Wednesday, December 31, 2008


I mentioned yesterday that I could not think of another person that has inspired more hope, worldwide, this year than Barack Obama.  Well the readers of Uganda's daily newspaper, The New Vision, have demonstrated this hope by voting Obama "Man of the Year."  This is a similar accolade given to him by Time Magazine proclaiming him "Person of the Year."  However, it's different.  Each year for the past decade, The New Vision has awarded the "Man of the Year" title to Yoweri Museveni, President of Uganda.  I find this to be an interesting shift.

Well, it's the last day of the year.  I went for a jog.  I've been to the gym.  I made an amazing tuna salad (a bit of Tabasco makes (almost) everything taste better) that I ate for lunch on toast.  The end of one year and beginning of another inspires many people to reflect on the past and plan for the future, and I'm not exempt from this.  I've never been affected by a new year as much as this one.  I guess that's because I can feel a big change is about to occur.  Many people have posted lists of what they consider to be the best songs of 2008.  Well, when I reflect on the past year, one song is always playing as the score in the background of my mind:  It's a Bitch to Grow Up by Alanis Morissette, from her Flavours of Entanglement album (a great album if you've not given it a listen-to), released 10th June 2008.  It pretty much summarises my overall feeling for this year.  Alanis has a talent for doing that for me.

I feel done, I feel raked over coals 
and all that remains is the case 
that it's a bitch to grow up.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Time Magazine's pick for person of the year is no surprise. I cannot think of another person that has inspired more hope, worldwide, this year.  I don't need to elaborate much on this topic.  The world has been buzzing about this man almost incessantly as of late.  I ran the hash yesterday.  It was hosted by Sir Apollo Kagwa Primary School, Mengo, and we all received t-shirts with Obama's name on it.  I'm not sure what the meaning was; nevertheless, his name was imprinted on these bright orange t-shrits below the name of the school.  My first Obama t-shirt!

I bought this issue of Time at the Uchumi supermarket this morning before I went to watch High School Musical 3 for the second time.  (I had to go a second time because they moved it to cinema hall 4.  The first time I saw it, it was being shown in cinema hall 1 which has horrible sound.  It's. A. Musical.  Proper sound in imperative.  Although, I sometimes think Cineplex could care less about the satisfaction of patrons.  Where else are we going to go?  Just take the 12,000 shillings.)  I thumbed through the pages of the magazine as I waited for the movie to begin.  There is a section of photographs of people's art depicting Obama and representing what he means to them.  I was over come by emotion looking at these photos.  While I don't think it's particularly fair to place so many expectations on one man, and I know that some of the decision he'll make will disappoint many (including myself), it has been a long time since I've been so inspired by a person and what he represents.  The emotion I felt today while thumbing through Time Magazine was almost as strong as the morning I learned that Obama won the election.  It's difficult for me to give a specific reason why/how this man has reinvigorated my pride in being an American.  I can't hardly wait for inauguration day, 20th January 2009!

On another topic, I'm trying to get more use out of the iPod Touch I was given as a gift (because I'm a teacher) when I bought my new MacBook in August.  I'm using the calendar and notes applications more regularly.  I had it with me this morning because I'd typed my to do list in it.  I figured I wouldn't misplace this list.  Anyway, while watching the film, I took a few notes with my iPod.  I later used these notes to come to my conclusion about the top three performances in High School Musical 3.  Here we go...
  1. Ashley Tisdale played the devil out of her role.  Her performance as Sharpay was fabulous.  Favourite line:  "That is so gross."  Entertainment Weekly agrees with me on this one: "...the breakout star is Ashley Tisdale, whose Sharpay makes narcissism a goofy, bedazzled pleasure."  
  2. Vanessa Hudgens' legs.  Someone has been doing pilates.  Beautiful.  Plus V has improved her dancing skills exponentially from the first HSM, and her legs look great moving in a coordinated manner to the rhythm of the music.
  3. The third standout goes to the-guy-who-plays-Troy's dad's (I'm not even going to bother looking up the actor's name because I'm sure after High School Musical, he'll fade into obscurity.) bags under his eyes.  The bags along with the serial-killer haircut actually overshadowed his horrible acting and the horrible advice his character always give Troy.  Advice to Troy (fictitious as you are):  listen to your dad's counsel and do the opposite.  
“I just want the rest of my life to feel as good as my high school musical.”

Monday, December 29, 2008

Eartha Kitt has been on heavy rotation on my iTunes for the past few days.  The icon passed away on Christmas day from colon cancer at the age of 81.  The announcement of her death triggered my curiosity.  I confess that until I read the announce and went to wikipedia to read her biography, I knew her for little more than her role as Cat Woman in the Batman television series (in which she was perfectly cast, much more appropriately than Julie Newmar).  I had to find out more about this woman whose name I'd heard since my childhood.

I downloaded several of her songs over the weekend, and I've become a fan of her music.  I'd heard her original version of Santa Baby many time but never knew it was Eartha Kitt.  Some other of my favourites include Je Cherche Un Homme, C'est Si Bon, her version of Diamond's are a Girl's Best Friend, and Just an Old Fashioned Girl.  

Eartha Kitt was a sultry, singer, dancer, actress, sex symbol who was once referred to by Orson Welles as "the most exciting woman in the world."  Apparently, she was honest with her opinions and didn't hold back when she felt strongly about an issue.  She attended at a celebrity luncheon hosted at the White House in 1968 and criticised the Vietnam War and its impact on minorities in the US to the First Lady at the time, Lady Bird Johnson; thus, shooting her career in the foot as she could not find work in America after that. “You send the best of this country off to be shot and maimed. No wonder the kids rebel and take pot.”  (It kind of reminds me of what the Dixie Chicks experience after their criticism of Bush 43 and the invasion of Iraq.)  Despite all the controversy, she made a comeback in America beginning in the late 70s and continued to perform until her recent death.

I've enjoyed the opportunity to explore the history of this incredible woman.  I'm a fan.  Unfortunately it took her death to led me to learn more about Eartha Kitt.  I wish I'd discovered her music years ago.  There was much more to Earth Kitt than the 3rd season of Batman.  Find some of her recordings and enjoy!


Sunday, December 28, 2008

With a Roar!

Well, well, well...

I just got back from an amazing holiday retreat to Queen Elizabeth National Park in Western Uganda.  It was Am-maz-ing.  A big thank you to Rowena, her family, Olavi and the folks at Savannah Resort Hotel in Kayunga District.  It was such a wonderful Christmas holiday experience.  I finally made it to the national park after almost six years in Uganda.  I finally saw lions, elephants and hippos in the wild.  

The ride home from Mweya was almost as eventful as the formal game drive.  A buffalo jumped into the road in front of us on our journey home.  I braced myself for collision, convinced we were going to ram it.  Thanks to our skillful driver, Johnny, we literally only skimmed its tail.  We also saw ever-elusive hyenas and three male lions crossing the road.  An elephant in the middle of the road, surprised by our vehicle, unhappily rushed off the road.  The Isuzu Trooper we were travelling in chose that inopportune time to stall and the agitated elephant took the opportunity to trumpet and charge.  Our vehicle, fortunately, started again and we left the elephant chas

The following day, we found the three male lions from the night before lounging on a nearby bridge.

They were not bothered at all by all the vehicles that came with excited tourists taking photos.  We got some amazing close-up shots!

It was fabulous to spend the Christmas holiday with a wonderful family.  Being so far away from home during the holiday season is never easy, and it seems to get more difficult as the years pass by.  I've not been home for Christmas for eight years now.  I try to make it home once a year, usuall
y in the summer, but it's never the same as being home and with family during the festive season.  I am always very thankful to be invited to spend Christmas with beautiful people I meet along the way.  When you are so far away from home, your friends become your family.  In many circumstances, friendship is thicker than blood.

I made it home yesterday only to find that I'd left the key to my flat in the cottage I was staying in Kihihi, Kayunga.  Once again, I'm so thankful for friends.  In mean time, as I waited for a spare 
key to arrive, I was able to watch Miss Venezuela win the Miss Universe Pageant in Vietnam.

I am not in love with one particular person right not; I'm in love with many.  One of the people I am most in love with right now is Rowena.

Thanks so much for the fabulous time!!!  
It was like a honeymoon.