31 October 2006

Being Heather Walsh, MD

Hey all,

Did anyone go to the GPSCY's Halloween bash this weekend? I was unfortunately out of town, but was wondering what some of the highlights were in terms of costumes, etc.

Heather and I will be celebrating Halloween tonight instead in MA at a party of one of heather's fellow ER residents. Faced with the last minute stress of finding a costume, we had the brilliant idea to go as each other. We already have all of the clothes and accessories, and were quite good at mocking one another. Of course, I need to do something about this 5 O'clock shadow.

Good times,

30 October 2006

Things that go bump in the night

In keeping with the tradition of avoiding facing the reality of my impending exile to Siberia by engaging in anachronistic food preservation techniques, I bring you this week's instalment of "What's growing in my apartment?"

Last time we got together to chat, it was "penicillium nalgiovense," the bacteria that produce that delightfully sour taste in fermented dried sausages. I'm pleased to report that the Tuscan salami are outstanding.

This week it's "lactobacillus plantarum" performing its magic on a couple of jars of cabbage in my coat closet. Now you won't have to ask why I smell like sauerkraut the next time you see me. For those of you interested in fermenting your own kraut (and seriously, who isn't?) here are the instructions.

Next week it will be "streptococcus lactis." That's right, you heard me. Streptococcus lactis. Because it's time to make cheese...

29 October 2006

"o.k., now you may recoil in horror"

A line written in reference to the prospect of moving to Omaha. See the article for a fantastic weighing of the pros and cons of NYC vs. the Big O, and get a taste of what I face when I venture home.

26 October 2006

striving for rob's admiration...

...by consuming such morsels:
From bogota octobe...

the platter includes morcilla (blood sausage) and small intestine (i didn't bother committing that vocab word to memory...). yeah. meat.

25 October 2006

militarization happens


hi friens,

so for the past couple of days, the minister of defense and the heads of the air force, army, and navy have been meeting across the street from my apt building at the air force officers' club (the white wall in the top right of the picture). the result? heavily armed adolescent boys in camo every ten meters, with enormous automatic weapons drawn. (unfortunately this picture doesn't quite capture the scene on the street...) i think i was caught on the news today (which i can't verify because i don't have a tv right quick) -- as i crept down the street, someone apparently important enough to warrant some body guards and flashing cars and numerous news cameras was leaving the club.

before this little gathering, i had wondered whether living across the street from the club makes me safer or less safe. more of a target, buuuut also more security? well, then this happened.

hopefully the meeting ends today. Posted by Picasa

19 October 2006

cheaper than therapy

steve inspired me to redirect my political angst.

Surfing USA

Yesterday some people were surprised when I said that I got a documentary about surfin' through Netflix. It is not only that I like to see muscular bodies on the surfing tables (as all of us do!), but in general, I love watching surfing. Maybe because it seems so unbelievable to my eyes...

Anyway, so the documentary Riding Giants", by Stacy Peralta, was presented in Sundance in 2004, and as far as I can remember was nominated at the Oscar. It is very cool, even if a little bit long. But way worth to get it. You will get to see images as the one above, and also learn a little bit more about the history of this thrilling sport.

18 October 2006

a new complication for fieldwork?

check this Oct 18 entry out...hmm.

17 October 2006

I believe a WTF?!?!? is in order

I will not be buying this book

12 October 2006

beltway buzz

from this week's wait, wait, don't tell me:

q: how do you separate the men from the boys in washington?

a: midterm elections.

11 October 2006

national coming out day

steve, are you coming out??? as a republican?
but seriously, way to lead the charge in the public arena...

10 October 2006

Holy Crap! Its a Real Blog!

I was shocked to check this page today and learn that people are posting... a lot! Since this seems to be well on its way to becoming a real live blog, allow me to now make it a real live mp3 blog. Kind of. As you all probably know, Kappy, Eudald, and I are in a band called the Sephardic Bonobos. What you may not know is that Kappy and I recorded the first bonobos song last week. We were feeling in need of some band time, since Eudald has been on hiatus, so we came into the department late on wednesday, took over the small seminar room, and about two and a half hours later, emerged with this gem.

The Sephardic Bonobos-What Happened?

To be fair, we didn't write these lyrics ourselves; we in fact borrowed them wholesale from a book of "Dinosaur Poems" written by Steve's nephew. That Nephew is 5 or 6. The amazing thing is that its a step UP in lyrical maturity from what we'd write ourselves.

Speaking of being in the department late at night, that's where I am right now. I had gotten off of the whole late night thing, but I've been back into it hardcore this year for whatever reason. I guess you could say that I'm back on the ol' night shift. Which reminds me of a song...

The Commodores-Nightshift

Yeah! Mp3s! We'll be linked to from Idolator in no time.

09 October 2006

Monday in the Diner: Like Heaven but Without the Harps

Actually to be more accurate I spent the morning in the statlab, where they occasionally do have harps.

Many thanks to Steve E. for talking me down from the job talk ledge and making me feel better about the upcoming practice talk. No calls yet, so this is still a theoretical practice talk. Do keep your fingers crossed for me, though, as one of the best possible jobs has appeared on Ejobs recently. I won't reveal the name of the school, but they want someone with a history and communications background (to teach American politics) and it's in a town up the coast from New Haven that rhymes with "Foston." So yeah...

I had something else to say before I head off to the statlab to reprogram all the stuff that STATA so conveniently failed to save, but it escapes me.

sometimes i a.d.d.

“The [detainee treatment act] is a way of reaching out to our enemies. The president has said they hate us for our freedoms, so getting rid of them is sort of a peace offering.”
--Peter Sagal, host of NPR’s weekly news quiz show Wait Wait, Don’t Tell Me (1 Oct 2006).

and, this is blissful.

08 October 2006

sunday in new raven

So things are not exciting on a new haven sunday, as you all know. today, our soccer game was cancelled and we could not even go outside to do some runs. too bad, since it is a nice day -even if kind of chilly already-. i know, we could have gone to east rock or do something else, that's true, but we wanted to do the soccer thing.
as a result, here we are, rob, sheely and i, working at the department (well, they are working while I am trying to concentrate in my prospectus after a long jet lag recovery). i think that tonight there is an interesting band at bar, so maybe we can kill the calm of the sunday with some beers and indie music. that's something.
in the meantime, i recommend you guys to watch the movie C.R.A.Z.Y., which I rented at Best yesterday. it's quebecois (you know i love quebec and other stateless nations), it has a fantastic soundtrack (including some david bowie's and charles aznavour's themes), and a nice storyline.

07 October 2006


hey friens,

i'm trying out google's new web album feature... the two albums include pictures of and views from my apt (happens i included the bathroom), the painting i bought, and a granadilla, a strange fruit that steve and domi will recognize cause i made them try it in munich the first time i saw one outside of colombia. the other album in my public gallery is from my friend's wedding on the caribbean coast that i went to right when i got here (he married a colombian he met while we were living here in 2002).

bogota october 2006
Oct 4, 2006 - 23 Photos
The main pirates in my life, who really know how to pillage and plunder, are UPS and the Yale dossier service. So far I have spent almost $200 applying for the first five jobs I'm interested in. The deadlines were Oct 2 and 4, and I haven't heard anything, unsurprisingly, but I'm starting to get sympathetic looks because I don't have any interviews yet. I have a practice talk scheduled for Wednesday.
So far I have exhibited a strong preference for watching movies on TV instead of practicing my talk. Perhaps tomorrow... I'm less worried about the talk than about not actually getting a chance to give the talk.

06 October 2006

Machine Malfunctions

The trappings of modern life malfunctioning to your benefit? This is a mystery to me. It may not be directly attributable to being in another part of the world, but somehow such malfunctionings don't seem to bring with them free cokes around here. Broken water heaters, malfunctioning cell phones, and leaky propane cannisters in the house ... we've had them all in the two short months we've been in Indonesia. The one that struck us the most amusing was when we were informed that the air conditioner on the patio was broken for five days (five very long, very hot days) because, according to our translation of the repair man's diagnosis, "the wires were always burning." Here we sat on the 25th floor of the building with burning wires, visions of Towering Inferno dancing in our heads.

On the research front, I've got yet another perspective. Since my research is linked to the implementation of the project I'm here to evaluate, I'm waiting for the project to launch. That means lots of bureaucracy. Just last week, the funding was finally approved by the suits in DC. That releases the project people here to contract with the implementing NGO. That process will probably take another month or so, since we are approaching the end of Ramadan, which as I understand it basically shuts down the entire country for a week. So that puts me at an optimistic estimate of three months here before the project even begins, and at least a couple months after that before I collect any of the data I'm here to collect.

In the meantime, there is enough to keep me busy trying to usher this process along and to get the surveys and other instruments ready. I've also started collecting other datasets that may or may not eventually be of use. It is not a collection of Lenin busts, and other Soviet paraphenalia, granted. But it also doesn't require a whole room dedicated to display.

Lastly, we went to Bali for the weekend. Just being able to write that you went to Bali for a weekend is pretty cool. I think it makes up for the air conditioning. Some good photos on our baby blog.

Until next time...

Incredible news!

Up to this point in my life I've resisted blogging in most forms - writing, reading, discussing, cuddling. Why? Because I don't care about what you think. I mean, not what YOU think, but what random strangers think. I can make up my own mind, thank you. And if I want someone else's opinion, I'll read it in the New York Times.

But, as I've discovered, things are much different when you're reading about people you know and like, people who you miss. People like YOU. So here I am. I admit it, I feel a little dirty, but I'll deal.

Some of you must be wondering what life is like in The Have these days - those of you who have mercilessly abandoned us for your exotic corners of the globe (can someone explain to me how a sphere has corners?). Well, something really exciting happened the other day: I got 2 cokes out of the machine at the same time, and the cheeze-its price is mistakenly set at $0.10 instead of $1.00.

Yep, it's that boring.

OK, it's not THAT bad (Steve bakes muffins and cookies and that makes everything worthwhile), but the point of all of this is that we miss those of you who have left. Just as Steve consoles himself through baking, I find solace in processing meats. With the coppa and lamb prosciutto finally ready, it's time to put up some salami in the curing chamber. And maybe some polish sausages and bratwurst to keep them company. And while we're at it, perhaps another round of Canadian bacon.

I don't know if my cholesterol can take the pressure for too much longer, so please, come home soon!

05 October 2006

Office space

Oh, yay. I love this. This is awesome.

After reading Abbey's posts, I want to tell a little story to demonstrate how much dissertation research can vary.

The flourescent lighting is really starting to get to me. My cubicle is in the middle of a large central room, and there are no windows. (I've been told that I'm solar powered, so this is a problem.) So I go to the administrative assistant in the office to ask about getting a desk lamp. She says she'll look into it. The next day, a building manager comes to look at the lighting. Talks about installing additional lights above the 3 research fellows (the grad students). Then he brings in another guy. They stand talking loudly about the installation of the new lights. One of the other research fellows makes a joke about me being The Complainer. He's laughing when he says it, but I can tell he thinks I'm high maintenance. He doesn't have a problem with the lights. Then today the building guy comes in the office, playing with the electrical circuit. The lights keep flickering on and off. People are unhappy.

All I wanted was a desk lamp.

Next up: noise cancelling head phones. My cubicle doesn't have a door I can close, and I hear everyone's conversations in the department. Kind of like being in the grad student study room at the Diner, except the conversations usually aren't very interesting. So I'll get those little headphones that block out the world. Human interaction is overrated.

(Seriously, though. I'm totally lame for complaining about anything at all. DC is awesome. Brookings is awesome. I can't believe they're paying me to do my own work. Seriously.)

03 October 2006

pirate proposal -- pending

helloooo friens.

time for a bogota update. by popular demand, i promise.

last week was momentous. first off, i was mostly sober. bonus. bought my first piece of real artwork (but really, i was sober). i'm obsessed -- especially because i saw the painting 2 years ago when i was here with ana and visited an exhibit with a painter friend. aanyhow, turns out i got in touch with the painter this month, i visited his place, had coffee with him and his wife (both very young) and then bought the last painting for sale in the series i saw. i'll post a picture when it arrives tomorrow!

then my new roommate arrived. she's a phd student in the american studies dept, doing her dissertation on coca cola's world development/expansion/business model/cultural hegemony, etc. and i like her -- super bonus.

col barry call count: 2 (as of week 3). these aren't just skype calls, either -- he's piped right into my groundline. col barry care packages so far lost in the mail: 1. i'm pissed -- it had bagels and last month's atlantic and harper's.

oh but right, i'm here for work. which is actually going well too. this week, got my hands on some datasets. proposed two joint projects with the NGO i'm "affiliated" with -- www.cerac.org.co. which i think will be good, given my lack of comparative advantage with estimation techniques but willingness to geo-reference lots of data, assess the methodologies of different datasets, and write in english. woo. now i think i just need to check in with the cmte to make sure i can use jointly produced material as a part of my dissertation. details, details.

also apparently the guy in charge here is having a spat with patrick ball (who has apparently accused him of plagiarism -- ouch), which doesn't sound very fun. i refuse to ask about details, though perhaps i should know what i'm getting into. oh the politics of academia. loves it.

is anyone sending in an APSA proposal? does anyone wanna organize a panel? on pirates?


ps if someone could jump all over ana and eudald and shower them with my long-distance love, that'd be great. and tickle the babies. thanksss.