28 February 2007

poking fun at po-mo

refresh this page for endless fun.

24 February 2007

A Research Funding Proposition

Dear Friend,

I am Ryan Sheely. I am a Political Scientist. I’m a American man by Nationality, but I work here in Kenya on my dissertation research.

I have a case of a Man who had an accident and was rushed to the Hospital by some good Samaritans. My self and some others working with me tried all we could, but unfortunately the Man died.

Before he died I discovered a small box with him, I opened the box and found out so many Documents in it, I then realize that he is a American Man who only came into Kenya to fund research projects, but unfortunately he died. The other documents inside his box are documents with which he used in making transfer of the sum of US$18Million Dollars to a research project of his choosing, including the picture of the money in the box with which it was used to be deposited with the Diplomatic Courier Company. but unfortunately he died and left all these.

I have tried all I could to reach any of his family members, but I couldn't get any one from his family, he is single and not married, so his status really made it difficult for me to get any of his relatives.

As I am in Kenya for my fieldwork. I wont be able to travel Abroad to clear this Consignment (THE RESEARCH FUND).

This is why I here by solicit your assistance to act as the next of kin in the collection of this RESEARCH FUND Abroad. I shall provide you with the necessary documents for the collection of the RESEARCH FUND Abroad. If you can assist in this transaction, I shall give you 15% of the Fund as your share and for your assistance in this transaction. 80% of the FUND shall be mine, and We (You and me) shall both invest the remaining 5% for the settlement of any expenditure that was been made during this transaction.

If you are interested and can assist in this transaction, Please reply immediately with your name, Social Security Number, and the Number of an American or offshore bank account, so that we can move forward in this Transaction. I will then forward you the number of a Kenyan bank account into wich you can deposit $5,000 to help facilitate the Transaction.

Please it is very, very Confidential.

Best Regards,

Ryan Sheely
PhD Candidate

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23 February 2007

Speaking of he who controls toilets...


He who controls the toilets...

Here's a snippet from Radio Liberty about the recent struggle in the Ukrainian Parliament over the appointment of President Yuschenko's nominee for Foreign Minister. Why can't American congressional politics be this exciting?

"The votes took place during a three-day row between lawmakers of the
ruling coalition and the opposition, in which pro-government deputies
blocked the parliamentary rostrum and held control over the
electronic voting system, while opposition deputies were in control
of the electric system and some other parliamentary facilities,
including toilets. The opposition switched off electricity in the
parliament building during the afternoon session."

22 February 2007

ready for lent

From carnaval 07

i find it entirely necessary to explore as many cultural delights as possible while "in the field." i'm sure it will enhance the dissertation. somehow. which is why i had to go to barranquilla for carnaval this past weekend. it is, after all, a unesco-protected world heritage event.

When Pigs Fly

The first Soviet pig in space.

"One small step for pig, one delicious leap for pork."

21 February 2007

17 February 2007

House of Horrors, Part II

The photos that Amelia posted, while evocative, don't quite measure up to the experience of the house. A few details...

First, add to the visual mess a host of unpleasant smells. Returning home at night was always an adventure -- what would tonight's odor be? A teapot that hadn't been emptied and had been sitting there for weeks with mold growing in it? The cat urine on our shower curtain? Yesterday's meal stuck to the unwashed dishes? New mounds of potpourri that turned our eyes bright red?

And then add the sounds. Who would be shouting at whom? About what? For how long? How many vulgarities would we hear before the end of the evening? What time would loud noises begin again in the morning -- 4am or 4:30am?

But the pictures especially are an understatement because of the amount of cleaning that had been done pre-photos. When we arrived, entering the kitchen was literally impossible. Imagine anything the average person might own, and multiply each item by ten, then don't clean for twenty years, and you start to get an idea. Amelia and I finally decided we would have to clean the kitchen ourselves. We spent an entire day washing, cleaning, and throwing out (food items that had expired decades ago, the ten old toothbrushes piled up for cleaning that would never occur... but as the landlord watched over us, the juice that was supposed to have been refrigerated but had instead been sitting in the cupboard for months was returned to the refrigerator for later consumption, and the eight sets of storybook-character salt-and-pepper shakers that we had stashed away to make counter space were returned to their previous spots...). We managed to put away enough stuff that we thought we would at least have a small counterspace and be able to use the stove. Alas, the next day the evil kitchen fairy had magically returned the kitchen to its prior state!

This morning, we woke up in the apartment of one of Amelia's friends. There was light in the rooms, because there weren't piles of junk in front of the windows! There weren't termite holes covering the walls! You could walk in your bare feet across the rug! We weren't sneezing! It was easy to make a cup of tea -- you didn't have to wash the kettle and the mug beforehand, because they had been cleaned before they had been put away! We are happy indeed.

where we've been

in short: we've been in the house of horrors. think "martha stewart meets miss havisham" and you may have some idea of the filthy gaudiness of it all. yesterday we said goodbye to our damage deposit (long story involving the evils of capitalism, or at least capitalists) and loaded our meager belongings into an 'economy sized' rental car, never to return.

there is no time to write a full report, because we are like, totally saving the world out here. but a brief photo montage will likely suffice.

first: a view of the kitchen counter, and the abyss behind it. those screens weren't there when we first arrived; indeed, when we first arrived one couldn't actually enter the kitchen.

next: the other side of the kitchen:

closeups: sink and floor

the view into the garage/laundry room. (washer/dryer at left. wriggling far enough into the room to wash clothes was always an exciting adventure!)

mmmmmmm, shower curtain mold.

our next two photos may look like art pieces. in fact, however, they are the view from our bedroom windows on the brightest of bright sunny days.

finally, the outside view. it pains us to admit that we could not record the full glory of the backyard, but here is a shot down the side of the house. (those tarps, btw? that's what creates the bedroom gloom.) WHOA BABY.

you will be pleased to hear that work proceeds apace. where by "apace" i mean "at our boss's house with kittens and thai food." more from us just as soon as we move to berkeley. did i mention we're MOVING TO BERKELEY?!?

13 February 2007

One reason I like Russia

One nice thing about Russia is that when I'm walking down the street with a diet coke in hand, it actually gets colder as I drink it. Kind of a neat trick. But when ice crystals start to form I know it's time to go inside.

Just one of the little things that makes life OK here.

08 February 2007

Underground Berlin

Hey friends,
I was in Berlin last weekend. I was visiting an old friend from Madrid who lives there. I had an amazing time, and I took advantage to collect some interesting books on the interwar period -namely, crucial for my dissertation...-. I want to post a couple of pictures of different graffitis that called my attention, among many others...

-as you can notice, Catalans are everywhere, and we are always quite politicized-

-no need to say that I was somewhat happy to know that I was not in America every time I woke up at my friend's place (this painting was just in front of his window)

I hope you are all doing great. I am having a wonderful time in Barcelona, and doing a lot of work. Lots of hugs from my homeland!!

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A little racist, ya think?

I found this on another blog (http://englishrussia.com/?p=650) but thought you'd all appreciate it. The man is wearing a sign advertising a tanning salon. What does the sign say?

...wait for it....


"I tanned here."

One more for the collection

Oh my God, what have I gotten myself into?

07 February 2007

there's always the second approach

unclear where to start...i've been so lax with the blogging. thankfully i was able to see a handful of you on my whirlwind 'shhh-don't-tell-the-fulbright-friens-that-i-left-the-country' tour, or at least, those of you willing to come watch me eat wings, fries, bagels, pizza, indian food, and raw fish. (or, it goes without saying, imbibing some delicious beer.) see photo above...

in any case, taking the break "from the field" turned out to be productive and perhaps even necessary, as advertised. at the first of the two presentations i gave, i went to antwerp. turns out the worst storm in many, many years hit europe the morning we approached brussels. which led to a revelation: my favorite new phrase. it was uttered by our co-pilot, after we started to land and then, didn't. i was drowsy, so i didn't really get it at first. thankfully first captain jack whats-his-name clarified: winds were so strong that the captain decided to...wait for it: "execute a missed approach." that's right. i was so distracted by the phrase that i almost failed to notice the man violently vomitting in our cabin. happens. it was unclear if we missed brussels for good, or if we would give it another shot, but turns out the captain was able to bring us in on the 2nd try. which i suppose was the way to go, seeing as how there weren't many options available in other euro destinations: i mean, the germans shut down their entire train system for 24-hours. for the first time. ever.

that saturday, while at a party with some friends in brussels, i myself 'executed a missed approach' when a friendly looking EU employee was rejoined by an amorous member of his group. i completely meant to do a u-turn at the bar...

anyhow, i'm back in bogota now, which is excellent. except for the bit where i finally realized that the missing 40-gigabytes of my hardrive were in fact being used by some wanker intruder. apparently, and so sorry i don't understand this, hackers can creep and use hardrive space from a remote location with a hidden server. or something. in any case, i had to wipe and reformat the puter. which, since i'm not the most organized person you've ever met, proved to take longer than it should have. but hello host organization to the rescue! turns out lots of the introverted engineers at CERAC know lots about puters, and even helped me upload all my stuff onto their network.

in other news, old friends have convened on the city for a few months, libby's coming down for 3 weeks, and next weekend is carnaval in barranquilla. which clearly warrants a trip to the field.

speaking of, i plan to get out of bogota soon. to the "real" field.

more to follow...