Monday, April 30, 2007

Last Call

I promise that this will be the last poem this month guys. I found it whilst Googling random words in a fit of boredom this morning. I also promise to return to proper Typ0-esque blogging as soon as the writer’s block goes away. So hopefully by tomorrow or Wednesday at the latest… probably.

By: Anonymous

I reach out
I grasp nothing
I cannot feel
What is not there

I slip beneath the waves
Grasping for the one breath that will give me life again

I stand invisible against
The tides that surround my
Pseudo life of pain

The pain of knowing love

I slip beneath the waves once more
The air of purity eludes me
My alarm is set

I push back the time
Reaching for one more hour
Love my love
One more day of love with my love

The time grows nearer
I hear the seconds tick by
I reach out for the chance to make it one day more

I am empty
The universe of life surrounds me
But I cannot touch it
I am a bystander

One more minute
One more day is all I ask
To spend with love my love

I slip beneath the waves
I reach out
I gasp for air
I grasp

Salvation in one more minute
Hope in one more day
Love my love

I know I am not meant to be here
But I cannot leave you
You are what I grasp to
I feel your hand in mine
I breathe the air of purity
I breathe your love

I am dying one day at a time
Soon there will be no more me

I’m sorry.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Feed Me, Please

Yeah, I’m not going to beat around the bush – your favorite Blogger B!tch isn’t a size six. Heck I’m not even a size six times two. There are days when I look at myself and think, “Typ0, sweetie, get your cute little butt in gear and go to the gym, dammit!” And other days when I sternly admonish myself, “Did we really need that chocolate croissant?” The answer to that last one is usually yes, by the way.

Then there are other days when I totally get why it is that I can’t have a gastric bypass surgery, and why it is that even when (not if!) I get down to a size 12 I will never ever be that elusive size six. You see I love food. Not just as a concept to keep me alive, but more as a method to keep me sane, happy, and blissfully content. Simply put: I live to eat not the other way around.

Here in Nairobi, I look forward to going out to eat at the incredible restaurants that can be found all over town. (I’m totally craving sushi right now!) Plus Hubby and I are known to cook up fabulous meals during the week that would make even Anthony Bourdain’s mouth water. But after all of these days of cooking Thai basil curry, wild mushroom risotto, and spicy Ethiopian curry, I can’t wait to get back to the wonderful edible delights that await us in the Real World.

What is that I look forward to when I go on home leave? Yeah the bookstores and the ability to drink tap water are really cool but I want the FOOD. I want my mum’s new lamb curry that I tried last time I was home, I want Qdoba, I want McDonald’s… And I’m not fussy – I love homemade food, fast food, exquisite restaurant food, street food: I’m a foodie so basically no matter where we go I’m going to be a happy girl. And goodness knows that we’re going to be traveling from one side of the country to the other this home leave.

For bonus food points, on our way back to Kenya we’re staying at a hotel in Dubai that boasts a Gordon Ramsay restaurant. How freaking cool is that?! I’m going to eat food created by the F-Word loving chef that hates my Naked Chef sweetie Jamie Oliver. And that’s why we chose the hotel. I can’t wait!

Just when I thought that our trip home couldn’t get any better came the ultimate in food themed news. I decided to Google Mario Batali to see if he had any new cookbooks coming out. That’s when I found out that he had just opened a new restaurant. In Vegas. At the hotel we’re staying at. YAY!!!! As I type this I have already called Hubby to tell him the good news, and am making online reservations for the Saturday night we’re there. I’m going to be able to eat Mario Batali’s food!! This is going to be so freaking cool.

(Would it seem tacky to bring my very food stained, very used copy of one his books there with me all the way from Kenya just on the off chance he might be there to sign it in person? Or is that a little too fangirl and stalker-ish?)

It would be so much easier to lose weight if food wasn’t so yummy. Now pass me the Kraft Dinner – I’m hungry again.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

A Royal Crush

Today’s blog is for our Devoted Male Readers, especially those back home in Illinois. Hubby, as many of you may know, has freakishly weird taste in women. Other than choosing the best thing that ever happened to him (Moi!), he often goes for women that most people think are less appealing. Examples through the ages include Julianne Moore, Liz Phair, and Fionnuala Sweeney (pre-bad hair, of course!).

(To keep our buddies back home honest, I thought I’d include a few of their weirder cougars of choice: Hilary Clinton, Diane Lane, and Madonna. I’m not naming names because you know who you are!)

Which brings us to the debate that began this past weekend while watching coverage of the French elections. Is Ségolène Royal hot? Hubby believes that this fifty year old is hot enough to be worthy of his vote in the elections, if only it weren’t for her crazy socialist platform to which he has extremely strong objections. I believe that he’s just plain crazy.

But our thoughts and beliefs don’t count for much without someone else to reassure us that we’re on the right track. So what do you guys think? Is Hubby yet again off his rocker with this Royal crush?

Monday, April 23, 2007

The First Date

Have you ever noticed how dating someone is very different from marrying them or living with them? It’s amazing how wonderfully perfect we can all be while we’re dating. I mean we go through this incredibly long process in the hopes that in the end the person we’re seeing will think we’re cool enough and pretty enough to pop the “big” question. Will you (fill in the blank) (move in, be exclusive, marry, go to prom, meet my parents, meet my other significant other) with me? Which makes you wonder why we spend all that time making sure that we’re nothing like our real selves.

To be fair, I’m going to start with the girl side of this. Whilst dating, women shave their legs before every date, thus giving their man the impression that women don’t actually grow any hair there. We order salads saying we’re not hungry because we made a point of eating an hour before he showed up to pick us up. We laugh at their lame jokes and feign interest in sports by watching PTI, Around the Horn, and Sports Center the night before a big date so that we don’t get caught in too many glazed over looks at the smoky sports bar. And I haven’t even touched on the clothes, make-up, hair, and other things that we always make sure are perfect for our hopeful someone.

Then there are men. To which I will say one word: farting. The entire time you date you will probably never hear your man do anything as crass as burping or farting. Day one of living together you will begin to discover the odorous music he has been careful to keep secret from you. During the dating phase, the seat will always be put down the washroom, his table manners will be impeccable, and he’ll open your car door for you on your way to your chick flick date night where he won’t notice any of the other women around him.

After the dating phase comes a part of the relationship I like to call: Reality. You’ll recognize the symptoms I’m sure; hair starts to magically grow on your legs, the seat on the toilet is never down (unless it’s because you glued it like that out of frustration), your appetite has apparently shifted from a side salad to a plate of lasagna (and no, you’re not going to share that cannoli, thank you), and it turns out that he hates Julia Roberts and thinks that Jackass: The Movie is high art. That’s right, you’ve stopped being polite and started to get real… And somehow the relationship is better.

Sure you’ve both been essentially lying to each other for months and now you have new things to learn and talk about. Besides, it’s too late: you already like each other. You’ve moved beyond six months of first dates and are ready for the second date where you find out he hates your pet name for him, and he discovers you’re allergic to his cologne. The relationship becomes stronger for revealing the truth from the lies.

So even though the farting is annoying, smelly, and is grating on your last nerve it’s OK. Because maybe reality doesn’t bite…

Sunday, April 22, 2007

PO Box Africa

We all know that I live in Nairobi, Kenya. But let’s be honest: I don’t live in Africa. Like many expats here, I live in my delightfully modern apartment behind 10-foot brick walls, topped with electric fencing and barbed wire. I have a driver and a maid and a lovely guard whose name I don’t know opens the front gate of my apartment complex. I shop in a relatively modern supermarket where I can buy everything from Skippy peanut butter to Betty Crocker brownie mix. No, I don’t live in Africa, that’s just my address.

In India, it was much harder to escape the fact that you were in India - at least it was for us. The reality of Delhi was everywhere from sweltering heat and beggars, to the Soup Nazi’s 7-11 and the rats running along the ground at INA market. In New Delhi, the reality that was India was omnipresent even when you tried to hide out in five-star hotels and lock your door against it.

Here, shutting out the reality of Kenya is common and depressingly easy. One of our more popular malls, Village Market, could easily be moved to California and fit right in. In fact, for the embassy and UN folks who live in that area there is little evidence true poverty to confront them. The popular Muthiaga area where several embassies have their residences could easily double for Bethesda, Maryland, with the exception of the razor wire and high walls that grace these homes.

The two large “slum” areas, Kangemi and Kibera, home to well over half of Nairobi’s population, are both slightly out of town and well off the route that most expats or tourists would take to the common shopping or dining areas. (I should note that Hubby passes through Kangemi everyday on his way to and from work.) While people certainly don’t deny that Africa’s second largest slum-area is only fifteen minutes from the airport, it and the real Africa are worlds away from their comfortable cloistered existences.

So tonight, as I sit down to my dinner of soy fajitas and sip on my glass of South African wine while watching American Idol and chatting on the Internet, I won’t really be in Kenya. It’s just a really good facsimile.

And that’s kinda sad.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

More Poetry

There Is No Frigate Like A Book
Emily Dickinson

There is no frigate like a book
To take us lands away,
Nor any coursers like a page
Of prancing poetry.
This traverse may the poorest take
Without oppress of toll;
How frugal is the chariot
That bears a human soul!

Friday, April 20, 2007

That Time

I’m not saying that it’s almost “that” time of the month but I just finished inhaling a chocolate bar and am debating whether or not it would be consider piggish to bake and eat an entire pan of brownies all by myself. Since I know I’m not the only woman on the planet who wishes that food would magically appear when she craved it, I am doing my best to be brave and not give into my desire to preheat the oven.

In honor of women everywhere I dug out this poem from my girlhood at The Abbey. I’m not sure who wrote it, other than that it was obviously penned by a woman who knew that brownies were never meant to be shared.

Ode to PMS

This is the story of the deadly curse,
We’re writing it down verse by verse.

In case you haven’t been able to guess,
We’re talking about PMS.

I feel like I’m in a living tell,
As I sit and watch my ankles swell.

I feel like my eyeballs are about to float,
As pound after pout I begin to bloat.

I sit here eating a ton of junk food,
Hoping to cure this ugly bad mood.

Because of these cramps I feel a pain,
Maybe it’s all this water gain.
I don’t like to complain of the pain in my head,
But the way I feel: I’m better of dead.

They tell I’m crazy, they tell I’m mad,
It’s times like these I wish I were Dad.

I want to scream, I want to shout,
Form reason my family wants to move me out.

Don’t bother me, get out of my face,
I’m not longer part of the human race.

I feel so ugly I should wear a sack,
Just think in 28 days "IT" will be back.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Revisionist History: The Leaky Edition

I think that there is a distinct possibility that I am a Real World kind of a girl. It isn’t just a love of amenities like Kraft Dinner, Borders, Qdoba, and drivers who obey the laws of the road that I find myself missing with increasing desperation. You see, while I love living in the developing world, there are just some things that my citified, first world mentality cannot live through without tantrums, chocolate, and numerous people telling me that I’m right and the world around me is wrong.

In India, some people complained about putting up with people who said they would arrive at 10 a.m. only to have them show up two days later at 3 in the afternoon. And I certainly wasn’t put out by calls from my landlord in the middle of meetings or days out with the Girls to tell me that HE needed access to my apartment because something of HIS needed to be fixed immediately. Nor was I one to bat an eyelash when I saw people spitting or urinating on every available wall-like surface.

Here in Nairobi, my nose is not out of joint because my Internet speed is worthy of a time warp back to 1996 – when it works that is. Nor am I upset by an unexpected truism that when it rains, satellite television dies a horrible static-y death. And lest my mother once again accuse me of whining and tell me to “buck up,” I want to point out that I’m not even complaining about the fact that none of my staff ever listen to me or do things the way I ask them to.

No today’s tempest (riddled as it was with four letter expletives, kendo stick waving, and righteous anger fed by the lack of Internet people calling me when they said they would) was courtesy of the Rainy Season that I described last week. Last night, you see, it rained viscously for several hours and, after a short break, returned to fine wet form just as we were headed to bed. I am not a rain hater: I like the rain. But I am a hater of tin roofs with holes in them, and tile covers with rabbit sized gaps in them, all of which keep me watching for drips with an intensity that would scare the most hardened of criminals.

Last night Hubby and I noticed a persistent and ominous dripping noise on the roof directly over our television. Before long, the dripping elicited a steady steam of leakage directly onto one of our bookcases. We took quick measures to protect the important member of the household – the television – and kept an eye out for further leaks. As luck would have it, we missed the one that produced several water stains in our entryway and almost ruined one of Hubby’s prints which I had hung over the hall table.

Do you think the apartment manager cared? Do you think the men he sent to fix the leaks have actually done anything more than insult me in Swahili? Do you really think that the problem is fixed? *sob* I am afraid of the rain. I am afraid of what I will find when I wake up each morning after the rain stops. I am afraid that I will hurt someone if the problem isn’t fixed soon to my satisfaction. But most of all I am tired of waking up every time I hear a drip worried that it may be landing on something important or valuable – like me!

PS – Turns out that the apartment manager does care and is in the process of getting bids to have the roof fixed rather than patched. Someone listened to me complain and cared. *sniff*

PS2 - Of course it won’t actually be fixed for at least another month by which time the Long Rains will almost be over but hey! It’s the thought that counts. Or something…

Wednesday, April 18, 2007


In memory of those who died at Virginia Tech on Monday, April 16, 2007.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

My April Valentine

My nine-year anniversary was either eight months ago or one month from now depending upon how you count or whom you speak with. In honour of that dubious distinction, I thought I’d share a mushy story with you about the first time I said the L-word to a guy you all know as Hubby.

Some of you that haven’t known me long may not know that I was once what some would call a man-hating, personal space loving, b!tch. And that was on a good day. I had debates in classes that ranged from math to religion about how love was a myth perpetuated only to support procreation. My quote in my senior yearbook was: “Don’t touch me. You’re on my side of the planet.” Needless to say, I wasn’t exactly the girl voted most likely to fall in love with some random guy she met online, get married, and move to the developing world.

Now that you know the background, allow me to briefly tell you about Hubby’s first visit to Toronto where he put the moves on me, said “I love you” first, and left me wondering what was next. Hmm. Ok. Put that way, that’s the entire part of the story you need to know.

By the time I arrived at my dorm in Halifax, a birthday gift bunny (soon to be named Fuzz Butt) was waiting for me. Hubby and I spoke on the phone or online via IRC just about every day but there was no pressure for me to reciprocate his L-Word announcement (I may or may not have been attending classes in-between chats, but seeing as it was still the beginning of the year chances are good I was still going regularly).

Around mid-September, after several debates with my friends, Fuzz, and some of my other personalities, I called Hubby up for one of our usual chats. After about an hour of talking I told him I had something important to talk to him about. “I love you!” I said quickly. I then hung up and left the phone off the hook so he couldn’t call me back.

I left the phone off the hook for about an hour until I was mentally ready to talk to him. And then I got pissed off because my lack of voice mails proved that he obviously hadn’t tried to call me back. That jerk!

My natural next step was to email him a very long, very emotional email about my feelings and why I would never share with him again (Not because he didn’t call back but because I wasn’t the mushy, holding hands kind of a girl). After rereading it to make sure that my views on mushiness were clear, I hit send.

If She of the Gratuitous H is reading this, she’ll remember what happened next. I didn’t send it to Hubby. In a fit of idiocy, I sent my mushy email to her by accident. Hoping to fix my mistake, I quickly emailed her back and begged her not to read my first email. Since H teases me about it to this day, she obviously did read it and enjoys mocking me for it.

The denouement to this story is that eventually Hubby and I spoke and he admitted that he was rather flabbergasted by my admission the night before and hadn’t even tried to call me back. (The pig!) And then he invited himself to visit me in Halifax for Canadian Thanksgiving where he finally said it back (again).

And the rest is history. I am now a mushy girl who says things like the L-Word and hold hands and still thinks her husband is a pig – but the cute, snuggly kind. Basically saying the L-word changed everything. And that’s ok.

Monday, April 16, 2007

All that Glisters

After a few entries about my travel plans, I was afraid that my Devoted Readers would think they had happened upon the blog of someone with money and a jet setting lifestyle. To offset that rather erroneous view, I thought I’d share with you what I did last Thursday. Brace yourselves for the news because it’s going to be hard to take in all at once. I spent Thursday do-gooding. I realize how unbelievable this news is but it’s true.

I spent Wednesday with the president of the local chapter of the Association and she invited me to join her the next day at St. E’s – a girl’s school that the Association helps fund, run, and where several of the ladies even teach classes. The hope, I think, was that after meeting the Sisters who run St. E’s, and the girls, that I would volunteer my dubious services in one way or another. Obviously, I thought to myself, she didn’t realize whom she was dealing with. With a lack of anything better to do, however, I agreed to join the do-gooding fun.

The girls are all either orphans (I think) or live in the nearby slum area. Although the school is funded through donations from organizations like the Good Shepherd and the Association, they do ask the girls to give a small amount of money for their classes every year. Although these fees don’t pay for much, it helps encourage the feeling that the girls are not receiving charity but are instead contributing toward their future.

I realize that I keep calling them girls, which isn’t entirely the whole story. From what I was later told, the ages of the students range from early teens to early twenties. They take classes in cooking, sewing, beading, and English among others. Although few will be able to continue their education past St. E’s, the hope is that they can get jobs, or become self-employed using the skills they learn.

The admittedly low-key day was spent meeting the girls and seeing the results of the classes they had attended thus far. And by the end of those few hours I’m afraid that the President’s nefarious plan may have worked: I gave my number to the volunteer coordinator to maybe come back and help out. Since I barely cook for Hubby or myself, and I can’t sew unless it involves buttons, and beads are only pretty to wear (not work with), I guess I’ll be volunteering to help out with the English classes.

So there you have it. The one thing I swore would never happen has happened. My will has been broken by a few shy smiles and the generosity of a couple of children. I think I may be becoming a do-gooder. Am I the only one scared by this news?

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Christmas in April

Now that we’ve planned our summer home leave, it only seems right that we start to look into our next big destination holiday: Christmas. I know that some people may think we’re getting a little ahead of ourselves but you wouldn’t believe how many hotels are already booked for the holidays. Not to mention (although I obviously am) that the flights to our destinations of choice are already filling up – some are even sold out!

Which brings us to our conundrum. We have our plans narrowed down to three destinations: Victoria Falls, Bali, and the Maldives. Not to get too Amazing Race on you but each choice has its own pros and cons. While Vic Falls is relatively close by and therefore hopefully less expensive, the allegedly “good” side of the falls is in Zimbabwe. Given the political situation there, I’d rather put this one off for a year or so. My vote is that we’re definitely going before we leave the area but maybe not this year.

The next place we both agreed would be cool is Bali, which offers the bonus of our flying through and staying in Malaysia and/or Singapore on the way there depending upon the availability of flights. While getting to Bali isn’t quite free (and is definitely circuitous) the hotels and life there isn’t too pricey – or so Hubby believes. The potentially budget busting part of this trip would be the Singapore portion where we would inevitably do some shopping (Borders) and “Real World” eating (CPK!). My favourite part of this option is that it keeps with our new beach vacation tradition that we started in Mauritius two years ago.

Of course, if beaches were our thing (which, oddly, they’re not really) then the Maldives would also work. The semi-direct Emirates flights to this series of islands are less expensive than going to Bali. The downside is that once you’re there, the Maldives become really expensive since all the resorts are self-contained and there isn’t exactly a lot of non-water things to do once you’re there. We’ve seen some really nice hotels/resorts online here but by the time you add food and (for Hubby, not me since I, as you know, always try to be rather temperate) drinks, your weeklong holiday can easily go through the roof.

So what do you guys think? Where should we head for Christmas ’07? If any of you wonderful Devoted Readers have been to any of the above please give us some advice (or other ideas) because we quite simply can’t make up our minds. Help!

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Almost Home

After many hours of debate and even more hours surfing the Internet for good rates, Hubby and I have finally planned our home leave. To some of you, this may sound easy. Well, you’d be wrong.

First there was the simple matter of how to get from Africa to North America while maximizing time, dollars, and potential air miles. (After weeks of back and forthing on this issue, we finally agreed to Emirates.) Then we had a month to fill with days spent with family, friends, more family, and if we’re very lucky, even each other. That required flights from A to C to B back to A then onto F. And if you’re confused reading that, just imagine how the airlines felt when we told them we didn’t want to pay for any of these flights. (Yay airmiles!)

But after spending hours on the phone, and even more online, we finally have 93% of our trip home planned. So watch out kids, Typo and Hubby are coming home!

Friday, April 13, 2007

Glutton Love

Hubby thinks the blogs where I just paste an article written by someone else are a cop out and therefore not my best work. He may even have a point, however vague. But today I’m going to have to ignore that alleged point in honour of one of my favourite columns over at Dalton Ross’s “The Glutton.”

In addition to being on the best parts of Entertainment Weekly’s website, The Glutton is something I sincerely look forward reading each week and this week’s Glutton-age is a perfect example why. We all know I’m a tiny bit geeky but Dalton has managed to quantify that geek factor for the entire world to see.

Thanks, Dalton. I think…
One of Us!
By Dalton Ross

Season 3 of Battlestar Galactica wrapped up recently, yet no matter how often the drama transcends the science fiction genre, there are scores of people who refuse to watch any show set on a starship. I'm the exact opposite: a true sci-fi junkie. I'll check out pretty much anything that features lasers and people dressed in stupid rubber alien costumes, and I'm not ashamed to admit it....

Actually, what am I talking about? I'm totally ashamed. It's embarrassing as hell to be that dude at a party waving his hand in front of his face and proclaiming that ''these aren't the droids you're looking for,'' only to receive a group of blank stares in return. Such is the life of a geek, I suppose.

But misery loves company, and I'm fairly confident that there are plenty of other science fiction lovers out there, even if they don't want to admit that they're part of our exclusive fraternity of freaks. With apologies to Jeff Foxworthy (although really, shouldn't he be the one apologizing to us for all he's done?), you might be a sci-fi geek own not one but two V miniseries on DVD, or if you understood a single word coming out of the mouth of the old computer-program dude (the Architect, if you want to get technical — and if you want to get technical then you truly are a geek) at the end of The Matrix Reloaded. Here are some other signs that you're a science fiction nerd, and remember, resistance is futile.

— You're undoubtedly a Dorkus Maximus if you have ever substituted terms like ''frak'' (Battlestar Galactica) and ''frell'' (Farscape) for actual down-to-earth curse words. Your intergalactic potty mouth should be immediately rinsed out with soap, or at the very least rinsed out with something manly like...I don't know. What do manly people drink, Jack Daniel's?

— While we're discussing beverages, if you have ever put food coloring into your drinks to make them look like the funky space cocktails served at Quark's bar, then you are most definitely drunk on dorkiness. Actually, come to think of it, if you even know what the hell Quark's bar is, you qualify.

— If you have ever at any point in your life donned Spock ears, proceed immediately to the end of this column. No further testing is required.

— Do you enjoy mercilessly mocking Jar Jar Binks, yet sometimes catch yourself humming the melody from the Ewoks' celebratory jingle, ''Yub Yub''? It may be time to take a long, hard look in the mirror...after you remove your oversize Wicket W. Warrick costume, that is.

— Speaking of which, if you have ever carried on a conversation that contained the phrase ''midi-chlorians,'' then the Force (of geekdom) is strong with you, my friend.

— I pray for your soul if you have found yourself in the awkward position of mounting a defense for The Arrival (featuring a goatee-rocking Charlie Sheen) with an argument that goes something along the lines of ''Seriously, it's not that bad. See, the global-warming thing is not our fault after all. It's the aliens, man! The aliens!'' (Not that I ever did that or anything.)

— Enjoy penning fan fiction? Go take a seat next to the Vulcan-ear posse.

— Are you able to decipher each of the following acronyms: TNG, HRG, ESB, BSG, TARDIS, and — this one's a toughie — CSM? Congrats, you're one of us.

They say there is strength in numbers, but I'm guessing most of us are not the pumping-iron types. Nonetheless, the next time you are mocked for knowing the difference between ''warp drive'' and ''hyperdrive,'' rest assured you have a fellow nerdling willing to get your back. (P.S. Hyperdrive is cooler.)

Thursday, April 12, 2007

The Coliseum

Sometimes it’s hard to tell who to trust and who to throw to the lions. Catching someone in a lie once doesn’t mean that they’re always lying to you. Does it? And watching someone fall from a pedestal where we placed them doesn’t mean that they can’t be redeemed. So why is it that once trust has eroded it is so hard to return to its once perfect state of grace?

The problem is that once the trust is gone the echo of mistrust always hangs around. It taints even the most innocent of situations and conversations. It breathes the foul stench of misplaced curiosity into every situation.

Sometimes it’s hard to tell who to trust and who to throw to the lions. Should you trust your heart? Should you trust the memory of one mistake?

I guess the only answer is to wait it out. To hope for the best. To believe that people learn from their mistakes – even if you never do.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

A Drop in the Bucket

The rainy season has officially begun here in Kenya. In the interest of full disclosure, I should note that there are actually two rainy seasons here: the Short Rains and the Long Rains. The former occurs around mid-October and is usually over within a month. And since it usually just rains for a few minutes then goes away, it isn’t a bad rain overall. Usually that is… This year it was still raining at Christmas time, which ruined many a Mara vacation (Or so we heard from the comfort of our Seychellois holiday).

The Long Rains normally start in March and leave town in May when “winter,” with its chilly 15C days, begins to creep into town. Although this rainy season was slightly late in arriving, Hubby and I are pretty sure that we’re now officially enjoying our first Long Rainy Season. How you ask?

Well, not only did it rain all night long and well into the morning, but it also rained in several spots inside our apartment. Living on the top floor is fun – except when it rains and you realize that you have to inspect every room to make sure that it hasn’t sprung a leak. The worst part is that this isn’t even our first leak… Goodness this isn’t even the first leak in *that* spot.

Welcome to Kenya, where, if you’re very lucky, you can enjoy the weather from the comfort of your own living room!

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Not My Idol

The other day, I told you about my dirty MTV secret loves: My Super Sweet Sixteen and Busta Move. In keeping with the television theme, I thought that today I’d share my views on American Idol. I should point out that we are about a month behind you guys back in the States – today we’re watching the last four rejects get voted off which will leave us with the top 12. That said, I try to keep up with what’s going down in the Real World via the Internet and CNN.

Now that we’re all current, I need to share something important - Sanjaya Malakar sucks! I realize that the Paula in me wants to find a nice way to tell this child that he has little to no talent but I just can’t being myself to break the news gently. This tone-deaf kid is being out sung week after week and yet he’s never in the bottom three.

On the plus side, Blake Lewis is both cute and talented. This evening in Kenya, I had the pleasure of hearing him sing a little 311, and was very impressed. Now, I’m no Simon, but this guy seems to have a gift… and it doesn’t hurt that he’s easy on the eyes. (Just don’t tell Hubby I said so!)

What did any of that mean? Allow me to break it down for you, dawgs: stop voting for Sanjaya, America! I am *this* close to flying home to beat on whichever idiots out there are actually calling in for him. Stop it! He has no talent and it is actually painful to hear him sing. Stop voting for the talentless hack!

America, pretend its November and that the outcome of the vote will determine the next President of the United States… In other words, do what Americans all seem to do so well: don’t vote! (Unless it’s for Blake the Cutie; then it’s OK.)

PS I realize that today's blog is not up to my usual standards but I sincerely felt that my anti-Sanjaya sentiments had to shared with the world. I promise to return to, if not high thinking, then at least better writing, by tomorrow or thereabouts.

Monday, April 09, 2007

How Sweet

I have a confession that many of you will find shocking: I am a tiny bit of a television addict. It’s true, I enjoy little so much as flipping the channels and watching rubbish on whatever random channel strikes my fancy. I realize that most of you who picture me as a demure young lady who knits, reads, and goes out to do charity throughout the day may find this shocking. So I apologize for destroying your otherwise accurate image of me.

Now that we have the tough news out of the way, I have to share with you my two new favorite shows: My Super Sweet Sixteen and Busta Move, both on MTV. Hubby and I used to watch the former back in the Real World prior to our move to India so it should be familiar to many of you. For those of you who, like I used to be, are above such crassness as provided by MTV, I give you the best show about excess ever.

Sweet Sixteen is about kids with too much money and far too permissive parents who throw parties for their spoiled princesses and their friends to prove their love and sizable bank accounts. The formula always includes the pouty princess du jour demanding (and eventually receiving) an expensive BMW or Mercedes, admitting that she’s insane by believing that Eminem, Christina Aguilera, or some other famous person might actually appear at her party, repeatedly referring to herself in the third person, and finally throwing a party that she admits costs in excess of $100,000 USD (assuming her parents are cheap that is). A flight on her private jet to Paris to find the “perfect” dress and general behavior that would have any other child that age grounded and/or smacked are regular highlights.

Past favorites in the Typ0/Hubby household include Amberly, a sixteen year old with a bad boob job who brags within minutes of the opening credits that her skeezy looking estranged father is paying more than $300,000 to throw her party; Carlysia the hip hop princess who erroneously thinks she’s talented; and Priya and Divya, the Texan-Indian princesses who thought they were the queens of Texas with their hired elephant that felt “just like [her] Louis Vuitton bag.” I should note that there are guys who are featured on the show but they always manage to come off looking, if not worse than the girls, then at least somewhat sexually ambiguous.

Brooks Buford is the host of MTV UK’s Busta Move which allows its participants to share an important message with a friend or loved one through the medium of dance. I’m going to pause here and allow you to fully absorb the show’s premise – secrets are better when preceded by a really weird dance.

The first time we caught this show was a few weeks ago when a kid whose old fashioned, blue collar British father, who is also coach of his football (soccer) team, wants to ask his dad for more playing time by dancing with a bunch of cheerleaders in the middle of the game. Predictably, Dad refused to let his son play but was cheered by the thought that “at least he was dancing with girls.” Other classic episodes include the girl who hops in a pool for a synchronized swim to get back her ex-boyfriend, and a girl who comes out to her mum after a huge musical number including singing and background dancers on the streets of London.

If and when this show comes to the States I have no doubt it will be a cult classic. Between the “legendary” host who redefines camp and the losers who spill their guts after boogying down, this show begs to be watched by the Haters back home.

Again, I apologize for breaking the news to you Devoted Readers who only knew my do-gooding, lady-like, knitting self. It’s hard to believe that I would lower myself to watch non-educational programs, but alas it’s true. My name is Typ0 and I am a pretty, pretty princess who just wants to dance!

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Happy Easter!


Saturday, April 07, 2007

That Was Then

As I sat around waiting for the policeman to take everyone’s statements after Wednesday’s car accident, I found myself reminiscing about the days when I still worked. No, I wasn’t contemplating my years at CT&T or even my days with various banks in both Canada and the US. This time, I was thinking about what was probably the first job I ever held: as a Page at a public library in Toronto. This was one of those rare times when colleagues, management, and environment combined to perfectly form a family as they did at the Library.

I started the job two days before my 15th birthday and was thrilled that I would be earning my own money at a job that seemed to suck far less than working at McDonalds or delivering newspapers. The job of a Page is to basically do everything that everyone else (aka PS1s, managers, actual librarians etc.) feels is beneath them or are too busy to do themselves. In addition to the obvious sorting and shelving of books, we also did “shelf reading” (aka putting books back in their proper spots after annoying patrons put them back incorrectly), calling people for reserved books, getting books ready to be shipped to other branches, and lots of other nonsense.

What made this job great, as I mentioned, was the people I worked with. Most of the pages were around my age, give or take a year, so we were all dealing with the same things. Whether it was in my department or on one of the other floors, quite a few Pages also went to my school which meant that I wasn’t the only geek wandering around in a pretty blue kilt for four hours after class let out.

My friends and fellow pages hung out during non-work hours, wrote songs about how much we “loved” our work (to the tune of the theme from “Animaniacs”), made a non-library related movie, which I still have on VHS, and, most of all, we grew up together. There was a lot of inter-department dating and, from what I understand, one couple even got married a few years ago and moved to Vancouver.

Being a page isn’t what one would call “difficult” or “taxing” work but rest assured that we all worked pretty darned hard – most of the time. The job offered us fairly flexible hours when we needed time off for March Break trips to France, to study for exams (I think we all know that one wasn’t me), or needed a little OT so we could pay for formal dresses, university fees, and all the other things we always thought we were too broke to pay for.

As a nerdy kid who liked to read, I also enjoyed the benefit of having access to books as soon as they came out. Since part of a Page’s job was to help label new paperbacks before they got shelved, it also meant that we could sort through the good ones and read them before they got “public” cooties on them. We could also check the system for new books before they were released and ensure that ours were among the first names to get copies when they finally arrived.

The two best book related benefits, however, made me very happy and started me down a path that has kept me far, far away from libraries ever since. Since we all left through the employee’s entrance we would “borrow” reference items for our projects and papers. And best of all, on those books we did legitimately borrow: we didn’t pay overdue fees! You’d think showing up at a library 3 days a week would mean that I’d have no excuse to not return a book on time – early even. Not so much. I was forever returning books late because I’d forget when they were due, or that I had them, and once I had those two parts under control, I’d just plain forget them at home. Since people in the Real World have to pay overdue fines for this crime, I haven’t really been a big library user since those days. I’m special and deserve to have my fees waived, dammit!

Another great thing about The Library was that we also had really cool bosses who dealt with our goofing off and silliness with an aplomb that I can only hope that I emulated when I eventually became a manager many years later. Of course it wasn’t all fun and books, when Little J was unable to get financial aid to attend the University of Toronto, our boss Steve-O co-signed his loan from the bank. When my fellow page and friend, Jennifer, died in a car accident, it was our team of managers who held it together as we dealt with a reality few of us wanted to face.

My last day at The Library was the day I left to move to Halifax to attend university. To send me off in style, Steve-O seated me on a book cart and literally pushed me out the front door.

I’ve visited since then to see who is still there and say hi but it isn’t the same. I’m on the other side of the counter now. Moreover, I know that I’ll never again have a job quite like that. My jobs since then have been great and have each taught me more than I could ever tell you (although I'm sure I'll try in future installments of 'da Blog), but nothing will ever again be like that first job where friends and co-workers and co-conspirators were all the same person. I miss you guys…

What can I say? Your first time is always special.

Friday, April 06, 2007

Crash, Bang, Uhoh

I realize that every accident that Hubby and I have ever been in involved me. I also realize that I brilliantly even managed to get my Mother-in-Law’s car in an accident only 3 weeks into my marriage. I know all this but I also know that I am not that bad of a driver. Please stop laughing. Please?! I’m a good driver! Ok it took me a few days to get the hang driving Trinity, our manual, 6-speed Toyota Matrix. And I know it took me a few years to get the hang of driving – period. But I’m not so horrible a driver that my license should be taken away (or that I should be banned from driving pretty, new, keyless start car that belong to generous parents).

All that said, I have once again managed to become involved in a fender bender. *sigh* Before anyone worries, everyone involved is fine, myself included. No one was hurt other than my pretty Nissan X-Trail, Storm, whose passenger side front bumper is all smooshed. *double sigh*

Here, for the curious among you, is the low down… First off I should note that our driver Peter was behind the wheel as we tried to peek around the corner coming out of the Sarit Center. I should also explain that much like India, driving in Kenya is survival of the most aggressive driver.

That said, Peter and I were coming out of the plaza and attempting to turn right (like having to left in the States), across two directions of oncoming traffic. I say directions rather than lanes because there are no lanes around here. There was a lane and a half going in one direction and another lane coming the opposite way. And in the middle were the people trying to get into the Sarit Center.

Have I confused you yet? Good.

We were halfway into one lane of traffic and waiting for our chance to squeeze past lane two and finally into traffic so we could leave the shops behind us. One genius trying to get into the mall created a literal logger jam while all the drivers around him shook their heads and wondered at the person’s sanity. More cars passed by in both directions rather rudely not giving us space to inch forward.

Finally it was our turn. The guy on our left and the guy on our right both smiled, stopped, and waived us through. Yay. So we drove past them were about to ease into the empty lane when BOOM! Oh yeah. An accident.

Some eejit decided that he didn’t want to wait in traffic and that it would be more advantageous to him to pass on the left – you know, illegally. Moreover he was speeding down this patch of road when our car, which had barely moved 5 meters, caught him in the act.

When the police officer finally showed up, Peter and I quickly realized that he was friends with the driver of the other car. Lucky us. The bare scratches on his car, we were told, were completely our fault. Excuse me? But, the officer continued, we would all need to come out to the police station in about an hour.

After a detour to obtain a hug from Hubby, Peter and I went to the station (a half hour early, thank you) only to be told that we needn’t have come today; tomorrow morning would be better. But if we wanted any information about the other driver for our insurance company, we would have to buy a form from a different police station. Since our friendly neighborhood cop naturally sent us to the wrong station, it took us about an hour or more to finally obtain this 200KSH piece of paper, which we promptly returned to the first station to have filled out.

Now are you confused?! Good!

Long story short (Too late!), we’ll likely have to make the repairs to our car ourselves, although we hope that won’t be too bad (fingers crossed). Lucky, lucky us. Although, as Hubby as pointed out a few times, the really lucky thing is that nobody was hurt.

Except for my car. *pout*

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Testicular Fortitude

Last night, Hubby and I attended a dinner at the home of a now retired colleague of his. Dinner was a lovely mélange of nyama choma, or as we call it in Canada, lots of meat! Conversation around the dinner table included a debate about the alleged tastiness of ugali and where people with husbands who loved them are going for the long Easter weekend. (In case it isn’t clear, I will be staying in town.)

As lovely as dinner was, it was the post-dinner conversation that will live forever in people’s memories of the evening. And no, I’m not talking about the Richard Leakey and white men in African politics discussion. The topic that the room full of veterinarians wanted to discuss more than anything was the finer points of castration.

Yes, you read that correctly: castration. They talked about the old-fashioned cut and run method used on pigs. We then turned to another popular (if not for poor Porky and his friends) method of cutting “it” off and then turning “it” over and over and over until the rest of it falls off. But I think that Hubby’s favourite was the new “humane” method of castration: by injecting a form of anesthesia directly into the testicle.

(I will now pause so that all men reading this blog can cringe and hold their “boys” in sympathy.)

I kid thee not; this conversation went on for at least 30 minutes before someone noticed the look of extreme discomfort on Hubby’s face. It was at that point that our kind host turned the discussion from pig castration to – cow castration. At least it didn’t involve any needles being inserted into tender boy parts.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Thank You

Who knew that the World Bank was reading my blog and agreed with me? They are wonderful people who understand the problems of the common expat. Oh sure, they say that it's for businesses and students but I think we all know the truth: they're doing this to make ME happy.
World Bank gives Africa $164.5 mln for internet connections
Tue Apr 3, 1:09 PM ET

NAIROBI (Reuters) - The World Bank has approved financing worth $164.5 million for Kenya, Burundi and Madagascar for high-speed internet connections, the bank said on Tuesday.

The region is the only place in the world not connected to the global broadband infrastructure, making telephone calls and Internet access very expensive, the bank said.

"Businesses are unable to compete in the global economy, university students suffer because they cannot access the Internet, and government agencies cannot communicate effectively with each other and their citizens because they are not connected," the bank's statement said.

The bank cited one Kenyan call-centre entrepreneur who has to pay $17,000 per month for 25 agents to make calls from the country compared to costs of only $600-900 paid by other call centers elsewhere in the world.

Kenya and Madagascar got loans of $114.4 million and $30 million respectively, while the remaining $20.1 million was a grant to Burundi. The money is the first tranche of a $424 million Regional Communications Infrastructure Program (RCIP).

The three countries are part of a wider regional initiative by over 20 nations to lay an undersea fiber-optic cable linking South Africa and Sudan.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Only a True Friend

Hubby and I often watch the news to pass the time between shows or when the show we’re watching goes to ads. Hey, a modern girl should be up to date on current events, you know. Although I enjoy watching BBC, Hubby much prefers watching CNN in the evenings. You may be wondering why he insists on narrowing his world view in this way. I have one name for you: Fionnuala Sweeney.

The one time RTE reporter is a regular anchor on CNN’s World News Europe, which we in Nairobi get to see about twice a night (Gotta love the news cycle’s cyclical news programs which give us the same program and same news at regular intervals unless something important happens. Then we get to see it about thirty minutes later). The first time Hubby saw Ms. Sweeney, he was quite smitten and called me over to witness her amazing anchor skills. Mostly he thought that she was hot.

But that, I’m afraid for her, has changed. From what we’ve been able to determine, she’s pissed off someone in the hair and make-up department at CNN. More than that, she appears to have no friends who are willing to talk to her in an honest and forthright manner. (Please note that the photo on the right does not fully convey how henious she now looks.)

You see, about a year or so ago she dyed her hair dark and then had it cut in a really unflattering style. To add insult to injury, her wardrobe person is also upset at her and she’s always dressed as if she were at library matron in the 80s. It’s sad and horrible and we here in the Typ0/Hubby household feel really bad for her.

So, Ms Sweeney, if you’re out there reading this, we are more than fans -- we want to be your friends and then we want to take you to Jonathan Antin for a new haircut (replete with his patented “Dirt” product) followed by several hours of shopping for flattering clothes. We’re not saying this to be mean, because honestly, watching your hairdo from hell is starting to become painful. Other than those superficial issues… Keep up the good work!

Monday, April 02, 2007

NCAA: The Fabulous Finals

Ok so I only batted .500 on Saturday with my last set of NCAA predictions. As it stands, this year’s finals will be a true battle of the cool kids: the number one school against the number one school. Don’t worry it only feels like high school – it’s really college. Or so they tell all those young men skipping classes for a month to be there.

So now for the important part: who will win this great battle of “student” athletes of the Florida What-Cha-Ma-Call-Its versus the Ohio State Other Things. This will be a tight race, of that I have no doubt, but I’m going to have to stick to my guns here and cheer Ohio State on to win the… what do these guys win? Stanley Cup? World Series Ring? An “education"?

Well, whatever the prize is that they’re fighting for, the final team standing will be the Ohio State Other Things. And you can take that to the bank (on the Monopoly board).

Sunday, April 01, 2007


Since my attempts to trick Hubby this morning into thinking that I was preggers went awry I decided to look up slightly more successful April Fool’s jokes. Here are a few of my favourites for you to enjoy on this lovely April 1st, 2007!
  • Left Handed Whoppers: In 1998, Burger King ran an ad in USA Today, saying that people could get a Whopper for left-handed people whose condiments were designed to drip out of the right side.
  • Taco Liberty Bell: In 1996, Taco Bell took out a full-page advertisement in The New York Times announcing that they had purchased the Liberty Bell to "reduce the country's debt" and renamed it the "Taco Liberty Bell." When asked about the sale, White House press secretary Mike McCurry replied tongue-in-cheek that the Lincoln Memorial had also been sold and would henceforth be known as the Ford Lincoln Mercury Memorial.
  • Metric time: Repeated several times in various countries, this hoax involves claiming that the time system will be changed to one in which units of time are based on powers of 10.
  • End of the Lockout: In 2005, on Vancouver's 99.3 the fox, they announced at around 7:30 in the morning that the NHL lockout was over and a new Collective Bargaining Agreement had been reached. Half an hour later they admitted the joke and then proceeded to play numerous phonecalls from disgruntled listeners for another hour.
  • South Park: April 1st was advertised as being the premiere of the show's second season—and also the resolution of a cliffhanger where Eric Cartman was about to discover the identity of his father. Fans spent weeks speculating on the father's identity, but when they tuned in to watch it they were instead treated to Terrance and Phillip in Not Without My Anus, a half-hour of Terrance and Phillip fart jokes. The true resolution to the cliffhanger aired several weeks later. The show's creators, Trey Parker and Matt Stone claim during the DVD introduction to this episode that they received death threats over pulling the prank, although there were not any police reports to prove this.
  • In 2006, the night-time channel Adult Swim significantly changed its programming. InuYasha was replaced by the 1980s cartoon Karate Kommandos starring Chuck Norris, while Neon Genesis Evangelion was replaced by Boo Boo Runs Wild and Cowboy Bebop was replaced by the Mr. T animated series. Full Metal Alchemist and Ghost in the Shell: S.A.C. 2nd GIG had their episodes edited so characters farted throughout the show, although they showed an unedited version of the Ghost in the Shell episode later in the night. There was no prank in 2005 because it fell on a Friday, but in 2004, mustaches were drawn on characters during the shows.
  • George Plimpton wrote a 1985 article in Sports Illustrated about a New York Mets prospect named Sidd Finch, who could throw a 168 mph fastball with pinpoint accuracy. This kid, known as "Barefoot" Sidd[hartha] Finch, reportedly learned to pitch in a Buddhist monastery. The first letter of each line in the opening paragraph spelled out the fact of its being an April Fool joke.
  • As part of an April Fools' joke on April 1, 1997, Alex Trebek and Pat Sajak switched hosting duties. Pat hosted Jeopardy! that day and Alex hosted Wheel of Fortune where Sajak and Vanna White played as contestants. Jeopardy! announcer Johnny Gilbert did double duties that day.
And finally, since you, my Devoted and Beloved Readers, know that I am a Mac Baby who types up every single episode of your favourite blog (this one) on a Mac named Mickie, here’s my favourite factoid of the day:
  • Apple Computer was founded on April 1st 1976.