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Real life Weeds

Dec. 20th, 2008 | 09:40 pm

So I'm here in southern California in a beach front home that was formerly owned by a drug king pin who also laundred money through a sports bar he owned in Venice Beach and who eventually fled the FBI in a high speed chase through Malibu (the FDA had rented out a garage "across the street"--actually across the private waterway-- for six months tracking him.). The home was occupied by one of his baby mamas and his kids. He installed a really high security motion detector system with sensors in each rooms (which the current owners kept) and they still get late night visitors and letters from the illegal entrpreneur (from the LA Penitentiary) to the woman.

Anyway, it's a mansion now owned by one of my gf's relatives and they decorate it with antique oars (as staircase banisters) and murals of miniature chairs (remind me of the giant adirondack chairs at Swarthmore College). It made me feel important, like I'm in an episode of Weeds.

We went out on their yacht to see the parade of bigger yachts that the owners decorate with Christmas lights like lit up dolphins and sea horses. The neighbors all have sea side access to this waterway and therefore decorate the backs of their homes some with blue/white light, menoras, stars of David. Cute

And someone in the neighborhood owns a helicopter and flies over the gated community with a lit up santa- sleigh-and-reindeer attached underneath. Christmas is better here.

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(no subject)

Nov. 28th, 2008 | 03:01 pm
music: water boiling on the stove

What should I write about? Because I really want to.

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17. Make bread

Jul. 22nd, 2008 | 07:25 pm
music: Telephone Wires - Mirah // Like a Child - Junior Boys

Naked challah (poppy seeds are gross)...Mazel tov! My first time baking bread and i went for the single braid. And oops, I remembered to take pictures 3/4 of the way through the four hour process. Sometimes I like food stories, food allegory. It wasn't as revelatory as I imagined but it's fun. Like knitting-fun. Like it takes longer that you'd expect and the end result, is sometimes worth it/sometimes not. But you get to eat at the end. I shared it with my family and they liked everything except the jewish part (which confused them).

P.S. I wish I could be there for this. The Woodstock of food haha. 

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2003 anyone?

Jul. 18th, 2008 | 01:28 am

Call me a luddite, but I hate when people post videos.  Sorry, I usually don't click on them. Words, of course. Images, I can handle. But Vlogs? obscure country-western ensembles? Two legged puppies and Scandinavian commercials? it's just overwhelming. But seriously, this brings back great memories. On one particularly euphoric second or fourth tuesday, I fell in love with this woman. Cried at the outro-repetition. Bought her chapbook after the show, recited her poems under my breath for hours, at home,  alone, in my bedroom, and imagined it was me who wrote it. Yall were there, you know.

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The cure for parent-adult child disputes...

Jul. 4th, 2008 | 12:55 am
mood: amused

Karaoke night at the town dive bar...and out of me and my parents, i'm again, the most suitable candidate to be the designated driver. I feel fifteen all over again. only this time, my mom danced to a lil jon song with erica spurr (high school floozy, no offense)'s boyfriend. All that went through my mind at the time was, this could be some Lorrie Moore short story (man with braided, beaded goatee with KILL on the back of his t shirt, transsexual motown queen, bleach blonde hair MUDD jeans singing trisha yearwood, veteran with what looked like skin cancer, etc). Also, the bartender had to look up how to make a mojito. It makes me miss the Bop in summer time...Also, my step dad kept insisting he was a lesbian trapped in a man's body. That was honestly, the only embarrassing thing about the whole night.

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“from Selma to Stonewall”

Jun. 29th, 2008 | 01:06 am
mood: ineffable

Ah, I love Michelle Obama! She spoke at the DNC's Gay and Lesbian Leadership Council in NY recently, and I have my own collection of Barack quotes but I'll have to start a file for Michelle too. I feel so privileged and so optimistic and just really really excited that we have such fresh, articulate, intelligent, and understanding people like Michelle who can connect ideas so fluidly and bring it all out there and have speeches like Obama's in Philly, finally, 21st century discussion of race and class and sexuality in mainstream media, issues framed in a way that me and my parents and my ex-hippie professors can all appreciate, in our own way. it's unbelievably powerful and empowering to have those convictions validated by such influential people. Sometimes i just stop and think, this is so surreal. being 21, being a woman, a "queer person of color," a former welfare kid, a current college kid, an idealist, being me and reaching adulthood in a time when i'll have the freedom to be myself, the support to grow, to get married, to influence others. i'll be able to see top political figures bridging causes i care about (“from Selma to Stonewall”) and experiences i have (so this is what it feels like to be represented? to trust?) and issues that were marginal five or ten years ago being enveloped into pop culture and i'm just so happy just thinking about it.

Ahk, after living in Africa, with what's going on in Zimbabwe (visuals), what continues in Kenya, (visuals), and what will inevitably happen in Uganda in 2011, I well up with this awkward reluctant patriotism, of sorts. Or just a gratitude, or understanding, of how lucky I am, to be here. There will always be things I know need to be changed, I strive to never be socially/politically comatose, contented to the point of immobility. but in this moment, reading about Michelle and thinking about California in the future, I have to also admit when I'm happy.

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love post

Jun. 4th, 2008 | 11:07 pm

My step dad is asleep on the love seat. My mom's in the hospital, so I'd like to think he just couldn't bear to sleep alone in their bed and so chose instead to passively drift asleep with the tv flickering. For all of their bickering, the scares and the tension all driving back to not having enough money, or my sister, or my brother, they've managed to stay together. And even though it's my mom's fourth marriage, i can tell that it's real. As I contemplate marriage, the political act, the planning, the location, the prerequisite wildfire I will have to start at my family tree, I compare what we have to what my mom and jeff have and i think it could be something like that. I wouldn't mind that.

My girlfriend is wedding crazy, like the kind of girl who watches Sex in the City and carries three flavors of Bonnie Bell chapstick in her vinyl/denim purse. For one brief moment, she proposed the idea of "eloping" when I get to SF in August (snag the legal status while we still can), but I know she's not going to give up the big, sparkling, five figure wedding of her dreams, and I don't want her too either. I daydream mostly about after the wedding, a weekend in Greece or a road trip through South America or a lavish epicurean experience through western Europe. But i guess we'll make room for both agendas.

maybe i'll start writing again. i think about it sometimes, but i end up getting distracted.

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(no subject)

May. 9th, 2008 | 11:48 am
location: Kampala, Uganda

Earlier today I felt like using my online writing time to complain but thankfully the power was out all across the city, i felt like i had a malarial fever, and i checked into a hotel to turn on the AC and take a nap. so now i can write a slightly more positive, but maybe unintentionally backhanded entry.

Things I'm looking forward to, AKA things i day dream about on the taxis on the way into the city:

1. American public bathrooms (you know, toilet seats, doors, locks, toilets, tp, etc)
I visited the American Embassy yesterday, not because I had to seek refuge before I smashed a coke bottle on someone out of rage in the taxi park. Actually I had an interview with a nice woman from the midwest who works at USAID and I think single-handedly rebuilt Afghanistan in the 1990s. Except that's not true, and anyway I couldn't give any development agency that kind of credit.

2. Nehalem technology and the new 'green' macbooks in 09
Self explanatory.

3. Library school.
What's the point in being self-destructively idealistic (a future in public health work) or to sell my soul for the status, the jargon, and the tweed (sociologist), at least for now. I'm looking at three Master's programs one on the east (expensive school, expensive area, great environment), one in the midwest (expensive program, cheap area, mediocre environment), and one on the west coast (cheap program, expensive location, great environment). But for now, it's just nice to daydream about a job that has all the components of academia that I love and none of the things I hate.

4. Dubai
A weekend in Dubai...forget about the oil city's history, i can't wait for the camel races, sand surfing, spice markets, Bedouin villages, decadent hotels. It will make for a nice transition back to the US.

5. The Sunday Times
I miss tearing open the plastic on sunday morning and reading 1. front page, 2. Magazine, 3. Book review, 4. week in review, 5. Travel, 6. Other.

6. Gay culture
I found a pirated copy of queer as folk season 4 at a small food shop in northern Uganda, while I was living there this month. I bought it, nonchalantly. I don't think the Indian owner realized what was up. But more than that, I can't wait for gay jokes, for gender play, for academically-criticized but wholly appreciated gay references in pop culture, everything. I know I could relate sexual pluralism in the US to my newly-formed nationalism, but not now. I just want to know if Bette and Tina get back together for good this season...

I have so many things to look forward to.

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Habari yako? Si kweli...

Feb. 25th, 2008 | 09:59 am

OK, so this is just to clear something up, because I've been hearing rumors...

Did Barack come to Beloit????

Even being across the world in Naalya, Uganda, twenty miles from the city, living with no running water/indoor plumbing, I should have heard somehow, somewhere about this news. Of course, I've labeled most of my Beloit mass emails spam, so I haven't been in touch, and the NYT won't load here at the internet cafes, but is it true??

Ugandans and Africans in general love him.

Sorry, I have so much to say but I only have three minutes left here. I ride motorcycles to class, i've killed a chicken, and I'm learning three languages. I watch Beyonce and Chris Brown videos on tv with my host sister after school but we also pee into holes in the ground.

Also, I heard back from my first summer research job. I'm flying to Seattle in May and flying back to Ethiopia for June-August. To study gender based violence or water acess or something fun. And then heading back to Boston in August and then back to school! Africa is fun! Tutaonana, kwaheri

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(no subject)

Jan. 15th, 2008 | 03:37 pm
mood: Lucky
music: Beautiful - India Arie

I just took my first dose of a live attenuated vaccine for typhoid fever. I have to keep the pills in the refrigerator because they contain LIVE bacteria. How cool!  The pesky little Salmonella typhi! Causing delirium, intestinal perforation, and death! Look at em!

And I also got my shots for yellow fever, Hepatitis A, a polio booster, and doxycycline, the cheapest antibiotic. By choosing side effects of diarrhea, yeast infections, and vomitting over sun sensitivity (Malarone), and psychotic behavior, hallucinations, and suicide (Larium, hey let's snort it!), I saved myself  $1265. You can hardly ignore that. And that's added to the endless chronic guilt of spending more than $1300 to swallow a  little pill every day reminding you that you must protect your supple, well-nourished, pristine American body from the reality of Africa and all of its intrusions.  Just one more thing you don't want to be thinking about as you vomit ugali through your nose and curse the hubris of the international public health worker.

The life expectancy of an average (white, middle class) American woman: 80.
The life expectancy of the average (accessible) Kenyan woman: 50.

At least I can go there while I'm still under 50, at least I don't have those 30 years of pure time, pure privilege, the manifestation of privilege as time, and time as skin and memories of mothers and grandmothers who are still here with me. At least I don't have that hanging over me, right?

So I've gotten my shots, my drugs, and that must mean that I've actually finally decided to go.  There are options to go to Uganda instead, Mali even (with my remedial french), or South Africa. But we'll be relocated  to Tanzania or Uga, if anything really dangerous happens. And they're giving us all cell phones so we can keep in close contact with advisors and the embassy. So I still have to sign the contract agreeing that I'm aware that I'm putting my life in risk and I promise not to sue anyone affiliated with the academic program no matter what.

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