Thursday, May 24, 2007

Candy Everybody Wants

MySpace can be quite entertaining for a while, but the pages are all so similar that after a brief browse, one can get bored. Yes, I have a MySpace profile. I'm not going to link to it because it is old and not updated. You can track it down if you like. The joy of MySpace, however, is finding old friends and getting a kick out of the utter tackiness of their pages (remember, I said I have a page of my own).

Anytime I feeling down, or bored, I just do a search for my old high school and I know that I can count on a couple of people I once knew (and no longer have any contact with) to slap a huge grin on my face. The following are some pictures of my absolute favorite page to visit. It is a true red-neck masterpiece and makes me want to go home just to hang out and get reacquainted with a way of life I once knew. It was the only way of life I knew.

Froggin', for those who don't know, is going out the river or swamp and catching frog. That simple. Usually one uses a gig, or harpoon like device.

Just lookin' for a night in heaven, I guess. Any way she can find it.

This particular MySpace page was "pimped" more divinely than most:

And nothing shows the love of god in your heart more than the prominent display of the sparkling Confederate Naval Jack on your page.

If heaven ain't a lot like Dixie, I don't wanna go...

Oh, on a totally related topic because it involves THE WORD, Paris Hilton, appears to have found the way.

Two things I never imagined I'd see:

1. Paris holding a Bible.

2. Paris reading the Bible.


Perhaps there's hope for me yet.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Suncream for the non-North Americans out there.

Doesn't sound like a very interesting topic to blog about, I know, but it is an oh-so important one.

I was at a party last Saturday night and found myself sitting around the bonfire talking to a woman who is in Uganda from England doing some volunteer work with an NGO out in Jinja. She seemed like a great person, and she danced like a space man (woman) on the dance floor. (You make the call.) Because I'm genuinely concerned about my fellow man (or woman in this case), and I have deep appreciation for good skin (worked for it my whole life), I recommended that, unless she really wanted to turn into a piece of leather and end up like too, too many people who work on the Nile in that hot, intense Jinja sun, she could not forget to apply sunscreen or moisturize daily. Do you know how she responded to my most valuable advice? "There are more serious problems to worry about than keeping good skin." WHOA! What kind of problems is she working to solve that she cannot take 10 seconds in the morning to smear a 500 shilling coin-sized drop of cream across her face and on her neck? Come on! Even if she were to be burdened with the responsibilty of providing all the food for the whole district of Jinja, I don't think it would come to: put sunscreen on=people are going to starve. I think she's working with some Malaria prevention program. Important, yes. But you don't have to choose between distributing mosquito nets and protecting your skin. Do you think Angelina ever misses out on sunscreen or moisturizing? In the end, the melanoma you might eventually get can kill you just as dead as the falciparum. Plus, applying lotion, especially when assisted by that someone special, just feels good.


Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Defying Gravity

I really want to post something today, but my brain is just tired. Maybe if I just start trying, something worthwhile or entertaining will come out. It's the end of the year school year and everything is coming due. I've used my brain so much more in the past three weeks than I have in the past 10 months. I need to figure out how to spread things out better so things do not become so intense. Oh god! And relationships--friendships and all. It can get so complicated. Just thinking about it all makes me want to crawl into bed for a nap. I'm exhausted.

I've been having an afternoon stress-reliever with a couple of dear friends, and I feel much better. It's great the way erratic conversation combined with a shared tuna fish sandwich and drinks can lift one's feelings. God bless Zambia!

My friend just came back to work today. His sister passed away over the weekend. I haven't had too much of an opportunity to talk to him to find out the details. I've called him a couple of times, but he was busy with funeral arrangements, so our conversations were brief. I was suprised to see him come into the restaurant this afternoon, but it did brighten my afternoon. So let me rephrase my previous comment: It's great the way erratic conversation combined with a shared tuna fish sandwich, drinks and the return of a good friend can lift one's feelings. God bless Zambia and the resilience of the human spirit!

One small thing that brings sunshine to my life is Idina Menzel's new single, Defying Gravity. I just bought it from iTunes, and I have it on my Shuffle and it gives me a little extra oomph when I'm out for a run.

It's not so up-tempo, but the message is so inspiring, I just tackle those hills. Defying Gravity is a song from the Broadway musical Wicked in which Idina orginated the role of Elpahba, The Wicked Witch of the West. (For those not familiar with the greatness of Idina, she was also the orginal Maureen in Rent. Plus, she's married (or was; I'm not so up-to-date on my gossip) to Taye Diggs (who was the orginal Benny in Rent). I love the broadway version; it really gets me inspired and dancing around house. Just pop by any "cleaning day" and you'll see. I'm actually browsing iTunes as I type to pick out one of the remixes. I <3 Idina!

Maybe I'll go out tonight. Maybe I won't. I feel like I need to. It's been a while, and I feel the need to see some old friends. I'm just so, almost, broke after paying school fees. I know I mentioned it in my previous post, and I don't want to become a whiner, but it's the reality inwhich I'm living. I have about 80,000 shillings (about $47) to get me through the next eight days (inluding two days of school holiday and a weekend!), and I am really not in the mood to live life as a pauper. How life changes! When I lived in the village during the Peace Corps days, I could live off of 5,000 shillings a week. If I had 80,000 for a month, I knew I would be OK.

Is telling someone with whom you've had a little romantic involvement that you are married after you've known each other for a while, and the second party had no clue of any other involvement, a way of brushing him off or are you just coming clean and being honest or is it a not so (but possibly) funny joke? Just asking.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

The New Balm of Gilead

It is amazing how well free wireless internet can heal the wounds inflicted by change and bad paint jobs. I am sitting at a table in the restaurant of the establishment I blogged about in my previous post fully connected to free internet. As if I didn’t already have an unhealthy obsession with this place. They’re never gonna get me out of here now. Oh, the damage this is going to do to my wallet. I’ve already had a cappuccino, and now I’m feeling a bit hungry and am tempted by the yummy goats meat they have roasting. I’m trying to be very cheap this week because, basically, I’m broke. I had to pay school fees for two children this month, and that took a significant chunk my funds. What one will do for love!

The goodbye party for the goddess in my life was yesterday. She’s off for Vietnam in a week. I’ve only known her for a brief period, but we really connected. I love being with her. Most of the time we spend together is sweating and panting (gonna have to find a new running partner), and it is always fun: laughing about past loves and future hopes and criteria, plotting homes for me to wreck (Only in our imaginations. I'm no home-wrecker. Purely fantasy but not so pure.), sneaking into the gym (See. Not so pure. Makes me feel a bit Jack McFarlandish.) One week to go. What can we get ourselves into this week?

Wednesday, May 09, 2007


A friend just told me that she didn’t think that change would bother me very much because my life is full of it. I’ve changed continents many time, changed languages, changed jobs and types of work. Change. Change. Change.

That is all true, but those changes were ok by me because those changes were caused by my decisions. I chose those changes. I was in control and made the choices. Changes that I have no control over, things that happen to me when I have no say in the matter, kind of bother me: big time.

Big change: My second home in Bugolobi, the coffee shop/restaurant/bar/internet café that I’ve blogged about so fondly in the past, has changed owners. Boo! I don’t know the new owner (and I've heard that she really nice and that I'll like her once I've had a chance to get to know her), so it’s probably not fair booing her, but I ADORE the founder and previous owner of the place. She’s leaving the continent for Asia, so someone had to take over. My problem with the change is that the new owner is making so many radical changes to my space, and I have no say in the matter. I walked in today and go sick in the stomach. Colors are changing, and they are the wrong shades to look good together. Boo! Tacky candle fixtures are up everywhere. Boo! I just found out that the library has been dismantled. Boo! The menu covers are now flimsy cloth. Boo! The place mats changed from natural materials like raffia and bamboo to…plastic. Boo! Boo! Boo! I just threw up a bit in the back of my mouth typing this.

Honey, what's that? That. What's goin' on there?




If it ain’t broke, don’t try to fix it.

I also heard that they are going to begin to broadcast football (soccer to those in the US). GASP! That would be the ultimate betrayal to those of us who go there to escape football. I go there to get into a good book or chat with friends. What’s that going to be like with people cheering a game?

I don’t want to give up so easily, so I’m trying to stick it out and see if I can adjust and get used to the changes. I know I have a tendency to freak out about changes that I have no control over. Hopefully, it's only that I'm not fond of the in-between phase, and I'll love the finished product. Hopefully...maybe.

Why'd u have to change on me?
I loved u just the way u were.
I wish that things could b the way they used 2 b.
When loved u, and u loved me.

Monday, May 07, 2007


But who's it hurting now?
Who's the one that's stuck?
Who's it torturing now
With an antique knot in his stomach?

I want to be big and let go
Of this grudge that's grown old.
All this time I've not known
How to rest this bygone.
I wanna be soft and resolved,
Clean of slate and released.

I wanna forgive for the both of us.

Sunday, May 06, 2007


I finally went out again this weekend. After sequestering myself in Bugolobi for the past four weeks, I decided it was time to make contact with the greater-Kampala, and I ventured out to meet my friend, Jen, at Cheese Bar. She was there with some friends who happened to be people I also knew (but not well) and we had a merry ol’ time. I also ran into Wasswa, a great friend of mine. Weekends used to be ours; we were always together. However, the month of April was a trying time for the both of us, so we both laid low in our respective homes. It had been four weeks since I’d last seen him. It is amazing how just seeing someone can evoke strong emotions. I was so happy to see my dear friend; an instant smile was carved on my face, and it felt so good to get and give a hug.

I repeat: it is amazing how just seeing someone can evoke strong emotions. After a couple of wonderful hours reconnecting with old friends and getting better acquainted with new ones, I get word from a friend that an old friend had just entered the bar. I never saw the old friend (nor did I need or want to), but strong feelings of pain and anger began to bubble inside. Without much explanation, I (with a huge smile plastered on my face) said good-bye to everyone at my table and took the next taxi home.


So here I am one room away from where I know youre standing.
A well-intentioned man told me you just walked in.
This man knows not of how this information has affected me,
But he knows the colour of the car I just drove away in

What are you my kin? You touch me like you are my kin.
What are you my air? you affect me like you are my air.

Saturday morning, I woke up with the memory of the previous night. I was so frustrated with myself for allowing someone to have such an influence over me. How could only the knowledge of this person being in the vicinity of me cause me to abandon my friends, and a good night, and go home? I got out of bed, got dressed, grabbed my iPod and set off on a run. I had no idea where I was going. I just needed work off my frustration. I ended up putting in a good 15k-er around Kololo then stopped by the supermarket for some fresh doughnuts. I felt like I deserved them.

My former Peace Corps colleague and friend, Lynne, just got into town. She’s here for three weeks filming an instructional video for health care workers in Africa about counseling children who are HIV positive. It’s so great having her around. We met for dinner last night at Pavement Tandoori in Kisementi. The place smelled so good when we walked in. We were joined by a few other people, many we were meeting for the first time: friends of friends. It turned into a fantastic evening of great food and even better conversation. I’m looking forward to two more weeks of good times with Lynne.

Today was the 2007 European Union-Uganda Village, a celebration of cooperation and diversity, at the Kyadondo Rugby Club in Lugogo. I was a bit reluctant to make an appearance, but I’m so glad the pro-attendance voice in my head won out. It was a really nice event. Different tribes in Uganda as well as several European Union countries had tents showcasing their culture set up around an enormous central tent housing performances. There were performances of several traditional dances from various regions of Uganda and traditional music from across Europe. Different Ugandan artists also had booths set up. I bought a couple of works by Peter Otim, a renowned Ugandan Artist. I’ve been to his gallery once, and I liked his work. I met him today and decided to pick up a couple of his tiles. He was displaying a few of his etching, which I loved. I wish I could’ve picked up a couple of those, but I didn’t come with a wallet prepared for that expense. There was tons of food from Europe and Uganda. Unfortunately, I’d just eaten a big plate of fajitas from Café PAP; I couldn’t eat another bite.

My school also had a tent. (Yay!) I have to admit that it was the busiest one there. (Yay!) Most of the other tents were not geared towards young children, and ours was: drumming, races, face painting and coloring. I didn’t have to look hard to find it. I heard that terrific drumming almost immediately after walking through the event entrance. I really love my schools involvement in community events such as this. There is a core group of teachers that loves getting involved, and they are very talented at organizing activities that children love.

Give me a beat!

Friday, May 04, 2007

Here's an excerpt from the email I received from my mother today:

We are going tomorrow to buy me a new computer. This is his old one, we bought him a new one last month. It is a Gateway with the new Vista program. It has taken him almost a month to get it set up. So much won't transfer directly to Vista.

Him is her husband, Julian. He's a high-tech kind of guy, a real computer geek. If it took him that long to get his computer set up, Vista must really be f-ed up. She was not specific about the issues Julian had, but I know that Vista has been no joyride for many who've been unfortunate to get it. Can you imagine taking a whole month to set up you personal computer?

When she goes for her new computer tomorrow, I hope it's a Mac.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Thank Babbs:

Goddess of Gorgeous

How can you make my day, my week, quiet possibly my month? You give me a big, beautiful mirror. That’s exactly what my friend did for me today.

Only a day after learning that I’ve not had a mirror in my home since the middle of February, she called me this afternoon and told me to come pick up the large looking glass. Imagine, I’ve been dressing, getting ready for nights out and all without the aid of a mirror. I’ve been relying on instinct to know if everything was in place and looked good. I’m sure I’ve goofed up a few times, but overall, I think I’ve don’t pretty well. I always got nervous after shaving, worrying I’d cut myself somewhere and didn’t know it. How embarrassing to leave home with dried blood on one’s chin! I don’t have to worry about that anymore. Isn’t the frame lovely?

Power went off about 15 minutes ago. Boo! I’m trying to finish up that Dr. Tatiana’s Sex Advice book. I’ll probably end up at Katch the Sun, my favorite local coffee shop/bar/restaurant/art gallery/internet café, in a little while because they’ll have light. I hesitate to go down there because that equates to spending money. I can already hear the cake calling my name. They just changed management at Katch the Sun. I haven’t met the woman who runs the place now. I loved the woman who ran it before, and I’m really going to miss going down there and hanging out with her in the evenings.

I took the day off from running because I hurt my ankle a little yesterday, and I wanted to give it a rest. It feels much better, so I’m going to make an effort to drag my ass out of bed in the morning at 6:00. I’ve not had a mirror around since I began running so much again. You can bet that I’m going to look at myself in the buff after I run in the morning and admire any improvements.

Mirror Mirror hanging on the wall
You don't have to tell me who's the biggest fool of all.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007


My original idea for today’s blog topic was taxi part underwear. It is one of my latest obsessions, but that posting will have to wait because on my way to the taxi park to do a little research, I got a little sidetracked. I saw a ripped advertisement for Blu 3’s new CD on a post by the road and was reminded that I needed to pick up a copy, so I jumped of the taxi I was on before reaching the park in order to pop into Music Land and grab a copy. I never made it to the taxi park after that because I was close to Ban Café; it’s aromatic tractor beam pulled me in. Have you ever tried their chocolate chip-cashew nut cookies? Well, you should. A-M-A-Z-I-N-G!

Blu 3 is probably my favorite Ugandan group made up of three beautiful women: Lillian, Jackie and Cindy. Amazingly, they were put together in one of the Pop Stars contests about three years ago, and they’ve survived. I bought their first album, Hitaji, a couple of years ago, and it’s still on regular rotation on my iTunes. Every song on that album was a great pop confection, personal favorites include: Frisky, Hitaji, Tomalaako, Don’t Say, Fly Away and U Don’t Know. Basically, most of the album. I was hoping for nothing less from their sophomore album: Burrn.

The ads for Burrn describe it as “3 beautiful voices, 17 amazing songs, 1 sizzling album”. I agree. The dance songs (I <3 Katika) got me up and shaking it in my living room, and the ballads, including the mega hit in Uganda, Nsanyuka Nawe, are beautiful. The sound of this album is quite different from Hitaji, which a difficult accomplishment for any artist and highly unusual for Ugandan artists that often have a tendency to regurgitate past sounds for a guaranteed crowd pleaser (I’m not mentioning any names because maybe Chameleone might be suffering from chronic writer’s block.) Stemming from their first album and the track Hitaji, the girls have become masters of fusing English and Swahili. The Blu 3 girls took a more active role in writing songs for this album. A stand out on this album is Cindy’s creation, It’s My Life. It is in a similar vein as songs from Christina Aguilera’s Back to Basics, very old-old school, which is quiet a unique sound for a popular Ugandan artist. I love the piano. Actually, the track is very reminiscent of the remix to Baby One More Time that Britney performed at the 1999 European Video Music Awards. Plus, she sings about air time! Lovin’ it! My only complaint with the album is a general complaint that I have with most Luganda songs: the artificial, high-pitched, generic synthesized instruments. But hey, it’s what a large audience wants and enjoys. It sells. Maybe it’s just me. Steve Jean is one of Uganda’s best producers, and he’s crafted another fantastic album.

Ok, so I’ve gone on and on about artists and an album that many people reading this blog will probably never have the pleasure of listening to. Too bad for you. Just one more thought. The cover art reminds me of that of an album by a fantastic, defunct female trio in the States: Fire by Wild Orchid. Too bad, the album was never released, and Stacie Ferguson left the group, got addicted to Crystal Meth and later became Fergie of the Black Eyed Peas.

Taxi park underpants

Coming Soon!

Tuesday, May 01, 2007


Public holiday: no school. I got up at 6:00 to run 15K with Barbara, she's leaving for Vietnam at the end of the month, and I want to learn her running paths before goes. A little over 10K into it, we both got the runner's shits and had to find somewhere fast. Problem: It's was too early for most places to be open. Luckily, we were near a gas station with a public toilet. Problem 2: No toilet paper. You can tell who is a veteran runner because she carries spare TP in her pocket. I learn from the best.

Relationships have been occupying much of my thoughts lately. Sometimes I wish I were the kind of person who is fine alone and doesn’t mind how others are affected my actions. I try to pretend that I’m complete and social interactions are just bonuses. But that is complete rubbish. People are so important to me. I’m not the most social person, but being around people that I enjoy is a top priority to me. I changed career paths a few years ago, not because I did not enjoy the type of work I was doing, but because I didn’t enjoy the kind of people who were typically drawn to that type of work. However, people are so complicated that sometimes I wish I could be happy living a life of solitude. (I almost said, “I wish I could just move to some remote island and be a hermit.” Those who know me, know that I tried the island-thing once, and it didn’t work out for me; I was miserable.)

Lately I’ve felt as if I’ve traveled though a time warp and gone back about 14 years, back to high school: a miserable slice of my life. Teenagers can be so fickle; they’re trying to figure things out. Friendships are come and go. Anyway, there’s a person that I’ve been friends with since around November, a person I think is great and enjoy being around. We have never been BFFs, but we’d hang out occasionally, talk and have a great time. We always enjoyed seeing each other and always made it a point to have a conversation if we met while out. Then, out of nowhere, he began to avoid me. When we’d show up at the same party or other function, all I’d get would be a cold, “Hello,” and he’d move on. I just didn’t get it (still don’t). It was all very confusing. It totally felt like high school again, but we’re both 30-something.

This went on for well over a month. Well, a little over a week ago, we found ourselves at the same place at the same time again, and he came over to me and began chatting like we used to previously. I was a little taken aback, but happy that the icy treatment appeared to be ending. Kinda out of nowhere he says to me, “Kampala is not very big, and people like to talk a lot. You cannot let the things they say bother you or you will never leave you home again.” What! Where did that come from? And what did he mean by it? Is there some gossip going around about me that I’m not aware of? Is that why he wouldn’t talk to me for a month? It must be good then. I’d love to hear it. That’s my new mission: track down the rumor. Man, I hope it’s a good one. Maybe I get to be the school whore! I hope that’s my reputation. I’ve been the goodie-goodie my entire life. I found my brother’s myspace page a few weeks ago, and he blogged about me there and made a similar reference to me. I think he called me “perfect son” or something heinous like that. Being a whore would do wonders for my social life. Are we all a little stuck at 17?

After the strange conversation with my friend, I went home and put 17 Again by Eurythmics on repeat on my iTunes. That was totally how I was feeling.

I miss the friendship spoon.