28 April 2010

Timed Map of Europe's Airspace Rebooting

Yeah, I'm a nerd. Get on board. This is crazy cool.

Airspace Rebooted from ItoWorld on Vimeo.

09 April 2010

Read This Now

I just finished reading Sag Harbor, a novel by Colson Whitehead.

I apologize that the title is italicized instead of underlined, as I know that is really going to bother some of you. If you know the html coding for how to get underlining to happen, let me know and I'll be happy to change it. Otherwise I recommend underlining it yourself on your monitor using a permanent marker. But I digress.

I hate reviewing books, but I want you to read this one, so I've devised an express format:

Sag Harbor is a community in the Hamptons on Long Island that has a historically black settlement in it, populated by wealthy, professional black people from the five boroughs. The story is set in that community, and reflects the dichotomy that having parallel wealthy, but racially divided, communities creates. That separation occupies a surprisingly large amount of both the novel, and the character's emotional space. But really it's about two brothers that spend the summer in Sag Harbor at their family's summer house, largely unsupervised, and the broad possibility of re-invention that a summer alone brings.

Language: Sometimes lyrical, always lush, you'll want to lick it from the page. Also: sometimes there is early 80's rap used, and it's hilarious to read Whitehead's description of why rap was important.

Point: Call me unprepared, but I had never thought about the fact that a wealthy, successful class of black people wouldn't have had anyplace to go. Now that I've thought about it, I want to know more. It must feel like the way that being gay used to be harder but also it was more of a club, and now that it's more accepted it feels like less of a bond. Difficult.

Counterpoint: But not really about the separation of wealthy blacks and whites, really about the awkwardness of trying to transform yourself from a boy into a man.

Hilarity?: Oh, in spades. Re: Early 80s rap lyrics, trying to sneak into a club by dressing as a preppy kid, stealing old coke because new coke was terrible and your stockpile was dwindling, summer jobs scooping ice cream, turf wars over what is acceptable white culture and what is not. Apparently, Kraftwerk was ok.

Tragedy?: There is a passage where the main character's dad gets drunk and angry as he prepares to grill some chicken, the number of drinks punctuated by the onomatopoeia of the liquor cabinet quietly opening and closing as refills are poured. The quiet, assumedly-pleasurable process of getting ready to barbecue takes on the milestone-counting quality of a march to doom, punctuated by the sound of the liquor cabinet door. The tension was delicious.

Thanks for the Support

Thanks everyone for your overly kind pep-talks. I was just, in the words of Kath and Kim, an excellent Australian comedy, "feeling a lot of feelings, deep within myself." Josh passed, I'm excited, crisis solved.

06 April 2010


Josh is taking the Foreign Service Exam right now. Today's the big one; after this test they tell you if they want you or not. I dropped him off this morning after being the good boyfriend and making him lunch, and then bringing him down from his pre-stressful situation freak-out/high that he loves so much. It's the little things that keep the magic alive.

Can I put this out there, real quick? I took the Foreign Service Exam before I moved to Japan. It used to be structured differently, but I passed the first round and was invited to take the exam that Josh is taking today. And I didn't take it because I wasn't sure that I wanted to work for the State Department under George W. Bush. I know that my life would be completely different if I had passed that exam and not moved overseas at that point- I wouldn't have met Josh, I wouldn't have met most of the friends I have now, I wouldn't choose to do things differently. But still. Just this one time, be slow to judge.

I'm just a little jealous.

Josh got into school at the school where I didn't. And now he's sitting the exam for the career that I thought I wanted. And after wishing him the best, and trying to do everything I can to help him succeed, and hoping with him that he gets this thing he would be amazing at: maybe I want to be the one sitting in that room nervously trying to appear both intelligent and modest at the same time?

Don't tell anyone this part, but sometimes looking down at my scarred cook's hands, being able to cook isn't enough.

UPDATE: Josh PASSED! WHOO HOO! Beer drinking begins!

05 April 2010

Yinz are Jagoffs. Gumbands!

Josh and I had a scheduled mini-break for the weekend. It was going to be in New York- I'd bought some very romantic bus tickets to ride us up to the big lights in style, and we had grand plans of eating falafel, french fries, drinking at dive bars, and being grungy, but in an out-of-towner way. Unexpectedly, the death of a man two thousand years previous really makes people want to go to New York for the weekend, leaving, fittingly, no room at any of the inns.

Plan B was Pittsburgh, which was unexpectedly delightful. I mean, I think living there all the time would do me in, but visiting for a weekend was fantastic, not least because they use a bunch of words that should have died out along time ago, including gumbands instead of rubber bands. Because it's Pittsburgh, we stayed at a four star hotel for half the price hostel beds were going to cost in New York, beer was $1, and we went to see an Arthur Miller play, The Price, which was unexpectedly fantastic. Also: ate donuts, rode an incline, ate a pork shank, had something called a Strong Island Iced Tea which caused dancing later in the evening. Weekend success.

In summary: we are easy to please.

Careful now, I've heard it inclines.

That's one hell of an incline. Cleveland's got nothing on you Pittsburgh.

It's all here in Pittsburgh.

02 April 2010

The Scales Fell from Their Eyes.

It's the first day the windows are all opened at ten o'clock in the morning, and the air doesn't smell dead any more, and the trees have the beginnings of leaves on them and maybe, just maybe, winter has left. Let's hope so. I've been serving coffee and the other guests have been jangling their car keys in their pockets for like an hour now. Let's wrap it up Cold: dinner party over.

So on the agenda for the warm?

1. Find purpose in life.
2. Have Josh find purpose in life.
3. Not wear coats anymore.

So really, not that much on the to-do list.

31 December 2009

Beach Causes Retardation

No really.  It does.  Sitting in the sunshine and then running off to splash in the waves is making me dumber by the moment.  I have spent the last two days memorizing EIGHT thai vowels.  And I'll be honest.  I'm not sure I actually have them down.  But thanks to the side effects of the sun and water, I have become too dumb to notice.

Tonight, on the final day of the year, there are gigantic speakers being set up on the beach, as well as ridiculous amounts of beverages being laid in by the beach-side bars.  The full moon has decided to sync with the evenings events, piling even more tinder onto the bonfire of twenty-something beach goers that are ready to puke into the surf to celebrate another passing year.  Hurray!  A pinnacle for western civilization! 

I'm being entirely too cynical, because I plan to have more than the recommended dosage of beer and dance my ass off under the stars.  Don't be surprised when I drunk dial you at your mom's house. 

14 May 2009

Singapore, 6:15am

Hey party people: I'm gone. We packed up our stuff and said good bye to the old life for the summer. It's all Southeast Asia for the next four months. I'm kind of in stasis with this blog, so I decided to start a new one that just focuses on what I will be doing this summer: eating, and being sweaty. J. has an internship in Malaysia, so it's going to be all kinds of good food and learning how to cook and eat, with pictures of food and recipes. And of course, the kind of google-eyed yapping you have all come to know and love.

Here's the first post from Badger Eats Asia, where I will be posting from for the summer. See you on the flip side.

A woman in a headscarf walks by, trailed by two girls in Islamic school uniform, like black and white ducks following their more colorful mother. A kid in a square cap comes next, and a old, old, old Chinese man, who should be smoking an opium pipe, but isn't, and is smoking a cigarette instead. I'm wearing shorts and flip-flops. It's already almost 85°F/30°C, and the humidity hangs from the low sky in invisible curtains. I can't sleep any more, even though it's just six fifteen in the morning. We arrived last night, greasy and butt-sore, twelve hours off our schedule, twenty-six hours later. Numbers are confusing. That's why I am drinking a cup of too-sweet nescafe and watching Singapore wake up, happy to already be sweating into my pants, happy to be wearing sandals and feel the heat, happy to smell that smell of rotting and spicy food frying and damp air. Happy to be here.

14 April 2009


I made posole for dinner tonight. It's a stew of pork shoulder and hominy, spiced with cumin, chili powder and jesus. Ok, he wasn't in it but it reminded me how amazing Mexican food is. I should move there and learn how to cook the entire pantheon of mastery over defeat that defines Mexican food.

Self-Employeed Tuesday

Sitting snug at my kitchen table drinking a cup of coffee and listening to the rain, I realize that I haven't put on any pants (that's trousers for you foreigners) yet. And it's 11 am. But I've been working. And that makes me decide if working from home is the best scam ever, then working for yourself is the biggest scam in the history of scamola. It's the boyband of jobs: you hate them, but how did they get their hair so perfect?

God I love it. No office, and therefore no uncomfortable office birthday party in which everyone stands around and makes small talk before trying to grab a piece of cake and slip away unnoticed. No boss, so really, if you want to search craigslist for mopeds or read what the interweb has to say about building your own sauna before you answer any emails, then that is what you do. I mean, you have to do work sometime, but let's be honest: out of the 40 hours one spends at the office, most of the work can be completed in like ten hours.

Actually, let me correct myself: all of the work can be done in ten hours. Or at least that's how it worked out for me. I am sure that some of you are out there saving babies and nursing the rainforest back to health and recycling whales or whatnot, but I was making a lot of flow charts. Granted, I get paid for about ten hours of work, but whatever. Either this will work out or it won't. It's about fifty-fifty right now.