Thursday, July 30, 2009

EBB

EBB
(I wrote this while at the airport on Thursday.  Obviously, I'm no longer there.  I'm in Nairobi having a marvelous time with fabulous people.)

So I'm waiting for my flight at the Entebbe airport; I'm on my way to Nairobi.  I've been thinking about this trip for some time, but I did not decide to go until about 10:00 this morning.  So the rest of the day was basically a mad dash to purchase a ticket, make crashing arrangements at a friend's place, packing, calling drivers for pick-ups.  Blah. Blah. Blah.  But I'm here.  Waiting in the terminal.

If you've not been to Uganda, the name Entebbe might only evoke memories of 1976 and  Operation Entebbe or the January 1977 made-for-television movie based on the infamous event, Raid on Entebbe (starring Charles Bronson and Peter Finch).  


Now I just found out that Raid on Entebbe was the second of two films based on the hijacking and rescue that came out in the 1970's, and both made-for-television movies were aired on competing networks about a month apart.  But like the three versions of the Amy Fisher story, one reigned supreme with audiences and critics.  The first film, Victory at Entebbe, must've really sucked because I cannot find much information about it; plus, I'd never heard of it.  And that says a lot, considering it starred Anthony Hopkins, Elizabeth Taylor, Burt Lancaster and Richard Dreyfuss.  

To me, the word entebbe first evokes thoughts of a chair.  After that, I think of fried tilapia on the shores of Lake Victoria, competing in my first triathlon, COS conference 2004, swimming pools, the first International BMac Day, and Susan, oh, Susan.


A Funny Thing...

A Funny Thing...

After a delicious dinner of Thai food, I went out with a couple friends--one of the guys was in town visiting Nairobi.  While at Michelle's in Ntinda, John shared with me a little story about the beer he was drinking:

Tusker Beer is named after the elephant that killed one of the brew's founders.

It's true.  The story of it's 1922 origin is concisely printed on the bottle's label.  You can read a less-detailed summary of this on Wikipedia.  Imagine a beer label containing more information than this article.

Maybe I'm the last to know this story, but you have to admit that it's an interesting one.

What I thought would be an early night (it was Wednesday, remember) ended up being a 2:00 am-er.  We went to Rouge just after mid-night; the place was pretty dead.  But then came the tsunami of people... on a Wednesday night.  By 1:00 am, the place was packed.  Before I knew it, I was grabbed by the arm and drug into the V.I.P. booth and found myself dancing beside Ugandan hip-hop artist, Navio.




Eventually, it was time to go.  

I think I'm going to Nairobi today.  I've not really planned.  But I think I'll go to Nairobi today.



Tuesday, July 28, 2009

A Lively Bunch

A Lively Bunch

I finally got around to around to watching Gossip Girl.  I know.  How could I not have seen it before?  I mean it has the word gossip in the title and Gossip Girl is Kristen Bell and Blake Lively is the Sister of Robyn Lively--wife of the-guy-who-plays-Troy's-dad in High School Musical (by the way, his name is Bart Johnson), star of Teen Angel Returns, The Karate Kid III and one of the greatest teen masterpieces of 1989:  Teen Witch.  


Oh, how used to love this woman.

Besides having my ass firmly planted in the comfy chair today, I hosted a small dinner for four friends.  I intended to make a salmon lasagne.  Unfortunately, the supermarket didn't have the lasagne pasta, so I opted to make it with another type of pasta and it came out well.  My friend Alex came over to lend a hand in the kitchen.


For dessert, I made whole-wheat strawberry muffins.




Top that!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Canis

Canis

The following headline grabbed my attention yesterday as I was reading the Sunday Monitor newspaper:


The story goes on to describe how the district has been invaded by 100 wolves that have killed 180 goats, raided gardens destroying banana trees and cassava, and instilled so much fear in the local children that they are afraid to go to school.  The article claims that the wolves are pushing some residents of the district to the brink of starvation.

I was like, "Oh, my goodness!  That's horrible... Wait a minute.  Are their wolves in Africa?"  What a great learning opportunity for me!  I did a quick Google search and found this photo and article about the Ethiopian (or Abyssinian) wolf  from National Geographic.

Beautiful creatures really.  But Ethiopia which is pretty far from Uganda.  Maybe some got lost, migrated and ended up in Luweero District.  That's highly unlikely.  According to the National Wildlife Federation's website, there are only 500 canis simensis, Africa's sole wolf, remaining.  

Well, what's going on in Luweero?  During my search for information on the African wolves, I found several sites about the African wild dog.  (Some people would prefer that it be called the African painted dog because 'wild' has a negative connotation.)  This endangered species has a larger distribution, being found in 25 different countries (Uganda, however, not being one of them), and with a larger population (believed to be somewhere between 3500 and 5000), it is perhaps more feasible that a pack took a wrong turn somewhere and ended up in central Uganda.

The above map shows that Uganda is on the fringe of the distribution of Lycaon pictus, the African wild dog.  With conflict in some areas, drought in others and human sprawl, is it not possible for the painted dogs to look for new digs?

I have one more possibility to propose.  There are also wolves in South Africa.  I know.  I know.  The Ethiopian wolf is the only African wolf and there are only 500 left.  Yes, but some people, in a effort to produce a super guard dog, imported wolves to South Africa to crossbreed with dogs.  So the wolves are not indigenous, but they are of hearty stock and thrive in the wilds of SA.  Could not someone have done something similar in Uganda?  With the huge market for security companies here and the surge of foreign companies into the country, this would not surprise me.



As I mentioned in yesterday's post, I finally go around to watching Twilight.  I've also read the first two books in the series and have the other two on my coffee table waiting for me.  Naturally, I could not help but make an association between the Luweero wolf mystery and the Quileute creation myth.  Stephanie Meyer created the myth of the 'cold ones' so I guess we don't have to also worry about vampires also being in the area.

(Oh, and one more funny thing.  In the printed version of the Sunday Monitor, the wolf story was in the National News section.  Online, it appears to be in the Op-Ed section.  Could the whole story have been some type of metaphor?  Wolves invading Luweero... eating...  evoking fear...  What might Dan Wandera really be trying to say?)

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Get Happy!

Get Happy!

What a great weekend!  I went for a 13km run on Saturday morning, there was a barbeque at a friend of a friend’s on Saturday night, and Sunday morning I made a successful attempt to host a brunch where I made waffles for the first time—and they came out great! 

Another perk of housesitting:  a waffle iron at my disposal.  I've wanted one for years.  The one I used this morning was this Presto model.

It's handy-dandy and fun to use.  I love the way it flips, and the built-in timer is super helpful.

My boys came over, and we spent the day eating and watching Twilight, season 7 of Friends, Jumping Jack Flash and the 100th episode of So You Think You Can Dance—the one where Katy Holmes performed Liza’s Get Happy.

Who knew that Katie was musical?  Not the most amazing voice, but she hit the notes.  I'm not sure why she was asked to perform other than to promote her charity, but it was not a painful performance.  Look at those legs!

So after all that crazy corruption stuff in New Jersey last week, I was happy to find out today via a rerun of Saturday Night Live and later the BBC that the state has decided not to ban bikini waxing.  Two women were hospitalized from an infection they developed after being waxed, and the state lawmakers went nuts.  I guess that is old news (from way back in March), but it’s news to me.  Yeah, women were telling the state to “stay out of our pants,” and there were jokes about “the overgrown garden state” and  “the garden state maybe extra lush this summer.”  

How could I not have known about this when it was a hot story? 


Friday, July 24, 2009

Trust

Trust

Who is the person that the majority of Americans trust to deliver them the news?  Katie Couric?  Charlie Gibson?  Brian Williams?

No.  It's John Stewart.

That's right folks.  John Steward, host of The Daily Show on Comedy Central (and co-star of the 1997 straight-to-dvd Drew Barrymore film Wishful Thinking), is the most trusted newscaster in American--the Walter Cronkite of 2009.  At least that was the finding of a nationwide poll conducted by Time Magazine.  


As you can see from this map of the results, 44% of Americans put their trust in a comedian to deliver them the truth over more recognized and formal newscasters--even the good folks of Texas.  What does that say about the state of journalism in America?  

Did you catch the last episode of So You Think You Can Dance this week?  Oh my goodness, Melissa and Ade's performance about a woman with breast cancer nothing was less than amazing, so beautiful, so moving.  I don't think anyone who watched that performance got through it with dry eyes, especially if they have ever known anyone who has battle cancer... and won... or lost.  I've watched it over and over again on YouTube.  Please, if you have not seen it yet watch it:  


This is an example of the amazing power of performance, the way dance can really create a picture with no paint and make a statement with no words.  The trust between the dancers was powerful, the lifts and the leap Melissa makes into Ade's arms were all very moving.  The Maxwell song that provides the backdrop is also beautiful and fitting.  I had to go to iTunes and download This Woman's Work after watching this performance.  Melissa, Ade and Tyce, you have touched this non-sentimental, often cynical heart of stone.  I need moments like this.



Thursday, July 23, 2009

Accidental Discoveries

Accidental Discoveries

I'm on summer vacation, right? Six weeks of leave, and tomorrow I complete week two. I'm on leave: which is why I spent about 4 hours in the office today.  It was an extremely productive day; however, I uncovered some information (accidentally) that really pissed me off and just gave further evidence to confirm that the woman I used to work under is a raging incompetent... True, I should not have uncovered what I did, but I did not go snooping for it.  Then, when I found it I asked myself, "What would Veronica Mars do?"  If you know V, then you know what I did.

Speaking of V, I was watching AFN tonight, and I spotted Chirs Lowell (Veronica Mars, Season III, Piz) on the screen in Private Practice.  That show is full of beautiful people:  Taye Diggs, Lowell, Amy Brenneman, Tim Daly, Audra McDonald.  I watched my first episode of the Grey's Anatomy spin-off tonight.  I must say, I kind of like it... I don't want to get too attached because I will not have AFN access after this housesitting gig is over.  Beautiful doctors saving lives.  Saving prostitutes.  Saving fertility.  Saving each other's asses.  Great television.





Wednesday, July 22, 2009

What Happened?

What Happened?

Ever wonder that happened to the teen group from the 90s Hi-Five?  Remember their hits I Like the Way (The Kissing Game), I Just Can't Handle It, and I Can't Wait Another Minute.  Like tens of other people, that question has been scratching at the back of my mind for some time now.  I mean they were not just another one-hit-wonder band; I've just listed three hits by them.  Plus, they had that song from one of the Sister Act movies, and I'm pretty sure they performed at Grad Nite 1994 at Walt Disney World, or maybe I just fabricated that memory out of desire.  Maybe I am delusional because wikipedia says they disbanded around 1993.  Then again... it is wikipedia.

This was a boy-band that I did not know any of the names of the individual members.  They have been compared to New Edition, but come on, everybody could identify Ronny, Bobby, Ricky and Mike.  Not to mention Ralph and later Johnny.  So, no, Hi-Five, (as good as their songs were) were not the new New Edition of their time.  I just found out today that the lead singer of Hi-Five's name was Tony Thompson...  and he died in 2007.  That was shocking news to read today as I looked for album artwork to use to update my iTunes library.  

Sadly, Thompson, died a little over two years ago (1st June 2007) in his hometown of Waco, Texas.  He was only 31.  I find his cause of death even sadder:  an accidental overdose of freon gas.  He reportedly had a history of "huffing".  How does one go from a string of hits, including a #1, to huffing gas?  Poor guy.  








Tuesday, July 21, 2009

He's Just So Into Ro and Drew

He's Just So Into Ro and Drew


I had a date tonight with my favourite princess and a half-blood prince.  RoRo finally came out of the bush, and it was a pleasure to have her on my arm as my date for the evening.  Even suffering from a cold, which she jokingly/seriously thinks is H1N1, she is a dazzling beauty. 

We went to see the latest installment in the Harry Potter series—no picnic before hand, not as creative of an outing as the one BMac slept through, but we did meet for juice, coffee and cinnamon buns before the show.  Two friends me us for the show, but one had never seen any of the other Harry Potter films, nor had he read any of the books—no better place to start than the sixth one.  He was lost and did not have a very high opinion of the film.  I, on the other hand, really like this film; it was one of my favourites in the saga of Harry Potter so far.  My other two favourites are The Prisoner of Askaban and The Order of the Phoenix.  My least favourite is The Goblet of Fire.  The Half-Prince installment was quite dark.  Of course, it would have to be with the death of a main character.  The actors are maturing with their characters and are becoming better actors with each film.  I appreciate how the Harry Potter films have relied more on story and characters to drive the film more than special effects as the series has progressed.  The first two and the fourth films were too eye candy heavy for my taste. 


Tuesday is half-price movie day at Cineplex, so I also caught the 2 o’clock showing of He’s Just Not Into You.  Yes, some films take a lifetime to arrive in Kampala; HJNIY was showing in the UK when I was there in February.  However others, like The Half-Blood Prince, open here at the same time they do worldwide.  HJNIY received mixed review, and my review (if I was giving one) would be just that:  mixed.  Some parts of the film were great, but I did find myself checking my watch for the time, which is not a good thing.  A positive statement:  I think this is the first film I ever enjoyed a character played by Ben Affleck.  I got a little choked up when he was washing the dishes.  Ginnifer Goodwin is fantastic.  The reason I decided to see this film… Drew Barrymore.  I’ve expressed my admiration of drew on my blog before.  I love Drew.  I think she is amazing.  She is a beautiful creature.  I’m really looking forward to finally seeing Grey Gardens, which just came out on DVD.


By the way, her directorial debut, Whip It, is scheduled to be released on 9th October.  Drew+roller derby+Juliette Lewis+Eve+Jimmy Fallon=A MUST SEE!!!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Fishy

Fishy

So, I'm from Florida.  I must say I am taken aback by the natural beauty of the beaches of the Florida panhandle every time that I go back to the area that (for better or for worse) I call 'home'.  I check up on the hometown news semi-regularly on www.starfl.com.  (The New Vision ain't got nuthin' on it!)  Well there is some controversy brewing in the Gulf/Franklin area.  Besides the story about Gulf County's first confirmed case of swine flu--which I'm sure has some people freaking out--there is the story of a giant grouper.  Photo: 

Now that's some fish.  Some people think that it could've been of record-breaking size.  Funny thing:  they didn't weigh it.  I guess they were not out for records, just holiday fishing.  They snapped their photos, alerted the local media (I guess because there's a story in the paper), filleted the king-sized grouper, packed it and went separate ways to Alabama and Kansas.  End of story...

...That is until questions started to bubble up after the story not only ran in the local paper but in a few local papers and a larger regional newspaper.  Was the fish a legal Warsaw grouper or a protected goliath grouper?  Oops!!!  Can't what happened in the Gulf of Mexico stay in the Gulf of Mexico?  Not when the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission know what you did this summer.

Investigation is underway.  Now, I think the tourists  really thought that they'd done nothing wrong when they caught this fish; otherwise, they would be some of the dumbest visitors to the coast this summer.  They.  Put.  The.  Photo.  In.  The.  Paper.  But if they are guilty, they could face 6 months in jail and a $500 fine.

Wow!  Small-town news, super fun!

Do you know what else is super fun?  Dressing up as a castaway, donning a homemade banana-fibre hat and having a wiener (made from poultry, no pork or beef) roast.  It takes me back to my days as a pirate marooned on the island of Tutuila in the South Pacific.





Sunday, July 19, 2009

Rain Forest Sundays Can Get You Down

Rain Forest Sundays Can Get You Down

This was a fantastic Sunday.  I went with three friends to spend a day at the Rain Forest Lodge in Mabira Forest.  I blogged about stopping by there on the way back from Jinja after the hash relay there two weeks ago.  I still think the place is stunningly beautiful.  We spent the day pool side; the water was icy, but jumping into the cold water after spending time in the sauna was very refreshing.  Lawrence, the guy by the pool, was a big help and very friendly.  If only the rest of the staff were that useful… Lunch was more stressful than it was worth.  A set menu:  set soup, set salad, choice of a main course, set dessert, 30,000 shillings, done.  Simple, right?  I wish.  The incompetence of the staff in the restaurant was almost bad enough to ruin an otherwise great day.  After waiting an hour for the meals to be prepared, they still came incomplete, then either the waiter or the chef tried to change the price and add charges.  Apparently they were not prepared to accommodate the crowd of today, so some parts of the meal either did not come at all or the portions were significantly reduced.  True to my fashion, I insisted on seeing the manager.  He was friendly enough, but I felt his response to my concerns seemed to rehearsed and fake.  I could almost accept this as just a fluke, a bad day in the kitchen, but I was warned about the restaurant by a friend of mine before I came.  His sister was there in the past and also had a horrible experience.  It’s quite a shame because the place is so beautiful.  The food that we did get was well presented and tasty.  



Despite lunch not going as planned (and I'd really looked forward to this trip being superb), the day was otherwise fantastic.  I spend the day lounging, reading Vanity Fair, chatting/gossiping with fabulous friends, and enjoying nature in a very non-rugged way.  I also made a discovery when I got back to my housesitting digs and got on the internet:  a dvd of the broadway staged version of Rent was released in February.  How did I not know about this?  Well guess what I shopped for on Amazon.com today.  No day but today...


Oh, and Leo came by from a bbq at his sister's place.  He came bearing gifts of roasted pork, chicken, goat's meat and potato salad.  In return for his kindness, we tuned in to So You Think You Can Dance on AFN and shared our bounty.  I'm not sure what kind of delay there is in broadcasting, but the Black Eyed Peas were on performing I Gotta Feeling.  The song makes me smile and want to dance.

My web browsing also led me to discover on Rollingstone.com that Xtina is shooting a new video.  Does this mean we can expect new music from her in the new future?  She looks great.  I don't know if I've ever seen her so simple, but I love it.  I'm a big fan of the white t-shirt.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Assassin

Assassin

About two years ago I blogged about Margaret Cho (one of my favourite Cho quotes from that post:  Why is Viagra everywhere?  Doesn't it make more sense leave the bullets out of the gun than to just try to avoid being shot?  Especially when the gun is an old musket, that you gotta pour gun powder in and tap it down.)  Well, I've been inspired to blog about her again, so be prepared.  Here's the inspirational photograph:



There it is.  Yes, I bet some of you are borrowing a statement from Paris Hilton:  That's hot!  While others are disturbed by both my Hilton reference and by the Margaret Cho bondage scene on the cover of August's Unzipped magazine.  I'm not familiar with Ricky Sinz, but I think that Ms. Cho is sizzling on in this shot.  Apparently, she is the first mainstream actor to be featured on the cover of Unzipped, and she is the first woman too.  I'm not rushing out to get my copy of the magazine, but I will admit to being tempted.  You can also see a short segment with behind-the-scenes exerts from this photo shoot on You Tube.  Looks like fun!

Oh, and I must not forget the important stuff:


Happy birthday Kristen Bell (aka Veronica Mars)!!!
July 18th
She's 29.



might finally make it to the big screen in 2011
with Brad Pitt as a producer!



What about me?  Well, I kind of feel like a Kato Kaelin without the fame of being part of a murder mystery.  I'm housesitting and living in a house I could never afford to live in myself.  I was asked to take care of a cat.  For the past two nights I've woken up thinking the cat was dead.  What if it died?  That would be horrible.  To add to my anxiety of the cat, I left the drier running when I left yesterday to spend the evening at my friend Lynne's, and I kept thinking that the timer would not work, the drier would keep running, the clothes would combust and the house would burn down.  Needless to say, I have a very active imagination, and I'm not always optimistic; I think of worst case scenarios.  







Friday, July 17, 2009

The Year of Numbers

The Year of Numbers

I had dinner with my friend Paulina (aka the author of the fantastic new novel The Year of Numbers--if you've not had the chance to pick up a copy, I highly recommend it) last night night at Haandi, probably my favourite Indian restaurant in Kampala.  The mutton vindaloo was delicious, and the conversation was spirited--both very spicy and satisfying.  It had been a while since we'd hung out, maybe more than a year, so it was good to catch up.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Friction

Friction

I went for a long run this evening.  The run felt good... while I ran.  Now:  ouch!  No, my muscles are OK.  Two parts of my body rubbed together way too much during the long run.  Long story short:  my ass is chafed.  Not very pleasant to hear, huh?  Well imagine how it feels.  Ow!

My girl, Elle Woods, is also not a fan of chafing of the rear.  She made that very clear in her admissions video to Harvard Law:  "It has come to my attention that the maintenance staff is switching our toilet paper from Charmin... to generic.  All those opposed to chafing, please say 'Aye'."

I sound a resounding "AYE!!!"


Jason Mraz isn't a fan of Charmin or the way we use toilet paper.  On his MySpace blog, he gives us tips on how to use less.  

- Start small. Challenge yourself to use only 8 squares in your session. We’ve all been in that place where it’s close to the cardboard roll and you have to be MacGuyver to make a clean get-away. This will force you to get creative while taking good care of each square. 

- Use both sides. I mean that. I bet some people are afraid to look at or get close to their own skid-marks. But I say it’s better to know how your body’s handling the business of your health. Fold the paper again and again using a clean angle from the very same square. There’s a lot of real estate wasted on each sheet when you only wipe once. 

- Should you find the paper too thin and become the victim of too many breakthroughs, try using a stronger material as a backing. This worked when I was camping. The paper wasn’t holding up in the dampness of camp, so I used a leaf to give the paper more strength from behind. Plus the leaf was textured, which handled the job with far more efficiency than just the paper by itself. 

Forgive me for being 
anal about this. I just thought I’d share the news and suggest an eco-friendly solution to one of nature’s biggest pains in the ass. 

 Well, the way I'm feeling right now, I not very anxious to have toilet paper (or anything for that matter) causing any more friction on my bum.  Bidet?

Fan=Stalker? Bacon and Eggs

Fan=Stalker?  Bacon and Eggs

This will be brief and be registered as my Wednesday post, but I feel that it is my Tuesday one.  I'm just in a bit late.

I spent a bit of time at school today.  Work.  Perfectionist tendencies.  Blah.  Blah. Blah.  All that equates to  a lot of time.

I met Leo at at a pizza place at the mall; we ended up meeting some more friends at Kamwokya, and from there we headed to Katch the Sun in Bugolobi to watch Qwela Band.  It was fun, almost too much fun for a Tuesday night.  But I'm on vacation, right?  Even if I have to be at work at 8:30am tomorrow.  Working with Jeanie is great!  I don't have to think, just do.

You know how I like gossip, right?  Well, it's the fourth goal of Peace Corps--Uganda (according to BMAC, and she's an authority), and I was eavesdropping on a conversation between two people at the pizza place at the mall, and they happen to be Peace Corps volunteers in Uganda!!!  So, of course I had to get the dish.  Turns out, the guy is being send home early (sad, I know).  That is admin sepped in PC terminology (thanks B!).  I did not catch all of the details (eavesdropping, remember), but it had something with cohabiting at site.  Juicy.  Whatever the deal, I'm really sad he could not finish his service.  Completing one's service is amazing.  You forever hold the title of RPCV with pride.

Ok, I'm off to slumberland.

Dead.

Dog.

Tired.

Monday, July 13, 2009

The Acclaimed Anti-Sodomy Activist...

The Acclaimed Anti-Sodomy Activist...

The above is the title given as introduction of the Pastor Martin Ssempa in the opening sentence of this article in the Red Pepper.  Wow!  What an accomplishment--to be praised enthusiastically and publicly for such activism.  


Speaking of activism, the hash tonight was set from the Acid Survivors' Foundation Uganda (ASFU) in Ntinda.  The ASFU is working to make Uganda an acid violence free country.  On 1st May, the Kampala Hash House Harriers organised a charity run for the ASFU, a red-dress run that began from the Mayor's Garden in Kampala city center.  Through this event, we were able to raise 2 million Uganda Shillings for the foundation.  Tonight's hash was hosted at ASFU's office, and a check was handed over to their director; some of the people who benefit from the ASFU's services were on hand for the event.  The work that this organisation does is touching and very admirable, but at the same time, it sad and sickening that such an organisation even needs to exist.   The Eye Magazine, an insider's guide to Uganda, recently ran an article on acid attacks (acid attacks are an extreme form of pre-mediated violence where sulphuric, nitric or hydrochloric acid is thrown on the face/body of a victim often resulting in death, blindness or acute disfigurement), the ASFU's work, and included a brief story of one of the survivors.

Another type of activism:  I stumbled across this article about a Ugandan activist today.  To read what this person has had to suffer and the odds he's been up against, you cannot help but feel a bit ashamed of society and wish him success.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Misfit

Misfit

Let's play a little game today.  I think it was Sesame Street that began the game of selecting the object that did not fit in with the other with the song:

One of these things is not like the others.  

One of these things just don't belong...

a).  
           

b).  
           

c).  
           


Answers:

a).  This is a photo of my empty classroom after Betty and I finished packing everything away.  This photo represents a clean slate and satisfaction from the culmination of another year.  It makes me smile.

b).  This is a photo of a killer bunny drawn by one of my students.  Despite their violent tendencies, the killer bunnies united my class this past year.  One of my students introduced her killer bunny illustrations, and the rest of the kids just ran with it.   Before long, the killer bunnies invaded all the subjects--from art to mathematics and everywhere in between.  My students created a kind of field guide for the killer bunnies including a map of the bunnies' alternate world--complete with fictitious continents and countries--and examples of favourite foods.  Without the killer bunnies, the would've been more discord in my classroom, and believe me, I had plenty of that to deal with already.  I found this final killer bunny drawn on the small white board on the last day of school.  It makes me smile.

c).  This is the busiest damn pattern I've seen.  Seeing the photo itself kind of makes we want to vomit.  It's not just unbearable in skirt form, but someone decided to have a top sewn out of it as well.  Ewww!!!  What a horrible set!  Now, I've mentioned that pattern is unbearable in skirt form, now imagine the wearer of such skirt choosing to wear the damn thing four days consecutively.  Ewww!!!  Ewww!!!  Ewww!!!  Ewww!!!  My eyes hurt!!!  

So if you chose c, you were correct.  is definitely the odd man out.  

Ewww!!!  Ewww!!!  Ewww!!!  Ewww!!!  Ewww!!!



Saturday, July 11, 2009

Live Music and Ordinary People

Live Music and Ordinary People


I just got home from watching Qwela Band, one of my favourite performing groups in Uganda.  They perform every Friday night at Emin Pasha.  Lounging on a sofa with friends on the balcony listening the eclectic mix of live music as interpreted by Qwela is a great way to unwind from any week.  I’ve become a pretty regular groupie.  I first heard of the band’s Friday night gig from one of the singers, Anita, who I acted with in a play last October (September?).  However, it took me a few months before I attended a performance, but once I did, I was hooked.  My two favourite songs they perform are covers of Summertime and Ordinary People.  They have a great style, and the singers have fantastic voices.

I’m on a live music kick.  I plan to go see Maurice Kirya again tomorrow night.  I hear he’s going to be live at Lotus Mexican Cantina—Saturday night, 11th July at 7:00pm.  Join me?

I’m going to make a short post since it is so late—places to be early in the morning.  I wanted to at least post something today since I did not make one yesterday.  I dozed off on the sofa at 5:30 yesterday afternoon and woke up at 2:00am, so I just stumbled to bed and slept until 6:30 this morning.  Yes, that is 11 hours of sleep.  I was really tired; I guess I needed to catch up on a lot of sleep.

I think I’m getting too comfortable in my surroundings… and that’s not really a safe thing.  One thing I advise visitors to Kampala when they ask for safety tips is to remember that Kampala is a big city.  Treat it that way.  That’s why I got pretty frustrated with myself as I found myself walking home alone tonight up the dark hill to my flat.  What was I thinking?  I guess I wasn’t.  I mean it was pretty late and really dark.  I’ve seen people robbed on that street.  I always think it will never happen to me… until it does.  I cannot afford to be complacent about my security.  Was it complacency or curiosity that killed the cat?

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Get a Reaction

Get a Reaction

OK, so I hear things selectively.  Don't we all?  Well, I've been on a Lily Allen vibe these days.  I say that I like her sophomore effort more than her debut; its musical style if more eclectic.  While the first album had more of a ska feel to it, It's Not Me, It's You is more varied--a little bit country, a little bit rock and roll, with some ska, techno and others.  

That said, I've been groovin' to Lily's debut, Alright Still, a lot lately.  My life is just one big song, and the riff that's repeating is Friday Night.  I'm really feeling it right now.  I feel the need to hear it before I leave the house each morning and as I walk to my destination.  Let's take it a bit out of context.  Here's where the selective listening comes in handy.

If you're gonna play with fire then you're gonna get burned...

Don't try and test me cos you'll get reaction...

I don't know who you think you are,
But making people scared won't get you very far.

Ooooooooooooo
Ooooooooooooo

Don't understand why they're being really loud.
They make their way over to me,
They try to push me out the way...

What you tryna say?

I can pretend that my day is just a night at a club.  There.  It's already much better now.  Believe me,  I'm alright.  It's not me, it's you.  If you have a problem... Well, sorry for you.  Continue to express your frustration towards the printer if you like.


Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Too Close

Too Close

Saturday morning, while on the road to Jinja, we had the radio tuned to the BBC.  We were listening when the report was made of hostages being taken in the  western Darfur region of Sudan.  The woman whose vehicle we were riding in used to work for Goal, the same NGO the two hostages were working for, and she was concerned that the Ugandan hostage might be someone she knew, so she make a phone call to find out.  It was not someone she really knew; however, they had been involved together with a project a few years ago.  I only knew one person from Uganda in Darfur, and she had just been in Kampala for a visit.

Well, the one person I knew is the Ugandan woman who was kidnapped.  I didn’t really think much more about the hostages being taken over the weekend until I reached school Monday morning and ran into the woman’s mother, who is the care-giver to the grandson when her daughter is working in Darfur.  I see the child’s grandmother on an almost daily basis, and she was obviously troubled.  I greeted her as usual with a “Good morning,” and a “How are you?” and she came back with a summary of her nightmare of a weekend.  I was stunned. 

True, I don’t really know the woman who was kidnapped very well.  She was in town a of weeks ago and I did have a chance to speak to her once.  However, I have become pretty attached to her 3-year-old son… and I often find him attached to me—tightly gripping my leg as I try to walk around the playground.  He was a very timid little 2-and-a-half-year-old when he started the nursery class last September, always hiding in his teacher’s long skirts from the other children and teachers.  I kind of made it my mission to help him become more comfortable at school and made an effort to always talk to him and try to get him to play with the other children.  Now, he is quite confident, loves to be at school and plays with the other children.  When he sees me, he always gives a high-pitched squeal, runs to me and latches on to my leg, and sometimes I need assistance from his teacher to get home off. 

This is the latest article my google search produced on the situation.  There are not many details being revealed.  Maybe that’s a good thing.  Considering the history of hostages taken in the Darfur area, I’m optimistic… I hope I have a reason to be.