Sunday, February 28, 2010

steam engine

In 2006 I was learning a lot of My Morning Jacket. Here’s an old video that I thought I would revive.


I still haven’t figured out how to sing on pitch (at least not for an entire song). Turns out, that’s really hard to do.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

casual fridays universal, and other initial observations

I’ve been here in India for a while and observed some interesting stuff. It’s an experience, like being on another planet really, but in a Star Trek episode. They never explained how pretty much every intelligent species in the galaxy looked human and spoke English, did they? Here are some of my initial observations.

SDC10028Here’s the view from my hotel in Gurgaon.

They do casual Friday here bigtime. And they’re serious about it: t-shirt and jeans. It’s a hundred degrees.

The engrish here is hilarious. There’s a guy on TV, looks to be the indian Larry King; his show is called “Question Time”… cause he asks questions… during that time.

There’s a TV show called Sutasi that I think is like American Idol, except they’re searching for the best singer/musician/band… and my favorite: most memorable lyricist. Wtf?

All the cab fares are on my “room tariff”. They say “biscuits” from the “pantry” (cookies from the kitchen). When somebody wants to tell you their “duty status” that’s their work schedule. And if I wanna “take prawns in the minus one” (which *sounds* dirty), that’s eating shrimp in the lower level restaurant.

They wouldn’t iron one of my shirts cause it had a tear in the arm and they left me this really formal note that basically said “We ain’t touchin’ this shit. It has a hole in it.” How many people have lost their jobs over that one?

The cabby told me he liked Obama cause he saw on the news that Obama said “everybody’s equal” and “Pakistan shouldn’t fire on India”. Mkay.

HBO has commercials. Fail.

At the office, they have separate microwaves for vegetarian food and non-vegetarian food (which is almost always chicken), but no one follows the signs. Much like the driving, the signs are meaningless.

Dude brings me a tea with milk and it’s in this little tiny paper cup. I look at my friend and I’m like “Is this a sample?” He starts cracking up and goes “This is regular size.” Then he pays the guy like 5 rupees and I’m like “How much is that, fifty cents?” and he goes “That’s like ten cents.”

I’m at Papa Johns and it seems as if the dude at the counter doesn’t speak good English (which is pretty common for fast food dudes). So I ask my friend if he will ask this guy whether or not they have mozzarella cheese (cause Domino’s totally doesn’t and it sucks). My friend says “Sure” and slowly turns to the guy and says at a normal speed, in English! “Do you have mozzarella cheese?” It was a classic moment. The guy’s like “Yeah.” and I go “Uh huh. Sweet.”

Lots of bendy straws. Weird.

The customer service is ridiculous. I bought a camera. No big deal. The guy knew everything about everything. He helped me with the “billing” (checkout) and then took me to this other desk where they proceed to take my camera out of the box and show me each and every part that it comes with and what it’s for. They assemble everything and show me how it works. I’m like “Uh… It’s cool. I got it.” and they basically said “No. This is how we do it. We’re giving you customer service here. Shut up and take it.” to which i said “Ok.” It was cool.

In the clubs, they love Brian Adams (a remix of “Summer of ‘69” seems to be a classic), 80s music, and Don McLean. Can you guess which Don McLean song? Yeah, they cut other songs short, but this… they play the whole goddam thing.

There aren’t pharmacies or drug stores. There are “chemists”. Like some guy is brewing up Zoloft in a pot out back.

I saw my first naked kid the other day, on the side of the road. He might have been wearing a rope.

Stray dogs, bulls, cows, buffalos, monkeys. These all roam the streets without recourse. Traffic stops for them sometimes.

Radio does a top *30* (not 40). They just had to be different. There’s a popular dance song out now that says “We Twist” over and over in the chorus. Did it take 50 years for Chubby Checker to get to India? Maybe this is a twist reprise.

Some dudes were riding camels in the street one night. You know; there’s cars, busses, trucks, TONS of motorcycles, and camels. I even saw dudes riding an elephant down the street. Anyway, the camel guys stopped on the side of the road to let their camels munch on some random trees. (Nom nom nom.) I guess for camels, any tree is a gas station. Cars have to stop at gas stations, but camels… they can stop at any tree and refuel… one of the upsides to going camel.

I leave you with some good engrish I found at a KFC.


Friday, July 03, 2009

delhi, baby

Indian soap operas are hilarious. If you took a sip of light beer every time there was an extreme close-up, you’d be drunk in like 10 seconds.

If you know me, you likely know that I have come to India for work recently. I’ll be spending a month here and I just finished week one. It’s been a fascinating experience.

The flight was nonstop from Chicago to Delhi. We almost flew over the north pole; we went way far north. It was cool.

Flight Path

I left on Sunday night and I arrived on Monday night. It wasn’t a 24 hour flight, of course; it took 12 or so hours to fly that far and during that time, the earth rotated, like it always does! (damn earth), plus we landed in a place that the sun hits sooner as it rises, so when Chicago is starting a workday, India has already finished that workday.

The moment I stepped out of the airport, it was quite hot, and very humid. It is the rainy season here; I’ve also heard it called monsoon season.

You pre-pay for a taxi at the airport; it was weird. I get into this rickety box with lots of sweat on the shag carpet seats, and we dive into the abyss that is Indian traffic.

Indian traffic is like particles flowing across a surface. They all move really fast and constantly appear as if they’re going to collide violently, and sometimes they do. When the road narrows it’s like sand in an hourglass, or people pushing to exit a crowded theater on fire. Lanes mean nothing. Drivers see one pavement, both sides of the road are fair game. Driving into oncoming traffic is normal. People are inside the traffic all the time.

Basically it works like this: people in America treat the road like a system of rules that must be followed. People in India treat the road like the people in America treat a hallway; you do whatever the hell it is you wanna do. People are roughly on a side… roughly.

Saturday, May 23, 2009


Here are the points that I take from this article...
  1. Lincoln is Republican. He frees the slaves and pisses-off the south. The south votes Democratic for several decades.
  2. Lyndon Johnson signs the Civil Rights Act in 1964. This ends state-sponsored segregation and pisses-off the south. The south says "Hey, maybe Republicans ain't so bad."
  3. Since 1964, the south has steadily grown to be more Republican in the House and Senate.
  4. Now the Republican party gets over half of it's support in national elections from the south and they are becoming a regional party, just as the Democratic party was after Lincoln.
It appears that both parties have experienced southernization in their history.

Friday, November 28, 2008

robot toothpaste

i am at a farm. i went out to feed the cows and goats yesterday and stepped in some really old dog poop. it upset me. i could tell it was really old because it was LOUD. to feed the goats, i cut the ropes on 2 bails of hay and threw it over the fence in chunks. a crowd began to form. i was "bombing" the goats with their own food, which was fun.

Monday, July 07, 2008

kilimanjaro, days 6 and 7

I summited Kilimanjaro at 7:30 am the morning of July 3rd, 2008, day 6 on the mountain. I reached Uhuru peak, 5895 meters above sea level, the highest point in Africa. After summiting, the rest of the day was spent hiking part way down the mountain, 15 hours of hiking that day. Then, the day afterward we finished with another 6 hours. When we reached the park gate at the base of the mountain, we all had a beer to celebrate. It was good.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

kilimanjaro, day 5

It is 2:19 pm on July 2nd here in Tanzania. We just hiked 5 hours to kibo hut at 4,700 meters (over 15,000 ft) way about the cloud line. We will hike all night tonight and summit in the morning. Over 1000 meters to go. Hopefully my next post will say that we've made it and are on our way down.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

kilimanjaro, night 2

I am about to sleep on night 2. Gets down to freezing at night. Very hot in the day. Like the moon? Started the trek at 1950 meters. Now at 3600 meters. Summit is at 5895 meters. A cloud ran into us today head on. Breathtaking up here.

Friday, June 27, 2008

kilimanjaro, day 1

It is 6 am here. We are driving around the mountain to the Kenyan side to start our ascent. Feeling good.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

dar es salaam, tanzania

I made it to Tanzania by way of Qatar. It is 6 am, Friday, June 27th in Dar es Salaam now. The group and I are about to get on a plane to central Tanzania and then will take a bus to the base of the mountain. I don't know what connectivity I will have there, so I may not be able to post for a while. Lots of stories to tell still.