Sunday, August 12, 2007

Kayaking, Bush's language inadequacies and a whole lot more

Neel, his coworker Darren and I went kayaking in Hopkinton, Mass., yesterday. We'd been planning it for a week, and it was more than I'd expected. It was amazing being out on the beautiful, clear, open water in a single kayak, paddling with two friends around islands and into the nooks and crannies of the lake. It was a perfect day, too, with tons of sun and only a few freckles of cloud dotting the sky. It was one of the most amazing days of my summer here. Before that, we hit up the Waltham Outlets, which Neel and Darren dubbed "heaven." After that, we went to Providence Place mall to Cheesecake Factory for dinner. I got an eggplant burger with fries. I hadn't eaten those in a while, and damn, were they good with ketchup and a side of mayo! Neel sped off afterward to see his girlfriend, and Darren and I went to the movies to see "The Bourne Ultimatum," which I found rather good. We stayed up talking about everything under the sun until about 2 a.m.

Timing sure does suck, doesn't it?

In reading The Washington Post today, I came across an article about French President Nicolas Sarkozy's visit to the Bushes. It was largely a lighthearted story, focusing on French-U.S. relations and what Sarkozy and the Bushes would eat for lunch. The last two graphs, however, struck me as simply hilarious in its truth. Here it is, straight from the horse's mouth:

Might the president at least speak a few words of French, as a gesture toward the new U.S.-French thaw?

"No, I can't," Bush said. "I can barely speak English."
- "French Leader's Visit With Bush Signals Warming" by Anne E. Kornblut, The Washington Post, 8/12/07

Truer words were never spoken, Mr. President.

There is exactly one week before I move back. I've already started thinking about packing, though I know I shouldn't, and I don't really want to, anyway. Mom's all excited about my homecoming and has proposed a going-away party for both me and my brother, who has already moved to Nashville, Tenn., and started a job handing out credit-card applications at an airport. He's also been looking for other part-time jobs in the area, too. So he's already sold out to the credit-card companies. I hope he doesn't try to sell me one.

In the deepest parts of me, I yearn for home, but the best situation would be if I could go home for a week or so to visit and then come back here and resume a job at The Standard-Times. Not only do I love the people and the culture of the office, I also love my roommates here in Providence. I've made some wonderful friendships this summer that I hope transcend these three months we've spent together. This has been the summer of my life, and I only hope it can get better after graduation. My life is just beginning, and I'm ready to take it on and enjoy every lasting moment of it.

Classes begin Monday, Aug. 27, and I've already decided to take a trip away from it all to see Tea Leaf Green in Buffalo that Wednesday night. I haven't seen my boys in almost a year, so it'll be a welcome sight to hang out with them again, just like old times. This, to me, is more important than some class. This is life, not the bubble of academia that tries its best to shield us from life and prolong our entry into it as long as possible. I'm ready to break out of that bubble. I think I've been ready for a while now, and spending this summer doing what I'm doing has made me realize that.

Bring it on, world. I'm ready.

Monday, August 06, 2007

I do my little turn on the catwalk

OK, so maybe a catwalk wasn't involved, but I did do a bit of modeling last week, and the resulting photos, I must say, came out stunningly well. My buddy Don, a fellow Standard-Times copy editor and musician, also has an affinity for photography, and asked if I'd do a shoot after seeing me wear my signature black bandana one night. How could I pass up such an opportunity? It was fun driving around Dartmouth and Fairhaven, posing in vast farm fields and by typically rural New England stone fences with gorgeous arrays of daffodils in front.

By now I'm sure you're aching to get your hands on these photos. The link to my section of Don's photo Web site is here. He also made a post about the shoot in his own blog, which you can find here.

Two weeks remain until I have to drive back home and begin the commute to the seemingly senseless fall training I have to undergo for my job at SU. *sigh* Oh, the humanity.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

You know that I'm no good

I can't help what anyone else says about her: I love Amy Winehouse. Yeah, sure, she (and I) probably should go to rehab, but her album "Back to Black" just gets me. Yeah, Normally I'm not into lounge/reggae, but her stuff just resonates so much with me; not to mention the fact that she kind of looks like me, sans all the tattoos and the scars from when she cut herself earlier, per the Rolling Stone article. (So many of you say I look like Sarah Silverman, I may as well look like Ms. Winehouse, who is also Jewish.) Check out my favorite video of hers, "You Know I'm No Good."

As soon as I know the results of my modeling stint, I'll let you all know. Should be soon. I'm expectant of the results myself.

I'm so not into returning to 'Cuse. Please, let me graduate already. Throes of Third Eye Blind's "Graduate" resonate already.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

The Afghanistanization of TV

“Maybe Afghanistan is not so different from other places,” said Muhammad Qaseem Akhgar, a prominent social analyst and newspaper editor. “People watch television because there is nothing else to do.”
- "Amid War, Passion for TV Chefs, Soaps and Idols" by Barry Bearak, The New York Times, Aug. 1, 2007
I thought this quote from an Afghan newspaper editor was spot on. Isn't that the real reason everyone watches television, anyway?

I guess that says a lot for me, since I've lived without watching TV the entire summer (save while I'm working, but mostly what's on are Red Sox games), and I couldn't be happier. ... Though I do miss the occasional Food Network show ...

I also especially enjoyed the last few grafs of the story, in which the head of Afghan TV station Tolo TV remarks about the correlation between democracy and TV.

“It has been quite odd,” said Saad Mohseni, Tolo’s chief. “This is Afghanistan, a young democracy, and we don’t have problems with the drug dealers or the Taliban or even the local populace. Our problems are all with the government, either because of red tape or attempted censorship or someone with a vested interest trying to extract money.”

He paused for effect.

“With democracy comes television. It’s hard for some people to get used to.”