clothes. I saw the glimmer of a sane man in the midst of madness and I respect that. Still don't think you have a chance in hell of winning though, my friend.

Uli: she's so cute! She's a great designer and I can't believe the Calvin Klein judge hated on her for her dress which I thought was fabulous. What were they talking about, the dress being "warm climate"? Yeah it had a tropical color scheme, but she could totally rock that dress out in a non-warm party city like....uh....Reykjavik

Kayne: Kayne of many colors. You are tacky, kind of loud and full of drama, and look like you wear FOUNDATION. Last night, however, you were pretty hilarious, and I loved it when you were taking runway tips from Michael. Fabulous :) That outfit from last night was pretty bad though.

So yeah. That's my recap. Ugh, I wish it had helped me clear my head......blah

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

the squish

I do have a beautiful wedding I need to blog, but first,

I must take a moment to calm myself down. Why? I am feeling the financial squeeze of graduate school tighten it's grip.

Don't feel bad for me! No, I'm serious. Don't feel bad for me, I got myself into this mess by using credit cards liberally my last year of college, allowing myself to be forced into buying my car after I graduated even though I was unemployed, going to Kenya in January without a second thought, and now, going to grad school. It's my own damn fault, but now I'm panicking about it and totally flipping the F8ck out. No good!

I think it's actually going to be ok. So I just spent $180 to cover books for one class. That's alright, maybe my other class will be a readings/paper writing class! No books! Let's be optimistic here! So what if I messed up my online billpay and screwed myself by not making my Old Navy and MBNA payments and now owe them a collective $312 this month. It's ok! I'll pay with my savings. So what if I have to make up about 6 car payments. I'll get there! Phew, all this optimism is starting to kill me.

Oh well. It's back to making a stricter budget. How on earth will I move out of my house with this kind of debt? It's depressing, but I'm trying to keep my chin up, because honestly, I think that's the only way I can pay my way out of this major debt. Plus, to look on the bright side, I'm making a budget that shows how if I plan my Christmas shopping very carefully, I won't go into a lick of debt this holiday season. Happy happy, joy joy -_-
Wish me luck.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Nothing makes you feel less beautiful than when....

the pedicurist gets out a sheet of newspaper and a implement normally use for shaving corns off feet because your foot skin is that thick and crackly that the only way she can actually work with your feet is to SHAVE THEM. Yeah, so incredibly hot. That's what I get for wearing flip flops everywhere.

Anyways, at the end of a long and trying day yesterday I walked up to the local nail place "Nails by Time" I'm not really sure why they're called this or what it means, but I don't fight it because the place is cheap and fairly clean. The girls who work there seem really into body things. I have been to chi chi spas in the suburbs and they flip out if there's a speck of dirt under your toenail or you have a wart or something. By going to this nail place you give up the ambience of a fancy spa, but you get the full fix-up - the girls there will take this horrible hook-like dentist-looking tool and scrape stuff out of your toenail crevices. yum. while it's not the most delightful thing in the world, you feel really clean, well once you get over the shame you feel about someone having to help you clean your feet.

I have never had to have my foot skin (which sounds dangerously like "foreskin" LOL) shaved, but the woman yesterday held up my feet, made a clicking sound, sighed and got up. I thought "Oh Jesus I know they're so dirty, but please, let her come back alone and not with have the staff so they can stare at my dirty feet." She did come back alone, but with a page torn out of the Metro. I thought "I get why she's doing that, I've made dirt stains on their towels, she's probably gonna put that under my feet instead" When she put it on the floor I was confused, and then out came the shaver. She went at my feet like she was peeling a carrot, and without mercy. All I could think was "please don't break the skin, my tetanus is out of date." She didn't though, and soon my nails were painted and lovely.

Another thing about your local nail place, and I don't say this to be a jerk, is that it's run by people usually of the asian persuasion (rhyme!) and I don't know if it's a language thing or what, but the women talk amongst themselves in Vietnamese/Chinese/insert language here and not to you, which I find to be a blessing. There's nothing worse than having to make awkward conversation while some woman is scrubbing your feet. The lady who took care of me yesterday conformed to this rule until she started my manicure. Then we launched into a long conversation about everything, where we went to school, how much money we still owed undergrad (yes the nail lady went to college!), where I live, whether or not I cook when I'm at home, how I get to work, if I go to Trader Joe's in my home town, and why I was getting a manicure and pedicure. I told her that I was going to my friends wedding. She looked up and scrutinized my face. "You want eyebrow wax?" she asked. I balked at this, having a fear of losing my eyebrows that has followed me since my middle school days when I stupidly put a bandaid on my face which inadvertantly plucked a bald spot in my eyebrow when I ripped it off. I stuttered for a moment and said "oh, do I need it?" Knowing the answer was "yes" but asking to buy time. The woman moved her head so she could compare my eyebrows and said "you really do. yeah. don't you want to look pretty at the wedding?" Jeez, I thought, if I look that busted I'd better do it. "Well ok I said, if you say I need it, then I must." She left to prepare the waxing room.

I'm not sure which was worse, the foot shaving or the excessive waxing and tweezing that this woman felt was necessary to tame the hairy beast. For the better part of a half hour, I sat in a glorified desk chair with my head tilted back so far I couldn't swallow while she waxed, waxed again, waxed a third time and then tweezed and tweezed and tweezed. The whole time I thought "there go my eyebrows" which I will admit, were never really evenly plucked or shaped anyways. I figured if she messed up and made them really thin or waxed them off, at least I'd be able to start over.

When I did finally sit up, I was shocked to see my diminished eyebrows. I like them now, and I think I will have to get used to them, but all in all I feel pretty. Actually I feel myself becoming addicted to manicures, pedicures, and eyebrow wax. Uh-oh ;)

Thursday, August 24, 2006


It's always so terrifying to realize that people who you thought loved you and had only kind words and gentle criticism for you can be cruel, can destroy, can make you feel so insignificant you feel like you're huddling naked on the edge of a cliff overlooking the sea. It's so hard. So hard.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Television without Pity

I love watching reality TV because you're dealing with real people, and in dealing with real people it's so much easier to like/dislike/and pass judgement on them. You can't really watch "Lost" and be like "Oh, Kate has made bad decisions in her life and living on the island is her big chance to really turn it around." I mean, you absolutely can say that, but is it relevant? Not really, not as real to me as looking at Jade from "America's Next Top Model" and saying "that biatch is CRAZY!" THat's waaaay better!! THEN after the fact, you can read a wonderfully evil review of the show on

As with "America's Next Top Model," I have found the reviewer of "Project Runway" Jeff, to be dead-on in his assessments. I love it when the snarky reviewers and I agree because I know that I am watching the show and someone else hates the same character as me (not the case with boyfriend!). I was delighted when I checked in this morning to read the review of last week's episode and the recap of last nights, because Jeff had this to say about the designer I feel is the most vile:

Jeffrey tells us that, having not won a challenge, he feels like no one understands him. If I were writing a script for Jeffrey based purely on his appearance, "No one understands me" would be the first line. You know that guy says that shit all the time. He's really jealous that the judges seem to love Keith and thinks that Keith's greatest talent is bullshitting. First of all, touché. There's not a "second of all," except that I hate Cosa Nostra as the name of a clothing line. It just seems like one more poseur-y thing to add to Jeffrey's Big Fat Phony Persona.

This photo screams "fake bastard." Ok not really, but that's what I think he is!

While we're at it, I'm gonna do a rundown of everyone left. I know not everyone is gonna share my opinions, but I looooove this shit.

Jeffrey: fake bastard. yeah, I like his outfits, but I don't love them. The drawn on belt in last night's challenge? fabulous? NO! It sucked! It was not art, but that's what he wants you to think it is. His tatoo? Yeah, that's not art either. It makes him look like he has some sort of vise around his neck. Freaky.

Vincent: fucking nuts with an incredibly irritating accent. I want to shush him as soon as he opens his mouth. I really think he's crazy, he gets on my nerves, his designs, blow. The only thing that saved him last night, with his white sheath dress spackled with garbage, was the fact that Alison's design made her model look like a "giant brioche." Vincent's days are numbered.

Kayne: now at first I was like "Oh my God, Kayne is soooo fabulous" in that fag hag-esque sort of way, "like, I totally want Kayne to design all my dresses and make me look all poufy and pageant and gorgeous." Now he is starting to drive me crazy. I can't take the spaziness anymore, though I will admit I do love the gay bitchy passive aggressive drama, love that he reported Keith for having pattern books and got him kicked off the show. Here's the thing about "Kayne of Many Colors" - he's a teen girl pageant designer. He's really good at that, REALLY GOOD, but what else is he good at? Anything? Also, he looks as though he wears foundation, which is slightly disturbing to me...

Robert: he whines. his designs are ok, safe, but usually well made. besides his incessant whining, I don't really have an opinion on him. I'd be willing to like him if he proves himself, LOL.

Uli: LOVE ULI! She's fabulous. She's talented, very creative and creates gorgeous things. Plus she seems sweet. She doesn't get in fights, she keeps pretty quiet and to herself and dishes in the "confessional." She's in it to win, you can tell she is totally trying to keep quiet and kick ass without attracting attention. She is definitely in my top 3 favorites.

Laura: everyone says she's a bitch. I love her. Love her. People also say her designs are stiff. Well, then why has she been in the top three every episode people! Yeah, people say "she designs stuff she would wear." The judges said that last night too, except they liked it, they think it's great. As for her bitchiness, I don't really care. Yeah she confronted Vincent about his suckage at a really inappropriate time, but you really can't hide from the fact that Vincent SUCKS! I love that she and Michael share a bond, and she was making these odd hand motions in the recycling garage while he rapped and he looked at her like "sh*t white lady, what the F*CK are you trying to do" and just took her hand and said "no. stop" and they both cackled. I love the bond. So she's a bitch? So what? that's what it takes to win. She's in my top three too, though I don't see her winning unless she starts busting out some really intense and different designs. You can't argue that her clothes are extremely well designed and well made though.

Angela: I think she's pretty clueless, but there's something about her that makes me like her. The second or third episode when she latched on the Kayne I hated her because she was a leech, and then she busted out with an extraordinarily bad design (the owner/dog challenge) and was severely chastized. The past three weeks, however, brilliance has started to show itself. She, Michael and Laura made a fabulous outfit for INC, she channeled Audrey Hepburn brilliantly in her "modernize famous stars" challenge, and her recycling outfit was quirky, but colorful and seemingly well-constructed. I see her as very very naive, but would love to see her stick around.

Michael: Michael, Michael, Michael. On the first episode, Michael walks in. First thing I notice is "wow, a non-flamboyant man on this show. interesting." And then I realize "wow it's a non-flamboyant black man designer from Atlanta" Day-um. Then he says "I want Project Runway to make me a big motherfucking fashion designer." "Awesome" I think, "I love this guy." And I do! The first challenge I honestly thought he should've won -the coffee filter dress was amazing! I am so glad that he's recently come into his own and has won two in a row, though I know winning a couple in a row can be the kiss of death (santino, oh but wait, he sucked). I want Michael to win the show, why? cause he's not a pompous ass. He keeps his mouth shut, doesn't get into it with anyone and does not participate in any of the bullshit drama. When Keith stole some thread, Laura went to bat for him. I could see hime just standing there, amused, letting Laura fight his fight, and why not? Ha ha I'd shut up too, especially if I kept winning. Plus he and his model are the perfect match, I love seeing how they work together. GO MICHAEL!

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

The Bunny Rabbit Story

This is boyfriend's favorite Africa story. No, he hasn't heard them all, and I don't know if I'd ever have the time to tell him every one, but this is the story of all the stories I have had the time to tell him that he asks me to repeat to his friends.

We (and when I say "we" I mean all the students in my group, all 23 of us - 5 boys, 18 girls, and our professors Okello, Tome, and Kiringe, as well as staff including but not limited to: Little Paul, Big Paul, Salaash, Maraka, Kioko, Charles, James, Maasai Askaris whose names I cannot spell, Fred and KWS guards armed with AK-47's for protection against wildlife). Anyways, we were in Tsavo on safari, and it was the first real safari we had taken. Sure, we had been on jaunts outside of our fenced camp, but never on a real and true safari, camping in a campsite in tents, exposed to the elements. It was exhilirating just imagining the adventure.

When we arrived, I saw how incredibly different Tsavo was from most of the other parts of Kenya I had seen. It was hot, which wasn't really anything new, but the heat felt different. Perhaps it was the elevation or the fact that my first impressions had been gathered while standing atop a massive lava flow with the sun beating down on me, heating the black rock with its intense rays. Tsavo seemed barren to me at first, the vegetation was low and scrubby and mostly brown. There were nice rolling hills in the distance that were green and lush - the Chyulus, which is where any water found in Tsavo originates, but they were far away and I was trapped in a drab red-brown park full of dust. As the days slipped by though, I began to see that Tsavo was brimming with life, it's own unique ecosystem toiling away as it had been for hundreds of years under the African sun. Our early morning jaunts revealed giraffe families feeding in close bundles, mother and father and 7 foot baby in between, already tall enough to reach the delicate brances of the acacia trees. Birds filled the air in Tsavo, and I may have recorded more species there than I did at any other park. If you drove slowly, lesser kudu would come out of the bush just long enough to let you catch a glimpse of them, their beautiful white striped tawny coats shining in the light and their graceful spiraling horns above still heads that watched your every move before running into the the undergrowth again. Looking back, I realize how magical that place really is, how I underestimated it when I was there, used to the brash showiness of the elephants in Amboseli, the hundreds of animals that dotted the plain there carelessly grazing and ignoring cars full of people with telephoto lenses. Tsavo animals were more wary of human having been subjected to decades of poaching. The elephants did not stand in the open road, they hid, tucked away carefully in thick acacia stands, hesitant to show their hulking frames, unsure if the humans before them would wield cameras or guns. This made every glimpse of wildlife in that park a gift. If we had not been so observant, we would have missed it altogether.

Wildlife, as you can imagine, often strayed into the camp. We had a leopard tortoise come charging through on his thick and stubby tortoise legs. This was a treat because we had not had the chance to see any interesting african reptiles (snakes were killed on sight, poisonous or not, and the geckos and skinks around camp were interesting enough but too fast to catch and observe) and we picked the turtle up and had a good look at him before sending him on his way.

It is easy to see why animals would wander into our camp - it was hardly more than a clear flat space in a vast expanse of wilderness. The bathrooms faced a thick and dark stand of scrubby trees, just tall enough to conceal an elephant and just thick enough to conceal a lion. This made me nervous every time I went to the bathroom, since of course, the ladies side was at such an angle that it was closer to the vegetation. The bathroom itself was no prize, just a cement pad with drains in the floor (for when the toilets were clogged, no doubt) and two badly/rarely working toilets. Most of the time, I held me pee until we were somewhere with flush toilets or peed while doing fieldwork - we'd pee directly in front or in back of the car on the open road, which sounds terribly immodest, but really wasn't at all. At night if one had to use the bathroom, we had to signal an askari (guard) to our tent with a flashlight and he would come over with a gun or a spear, escort you to the pee pee, wait outside, and walk you back when you were done. It was just divine, especially if you had to do a number 2, to know that someone was right on the other side of the cheap corrugated tin barrier, listening to you shit. Plus, there were the geckos that lined the bathroom walls and ceiling - they have such big eyes, I honestly used to wonder if they were watching me go.

One night we all got back to camp late because most of our cars had been bogged down in the mud. We started preparations for dinner, and my friend N mentioned she had to pee. I had to take a quick one myself, and I glanced across camp to the bathroom block. It was still well enough lit that we could see across camp so I figured we could just go there together and we'd be fine. I grabbed my trusty red maglite just in case, and as we got closer to the bathrooms we decided to go the men's side because it was "safer." There was only one toilet in there (the men peed into a hole) so I went first cause I thought N wanted privacy, in case she had a stomach issue, because we all had them at one time or another. I stepped outside, and realized that dusk had quickly become night. "Great" I thought, "I'm in the one place in camp I really shouldn't be in the dark, fabulous." I clicked on my maglite and did a sweep of the bush. Nothing, clear. I then turned to my left to give the deserted campsites a sweet. There, in the beam of my maglite, were two yellow, glowing eyes. I felt my heart leap up into my stomach. I grabbed the flimsy screen door of the bathroom, sprang in, and slammed it behind me, pushing the tiny lock into place as if that would protect us from the man-eating lions!!! I could tell immediately that I had interuppted N mid-unpleasant bathroom experience. "NNNNNN" I whispered. "What? WHAT?" she said in this tone that was like 'oh my god you caught me mid diarrhea I'm so embarrassed but you're clearly freaking out now what is WRONG?' "N", I said, 'there is an animal out there. I saw it with the maglite. It's got YELLOW EYES" "Ok, ok" she said, emerging from the doorless stall, ''ok." We opened the door a crack and I swept my light into the vast darkness, and once again, two yellow eyes glowed in the night. "Shit!" N said and closed the door. We crept over to a small window in the cement wall. I stuck my flashlight out of it, looking for someone close by. "Little Paul! Little Paul!" I hissed. Paul looked around confused for a moment, then sauntered over to the door of the men's bathroom. We opened it and yanked him in by the sleeve. You can only imagine the great embarrasment this caused him. Paul was youngish, maybe 23 or 24, and had a handsome baby face and was embarrassed by everything - he was probably the most modest Kenyan I ever met (barring religious fanatics and Kenyans practicing Islam). He once talked to me while I was doing laundry, saw that I had underwear in my bucket, turned two shades darker and scurried away. The fact that he was alone with two girls in a men's bathroom was pretty much the worse place he could imagined at that moment. "What?" he said softly. "Paul" I said, towering over his small frame "Paul, there is something out there, in the night, with yellow eyes. It's low to the ground but it could be a hyena, or a predatory cat or something and we are just trapped here!"He must've sensed the urgency combined with sheer spaz in my voice, because he grabbed my flashlight and stepped outside. He started sweeping the area I had pointed to, and sure enough, the flashlight once again found those two glowing yellow eyes. "There! There it is!" I said in a screaming whisper. Paul squinted at it for a moment, then cocked his head slightly. He widened the beam of light slightly and adjusted his grip on the flashlight to illuminate the animal. He grinned. "Ah-Lee-zuhn. It ees a Bun-ni Rabbeet" I stared at a 3 foot tall hare in front of me, contentedly chewing small blades of grass, turning its head every so often, its eyes picking up the beam of light. "Wow" I breathed, mortified yet amazed at the sheer enormity of the african jack rabbit. "Alrighty then, let's go." N said.

Paul walked us back to camp and began gesticulating and speaking in wild Swahili. I stood there with my arms cross as the staff playfully taunted - "Ahleezon, you afraid of a leetle bunny? ahahahahahhaahhaah" I looked at them with my arms crossed, "I thought it was something else!" I said defending myself, or trying to. "No Ahleezon, this was just a bunny!!" "Yeah" I said, holding my arm out to waistlevel, "but at least it was a MAD HUGE RABBIT!" Peals of laughter echoed through the empty african night.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Kenyan Memory

This memory just came back so powerfully to me that I thought I'd write it down!

While I was in Kenya I did my research in Nairobi National Park. I counted game for about six weeks straight, which may sound like torture to a lot of people, but to me was absolutely glorious. We would set out early in the morning, take a lunch break either back at camp or in the park, and then go on for another four or five hours counting zebra, giraffe, rhinocerous, bushbuck, reedbuck, waterbuck, impala, thompson's gazelle, grant's gazelle, warthog, lion, cheetah, kongoni, ostrich, cape buffalo, and wildebeest(phew, remembered them all!). We were always careful to head back to camp just before dusk. One, we weren't allowed to stray from camp after dark because if anything happened to us it was an insurance liability and two, the chance of something happening to us outside the camp after dark is decent since, read list above and add hyena, there are lots of things that could have eaten us.

Our camp bordered the park, but in order to get into the park, you had to drive all the way out to Athi River proper, which was a hideous dirt road, full of potholes and craters. Your boobs spent most of the time smashed against your eyelids and all you could concentrate on was keeping your teeth clenched together so you didn't accidentally bite your tongue. It was on this road, I believe, that we went over a bump so severe that my head was snapped backwards then immediately forwards, resulting in a face plant in the seat in front of me, a slam so hard that it broke my sunglasses across the bridge of my nose and the broken pieces cut my face. The road can't be that long, but it's so wretched that it takes you about 40 minutes to get out to the main road in Athi River. The one good thing about the dirt road is that you can't move too fast on it, and that lets you look at game that's strayed outside the park boundaries. It's not unusual to see giraffe, wildebeest, zebra and gazelles wandering around outside the park, grazing. The predators stay within the boundaries during the day, but at night they venture forth outside the park and used to come right up to the fence. The leopards would agitate the monkeys, and their haunting warning calls would wake us in the middle of the night. Lions would sit right by the gate and make the most amazing sounds, low-pitched and rumbling, not a roar at all, but more like a giant with indegestion.

In order to avoid this road, we had a key to a shortcut. Kenya Wildlife Service had installed a gate on the other side of a creek that divided private land and the park. We were given the key because we weren't day visitors, but researchers who would be spending days on end in the park, and it would only be a hassle to go around to the Cheetah gate every day, several times a day. The short cut chopped our transit time in half. The creek we had to cross was quite small too, the only problem being the very steep hill on the other side that we had to climb in the land cruiser in order to get into the park. Usually when we got to the gate, we'd cross the creek, stop on the other side, and then barrel up the hill. When it got to be April and the rains came, getting up the hill required a running start, and someone would have to cross the creek on foot, climb the hill, open the gate, and wait while cars came full speed across the stream and up the hill. We usually crossed, whether rainy or dry, without incident.

A few times though, we would run into trouble. One morning we all went out, all the research groups, which included botany and ecology groups. The botany group was at the head of the line when Wayne, the driver and professor got on the radio "Lions," he said, "we'll wait, but we ought to go around, it's a female and her kittens, she's liable to get defensive." That was a day we went around. Another time, my friend Otieno was driving. I loved to bother him as much as possible. He would reply in his think Kenyan accent "Why you al-ways ab-huuus-sing me??" Heh heh. Otieno would try to get me back as much as possible for these abuses, and so that day, though the skies were getting dark, he made me get out to open the gate. I said "Otieno, no it's dark, there could be crocs!!" He cackled. "Al-lee-son. You go. Get out. You go. Do it, unless you are too scared, then I will have my friend he-ah, Patrick, I will have him open it." Not wanting to be made a coward and in my constant determination to prove myself equal to our male companions (who were not the most rugged bunch, I will say) I leapt through the open window onto the dusty ground. As I opened the gate, my eye caught movement, and when the animal that was moving came into focus, I realized I wasn't in any danger, yet I still let out a scream. "AHHHHHHHHHHHH!" It was high pitched and girly (UGH!!) and Otieno leapt out of the drivers seat. He looked to the right, looked at me, and bopped me on the head with the flat of his palm. "Hey! It is a lisssard! Jus a lissard! What is wrong with you?!!" I said "Yeah Otieno, but it was a monitor lizard, and it was 6 feet long!!!" "Ha ha,'' he laughed, "he is a baby, you just get back in the car." Though Otieno would make fun of me for four days because of this incident, at least my fellow students focused on the coolness of seeing a monitor lizard...

There was only one time crossing the creek where I was actually nervous. There were three of us, me, Kristen, and Patrick out with our professor, Sinnary, finishing up some game counts. Though it was nearly dark, we decided to use the gate, in order to get us home before darkness really set in. It was even darker than usual by the creek. The sun had started to set, and the thick vegetation and acacias made it hard to see the creek. Sinnary got out of the car to open the gate, saying that he should do it in case there were "animals" around (aka, animals, including lions, on the ground getting a drink, or leopards, in the trees, waiting for an animal drinking to stop paying attention so it could become a meal). I thought "great, the one guy who knows how to drive stick is now out of the car, fabulous." Though I knew the mechanics of driving stick, I had only tried it once, with limited success, and didn't really want to be tested having to drive out of a creek with a mauled professor and a lion on my heels. Sinnary opened the gate without incident though, hopped back in the car, and gunned it to make it through the mud. We crossed the creek and came to a violent halt, the engine dying. "Woah," the three students said when our tires came to a halt and started to bog down. "Well," said Sinnary in his hesitant Sudanese accent, "I all...will....have to spend the night here." I could hear the laughter in his words, but couldn't help but wonder how we were going to get out without calling another car from the camp to tow us out. Even then, we'd have to wait 40 minutes or so, and by then it would be dark, and we were basically sitting bait in the middle of the creek. More dangerous would be to leave the car and go on foot. That's the first thing they taught us in Africa - never leave the car! Sinnary glanced over his shoulder. "You really....should...put up....the, ahh...roof hatches now.'' The roof hatches! We scrambled to get them back into place, locking the rubber nubs of the hatches securely into the metal roof latches. "So, uh, what now Sinnary?" I asked. "Well. I guess I will try and put the four wheel drive on." This required getting out of the car and switching a latch on each of the back tires. Though I thought it was dangerous, I figured he was the old hand at it and sat back to watch, my hand fumbling around my field guides, binocs, lenses and cameras for my leatherman, which would offer us little protection, though it was better than nothing. I watched from the backseat for animals, while Kristen and Patrick kept an eye on things. Sinnary waded out through the creek, which by now was knee deep with spring rain, and climbed up the bank to close the gate. He then slid back down to the tires and flipped the switch. With a quick glance over his shoulder, Sin leapt back into the land cruiser, and turned the keys. With some hesitation the engine sprang to life. He gunned the accelerator and we were jolted from creek bed to river bank in about 3 seconds. "HA HA!" Sinnary laughed victoriously. We shot onto the burned grassy plain where the sun was just setting. I turned back to look at the sinister dark hole in the forest from which we had just emerged. I imagined pairs of glowing eyes staring back at mine saying "almost, almost, almost."

Arkansas State Police

ASP: You know, a tornado is much like a dee-vorce
MSP: Um, really, how so?
ASP: Someone sure as shit's fixin' to lose a mobile home.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

100th Post

I am writing this story. See, boyfriend is a writer, and a good one. I am a reader and don't tend to think of myself as a writer at all, but in reading Jam's great stuff, and even his stuff that I don't love, I realized that writing can be fun, so probably 8 months ago or so, I started to write snippets of things, pieces of a story. Of course, they're short really intense paragraphs, because I was messing around a writing for sheer impact, not a cohesive multi-paged work. I come back to the story every so often and tweak. Add some stuff. Research some stuff. Today I was trying to figure out how long it takes to get to Nanyuki from Nairobi, the distance, the approximate location of Nanyuki in comparison the the equator, Mt. Kenya, etc, and I stumbled upon this wonderful site:

It's basically a website maintained by a guy who bikes. A lot. He's been all over the world and has been kind enough to post his pictures for everyone to see. I enjoyed looking at it particularly for his Kenya shots, especially for this one I think it may be because I have stood exactly, exactly in that place and look out over the Great Rift Valley, the Cradle of Life, the place which proves that we are all inexorably connected as human beings on this planet.

Friday, August 04, 2006

I think it must be Thursday

So people are always asking "what's your favorite day of the week?"

Most people say Friday or Saturday, maybe even Sunday, but I think my favorite is Thursday. Why?
Well Friday is already the weekend to me. By Friday, you're already losing time. On Thursday night you can sit back and envision the weekend, the freedom of Friday night, and then two glorious days to fill with non-work related crap. Wonderful.

Last night, after we came home from a glorious, and I mean GLORIOUS, dinner at the Barker Tavern, I started thinking about all the things I could and should do this weekend.

Here are the shoulds:

change the bed
do the laundry
file the bills
organize crafts cause they're out of control
organize everything else

here are the coulds:

overhaul overgrown garden
scrapbook kenya
scrapbook rest of 2005
finish pile of sewing on sewing table
cross stitch

here are the already doings:

meeting my sister at the Cheesecake Factory for din din
seeing "Little Miss Sunshine" with friends
researching new computers *grin*

This list alone shows how full of possibility you can be on a Friday!
By Sunday, I will have done 2 things on the should, one on the could. But at least I will have finished the already doings :)

Thursday, August 03, 2006

22 Years Ago Today

Happy Birthday, dear sister :)

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Tales from New York

This weekend I went to New York for several reasons, for boyfriend's birthday, for his mother's birthday, for his future goddaughter's baby shower, and more than anything to have a nice visit and get some BOOTAY. Heh.

Anyways, over time and many visits to the city, I've started to get used to it. Not get used to it in the way a person who lives there would, but it's not this foreign megapolis trying to consume my 5'6'' frame anymore. I am more comfortable in it, I know which way I need to go to get to boyfriend's office, have a sense of place when I am on a certain street. I certainly don't know the city well, but I can imagine myself being alone and needing to get somewhere and being able to make it in one piece, which is a far cry from how I used to feel when thinking about what I would do if left alone to find my way: curl up in the fetal position and succumb to death by a pack of flesh-eating wild dogs because trying to find your way through the maze of humanity, buildings and cars in the city was that impossible.

The past couple of times I've come to the city for whatever reason I've had to walk a few blocks to meet boyfriend, or even walk the 10 or so to his office. On Friday when I arrived, boyfriend needed an ATM and I find Port Authority very confusing, so I told him to tell me a street and I'd go there. My job was to get from Port Authority to 7th and 37th. I walked out onto 8th and 40th (shady shady) but that's only about 4 blocks total walking, easy to handle. After I got past the tourists and a few panhandling rowdy bums, I got to a free space on the sidewalk and took in NYC. I started walking down 8th and thought "ahhh New York. So gritty, so real, so bold, so much to see and do" Just as I was thinking "I like this place" a barrage of commuters and tourists lunged from the opposite sidewalk towards me and without rhyme or reason, bashing into me left and right, hitting my bags and my body. Then I think "Fucking NEW YORK CITY!" and with a new sense of determination, I charge down the street and start whacking people with my bag - not on purpose, of course, but clearly if you don't want to get hit, you have to move, so I figured that if these people didn't want to get hit, they'd move.

That seems to be the thing with New York. I think you have to be a very determined person to live there, either that or oblivious to the world. I mean, when you walk down the sidewalk, you need to take charge and WALK, no floating down the sidewalk, no lumbering, no strolling, that is what the PARK is for! I'm actually ok with this, I like to move fast, I like for people to get out of the way, but another part of me wants to flail and say "too fast, stop touching me NO BUMPING STOP!" The crowds can get to me, I think they get to a lot of people, not just the visitors either.

On the other hand, the city is crowded because it has so much to offer. It's frickin' HUGE, there's a bar and some place to eat on every corner it seems. Sure, you can't run to the Super Stop N' Shop but you can get some strange food ingredient and the small local shop on blah blah blah street and blah blah blah ave. The chain stores are huge, and the small shops are cool and interesting full of trendy, swanky things. Also, boyfriend works off of "Fashion Ave" and let me tell you, if ever I have to meet him at the office, I try to wind my way through the streets to get there instead walking straight down 7th. Why? because that's where they hide the amazing fabric stores Of course I do not go in because never in my life have I seen something as intimidating as a store filled with bolts of cloth 7 feet tall, but oh, I can look and savor the warm velvets and cool silks glowing in the flourescent lights over head, and imagine myself leaping into a heap of fabric scraps and building a nest. It's at that point that I usually remind myself that I have a destination and move on. Of course, there are other things in the city - the culture, the sights, the sounds - I won't mention the smells, cause usually, they're not that nice. While I will always love Boston for the simple fact that I am more suited for it, I can't deny that in going to New York I have had some great opportunities. I've been to the opera 3 times, and just standing in front of Lincoln Center is enough to make you want a season pass, nevermind going inside. The Metropolitan Museum of Art is lovely, though I found it a bit overwhelming, and you absolutely cannot thoroughly see it in a day, you probably need 3. Also, the Natural History Museum is great - or at least what I saw of it, was great, especially since the Smithsonian is the epitome of all Natural History museums, I was very impressed by New York's. Also because I think traveling in general is healthy, I've enjoyed just going to New York in general to experience something new and see the sights (cause there are a shitton, people, just take the train). Though I don't think I could ever adopt it as my own, I do see why people are inspired by New York - it's kind of that old American dream from days gone by still in action, full of people who are trying to make it big. New York is always busy, it's always moving, it really doesn't sleep (good for me, cause I'm a night owl and when you're up dancing til 3am and you're hungry and want to go home not only can you grab a slice but you can also HOP ON THE TRAIN because it's still running! How great!)

Basically what I am saying is that New York has gained my respect and appreciation (yeah cause it was totally waiting for it too, LOL) It's not to say I love it, there are still things that get on my nerves, and people in it, who are obsessed with it, who get on my nerves (though Boston obsessed people totally get on my nerves, so it's not necessarily a NYC thing) but I have learned to like it, and appreciate what it has to offer. Oh yeah, and I really, REALLY like this guy who lives there, LOL.